My 2007 recommendations for gift cameras are:
Canon G9: Approx $450 dpreview
Canon SD870-IS: Approx $330 dpreview
Canon SD750: Approx $225 dpreview
The G9 is just a fantastic Rangefinder camera that shoots RAW. This camera is in a class by itself, absolutely nothing compares. See My NOV 17 Compact RAW Cameras post.
The SD870IS is a good all around camera for the point and shooter. It’s well worth the extra $105 dollars over the SD750. The SD750 is a real bargain at $225. Let me compare the two for you: The SD870 IS is very slightly bigger: 3.7 x 2.3 x 1.0 inch vs. 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.8 in . The SD870 IS is also a better camera. Wider lens, brighter flash, auto ASA, Image Stabilization,and more pixels.
Don’t forget a small protective case like: Lowepro Rezo 15(SD870IS) Compact Camera Pouch 15.99 OR Rezo 10 for the SD750.
You’ll also need big SD card: I recommend a Sandisc 4GB Secure Digital SD card $52.
Here are few gift ideas for those family members who already have cameras. These also make nice additions to a camera purchase:
Photoshop Elements 6
ACDSee 10 Photo Manager
Digital Picture Frames are also hot items this year. I like the idea of gifting one of these with images pre-loaded. It’s very difficult to evaluate these because you really need to see it and there aren’t many places that you can get your eyes on one. The technology built into the high end models is amazing. Some of the high tech models have 802.11b/g wireless and are web enabled for photo sharing. You can load images from any internet connection to a frame on Grandmas wall. Very cool, but expensive and complicated to set up.
The Axiotron ModBook is a MacBook converted into a Tablet. I’ve been looking into the Vista tablets and have my sites set on a Lenovo Thinkpad X61. Now Mac users have a tablet option as well. Rumors about Mac Tablets have been floating around for years; this one is real. On a Mac your getting the same functionality as you would with a Wacom tablet, including 512 levels of pressure. There arn’t a lot of specialized applications built for a Mac tablet, but OS X has plenty built in. Inkwell, or simply Ink, is the name of the handwriting recognition technology built into OS X. It’s based on the 1990s Apple Newton MessagePad. Apple has had handwriting technology around since 1993. It’s amazing that this is the first Mac tablet
The ModBook also has an Optional GPS module which uses standard protocols, so it will work with a variety of GPS programs.
If you want to run Windows on a ModBook, you can use bootcamp.
There is a lot to like about this first Mac tablet and I’m sure you can expect tablets from Apple very soon.
I’m often ask how do I print holiday cards around this time of year. This is really a personal decision based on what you want it to look like and whether your sending it our for business or for friends. I like to do something very different every year. It’s usually a big production, which sucks up a lot of time. I use to do Inkjet prints on watercolor paper, which people actually collected and framed. In recent years I’ve included images of my two boys. For personal cards, it’s almost mandatory to include a picture of the offspring if you have them.
Here are a few tips and recommendations:
If you have kids, I recommend sending a picture of them in a size that will fit in an Album or Frame: 4”X6” or 5”X7”. This could be something that can be cut out of the overall design.
Holiday cards can be printed on photographic paper or ganged up with other people’s cards on an offset press. Here are two services I‘ve used in the past:
shutterfly.com I like the “Holiday Photo Cards” but I’ve been disappointed in the “5X7 Greeting Cards”. The Photocards are are printed on standard photographic paper, but include some design elements. Make sure your files have an S-RGB profile before you upload them. For more info on local printers and profiles check www.drycreekphoto.com.
postcardpress.com I’ll be using the Design Online feature of this for my custom cards this year. This is offset printing ganged up with other people’s cards. It’s a great deal for a custom card but requires some design skills.
I wish camera manufactures would work on bigger sensors instead of more pixels. Old school photographers who swear by film cameras do have a point, but it’s not that film is better. The look and resolution of the film can be reproduced by digital techniques. Sensors are able to outperform film in almost every aspect. It’s the look of a medium format or large format film size and lens combination that can’t be reproduced. It’s all about the size relationship between the film and the lens. Longer focal length lenses are inherently sharper, and have shallower depth of field. They are also easier to precisely focus. When you combine these factors with the right of view, you have the big camera look. A wide angle lens on an 11X14 camera is a 210mm. A 210MM lens on a compact camera sized sensor will make the creators on the moon look like they are two feet from you. A wide angle lens on a compact camera is a 6MM. There’s nothing in digital that gives you the look of a “210mm wide angle lens.”
The diagram is sized down to fit on this blog, but the size relationships are still good.
The angle of view changes, but the other characteristics of the lenses stay the same. A 7mm lens has an incredible amount of depth of field at 2.8 mm. It also has a fair amount of distortion. It’s really tough to get shallow depth of field out of these small sensors. I often use Photoshop techniques produce shallow depth of field looks. The technique is simple.
- Duplicate the background
- Blur the new layer
- Add a black layer mask
- Paint the layer mask white where you want it sharp
ACR 4.3 (Adobe Camera Raw) will open Jpeg and Tiff file and edit them as well. This is a nifty and useful addition to ACR. You can set ACR as your default preference for opening Jpeg and tiff files. Go to Edit/Preferences in Adobe bridge and set the thumbnail preferences to “prefer camera raw for Jpeg and tiff files.” There is also a setting in the Camera Raw preferences for “always open jpeg files with setting using CameraRaw.” When you open up a Jpeg or Tiff file in ACR 4.3 it saves your edits to a sidecar XMP file. Only by clicking the save image or opening the image in Photoshop and saving it do you apply your actual edits to the file.
You can also use ACR to save jpeg or tiff files as DNG files. This has some real possibilities. There are lots of reasons to shoot jpeg as an original file format: speed, card space, wireless transmission, etc. I don’t know of any good reason to shoot tiff as a camera file format. I do of course use tiff as derivative file format. The issue WAS that you had to edit the original file and save over it or you had to save a new file if you wanted to keep your original in tact. The DNG file format puts the original jpeg, the camera raw editing info, a derivative Jpeg preview file, and metadata all inside of the DNG bubble.