A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
Let's cut to the chase. No hemming. No hawing. Just candid recommendations of the best products in each category.
Buying from links on this page compensates us for our candor. And we welcome subscribers (we know who you are) to discuss it further.
Best 13x19 Dye-Based Printer
YOU WANT to print gorgeous sunsets on glossy or luster sheets? This is it. Not as versatile as a pigment printer but nothing can touch it.
Best 13x19 Pigment Printer
HANDLES EVERYTHING (canvas rolls, too) with superior black matte printing on porous sheets (which is a big deal). See the news story.
WE'RE STILL USING this model because it handles everything (canvas rolls, too) with excellent black matte printing on porous sheets.
Best All-in-One Device
JURY'S STILL out. If you need fax capability, look at office multifunction devices. Otherwise look at photo multifunction devices where a need for transparency scanning will restrict you to the more expensive models. Simple as that.
Recommended companies have traditionally been Canon and, to a lesser extent, Epson. Avoid HP (it loses interest in its own drivers far too soon). And Kodak, we note, has avoided you.
Best All-Around Desktop Scanner
AN UPDATE TO the venerable V750/V700, you can't beat it for scanning transparencies as large as 8x10. See the news story.
Best Used All-Around Desktop Scanner
IF YOU'RE LOOKING for a used scanner, you can't beat this baby.
Best Budget Desktop Scanner
WE'RE STILL HAPPY with the original 9000F Mark but this is its current incarnation.
Best Dedicated 35mm Slide Scanner
Best Dedicated 35mm Slide Scanner
IT'S JUST FOR 35mm originals (negatives or slides), though, and you have to push each set of four through the scanner, one at a time.
Best Camera and Lens Bags
BEST DESIGNED, best built bags of any genre.
Best Sliding Strap
Carry Speed FS-Pro
$40 to $80
JUST PREFERRED it over the Bosstrap, Blackrapid, Custom SLR and Cotton Carrier options.
Best White Balance Tool
WE USE one of these credit-card sized gray cards calibrated for digital exposure when we're stuck in weird lighting situations like museums where the color matters and can't be "corrected" later without some reliable reference. The Whibal is a reliable reference, to put it mildly. Don't leave home without it.
Best Remote Release
YOU GET an iOS or Android app with a cable that connects the device (like your phone or tablet) to your camera. And then the doors blows off the place. You can emulate a cable release, fire on sound, shoot timelapse, warp the interval between shots, fire based on distance traveled (with GPS in your device), shoot when the device moves, fire when a face is recognized and more. Too good to be true, so make sure your camera is compatible with it first.
Best Memory Card
YES, THERE are smaller and slower (Class 6) Eye-Fi cards but we buy cards to outlive our cameras. And why not add WiFi to your camera while you're at it?
Best Comprehensive Package
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Program
THE PACKAGE includes Lightroom desktop and mobile to catalog, edit non-destructively and share your image collection plus Photoshop to perform even more magic tricks, like pixel-level retouching. It's a one-two punch without an equivalent at a price that's unfathomable. And you'll always be able to access your work, even if you decide not to subscribe any longer.
Best Single Purpose Image Editor
DxO Optics Pro
$299 Elite Edition
$169 Standard Edition
WHAT SETS Optics Pro apart is what it knows about your camera and lens. Everything. So the corrections it can automatically apply to your images are informed corrections. And it's noise control is second to none. DxO regularly discounts both versions when updated, too.
Best Film Emulation Plug-In
FILM EMULATION is just one thing Exposure does well. It can also print that image on antique paper for you. And distress both the film and the paper. The options may not be endless but they are inspiring. There's even a lens simulator built into the application that can blur your background by the f-stop. Well made stuff.