|Volume 13, Number 23||18 November 2011|
Welcome to the 319th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. You've got a week to study our 2011 Gift Guides before Black Friday descends. Avoid the crush by shopping through our Buy Now page at http://www.imaging-resource.com/buynow.htm and our PriceGrabber page at http://ir.pricegrabber.com too. It helps support what we do here. Thanks!
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Not everything listed here has been reviewed yet (lucky you) but a few models have stood the test of time. The average prices cover quite a range too from under $150 to over $7,000.
- Canon PowerShot S100 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/PS100/PS100A.HTM) -- Like Canon's popular S90 and S95 models, the S100 is a compact camera for photographers preferring image quality first and foremost. It sports a 12-megapixel CMOS imager, a DIGIC 5 processor with improved noise reduction, a 24-120mm zoom and a GPS receiver. $429
- Panasonic Lumix LX5 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/LX5/LX5A.HTM) -- In the battle for supremacy raging between high-quality pocket digital cameras and high quality mirrorless digital cameras, only two cameras are already considered legendary and only one of those still has an f2.0 lens: the LX5. Hard to find and getting harder. $434
- Olympus XZ-1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/XZ1/XZ1A.HTM) -- Competing with the Canon S100 and Panasonic LX5, which also have 10-Mp sensors and wide-to-mid-range zooms, the Olympus XZ-1 merges ideas from both into a premium pocket digital camera with a very special lens. The Olympus XZ-1 is not only special because it has a 28-112mm, f1.8 lens, which is 1/3 stop faster than its rivals, it has impressive corner sharpness, especially at wide-angle, besting its rivals. $492
- Nikon Coolpix S9100 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CPS9100/CPS9100A.HTM) -- The S9100 impressed us out in the field. Though it differs from the rest of the high-end long zoom pack with its lack of a GPS, the Nikon S9100 more than makes up for it with its impressive 18x zoom, a razor-sharp 921K LCD screen and a rack of continuous modes that goes great with its impressively fast autofocus. Full HD video with stereo sound rounds out an impressive package. $279
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/300HS/300HSA.HTM) -- While it won't deliver the gigantic prints of similarly sized CCD cameras, the ELPH 300 HS pleases in other ways, packing a 24-120mm equivalent lens, a good quality 2.7-inch LCD, and Full HD video capability in a very slim package. Handheld NightScene mode further reveals the advantage of the Canon 300's CMOS image capture, combining three images into one for a smoother still than you'd normally expect at ISO 1600. $205
- Canon PowerShot SX40 HS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/SX40HS/SX40HSA.HTM) -- It's gorgeous and it's functional, with a 35x optical zoom lens and articulated LCD (and a hot shoe hidden under a rubber cap). A 12-Mp CMOS imager with a DIGIC 5 chip takes it from there. $402
- Nikon P500 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP500/CP500A.HTM) -- Nikon has pushed the boundaries of what can be expected of a long zoom digital camera, releasing the impressive Coolpix P500, a camera for which the terms "ultra" and "super" seem understatements. Nevertheless, the P500 starts with an ultra-wide 22.5mm equivalent focal length and delivers competent performance all the way out to a super 810mm! As if that weren't enough, the Nikon P500 is fast, small, light, has a great grip, a tilting VGA LCD and can shoot at up to eight frames per second! $349
- Sony Cyber-shot H70 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/H70/H70A.HTM) -- Among the simpler pocket long zoom digital cameras, the Sony H70 is a bargain. Though it has no GPS, it does have a good quality G-series lens, a 3-inch LCD and a 16-Mp Super HAD CCD sensor. Light and easy to pocket, the Sony H70 can shoot HD video and Sweep Panorama images, among other special modes. The Sony H70 is a very low-cost long zoom option that doesn't sacrifice much. $182
- Panasonic Lumix FZ150 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/FZ150/FZ150A.HTM) -- Can image quality rise with a reduction in resolution? Apparently so, as the 12-Mp Panasonic FZ150 dramatically proves. We roundly criticized the FZ150's 14-Mp predecessor as quite a step back when compared to Panasonic's other ultrazoom digital cameras, but they're back with a significantly improved design that puts them back in the winner's circle. The FZ150's excellent optics, 3-inch LCD and solid build are now matched with a fine sensor and image processor that's worth writing about. $450
