For this week's edition of Selects, our bi-weekly email featuring…
The world of photography is awash with gear and accessories for an eager public. But not every invention is worthy of merit as seen by this glorious collection of “WTF were they thinking?”.
1. 41MP Camera Smart Watch
They say smart watches are the next big thing. They say the smart watch will beam text messages, monitor my health, and tell me the time simultaneously. They say I will undoubtedly need a 41MP camera on said watch. I say only time will tell.
Better choice: Casio Calculator Watch. Retro cred with a real calculator!
2. iPhone External Flash
While it’s true that the iPhone flash isn’t very powerful, what we really didn’t need was a huge, retro-inspired external flash. Fortunately, this Kickstarter project was never funded.
Better choice: Nokia 1020’s Xenon flash. Now that’s a bright idea!
3. Sony Lens Camera
This camera hasn’t even been announced yet, but I’m telling you, the reason why camera phone photography is so popular is because you always have it with you. What I don’t always have is a huge contraption that adds 5x’s the thickness. That’s like saying phone-based payment systems will take off when we add a small block of iron to our phones.
Better choice: Sony RX100B. Same size! Better photos.
4. Hasseblad Lunar and Stellar
Whatever Hasselblad was smoking when they came up with this idea should be banned by NATO and the EU, and turned into an critically acclaimed AMC TV show.
Better choice: Sony Alpha NEX-7. The same camera without the wooden accent.
5. Leica M Monochrom
It must be that the more you spend on luxury items, the more you gain a psychotic attachment to them. Witness the Leica M Monochrom, an $8,000 digital camera that only shoots black and white. Advocates say the tonal range capture is so different than a typical RGB sensor, but if that’s the case, why do they include a copy of Silver Efex in every box?
Better choice: Tri-X.
6. Tiffen Smoothee
There are few things that I hate more than shaky videos uploaded to Facebook of my friends’ kids. But I can’t fathom anyone casually carrying a steadicam rig for their iPhone to fix that. Let’s leave the anti-shake to software unless we’re making a feature film.
Better choice: A steady hand.
7. 8x telephoto lens for your iPhone
Digital zoom sucks. But so does the notion of attaching a lens to your phone to get a little closer to the action. If you really need to get the shot, get a dedicated camera with a zoom.
Better choice: Move your lazy butt closer to the subject.
8. Petzval lens
Optics is a highly technical business, which is why lens manufacturers are constantly refining their designs and producing sharper lens with less distortion. But I have a better idea, let’s make a bunch of lenses with a 175 year old design, and tell people that it has nice bokeh! Sucka!
Better choice: Zeiss 55mm f/1.4.
9. Necktie camera strap
I love cameras. And I love ties. Let’s combine them for two great tastes in one!
Better choice: The strap that came with your camera.
10. Digital Camera Swim Mask
Underwater photography is complicated and your results will probably suck without proper equipment. This $99 combo probably sucks as both a camera and a mask.
Better choice: Leave the camera on the beach and enjoy your snorkeling trip.
11. AC Adapter Hidden Camera
I just knew Skymall wouldn’t let me down. I don’t know about you, but my electrical outlets are about 3 inches off the ground. So even if I needed to spy on someone, I’m not sure this gadget would get me the goods.
Better choice: NSA Prism or the Yeti.
12. Star Filters
It’s unclear how this masterful piece of optical engineering survived the 80s, which is about the time that I owned one. Suffice it to say, unlike 80s fashion, the star filter probably won’t be making a comeback into the world of photography anytime soon. But hey, Cokin Filters, you go with your bad self.
Better choice: The classic sunset/firework/night light shot, without the freaky overdone rays.
13. Nikon/Canon Lens Mugs
Truth be told, we’re a little bitter because we had this idea two years before they were mass produced. We could’ve been contenders! But why confuse your aging brain and giving you even the chance of accidentally pouring hot coffee on your expensive lens?
Better choice: Leica lens mug. Aw come on, these are cool!