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. We cover hundreds of new products each year, and trying to pick just a handful of these for recognition isn’t easy. So, while we can’t include every product worthy of mention, we try to highlight a variety of products we think represent the best of what’s available for photographers today.
From the latest cameras and lenses to software and essential accessories that will help you make better images more easily and in less time, the following products get our thumbs up for innovation and the value they’ll bring to your photo experience.
Amid the big splash of Nikon’s new D3 professional D-SLR introduction, the company also unveiled another new camera. While the D3 looks to be an amazing piece of photographic technology, the new D300 comes into the line making its presence felt with a bang, and it shares plenty of technology with its top-of-the-line sibling. The camera has a 12.3-megapixel image sensor and features live-view capability, enabling you to use the large three-inch LCD monitor to compose shots. Of course, you can still use the standard viewfinder and relegate the LCD for menu surfing and image review. That new LCD stands out because of its size, resolution (920,000 dots) and brightness. Looking at shots, sometimes called chimping, is comfortable, and I can really check out small details if I want to. Nikon’s EXPEED image-processing system keeps noise at bay and makes image quality as good as it can be. Of course, there are the usual features you’d expect on a new D-SLR—instant startup, no shutter lag, 51-point autofocus system—the list goes on. Estimated Street Price: $1,799. Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com. -CR
B+W Redhancer Filter
Have you heard the one about the digital photographer who didn’t think he had a use for on-camera filters anymore? That joke was on me about six years ago. I switched from film and immediately decided that I didn’t have to use a filter at all because I could do all of my enhancements in Photoshop. I quickly learned better. One filter that I keep around pretty much all the time is the B+W Redhancer. As the name implies, the filter enhances the reds, oranges and near-red components in the frame. This helps a potentially dull, flat scene pop with much more vivid color. Estimated Street Price: $49 to $165 depending upon size. Contact: B+W, (800) 645-7239, www.schneideroptics.com. -CR
DxO Optics Pro
I’m a sucker for the wide-angle perspective. I find myself reaching for super-wide zooms more than anything else in my bag, but along with that perspective comes the possibility of objectionable distortion, particularly at the corners and edges of the frame. Using DxO Optics Pro, I’m able to mitigate the distortion without sacrificing the perspective. The remarkable software has given new life to some of my images, which had become a little too distorted when I simply wasn’t paying attention. The software also features sophisticated color correction and a series of presets that takes care of it in one click. Estimated Street Price: $299 (DxO Optics Pro Elite). Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxo.com. -CR