Friday, November 30, 2007

2008 Editors' Choice Awards

Our annual Editors' Choice Awards is consistently one of the most popular features in PCPhoto, but it's also one of the toughest for us as editors.
By The Editors Published in Accessories
2008 Editors' Choice Awards

Olympus PT-037 U/W Housing Setup

Scuba diving changed my life. Ask any of my friends and coworkers, and they'll tell you I can't shut up about it. It didn't take long before I brought photography into my passion for diving. One of my favorite underwater setups is the Olympus PT-037 housing with an SP560UZ Olympus camera inside. The setup can go to 130 feet, which is nice when I'm diving, but because of its relative light weight and compact size, I also love to use it when I'm just snorkeling. The image quality is dramatically better than the ubiquitous disposable cameras that you see people take into the water on vacation, and the price can't be beat. Estimated Street Price: $299 (housing only). Contact: Olympus, (888) 553-4448, -CR

Sigma 18-200mm DC OS

A feature once found on only a few lenses, image-stabilization technology is thankfully becoming quite common. Sigma's 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 DC OS lens offers an ideal zoom range for just about any photo opportunity and incorporates Sigma's Optical Stabilizer system, which uses sensors in the lens to detect and counteract unintended movement and shake that usually results from handholding our SLRs. Another excellent feature is the minimum focusing distance of approximately 18 inches throughout the zoom range, making it a capable close-up lens, too. It's available with Sigma, Nikon or Canon mounts. List Price: $820. Contact: Sigma, (800) 896-6858, -WP

Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod

The classic Manfrotto 055 tripod has been updated to be even more versatile than before. Part of the new "X" family of tripods, the aluminum 055XPROB weighs just over five pounds and can support about 15 pounds. Fully collapsed, it's 25.8 inches in length; when in use, it can range from 3.9 inches off the ground to a maximum of 70.3 inches with the center column fully extended. My favorite feature: Extend the center column to its maximum height, and it can be oriented horizontally, allowing you enhanced compositional flexibility. Estimated Street Price: $169. Contact: Bogen Imaging, (201) 818-9500, -WP

Apple iMac

We've long been fans of Apple's iMac computers, with their all-in-one integrated designs that boast powerful specs but keep space requirements to a minimum. The newest incarnation is arguably the most beautiful yet, and certainly the most powerful: The top-of-the-line 24-inch model can be equipped with Intel's 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme processor, up to 4 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. Available in 20- and 24-inch models with bright, glossy LCDs, the new iMacs also include Apple's redesigned keyboard-a low, ergonomic design that's really comfortable and is, hands-down, the best keyboard I've ever used. List Price: Starts at $1,799 (24-inch model). Contact: Apple, (800) MY-APPLE, -WP

Pentax K100D Super

D-SLR photography has become affordable for every photographer, and leading the way is the Pentax K100D Super. With solid specs and some advanced features like integrated Shake Reduction and Dust Removal systems, this 6.1-megapixel camera offers 2.8 fps capture of RAW or JPEG images. Numerous modes make it easy to get great results of a variety of subjects, or shoot in traditional modes like aperture- and shutter-priority. Compatible with a wide range of Pentax lenses, the K100D Super comes with an 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens to get you started, at a price that's as impressive as the camera. List Price: $599 (with lens). Contact: Pentax, (800) 877-0155, -WP
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