11 Cool Photography-Related Kickstarter Projects

If you've got a one-of-a-kind, innovative invention, one of the best routes to bring it to market these days is through Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a website that allows dreamers to showcase their unique product concepts via images, videos and descriptions for all to see, and generate funding.

When a project receives enough capital, it is brought to market and begins shipping. Of course, the number of photography-related product concepts is significant, ranging from unconventional iPhone lens attachments to indestructable DSLR camera cases, but we've sifted through a huge number of Kickstarter photo product concepts to bring you our favorites. With any luck, all of the 11 projects listed in this article will end up on dealers' shelves - virtual and actual - very soon. You can click the product names in the following list to jump straight to the relevant section of this article, or start reading from the beginning. 

  • iZZi Orbit - a case and lens solution for iPhone 4/4S & iPhone 5
  • Quikdraw - an innovative lens holster
  • CameraMator - a wireless tethered photography solution for iPhone/iPad
  • Cam Crate - a life-proof DSLR case
  • Rhino Slider - an affordable 48" DSLR/video dolly
  • Lens/Focus Shifter - a lens-mounted follow-focus adapter
  • SnapFocus - a modular follow-focus system
  • EZ-Steady - a video stabilizer for phones and cameras
  • Trygger - an iPhone case with integrated polarizing filter
  • Cineskates - an affordable DSLR/video camera dolly
  • Astro - a programmable time-lapse and motion controller

Note that some of these products aren't available for purchase yet. The prices given in this article are either the manufacturer's recommended price (if the device is available) or the projected retail price if it's still in the pre-order or shipping-to-backers phase. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments.

iZZi Orbit by Jayson Guzman

A case and lens solution for iPhone 4/4S & iPhone 5
$229.99 (iPhone 4/4S) $239.99 (iPhone 5)

The iZZi Orbit is an iPhone 4/4S/5 case concept that incorporates a bullet chamber-style lens roulette, enabling the photographer to quickly shoot in Fisheye, Wide-angle or Telephoto focal lengths. I, along with other photo-obsessed iPhone owners, have longed for a case design that bolsters the phone's ergononomics and enhances its lens capability. The iZZi Orbit could be the answer. Constructed of anodized 'aircraft grade' aluminum the iZZi Orbit housing features a prominent right hand grip marketed as a 'Sure Hand Stabilizing Grip'. This prominent grip design seems reminiscent of several Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoots of yore. The Orbit case is also equipped with three tripod mounts and holes to string a wrist strap through.

The iZZi Orbit adds a substantial grip to the iPhone, three tripod mounts, and a choice of three lens converters, allowing you to swap quickly between fisheye, wideangle and telephoto focal lengths. 

But that's not the iZZi Orbit's primary feature. The iZZi Orbit has a trio of different conversion lenses that rotate along a spindle using 'Peripheral Motion Lock Technology'. This means iPhone owners will have access to a 180-degree fisheye, 0.67X wide-angle and 2X telephoto lens to shoot with on the fly. Compared to some similar multi-lens accessories, the iZZi Orbit promises to be more versatile and considerably quicker to use.

iZZi is also offering the Solo case, which is the same thing as the Orbit, but without a choice of lenses. You kjust get one - a wideangle. Personally, think the Orbit will be the moneymaker. The iZZi Orbit will come in Black, Red and Silver, and the only kicker at the moment is its price of $230 (add $10 for the iPhone 5 version) which puts it in the same price bracket as an iPhone (with a contract).  

Quikdraw by Riley Kimball

An innovative around-the-belt lens holster
$80 (per single lens unit)

Have you ever imagined yourself as Rambo during a photo shoot, quick on the draw with your lenses and machine-gunning away at high fps rates? The Quikdraw lens belt holster system could be the answer to your battlefield prayers. Compatible with any standard-size belt, the Quikdraw is basically a dummy lensmount, which allows you to attach your lenses just as if you were mating them with your DSLR, using the same twist-lock mechanism. It enables photographers to keep several different focal lengths on their person at once, secured by their lens-mount attachments. The product will be sold singly.

The Quikdraw modular lens holster system allows you to get very quick access to your lenses, without needing to fumble about in a camerabag.

Made of aircraft-grade aluminum (that term again...) and precision molded plastic, the inventor claims that when hanging vertically, lenses will stay in place and will not disengage. To mount or remove a lens you must hinge the mount up, pulling the lens parallel with the ground. A single Quikdraw can hold up to 20 pounds, which will suit most telephotos. A tactical belt will also be offered as part of a Quikdraw package if you don't trust the structural integrity of that old leather thing you've strung around your pants for years. For now, Quikdraw is only being made in Canon EOS and Nikon F-mount versions, but that could change if the product ships.

