Photo Finish

What synergy! Cameras to take pictures, books with pictures.

    Photo: Chris Bartlett

Elves and Outside's interns love the CANON ELPH Z3 ($260; 800-652-2666, www.usa.canon.com). The APS film format and 2x zoom lens give them just enough flexibility to take quick shots of the senior staffers engaged in holiday buffoonery.

Combine high-quality 7x binoculars with a .80-mega- pixel camera and you get PENTAX's DIGIBINO DB 100 ($350; 800-877-0155, www.pentaxusa.com), the best thing around for both watching and photographing that partridge in a pear tree.

With a top shutter speed of 1/4,000 second, a three-frames-per-second film drive, supersensitive light metering, and fast autofocus, the petite MINOLTA MAXXUM 5 ($677 with 28-80 mm lens; 800-808-4888) will take you from beginner to pro—however long that may take.

Say goodbye to film. Encased in tough alloy, the NIKON COOLPIX 5700 ($1,200; 800-645-6689, www.nikonusa.com) fits the hand beautifully. The camera's Nikkor lens with 8x optical zoom can handle big-game telephoto shots or big-family wide-angle pics with 5.0 megapixels of digital convenience.

The OLYMPUS D-380 ($199; 888-553-4448, www.olympusamerica.com) comes with 2.0 megapixels of image quality and a beautiful price tag. But don't be misled: This digital camera is no shoddy closeout. Its 5x digital zoom and terrific image-editing software can help you turn a ski-resort kicker into a backcountry cliff. —Douglas Gantenbein

For a guaranteed case of career envy, consider the résumé of Wilfred Thesiger. The legendary British explorer and writer spent much of his life documenting the world's farthest reaches, from Arabia's Empty Quarter to the glaciers of the Hindu Kush. Now he delivers a feast of photography in his ninth book, A VANISHED WORLD ($35, W. W. Norton), a collection of striking black-and-white portraits of people and landscapes from a lifetime of adventure. —Katie Arnold

"To say we humans are obsessed with the sea is an understatement. We feel the tug of the medium's amniotic power. . . nagging as a dream," novelist Yann Queffelec writes in his introduction to THE SEA ($55, Abrams). Inspired by that elemental draw, and by the sorry condition of the world's oceans, French marine photographer Philip Plisson's 400 color photographs—moody images of ink-blue breakwaters and violet sunsets—dramatically chronicle the sea's powerful emotional undertow. —Christian Nardi

Doing for trout what David Sibley did for birds in 2000's best-selling The Sibley Guide to Birds, the definitive new TROUT AND SALMON OF NORTH AMERICA ($40, The Free Press) brings together the exquisite colored-pencil drawings of acclaimed fish illustrator Joseph Tomelleri and the knowledge of conservation expert Robert Behnke. This book should keep your favorite fisherman happily occupied until spring.
—C. N.

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