The battery company Energizer has teamed up with National Geographic for 2009 Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest. You can send in photos in 6 cateories: Animals/Wildlife, Nature, People/Cultures, Travel, Weather, and Inspiration/Keep Going for a chance to win a National Geographic Expeditions trip for two to the Galápagos Islands! The winning photo will also be featured in National Geographic magazine.

The contest is juded by Jim Richardson, an internationally-acclaimed photographer with National Geographic magazine for the past  25 years.

Now comes the Energizer’s sales pitch. Energizer wants you to buy their batteries. In this particular case, the Energizer® Ultimate Lithium AA and AAA batteries. which are supposed to last 7-8 times longer than Energizer Max and weight 30% less.

There’s no question about one thing: To get the best shot, you need the best equipment. That’s where Energizer comes in. Energizer® Ultimate Lithium AA and AAA batteries are the world’s longest lasting batteries in high-tech devices. They last up to eight times longer than Energizer® MAX® in digital cameras (results vary by camera)—which means you can take your mind off your batteries and focus on capturing that winning photo.

The Energizer Ultimate battery is awfully expensive. Pack of 6 costs you $26.55, while Pack of 16 Energizer Max Alkaline batteries costs $15.82. It does seem reasonable to spend 4.5X the money for 7-8x the power. However, true costs of these batteries for per KWH (kilowatt hour) don’t look so good. It depends on where you check, per KWH costs of AA batteries can be in the hundreds. As comparison, the average cost of household energy is about 11 cents per KWH in US.

Fortunately, most digital cameras now comes with Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, which should be a much more cost effective power source over the long run. For accessories that still need battery, such as SpeedLight flashes, the most cost-effective would be NiMH rechargeable batteries. Pack of 4 rechargeable AA typically costs about $10-20 and they can be recharged for hundreds of cycles. Even factoring in the cost of the charger and household electricity usage, it would still be more economical than the typical Alkaline or even the new Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries.

Energizer Rechargable Battery

You don’t really need Energizer brand rechargeable batteries to take great photos though. As a matter of fact, the Energizer brands have some mixed consumer reviews on Amazon due to fast self-discharge rate and other issues. On the contrary, the Sanyo Eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargable Batteries appears to be a great option for its excellent self-discharge rate.

Posted in Accessories on April 19th, 2009. 2 Comments.

The Nikon D5000 product pages have been available on Amazon since the day Nikon D5000 was announced, but now Amazon has apparently started to take pre-orders for the D5000 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens kit for $849.95. Strangely, the body only and two lens kit have no price shown and are not available for pre-order yet.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Photography Deals on April 18th, 2009. No Comments.

There are still some interesting things happening in the world of digital photography even as the world economy sees little sign of recovery. The following are this Friday’s Digital Photography Links.

  • Creating a digital legacy – USA Today columnist Kim Komando shows you how to digitize your old memories, create video slide-shows, and burn the video to DVD without depleting your wallet.
  • AMD Fusion Media Browser – It is a cool way of browsing your digital photos and other digital media contents, but it only runs on Microsoft Vista and computers with AMD CPU. A review by PC Magazine can be found here.
  • Obama poster copyright saga continues – Remember the old story? Well, the legal case between Shepard Fairey and Associated Press continues. AP has accused Shepard copyright infringements while Shepard lawyers saying AP isn’t totally clean either.
  • Nokia Photo Browser – Got bunch of snapshots on your Nokia smart phone? In the past, browsing photos on the phone hasn’t been a pleasant experience. Now it is changing. Nokia has released a beta software called Nokia Photo Browser for many of its smart phones. The software offers innovative and exciting ways of browsing photos, with 3D visual effects, image zooming and face detection that automatically cycles through faces in a photo. It is a little sluggish but overall good on my Nokia E71. Check out this review or go straight to Nokia Beta Labs for more information.
  • Photo frame with a built-in scanner – The Skyla Memoir Photo Frame (FS80) was introduced during CES 2009 in January. Now it is becoming officially available by end of April. If you’d rather like to have a digital photo frame with a built-in printer, there is one we found earlier.
  • “Infinite Photograph – As Seen on Earth” – National Geographic Digital Media (NGDM) launched Infinite Photograph, a very interesting online photography mosaic application that will allow users to interact with shared online photographs by clicking on color patterns to create an infinite array of stunning mosaics in a variety of themes.

That is all for this edition of Digital Photography Links. Have a nice weekend!

Posted in Digital photography, Online Resources on April 17th, 2009. No Comments.

The new Nikon D5000 is an exciting new entry level DSLR camera. Every time an exciting new camera comes out many people will inevitably ask themselves this question. The question will be a lot easier to answer if you are rich enough to just get it and throw away if you don’t like it. The problem is, for most people, it will be something to think about hard even if it is not a brain cell killer due to inner conflict between gadget addiction and the cruel reality.

Well, to help with your thought process, here is Geek.Com’s attempt to answer this question. You should read it entirely but if you have no extra time to spend, the conclusion is short and simple:

Overall, if you’re just stepping into the DSLR category, go for the Nikon D5000. If you’ve got an investment in lenses, move on to the higher models. The soccer mom, drunken night paparazzi, artist, the dad who loves to travel, real estate agent (who mostly posts pictures online vs having a portfolio of prints), or college student would really love and appreciate this camera.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras on April 16th, 2009. No Comments.


Running out model numbers to use after the very successful D40/D40x/D50/D60 product line, Nikon provided the entry level consumer market with the all new D5000 digital SLR camera. At the first glance this is a very exciting new product. Read More…

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, News on April 14th, 2009. No Comments.

Jason Odell, the author of the excellent ebook, The Photographer’s Guide to Capture NX2 (eBook for NX 2), is now offering online training workshops. Two workshops are currently available: Introduction to Capture NX 2 and Capture NX 2: Advanced Image Processing. The workshops cost $39.99 and $79.99 and last 2 and 4 hours respectively. After you enroll (registration form), you will be provided with a URL and a phone number. You can watch the live presentation online while listening in on the phone. Jason will also answer your questions over the phone.

You can find Jason’s announcement here.

Posted in News on April 13th, 2009. No Comments.

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed, cross-platform (supports Windows, Mac, and Linux) program for photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. GIMP has many capabilities and it is expandable and extensible using plug-ins and extensions. You can certainly find some shortcomings of GIMP but for most non-professional people there is little Photoshop can do that cannot be done in GIMP.

Design blog Smashing Magazine has put together a fantastic list of  eight tweaks for GIMP to make it a serious Photoshop contender. The list includes a plug-in that allows the use of Photoshop plugins, layer styles, CMYK color separation, Liquid Rescale, brushes, etc. If you can’t find what you need, you can check out the repository of available plugins or write your own.

via: Lifehacker

Posted in Digital photography, Software on April 12th, 2009. No Comments.
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