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Gear & Apps

4 Innovative Must-Have Items From PhotoPlus Expo 2015

By Hanssie on October 24th 2015

PhotoPlusExpoWe’re rounding out the week here at the PhotoPlus Expo 2015 in New York City, and as usual, the was much to see and much to covet. I’ve eaten an extraordinary amount of pizza, found some delicious cheesecake and was treated to a fun lunch in Times Square with our sponsors from B&H Photo. After walking the trade show floor for two days to try and burn some of those calories, I’ve overloaded my sensory organs with the bright lights and the throngs of people. I’m ogling all the new products, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to 4 innovative products that I must-have (and you might want, too).

1. Goal Zero

Prior to last weekend’s camping trip to Yosemite, I may have overlooked a product from Goal Zero, simply because I had no need for rugged, portable solar powered products. But after trying to navigate the ginormous national park, I was ready to buy out the entire Goal Zero line of lights, solar power, and portable power accessories. Two products in their booth at PhotoPlus Expo caught my eye; the Venture 30 Recharger and the Lighthouse Mini Lantern.

The Venture 30 Recharger is great for charging phones, tablets and even your Sony a7R II out in the field. Built in the side of the device is a rubberized charging tip that wraps around itself, as well as a built-in Micro USB Tip, so there aren’t pesky cables to have to keep track of. The device is rugged and waterproof, which would’ve taken on Yosemite’s thunderstorms and torrential downpour with ease. The Venture 30 can also be paired with the Nomad 7, a portable solar panel system with a built-in junction box. The Venture 30 itself is $99.99, and together with the Nomad 7, $169.99.


The second item was a powerful little Lighthouse Mini Lantern. The lightweight and ultra portable light packs a wallop in terms of light output. It also has a USB Power Hub for your battery hungry iPhone or other small device. The dual LED light is also dimmable and can run up to 500 hours on the low setting. The device has a built-in hook and magnet so you can mount it pretty much anywhere (take it from me, an expert camper and outdoorswoman). The Lighthouse Mini Lantern is $59.95 and only available on the Goal Zero website and REI as of now, with mass distribution after the new year. You can get the larger, more powerful lantern pictured above on B&H here.

2. Peak Design Capture Lens and Lens Kit

One product I was dying to see at PhotoPlus Expo was the wildly successful Peak Design Messenger Bag. The bag raised $4.9 million dollars on Kickstarter, which more than exceeded their $100,000 goal. (Read Joseph Cha’s review here). While I was at the booth, I got a look at Peak Design‘s newest offerings, the Capture Lens and Lens kit.


This setup piqued my interest because I’ve tried quite a few methods to try and change lenses out in the wild (the wedding jungle, that is), easily and efficiently. Short of laying my precious lens on the hard gravel ground or wearing multiple cameras, the effort in trying to juggle the delicate balancing act of is awkward at best, catastrophic at worst (more than one photographer has dropped an expensive lens in the process).

Peak Design‘s Capture Lens and Lens Kit combo is a double-sided lens mount. It works with the company’s Capture Clip to keep those lenses within reach – on your belt, backpack, or on your bag. Available in Canon, Nikon, and Sony mounts, the system allows for full rotation and four-way locks, so your lenses are secure as well as accessible.

Here’s a brief video of Peter Dering, founder of Peak Design, demonstrating how the system works. Start at minute 3:17 in the video below for that portion of the interview.

3. Aputure

I was standing in the middle of the trade show floor, stopped by a friend of mine (terrible trade show etiquette, I know) next to the Aputure booth. They saw my SLR Lounge shirt and asked if they could show me a product. The booth was unassuming and I had passed it maybe 5 times without seeing it, but since I had a few minutes, I let him show me probably the coolest products I saw at PhotoPlus Expo this year. We will definitely be reviewing some of the products in the Aputure line, but their DEC Lens Adapter is what really wowed me.

(Joe talks about some of the products from the Aputure booth in the video above).


When you think of adapting a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera, you usually think of Metabones or Fotodiox. Aputure has created an adapter for filmmakers that’s truly innovative. Their DEC Lens Adapter will give you focus and aperture control remotely. What this means is that you’ll be able to rack focus electronically without adding gears or motors onto your lens. Starting at under $400, this focus/aperture control adapter is more affordable than some standalone adapters. We will be reviewing this soon, so stay tuned.

