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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Gadget Bag: 20 Great Gadgets


Exceptional tools for the outdoor enthusiast


20 Great Gadgets  Whether you're photographing landscapes or wildlife, there are many ways to make your photographic life simpler. The latest technical advancements have led manufacturers to produce gadgets that help inspire your creative edge while easing unanticipated difficulties. Here's Outdoor Photographer's compilation of 20 of these exceptional items.

Metz 28CS-2 Digital Flash

Add a small, easily triggered flash that works wirelessly from any compact digital camera or digital SLR. The Metz 28CS-2 Digital Flash has a built-in slave that's triggered by any digital camera flash. An intelligent unit that remembers the way your camera works with it, the Metz digital flash also can be smartly controlled by the exposure compensation on the unit. Sync to your on-camera flash and easily add depth to your close-ups with back- or side lighting. It can be exposure-controlled by certain Metz units as well. List Price: $184; Estimated Street Price: $129.95.

Seagate 5GB Pocket Hard Drive

Transfer and store photos and files using Seagate's 5 GB Pocket Hard Drive. The drive fits in the palm of your hand and can be carried easily in a pocket. A built-in USB cable is retractable to limit tangling, and the round shell has shock absorbers to protect your data. Estimated Street Price: $140.

iPod Shuffle

Music can be the best company on a long journey to your favorite destination. Now accessing hundreds of tunes is easier and more affordable with Apple's iPod Shuffle. The Shuffle is available in 512 MB and 1 GB storage capacities, the latter allowing up to 240 songs to be downloaded and played for up to 15 hours. Ultra-lightweight and compact, it's a perfect travel companion. Estimated Street Price: $99 (512 MB); $149 (1 GB).

Waterproof Housings
Today's compact digital cameras can be taken to new depths with relatively inexpensive, yet safe underwater housings. Each camera company sells housings designed to fit its specific cameras. All models are typically made of durable polycarbonate, with safety locks and anti-corrosion hardware; some housings can reach depths of about 130 feet. Price Range: $80 to $300-plus, depending on the camera (contact your camera manufacturer).

SeaLife 960D Digital Flash
Underwater photographers understand the problem built-in camera flashes have with floating particles that reflect light and cause white spots to appear on images. SeaLife's new 960D Digital Flash has a rubberized arm for easy aiming so you can direct the light at an angle, eliminating the direct lighting of debris. A flash link optical cable lets you directly connect to your camera and a variable output allows you to control exposure. Estimated Street Price: $300.

Bushnell Prowler Night Vision 26-2024W Monocular
Getting the perfect shot is only a fraction of the outdoor photography experience. The Bushnell Prowler Night Vision Monocular helps to expand your enjoyment into the night. See animals and how they live in the dark. View the landscape in a completely different way. The small size fits in the palm of your hand and is 100-percent waterproof. An infrared illuminator enhances viewing, even in dark shadows, and a rubberized grip makes it easy to handle. Estimated Street Price: $270.

Magellan eXplorist 600 GPS
With its rugged impact- and water-resistant armor, the Magellan eXplorist 600GPS is ideal for all weather conditions. Its 2.3-inch, full-color LCD screen features zoom capabilities so you easily can find your way. The unit has a built-in barometer, altimeter and thermometer to give you advance weather conditions. Weighing less than four ounces, this model has a USB port and built-in SD card reader/writer to provide unlimited storage of old trekking routes. Estimated Street Price: $450.

Samsung SC-X105L Sports Camcorder
A cool handheld camcorder, Samsung's SC-X105L Sports Camcorder features an extra sports cam module that can be mounted on an arm, a helmet, a bike or any other stable surface to offer hands-free recording. An electronic image-stabilizing function compensates for slight shaking, and the built-in 512 MB memory can be expanded by using the Memory Stick Pro slot. The camcorder's rugged rubber exterior is water-resistant, and its compact design fits in a pocket. Estimated Street Price: $600.

Epson P-2000
The 3.8-inch LCD screen of the Epson P-2000 is sharp and vivid, making it easy to view images in the field. The 40 GB portable device downloads files to and from CF and SD cards, reassuring the safety of your work. Weighing only a pound, the viewer fits in your palm, and is a perfect travel companion when shooting digitally. It can print directly to select Epson printers. Estimated Street Price: $499.

B+W Redhancing Filter
Autumn colors and the rocks of natural treasures like the Grand Canyon pop when this filter is placed on your lens. B+W's Redhancing filter boosts the color saturation of reds, oranges and earth tones like rust and brown, and it can be used to intensify the reds in objects such as lipstick and cherries. Estimated Street Price: 49mm ($32); 77mm ($95).

Suunto X9 GPS Wrist-Top Computer
More than a watch, Suunto's X9 GPS wrist-top computer includes an altimeter, a barometer, a compass and a thermometer. The compact GPS system gives you the ability to plan routes at home on your computer and save them into the watch to access later. Special areas that you happen upon while hiking can be relocated by saving and storing the coordinates. To avoid getting lost, you can mark a home position and simply hit "find home" to get the route and distance back. The watch keeps track of your speed and comes with a rechargeable battery. Estimated Street Price: $700.

PocketWizard Plus
The great thing about the PocketWizard Plus is that it eliminates the need for a sync cord. You literally can place your strobe or camera as far as 1,600 feet away and trigger it reliably. The wireless system has radio signals that deliver a unique code, enabling the transmitter and receiver to work even when placed out of view from one another. Estimated Street Price: $350.


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