Our annual Gear Guide continues with five digital photo offerings, from cameras and add-ons to services that transform your images into something special. We also profile a few camcorders, a digital projector, and a universal remote for multimedia-savvy Mac users.
Gear for Photo Buffs
These selections will not only help you get great shots, but also help you turn the resulting images into something memorable.
Contorting yourself into a pretzel-like shape to compose a shot is a pretty steep price to pay for adding another memorable photo to your library of images. Fortunately, Hoodman continues to come up with ingenious little devices that help photographers take better pictures. The latest is the Universal Right Angle Viewer, an attachment that snaps onto the viewfinder of most digital SLR cameras and allows you to shoot from a comfortable position while pointing your camera every which way. The attachment has a comfortable rubber eyepiece and a built-in diopter lens for those of us whose eyesight is in as good a shape as our knees and backs.—RICK LEPAGE
Universal Right Angle Viewer: $130; Hoodman
Tired of squinting at your digital camera’s LCD as you try to decipher the menu items? Then feast your eyes on the Stylus 730, from Olympus. This 7-megapixel camera has a generous 3-inch screen that displays text and icons in large, easy-to-read type. What’s more, buttons for commonly used features, such as macro and exposure-compensation settings, are on the camera body—so you’ll spend less time scrolling through menus, and more time taking pictures.—KELLY TURNER
Stylus 730: $400; Olympus
If the way to the heart is through the stomach, these tasty treats are bound to inspire love. To create its Oreo Picture Cookies, Lady Fortunes starts with an Oreo cookie, dips the cookie in white chocolate, prints the photo you’ve submitted on top of the chocolate—in edible ink, of course—and then surrounds the artwork with sprinkles of your choosing. Nine cookies (which come prettily packaged in a gold box with a matching ribbon and gift note) cost $28. The box ships with a cold gel pack that keeps things cool. Lady Fortunes also prints photos on fortune cookies and sugar cookies, so you’re sure to find a snack as tasty as your photos are striking.—KT
Oreo Picture Cookies: $28; Lady Fortunes
You just snapped a photo of Bill Gates jogging with an iPod nano, and you need to get it to the tabloids—fast! If you had the Nikon Coolpix S7c, you could run to your nearest cybercafé and e-mail the photo to your 30 closest friends and editors, directly from the camera. This slim 7-megapixel camera can upload photos via just about any open Wi-Fi hotspot. In fact, it comes with a year’s access to T-Mobile’s HotSpot Wi-Fi service, which offers Internet connectivity at more than 7,000 U.S. locations. Images are uploaded to Nikon’s Connect server; e-mail recipients then receive a message with thumbnails and a link for downloading the images. The camera also features a 3-inch LCD, a compact design, and in-camera image processing that helps you get better images when shooting portraits or low-light photos.—KT
Nikon Coolpix S7c: $350; Nikon
Tilano Fresco’s Marble Coaster Kit lets you place the image of your choice on a 4-by-4-inch marble tile. The kit comes with four tiles and everything you need to produce the finished product—except the photos. You can use the same photo for all four tiles or put a different picture on each. The do-it-yourself element is fun but time-consuming—it’ll involve at least one trip to your local copy shop. But the finished product offers a unique way to preserve some of your memorable photos.—JACKIE DOVE
Marble Coaster Kit: $40; Tilano Fresco