Christmas 2015: Gift ideas for photographers
As camera manufacturers keep innovating with plenty of new features, there’s never a shortage of gift ideas for the camera enthusiast on your list. There are many options: DSLRs, or mirrorless or compact cameras, not to mention how the quality keeps improving. It could be just a simple gadget that improves a smartphone’s photographs. Here are my suggested gift ideas for the photographer in your life:
Think Tank Photo Lily Deanne Mezzo camera bag – This camera bag, designed by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice and designer Lily Fisher, was created for the professional female photographer. The Think Tank Lilly Deanne Mezzo Camera Bag is available in chestnut (brown) or licorice (black) and is large enough to carry a professional DSLR, a couple of lenses and an iPad or 11” Macbook Air. It features plenty of pockets for all your gear, making it functional with a stylistic professional look. It is priced at $249.75.
Affinity Photo – If you are an Apple computer user and are looking for an alternative to the monthly fees of Adobe’s Photoshop, then consider Affinity Photo software. It’s a very nice photo editing program that has what you need to take your photographs to the next level. The software has plenty of options and creative tools including tilt-shift, blurs, masks, layers, live blend mode, all in a very modern-looking interface. Affinity Photo software is priced at $39.99.
Nikon 1 J5 – This camera does an amazing job of mixing an old-school look with the best new technology. The Nikon 1 J5, which features interchangeable lenses, shoots 20.8 megapixel photos, 1080 video at 60 pm, time-lapse and features continuous shooting frame rates up to 20 frames per second. This camera features a new CX-format CMOS sensor, and it fits into a pocket or purse with the included Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom lens. Built-in wifi and NFC mean it pairs up easily to your smartphone to transfer photographs or remote control via the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility app. Another nice feature is the 180 degree tilting touch screen for creative angles or selfies. It is available in silver, black or white and is priced at $499.95.
Think Tank Photo Red Whips cable organizers – This 10 pack of elastic cable ties is the perfect stocking stuffer for the photography enthusiast who needs to get more organized. I’m not sure how this happens, but the number of photography and electronic cables I have accumulated is staggering. The Red Whips, made of elastic cord, feature an adjustable lock that fits securely around a variety of sizes of cables and is handy when attaching them to stands. They are priced at $7.50, making them the least expensive gift on the list.
Domke F-2 Original Shooter’s Bag Black Canvas – The classic style Domke camera bag is still my favorite. It remains the best, most functional bag I have ever used. The F-2 Original Bag features a padded four-compartment insert, removable hand strap, and an adjustable gripper strap. I have used the same style camera bag for over 35 years. The camera bag is priced at $157.95.
Camera Lens Mugs – Nothing says photography better then drinking your favorite beverage out of a Nikon or Canon lens mug. These will stand out as a favorite for your photographer. They are surprisingly detailed looking and you might take a second glance to see if it’s your lens or your coffee cup. The mugs feature stainless steel lining and come in two sizes: 11 or 16 ounces, priced at $24 and $30, respectively.
Sony a7R II camera – This new Sony camera is the most expensive gift on my list, but it’s a great full-frame mirrorless camera that will produce amazing images with its 42.4 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. The Sony a7RII camera features 5-axis image stabilization, fast focus (using focal plane and contrast detection), super high ISO up to 102,400 and 4K video. This makes it one of the most advanced cameras available. It is priced at $3,199.99. If video is your primary interest, the Sony a7S II is a better choice. This camera features fewer megapixels for still images, but is more suited to video with its lower light sensitivity with ISO up to 409,600. The Sony a7S II is priced at $2,999.99.
Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW II – This backpack from Lowepro is designed for the outdoor photography enthusiast. The Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW ll is designed to keep your gear well protected while you are out climbing, hiking, biking or snowboarding. It features an all-weather cover to protect your gear from the elements. The lightweight backpack features a place to hold a 2-liter water pack (not included), a strap to distribute the weight, plenty of room for noncamera gear in the top-loading compartment, and plenty of ways to attach a small tripod or walking poles. Your camera stows in a side pocket away from your other gear, making it easy to access and organize. The backpack, available in blue or black, is priced at $199.95.
