Tons of new technology is out there, and more is coming all the time, it seems. Both Canon and Nikon have new models rolling off the assembly line and into stores, while other camera makers also are planning to crowd shelves this fall. Software, too, is keeping up with plenty of releases.
Sometimes, though, I've found that items I've had around for a while — a year or 18 months — continue to do quite nicely. In fact, I'd argue that some of these items really prove themselves after such an extended period.
Canon's PowerShot ELPH 300S, reviewed here in September, continues to delight. In Israel two months ago, and around town, it has produced pictures that are just marvelous. The other morning, a magazine art director called for a reshoot of a building sign, saying the shot on file had color issues. A quick click with the ELPH 300S — a roughly $200 point-and-shoot wonder — and the art director was happy.
As mentioned in the earlier review, I like having a powerful camera that really does fit into a pocket. Even more, I like the super-impressive battery life and picture quality. It's not a substitute for a digital SLR, but it's awfully handy.
Aperture, the $79.99 photo-handling/editing/improving software from Apple Inc., takes things a step up from the firm's iPhoto program, which is included with all new Macs, or is available via the online Mac App Store for $14.99.
A quick way of differentiating the two: IPhoto is enough for many family and hobbyist photographers. Those wanting more capability, more organization and more features will want to add Aperture to the list.
Aperture, which can be set as the default "photo download" program for your digital camera, iPhone and iPad, offers ways to organize your photos by faces and geographic locations, or places, the latter using GPS and/or Geo Tracker information. Some newer cameras, many smartphones and items such as the EyeFi SD card can capture GPS information when a photo is taken. Of course, you can create albums of related photos if you like.
You can add dozens of effects to your photos in Aperture: processing techniques and styles, color correction and image enhancement. As Apple points out, "since all adjustments are nondestructive, you can revert from the changes you make at any time or restore your original master images."
A very nice, and recent, upgrade is that Aperture and iPhoto now can share a photo library on a single Mac. What that means is you can work on photos in Aperture while someone else separately uses iPhoto to manage the same images, on the same computer.
Now, Aperture is not Apple's answer to Adobe's famed Photoshop, whose CS6 version recently shipped and will be reviewed here. But Aperture is more than enough for many advanced amateurs, and even a number of professionals, to consider as a daily photographic companion.
About a year ago, the public relations agency for camera bag maker Lowepro suggested I try out the $250 Scope Photo Travel 350 AW camera bag. Although I was a bit hesitant, I'm glad I did. It's more like a backpack than a bag, but it's compact enough to carry — and even squeeze into the overhead of an Embraer commuter jet — while being large enough to hold a lot of stuff: a Canon EOS Rebel T2i body, two lenses, the aforementioned PowerShot, a tripod and some other gear. A zippered pocket at the rear could hold a small notebook computer or an iPad with cover and keyboard. Along with all this, you could add some accessories: a sound recording microphone for the Rebel T2i, say, and bunches of lithium batteries for your camera's power grip, and still be fine.
All this was well-distributed and well-protected, and it wasn't too much of a burden to carry, even in a very warm Jerusalem on the way to a formal business meeting. Details about the bag, which I recommend highly, are at http://bit.ly/PbE2Wm.
• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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