Christmas 2014: Check out these gift ideas for photographers
Black Friday was a good day to score some bargains, but did you find that something special for the photographer in your life? I’m not one who plans that far ahead. I like to wait until it’s a little closer to Christmas to get my shopping done. There are plenty of nice holiday photography gift possibilities. The camera manufacturers have to keep innovating and updating their products to satisfy the photography enthusiasts. Here are my gift suggestions:
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens — If you need a gift for the photography enthusiast in your life who has updated to the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, look no further. The Olloclip, which I reviewed a few years ago, is one of my favorite accessories for the iPhone. The latest version, which is made for the new iPhones, has been redesigned with a lot of new features including: a fisheye, macro (15x and 10x) settings and a wide-angle lens that works on both front- and rear-facing cameras. It also comes with a wearable pendant clip that makes it a lot easier to carry than the previous versions. The Olloclip 4 in-1 Photo Lens cost $79.99.
Boombandit Camera Crane — It seems like most people are relying on their iPhone or GoPro Hero to shoot video. If this is the case, the Boombandit Camera Crane is the perfect gift to bring your video to the next level. This lightweight device will give your videos flow and motion like the ones created by professionals using a stabilizing dolly or slider. It will also let you elevate the lightweight camera well above your head to give you more creative angles. There are a variety of camera mounts available for the Boombandit.
RAVPower RP-PB17 Luster 6000mAh External Battery — Just when you want to take that last photograph with your phone, your battery always seems to be running out of power. Well, that’s not a problem if you carry extra USB power with a RAVPower External Battery. RavPower makes the batteries in a variety of shapes and sizes. My pick for the Christmas list: the RAVPower RP-PB17 Luster 6000mAh External Battery. It is one of the smaller, easier-to-carry and less expensive models, making it a great stocking stuffer. It will give you plenty of extra talk time and photo time when you need it and features a built-in flashlight. It is priced at $24.99.
Domke Next Generation Chronicle camera bag — After all the years I’ve worked as a photojournalist, I continue to use the same camera bag, the Domke F-2 Original Bag by Tiffin priced at $119.95 that was originally designed in 1976. It’s a nice choice for a Christmas gift, but for this list, I decided to go with the Domke Next Generation Chronicle Camera Bag, which is a much more upgraded version and features a more modern design. However, it’s a bit more expensive. The Chronicle Ruggedwear Military bag priced at $349.95 comes in a khaki color with red trim. It’s a nicely styled bag with these features: GearProtex padded inserts, top access with double zipper, secure luggage strap, and expandable zippered pockets.
GoPro the Tool (Thumb Screw Wrench and Bottle Opener) — The GoProTool is the perfect gift for anyone with a GoPro. It’s also the most affordable gift on the list, priced at $4.99. It’s a wrench to tighten and loosen the mount thumb screws and on the other end, it’s a bottle opener. The tool can attach to a key ring to keep it with you at all times. It’s a must have for the GoPro enthusiast.
Nimble Messenger Bag — The Nimble Messenger Bag is for everyday use, such as carrying your iPad or small laptop to meetings, work or school. It has just enough room to stow your everyday essential gear. It features a zippered exterior pocket and whisper strips to silence the Velcro. If that feature isn’t necessary for you, you can use full Velcro closures. The Nimble Messenger Bag measures out at 16.5 inches wide by 11 inches tall and is priced at $69.95.
ChargeAll Portable Power Outlet (12000mAh) — How many times have you run out of power? Let’s face it, our lives are run by rechargeable batteries. They always seem to die when it’s the most inconvenient time and you’re nowhere near a power outlet. The ChargeAll Portable Power Outlet features a USB port and a standard wall outlet in a remarkably small size, weighing in at 1.75 pounds. It will fit in a large purse, backpack or suitcase. It’s instant power for your laptop, tablet or phone, wherever you go. It’s pretty tough to find an outlet when you’re camping or hiking, and sometimes it’s hard to find one even at an airport or restaurant. The Portable Power Outlet (12000mAh) is priced at $199.95.