- Canon SX230 HS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/SX230HS/SX230HSA.HTM) -- Canon takes a quality pocket long zoom and adds both a GPS radio and Full HD video for a more complete package. The resulting Canon PowerShot SX230 delivers good image quality and pretty nice video quality as well, while maintaining that impressive 14x, 28-392mm zoom lens. We found some minor trouble with chromatic aberration, unsurprising at this focal length, but otherwise enjoyed the SX230, indoors and out. It'll make an excellent travel camera, thanks to the wide and long zoom, as well as the GPS to match your photos to a map and it offers as much automation or manual control as you could want. $303
- Sony HX9V (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/HX9V/HX9VA.HTM) -- As long zooms go, the HX9V does its best to leapfrog its competition by packing even more features behind that impressive 16x, 24-384mm, image-stabilized zoom lens. Its 16.2-Mp BSI CMOS sensor is capable of capturing high-resolution stills and Full HD video, as well as other cool Sony tricks like Sweep Panorama and Handheld Twilight mode. It's also fitted with a GPS radio for easy tracking of where you've been. And you can see it all on the HX9V's 921,000-dot, 3-inch LCD. $307
- Panasonic GF3 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCGF3/DMCGF3A.HTM) -- Among the smallest of Micro Four Thirds cameras, the Panasonic GF3 is easy to bring along and puts out good quality images at lower ISOs. It struggles a bit to keep up with the competition at higher ISO settings, though. While we liked the smaller size, we didn't as much enjoy the touchscreen interface. Overall, though, we think the GF3 is quite a good little camera in the right hands, especially since it's now shipping with a 14-42mm zoom kit lens. $534
- Nikon J1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NIKONJ1/NIKONJ1A.HTM) -- When photographers think Nikon, they think high image and build quality and photographer-centric design. So those in the know expected Nikon to come out swinging with a camera like the Nikon P7100, sized like a Sony NEX and with interchangeable lenses; something built for true tinkerers, not snapshooters. Nikon went for tiny and simple, delivering better image quality and performance than a compact camera, while gaining the versatility of interchangeable lenses. $649
- Canon PowerShot A3300 IS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/A3300IS/A3300ISA.HTM) -- Attractive, simple and inexpensive are terms that have always applied the Canon A-series digital cameras and the A3300 maintains the legendary image quality we've come to expect. With a 16-Mp sensor and a 5x zoom, the A3300 delivers a lot more to the average snapshooter on a budget, because the zoom starts at 28mm and telescopes out to 140mm equivalent, perfect for most photographic situations. Though in size and shape it seems far removed from the A-series cameras of yesteryear, it's a heck of a lot of fun to use, which falls right in line what we love about them. $146
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/100HS/100HSA.HTM) -- Famous for making excellent digital cameras even at a low price point, Canon outdid themselves with the 100 HS. The slim pocket camera offers a wide array of special features, including Handheld Night Scene, Full HD video and HDMI output to name just a few. Its 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens is a treat, making the 100 HS a great digital camera for travel and everyday carry. The 100 HS is one of our top picks for a simple pocket camera, great for casual shooting, making it a superb gift! $167
- Panasonic Lumix ZS8 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/ZS8/ZS8A.HTM) -- Panasonic introduces the ZS8 into a market now crowded with competitors egged on by the success of this very line of long zoom cameras. The ZS8 is a 14-Mp digital camera with a 16x zoom lens ranging from 24-384mm. The little brother to the ZS10, the Panasonic ZS8 has no GPS or 1080p video, but it excels at providing the basics, including optical image stabilization, face detection and a full selection of exposure modes, all features that have made Panasonic's long zooms so popular. $261
COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERAS
- Sony NEX-5N (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5N/NEX5NA.HTM) -- Sony's thin and light NEX-5N has the same basic form as its predecessor, but sports a new 16.1-Mp sensor capable of capturing up to 10 frames per second and Full HD video at 60p. A new touchscreen adds a few new functions while the NEX-5N continues the line's excellent image quality. $733
- Olympus E-PM1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EPM1/EPM1A.HTM) -- Relying on snazzy visual imagery, the Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1 aims at a simplified control system and a very small body, though it still has most of the controls found on its slightly larger cousin, the E-PL3. Autofocus is said to be extremely fast, as we found on the E-P3 -- and the Mini can also capture up to five frames per second. $450