Speaking of which, the Quikdraw has now exceeded its pledge goal and will most likely become a reality. We can't wait. 

CameraMator by Usman Rashid

A wireless tethered photography solution for iPhone/iPad
$299

Tethered photography and location shooting go together like peanut butter and jelly [not on my home planet... Ed.] but the creator of the CameraMator wants to take things to the next level. How about wireless tethering via an iPad or iPhone? Yes, CameraMator is a wireless tethering module that will enable photographers to use an iPad or iPhone as a remote viewfinder and wirelessly transfer images to the aforementioned devices during shoots.

The CameraMator (pictured here mounted on the hotshoe of a DSLR) allows you to use an iOS phone or tablet computer to wirelessly control your camera, and preview the scene you're capturing. 

So how does it work? The CameraMator unit connects to a DSLR (no mention so far of other camera types) through a USB connection and attaches via the hotshoe. Since the hotshoe's power is not needed, an L-bracket can be used to free up the camera's hotshoe for an external flash or other device. The CameraMator creates its own wireless network for the iPad or iPhone to connect to. Using the CameraMator app, photographers can then control the camera, view images, set the self-timer, execute HDR bracketing and more.

Currently, the CameraMator is compatible with a handful of Canon and Nikon DSLRs, though its designer claims that when commercially available, it will be compatible with all major DSLRs of the past five years. CameraMator has exceeded its pledge goal, and the finished product will be shipping to its kickstarter backers next month. Hopefully we'll see a production run very soon.


 Click here to go to page 2 of our roundup: 11 Cool Photography-related Kickstarter Projects

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 48
vladimir vanek
By vladimir vanek (10 months ago)

there are loads of military proved peli cases around. what's so special about this crate??

0 upvotes
Andrew C Levine
By Andrew C Levine (Mar 29, 2013)

Just found out about BaseOneLabs' "Cam Crate" Kickstarter-project here but then read that it has been way over one year since funding completed (24.000 US$) and people still have not received their product nor received a refund. How is that possible? http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mgeyster/cam-crate-a-weatherproof-dslr-camera-case/comments

0 upvotes
ambika1234
By ambika1234 (Mar 22, 2013)

really hepful

http://indianinstituteofphotography.com/

0 upvotes
Ronald E. Chambers
By Ronald E. Chambers (Oct 21, 2012)

Another KickStarter project worth looking at.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/244919099/stow-away-lens-cap-holder-for-your-slr-camera

RONC

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Oct 20, 2012)

This Astro sounds really cool, could well become a must-have for many kinds of photography!

0 upvotes
MikeFairbanks
By MikeFairbanks (Oct 19, 2012)

This Astro will be extremely popular with the aerial photography folks who like to get their cameras into odd situations but have limited ability to control the camera.

An example is the RC helicopter photographers (see aplanding.com for the pioneers in this field). These guys have a difficult enough time getting their RC helicopters to fly stabley (is that a word?), so having a device like this could help a lot. Also, PAP (pole aerial photography) will benefit from a device like this. A photographer (usually for real estate), elevates his camera on a long telescopic pole to get a picture of the front of a house while also being able to see over it into the back yard (which is helpful if on a golf course, lake, ocean, etc.). Taking a photo from 40 feet up is not easy, but with PAP it becomes possible.

KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) can benefit from this too. KAP is an amazing thing to try and very challenging. I've taken many photos from 400 feet using a large kite and remote.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 20, 2012)

Time-lapse photography -- from flying mini-copters? Useful, surely.

Time-lapse photography while you are balancing the camera at the end of a 40-foot pole or broomstick? Definitely.

Time-laps photography while your are flying the kite at 400-ft and running a remote control cable to it at that distance? A true revelation indeed.

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 19, 2012)

Couple of these gizmos might have a chance of succeeding in the real, brutal marketplace. But many are obvious stillborn.

Particularly the last one, the Astro Motorized Timelapse/Motion Controller. Amazing to me how they expect to have the camera mount screw to also function as a POWER ON/OFF button. Dumbest thing I probably ever heard. Once you mount the camera with this crew, how you gonna push the camera mount screw UP/DOWN to turn the thing ON/OFF? Stupid.

2 upvotes
MikeFairbanks
By MikeFairbanks (Oct 19, 2012)

Using the words "stupid" and "dumbest" when looking at a picture of something might not be fair (or mature). Try to be a little more positive about someone's hard work, whether it works out or not. Hey, at least he is trying something unique.

