New-School Cameras

Courtesy of Hasselblad

Thanks to a wave of new devices, there are more ways than ever to take the perfect shot.

A photo card—a low-quality group shot of my friend’s family, their faces barely recognizable—arrived recently in the mail. On the back was a note: “Next time, I’ll use a proper camera!”

Like many of us, my friend uses his mobile phone as his primary camera. And while cells’ photographic capabilities continue to improve, real cameras still deliver superior images (particularly if you plan to print them)—and a slew of new devices using those sophisticated technologies is giving photography a new look.

Among the wildest ideas is the Panono Panoramic Ball Camera, which, when tossed in the air, takes photos from high overhead. Others, like the Geonaute 360 and the Sony AS100V POV Action Cam, let you record images on the go. Traditional cameras are sporting stylish new looks, with operating systems more akin to those used in cellphones. And if my friend continues to rely on his, he’s got options like the Sony QX10, a camera-quality lens that can be attached to a smartphone.

Here, nine cool devices that approach photography in fresh ways.