Digital Focus: Holiday Shopping Guide, Part 1

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I love this season so much that I wish I could give some sort of digital photo gift to each and every one of my faithful readers. But since I don't have all of your mailing addresses, I'll do the next best thing.

This week and next, I'm presenting my annual digital photo shopping guide that you can use to round out your wish list or buy a gift for a photographer you know.

Photo Show-Offs

A buddy of mine recently observed that since getting a digital camera, he doesn't want traditional photo frames anymore. Instead, he wants to get a digital photo frame that can show off his electronic photos. For him--and all of you--I have a couple of recommendations.

Philips sells some impressive photo frames. The 9FF2M4/37 may have a name only a mother cyborg could love, but it also has a 8.25-inch display, a USB connection, and a nonreplaceable rechargeable battery (so you can pass it around without worrying about the power cord). The home decorator on your list will appreciate the four interchangeable frames that let you match this gadget to the color of the room. I found it for $207 at Amazon.com.

Or how about a photo frame that wirelessly connects to your PC and automatically displays pictures from your collection according to criteria that you specify (like tags and dates)? That would be Digital Spectrum's MF-8104 Premium. This 10.4-inch frame sells at Amazon.com for $380.

It Glows!

Paper isn't typically the sort of thing you hope to see under the tree at Christmastime, but this paper might change your mind. Brightec sells one of the most unique photo gifts I've ever seen: glow-in-the-dark ink jet paper. The company's Geographic PhotoGlo Photo Paper looks like ordinary, white stock under regular light, but it transforms photos into glow-in-the-dark artwork.

Odd 'n Ends

I've always thought of the holidays as the of year when you can ask for things that you would never buy for yourself--like a Lamborghini, or one of those fancy hooks that suspends bananas over your kitchen counter.

Take Fromm Works' $25 Quik Pod, for example. This cool little gadget attaches to the bottom of your camera like a tripod, but it's actually an adjustable extension that lets you take a self-portrait from a comfortable distance away. Small enough to fit in your pocket, it enables you to take better "look-where-I-was" photos than just pointing a camera at your face from arm's length.

Or how about a waterproof case for your digital camera? If you like to use your camera in or around water, you probably know that most waterproof cases cost thousands of dollars because they're designed principally for scuba diving. Aquapac sells a family of waterproof cases for digital cameras that range in price from $30 (for compact cameras) to $120 (for digital SLRs).

I've got even more goodies in store for you. Be sure to check back next week for stocking stuffers, gadgets, and digital photo books.

Hot Pic of the Week

Get published, get famous! Each week, we select our favorite reader-submitted photo based on creativity, originality, and technique. Every month, the best of the weekly winners gets a prize valued at between $15 and $50.

Here's how to enter: Send us your photograph in JPEG format, at a resolution no higher than 640 by 480 pixels. Entries at higher resolutions will be immediately disqualified. If necessary, use an image editing program to reduce the file size of your image before e-mailing it to us. Include the title of your photo along with a short description and how you photographed it. Don't forget to send your name, e-mail address, and postal address. Before entering, please read the full description of the contest rules and regulations.

This Week's Hot Pic: "Slot Canyons,"by Amy Zellmer, Waterford, Wisconsin

Amy writes: "I took this photo in the Antelope Slot Canyons outside Page, Arizona earlier this summer. I used a Toshiba 3.3 megapixel camera and did no processing at all: This is the natural beauty of the area. These canyons start in flat ground as a small crack and traverse 90 feet down into the ground. Every corner is as beautiful as this one."

See all the Hot Pic of the Week photos online.

Have a digital photo question? Send me your comments, questions, and suggestions about the newsletter itself. And be sure to sign up to have the Digital Focus Newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

This story, "Digital Focus: Holiday Shopping Guide, Part 1" was originally published by PCWorld.

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