What is Kickstarter?
For those of you that haven’t heard of Kickstarter.com, I am writing this article to introduce you to what is becoming a great website for photographers and creative peeps. Kickstarter is a platform that allows entrepreneurs to develop a product, pitch their idea, and have their project be funded by the Kickstarter community. If a project is successfully “funded” then the entrepreneurs receives the Kickstarter capital needed to take their products to market. In return, the Kickstarter community “pledges” to these products and is usually rewarded by receiving these products at a large discount, as well as prior to these items being available in retailers. So, for us consumers, it is pretty much like Black Friday all year long!
Why Should I Participate
So, what does this have to do with photography? Well, in the last few years the popularity of DSLRs has exploded. With this increase in popularity comes new problems in our photographic lives, each requiring a solution. Maybe you need a better case, a more comfortable strap, or an inexpensive light. Whatever it is you may need, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, Kickstarter is the perfect place for you to create your photographic solution and sell it to the rest of us. If you are simply looking for cool new photography gear, then Kickstarter is a wonderful place to find new products that are available at a heavy discount. So, this is a call to all you photographers! I know you all have great ideas on how to make our photographic lives better, go out there and create your solution, and show us!
So, with Christmas around the corner, and given Kickstarters 24/7 Black Friday-esque discounts, it is perfect to get gifts for the photographer in your life. While the gifts may not arrive prior to Christmas, receiving a card saying that they will receive a product before virtually anyone else in the world is pretty cool! So, here are 5 of my favorite recent photography related Kickstarter products. Some of them are no longer available on Kickstarter, so I will provide the link to their website where the item can be purchased.
EZ-Steady – The iPhone, DSLR and GoPro Camera Stabilizer
Kickstarter cost – $225 (Available on Kickstarter, Click Here)
Standard Retail – $325
Similar Products Cost – $500+
Why I Love it! – Given that DSLRs can now record some pretty awesome video, the line between photographer and cinematographer is becoming more and more blurred every day. So, I thought that this item is still quite relevant in the photo community. Unlike most of the current hand held stabilizers, the EZ-Steady is incredibly simple and quick to balance. In fact, within 5 minutes or less, you can, balance your camera and be flying around recording awesomely smooth video. While this item is expected to retail for $325 (which is still far below currently available products selling for $500+), it is currently available on Kickstarter for $225, around 30% off its expected retail price.
ONE – Designer Laptop and Camera Bag System
Kickstarter Cost – $109 (Available on Kickstarter, Click Here)
Standard Retail – $189
Similar Products Cost – $300+
Why I Love it! – Let’s face it, we are all becoming geeks as we collect more and more wonderful gadgets. But, the days of geeky camera bags and laptop bags are over. ONE is a camera bag system made up of The One Bag(as shown above) and The Waist Shooter(shown on their Kickstarter page). The One Bag is a convertible bag that can be used as a laptop bag, or a camera bag with its photo insert holding up to 3 lens. The Waist Shooter is a small belt bag which can also be worn as a cross body bag allowing you to store up to two lenses. The best part is that both feature interchangeable covers that can be swapped to match any style or occasion. This item is currently available on Kickstarter for $109, the entire set is expected to retail at $189. The amount of designer gadget bags for guys and girls is currently quite limited, but similar currently available solutions would be around $300+.
CineSkates Camera Slider
Kickstarter Cost – $150 (no longer available on Kickstarter)
Standard Retail – $315 (available at http://store.cinetics.com/)
Similar Products Cost – $500+
Why I Love it! – CineSkates is one of the coolest new inventions in video, and therefore, along with the EZ-Steady, I think it is still worth mentioning. Designed for iPhones, DSLRs and other small recording devices, CineSkates essentially turns your camera into a tiny pro-quality video production rig. Given its size, you can capture some pretty amazing footage with CineSkates that you wouldn’t be able to do with standard sliders, gliders and other stabilization gear. The CineSkates Kickstarter project ended not too long ago, but the item is still available from their website shown above. Still, $315 is not bad considering that most stabilization systems easily cost $500+.
Capture Camera Clip System
Kickstarter Cost – $50 (no longer available on Kickstarter)
Standard Retail – $80 (Available at http://www.peakdesignltd.com/)
Similar Products Cost – $130+
Why I Love it! – Camera clips and fastening system are all over the place, but none do it quite like Capture. Capture can attach to any backpack strap or belt making it super simple and versatile when it comes to finding a place for your camera. Simply attach the quick release plate to your camera, clamp the Capture base onto a strap or belt, then slide and lock your camera into place. For the outdoor photographer enthusiast, this product is amazing because it no longer leaves you with a camera dangling from your shoulder or hip while you are hiking, or doing whatever it is that you do to create your amazing photographs! The Capture Kickstarter project has ended as well, but the item is still available from their website shown above. At $80 Capture is still a wonderful value and much less expensive and more versatile than other currently available solutions.
Split Strap Ergonomic and Adaptive Strap
Kickstarter Cost – $20 (no longer available on Kickstarter)
Standard Retail – $28 – (Available at http://www.customslr.com/)
Similar Products – $60+
Why I Love it! – If you are like me, you probably hate the majority of camera straps out there. It seems that most camera straps are either extremely uncomfortable, fashionable and uncomfortable or comfortable yet not something you want to be seen wearing. The Split Strap is a simple concept where the split in the camera strap actually allows the weight to be distributed more evenly on your shoulder, thus increasing comfort. Not to mention, I wouldn’t actually mind wearing this thing around. While it doesn’t feature designer patterns, it has a very nice minimalistic design that would look good on a guy or girl. Oh yeah, one of the coolest parts about this strap is that it can be used not only with your camera, but also pretty much any bag or item that uses a strap. Pretty cool eh? While the Split Strap Kickstarter project has ended, this item is still available from the site listed above. It is also still extremely affordable as well, which makes it a perfect stocking stuffer for your beloved gadget head.
Get Out and Start Inventing!
Hope you all enjoyed this article and maybe even feel a bit inspired yourself to get out there and create something awesome for the rest of us! If you guys see new cool photography related Kickstarter projects, be sure to comment below as well as contact me on Facebook or through SLR Lounge so the rest of us can enjoy as well ;).