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Lytro Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, December 16 12:45 PM

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Think of a bustling street in Paris. You point your camera and shoot, knowing full well there's no way you'll do justice to that moment of your vacation. Unless, that is, you're toting the groundbreaking new Lytro camera (from $399).

This compact shooter (a lightweight 7.55 ounces) has no shutter delay and a sensor that captures 11 million rays of light to record the intensity of the scene, with the potential to do much more with the image afterward. The technology is complicated, but the low-down is that your image can be infinitely focused and refocused, shifted in perspective, and even viewed in 3-D. And the best bit of all? It's just a lens with a button. Head-scratching science wrapped in simplicity. We like it.

Photo: Courtesy of Lytro

HootRoot Travel Tool

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, November 17 12:01 PM

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To be (green), or not to be, that is the question. When it comes to traveling, the answer is usually "not." But website HootRoot, which has just won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award, aims to change all that.

Plug in your start and end points (say, Boston and New York City), and HootRoot cleverly scans Google Maps and HopStop for routes, travel times, and carbon dioxide emissions for various modes of transport. For the Boston-New York City trip, for example, flying takes only 29 minutes (minus airport time) but emits a whopping 428.9 pounds of CO2, while driving clocks in at four hours and 238.84 pounds. Transit, which takes just minutes longer than a car trip, whittles one's carbon footprint to just 18.07 pounds. Consider it ready ammo for making green decisions--and saving a bundle on offset credits.

Photo: Courtesy of HootRoot

Nikon 1 J1

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, October 12 10:51 AM

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A lion sprints across the savanna and you have to make a split-second decision: pictures or video? Well, thanks to the fine folks at Nikon, the answer can be both. The new Nikon 1 J1 ($649.95) can simultaneously shoot photos and HD movies, capture flip book-like moving images, and switch out lenses to suit your subject. Best of all, there's a new Smart Photo Selector option that shoots ten pics and singles out the sharpest.

The serious functionality is combined with slick simplicity--we dig the monochrome white, red, or silver color options. A camera that looks good and keeps you focused on documenting your vacation? That's worth a shot.

Photo: Courtesy of Nikon

"Saving Grace" App

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, August 04 07:00 AM

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Just because you're always on the road doesn't mean you're any good at packing. Somehow, the cab is always honking outside as you hurriedly shove things into a carry-on. Thankfully, there's a new app to help whip your suitcase into shape.

Meet Saving Grace, your own personal trip organizer. Created by the folks at Grace Hotels, this helpful (and free) app asks what kind of trip you're taking and suggests specialized, thematic packing lists. You can adjust them, add or subtract categories such as baby stuff or videography, check things off as they go into your bag, and save lists for future use. Grace also looks after your other pretrip chores, by suggesting that you clean out your fridge and stop your mail before heading out. And you don't even have to send her a postcard!

Photo: Courtesy of Grace Hotels

Sony Bloggie 3-D Camcorder

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, May 04 04:24 PM

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There's always been one thing missing from your vacation videos: depth. And we don't mean insightful patter while filming your way through the Louvre.

But early adopters on the go can capture that elusive third dimension with Sony's new Bloggie MHS-FS3 3-D camcorder ($249.99), a narrow little number that slides easily into your pocket. Two high-def lenses and sensors capture one hour and 20 minutes of HD video, still pics, and up to four hours of Web-friendly 2-D videos. Plus, integrated social media functionality makes it a cinch to share on YouTube, Facebook, and Picasa.

A built-in 2.4-inch LCD lets you preview your handiwork sans special glasses, but you'll need a 3-D HDTV set to watch your multidimensional masterpieces. Finally, friends and family might actually be willing to watch your vacation videos.

Photo: Courtesy of Sony

Diana Mini JIYU Freedom Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, April 13 03:23 PM

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Sometimes, photos feel more accurate when they match the dreamy, saturated memories you have of a trip. And nothing adds lo-fi love to a snapshot like shooting with a Diana camera, a 1960s-style model using 35 mm film that's found a cult following in this pixelated age.

