Editor's note: From now through the end of December, various Crave experts will be sharing their top five (mostly) tech-related wishes for the holiday season. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas!
I'll be honest. What I want is Canon's EF 500mm f/4L IS USM telephoto lens, but it costs $5,600, so let's move on to some options that aren't quite so detached from economic reality for a mostly amateur photographer such as myself.
Obviously my camera is a Canon SLR, but I'm reasonably happy with my setup right now, so here are some items I covet that are more modestly priced and that happen to be neutral as regards camera manufacturer.
1. WhiBal white-balance card. I shoot raw images, which means data is taken directly from the camera's image sensor without any in-camera processing. I like it because it gives me more flexibility for matters such as exposure adjustment. Second in importance to exposure, though, is fixing white balance--for example the orangey color cast you'll often see when shooting under incandescent lights or the bluish tinge of pictures in the shade.
The flip side of raw photography is that it's more manual labor than just grabbing the JPEG, but to me it's worth it. I mostly just eyeball the white balance, but sometimes keying off parts of an image--the whites of someone's eyes or gray and black clothing--gives an easier way to set white balance with software. But for more precision, the WhiBal cards from RawWorkflow.com give an easy way to be more rigorous. You take a photo of the durable card, which shows a standard 18 percent gray, then set the white balance in software off that part of the photo. With modern raw-image editing software, you can synchronize the white balance for a series of images off the one you took with the card. The $19 keychain model looks about my speed.… Read more