I don't know if I'd buy it, but if it works (and improvements can be made to any invention) others might want it. I wish him luck.

6 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 20, 2012)

I watched the video twice. First, you fasten the camera to the hockey puck by using the 1/4-20 screw on the topside of the puck. Next, you turn ON the device using the same 1/4-20 screw that your camera is secured to. Get it? 'Cause I don't.

But Mike, I tell ya' what: you get 2 of these Godsends, so I don't have to get one myself, okay? Thanks, really.

2 upvotes
LoganVii
By LoganVii (Oct 20, 2012)

I think your supposed to turn it on first and then attach the camera.

1 upvote
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (Oct 20, 2012)

I think a remote on/off switch would be much in demand for a device like the Astro, as it is not until you have your camera in place on the pole that you actually want it to start to pan!

1 upvote
Chenavi
By Chenavi (Oct 20, 2012)

Well Francis, aren't you the charmer... first of all, the current design is just their prototype and could very well change by the time it hits the shelves. Second, I'm pretty sure that the device only starts to rotate when you press the left/right buttons. The screw switch simply powers up the Astro, it doesn't start its movement. Get it, or will you need a diagram?

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 21, 2012)

This Astro is a dumbo, no 2 ways about it. Of course, some of the readers here would probably prefer to buy their Canikon DSLRs with a tripod screw switch, too. Combining a camera mount screw with an operational power switch for an electronic gizmo -- now, that takes kickstartng, for sure. You just can't successfully kickstart a stillborn idea.

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Oct 22, 2012)

Not too bright, are you Francis? LOL. You obviously power up the unit *before* you mount the camera. Power up the unit, set the time interval with the outer rings, mount the camera, then hit the start button. Seems pretty straight forward to the rest of us. Not so straight forward to Francis Carver, apparently. LOL.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 23, 2012)

@ T3, listen what you are saying. You "power up" the camera by pressing on the mounting screw, right? Okay, and only then will you mount the camera via the mounting screw? Heck, when you do that, you have no choice but to press on the screw, or put it another way the camera will press on the mounting screw as it is being fastened. Which will probably power it DOWN.

Either way, once the camera is mounted, there is no way to know whether the gizmo is ON or OFF, draining power or not. And even if it is ON, you will then have to de-mount the camera completely just to turn it OFF. Not a particularly bright thinking on the part of the designers, is it now? Wow, how much would have been a small push button switch added to the gadget itself, an extra 35 cents?

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Oct 19, 2012)

I find the Quikdraw system very smart and for my part, I have no doubt that a lot of pro photographers will get this gear in a near future. I'm always in pain having to juggle between my bag and my lenses in critical shooting. I'm a bagger (not a Number 6) according to the video, who would like to become a free man in action.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Oct 22, 2012)

Originally, I was intrigued by the Quikdraw system. But then I realized it has some downsides. First of all, I'm a wedding photographers who currently uses the Think Tank belt system, and I often need to work quietly. The first thing I realized about the Quikdraw system is that it would be noisier to use, with all the metal to metal mounting/dismounting, clicking in and out. Not so good for quiet wedding environments. Secondly, it adds wear and tear on your lens mount because it basically doubles the number of mounts/dismounts you make every time you change lenses. Finally, it offers no external protection for your lenses. I can see lenses getting knocked against table edges, chairs, etc, when working in tight environments like a wedding banquet, etc. Plus, since the lenses are more or less rigidly mounted, they have no place to go, possibly increasing the potential for damage. Overall, I think it's a great idea, but I think these downsides might be worth considering.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 19, 2012)

This is fun really. More info on cool new inventions!

1 upvote
TomLarsen
By TomLarsen (Oct 19, 2012)

Being into panoramas I am grateful for the tip on Astro. Certainly looks like a must have for me...

0 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (Oct 19, 2012)

I have no real use for the Astro, but the design is so clever and appealing that I kind of want to get one anyway.

2 upvotes
SDPharm
By SDPharm (Oct 19, 2012)

I was thinking the same. It's design is elegant and effective.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 19, 2012)

Good luck turning it ON and OFF -- after you actually mount the camera using the same screw that these wizard decided will be the ON/OFF button as well. What's next in high-tech design -- maybe you actually have to twist-off and remove a lens in order to turn a camera ON?

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Oct 22, 2012)

Troll -> that way.

I ordered one :) But it seems like delivery is planned for January :/ *disappointment*

0 upvotes
wildkat2
By wildkat2 (Oct 19, 2012)

hmmm...seems DPR didnt do much screening on these as Cam Crate has devolved to something close to a scam.