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCGH2/DMCGH2A.HTM) -- Only a few still cameras are made for video, among them the Panasonic GH2, whose sensor and autofocus system are tuned for both stills and video. Capable of capturing 16-Mp stills and 1080i HD video, it has a faster sensor and a Venus Engine FHD processor, both tuned for recording video at a faster bit rate than the GH1. Stereo recording and a high ISO of 12,800 round out the package. Panasonic's selection of excellent lenses, as well as those from other Micro Four Thirds vendors, assures a good selection of available optics, including a special 3D lens which we also try. $1,461
- Nikon 1 V1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NIKONV1/NIKONV1A.HTM) -- Of the two Nikon 1 System cameras (including the J1 above), the Nikon V1 has the higher specification, with a built-in electronic viewfinder, a better LCD panel, a mechanical shutter, stereo microphone jack, magnesium alloy body and an accessory port that accepts either a proprietary flash strobe or a GPS unit. $1,149
- Nikon D3100 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D3100/D3100A.HTM) -- Small and easy to bring along, the Nikon D3100 is a superb upgrade for anyone interested in dSLR quality photographs. Its 14.2-Mp sensor gives the Nikon D3100 a little more resolution than most other Nikon dSLR cameras and image quality is excellent, even as light levels drop and ISO is forced to rise. Though still low in price, the Nikon D3100 also captures 1080p Full HD video, while a good many digital cameras are still limited to 720p HD. Furthermore, the Nikon D3100 is one of the first dSLRs able to focus while recording a video, which can come in handy. For novice users, the Nikon D3100 also includes a Guide mode to help users capture better images and learn a bit about photography on the way. It's a great digital camera for the money, with excellent image quality. $559
- Canon Rebel T2i (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T2I/T2IA.HTM) -- Where you'd expect more noise from this 18-Mp digital camera, the Canon T2i actually delivers less than its predecessor, while increasing the quality of detail at all ISO settings. Also upgraded on the Canon T2i is 1080p video at 24, 25 and 30fps and video editing tools are built right into the camera. Still shooting mode also gets a frame-rate increase to 3.7 frames per second, up just a tad from 3.4 fps. Both still and video quality from the Canon T2i are very impressive. $756
- Nikon D5100 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D5100/D5100A.HTM) -- The D5100's imaging pipeline is based around the same 16.2-Mp image sensor and image processing algorithms used in the popular D7000. The D5100 also brings in-camera high dynamic range imaging to a Nikon SLR for the first time and expands upon Nikon's selection of in-camera filter effects. Of these, perhaps the most interesting is a Night Vision mode that allows sensitivity to a maximum of ISO 102,400 equivalent, so long as you're willing to forgo shooting in color. Otherwise, the D5100 provides ISO sensitivities to 25,600 equivalent. Other notable features include a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 second, with a rated shutter life of 100,000 cycles, Nikon's 3D Color Matrix Metering and 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensors and Full HD (1,080p) movie capture capability. $754
- Canon T2i (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T2I/T2IA.HTM) -- Canon ignored the rest of the digital camera industry when it limited resolution over the last few years, putting an 18-Mp sensor in their consumer flagship Rebel T2i and as a result the camera stands head and shoulders above any other offering under $1,000. Where you'd expect more noise from this 18-Mp digital camera, the T2i actually delivers less than its predecessor, while increasing the quality of detail at all ISO settings. Also upgraded on the T2i is 1080p video at 24, 25 and 30fps and video editing tools are built right into the camera. Still shooting mode also gets a frame-rate increase to 3.7 frames per second, up just a tad from 3.4 fps. Both still and video quality from the Canon T2i are very impressive. $756
- Sony A35 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA35/AA35A.HTM) -- Smaller than an SLR, yet compatible with SLR lenses, the Sony A35 also does tricks: it's capable of up to 7 frames per second at a slightly cropped image size, but still retails for far less than SLRs with a similar capture speed. The Sony A35's translucent mirror allows fast and full-time phase-detect autofocus, great for tracking moving subjects and for shooting movies. $651
- Nikon D7000 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D7000/D7000A.HTM) -- The Nikon D7000 is a refinement of the already superb D90, a redesign that maintains a small, nimble body while improving nearly every major internal aspect. Its 16.2-Mp sensor and Expeed 2 processor conspire to output quality images at all ISO settings, from 100 to 25,600, cranking those images out at up to six frames per second. The Nikon D7000's 3-inch LCD sports 921,000 dots, a great place to compose images in Live View mode, as well as check focus. The Nikon D7000's high-res LCD is also excellent for shooting and playing the 1,080p videos that this digital camera captures and menus are razor sharp. Dual memory card slots, 39 autofocus points, a new color-sensitive meter, a near-100 percent viewfinder and in-camera editing round out just a few of the extra features found in the Nikon D7000. Nikon's top enthusiast dSLR camera is as easy to recommend as a cold glass of lemonade on a hot Summer day and at least as satisfying. $1,110