The Diana Mini JIYU, a new cherry blossom-themed camera, was originally designed as a limited-edition homage to Japan's annual Golden Week, a time of rest in the country. After the recent earthquake and tsunami, the Diana folks pledged nearly $30,000 from sales of these cameras to Red Cross assistance to Japan. So this is one purchase that can help give everyone a better outlook.

Photo: Courtesy of Lomography

Miniot iPad Cover

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, April 06 03:59 PM

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Sure, it's what's on the inside that counts. But when what's inside is a sleek iPad, we think it's only right that its cover be suitably cool as well. That's why we're crazy for this new all-wood iPad case by Miniot.

The ultimate marriage of form and function, this Dutch import is handmade from a single piece of oak, cherry, walnut, or padauk with thin grooves that allow it to fold back into a stand. So you can turn your iPad into a movie screen or an upright camera while you're on the road. See? More than just a pretty face to help capture your pretty face.

Photo: Courtesy of Miniot

Fujifilm FinePix X100

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, March 16 06:31 PM

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Sure, your digital can shoot 100 photographs in a minute, zoom the length of a football field, and store weeks of vacation shots. But does it have style? Our new favorite camera does.

The Fujifilm FinePix X100 has a body James Bond would be proud of, all pebbly leatherlike finishes and retro '50s dials. But it's much more than a pretty face. The X100 has the same size sensor as your average digital SLR, a high-tech optical viewfinder (so you can shoot using the digital display or peer through the old-school range finder), and the ability to film some quality video. That's our kind of straight shooter.

Fujifilm FinePix X100, $1,199.95

Photo: Courtesy of Fujifilm

Lomography's Sprocket Rocket Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, December 20 05:23 PM

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Don't get us wrong, we love the convenience of digital cameras. But remember the excitement of seeing your prints for the first time, when you shot on film? The new mini Sprocket Rocket might tempt you back. It's as bite-size as your compact digital, with a 35 mm wide-angle lens that's perfect for panoramic shots. And its retro appearance wins style points.

The Sprocket Rocket lends some extra creativity to your picture-taking experience, too. It exposes images over the entire piece of film, including the sprockets, which gives the edges of your prints a film-reel vibe. It's also the first camera fitted with a reverse gear, allowing you to take a shot then rewind to superimpose another picture over it. The result? Perhaps a streaky neon Tokyo scene over a field of poppies, or multiple perspectives of the Brooklyn Bridge, all in one photograph.

And since there's no preview, half the fun is waiting to see how your images turn out. There's nothing like a little delayed photo gratification.

La Terrasse, Bern, Switzerland

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, December 09 11:52 AM

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If you like the idea of watching a chef at work but prefer to keep your distance from sharp knives and hot sauces, La Terrasse at the grande dame Bellevue Palace hotel in Bern, Switzerland, is the place to eat.

Diners already use an iPad to browse the French dishes on the menu. Now they can use the tablet to watch head chef Gregor Zimmermann cook their dinner. And beginning next year, it will also be possible to connect to the kitchen directly via instant messaging to say hello or share some "constructive criticism."

We're told the communication will be one-way, so you won't hear what the chef thinks of your culinary advice. Probably just as well.

Photo: Courtesy of the Victoria-Jungfrau Collection

Jawbone's Jambox Wireless Speakers

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, November 10 10:35 AM

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If you've ever sat beside a screaming baby on a long flight, you'll appreciate that just because something is small doesn't mean it's quiet. But that's not always a bad thing.

Consider the Jambox, Jawbone's new wireless speaker and speakerphone. It's a mere six inches long, under two inches high, and weighs 12 ounces, yet it blasts out 85 decibels of sound. You can sync it to a Bluetooth-enabled piece of gadgetry (like your phone, iPod, laptop, and iPad) to play music on the beach, get the full audio impact of a computer game in your hotel room, or organize a conference call. And it comes in four different colors and patterns, too: Black Diamond, Blue Wave, Red Dot, and Grey Hex.

Small, perfectly formed, and unlike a baby, it can be switched off on takeoff.

Photo: Jawbone

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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