Eduardo Angel - acclaimed visual storyteller, educator, and consultant -…
The passing of Thanksgiving marks the official start to the holiday season. This year, forget searching hundreds of sites for the perfect gift for the photographer in your life – instead, take a hint from our Holiday Gift Guide. We’re featuring four tiers of gift giving: $50 or less, $500 or less, *unlimited spending*, and gag gifts.
First in our series is a collection of hot photography items for $50 and under. Use them as stocking stuffers or even as a little gift to yourself for working so hard this year. Happy Holidays!
LensPEN Lens Cleaner – $6.79
This pen-shaped lens cleaning tool can be tossed into any camera bag. It contains a convenient dust brush on one end, and the other end has a small carbon-charged microfiber cloth that is great for cleaning things like oily fingerprints from the surface of the lens. Much more effective and safer than they typical lens cleaning cloth that most photographers have been using for years.
The lens pen is good for periodic cleaning and lightweight stains (like a fingerprint), but if you wanna use what the big boys use, get yourself a bottle of Eclipse. Main active ingredient? Methanol. Highly flammable. Technically cannot be brought on planes. That’s how you know how badass it is. Plus you can use it on both your lens and your camera’s CCD or CMOS sensor.
For a mere $9, you can turn your iPhone into a Leica camera! There’s catch – the skin only works for aesthetic purposes, and unforutnately it doesn’t actually magically turn your iPhone into a camera worth many thousands of dollars. Still, the peel-off vinyl panels protect the phone from scratches and makes iPhone photography more fun. And when subway thieves steal it, you can laugh in the back of your head, “Haha. They thought they stole a Leica, but it was just my iPhone!”
Etymotic Noise Reducing Ear Plugs – $12.95
Protect your ears at concerts and loud weddings! These standard-sized plugs reduce sound levels, but still let you hear speech and music without muffling sounds like common ear plugs. Plus, they look much cooler than regular ol’ ear buds.
Let’s just get this out of the way: camera phone photography has made its mark and it’s here to stay. Sure, we wanted tried to remain dedicated to our traditional DSLRs and then digital point-and-shoot cameras, but then the ease and versatility of the new camera phones won us over. Now that camera manufactures want to get in on the profits, there are some great add-on’s available to take your phone photography to the next level. Photojojo makes 3 lens extensions that will fit most phones – Fisheye, Telephoto, and Macro/Wide Angel Cell Phone Lenses for $20-25 each or $49 for all three. It might not be the 24mm f/1.4 you were hoping Santa would bring, but we’re guessing that even the North Pole is in recession this year.
Puffer Pop-Up Flash Diffuser – $21.95
Already have the “sphere?” Gary Fong’s “The Puffer” mounts in the hot-shoe slot of almost all digital cameras with a pop-up flash, and effectively softens your flash. It’s especially useful for portraits and closeups, and packs completely flat for easy storage. It’s a cheap but good investment at $21.95.
HonlPhoto Honeycomb Speed Grid – $29.95
PhotoShelter member David Honl invented the Honeycomb Speed Grid to better narrow and direct light from your portable flash than your homemade mechanism. It fits with almost all shoe mount flashes, and is highly recommended for anyone who wants greater control over their light setup or strobist techniques. Just beware that the speed strap mounting is sold separately.
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Photoflex Umbrella – $37.50
This is a very durable umbrella and ideal for any photographer whose work might be subject to the elements. Be prepared to protect your clients from rain and wind, and they’ll thank you later.
SanDisk Ultra SDHC 32GB Memory Card – $38.95
The SanDisk Ultra SDHC memory card has transfer speeds up for 20MB/s per second and excellent read/write speeds for digital photo and video cameras. Its Class 6 rating makes it a perfect gift for pro photographers – just be sure that it’s compatible with their camera. Most cameras take SanDisk cards, but some older models and DSLRs require different cards. The card also comes in 4, 8, and 16GB sizes; the 32GB size is just $38.95.
Nasty Clamp – $44
Simple and brilliant, says Nasty Clamps. $44 might sound like a lot to pay for a single mounting tool, but you don’t want to get cheap when it comes to suspending your baby odd locations. It hangs onto pretty much anything – signs, rails, doors, and more, so feel free to get creative (and nasty!).
The Crumpler’s “Convenient Disgrace” design is pretty simple on the surface, but packed with lots of goodies that make it one of the top neck straps in its price range. The perforated double layer neck cushion and air mesh padding help protect your neck and wick away sweat . It also has quick release clasps that make changing cameras easy and efficient, without taking off the strap – and double safety locks so there’s no risk of accidental release.
Professional Business Cards by MOO – $48.99
We may be in living in a digital world, but having professional and eye-catching business cards are still important for in-person meetings. MOO lets you upload your own images, making it easy to show off your portfolio to clients and buyers. You can even print a different photo on every single card in the back. Prices vary – 200 “classic” cards sell for $48.99 per pack.
Think Tank Digital Holster – $49.75
The Digital Holster 10 V2.0 is every pro’s dream for a form fitting DSLR carrying case. Its extending “pop down” lets you store most any small DSLR with the lens hood in shooting position. There are also nifty pockets for small accessories, and it comes with a comfortable non-slip shoulder strap. Good for carrying by itself and also packing alongside larger equipment.
Datacolor SpyderCube – $49.95
The SpyderCube Color Balancing Hardware from Datacolor has helped change the way photographers establish proper white balance. Instead of carrying a bunch of flat gray cards to your next shoot, take along the nifty SpyderCube and capture much more precise color when shooting RAW. Its calibration is spectrally neutral, so it accurately responds to all lighting conditions.
The “Chameleon” disc reflector by Photogenic is actually a 5-in-1 kit with translucent, white, black, silver, and gold discs. It’s super lightweight and collapses into about 1/3 its full size for easy packing. Pretty much any photographer should own one of these, and for portraits photographers it’s a must-have.
Satechi Time Shutters – $49.99
Satechi is selling Time Remote Controls for many Panasonic, Nikon, and Canon models at a special discount price of $49.99. It’s ideal for time-lapse photography, and functions as a self-timer, interval timer, long exposure timer, and can be programmed as an intervalometer.