- Canon T3i (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3I/T3IA.HTM) -- Truly easy to recommend, the versatile Canon T3i sets the standard at the top of the consumer SLR market. Especially if you're looking for a reasonably affordable SLR that lets you shoot from multiple angles, the Rebel T3i should be at or near the top of your list. With an 18-Mp sensor, a high-res articulating LCD, an improved grip and Full HD video recording, the Canon T3i has what it takes to get great shots in most conditions. Its bundled 18-55mm kit lens is improved over its predecessor and the alternate 18-135mm kit lens is also good quality, covering a near-ideal range for most situations. Image quality is good enough for 20x30-inch prints from ISO 100 to 3200 and ISO 12,800 shots make a good 8x10. It's quite a camera, to be sure. $856
- Pentax K-5 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/K5/K5A.HTM) -- Two years ago, Pentax unveiled the impressive K-7, with a rich feature set and a surprisingly compact, weather-proofed body. The K-7 drew our praise for its handling and grabbed our attention with unique features like automatic horizon leveling and composition adjustment. Replacing that camera, the K5 has some mighty big shoes to fill. The K5 has an almost identical body design to the earlier model. Key changes include the K5's new 16-Mp image sensor, which allows shooting at up to ISO 51,200 equivalent, Full HD movie capture and a claimed 7 fps burst shooting mode. The K5 also updates autofocus, noise reduction, the level gauge and plenty more. List pricing has climbed 25 percent, but with the K5 adding still more unique features, we went into our review with an open mind. Curious to see if the K5 merits the price tag? $1,384
- Sony A77 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA77/AA77A.HTM) -- Making a major leap in the camera market, the Sony A77 reaches into pro territory, able to capture 12 frames per second with a 24.3-Mp camera that feels great and handles like your typical enthusiast dSLR. Its optional 16-50mm kit lens also delivers excellent quality for the money. $1,399
- Nikon D3x (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D3X/D3XA.HTM) -- The D3x produces the highest image quality of any camera we've tested. Its combination of resolution, color fidelity and noise performance puts it at the very top of its class. Not only does it sport an amazing 24.5 megapixels of resolution, it manages to wring more detail out of those pixels (particularly in its NEF-format Raw files) than anything else out there. The D3x also offers surprising speed, capable of 5 frames/second at full resolution and up to 7.5 frames/second in its 10.5-Mp DX crop mode. The high-end SLR market often seems like a perpetual game of leapfrog, but for now, the Nikon D3x sits at the top of the heap, as the ultimate dSLR. $7,899
- Canon 5D Mark II (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E5D2/E5D2A.HTM) -- Capable of capturing 1080p movies, the 5D Mark II opens up a whole world of video opportunities for those with a selection of Canon full-frame lenses. Of course, the 5D Mark II also has the goods for the more traditional still photographer, offering a 21.1-Mp sensor, a tuned version of the sensor in the Canon 1Ds Mark III. Now the 5D Mark II's sensor can produce nearly noise-free images up to ISO 6400. If you can handle a little noise, you can even reach out to 25,600. $2,400
- Nikon D3S (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D3S/D3SA.HTM) -- The Nikon D3S has made a name for itself with better high ISO performance and HD video capability. Maxing out at ISO 102,400 is great for the headlines, but the true beauty of the D3S is sharp, detailed 16x24 prints at ISO 6400. Add 720p video capture and the possibilities multiply. The D3S proves to be a capable digital video camera, taking advantage of Nikon's excellent lenses to produce quality you're used to seeing in the movie theater. $5,096
- Panasonic TS3 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/TS3/TS3A.HTM) -- The TS3 is a rugged, shockproof, waterproof and dustproof digital camera with an effective CCD sensor resolution of 12-megapixels, with a useful 28-128mm zoom range when shooting still images. The TS3 also includes a built-in GPS receiver, compass, altimeter and barometer, taking things just a little beyond traditional geotagging by also allowing images to be tagged with the direction, atmospheric pressure and altitude at which they were shot. $349
While we stand by our previous recommendations, we couldn't fit them all in. We did sneak in a few perennial favorites after our latest discoveries, some of whose reviews are still to be published.
