Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
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Costco offers drones and a
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with additional accessories
WHETHER YOU’RE SHOPPING for Father’s
Day or looking for a graduation gift for a relative
or friend, there’s no shortage of awesome tech
toys. Perhaps this is the year you pick up a new
digital camera. Thanks to falling prices, new features and better image quality that can put your
smartphone to shame, you might want to consider a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) model,
waterproof point-and-shoot cameras, or a flying
drone to capture aerial footage.
Here’s a look at what’s new and newsworthy.
Digital single-lens reflex cameras
Once reserved for professional photographers, DSLR cameras are becoming popular
among average consumers. Your smartphone
may be OK for day-to-day photography, but a
DSLR is what you’d want for immortalizing those
precious once-in-a-lifetime memories, be it a
bucket-list trip or a child’s first steps.
Compared with your phone’s camera, these
sophisticated cameras offer better-quality photos
and videos, faster startup times and shutter
speeds, more manual settings, interchangeable
lenses—such as telephoto, wide-angle, fisheye
and macro (close-up)—and give you a more accurate shot as the viewfinder looks through the lens.
Sure, DSLRs are a little bigger than those
slim pocket-size cameras and smartphones, but
they are smaller and lighter than their predecessors. Owners often wear a DSLR around their
neck on a lanyard.
New features include in-camera photo
effects and filters, an LCD screen that gives you
shooting pointers in real time, GPS stamping so
you can see where in the world your photos were
taken and wireless features that make uploading
photos and videos to the internet a breeze.
Now that summer is approaching, chances
are you’re spending time near a beach, in a pool or
at a cabin. This is why waterproof cameras can be
a smart pick. Whether it’s kids taking silly pics at
the bottom of a pool, shooting video of a coral reef
while snorkeling or simply getting caught in the
rain, it’s smart to have a rugged camera to capture
all the fun in, around or under the water.
Before you buy, be sure to read how deep you
can go (usually between ;; and ;; feet), which
might not be conducive for scuba diving. While a
smart pick for swimming, boating, fishing and
waterskiing, these cameras take great dry shots
on land, too.
Features vary among these wet and wild
models, but many have a long battery life between
charges, support for HD or ;K video capture,
integrated GPS to add location info to the image,
and Wi-Fi capability to wirelessly share your
photos with friends and family (over a Wi-Fi network or via a nearby smartphone).
A more high-tech alternative to a radio-controlled toy plane, a drone is super fun to fly.
Using a hardware controller or smartphone
app, it can reach high altitudes, and, of course,
capture all of the action so you can play it back
later on a TV or PC.
If you’re using the drone primarily for shooting video or snapping pics—perhaps you’re a
real-estate agent looking to showcase a property
you’re selling—you’ll need to ensure it has a
good onboard camera or at least includes a
mount for one, like a GoPro cam. Typically,
drones with cameras start with VGA video quality, followed by pricier HD cameras and/or a
;;;-degree fisheye camera. ;K cameras, which
can shoot video with four times the resolution of
HD, are even better than HD cameras, especially
if you own a ;K TV or monitor to display that
footage. Also look for frames per second: ;; is
better than ;;, for example.
Regarding storage, look for a drone with
ample onboard memory and/or expandable memory. Some have ; gigabytes of internal storage—
which yields about ;; minutes of HD
recording—but no microSD card slot; some have
expandable memory cards. Some drones allow for
remote camera viewing and recording, or come
with a special headset or goggles to let you see the
action from a first-person point of view. C
Gifts for dads
Consider a sweet new camera