Home Gear Accessories 2007 Editors' Choice Awards
Thursday, January 11, 2007

2007 Editors' Choice Awards

Our editors pick three dozen of their favorite products and technologies (just in time for last-minute holiday shopping)

Labels: Buyers Guide

Epson Stylus Photo R1800 Epson Stylus Photo R1800
How good will desktop inkjet printers get? No one knows, but what's certain is that they continue to improve year in and year out. The Epson Stylus Photo R1800 is affordable and features Epson's 8-color UltraChrome Hi-Gloss pigment inkset. The pigmented inks are archival-quality, meaning you can expect properly printed and stored images to last for decades to come (Epson claims 100 to 200 years!). The R1800 prints on media up to 13 inches wide, and there's a CD/DVD adapter to print directly onto the disks. At a fraction of the price, this printer buries the model I had on my desktop just four years ago. List Price: $549. Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com. —CR

Sigma APO Sigma APO MACRO 150mm ƒ/2.8

Sigma makes a compact, very sharp telephoto macro in its APO Macro 150mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG HSM lens (with this name, though, I feel like I'm watching Wheel of Fortune). I like the size of this lens, 3.1 x 5.4 inches, which is great for a 150mm ƒ/2.8 lens. Its use of two special low dispersion glass elements is commendable and helps the lens achieve high-quality results. On a D-SLR, it gives an excellent telephoto macro effect that I like very much. Estimated Street Price: $650. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com. —RS

Lowepro SlingShot Lowepro SlingShot 100AW
As far as I'm concerned, the best thing a camera bag can do is hold my gear securely and comfortably while staying out of my way. When Lowepro introduced the SlingShot 100 AW, I wasn't convinced at first. But when I actually used it, I found the bag to be the perfect traveling companion. One clip secures the bag comfortably on my back without the constant slippage endemic to most shoulder bags. Unclip that fastener and the bag slings around for easy access to all of the gear inside (it's big enough to hold my SLR body with a lens and a couple other lenses and accessories). Simple, elegant, comfortable and convenient-what more do you want in a bag? Estimated Street Price: $65. Contact: Lowepro, (707) 827-4000, www.lowepro.com. —CR

Nik Sharpener Pro Nik Sharpener Pro 2.0
Sharpening images before printing is an essential part of the digital workflow, but trying to decide on the best settings can be a challenge, even for a savvy "Photoshoper." Nik Sharpener Pro takes the guesswork out of enhancing photos by using an advanced set of algorithms that considers resolution, print size and viewing distance for sharpening. Whether intended for the web or a gallery wall, the plug-in produces excellent results in a fraction of the time needed to play with the Unsharp Mask tool. List Price: $329. Contact: Nik Software, (619) 725-3150, www.niksoftware.com. —IP



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