Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Holiday photography gift guide

Holiday photography gift guide

It’s never too early to start thinking about getting your holiday shopping started. Those Black Friday specials are just around the corner. Every year I always say I’m going to get my shopping done before the 1st of December. Realistically, that’s never going to happen. I’ve picked a few photography and tech-related items that should make great gifts for any of the photography enthusiasts on your list. Let the shopping begin.

EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera — Since this is a wish list, I might as well reach for the stars. The recently announced EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera, a state-of-the-art video camera, would bring my home movies to a whole new level. Maybe more people would want to watch them. This camera uses the Canon EF lens or one of their newly designed, expensive cinema lenses. How can you miss with a video camera that list for about $20,000? Of course, lenses are going to be extra.

The camera is really designed for video production companies that are used to paying much more for professional cameras. So for some, this is going to be a higher quality alternative at a lower price. Certainly not for me. Actually, I should probably move this to my 2012 Christmas list since it’s not going to be available before the first of the year, but I figure you better start saving your money now.

Leica D-Lux 5 Titanium — It’s time to drop down to the $1,000 toys, which are still out of my price range. Anytime you put Leica, titanium and special edition together, you know you’re looking at a very nice Christmas gift. With a list price of $1,195, this is the one expensive, shiny gift on my list. This is the ultimate in point-and-shoot. This special edition titanium camera includes a leather case and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom editing software. The camera features a 24mm-to-90mm Leica DC Vario Summicron lens. The camera also features 720p high-definition video.

Nikon 1 J1 — OK, we are closing in on my price range. Nothing would say Christmas more than a shiny new red Nikon 1, priced at $649 for a one-lens kit. Just out and very new for Nikon, and if you snap this up, you’ll probably be the only one on the block to have one of these. This is Nikon’s entry into a mirror-less camera and small compact camera with interchangeable lenses. It seems to be the wave of the future. Everyone is looking for smaller size.  The important factor here is the loss of the viewfinder and a smaller chip compared with the basic DSLRs. It’s time for Nikon to venture into the small mirror-less option because it’s an expanding market. Did I mention it comes in a beautiful red? This really fits in well with the holiday season.

Canon PowerShot S100 — I am really enjoy using my Canon S95 camera. This is my go-to point-and-shoot. I wouldn’t mind upgrading to the full 1080p HD video with the new model. I can’t really justify it, but if you’re looking for a nice compact camera, this S100, priced at $430, is my choice. It features full manual mode, fully automatic adjustment, an f/2 lens and bracketing of exposures if you enjoy shooting HDR (high dynamic range imaging). This camera is small and will easily fit in your pocket or purse.

Grid-it — Now we are really getting to the more affordable gifts. This is a cool organizational tool if you are fed up with trying to keep all your cords and chargers organized. This is a great option if you travel a lot and  have a tough time keeping track of all the small extras you need to carry for your laptop, cellphone, iPad or other digital rechargeable power device. The Grid-it comes in a variety of sizes, depending on how much equipment you’ve accumulated over the years and your need for electronic wizardry. Prices range from $10 to $40. It holds everything in place with a bundle of stretchy straps. — Most people never think of tech video tutorials as a typical holiday gift, but has made it simple with gift subscriptions priced for one month at $25, three months for $75 and one year for $250. It offers a wide range of photography, video and tech topics, including Photoshop, Lightroom, PS Elements, Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, portraiture, photo restoration and scanning.

ScreenCast App for Mac — This is my cheapest gift and well worth the cost if you’re using an Apple computer with the Lion operating system. I have been so confused making the switch from Snow Leopard to Lion. Don McAllister of ScreenCasts online has combined his Lion video tutorials into a single video application available on the Apple App Store for $5.99. It’s an easy download and will make the transition to the newest operating system much easier.

Four Seasons of Yosemite: A Photographer’s Journey — A great coffee table book that should inspire you for your next photography adventure into the wilderness or your local park. Los Angeles Times photographer Mark Boster has captured the beauty of the amazing landscapes, light and the seasonal changes throughout his years of visiting Yosemite National Park. The list price is $34.95.

