The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 9, Number 24 23 November 2007

Copyright 2007, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 215th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We're sending this issue a little early to help you get a head start on the holiday shopping season. The first article covers the top cameras in several categories and the second covers, well, everything else! We even think we can save you a little money in our third feature. If your mouth is watering, rub your hands together. Then plunge in!


TOPICS

SPONSORS
This issue of The Imaging Resource News is sponsored in part by the following companies. Please tell them you saw their ads here. And now a word from our sponsors:
Olympus
http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?oy3

It's ready to go under even if you're not.

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Visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?oy3 to see for yourself.

ACDSee
http://www.acdsee.com

ACDSee Pro 2 Special Offer!

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Imaging Resource and ACDSee have teamed up to provide you with a special offer on ACDSee Pro 2, the most powerful software platform for viewing, processing, editing and organizing your photos.

ACDSee Pro 2 is designed to support and accelerate the workflow of photographers like you. With time saving automation, accelerated viewing and browsing, flexible cataloging and powerful batch processing, you'll have more time to spend behind the camera when you use ACDSee Pro 2.

Visit http://www.acdsee.com/offers/acdseepro2 before Dec. 31 for more information and to use your ImagingResource coupon code.

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/b/?node=384082011&tag=theimagingres-20

Don't Miss the Amazon Black Friday Page!

Amazon will be listing hourly deals from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST along with thousands of products on sale for a limited time.

You'll also get gift wrapping for $0.99 an item -- and your clicks help support Imaging Resource!

Visit http://www.amazon.com/b/?node=384082011&tag=theimagingres-20 on Nov. 23 to save!


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by approximately 55,000 combined direct and pass-along subscribers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: Camera Gift Guide

What with global warming, there are no icicles at the virtual water cooler this time of year. In fact, several of us broke a sweat as we compiled this list of recommended cameras. Which, at least, made it easy to slip out of each other's grasp when we didn't agree. But after wrestling with this topic for days, we think we've finally come up with something for everyone.

Prices quoted reflect average prices earlier this week.

THE DLSR

It's the year of the dSLR (really). They've not only come of age, but they've overrun the market. There are inexpensive (but surprisingly capable) models costing no more than a point-and-shoot that are guaranteed to thrill even novices with their shutterbugging. And the high end represented by the Nikon D3 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D3/D3A.HTM) and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E1DSMK3/E1DSMK3A.HTM) just continues to keep amazing everyone (but those are tax deductions, not gifts). If you need convincing, read Shawn's article "Five Reasons You Need a Digital SLR" (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/FIVEREASONS/FIVEREASONSA.HTM) in which his daughter explains it in terms even we can grasp. Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Among the bargain recommendations are:

Looking for a bit more? Let's take a step up the ladder:

BEST BARGAINS

You might think an inexpensive digicam would be right down there with cubic zirconia as a gift, but as Dave put it recently, "You can get incredibly good stuff for very little money." And then, too, cubic zirconia is optically flawless.

Bargain Bargains

Bargain Gems

Bargain With a Real Manual Mode

Bargain Long Zoom

ULTRA LONG ZOOMS

These three are all quite similar: 8.1 megapixel sensors, 18x zooms, image stabilization, 2.50-inch LCDs with EVFs, high ISO sensitivity.

ULTRA COMPACTS

They're so compact (and attractive) that they're almost jewelry. They do give up a little ground in the optics department, but sometimes you just want a snapshot, anyway.

YOUR SECOND CAMERA

What do you pocket when you leave your dSLR in its bag? Here are some favorites:

HYBRID COMPACT

OK, there's only one but it gets great mileage. We found it awfully hard to hold but we can't palm a basketball either. What we liked about it -- and it alone -- is that it can capture 16:9 stills and 16:9 video (at either 30 or 15 fps). Can you say HDTV? This is the digicam for it.

ULTRA ULTRAS

Both Canon and Nikon offer a premium digicam that escapes the orbit of mere point-and-shoots and floats in the enthusiast's weightless world of the rangefinder. They've got things you don't see in most digicams including Raw file format support, a hotshoe for external flash and converter lenses.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Grab Bag Gift Guide

When we phoned the North Pole this year for a little advice on the subject of gift giving, the elves were a bit miffed. "Ain't there a writers strike going on?"

We tried to explain we were just hacks, immune to holidays, strikes and literary awards. But they weren't persuaded. "We've got electricity up here now, pal. We read the New York Times online, you know. We know what's going on."

