Here it is–my recommendation list for the best cameras, printers, photo gadgets and gifts for the holidays!

Some reminders about buying cameras online–BE CAREFUL. If a price looks too low, there’s a reason. It may be a gray market product (made for non US markets with lower standards and no warranty) or a refurbished item.

Also be suspicious of any vendor who wants you to call and confirm your order. You’re just going to have to suffer through a big spiel to buy expensive and often overpriced accessories. This is another way companies that lowball prices try to get their money back, often telling you your item is backordered or out of stock if you don’t order the extras.The following vendors are legitimate, reasonably priced, and I deal with them all the time:

I’m also a fan of Fry’s Electronics (although I know not everyone is.) And when I can, I support Precision Camera at 35th and Lamar. They will often work with you on the price if you bring in a printout. Keeping local brick & mortar stores open is important!

Okay, scroll down, see what I’ve got for you! And have a great holiday.

Point and Shoot Cameras

cameraThere are a crazy number of automatic cameras out there. It’s hard to have any clue about which one to buy. My main advice: hold the camera in your hand, turn it on, and take some shots. You can do this at local camera and electronic stores. Check the following dealbreakers:

  • How long does it take to power on and be ready to take the first shot?
  • How big is the LCD screen on the back?
  • Is it clear and easy to change shooting modes?
  • Does it have enough zoom? (OPTICAL zoom only–digital zoom is a bad bad thing made by bad, bad manufacturers and will wreck your photos if you use it.)

After another year of teaching the Digital Point and Shoot beginner’s class, I still love the Canon Digital Elph ($159). I own one myself.

Features you should not waste your money on:

  • Face recognition: Creepy.
  • Megapixels over 6: Just going to make you buy a bigger card. Not going to improve your pictures. 
  • RAW File Capability: You’ll never use it.

Digital SLRs

I freely admit to being a Canon girl. Among the entry-level digital single-lens-reflex cameras, I find them the easiest to use. Nikon buries the menus and makes it difficult to make simple setting changes. But if you love Nikon, definitely the D-series are a good choice ($758 for the D80).

Still, the best is going to be for me, the Canon Digital Rebel XSi ($639). The link is for the kit, which I don’t love, as I think the 18mm-55mm lens isn’t enough for what most people will want. Try a 28-135 lens instead. The Nikon, while more expensive, does come packaged with a better lens.

Best Printers

I am amazed by the Epson Inkjet All-in-One Copier, Scanner, Fax, and Printer. Since I don’t really recommend printing photos to keep, this is a good all around printer to have and includes a wireless connection. ($176) Even though I insist you should never print photos at home, I do have one exception–the Epson PictureMate. The newest one is super cool, you can plug in your card, print your pictures and even BURN AN ARCHIVE CD, all without a computer. ($229) Without CD capability ($149)

Photo Gadgets

snowflake ornamentIf you didn’t buy last year’s suggestion of a Digital Key Chain as the perfect stocking stuffer–what are you waiting for? I LOVE mine and gave them to my parents too.
But this year, I saw tons of tacky,  just awful digital photo ornaments and thought–what a great idea. And then–what a horrid ornament! So I started searching around and found a decent one at Brookstone. It’s a silver snowflake with a digital image screen and holds 50 photos, all for $20. I love it!

Classes and Learning
So that gadget-lover in your family already has the fancy-schmancy camera he paid too much for (oops, did I say HE?) and doesn’t know how to use it. Time to get him some help.

Or take over the job and get a lesson yourself.

For gift certificates (or lessons for you!) bought between now and Dec. 15, buy one hour of lessons for $65 and we’ll double it for a two-hour session.Just call or email me and I’ll get you a cute little gift certificate. So far I’ve met students at a park to practice photographing kids, met at your home to teach you your version of Photoshop, and gone to a nature center to focus on those close ups of flowers. A couple of people brought a friend to split the cost–that’s fine too.Whatever you want to learn–I can take you from the level you start and get you to the next step.

Plus, it’s fun! Lessons go back to plain ol’ $65 an hour on Dec. 16! (Okay, yes, I’m a pushover, if you call me on Dec. 23 because you have no gift for you husband/father-in-law/sister/significant other, I’ll still do the special. I can even email you the gift certificate to print yourself if you are totally out of time.)

Gift certificates for private lessons are good for a year.

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