Imaging Resource 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Printers, scanners, accessories and more


posted Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 6:11 PM EDT

We kicked off our holiday gift-giving roundup yesterday with a selection of the best cameras and lenses for the photographer-friend in your life, but what to do if they're already happy with their photographic setup?

That's where Part Two of our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide comes in. We've gathered a healthy selection of photo gifts to choose from beyond cameras and optics, and no matter what the recipient's tastes and your own budget, there's bound to be something they'd be thrilled with in the list. (We've even included a couple of freebies that you can slip in amongst your purchases to stretch your hard-earned cash a little further!)

Rest assured, the items we've chosen are those we'd feel happy choosing for our own friends and family. Should you want a little more info, we've included handy links to our reviews throughout this item. Missed Part One of the Guide? It's worth a read as well, even if you've already finished your holiday shopping: it might just give you a few ideas for your next camera purchase. You've got all those once-in-a-lifetime holiday moments to document, after all -- maybe it's time to spoil yourself for getting the gift-buying done early this year!

As in Part One, we've included approximate prices for everything in this list, so you can scan through to find something that matches your budget. For even more great buys, be sure to check out the latest camera and photo equipment deals that we're compiling and updating daily here.



The Printed Picture by Richard Benson (~$40, hardcover)
Based on the 2009 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, tells the fascinating story of how we have reproduced images.

One in a Thousand by Ian Coristine (~$9, iPad e-book)
If there's a theme that recurs in Ian's story, it's his appreciation for the way things have of accidentally just working out. Read our review of the book for more.

Oil by Edward Burtynsky (~$80, hardcover; $10, iPad e-book).
The three main slide shows feature a video walk-through of that part of the exhibit by the same name with Burtynsky, plus the easily enlarged images with hidden text captions include mapping information. Many of them also include a very informative audio caption.

The DAM Book by Peter Krogh (~$30, paperback)
Covers everything about managing an image collection except survival strategies.

Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers by Harold Davis (~$23, paperback)
Focuses on the three factors you can actually do something about when you take a picture. Talk about fundamentals!

Lightroom 4 Video Tutorials by George Jardine ($25-35 per disk, DVD)
Covers digital photo library management from top to bottom in a set of 16 video tutorials with over 6 hours clear and helpful screencasts. There's a Develop series and a Location Workflow series for Lightroom 4 as well, but start at the beginning with the Library Module series. You'll finally grasp what Lightroom is all about.



Use our Gift Certificate to start a free subscription to the Imaging Resource newsletter, which includes free email support directly from the editor (saving you lots of explaining).



A stocking stuffer memory card of the right type is always welcomed: Secure Digital, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Micro, Micro SD, Micro SDHC, xD Picture Cards, or XQD. For video or fast burst shooting in particular, look for a high-speed, high-capacity card.



Sometimes we wake up at night in a cold sweat trying to remember if we told you how important it is to copy your photos to an external drive, DVDs, anywhere. Multiple copies.


WD My Passport USB 3.0 External Drive
US$70 to US$140 depending on capacity (500GB to 2TB); get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
What we use at the bunker these days. The cable is USB 2.0 compatible, works off a hub (even an Airport Extreme) and after a reformat with Disk Utility is Mac compatible. Formatted for Windows right out of the box. Small, inexpensive, and rock solid.


OWC On-The-Go Pro FireWire Drive
US$145 for 1TB; get yours now from Amazon
A little more expensive than the USB variant above, but a nice FireWire 800/400 and USB 3.0 package ideal for OS X users. We've used these for years without a failure.


Kingston DataTraveler GE9 / SE9 USB Flash Drive
US$7 for 8GB; US$10 for 16GB; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Styled by industrial designer Arman Emami, it's not only compact and elegant; it's also inexpensive. Put a bunch of stuff on it and slip it on a keychain.

Waterproof DVD / CD / Blu-Ray Printable Media
Now that not just Epsons can print on disc media, the trick is to buy waterproof printables. Edward de Jong of Magic Mouse recommends two brands: JVC Taiyo Yuden Watershield and the Imation Aquaguard discs.




Think Tank Photo
From US$10 for battery and card holders; US$50 to US$500 for laptop and camera cases; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
An embarrassment of riches, all well-made to coddle that expensive gear, with plenty of configurable padded partitions and lots of little extras. But what really impresses us is the range of options, from the Retrospective line to Airport wheelers.

From US$1 for point-and-shoot cases; US$50 to US$225 for camera bags; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Can't omit the old canvas stalwart. It's been around for decades for a reason. And we even drag ours out when nothing else will do. The small shoulder bag is $120.

Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 150 AW
US$100; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Pack a 13-inch laptop or tablet with DSLR video gear and go.




Sliding Straps
US$40 - US$60
They aren't for everyone, but if you like the concept, our survey covered a half dozen of this year's leading contenders. We liked the BosStrap and Carry Speed straps best.

From US$22 to US$54; get yours now from UPstrap
Redesigned for 2011, this is a no-slip, heavy-duty family of straps for any camera.

Cotton Carrier
US$139 for one camera; US$189 for two cameras; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Clip a heavy-duty camera to a belt.

Spider Black Widow Holster
US$50 to US$65; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Clip a lightweight camera to a belt.




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 polarized 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 the camera does not have an IR blocking filter on its sensor.

Filter wrenches are just the ticket for removing a circular polarizer. Adorama sells a set that handles 62-77mm lenses for $5 and smaller sizes are available, too.



An external flash is a great way to improve photos. A dedicated strobe with wireless capability can open new doors of creativity for you or your photographer. Typical units: Nikon Speedlight SB-400 $120, SB-700 $330, SB-910 $550; Canon Speedlite 90EX $150, 270EX II $155, 320EX $200, 430EX II $255, 600EX-RT $570



US$15 to US$45 depending on size; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
WhiBal is a small gray card with a lanyard, and it's 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. Read our WhiBal card review for more.

DataColor SpyderCube
US$50; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
We really appreciated having reference points for absolute black and a spectral highlight plus a white and black reference point in the image, too. More details in our DataColor SpyderCube review.


US$80 for Mark II; US$160 for Mark II Plus; US$85 for long ruler kit; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
There is nothing like precision in our fog-banked existence; LensAlign is a measuring tool that can cut through the vagaries of focus to help you fine tune autofocus accuracy. Learn more in our reviews of the LensAlign MkII and its optional long ruler kit.

IT8 Targets
Wolf Faust has great prices for IT8.7/1 transmissive targets and IT8.7/2 reflective targets for calibrating scanners.



Adobe Creative Cloud
The Creative Cloud brings together all of Creative Suite 6 for a more affordable monthly subscription fee. A three-month pre-paid membership key card at Amazon for example, runs about US$100. Other options are available, including a twelve-month membership (US$600), a three-month Photoshop subscription (US$60), and more.


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
US$76 for the upgrade edition; US$100 for the full version; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
The latest version of Adobe's photographer-centric application adds an impressive new processing engine, 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.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11
US$80; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Elements remains the gold medal holder for the amateur who just wants to do more with photos and video. You know who you are!


DxO Optics Pro
US$140 for the standard edition; US$270 for the pro edition; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Transforms camera captures dramatically, removing optical flaws and delivering color and detail at high ISO. And Version 8 is even easier to use with incredible automatic corrections.

US$40 for the standard edition; US$80 for the professional edition; get yours now from Hamrick Software
An affordable and comprehensive scanning software solution. Buy one copy, use it on any scanner you own. And read our VueScan review to learn more...

US$29; get yours now from DataRescue
Remains the leader in image recovery software, now handling movie files as well as images. More details in our DataRescue review!

US$40; get yours now from GroupSmarts
The modern way of telling a family's story; Macintosh only.




Nik Snapseed
Free for Android and iOS devices; $20 for Windows or Mac desktop; get yours now from Nik Software
Not only does it make the routine stuff like Straighten or Sharpen simple, but it provides some cool effects like Drama (HDR), Center Focus and Tilt-Shift. So anybody can wring the most out of an image or take it to the Twilight Zone, whatever they feel like doing. Read our Snapseed app review.

Adobe Photoshop Touch
$10 for Android devices on Amazon Appstore or Google Play; $10 for iOS on iTunes
This is a nicely tailored version of layer-based editing for those of us who like to take our images somewhere beyond what the camera captured. Our Adobe Photoshop Touch review covers the iOS version.

Phoozl IQ
Base version free for iPhone / iPod Touch and iPad; PRO version $1 for iPhone / iPod Touch or $3 for iPad; available on iTunes
Know any gamers? Test their photography chops on this one. ot only are there a myriad of quiz questions dealing with imaging, but there are even a few "cultural" ones. More details in our Phoozl review.

Canon Easy-PhotoPrint
Free for Android and iOS devices; available on Google Play and iTunes
A pretty nice printing utility for any Android/iOS tablet if you know someone with a recent Canon printer. Nobody has to know it was free. Read the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint review.




Epson R3000
US$720 approx.; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Just the best 13x19 pigment-based printer we tested this year, with art media, roll, disc and photo paper printing capability. Read our Epson R3000 review!

Canon PIXMA PRO-100
US$720 approx.; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
And just the best 13x19 dye-based printer we tested this year. We aren't afraid of dye longevity on swellable sheets, and it makes our sunsets last longer than two minutes. We've got a Canon Pro-100 review!

You can do a lot with an inexpensive all-in-one these days, too. Our favorites continue to be the Canons followed by the more complexly engineered Epsons. Kodak has made an ungracious exit from this market and HP still hasn't convinced us it will support its hardware with software updates. Expect to pay $100 or thereabouts.



Epson V700/V750
US$520 for the V700 from Adorama or Amazon; the V750 starts from US$730 at Adorama or Amazon
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. Read the Epson V700 review.

CanoScan 9000F
US$150; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
A modern day classic, complete with Canon's easy-to-use ScanGear software. Of course, we have a CanoScan 9000F review.

Plustek OpticFilm 8200i AI
US$370; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
Plustek is just about the only 35mm film scanner manufacturer out there these days, and its new OpticFilm 8200i follows on from the 7600i. There's no automatic feed, but that's about all we could complain about with the earlier model, which had identical hardware but an older software package. See the PlusTek OpticFilm 7600i review for more.




ColorMunki Photo
US$450; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
The more we use the ColorMunki Photo spectrophotometer to profile our monitors and papers, the more we like it. Take a look at our ColorMunki Photo review and see why.

Datacolor Spyder4
US$110 to 250 depending on model; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
For monitor calibration; it's the only device that will calibrate an iPad. Read the Datacolor Spyder4 review; we also covered iPad color calibration separately.

Joby Gorillapod
US$13 to 150 depending on size; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
You can find these miniature tripods anywhere (so they're great last minute gifts). And they can hang onto anything.


KB Covers
US$14 to 40 depending on size; get yours now from Adorama or Amazon
These membranes are printed with keyboard legends specific to one piece of software, like Lightroom.

US$150; get yours now from Amazon or turnyourhead
These wood turnings cast a shadow in the shape of your profile. Also available is a US$50 to US$60 portrait (a flat version) that can be framed.

Starts from US$17 for a sheet of 20; get yours now from
Print a sheet of perfectly legal stamps in denominations from 32 cents to US$5.15, with either an image or a logo on them. Each sheet contains 20 stamps in your chosen denomination.


* All prices are approximations of those provided at press time, and indicate the lowest available price where more than one retailer is listed.