Mike's Grab Bag Gift Guide 2006
by Mike Pasini
The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter
Returning from photokina earlier this year on a direct flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco via the polar route, the captain made an announcement. Apparently the price of fuel had risen mid-flight and we would have to land to conserve costs. He expected only a slight delay and apologized for the inconvenience as we waited for the bubble to burst.
So we found ourselves at the North Pole during the beginning of its busy season. The Big Guy was engaged with his accountant, discussing accounts naughty and nice. But a retired elf who liked to quote Latin poetry ("Caveat Emptor," he kept mumbling) offered to show us around. As luck would have it, we entered a complex devoted to photo gear. We took notes on everything for our gift guide and here's our list:
|Contents||Books | A Lens | Input Device | Storage Card | Bags | Hand Straps | Filters |
Software | Services | Albums | Supports | Scanners | Printers | Miscellaneous
Go to Holiday Gift Guide 2006
Click on any italicized title or book cover thumbnail to take advantage of discount pricing at our Amazon Associates link and help support Imaging Resource!
- Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2 ($39.99) and Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2 ($39.99) by Bruce Fraser both made it to our Classics bookshelf.
- Shooting Digital by Mikkel Aaland is just out in a refreshed second edition with tips from dozens of pros. $39.99
- Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography looks at the field of digital imaging from the eyes of one of its pioneers. $39.99
- Eddie Tapp's Photoshop Workflow Setups ($29.99) and Practical Color Management ($29.99) are concise guides that don't skip the tough stuff.
- Fine Art Printing for Photographers by Uwe Steinmueller and Juergen Gulbins covers exhibition printing in a nutshell. $44.95
- GIMP 2 for Photographers by Klaus Goelker provides a tutorial of basic image editing tasks with installers for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows of this free image editor. $29.95
- Skin by Lee Varis goes beyond portraiture with a thorough discussion of how to photograph people in the digital age. $39.99
- Peter iNova's Canon & Nikon dSLR eBooks are classics in digital photography education. They put paper manuals to shame with over a thousand images (many of them animated illustrations) in a 500-page PDF you can copy to your computer. Each title includes basic instruction and over 500 custom Photoshop actions. $49.95
- Window Seat by Julieanne Kost (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ARTS/KOST/KOST.HTM) is a down-to-earth book on creativity, photography and digital imaging, featuring sections that sandwich her portfolio of images culled from 3,000 originals between advice on remaining creative in a need-it-yesterday world and a technical appendix that reveals the equipment and techniques used to create the images reproduced in the book. $39.99
- Kentucky Wide by Jeff Rogers (http://www.jeffrogers.com/kentuckywide/index.php) contains 160 pages of panoramic images. $39.95 (not available on Amazon)
A LENS | Back to Contents
- Lensbaby 2 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/LBY/LBY2.HTM) focuses only on a small circle of the whole scene for just $150. The new $270 Lensbaby 3 can also hold its position. Both are a good reason to remove your kit lens once in a while.
INPUT DEVICE | Back to Contents
- Logitech's NuLOOQ Navigator (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1140718423.html) is our productivity puck, relieving our mouse of scrolling duties and making image editing tools magically appear for fingertip control. $75
STORAGE CARD | Back to Contents
- SanDisk SD/USB Card (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/SDUSB/SDUII.HTM) is a 1-GB SD card that folds in half to reveal a USB connector. No reader necessary. $50
BAGS | Back to Contents
- Lowepro Topload Zoom (http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Toploading) has a long shoulder strap and a belt loop to hold your long lens and dSLR pointed down with a top that flips away and an expandable front pocket for accessories. May be the end of your camera strap. $29
- Domke (http://www.helixphoto.com/CameraBags/Domke/classic/f2.html) a canvas bag with pockets all around for your own configuration. $112
- Cabella Deluxe Gear Bag (http://www.cabelas.com) is a Peter iNova (Newsletter subscribers get a great deal on Peter's excellent eBooks, BTW) favorite for unpretentiously transporting a lot of gear. $40 (but on sale now for $20)
HAND STRAPS | Back to Contents
A welcome alternative to those cumbersome noose straps, they're simple enough that crafty types can make one.
- Canon E1 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com) for EOS 1, 1N, 1V, EOS 3, D2000 & 1D Cameras with Booster or A2 & A2e Cameras with VG-10 grip. $22.95
- Nikon AH-12 (http://www.nikonmall.com) for D200, D100, D80, D70s, D70, D50, F100, N90s, N90, N80, N75, N70, N65, N60, N55, FM-Series. $29.95
FILTERS | Back to Contents
We buy our digital filters from 2filter (http://www.2filter.com), which discounts high quality, multi-coated filters from Hoya and Tiffen and provides some bundles, too. Prices vary on the size of the filter.
- Circular Polarizers can capture the world as it appears through your shades. $40-$100
- Neutral Density filters can knock down bright sunlight to give you more control of depth of field.
- Infrared filters limit capture to infrared wavelengths if your camera does not have an IR blocking filter on its sensor.
SOFTWARE | Back to Contents
- Lightroom (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/LRM/LRM.HTM) adds metadata editing to a comprehensive workflow solution. Free beta.
- Aperture (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/APT/APT2.HTM) is a Finder for your photos with some unique image appreciation tools. $299
- Capture NX (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/NX/NX.HTM) uses Nik Software's unique U Point technology to make image editing a pleasure for anyone. $150
- LightZone (http://www.lightcrafts.com) is an image editor based on the Zone System. $249
- Imagenomic's Noiseware, Portraiture and RealGrain plug-ins (http://www.imagenomic.com) can reduce the noise of your high ISO images without erasing their detail, automatically retouch portraits to eliminate flaws and add film grain effects. $239.85 for the suite.
- MemoryMiner (http://www.memoryminer.com) is the modern way of telling your family's story. $60
- VueScan (http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/VUE/VUE.HTM) is an affordable and comprehensive scanning software solution. Buy one copy, use it on any scanner you own. $49.95/$89.95
- PhotoRescue (http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM) remains the leader in image recovery software. $29
SERVICES | Back to Contents
- Phanfare Photo (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHF/PHF.HTM), a file sharing service that uploads your images automatically as you organize them, with captions and movies, too. Annual fee from $29.95 to $54.95, with a monthly rate of $6.95.
- Tabblo (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/TBL/TBL.HTM) is a free online photo sharing service with a twist. To share your photos, you lay them out in a poster-like montage with optional text (that also permits viewing the individual photos as a slide show). You can make your tabblos publicly available, available by invitation only or private. And you can print them, too. Give an 11x17 for about $10.
- Sharpcast (http://www.sharpcast.com) is a new automatic sync and sharing service offering five gigabytes free storage through the end of the year. Never again resize an image just to email it. See it on you cell phone or computer. $60 a year.
ALBUMS | Back to Contents
- Canon Photo Album Kit (http://www.canon.ca) includes a high quality, hardback album cover/binder, locking clips, instructions and one packet of Photo Paper Plus Double Sided PP-101D (10 sheets). $16.95
- Zoom Album (http://www.zoomalbum.com) makes a tiny hard cover album out of a folded piece of paper, the adhesive removed from the back of each page in the patented process and a cover slapped on in just a few minutes. $20 a kit.
SUPPORTS | Back to Contents
- Gorilla Pod (http://www.joby.com). Made in three sizes -- one for digicams (12.5 oz. maximum for $21.95), a $39.95 larger one for dSLRs (2.5 lbs.) and a $49.95 pro model that can take 4.5 lbs. -- the Joby Gorilla pod has a quick release mount attached to three legs made of interconnected balls that can wrap around and lock to any surface.
- Gitzo Traveler monopod (http://www.adorama.com/GZGM2560T.html). Fold it up and it's just 14.3 inches long. One quarter twist of the neatly tucked grips extends all six sections to 56.1 inches, ready to bear up to 9.9 lbs. $210
SCANNERS | Back to Contents
- Epson V700/V750 Photo (http://www.epson.com). It uses two lenses for up to 6400 dpi resolution and a Dmax of 4.0, handling both film and reflective art. $549.99/$799.99
- Microtek Scanmaker i900 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/MI9/MI9.HTM). It has a dual bed design to scan film without a plate of glass in the way at up to 3200 dpi with 4.2 maximum optical density. $549.99
PRINTERS | Back to ContentsAll-In-One
- HP Photosmart C3180 (http://www.hp.com). Bundles an inexpensive color printer with a 48-bit scanner (and computer-free copier) and 6-in-one card reader that makes borderless photo prints. $99.99
- Canon MP950 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/MP950/MP950.HTM) and newer MP960. They also combine a printer, copier and scanner into one box, adding direct printing from negatives to the mix. $399.99
- Kodak printer dock plus series 3 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/ES3P/ES3P.HTM) is wireless and can make 4x6 prints directly from docked ImageLink cameras from Kodak, Nikon and other manufacturers. $180
- Canon SELPHY CP510 and CP710 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CP510/CP510.HTM) offer battery power to the 4x6 fleet at $99.99 and $149.99 respectively.
- Among 13x19 printers, we are happily testing the $700 HP B9180 (http://www.hp.com) pigment inkjet and $500 Canon Pro9000 (http://www.usa.canon.com) but we still love the dye-based $500 Canon i9900 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CI9/I9900.HTM) for its rich color and quick printing.
- Pirolettes (http://www.turnyourhead.com) are wood turnings that cast a shadow in the shape of your profile. $150
- Photostamps (http://photostamps.com) can print a sheet of perfectly legal stamps with either an image or a logo on them in just one day. Two sheets of 20 stamps are about $16.
- Panasonic Infinium (http://www.panasonic-batteries.com), a 1.2 volt, 2100 mAh NiMH rechargeable that retains 80 percent of its charge after six months to one year of storage. It's just the ticket for digicam users who take pictures only on special occasions.
- Maha Energy Powerex MH-C204W (http://www.thomas-distributing.com) battery charger in several combo kits with AA batteries. $39.97 and up
- Kingston 15-in-1 Hi-Speed Card Reader (http://www.kingston.com/digitalmedia/15in1.asp) to handle just about any memory format other than xD. $20