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Monday, November 1, 2004

OP Editors' Picks 2004

New technologies mean exceptional gear for photographers

25) L.L. Bean Hydration Pack
L.L. Bean's Aquifer Hydration Pack gets my nod this year. The backpack holds lots of gear and features a built-in bladder that provides convenient access to water through a tube so you can keep moving while staying hydrated. List Price: $49 (1,000 cu. in.). Contact: L.L. Bean, (800) 809-7057, www.llbean.com.—DK

26) LensPen
It's not sexy, it's not high-tech, it's not flashy and it doesn't even look all that cool, but the LensPen is my all-time favorite must-have accessory. The handy tool combines a lens-safe brush on one end with a gentle cleaning pad on the other. I keep one of these in the bag with every camera I own. Street Price: $10. Contact: LensPen, (604) 681-6472, www.lenspen.com.—CR

27) Digital GEM Pro Plug-In
One of the last remaining quality issues with digital is noise. The Digital GEM Pro Plug-in works inside Photoshop or other compatible software, and allows you to remove noise and grain from a photo while simultaneously controlling the sharpness of the final image. List Price: $49. Contact: Applied Science Fiction (Eastman Kodak), www.asf.com.—WP

28) Wacom Intuos3 Pen Tablet
I was a fan of Wacom's pen tablets the first time I used one. The new Intuos3 tablet offers enhanced functionality with multiple ExpressKeys to which you can assign the commands you use most often. They even can be set to perform different functions as you switch between applications. Street Price: $199 to $449. Contact: Wacom, (800) 922-9348, www.wacom.com.—WP

29) ColorVision ColorPlus
ColorPlus makes monitor calibration so easy that there's no excuse for not doing it. At a cost of less than $100, ColorPlus, a complete software and hardware calibration package, offers a great deal for the price. Contact: ColorVision, (800) 554-8688, www.colorvision.com.—RS

30) Buzz Off Shirt
The Ex Officio Buzz Off Canvas Shirt is one of the most functional shirts I've worn. It's warm and comfortable, provides UV protection and wards off mosquitoes and ticks with an odorless repellent. The all-cotton shirt maintains its repellent qualities through 25 washings. List Price: $79. Contact: Ex Officio, (800) 833-0831, www.exofficio.com.—DK

31) SimpleDrive Portable Drive
My list wouldn't be complete without a reliable backup for digital images. The SimpleDrive Deluxe Portable drive is a fast and compact 80 GB drive housed in a rugged protective shell. It features USB 2.0 and FireWire interfaces for speedy data transfer. List Price: $499.99. Contact: SimpleTech, (800) 367-7330, www.simpletech.com.—IP

32) Zipka Plus Headlamp
The Zipka Plus headlamp from Petzl is a compact, hands-free light that's extremely bright and can run for more than 150 hours on one set of batteries. The retractable cord can be adjusted to fit your head, wrist or ankle. List Price: $42.95. Contact: Petzl, (801) 926-1500, www.petzl.com.—DK


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