Case Logic Kontrast Pro DSLR Backpack – This camera backpack holds plenty of gear along with your computer. The Kontrast Pro DSLR is designed to carry your photography equipment around town, on assignment, or travel. It features plenty of options for your storage needs including a top load entry for your camera and lens, water-resistant base, padded shoulder straps and back panel, a section for a tablet or 15-inch laptop and pockets for filters, memory cards batteries and cables. It also features side pockets for a water bottle or attaching a tripod. The Case Logic Kontrast Pro DSLR Backpack has a list price of $159.99.
Fotodiox Pro 42’’ Collapsible Disc Reflector – Probably one of the most useful photography gadgets is a reflector. The Fotodiox 42-inch collapsible reflector gives you five different ways to creatively add light to your subject. It reflects gold, white and silver light along with a diffuser to help with harsh shadows and black fabric for cutting down the light. The disc folds down to one-third its original size for storage in its case. The 42” collapsible reflector is priced on Amazon at $22.95. It is also available in a kit with a stand and boom for $85.97.
Canon EOS 70D – This camera is one of my favorites I have used (at this price range) for shooting video and still photographs. The Canon EOS 70D features 20.2 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS for fast autofocus, built-in Wifi and a 3-inch variable-angle touch screen. The foldout touch screen make this camera a breeze to operate. Gone are the days of scrolling through dozens of menu items. While the quality might not quite match the quality of the full-frame cameras, neither does the price tag. The camera has plenty of other features, including HDR, creative filters, multiple exposure, night scheme mode and bracketing of exposures. The camera is priced at $899.
Panasonic LUMIX G7 – With the look and feel of a conventional DSLR, the new Panasonic LUMIX G7 is a compact high-quality mirrorless camera made for shooting nice still photographs and 4K video. The camera features a 16 megapixel sensor, ISO up to 225,600, 4K Ultra HD video, tilt/swivel touch screen, high speed autofocus, silent shutter mode, wi-fi, and external microphone input. The camera with the LUMIX G Vario 14mm to 140mm f/3.5 to 5.6 lens is priced at $1,099.99.
Sigma 210205 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens – This lens which is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony, Sigma and Pentax mounts, is the fastest wide-angle to standard zoom at f1.8. It is designed for cameras with an APS-C sized sensors. The lens is great for most of your shooting needs, especially in low light. The 9-blade diaphragm and f/1.8 aperture should give you some amazing blurred backgrounds not possible before with a conventional zoom lens. The Sigma 210205 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens is priced at $799.
Nikon School – A Portrait and Light Workshop from Nikon would make a nice gift for a photographer interested in improving their skills. Classes are available in locations all over the country, including two in Los Angeles this January. The one-day workshop features both hands-on shooting and classroom instruction. It will give you a chance to improve your lighting techniques. You get a chance to work with the Nikon Creative Lighting system while photographing a model and shooting images. The workshop is priced at $299.
Joby Action Jib Kit – If you’re looking for a way to extend the view of your action camera, the Joby Action Jib Kit is a great solution. This lightweight jib will allow you to quickly get your action camera into some unique high or low angles at a distance to improve your videos. The system extends as you add the poles while enabling you to control the angle of the camera with bungee-style cords and pulleys. The Joby Action Jib Kit is priced at $79.95
PowerGrip H20-Waterproof GoPro Battery System – The PowerGrip H20 gives you extra battery power for your action cameras during your outdoor adventures. This means plenty of power on the go even when your camera gets wet. The kit includes: two extension poles, 1/4-20 regular tripod, cell phone, and GoPro mounts, and extra doors for the PowerGrip and GoPro for charging above and below water (included in the combo set). The PowerGrip with live charge and LED light combo is priced at $149.99.
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