Snack Cap Lens Cap — No photographer’s Christmas gift list would be complete without an item from photography online store Photojojo. They always seem to have some very creative items, including my pick this year, Snack Cap Lens Caps. I like the Donut Cap the best, but your photography buff might be better suited for the Burger Cap. Priced at $10 each, they are great stocking stuffers. The caps are available in a variety of sizes: 52, 58, 77 and 77mm, include a lens leash, and according to the website, are gluten-free.
Polar Pro Power Pole — The Power Pole solves the problem of keeping your GoPro or other action camera charged as you use it extended away from your body. It extends from 17 to 30 inches, weighs 13 ounces and provides power to two USB ports, charging your GoPro up to five times and extending your film time up to eight hours, according to the manufacturer. The pole is not waterproof as it has electrical USB connections. It comes with a mount for the GoPro, and USB cords for the camera and charging. The Polar Pro Power Pole sells for $99.99.
GoPro Hero4 — The GoPro Hero seems to make my Christmas gift list every year. They just keep coming up with new improvements on their action camera. The new and improved GoPro Hero4 Black includes: 4K video at 30 FPS (frames-per-second), 1080p video at 120 for great slow motion, 12MP still photos at 30 FPS, better low-light performance, and a smart remote for control of the camera at distances of up to 600 feet. There is plenty of control with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity to your phone with the GoPro apps allowing live video and management of the camera functions. The GoPro Hero4 Black camera is priced at $499.99.
Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW — The Flipside Sport is ideal for your outdoor camera adventurer. This daypack is made for hitting the trail. The Flipside Sport 15L AW is a mid-size bag that should be able to hold your photo gear with ease along with a hydration-ready pocket to provide you with water on a long hike. The hydration reservoir is not included. The bag provides plenty of protection and is lightweight. It features body-side access, tripod attachments, all-weather cover and room to carry a full-size DSLR with an attached 300mm 2.8 lens and a couple of extra lenses. The bag has a list price of $144.99 and is available in blue or orange.
Cyber-shot Digital Camera RX100 III — The Sony RX100 III with its 1-inch 20.1 MP Exnor R sensors and Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 24mm to 70m lens has extra quality in a very small profile. It’s a top-of-the-line compact style point-and-shoot with plenty of control. It features Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity to make it a complete package. The camera is priced at $799.99. This also includes a multi-angle LCD display, built-in neutral density filter and HDMI output for uncompressed video recordings, RAW and JPEG imaging, plus up to 10 frames-per-second.
Nikon COOLPIX S6500 — This camera from Nikon has a lot of nice features, including a relatively low price. This camera sports built-in Wi-Fi, a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, 12x optical zoom, and 1080p full HD video. The Nikon COOLPIX S6500 is priced around $140 and is available in black, orange, red and silver.
Canon PowerShot SX60 — I have the previous version of this camera, the SX50, which I use for getting great close-ups of birds when I go on nature hikes. The new camera from Canon is even more incredible. The optical zoom range is from 21 mm to 1355 mm (35 mm equivalents). That’s a great range when you consider the size of the camera. It also features a built-in WiFi, 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and a vari-angle 3-inch LCD viewing screen. Remember, the sensor in this camera does not match the quality of a conventional DSLR, but it’s a lot easier to carry, especially when you consider how heavy the lenses are with the same range. The Canon PowerShot SX60 is priced around $500.
Joby GorillaPod Action Tripod with Mount for GoPro — This flexible tripod is designed for lightweight cameras and includes a mount for the GoPro camera and 1/4-inch – 20 standard tripod. The GorillaPod Action Tripod features a small ball head and level to easily move your camera for the perfect composition. It’s a great device to keep the camera steady for a selfie, time-lapse or clamping the camera to an out-of-the-way location for a nice angle for video. It’s very lightweight and will fit in a purse, backpack or stocking hanging from the mantle. It is priced at around $36.
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