You may be using your smartphone as your primary camera, but there are a slew of new gadgets for capturing and sharing your life. Here are some of the latest high-tech spins on the digital camera.
Say you want to show off your vacation. Sure, you could post a faded Instagram shot of a deserted beach. But a 360-degree video or photo that captures the waves in front of you and coconuts behind you can make people feel like they’re there. Such immersive images have been taking off on services like Facebook and YouTube, where people can swipe or drag to move around the scene on their own.
One of the most highly rated cameras for this is the Samsung Gear 360, which works with iOS and Android phones. Priced at $290, it’s essentially a sphere on a handle, with two fish-eye lenses, and is small enough to toss in a travel bag.
Home security cameras you can stream on a smartphone have become increasingly popular in our Airbnb age. They’re also getting smarter and, well, creepier. Google’s Nest division makes the Nest Cam, which recently added face- and object-recognition features. It can tell who is walking through the kitchen at 3 a.m., or send a text alert anytime it detects something out of the ordinary.
Lighthouse is a $399 camera that combines a security camera with a voice interface. You can ask it things like “What did Junior do this morning?” or “What’s my dog up to today?” and instantly see clips of their activities. You can even set up alerts for different types of activities, like jumping or waving.
GoPro created the action camera market. Now multiple companies make the small rugged video cameras, which can mount on sports equipment, heads or pets.
The next wave in wearable cameras is lower impact. Instead of extreme sports, these wearable devices are used to capture everyday happenings.
For the social media addict who lives in fear of missing a photo opp, there’s the new $399FrontRow from Ubiquiti. It looks like a stopwatch, dangles around your neck, features a touchscreen interface, and has two cameras — 8 megapixel on the front, 5 megapixel on the back. If you’re at an event, you can livestream it without staring at your smartphone. A “story” mode takes stills from the past 12 hours of your life and turns them into a timelapse movie.