BOOKS & DVDS
- Studio Light Essentials (http://www.studiolightingessentials.com) -- This is a condensed version of Mark Wallace's multi-day lighting workshop on two DVDs. Reviewed in our April 8 issue. $150
- The Digital Wunderkammer (http://www.amazon.com/dp/3770551931/?tag=theimagingres-20) by Herbert Burda, art historian and publisher. What's the Curiosity Shop of our day? The Internet. $34.20
- The DAM Book by Peter Krogh (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596523572/?tag=theimagingres-20) covers everything about managing your image collection except survival strategies. $49.99
- Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers by Harold Davis (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596529880/?tag=theimagingres-20) focuses on the three factors you can actually do something about when you take a picture. Talk about fundamentals! $29.99
- Use our Gift Certificate (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?gsb) to start a free subscription to this venerable publication, which includes free email support directly from the editor (saving you lots of explaining).
- Lensbaby Sweet 35 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/S35/S35.HTM) -- A real aperture in a 35mm selective focus lens. $180
- Lensbaby Composer Pro (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/LBP/LBP.HTM) -- The Pro's front collar also sports an improvement over the original Composer with its refined focus mechanism. $300 or $400 with the Sweet 35
- Pinhole Lens. You can make one of these dreamy devices by punching a hole in a body cap, but you can also get one from Lensbaby (http://www.lensbaby.com/optics-pinhole.php) or Wanderlust (http://wanderlustcameras.com/products/pinwide.html).
- Vacation Zoom. Kit lenses are usually confined to the 18-55mm range. But you can pop an 18-200mm (or longer) compact vacation lens on that body for more versatility. Nikon, Canon, Sigma and Tamron all have nice ones.
- Fast Prime. The other problem with kit lenses is that they're slow. f3.5 slow. How about a nice f1.2 lens? Focal length hardly matters, it's what you can capture with available light and a decent ISO that counts.
- Portrait Prime. Most photos are portraits but most lenses are not portrait lenses. A moderate telephoto prime will capture a sharp face while nicely blurring the background. And you don't have to back up 100 yards. You can be in the same room and carry on a charming conversation.
- Macro. A macro lens can reveal another world where the tiniest things fill the frame. Including slides.
- Smartphone Lens Kit (http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/cell-phone-lenses) -- Pop a fisheye, telephoto and macro/wide angle lens on your smartphone. $50
- LensRentals.com Gift Certificate (https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2010/11/lensrentals-com-gift-certificates) -- Let them rent whatever lens they want (but not forever) with a LensRentals gift certificate. There's also lighting gear and accessories (like those expensive lens adapters) to choose from.
A stocking stuffer memory card of the right type (a high speed card for video fans) is always welcomed:
- Eye-Fi SD card (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/EYE/FI.HTM) -- These cards turn any SD-capable camera into a WiFi camera. Now in several models with special features, including video and Raw file transmission. Lose the USB cable. $99
- CompactFlash (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/m/pl.cgi?memcf)
- Secure Digital (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/m/pl.cgi?memsd)
- Memory Stick Pro Duo (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/m/pl.cgi?memmspro)
- xD Picture Cards (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/m/pl.cgi?memxd)
BAGS & STRAPS
- Retrospect Bag from Think Tank Photo (http://www.thinktankphoto.com) -- Just the right size for your CSC gear or a small dSLR. $130
- Lowepro 150 AW (http://products.lowepro.com) -- Pack your 13-inch laptop or tablet with your dSLR video gear and go. $120
- Cotton Carry-Lite (http://www.cottoncarrier.com) -- Clip your heavy-duty camera to your belt. $119
- Black Widow (http://www.spiderholster.com/blackwidow) -- Clip your lightweight camera to your belt. $75
- UPstrap (http://www.upstrap-pro.com) -- Redesigned for 2011, this is a no-slip, heavy-duty family of straps for any camera. Price varies.
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.
- Neutral Density filters can knock down bright sunlight to give you more control of depth of field and keep video shutter speeds low for a more realistic appearance.