4. Wandrd

Who needs another camera bag? Well, I do. I could now be considered a connoisseur of camera bags with the stash I own. But just like a pretty pair of shoes, you can always use another camera bag. So what’s so special about this bag? Stopping by the Wandrd booth, the brothers from Utah gave me a quick demo of the PRVKE Pack, a backpack “with a purpose.” The guys were excited as they just funded their Kickstarter project, exceeding their $60,000 goal with 12 days still left to go.


Designed for the traveling photographer, the bag caught my eye because it looked different than all the myriad of camera bag options out there. The rolltop reminded me of a hiking/backpacking bag, but the bottom was a sleek, but durable looking city satchel. This dichotomy creates an intriguing combination that made me think of weekend adventures and the workweek hustle – both of which the bag is capable of.

They literally thought of everything for this bag, which can function and configure to suit your needs that day. Whether you’re doing a Photo Walk, commuting to work, traveling to the ends of the Earth or going to Chemistry class, the bag can be adapted. My three favorite features of the bag were the rolltop, the secret document holder, and the trifold laptop sleeve. The rolltop gives you quick access to a top compartment of the bag without having to open the entire bag up (which is does and lays flat as well). The secret document holder was strategically placed on the bag so you can access your passport, etc. easily but it has the added protection being flush against your back hidden. The trifold laptop sleeve is completely adjustable and is easily accessible for when you have to take it out at airport security or whenever you need it.


There’s simply too many features in this bag to mention in this article, so stay tuned for a full review. You can see more of what it does on their website here or grab one and see for yourself what it can do.

**A HUGE thank you to B&H Photo for sponsoring our coverage at PhotoPlus Expo 2105!**


Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Michael Old

    I am curious about the peak design lens kit. I have the slide which I like and have been thinking about some kind of system to have my other lens more available rather than carrying it in my back pack as i do presently.
    I wonder how the lens kit would handle a 70-200 f/2.8 ?

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    • Joseph Cha

      I would say no. The system looks like it works best with mirrorless or small dslr lenses. That being said you COULD put a 70-200 on it, but the weight of it will be uncomfortable.

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  2. Cha

    Maybe not all of these are “must haves” for all photographers, but everyone on the SLRLounge team that attended PPE saw great potential in these items. The purpose of the article isn’t to persuade you to buy all 4 of these things, but rather to inform you that these great products exist, and it could make your shooting workflow easier.

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  3. Paddy McDougall

    Only thing that interested me was the bag but I would not reccommend putting documents in a hidden pocket in a bag, sounds like a recipe for disaster when traveling.

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    • Hanssie

      Where do you keep you passport and plane tickets when you’re traveling?

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    • Paddy McDougall

      Maybe I am abit too paranoid but my passport is always on me or in a hotel safe. It’s too easy for someone to lift a bag when you are tired and distracted. I scan my passport and along with my travel docs email them to myself. If some happens to travel docs I just need access to a PC and a printer. Not slating the bag just not a feature i would use.

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    • Hanssie

      I keep my passport with me, not on me (my pockets aren’t big enough) and I make sure I have it at all times in case something happens. But keeping a copy in your inbox is a great idea! Thanks for the tip!

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  4. J. Wolf

    I have no clue about you, but I do not want any of your listed items.
    The one that is probably the most appealing item is the one from Peak Design. But just think about what happens when you are in a rainy or dusty environment and the water/dust is gathering in the top part of the LENSkit and then you place your valuable lens on it, click the bayonet lock and turn the whole thing by 180 degrees……?
    Just think about that……

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    • Hanssie

      Well, the list is subjective, of course.

      As for the Lens kit, I wouldn’t imagine that your lens is more exposed than if you are switching lenses; plus in a downpour you probably wouldn’t wear the system on your belt or bag.

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    • Barry Doolan

      In some of the videos on the LENSkit they store the camera body cap in the open end, that should keep the rain and dust out, granted it makes the lens change slightly less easy.

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