Portable Polaroid Printer
The Polaroid PoGo Instant Printer ($50) is a pocket sized printer that can connect directly to your compact camera or camera phone via USB or Bluetooth. Photos are printed right away on Polaroid's 2 by 3 inch proprietary inkless paper (called ZINK), which is sold separately in packs of 30 sheets for $11. Each photo takes up to one minute to print. The prints themselves are about the quality you'd expect for an inexpensive pocket printer, but like the original Polaroids, they have character.
Your point-and-shoot's built-in flash probably has a few settings you can tinker with. But unlike a hot shoe flash, there's no way to re-direct it or bounce its harsh light. The Delta Point and Shoot Diffuser from Gary Fong is a simple filter that mounts on a compact camera's zoom lens and covers the flash. When the flash fires, the $18 translucent and textured plastic disperses the light for more attractive portraits.
You don't need a DSLR to use filters with your camera. Cokin sells a magnetic filter system that's compatible with most compact cameras. A small or medium metallic ring fits around your camera lens and keeps the filter holder in place. If your camera has a tripod socket, you can use the Digi Shoe Holder instead, which screws into the bottom of your camera. Both holders work with Cokin A-Series filters, which can be purchased in kits with the holders or separately. Stock up on color, infrared, diffraction, graduated, center-spot, and star filters.
Bottle Cap Tripod
Tripods can be bulky, but this little $10 gem from Photojojo can fit in a back pocket. When you need to steady your point-and-shoot camera, mount the bottle cap tripod onto any standard water or soda bottle. You'll need to keep the bottle from tipping over, so it's best to use something that's still at least half-full. The tripod can pivot 15 degrees in any direction.
Sony Cyber-shot TX7, TX1, or WX1/B owners will get a kick out of the Party-shot Automatic Photographer, also from Sony. Set up this $150 gadget in a high-traffic area at your next event and pop-in your camera. It will rotate and tilt the camera to follow subjects, detect smiles and faces, and compose shots before triggering the shutter. You can set how often it takes pictures, the rotation angle, and its flash settings.
You can usually find a custom underwater casing for your specific camera model. Another, less expensive option is to get a waterproof camera pouch. These pouches from Aquapac come in a variety of sizes, including the pictured $40 small size. There's room to access most of your camera's controls and to allow your zoom lens to extend. The case is guaranteed down to 15-feet and it will float if you lose your grip on the strap.
Compact cameras may be pocket-sized, but that's not the safest (or most comfortable) place to store them. Camera bag maker Lowepro has a variety of camera cases and pouches just for point-and-shoots. If you're going for looks, pick up one of the Napoli pouches (left). The stylish leather cases come in four sizes and range in price from $25-$40. If you need something more rugged, try the $30 Apex 60 AW (right) which can hold your camera as well as a few small accessories.
Tripod for Travelers
This collapsible monopod is a simple gadget for extending your camera's reach. No more asking strangers to take your picture in front of landmarks. Just attach your camera to the end of the $25 Quik Pod, turn it to face you and your friends, and set the timer. You can also use it to get shots from up high and other angles you can't normally reach.
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