- Infrared filters limit capture to infrared wavelengths if your camera does not have an IR blocking filter on its sensor.
- Filter wrenches are just the ticket for removing a circular polarizer. B&H sells a set that handles 62-77mm lenses for $4.95 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=251749&is=REG) and smaller sizes are available, too.
- Photoflex (http://www.photoflex.com) -- We like all its stuff, but this year we reviewed the new StarFlash with FlashFire remote trigger (May 20 issue) and a 5-in-1 Reflector (Oct. 7).
- An external flash. A dedicated speedlight (with wireless capability) can open new doors of creativity for your photographer. Typical units: Nikon SB-600 $200, SB-700 $330, SB-800 $400, SB-900 $500; Canon 430EX $200, 580EX II $450
- WhiBal (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/WHB/WHB.HTM) is a small gray card with a lanyard that is actually calibrated. You know exactly what it should measure when you open an image with it in your image editing software and can instantly adjust the color balance. From $30
- Datacolor SpyderCube (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/SCUBE/SCUBE.HTM) We really appreciated having reference points for absolute black and a spectral highlight plus a white and black reference point in the image, too. $59
- LensAlign Pro/Lite (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/LA/LAL.HTM) -- There is nothing like precision in our fog-banked existence and either LensAlign is a measuring tool that can cut through the vagaries of focus to help you fine tune the autofocus accuracy of your gear. $140/80
- IT8 Targets (http://www.targets.coloraid.de) -- Wolf Faust has great prices for IT8.7/1 transmissive targets and IT8.7/2 reflective targets for calibrating scanners.
- Lightroom 3 (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom) runs on OS X or Windows, handles stills and video, delivers exceptional noise reduction tools and continues to make work flow from import to Web galleries or print packages. If you're getting a new camera, Lightroom will be among the first to support it, too. $299
- Elements 10 -- Elements remains the gold medal holder for the amateur who just wants to do more with photos and video. You know who you are. Special holiday pricing after Nov. 22 (and very hefty discounts from Nov. 23 to Nov. 29) at http://www.adobe.com/products/discount-software-coupons.html
- Adobe Carousel (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1315418246.html) -- See all your photos on any device you own and share them with anyone you like. Even edit them with Lightroom tools. The software is free but storage on the cloud is $60/year. Full review coming shortly (if we didn't like it, we wouldn't include it in this list).
- Photo Mechanic (http://www.camerabits.com) is a full-featured (and we're not kidding) image browser that can save time ingesting images from the camera to the computer. $160
- Elgato Turbo.264 HD (http://www.elgato.com) -- It's what this editor uses to convert digicam review video to Web-happy formats. With the USB hardware accelerator. Review coming very soon. $99.95
- DxO Optics Pro (http://www.dxo.com/us/photo/dxo_optics_pro) transforms your camera captures dramatically, removing optical flaws and delivering color and detail at high ISO. And it's easy to use. $99
- Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com) -- We're found of Sharpener Pro, Silver Efex Pro and HDR Efex Pro (all of which subscribers can get at a discount). Very cool tools.
- 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. $80/40
- PhotoRescue (http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM) remains the leader in image recovery software, now handling movie files as well as images. $29
- MemoryMiner (http://www.memoryminer.com) is the modern way of telling your family's story. $45
- Canon Pro9000 Mark II (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CP9KII/PRO9K2.HTM) -- The printer's grainless resolution, quickness and fidelity (using the ICC profiles provided with the paper) make dye-based printing as rewarding an experience as pressing the Shutter button. $500
- Canon Pro9500 Mark II (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CP95KII/CP95KII.HTM) -- The pigment version of the Pro9000 with superior black and white printing. $800
- Epson R2000 ( http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/epson-r2000) -- We had no complaints about this workhorse 13x19 Epson. $499.99
- Epson V700/V750 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V700/V700.HTM) -- It handled everything we threw at it. Which still defines state of the art and explains why we've had no problem recommending it to anyone who has asked what's the best scanner to buy. $600
- CanoScan 9000F (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/CS9000/9000F.HTM) -- A modern day classic, complete with Canon's easy-to-use ScanGear software. $200
- Epson Perfection V600 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V600/V600.HTM) -- We liked the hardware coupled with VueScan. $190
- Plustek OpticFilm 7600i (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/PLTK7600/7600.HTM) -- Just about the only 35mm film scanner out there these days. There's no automatic feed, but that's about all we could complain about. $515
- KB Covers (http://www.kbcovers.com) -- These membranes are printed with keyboard legends specific to one piece of software. Like Lightroom. $40
- ToughTech Duo (http://www.cru-dataport.com/products/ToughTech-Duo-QR.php) -- A portable, bus-powered RAID system using 2.5-inch drives you can swap out without using a tool. $500 with two 750-GB drives
- Joby Gorillapod Mini Tripod (http://joby.com/gorillapod) -- You can find these anywhere (so they're great last minute gifts). And they can hang onto anything. $13 and up
- Color Munki (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/CMP/CMP.HTM) -- The more we use the ColorMunki, the more we like it. $450
- Datacolor Spyder3 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/SPYDER3/SPYDER3.HTM) monitor calibration systems. It's the only device that will calibrate an iPad (review coming up, BTW). $297+
- Pirolettes (http://www.turnyourhead.com) are $150 wood turnings that cast a shadow in the shape of your profile. Also available is a $50 portrait (a flat version) that can be framed.
