Photo FOMO: Wearable monopod, phone viewfinder are odd, but maybe useful

Afraid of missing out on the latest photo industry news while you’re out, well, actually taking pictures? Photo FOMO is all the news you might have missed this week, published on the weekends. Alongside the biggest stories of the week, like Canon finally bringing 4K to a PowerShot camera and crazy good drone photos, find briefs on the latest in accessories and photo industry news from this week with Photo FOMO.

Be your own tripod? Steadify is a wearable tripod

Here’s a tool we didn’t anticipate migrating to wearables — the tripod. Steadify is described by the designers as a wearable tripod that uses a belt base to steady a camera. Designed from a father-son startup called Swift Tools LLC, Steadify is designed for where tripods aren’t allowed, are too bulky, or where setting one up would take too long. It’s made for cameras as well as binoculars. (A similar device for steading firearms by the same name already exists, but the Kickstarter looks to include a camera mount).

Instead of stabilizing the camera from the ground, Steadify uses a waist belt and a single arm to support the camera. Even touching the camera to trigger a shot during a long exposure on a tripod can introduce shake — so Steadify is probably better compared to a monopod than a tripod. While long exposures probably are a no go, the Steadify could help balance the weight of a longer lens and add some monopod-like stabilization.

At least 800 photographers think a wearable camera support is a good idea — the Kickstarter project has already surpassed the original $30,000 goal by four times. If the crowdfunding is successful, early backers could get the wearable support for about $99 with estimated delivery in October.

OKO turns your entire smartphone into a giant electronic viewfinder

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OKO

Shooting a photo with a screen that’s as large as a smartphone is great until glare prevents you from actually seeing anything on the screen. Entrepreneur Shai Goitein, however, has come up with a rather unusual solution to the problem. OKO is a two-eye viewfinder for smartphones — the device looks like wearing a virtual reality headset, only instead of viewing virtual reality, you’re framing up reality inside the smartphone camera.

The designer behind OKO says the device eliminates the glare from the screen and offers a better grip. The device also works with optional smartphone lenses and leaves enough room to still use the touchscreen controls while wearing the OKO. 

Made of silicone, the OKO folds down to be not quite so large and uses a neck strap — but we have to wonder, have we reached the point where smartphone accessories have made the most portable cameras no less portable than an actual camera with a real viewfinder? And isn’t wearing a camera headset and only seeing what’s in front of you liable to make you trip? At least a few hundred people think that glare-free shooting is worth risking an unusual device — the OKO is already fully funded on Kickstarter. The device starts at $39, with all the usual Kickstarter precautions advised.

Mindshift is now part of Think Tank Photo after Merger

Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear, two companies known for photo accessories and camera bags, are now one company. While the two were formerly sister companies, the two brands merged earlier this week, all under the Think Tank name. MindShift Gear isn’t going away, however, the brand will continue to be used for products while still now officially part of Think Tank Photo.

Learn photography from … Best Buy?

Photography education has skyrocketed the past few years — and the latest company going in is Best Buy. The retailer giant’s Camera Experience Shop, which has over 80 locations, is now offering workshops. They are aimed at beginner and intermediate-level photographers. The Camera Experience Shop is sponsored by Canon, Nikon, Sony, and GoPro. The beginner workshops are actually free while intermediate options are $50. The class lists are available online.

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