We’re Sorry, Borrowlenses (Or, The Gear That Got Us Through CES)

We’re Sorry, Borrowlenses (Or, The Gear That Got Us Through CES)

It’s funny, the moments in your life that happen in slow motion. Like watching a $US5000 camera with a $US1700 lens bolted to it tumble onto concrete, followed by an ejaculation of glass.

Fortunately, what you’re looking at is just a busted filter. The lens itself, unscathed. Lesson learned: Always wear protection, even when you think you don’t need it.

The Nikon D3s is just one piece out of the armory of gear that got us through CES. A ton of it came from our friends at Borrowlenses. Like the super-zoomy 70-200mm that let us get up close and personal with Motorola’s crazy Atrix from ten rows back at AT&T’s dev summit. And a cadre of mics and lenses to shoot videos and pictures of all the awesome stuff in the terrible lighting and sound conditions that CES presents. The Rebel T2i, which we used to shoot all of our money shot videos, continued to blow us away at the amount of camera you get for just $US800.

We also needed a way to get those photos and videos up. Clearwire and Sprint’s 4G network, accessed via Overdrives and Clear dongles, were our lifeline. (Clearwire has perhaps the most inventive USB dongle out there, a bendy little puck that still leaves access to the adjacent USB port.) Our gorilla-sized Verizon LTE dongle was shockingly fast for our one-man illustration army, Sam Spratt, the only guy on our team who brought a Windows machine to Vegas.

Dishonourable mention: AT&T’s network was apocalyptically miserable, the worst we’d ever seen. Nothing ever went through. Barrages of text messages would suddenly attack your phone, hours after they were sent. Every iPhone was reduced to a fancy texting phone on EDGE. The saving grace was the clever GroupMe group chat SMS service. It’s like a chat room, conducted entirely over SMS. During CES, it let us coordinate on-the-fly when emails and phone calls were doomed. And at night, after one too many drinks, well – some things stay in Vegas.

Hypermac’s MacBook batteries meant we never really had to hunt for power outlets after slogging through hour-long press conferences and even longer lines. Mophie’s newest iPhone 4 battery packs kept our phones alive, even if they were nigh-useless for all but texting.

And finally, coffee. We brewed our own this year, rather than choke down the burnt oil normally in the press room. Using a Hario Skerton grinder, an Aeropress and a press pot, we pumped out cup after cup of tasty coffee from Stumptown, Coava and 1000 Faces. It kept using going, even when we’d rather have faceplanted into a bed of nails covered in anthrax.

Gear is just gear, but this stuff made our lives better last week. So now we’re home, mostly in one piece, thanks to this stuff.