- 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. A sheet of 20 first class stamps is $19.
- The Camera Lens Mug/Thermos (http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/camera-lens-mug/). Photographers love them for some reason. Can't miss at $24 for Canon and $30 for Nikon. Or how about a Lens Bracelet (http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/lens-bracelets/) for $10?
- The F-Stop Watch (http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/f-stop-watch) -- The face is numbered in f-stops (2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 7, 11) where the hours are. $35
- USB 2.0 hub. Inexpensive but look for a 2.0 Hi-Speed USB port, even if it comes with a power brick. Providing power to the hub means you can attach power-hungry devices like external USB drives to the hub without draining your laptop's battery.
- External drive. Nobody ever has enough external drives. Compact 2.5-inch drives in small enclosures are more expensive than 3.5-inch drives for the same capacity. Network drives let you share the drive among a number of computers. And some drives even feature one-click backup capability.
- Merchandise from your images? Absolutely! Nothing says I-love-you like a T-shirt for Dad branded with that picture you took of him dozing after Thanksgiving. And Mom will love her high school picture on her T-shirt (you can even color her hair they way it should have been) -- You not only express what's truly in your heart, but you save gas and these things aren't that expensive to begin with! Consult your favorite online photofinisher.
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:
- Reviewed: Panasonic FZ150 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/FZ150/FZ150A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Nikon 55mm f/2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1403/cat/12)
- Reviewed: Canon 100 HS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/100HS/100HSA.HTM)
- Previewed: Panasonic GX1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/GX1/GX1A.HTM)
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 about the Canon Pro-1 printer at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eeb680a/0
Visit the Digital Cameras Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2a8
Readers ask about camera manuals at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.eeafb4b/0
Read about Nikon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=5
Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b2
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RE: Canon Pro-1
I'm going to get a new printer, deciding between Pro9000 Mark II and this new Pro-1. I'm printing on glossy media (in color) most of the time, storing the prints in A4 albums mostly.
- Is the "older" dye-ink Pro9000 Mark II print quality (color) on glossy papers even better than the Pro-1 (with the gloss optimizer)?
- I'm a bit worried about the longevity and color stability (permanence) of the dye-ink-based Pro9000 Mark II prints compared to those of Lucia pigment-ink-based Pro-1 despite the fact that I will store most of my print in dark in A4 album (but not covered with the reflexive plastic foil slides). I would really like to have my kids' prints unfaded in the album after 50 years. Do you think the PPro9000 Mark II inks can guarantee that?
-- Martin Dobias(Dye inks are absorbed into the surface of a glossy sheet, which actually swells to incorporate them before settling back down in a day. Pigments lay on top of the sheet and are not encapsulated like dyes. And because they are larger, they tend to create an uneven surface. Canon claims that isn't true of the new pigments used for the Pro-1. They lie flatter for two reasons: the new pigment chemistry and a screen pattern that optimizes dot size and layout to avoid clumping. We're still printing comparison prints, so stay tuned.... On the longevity issue, our rule of thumb is if it outlasts the expected life of the photographer, it's a go. We've been there with dyes for a long time now. And Canon's dyes are in the 300 year range for dark storage. -- Editor)
I noticed in the Pro-1's on-screen manual that the printer allows custom paper lengths of up to 26.61 inches and custom widths of up to 16.54 inches. Is the carriage that wide? It would be awesome to be able to run a 16-inch sheet through the printer, even if it required a one-inch border on each side.
-- T. Linn(We can't find that reference in our manual. The Rear Tray can take 13x19-inch sheets while the Manual Feed Tray can take that and 14x17-inch sheets as well. -- Editor)
RE: Old Scanner, New OS
I have been holding off getting Lion because my suspicions (which came true) are that the older peripherals I own (all Epson) won't work. So I bit the bullet, put Lion on and am now without a scanner. I have an Expression 1640XL as a big paperweight now. I have been in constant email communication with them and followed every direction in multiple emails to the letter without success. It first appears in Image Capture, but after I press the Scan button I hear some action, but eventually Image Capture tells me there is no Scanner present. :-(
Would there be a third party scanning software available that would work? Obviously Epson won't tell me and Apple says it rests on Epson's shoulders to fix this. Many of their scanner drivers need to be updated (according to Epson) and there is no timeline on any release. I have so much work backing up now. Any clue?
-- Pete Crosta(Both Apple (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3669) and Epson (http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supAdvice.jsp?type=highlights¬eoid=187318) list the 1640XL among the scanners supported under Lion, Peter. Note that updating from the 10.6 install is different from installing from scratch on 10.7, apparently just requiring the Epson download from Apple (which is how this usually gets handled).... If that doesn't work, however, VueScan does support the 1640XL without requiring the Epson driver on Lion: http://www.hamrick.com/vuescan/epson_expression_1640xl.html -- Editor)
Apple has released Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.9 (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1473), with Aperture and iPhoto '11 support for Canon PowerShot S100, Nikon 1 J1/V1, Nikon Coolpix P7100, Olympus E-PL1s/E-PL3/E-PM1, Panasonic FZ150 and Sony NEX-5N/SLT-A65/SLT-A77.
The Condition ONE app (http://vimeo.com/31608796) lets you "look in any direction while viewing footage. By pivoting and tilting the iPad, one literally manipulates the corresponding field of view. The highly sensitive motion controls produce the illusion of looking through a window into another reality."
Seim Effects (http://seimeffects.com) has released its $45 Silver Shadows 2 set of 100 Lightroom presets for black-and-white images.
Light Blue Software (http://www.lightbluesoftware.com) has released its $455 Light Blue 3.3 [MW] with support for iCal and iCloud publishing in Lion, a checkbox option to exclude certain quote and order lines from percentage discounts, updates for tax calculations, new mail merge tags, a Quick Query and more.
DxO Labs (http://www.dxo.com) has released its FilmPack 3.1 [MW] with 25 new creative renderings and an improved user interface. We're working on a review, too.
Cerios Software (http://www.cerious.com) has updated its venerable $59.95 ThumbsPlus [W] to v8 with numerous enhancements.
Lemkesoft (http://www.lemkesoft.com) has released its $39.95 GraphicConverter 7.4.1 [M] with reverse geocoding, conversion of HPGL to vector PDF, an AppleScript position property, improved HPGL and MPO import and more.
Neatberry (http://neatberry.com) has released its $29.99 PhotoStyler 6.0 [M] with new filters, a revised Tilt-Shift filter, a Before/After function, a redesigned photo editor and libraries, new exports and more.
Aperture has published The New York Times Magazine Photographs edited by Kathy Ryan. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 39 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1597111465/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Marc Rochkind (http://www.basepath.com) has released his $19.99 Ingestamatic [M], a simpler way (at the half the price of his ImageIngester) to ingest images from your card to your computer.
Rocky Nook has published Plateaus and Canyons by Bruce Barnbaum featuring 95 images (and essays) of the American Southwest. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 35 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952911/?tag=theimagingres-20).
The $6.95 BosTail (http://www.bosstrap.com) attaches to the left side eyelet or left strap lug for use with any sling style camera strap.
PhoozL.com (http://www.phoozl.com) has released PhoozL IQ: A Photo IQ Quiz as a mobile app available on the App Store. The free version "has fewer questions, easier questions and longer time clock," Harald Johnson told us. And the paid version is just 99 cents.
For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
Come to a Photo Workshop in France this summer: http://budurl.com/4wv5
Digital Photography Tutorials for Beginners: http://www.photoxels.com
Curtin Short Courses: http://imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?bdc
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
Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher