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Are Digital Picture Frames really the best gift?

…Or just the best you could think of? Giving a DPF as a gift has become kinda cliche. What’s that? You’re over 65? You don’t like computers? What’s a Facebook? Well then you must want a digital picture frame.

Since when did these somewhat small, power cord tethered, cumbersome frames become the go-to gift for anyone we think may be suffering from techno stress? Really? After the novelty wears off, how often do these things actually get used? Who takes the time to update them with new photos? Are they really what your grandparents are looking for when they say they don’t have enough pictures? Or are they just the cop out gift of choice these days for birthdays and holiday alike? You know who you are.  You think, ” I know, I’ll get him a digital picture frame! I can load a handful of photos on it. It will be great!”

Yes, It will be great. It will be great sitting in the corner on the one and only table in the room close enough to the wall outlet. It will also be great when the sun shines in and glares the picture out. It will also be great when no one can make out what or who is in the image because the resolution is too low.

Let me stop for a second.

If you absolutely don’t agree and plan on getting one for yourself or someone you love do everyone a favor and take some advice, make sure the resolution is at least 640×480. That 480×234 business just won’t cut it. Spending just a little more for better resolution is well worth it. Not that I’d get one, just saying.

So here’s a better idea. Give the one you love actual pictures. Instead of spending $100-200 dollars on a picture frame that won’t get used. How about spending that money on a nice hardback photo book. To this day we still get compliments on the iPhoto books we sent out a year and a half ago.  No power cord needed.

However I can’t end it with that. If the person in question is tech savvy and sincerely wants a nice digital picture frame. Consider an iPad. I’m not kidding. I do realize the price jump and the added features that may not be used but flipping through photos on one of these things is slick. Then again, that’s probably the gift you wanted!

What your new digital camera doesn’t have in the box

Memory Card

While most cameras do include some type of starter card or  internal memory this usually only gets you a few dozen pictures. So before you leave the store go ahead and pick up a decent sized card. A 2-4GB card will work fine for picture only shooting and a 4GB or more card will serve you well if you’ll also be taking video clips on your camera. Cards are cheap, much cheaper in fact than film. Remember you’ll use a $20 card for the life of camera so do yourself a favor and pick one up.

Extra Battery

Do not leave yourself hanging with a dead camera because your battery’s used up. An extra battery may seem like an expensive add-on but I’m willing to bet that price pales in comparison to what you’d pay to recapture a missed memory. An extra battery will run you around $25-$50 dollars.

Camera Case

Believe it or not you will find no camera case in the box. You may find a protective sleeve but that’s about it. Cameras do not like sliding around in your glove compartment or fighting off purse clutter. Do your Camera a solid and get it a case. It should go with out saying, but a case will keep your extra battery, memory card and camera cable in a safe place as well.

Memory card reader

Yes, Cameras do include a some type of USB cable in the box and yes, most computers now do come with memory card readers built-in but hear me out…What if you lose your camera cable? What if your computer does not have a memory card reader? Memory card readers do a couple of things you may like. For one thing, a card reader is relatively cheap at around $10-$20 bucks. Not to mention they’re available just about anywhere you can buy cameras, making them a quick fix if you misplace your proprietary camera cable. This is the case for Point and Shoot Cameras like Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, Nikon and Samsung. Also, if your computer is for whatever reason not recognizing your camera, most all computers will recognize the card reader. To a computer they look like a thumb drive. Making it very easy to add or remove pictures from your card.