- The Byrd got our attention with a few killer features, some of which are unavailable anywhere else. Prodrone is a young company with a very fresh and innovative look on the UAV market and their Byrd drone is the kind of product that makes you see the incredible attention to detail no matter how you use it or look at it.
- The design is by far one of its key features. This drone was first of all designed to be insanely portable. Its arms, propellers and landing gear collapse into a package the size of an iPad. For the first time you don’t need a special case for your drone as it will easily fit in your backpack.
- Despite its compact size, the Byrd is a real powerhouse. Its propulsion system allows it to effortlessly lift 3.8kg while operating at optimum speeds. The modular design of the universal platform supports endless combinations. You can use its own gimbal and camera or you can easily swap them to create the setup that is best suited for your needs.
- One of the biggest problems most drone users face is the reduced flight time. The Byrd’s battery will allow you to keep in the air 30% longer than any other drone currently on the market.
- Controlling a drone in flight is one of the biggest challenges and sadly poor control is behind a lot of incidents. The Byrd has a set of dual controllers that rest comfortably in your hands and give you a familiar feeling thanks to the great ergonomics. They have multiple different modes for different flying styles, including a GPS mode recommended for beginning pilots.
- The drone has a Return Home feature that brings it back to your location safely with just simple press of a button. That means you no longer have to worry about losing a drone in flight. The Follow Me feature allows you to perform your actions while the Byrd effortlessly follows you without requiring you to control it.
- Take offs and landings are also going to be easier than ever before, as the Byrd can perform them with just one press of a button.
As we’re getting ready to wave goodbye to 2015, looking back at the most awesome items of the year is a must. Some need no introduction while others are promising surprises that we can’t wait to see in action next year.
Whether you’re a veteran photographer or you’re experiencing your first months behind the camera, you can’t hide from the fact that good gear makes life easier. It won’t necessarily help you become a better photographer, but you will get to where you’re going faster. Without further ado, here are our 10 favorite items of 2015.
1. Datacolor Spyder5
Calibrating your monitor should be the first step within your workflow, before even editing your photos. As the window to your digital photography, your monitor is a tool you need to be able to trust. One lesser known fact is that most monitors lose their color accuracy over the course of a few months. If your monitor color isn’t accurate, you won’t see true-to-life colors, highlight and shadow details, not to mention correct skin tones. And if you’re looking at an image that isn’t true, how can you edit it properly, or get your screen to match your prints? You can’t. Spyder5 will solve all of that easily and effortlessly in minutes.
2. SpiderPro Hand Strap
Whether you like it or not, that neck strap that came supplied with your camera is pretty much useless in real life, unless you’re on vacation or if you want everyone to know you’re the photographer around. Hand straps are the better option, but sadly most of them just don’t work. They’re flimsy, they don’t put your hand in the correct comfortable position, they block your door and memory card slot and some of them can even give your hand a nasty rash. The SpiderPro Hand Strap is by far the best choice you will currently find on the market. It has taken everything wrong with other hand straps and fixed it.
The functionality and beautiful design clearly suggest it was made for real use in the field. It is adjustable to any wrist size which means it can also be used by female photographers. It’s also compatible with battery grips and it puts your hand in the most comfortable position without blocking access to the memory card slot or the battery compartment.
3. Sirui W Series Waterproof tripods
This is actually an entire line of products that deserve our full attention. There’s a huge market for high quality outdoor tripods out there, but as with other things, only a handful are really high end. Sirui has taken things to a different level with the W series and it has given photographers and filmmakers the ability to shoot in though conditions that involve sand and water.
The WPS Waterproof Sealing System designed by Sirui has a series of rings that prevent water from entering the leg tubes and the locks. The materials are the same as those used in the automotive industry. This ruggedness however doesn’t compromise smoothness when contracting or extending the legs. The unique leg mechanism of the W series lets the photographer invert the legs 180 degrees, making the tripods easy to store and transport. You can also easily convert one of the legs into a waterproof monopod for even more flexibility in tight spaces.
4. Prodrone Byrd
There are a few solid reasons why this drone has made it to the list. First of all, the drone market is quickly expanding and the number of options is increasing at a rapid rate. Even so, the quality options come down to less than a handful.
Overall it’s one of the most impressive products we’ve seen come out this year and we believe it offers incredible value.
5. LightBox Photography Cards
Without doubt a totally different kind of item on our list, the LightBox Photography Cards started out as a project on Kickstarter that was eventually funded 917% above its goal. What you get is a deck with 52 cards, each with a specific photography assignment, a photo by the award winning creator Paul Michael Kane and a few technical tips on how to approach the assignment. These things are great for boosting your creativity or getting out of a creative rut and they work for beginners as well as serious shooters.
6. Fujifilm X-T1
The mirrorless market is growing very fast and it’s natural to see some cameras make their way to the top. The X-T1, like most of Fuji’s cameras, is designed for photographers who don’t care about numbers and specs, but instead want a gorgeous camera that works flawlessly in the field. This retro-style body is water resistant and dust resistant and it’s as reliable as the manual film cameras it was inspired by. It’s powered by a brilliantly designed 16MP sensor that produces great color and fantastic detail.
7. Ikigai Rival Large Backpack
There’s no shortage of camera bags to choose from, but the Rival has to be our top pick this year. With a fresh look that makes it stand out from the crowd, it’s designed to be simple, reliable, easy to customize and access. With a sculpted back panel and an anatomic harness system, the Rival is one of the most comfortable ways of transporting your gear for a long period. For unparalleled flexibility, the backpack has a configurable and removable camera cell. The ripstop nylon offers superior durability and great weather resistance, so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your gear in the great outdoors.
8. Syrp Genie Mini
Definitely one of the most fun products we’ve tested this year, the Genie Mini takes motion control to a whole new level. This small device that can easily fit in your pocket will change the way you shoot time-lapse videos. All you have to do mount it on a tripod attach your camera and control it with a user friendly app. It’s insanely simple and efficient. Compatibility is also one of the key features. The Genie Mini works just as well with your pro DSLR as it does with your iPhone. The motion is smooth and precise and the results look amazing.
9. MyStudio MS20 Professional Tabletop Studio
Product photography is a profitable business on its own, but it can also do wonders for your online store. However taking professional level product shots requires not only experience, but a ton of expensive gear. Either you go down that road or go with something brilliant like the MS20. You get everything you need with this kit, including a 20x20 inch seamless infinity background, 5000k color corrected daylight balanced lighting system that provides perfect color without needing any additional light source and a 90 degree corner for maximum shooting angle.
10. Canon 5D MkIII
Yes, we know it’s not a 2015 product and that it’s probably close to retirement. Yet the 5D MKIII is still the industry standard for the Canon professional. It’s a fantastic camera for professional photography and it’s one of the best DSLR’s for video. The solid build quality, the 22.3MP sensor and the Digic 5+ image processor delivering impeccable image quality are just some of the awesome features that make this camera so great.