Articles: Holiday Gift Guide 2005


Holiday Gift Guide 2005With the Thanksgiving holiday a few days away and only a few weeks until Christmas, it's time to start thinking about what you are going to buy the photographer in your life, even if that's you! I've looked back over all the products that I have reviewed during 2005 and picked my favourites, from digital cameras to printers and stocking fillers. I've also suggested some similar products that may be worth looking at which I haven't reviewed, and there are handy links to the latest and most competitive prices from online retailers. So, somewhat in advance, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Digital Compact Cameras

Under £200

Fujifilm Finepix E550

Fujifilm Finepix E550
If you are interested in action photography or simply want a more responsive camera, then the Fujifilm Finepix E550 is the entry-level model for you. It offers a 6 megapixel sensor (with 12 megapixel available through interpolation) and a usable ISO 800 mode which is great for really low-light photography.
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Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20

Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 is a very good entry level camera that will allow your photography skills to flourish as you gain more experience, whilst not being too intimidating for complete beginners. If you are just getting seriously interested in photography and want the immediate feedback of a digital camera without spending too much, the DiMAGE Z20 is a wise investment.
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Also worth considering: Canon Powershot A520, Nikon Coolpix 5600, Sony Cybershot S90

£200 to £400

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200
The 7 megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200 has been around for a while now and is something of a bestseller. It's easy to see why - the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200 is compact, stylish, well-built and takes good photographs that produce great A4 prints.
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Nikon Coolpix 7900 Nikon Coolpix 7900
The Nikon Coolpix 7900 is a compact, stylish and easy to use digital camera that produces great image quality. The 7 megapixel Nikon Coolpix 7900 is one of the most responsive digital cameras that I have reviewed, and is well-suited to capturing both static subjects and more fast-moving subjects such as your children or sports photography.
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Canon Digital IXUS 750

Canon Digital IXUS 750
The Canon Digital IXUS 750 has an undeniable sense of quality. No other digital camera that I've reviewed has the same level of sheer luxury as this one, in terms of design, finish, ease-of-use and images. It will impress your friends with its looks and take any hard-knocks that you subject it to, and it's very intuitive to use and delivers fantastic image quality.
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is Sony's first attempt at an ultra-zoom digital camera, and on the whole it is a very successful one. It's easy to see why - the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 is stylish, well-built and takes good 5 megapixel photographs that produce great A4 prints.
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Also worth considering: Fujifilm Finepix F10, Casio Exilim EX-Z750, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9

£400 Upwards

Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200

Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200
The wealth of configurable options on offer, the anti-shake feature, that great mechanical zoom ring, full aperture and shutter speed modes, a great twistable LCD screen and even a supplied wireless remote all add up to make the Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 an attractive proposition.
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Nikon Coolpix 8400

Nikon Coolpix 8400
The Nikon Coolpix 8400 is a fantastic digital camera in most respects, and it is the only digicam to feature a 24mm wide angle lens. Lovers of wide-angle photography should obviously strongly consider the Nikon Coolpix 8400. It is also a very capable digital camera in terms of build quality and features.
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Also worth considering: Fujifilm Finepix S9500, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30, Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom

Budget Digital SLRs

Konica Minolta Dynax 5D

Konica Minolta Dynax 5D
You should seriously consider this digital SLR camera if you don't already have a vested interest in the likes of Canon or Nikon. Priced as an entry-level camera, the Konica Minolta Dynax 5D offers much more than an entry-level specification. It only has a few missing features when compared to its bigger brother, the Konica Minolta Dynax 7D, relying on cheaper build materials rather than removing features to bring the price down.
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Nikon D50

Nikon D50
The Nikon D50 is an entry-level digital SLR camera with a professional-level feature set. If you want a D70s but can't quite afford one, buy the D50 instead - it delivers 90% of the performance at a lower cost. Ultimately the Nikon D50 provides almost everything that most photographers need in a camera (digital or otherwise), whilst delivering great ease of use and very impressive image quality.
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Also worth considering: Olympus E-300, Pentax *ist DS, Canon EOS 350D

Pro Digital SLRs

Canon EOS 5D
The Canon 5D is a 12.8 megapixel full-frame digital SLR camera which uses the Digic II processor and features a 2.5 inch LCD screen. Weighing just 810 grams, it features a second generation 35.8 x 23.9mm CMOS sensor, 3 frame per second, 60 Large JPEG frame burst and 0.2 second start up time operation.
Latest Prices

 
Nikon D50

Nikon D200
The Nikon D200 is a 10.2 megapixel DSLR with a 2.5 inch LCD screen and 11-area auto-focus system. Other highlights of the D200 include a magnesium alloy body, 5 frames per second continuous mode and 3D Color Matrix Metering II.
Latest Prices

 
Also worth considering: Canon EOS 20D, Nikon D2X, Konica Minolta Dynax 7D

Accessories

Epson P-2000 Multimedia Storage Viewer

Epson P-2000 Multimedia Storage Viewer
The Epson P-2000 Multimedia Storage Viewer has done what few products that I have reviewed here on PhotographyBLOG have ever done - made their way into my camera bag! The Epson P-2000 represents the best compromise between having a laptop computer or one of the other portable storage devices on the market.
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HP Photosmart 8750

HP Photosmart 8750
The HP Photosmart 8750 is an easy to use and very well-built 9-colour inkjet printer that delivers great image quality, producing fantastic colour and black and white prints straight out of the box on matt, satin and glossy papers. With the HP Photosmart 8750 you can get truly neutral black and white prints straight out of the box.
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Spyder2PRO Studio

Spyder2PRO Studio
The Spyder2Pro Studio is a lot more accurate in terms of its output than the consumer level ColorPlus. Stepping up from ColorPlus to Spyder2Pro Studio for calibration was almost as effective as going from an uncalibrated monitor to one calibrated using ColorPlus. ColorVision's claims of a 5 times increase in accuracy with its new colorimeter really do seem to be true.
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Wacom Intuos3 A4 Pen Tablet

Wacom Intuos3 A4 Pen Tablet
Wacom are the industry leaders in the pen tablet field and with good reason - their products are well designed, well made and customisable in virtually every way imaginable, and the Wacom Intuos3 is no exception to that rule. Neat touches like the tablet keys and touch strip ensure that the Intuos3 a joy to use, making tasks that are frustrating to do with a conventional keyboard and mouse much more intuitive.
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Stocking Fillers

Color Confidence "Color Confidence" by Tim Grey
Color Confidence is a book that every serious digital photographer should have in their library. If you are all interested in producing prints that accurately represent what you saw when you originally took the picture, then this book is for you. Grey addresses the entire color workflow in an easy-to-understand way that ultimately produces results, saving you time and money.
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Designer Print Designer Print
Designer Print is a UK-based photofinishing service that allows you to turn your favourite images into a work of art by having them printed onto canvas, block mounted, or made into a poster print. Using the latest digital printing technology Designer Print offers a large format printing service, creating canvas prints that will look stunning in your home or office.
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Intemos ICloth Intemos ICloth
Perhaps not the most exciting present in the world, but this is the best lens cloth that I have ever used. The ICloth is a generous 12 x 14 inches in size making it easier to handle when cleaning both small and large glass areas. ICloth is suitable not only for lenses but also scanners and other optics as well.
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SanDisk ImageMate SanDisk ImageMate
If you’re looking for a reliable and inexpensive memory card reader / writer which supports most of the different memory card formats, then look no further than the Sandisk ImageMate.
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