Mr. Winkle — I get a Mr. Winkle calendar every year from my daughters.  This stray dog, who was rescued by photographer Lara Jo Regan, is about the cutest dog ever. Mr. Winkle’s tongue is just a little too long for a dog so small. Regan photographs Mr. Winkle in elaborate sets and creative costumes. This year’s calendar, though, is the “Nudes Collections 2,” so I’m guessing Mr. Winkle is going to be au naturel. Then again, I guess that’s the way most people take photos of their dogs. It’s simply 12 months of super cute. This year she has made a coffee table book called “Mr. Winkle: The Complete Character Collection Photographs” ($39.95). Don’t tell anyone, but I already ordered this one before I ordered Boster’s Yosemite book.

Rogue FlashBenders — If you’re looking for a way to give your photography buff a way to manipulate a hand-held strobe light, the Rogue FlashBender might be the answer. This handy device, priced from about $30 to $40 depending on size, attaches with Velcro straps and then is pliable, bending into a variety of shapes. You can use it to simply bounce the light if you keep it flat or or bend it into a tube to tunnel the light for total control. It’s the strobist approach for those on a budget, using small, less expensive, hand-held battery strobes instead of costly studio gear. This can easily fit in your camera bag, giving you creative light for your subjects at an affordable price.

Fujitsu Scansnap S1300 — I did a review of this product, and it’s still one my favorite high-tech toys and organizational tools. Just drop the paperwork in and it turns it into a PDF, to be filed into a folder of your choice. It’s a breeze. It has a great small profile on your desktop and costs $295. If you have mass quantities of paper, you may want the larger 1500 model ($495).

GoPro Hero 2 — The new camera from GoPro has just hit the market at about $299. It’s an upgrade from 5 to 11 megapixels, giving a much higher-resolution still frame, and they’ve upgraded the video choices. This camera is a lot of fun, with a variety of mounts and waterproof housing. It’s the ultimate toy for the camera hobbyist or pro who needs a small camera with a super wide-angle lens.

Canon CanoScan 9000F Film & Negative Scanner — This is my choice (for about $200) if you need a scanner and have a lot of film and slides to scan. Finding a scanner that will do film is becoming a thing of the past. The time is now: Those negative are just getting older and less inviting to get processed into digital images.

Kindle Fire — How much iPad news can you take? Of course I have one. Now it’s time for Amazon to take aim at the tablet market with its Wi-Fi connection and 7-inch multi-touch color screen. The Kindle Fire, with its $200 price tag, should be one of the hottest sellers on the market this holiday season. I’m still trying to figure out the justification for me to get one of these. It really looks good, and it has an affordable price tag. It gives you the ability to watch movies, read books, browse the Web, play games, listen to music and access storage with Amazon. Order this one early if you’re interested; it might be hard to find the closer it gets to Christmas.

Olympus Pen E-P3 — This compact-sized camera, priced around $900, features most elements found in today’s DLSRs. This camera would look great under the Christmas tree. The Olympus Pen E-P3 offers a 3-inch OLED high-resolution touch screen, full 1080p HD video, 12.3-megapixel sensor and a built-in flash. It shoots at three frames per second. The EP-3, with its stylized look, uses a wide array of interchangeable E-System M.Zuiko digital  lenses, ranging from 17 mm f/2.8 to 14-150 mm zoom f/4.0-5.6. This camera is a great example of the trend of reducing camera size but still producing excellent quality images.

Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman


  1. November 16, 2011, 9:29 pm

    […] video camera, would bring my home movies to a whole new level. … Read more on Los Angeles Times This entry was posted in Digital Video Camera and tagged Canada, charged, from, scam by admin. […]

  2. November 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

    About the film scanner-sure, old film and slides are getting older, but there are still many people out there shooting film and slides. Kodak and Fuji have fantastic new film stock that makes great prints and slides and for the lucky people who still use film, a scanner like this will certainly be useful for them as well as for those who want to digitize old family negatives and slides.

    By: dsc77

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.


Required, will not be published

Browse All Photos »