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



Lowepro Factor Messenger

Function and style make the Lowepro Factor Messenger an ideal bag for carrying around your laptop. With a dual-compartment design, the bag comes in two sizes—medium and large. The medium size fits most 15.4-inch widescreen notebooks, and the large holds 17-inch widescreens. The second compartment offers plenty of space for files and books, plus there are pleated pockets for cords and adapters. It's designed with reinforced, padded laptop protection and durable, water-resistant exterior fabrics. Breathable mesh back panels regulate airflow for comfort. Estimated Street Price: $49 (medium); $59 (large). Contact: Lowepro, (800) 800-LOWE, www.lowepro.com. -KC


Kingston 8 GB CompactFlash Card Ultimate 266X

I've found that getting the best performance from your D-SLR depends not only on the speed of your camera, but also on the kind of memory card you use—especially if you're shooting action photography. Trying to capture fast-moving subjects in continuous-firing mode with a slow card can be disappointing. The new Kingston 8 GB CF Ultimate 266X is a blazing-fast card that keeps pace with my camera's fps, plus it's no slouch when transferring image data to my computer. With a sustained reading speed of 45 MBps and a writing speed of 40 MBps, this little card hasn't let me down yet. Estimated Street Price: $250. Contact: Kingston, (877) KINGSTON, www.kingston.com. -AC


SanDisk Sansa Video MP3 Player

The SanDisk Sansa View 8 GB and 16 GB does more than just play back music. The 2.4-inch high-resolution screen is capable of playing back multiple video codecs at 30 frames per second, including MPEG-4, WMV, H.264 and DivX. With the 16 GB model, you can store 24 two-hour movies, up to 4,000 songs and 8,000 JPEGs (8 GB equals 12 two-hour movies, 2,000 songs and 4,000 JPEGs). Some other cool features are an FM radio that gives you 20 channel presets, an internal microphone for audio recording and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that powers your player for 35 hours of audio and 7 hours of video. You also can use the SD/SDHC expansion slot to up your storage space. Estimated Street Price: $150 (8 GB); $200 (16 GB). Contact: SanDisk, (866) SANDISK, www.sandisk.com. -AC


Samsung Syncmaster 275T

Doing detailed imaging on a large, 27-inch LCD screen is so much better than a 15-inch, or even a 20-inch. Working on photos is easier because they can be displayed in larger sizes, which reduces the amount of zooming in and out you usually have to do. Plus, you can have two letter-sized documents or photos open at the same time, side by side! The thin, 27-inch Samsung SyncMaster 275T monitor is loaded with high-quality features, including six-color hue/saturation adjustment, multiple USB ports and component video input. It also packs in a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, 500 cd/m2 of brightness and 178-degree viewing angles. With the MagicTune software, brightness, contrast and color levels can be adjusted in a few mouse clicks. Estimated Street Price: $1,020. Contact: Samsung, (800) SAMSUNG, www.samsung.com.-KC


Sony DSLR-A700

The Sony DSLR-A700 camera is a great new D-SLR. Using this midrange D-SLR in the field was a fun and intuitive process. It has a fast motor at five frames per second and great image quality of 12.24 megapixels. Super SteadyShot lets me shoot handheld, without a flash, up to four shutter speeds slower than normal. With Sony's DRO (Dynamic Range Optimizer), I could choose levels of detail recovered in shadow areas, which is a nice feature to have in low-light conditions. The A700 also has an eye-start AF system that begins focusing as soon as I put my eye to the viewfinder. Being largely into action sports, I have to say this made getting the perfect shots so much easier. Estimated Street Price: $1,400 (body only). Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com. -AC
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