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Deal of the Day


PC Magazine - Best of the Year Awards
Digital Imaging

At the end of each year, PC Magazine publishes its Best of the Year Awards. I thought that it might be useful, this year, to add this list to my website as a complement to my own list of camera and digital darkroom gear. All of the items are linked to and, where appropriate, to Adorama as well.

If you like this list, you might want to check out the Editor's Choice lists from Popular Photography and Imaging and PCPhoto Magazine.

Cameras, Printers and Other Hardware

Camera - Enthusiast
Olympus C-8080 8MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Wide Zoom
Other models have longer lenses and more intuitive menus, but the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom's excellent picture quality, deep feature set, and solid construction make it a great choice for enthusiasts. It boots up and recycles very quickly. In testing, flash shots showed well-saturated colors and strong balanced illumination. Exposure and colors were good in our simulated daylight shots.
Camera - Enthusiast
Leica 'Digilux 2' 5MP Digital Camera with 3.2x Optical Zoom
Digital photographers can -- for a hefty premium -- own a camera made by one of the most storied names in photography: Leica. Superb image quality, good recycle time, fast focus, and responsive zoom combine to prove that the Leica name translates very well from film to digital. A 2.5 inch LCD and bounce flash are among this camera's many great touches.
Camera - Digital SLR
Nikon D70 Digital SLR Camera Kit
The fast-shooting, reasonably priced D70 is Nikon's response to the Canon EOS Digital Rebel. It is easy to operate, with sensible menus, very quick boot-up time, negligible recycle time, shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 second, and the ability to shoot a 3 fps until the memory card is full. The images i produces (in RAW or JPEG format) are extremely crisp if slightly underexposed using the default settings.
Camera - Digital SLR
Canon EOS 20D 8.2MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Excellent construction and design, high-end performance, and razor-sharp images make this our favorite sub-$3,000 D-SLR. The camera is fast -- it boots up in just 0.2 seconds and can shoot at 5.4 fps for up to 23 frames -- and the images it captures have balanced exposure and illumination.
Canon Optura 400 MiniDV Camcorder w/10x Optical Zoom
Shooting sharp video with accurate colors, the Optura 400 keeps details in highlights and shadows well defined, and the auto-focus is very responsive. The Optura 400 offers many manual controls, adjustable audio levels, an adequate miniature video light, as well as still-image features like burst mode, AE bracketing, panoramic stitch assist, and a built-in flash. We were pleased with the Optura 400's still captures, which were acceptable for a 2MP sensor.
Photo Printer
Canon i9900 Photo Printer
For high-quality photos up to 13 by 19 inches, the Canon i9900 Photo Printer is our choice. The addition of red and green inks to the six standard photo-printer colors pays off in true photo quality.
Dedicated Photo Printer
Epson PictureMate Personal Photo Printer
Designed for portability, the compact Epson PictureMate produces true photo-quality output from a memory card, PictBridge or USB-Direct Print camera, CD or ZIP drive, or USB memory key, or via an optional Bluetooth adapter.
Flatbed Scanner
Canon CanoScan 8400F Flatbed Scanner
Most flatbed scanners that offer slide and film scanning do so as a convenience feature, not for the serious scanning. The Canon CanoScan 8400F is the exception -- its scans rival those of dedicated film and slide scanners.

Digital Darkroom Software and Organizers

Image Manager
ACDSee 7.0 Photo Management
The latest version of ACDSee isn't simple, but it is powerful and has a rich set of tools for organizing, editing, and sharing digital photos. You have deep control over EXIF and keyword data. And even with large image libraries, the app is strikingly fast.
Image Editing - Serious Hobbyist
JASC Paint Shop Pro 9
Paint Shop Pro 9 goes beyond simple editing, with impressive new tools and capabilities. Serious hobbyists will appreciate the "painting" features, reminiscent of Corel painter's. Adobe Photoshop is still number one for pre-press work, but Paint Ship Pro 9 is excellent for digital photo editing.
Image Editing - Consumer
Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0
Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 delivers robust image editing and some of the easiest image management we've seen -- with a great blend of power and ease of use. It inherits the amazing Healing Brush from Photoshop CS, for removing imperfections, as well as support for camera RAW files.
Image Editing - Professional
Adobe Photoshop CS
Photoshop remains the standard for advanced image editing. The latest version, Adobe Photoshop CS, keeps pace with advances in digital imaging: the new version has built-in support for camera RAW files and improved 16-bit image processing.
Video Editing - Consumer
Pinnacle Studio 9 Plus
Pinnacle Studio continues to impress. The current release, Pinnacle Studio Plus 9, fills some important gaps with a picture-in-picture-feature and pan-and-zoom controls for still images, a second timeline, and improved audio capabilities. Accessible for newbies, this editor also offers fine control for advanced users.
Video Editing - Professional
Adobe Video Collection Pro 2.5
Adobe Video Collection 2.5 contains Adobe Premier 1.5, Adobe After Effects 6.5 Professional, Adobe Audition 1.5, Adobe Encore DVD 1.5, and Adobe Photoshop CS. Each is excellent on its own; add Adobe's tight integration and you get the best professional level package for video editing, DVD authoring, audio editing, and special effects.
Slide Show Software
Arcsoft DVD Slideshow
Want to create a professional-looking show and burn it to DVD? ArcSoft DVD SlideShow does it all, with the best pan-and-zoom features we've seen and the unique ability to rotate images and apply an effect for a portion of the slide's duration. you can import audio files as well and auto-fit slide duration to song duration.
Video Effects - High-End
Apple Motion
Designed for adding professional-looking titles and animations to digital videos and DVDs, Apple Motion is powerful and flexible -- and intuitive enough for most novices. Most operations are displayed in real time, and you can even mix and match effects and behaviors.
Optical Correction Software
DX0 Optics Pro 2.0
Many problems caused by digital cameras and their lenses -- from barrel distortion to chromatic aberration -- can be fixed in Photoshop, but not quickly. DxO Optics Pro profiles camera/lens combinations to find the common deficiencies in each. With a single click, this indispensable program can fix these issues before the image is even imported into Photoshop.
DVD Authoring
MyDVD Studio 6
MyDVD Studio 6 is the easiest-to-use DVD-creation package we've tested -- ideal for novice filmmakers. The app's video-editing features are limited; its real power lies in its intuitive feature-rich DVD authoring capabilities.
Photo/Video Sharing
ShareGear 2004
Not limited to photos, ShareGear 2004 lets you share any type of files easily. Without monthly fees or company servers for uploading files to share, this peer-to-peer application lets you share right from your desktop. Just place items you want to share in a folder and send a Web link to people you want to share with.

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