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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

BOOKS | Back to Contents

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!

A LENS | Back to Contents

  • Lensbaby 2 ( 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

STORAGE CARD | Back to Contents

BAGS | Back to Contents

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 ( 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 ( 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 (, 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


  • Imagenomic's Noiseware, Portraiture and RealGrain plug-ins ( 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 ( is the modern way of telling your family's story. $60

SERVICES | Back to Contents

  • Phanfare Photo (, 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 Contents


  • HP Photosmart C3180 ( 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 ( and newer MP960. They also combine a printer, copier and scanner into one box, adding direct printing from negatives to the mix. $399.99

4x6 Printers

13x19 Printers

MISC | Back to Contents

  • Pirolettes ( are wood turnings that cast a shadow in the shape of your profile. $150

  • Photostamps ( 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 (, 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 ( battery charger in several combo kits with AA batteries. $39.97 and up
    Maha Rechargable Batteries
  • Kingston 15-in-1 Hi-Speed Card Reader ( to handle just about any memory format other than xD. $20
    Kingston USB card reader