The Photoshop User's Gift Guide
With less than a week to the major gift-giving holiday of the year, it's time to switch into high gear. This column is for the digital photographer's spouse, significant whatever, loved one, and person with a worried frown on his or her face. It's the annual PlanetPhotoshop Holiday Gift List for Digital Photographers.
There's not a single digital camera on the list, as I feel that buying a digital camera for someone else is a dangerous business. (I explain why in last year's gift-giving column, which you can read here.)
And while we're suggesting items for every budget, you'll find many gifts for less than $100. Of course, paying for priority shipping at this late date will add to the cost, but you may also find some of these items at your local camera shop. So here we go.
- Lens Cleaning Cloth , around $5. This sounds like a cheapskate's cop-out but digital cameras have as much, if not more, glass surface as 35mm boxes. The QuantaRay Opti-Cloth from Ritz Camera is a handy item to have in a gadget bag.
- Flash Card Cases , $6.95. Last year I mentioned the SanDisk CF Wallet for about $10. This year, Hakuba has a six-pocket Flash Card Wallet (below) for even less, with mesh pockets and Velcro closures. B&H Photo in New York.
- Tabletop Tripods , from $6.95. B&H Photo features the Canon Mini Tripod 4 (below) for less than $7. This little dude folds flat and supports your digital camera on any flat surface. The Canon tripod is just one of five or six dozen featured on the B&H site.
- Camera Bags , from $19.95. Go to B&H Photo and click on camera bags. Gadget bags run from less than $20 to several hundred bucks. Let me tell you, this is a risky purchase as photographers have specific ideas about what they want. Velcro versus zippers, etc. But if you have a good idea of what your photographer wants, B&H is the place.
- Nikon Coolpack , $89.95. B&H is selling this handsome gadget bag (below) plus four 28mm filters (for the 900 series), plus four NiMH batteries and a five-hour charger at $20 off. The bag is tan and it looks like it's being replaced by a black model which is available here.
- Cullman CU1002 Compact Tripod , $52.50. This is MY tripod (below) and a must for every traveling digital photographer. I was tickled to find this on the B&H site under tabletop tripods as I thought it had been discontinued. While it is technically a tabletop, its legs and center column extend to a maximum height of 32 inches. The ballhead is included and the whole works weighs just 19 ounces.
- Flash Cards . Compact Flash, SmartMedia, Sony Memory Sticks -- all are film for the digital photographer's camera. They can be purchased from nearly all camera stores and computer stores. I would recommend not buying anything smaller than 32MB. For instance, a SanDisk 128mb CompactFlash card is now selling online at B&H for $69.95
- SIMA Image Bank , $279. Small portable hard drives for uploading digital images have proliferated in the past year. My favorite is the Image Bank (below), a 3.2GB hard disk tailored for accepting data from CF and SM cards (a slot for each). Best of all, it's powered by six AA batteries so you will never have to recharge or run out of power. Also available at B&H.
- OPT-X Viewers , from around $115. The OPT-X is a simple bellows with a focusing eyepiece that shades and magnifies your camera's LCD (below). The Pro model includes a tripod mount screw drilled and tapped so that the rig can be used on a tripod. The OPT-X is a first-class accessory for Nikon 900 series, Olympus 2030-3040, Canon G-2, Kodak 4800 and Sony 75. In addition, Bob Schwartzman says he can build an OPT-X for any digital camera, providing the owner will ship him the camera for a few days. Available from OPT-X.com.
- Ilford Inkjet Paper, Gloss and Pearl . Ilford, long famous for its fine photographic printing papers, now offers a new line of inkjet stocks. Ilford Gallerie Classic Gloss & Classic Pearl are heavyweight, archival sheets with an extremely high degree of whiteness. They print beautifully on my Epson 2000. At $50 per 100 sheets (letter size), they beat the price of many manufacturer's proprietary sheets.
- Batteries And Chargers . NiMH and L-Ion are familiar terms to power-hungry digital photographers. They're rechargeable batteries and there's no better place to acquire them (and chargers) than Thomas Distributing. For instance, 1700maha Powerex NiMH batteries are $13.79 for a four-pack. Furthermore, you can get four batteries and a charger for $33.95.
- Photoshop Books . According to rumors, there are now more than 375 books about Photoshop. Of those, only about one percent are worth reading and .75 of them are by Scott Kelby (Editor's note: Scott is a founder of NAPP and PlanetPhotoshop). "Photoshop 6.0: Down & Dirty Tricks," "Photo Retouching Secrets," and the latest, co-authored with Felix Nelson, "Photoshop 6 Killer Tips." Any one will keep your digital photographer reading for months. Available at PhotoshopKillerTips.com or creativeproBooks.
- NAPP Membership , $99. If you enjoy PlanetPhotoshop, then you need a membership in the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). Benefits of membership include six (or more) issues of "Photoshop User" magazine, incredible discounts on all manner of products and services, and access to the NAPP website with its help line, member galleries, forums, and more.
This story brought to you by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP).
Copyright 2001 KW Media Group. Photoshop is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc.