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The Inaugural PMA Envy Awards

images/pma-badge.jpg By MIKE PASINI
The Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter

Having pioneered the Ersatz Nobel for Customer Service and the rotating Missing Oscar, the Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter ( today announces the Envy Awards, a new award for exhibitors of particular merit or amusement at the Photo Marketing Association's annual trade show.









The name is borrowed from the Las Vegas restaurant where the idea took form at an editorial breakfast meeting. The award is symbolized by the aircraft-grade aluminum juice pitchers whose handles are too low to permit graceful pouring and were a continual source of frustration to the wait staff. Elegant but impractical, that's an Envy award. But the products are simply to be envied.

The inaugural batch of Envies, heretofore traditionally awarded only after the show in several vague categories, follow.

DSLR | Back to Contents

DIGICAM | Back to Contents

ACCESSORY | Back to Contents

  • Sony Alpha vertical grip. One Envy. Shawn noticed the new Alpha ( has a vertical grip that positions you in exactly the same relation to the lens as the horizontal grip. No, everybody doesn't do that. But they should.
  • Sigview S2. One Envy. No Live View on your dSLR? No problem. For the price of a digicam, you can add this optical viewfinder attachment ( which doubles as a remote shutter release.
  • Jobo photoGPS. One Envy. Pop this ( on your hotshoe and download its data with your images after a shoot to get GPS information added to your Exif headers. The hotshoe powers the unit just when you take a shot, preserving battery life for up to a year.
  • Lexar UDMA 300x CompactFlash. One Envy. This Ultra Direct Memory Access card ( with a UDMA reader can write 45-MB a second. That's something we appreciate being stuck at 90 words a minute.
  • M-Rock Bags. One Envy. It's the only holster ( big enough for a vertical grip with a bungie cord on the bottom for stuff you can't fit inside, plus an all weather cover.
  • Ultimate Light Box. One Envy. This inexpensive flash diffusion system ( gives you a studio full of options in a compact collection.
  • Unibind PhotoBook Creator. One Envy. This version ( is a bit more expensive than the stapler-dependent one in our video ( but you can undo the binding.
  • PanDigital 8-inch Digital Photo Frame. One Envy. We saw a lot of digital photo frames at the show, but this one ( has a unique chip and the 8-inch version has a very bright LED backlight.
  • Berlebach Tripods. One Envy. Imported from Germany by HP Marketing, these wood tripods made from ash have been around for 110 years. Beautiful, solid, weathered ash, kiln dried, rigid, immune to environmental changes and vibration free. In a range of sizes from a tabletop that sits on the ground on up. A 7 lbs. tripod that rises from 20 to 64 inches goes for under $200.

LENS | Back to Contents

  • Nikon AF-S DS VR 55-200mm f4-5.6 Zoom. One Envy. But at $250, why envy it? Nikon has not only put an affordable telephoto zoom in reach of its 18-55mm kit lens owners, but it's a stabilized telephoto zoom, which actually makes it usable.

PRINTER | Back to Contents

SOFTWARE | Back to Contents

  • Boinx Fotomagico 2.0. Two Envies. Our favorite way to make slide shows gets one for making a free upgrade to the Express edition ( and another for the Pro watermarking feature.
  • Phanfare Photo. One Envy. If this were a free service (, no one would be talking about Flickr. But you get what you pay for. Sharing done right. And the new scalable video is beyond right.
  • PhotoLab. One Envy. This new Windows application ( was exhibited at Pepcom's DigitalFocus but we're counting them in anyway. It was simply the simplest camera-to-print process we've seen, with things like red-eye reduction taken care of during image import. These guys spent as much time on the user interface as they did on image analysis -- and it shows. Some companies would just outsource that, but what's that say about them?