As lovers of all things photographic we were excited to see what CES 2012 would offer the DSLR community. We saw a lot of great gear and accessories to enhance photographers' experience and support them in the field. Below are seven picks of some of our favorite DSLR gear we saw in Vegas this year.
Any pro knows that a camera body is only as good as the glass you attach to it, and anyone with a high-end collection of prime or zoom lenses will understand the need to properly protect their investment. Beta Shell has been making hardcore carrying cases for a while but their new 5 Series presents the lightest, biggest and toughest versions yet. Waterproof and shock resistant, these ABS polymer cases come in a variety of sizes, and now include "Fit & Trim" kits so you can customize the interior to protect anything from a lens to a full camera body. In addition to being impressively tough the cases are also surprisingly affordable. Grab the series from the Beta Shell online store from $59-$88.
The Unleashed D200+ from Foolography marked another CES find. The tiny unit attaches to your camera and can wirelessly link with a GPS receiver to automatically geo-tag the photos from your DSLR. While the current lineup is primarily targeted toward Nikons, we hope to see broader brand coverage in the future. This definitely makes a handy tool to have on the fly to keep track of all the wonderful places you'll go, especially if you are already shooting outdoors and tend to track your movements via GPS. Check their site for compatibility and to purchase for €167.23
Continuing their line of custom-built camera accessories, which started with the C-Loop, CustomSLR launched the M-Plate, a crowd-funded project to offer users greater functionality for tripod mounting. The M-Plate is a multi-purpose tripod mount that works with both the Manfrotto RC2 and Arca Swiss tripod systems. The piece can also be adapted to fit almost any tripod without requiring you to remove your C-Loop or similar bottom-mounted strap system—freeing you to use both systems simultaneously. The M-Plate is the jumping-off point for what promises to be an entire modular system from CustomSLR that will include other photo and hand-held video accessories. The M-Plate is currently only available to backers of their Kickstarter project, but keep your eyes open for an upcoming public release.
BlackRapid has released the DR-2 double strap, a thinner, lighter version of their original dual camera system. Made from ballistic-quality nylon, the clip-able carrier lets you rock two DSLRs simultaneously, or it can be separated into two different camera straps. Perfect for the on-the-go photographer who doesn't have time to swap lenses for the perfect shot, this system lets you stay locked and loaded for any situation. Snag the unisex double strap from BlackRapid's site for $129.95
Remember slides? Many might say no, but we still hold a certain affection for the classic imaging media. On the other hand, figuring out how to digitize them before they get lost or ruined can be a problem. The Slidesnap Pro is a new product that lets you bring your old slides into the digital era with your DSLR camera. The system can snap a photo of a slide every two seconds and claims to process over 14,400 slides in an eight-hour day. For more information and pricing on this speedy converter head to the product website.
For anyone who wants to toy with the life of their DSLR in the spirit of adventure and experimentation, check out the HPQ-2 from Rotor Concept. This four-bladed DSLR helicopter promises to lift up to three pounds off the ground for some soaring aerial video footage. While the package lacks a way to monitor your shots or control focus, it would still be a fun tool to try out with an auto-focus camcorder, or just for some experimental flying footage. Find it at the Rotor Concept site for $1,795.
Another interesting accessory we spotted was Vanguard's line of hiking-inspired camera gear. The Kinray series looks like a pretty standard hiking pack, but inside is designed to keep your camera gear safe and organized. An easy way to blend in with the other trail blazers, these bags combine all the internal storage you expect from a solid camera carrier with the handy technical details of your favorite day pack. Check out the variety of sizes and purchase from Vanguard's online store.