When you can't beat 'em, you join in on the fun. "OK, guys, you got me. I'm just trying to save a little money this holiday season, since I'm on strike, that is. Normally, I'm a generous guy. But you know how it is. No reindeer, just a 12 mpg Rumbolino that needs a tune-up."

"Yeah, sure, we know how it is. The minute you sign that new contract, you'll forget the little people who stood by you when you needed them."

"No, really, guys. I never forget you. It's just that your names are so hard to spell. Even when I get them right, my spell checker beeps." I could feel the ice melting.

"OK, OK. We didn't get where we are by being grumpy," they laughed. "We're elves, not dwarfs!"

It only took a few hours and some double-checking, but as usual the elves proved to be an excellent source of information, even if we seem to have heard some of it before. Apparently they've been subscribers to this newsletter for years!

BOOKS

OPTICS

Another lens is one of those un-hoped-for blessings that is, unfortunately, also one of those difficult gifts to figure out. Of course, if your giftee drops a few hints, it can help immeasurably. If you're undeterred, however, (or know what you're doing) you can peek at what's on the camera right now and look for a similar model (same zoom range) with VR or IS. You might gamble on a macro lens, too. Or how about a sharp, prime lens (a 50mm or an 18mm, say, no zoom?). You can do a little research on all this at SLRgear.com (http://www.slrgear.com) where there's also a nice article on selecting a second lens (http://www.slrgear.com/articles/secondlens.html), with a few recommendations in each category.

Otherwise:

MEMORY CARD

Need a stocking stuffer memory card? No problem:

RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

BAGS

STRAPS

FILTERS

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.

LIGHTING

SOFTWARE

Classics

SERVICES

SUPPORTS

PRINTERS

All-In-One

A disappointing category this year, frankly. Can you wait until the Super Bowl? It might all clear up by then.

4x6

13x19

INKS

SCANNERS

MISC

GODSENDS

Return to Topics.

Feature: Shop With Us This Season

You know that Imaging Resource delivers a wealth of, well, resources to help you learn about cameras, printers, scanners, software and accessories. That's why you keep an eye on us, after all.

But we also offer a few trusted buying resources, conveniently arranged on our Buy Now page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/buynow.htm), that provide you with good deals and us with the support we need to continue publishing the most comprehensive information on the Web without subscription or membership fees.

WEB SHOPPING

When we discussed shopping on the Web in our Nov. 2, 2001 issue, it was a new phenomenon. Even though more people are more comfortable shopping on the Internet now, our caveats then about gray market goods, mandatory accessory packages and refurbished units sold as new still apply.

Of course, the best way to protect yourself against fraudulent business practices (which can happen anywhere), is to be informed. That's where we come in.

We can help you find the best price for a product and provide a reputable vendor which also supports Imaging Resource -- and not just for photo equipment.

PRICEGRABBER

When you read one of our reviews, you'll notice a small orange box in the right corner just below the navigation tabs. That box -- not incidentally headlined "Shop Smart!" -- reports the lowest and average prices for the product as of 7 a.m. Eastern that day. It also provides a link to see all current prices at retailers listing with PriceGrabber. Clicking on any of those retailer links helps support Imaging Resource.

PriceGrabber's price comparisons cover a lot more than just cameras, printers and scanners. Anything you shop for using our PriceGrabber pages helps support the cause!

So when you shop for prices, shop from our reviews to support the site. You can also use the direct link (and bookmark it as your shopping link, too) to our PriceGrabber pages (http://ir.pricegrabber.com), which is conveniently listed on our new Buy Now page.

B&H PHOTO

We've also just recently celebrated our first anniversary of our affiliate relationship with B&H Photo. B&H has been serving imaging markets for over 30 years with competitive pricing and outstanding service before, during, and after the sale.

While the company's large inventory includes everything from cameras to home theater equipment, B&H knows "professional photographers are understandably the most demanding customer group we serve, and knowing that their repeat business would be essential to our success, we adopted the phrase 'The Professional's Source' to describe our business focus and use it as a promise we are dedicated to keeping."

Proof of that is that several of us at Imaging Resource (to our mutual surprise) have always used B&H for our photo gear and supplies.

Now, by visiting B&H through 1) the many links at our sister site SLRgear at http://www.slrgear.com 2) directly using this link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/?BI=771&KBID=1047) or 3) from the direct link on our Buy Now page, you can help support our efforts.

AMAZON

Finally, you know we're the only guys out there who review books on cameras and software. But have you noticed our latest reviews (and book excerpts) include links to Amazon for discount pricing and convenient ordering?

You'll find a number of titles in the Book Bag and Bookmark sections of the newsletter index (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-indx.html) have an Amazon link. And our Grab Bag Gift Guide book recommendations above also have them.

But visiting Amazon from any one of our links helps -- no matter what you're shopping for. "Amazon is a great place to buy tools," Dave told us. "I've used them for a lot of stuff in my workshop." Not to mention CDs, DVDs and more.

And this year, Amazon is putting up a Black Friday page at http://www.amazon.com/b/?node=384082011&tag=theimagingres-20 to list hourly deals from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST along with thousands of products on sale for a limited time. You'll also get gift wrapping for $0.99 an item.

EVERY CLICK HELPS

To make it easy to dive into your holiday shopping from our site and help support our efforts, visit our Buy Now page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/buynow.htm) where you'll find links to our new shopping resources, including a search form for Amazon.

Every click helps -- especially when you buy through B&H and Amazon -- but even when you're just researching prices. So take a moment to visit our Buy Now page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/buynow.htm) and bookmark it as your portal to Web shopping! Then start your holiday Web shopping -- or any shopping, no matter what you're shopping for -- right there every time! It would really help keep the lights on and fires burning here at Imaging Resource and SLRgear.com. Thanks for your support!

Return to Topics.

New on the Site

At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:

Return to Topics.

In the Forums

Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:

Read the Pentax K10D discussion at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea528b/0

Visit the Kodak Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f77d

Roberta asks for advice about choosing an underwater camera at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea6d72/0

Greg asks about paper for the Canon i9900 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea69ef/0

Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b2

Return to Topics.

Dave's Deals

Looking for special prices on featured products? Because of their time-limited nature, we only publish them in the email version of this newsletter. The good news is that you can subscribe for free on our Subscriber Services page:

Subscribe for Great Deals!

We deliver -- just Subscribe!

Return to Topics.

We Have Mail

You can email us at editor@imaging-resource.com. You can read our Letters policy at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS in the FAQ.

RE: Fujifilm

I have owned (and enjoyed) the Fujifilm F10 and F11. The F10 eventually broke down and the F11 I sadly lost. Seeking a replacement I got excited by the new F50fd publicity but sense ambivalence on the part of some reviewers. I have found raves over the F31 and not much on the F40.

Do you have any experience with these cameras? I have checked your archive and have found no reviews of these cameras. I have found no mention of any Fuji cameras. Do you have a policy of not reviewing them? Are you of the opinion that they're not very good? I have only owned those Fujis and found them fine, but then I've not experienced any others.

Lastly would you say is the best compact digital camera, from the point of view of image quality and low light photography.

-- Paul Hamlyn

(We're admittedly behind on a number of reviews (some dozen or so outstanding at the moment, I believe) but this is the place to track the Fujifilm reviews: http://www.imaging-resource.com/MFR1.HTM?view=Fujifilm_reviews. There are quite a few listed there because we do review everything we can, Paul.... Any camera represents a set of compromises, so there really is no generic "best." There are tradeoffs you can live with and tradeoffs you can't live with. Even among ourselves we disagree about what those are. Some, for example, don't mind chrominance noise in high ISO images but it bugs other guys on the staff and we throw AA batteries at each other all the time trying to impress each other.... For low light shooting, look for a larger sensor (rather than more megabytes), high ISO, low noise and image stabilization. Nikon and Canon take a different approach to high ISO than does Sony, focusing more on retaining detail than color. Some people prefer color over detail, though. We try to make those tradeoffs clear in our reviews. But we can't tell you which is better. -- Editor)

RE: Wrong Setting

A friend with a Canon digital point-and-shoot took a few short movie sequences, instead of single shots as he intended, by accidentally bumping the setting into Movie mode a few times while on vacation. He didn't realize it until he got home and would like to be able to get a still image instead. Any idea how to do this?

-- Lynn Maniscalco

(Happens to us all the time <g>. Very few image editors can snip a JPEG out of a movie file but almost all movie editing software can do it. iMovie, for example, has a Save Frame option. Lacking that, a screen shot will do since the resolution (640x480 at best) is not very high. -- Editor)

RE: Nikkor Lens

First, thanks a lot for your great newsletter and Web site. I wrote to you once before, many years ago and you've only gotten better since then.

Here's my question. I saw Andrew Alexander's review of the new Nikon 55-200mm lens with Vibration Reduction. I have been "on the verge" of buying myself the Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 IF-ED AF-S VR Nikkor lens for months and have been waiting for Christmas as a good time to buy it for myself. I own a D50. Your very favorable review of the 70-300mm even talks about getting it for yourselves as a Christmas present, so that probably inspired me to do the same.

However, now comes this review of the 55-200mm, which says in particular that "BTW, we're working on a way to measure VR performance and hope to have some initial results published in the next month or so." Will this review be out before Christmas shopping time? Also, do you know of a better choice out there that's compatible with the D50 (I have the 18-55 and the 55-200 already, neither with VR)? Is Nikon about to announce a better choice at this price range, for a similar lens?

-- Juan Migliore

(Our VR scientists are still working on a way to test VR performance, Juan, but we can tell you Nikon has a compact 18-200mm lens with VR II that can focus as close as about nine inches in front of the lens. You can read the review and reviews of other Nikkors with VR at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showcat.php/cat/13. -- Editor)

RE: On the Eighth Day...

I accidentally removed Photo Impression 4.0! Please advise how I can restore or download a new copy.

-- Maryann

(Contact ArcSoft's customer service for a replacement copy of your original CD if you no longer have it. Then just reinstall. -- Editor)
Return to Topics.

Editor's Notes

Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) delivered a series of updates recently. They were unrelated to Apple's release of Leopard, with versions for both OS X and Windows. Buckle up: Lightroom 1.3, Camera Raw 4.3, DNG Converter 4.3 were released first followed by Photoshop 10.0.1 and Bridge 2.1.1.

In addition, Photoshop Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes published his Photoshop CS3 Printing Notes to optimize Mac or Windows printing workflows (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/docs/PhotoshopCS3PrintingNotes.pdf).

Wait, as someone once said, there's more. Tom Hogarty announced in his Lightroom Journal that Adobe Labs has released a free Export software development kit for Lightroom (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroomsdk). It's the first SDK Adobe has released for Lightroom.


onOne Software (http://www.onOnesoftware.com) has released its $159.95 PhotoTools and $259.95 PhotoTools Professional Edition, a Photoshop plug-in that uses the power of Photoshop Actions to deliver over 150 effects, corrections and styles. The Pro edition features an additional 100 effects.


Rocky Nook (http://www.rockynook.com) has published Managing Your Photographic Workflow with Photoshop Lightroom by Jurgen Gulbins and Uwe Steinmuller. The $29.95 title is available for $19.97 through the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952202/?tag=theimagingres-20).

The company has also published The Glossary of Digital Photography with over 1,500 words, abbreviations and acronyms. This title is also discounted through the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952040/?tag=theimagingres-20).


xTrain.com (http://www.xtrain.com) has published the latest installment of their free Dr. Brown's Photoshop Laboratory Classes featuring Photoshop Guru Russell Brown. Titled "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly," it features professional portrait retouching tips and techniques made easy.


Fujifilm (http://www.fujifilmusa.com) has announced a free seminar on Digital Forensic Photography for law enforcement and forensic photographers, as part of the grand opening of the new B&H state-of-the-art Event Space in the B&H Super Store, 420 Ninth Avenue in New York City. Taught by C. Jason Guffey, a professional photographer with 10 years experience as a crime scene investigator, the seminar will take place Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is required in advance by contacting Jennifer Diamond at jdiamond@bhphoto.com.


HP (http://www.hp.com) has announced it is currently working to identify an original equipment manufacturer partner that would be licensed to design, source and distribute digital cameras under the HP brand. HP will continue selling its own cameras through the holiday season and intends to have the partnership arrangement in place in the first half of 2008.


The PBS television series Travels to the Edge (http://www.travelstotheedge.com) features Canon Explorer of Light Art Wolfe as he travels the globe in 13 episodes.

Return to Topics.

One Liners

For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).

Digital Photography Tutorials for Beginners: http://www.photoxels.com

PhotoRescue: http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM

Curtin Short Courses: http://imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?bdc

Return to Topics.

Signoff

That's it for now, but between issues visit our site for the latest news, reviews, or to have your questions answered in our free discussion forum. Here are the links to our most popular pages:

Daily News: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM
New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
Digicam index: http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM01.HTM
Q&A Forum: http://www.imaging-resource.com/FORUM.HTM
Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/TIPS.HTM

Happy snapping!

Mike Pasini, Editor
editor@imaging-resource.com
Dave Etchells, Publisher
web@imaging-resource.com

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