By Frank Sargeant, Editor
Outdoorsmen are inveterate photographers, especially in the age of the ever-present smartphone. The old "if only I had a camera" excuse is rare these days because few of us go anywhere, except maybe into the shower, without the cellphone attached somewhere to us. This has made for some amazing imagery from all walks of life, not only in stills but also in video. Anglers and boaters have made particularly good use of the capability--the big one always gets photographed or videoed these days. And with the proof of the catch instantly Facebooked, the fish is often released to be caught again.
The one weakness of the phone cameras is a lack of optics--while you can squeeze the view a bit, you just don't get the same range of potential views as with a conventional camera with a quality zoom or multiple fixed lenses. And, maybe more to the point, you can't match the see-it-all feel of the extreme wide angle lenses found on most tiny action cameras.
However, add on lenses, like a new one we've seen lately from LimeLens, give the smartphone this added capability, without the necessity of carrying an extra camera in addition to the phone. This system slips on most cellphone cameras with an included fitting, and includes both a wide/macro lens and a 190-degree extreme wide angle or "fish-eye" that gives the action-cam feel to videos. The company says the setup fits most popular phone models including all iPhones.
The whole system is tiny, with a diameter not much larger than a nickel, and weighs a fraction of an ounce. It comes in a wallet-sized zip-pack, or you can simply carry the lenses and slip-on mount loose in your pocket--they're a lot less sensitive to damage than larger lenses. Price is $99 for the pair and the pack; www.limelens.com
Also useful to fishing and boating photographers is the Picture Keeper Connect, which is a USB storage device that can be fitted directly into the Lightning connector on Apple products, but also includes a standard micro-USB connection for other phones and tablets. Carry one of these in your pocket and you'll never get the dreaded "no storage available" message on your screen when you want to shoot those once-in-a-lifetime trophy fish photos. The company says the versions with larger storage are also good for transferring all data including phone numbers and addresses' from old to new phones and tablets. The device requires a free app download which makes it function seamlessly with most phones according to the manufacturer. It's available in several sizes, from the 16 GB for $79.99 to 64 GB for $119.99; www.picturekeeper.com
For those who have trouble hanging on to sunglasses on the boat or in the woods, the Zoinx system may be of interest. These durable metal-frame polarized glasses feature a unique clip-on ear-piece system that connects to an included padded neck strap for a permanent way to make sure your glasses are always handy. A foam insert in the strap also acts as a life preserver for the glasses if they ever go over the side. The advantage of this system over the standard slip-on straps is that they won't get loose and let the glasses slide out over time, as many cable-type sunglass holders do. The neck strap also includes a zipper pouch to protect the glasses when you don't want to wear them. They're available in a wide variety of styles and frame/lens color combinations, with pricing starting at around $70; www.zoinxsunglasses.com