Leaving off Trigger Trap is a major omission.

4 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Oct 19, 2012)

Well, I think DPR and other similar sites ought to support improvisation. That's how the sellware starts, anyway! In my time, there was scarcely a thing to buy, When you bought a camera, it was pretty much it... and nowadays, kids think: "if it isn't on sale, it's impossible!"
What we need is a revival of exploratory spirit: use just any stamp-viewing lens, put it in front of your Hi-tec camera and see what your photo will look like! Or, bend some wire to make a holder, fix any kind of glass you care to put in front of the lens... Or make a filter out of cellophane... Or reflect-light it using the insides of the chips bag... Or hold it steady by dirt-filled blastic bag - perhaps you just don't have to buy a tripod or a bean bag at all!
Use your imagination and all the free material lying around you, and make something new happen. Big-name manufacturers do not know everything, and you don't have to be restricted to what's on the shelf.
And above all - have a good time exploring... ;)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Oct 19, 2012)

What?

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (Oct 19, 2012)

I bought/supported this great camera bracket/support on Kickstarter.
The Capture camera clip system.
It was one of the best ever on Kickstartert and so affordable!
http://peakdesignltd.com

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
SethG
By SethG (Oct 19, 2012)

EZ-Steady came out last year

0 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Oct 19, 2012)

Quikdraw
I would never ever expose my lenses this way. Way too risky for damaging something. Better to take 2nd body.

3 upvotes
IZO100
By IZO100 (Oct 19, 2012)

many great ideas but why the lame gadgets for the iPhones ???

3 upvotes
Heritage Cameras
By Heritage Cameras (Oct 19, 2012)

Here's a gadget for the iPhone which is odd, but strangely compelling - the Bird Photo Booth:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/591095948/bird-photo-booth-experience-nature-like-never-befo

1 upvote
StephenSPhotog
By StephenSPhotog (Oct 19, 2012)

The Quickdraw is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I have been needing!

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Oct 19, 2012)

Looks pretty awesome!

1 upvote
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (Oct 19, 2012)

Until you drop one of your lenses because there is NO locking mechanism....

Looks like a crappy solution to me due to the fact that lenses on the quickdraw might detach without warning due to turning of your body during a shoot.

5 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Oct 19, 2012)

That's one idea that sounds good, looks cool but works bad...

3 upvotes
Gradient Photography
By Gradient Photography (Oct 20, 2012)

If you watch the videos, you'll see that you can't remove a lens without angling it 90 degrees so it's parallel with the ground. The bayonet is locked until then.
I am always amazed that people think someone would design a product as specific as this and completely bypass a fundamental step.

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Oct 19, 2012)

Rhino Slider, Astro, Lens/Focus Shifter (extra points for being such doofus!) and SnapFocus (if they get rid of the marketing babblespeak) are interesting.

The rest... iPhone Schmiphone.

2 upvotes
nasserdjawas
By nasserdjawas (Oct 19, 2012)

how do you trigger flash if its mounted (camera mator) on flashshoe?

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Oct 22, 2012)

I guess D4, or 5D Mk 3 owners are very happy now with their wireless flash system.... or rather: lack of it. lol

0 upvotes
DigitalOxygenca
By DigitalOxygenca (Oct 19, 2012)

CameraMator link is wrong. It links to QuickDraw.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 19, 2012)

Fixed, sorry about that.

0 upvotes
IrishhAndy
By IrishhAndy (Oct 19, 2012)

These are american. Where are the europan products?

3 upvotes
Heritage Cameras
By Heritage Cameras (Oct 19, 2012)

Project creators in the UK can use Kickstarter from the end of this month (October 2012), so hopefully other countries will be added at a later date:

http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/kickstarter-in-the-uk

In the meantime there are quite a few international projects on Kickstarter, so presumably they've used an agent in the US to front their project.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Oct 22, 2012)

I'm surprised. Through I seen few projects from europe so far. Never knew that kickstarter is actually limited to US.

0 upvotes
P_Y
By P_Y (Oct 19, 2012)

Definitely missing capture by peak design !

1 upvote
Keithm
By Keithm (Oct 19, 2012)

The two I have purchased are Revolve, a DSLR camera dolly that also make it easy to construct a very low cost slider and the Genie, which supports time-lapse photography with both circular panning and horizontal motion on a slider. Revolve is in hand, hand Genie will ship soon.

0 upvotes
Trike
By Trike (Oct 26, 2012)

Keith do you have any video online you've shot with the Revolve?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 48