A compact camera that's a splurge, a carbon-fiber tripod that's not, and
other cool ways to spend a little or a lot.
MORE TO LOVE
$699, estimated street
Ricoh's new GR Digital II is a serious compact with a lot to lust for, but it doesn't come cheap. Hot: This is no minor upgrade -- 10MP, 2.7-inch high-resolution LCD, fast (f/2.4) 28mm lens, manual modes, and lots of unexpected extras such as RAW capture, electronic leveler, depth-of-field indicator, and a 1:1 square aspect-ratio setting. Not: You'd better hold steady, because there's no image stabilization.
$170, $200, $300, direct
Who says carbon fiber has to cost a fortune? Adorama's new line of carbon fiber tripods let you save your dough for a new DSLR. Hot: The legs adjust low so you can get macro shots, the rubber double-grip twist locks are really rugged, the built-in bubble level helps keep horizons straight, and even the tallest model (63 inches extended) weighs less than 4 pounds. Not: Adorama's line doesn't offer all of the accessories that the more pricey brands do.
CAUGHT ON FILM
Purists rejoice! Kodak has introduced an improved version of its T-MAX 400 black-and-white print film. Hot: Kodak knows film, and it claims this upgrade is the world's finest-grained and sharpest 400-speed black-and-white negative film. Not: You can't use it in your new DSLR. But you knew that.
Build your own camera with the Bulldog Self Assembly large-format kit (£152 [$308], direct; www.camerabellows.com).
Make a flipbook of baby's first steps when you convert your videos at www.motionbox.com ($8, direct).
Score a goal by giving a sports fan the SoccerCam, a digital camera inside a soccer ball ($70, direct; www.mustekdirect.com).
Scare your dentist with Justin Quinnell's SmileyCam, a bite-size pinhole camera ($23, direct; www.pinholephotography.org).
Raise a filmmaker when you let your child make movies with an effect-laden, kid-friendly camcorder ($160, direct; www.hammacher.com/publish/74728.asp).