We’re starting to close in on the end of the year and the holidays are fast approaching. Not news, but we saw that a couple of woman have been camping out since last week for the Best Buy Black Friday sale. They wanted to be the first ones in the nation to start the countdown.
No need for you to do that, as we have sifted through a ton of products for you to bring a solid selection of gift ideas for all of your photo minded friends, and of course, you know you’ll have to give your gifters some ideas on what you may like. All of these things can be purchased online and they are already linked for you.
We’ve seen a ton of items this year ranging from the “just what we needed” all the way to “gee…how can someone charge for that??”
The list we present is primarily the stuff you may want…um…they may want. The range of costs starts from a pleasant under $15.00 USD to a committed $1100 (ok, only 1 item in that range). There is another list coming as new product continues to be released and there will be a special photo book gift guide this week, as well.
NB:In the DSLR category, we have stayed away from a full range of reccos for now because to gift someone a DSLR is a bigger deal since you then get locked into a system. The camera manufacturer choice is like a marriage: the photographer has to make the choice and there are no really bad answers. There are some great starter kits available from the majors with sweet low prices to match.
Got your shopping list ready?
Here we go!
GorillapodsThere is a whole line of these flexible tripods, and there is one to fit every camera. We’ve used them for Point & Shoots, up to broadcast video cameras. $14.00 on up Beware of the imitations as they are out there. Get the real deal
Pixel Pocket Rocket-simply the best set of media management wallets made. Different configuration for SD and CF. Stocking stuffer or indispensable tool? You decide. as low as $13.50.
Crumpler Camera Strap – Heavy camera+lens = bad shoulder pain. How do we spell relief? The Crumpler strap lets us go all day. About $30.00
Or change the way you hang the camera off of your body with the Black Rapid Strap . The original and still the best . around $60.
Magazine subscriptions:always a great investment and a gift that keeps on giving: Popular Photography, American Photo, PDN, B&W, and Aperture for the thoughtful present that comes throughout the year. Sure we get mags on the iPad, but holding some of them in your hands cannot not be beat. That one link should give you access to em all. From about $13.00 on up.
You may want to check with the individual mags for special deals.
In the “a little learning never hurt anybody” dept:
NAPP – the Photoshop User place to be – for only about $100. a year you get training and answers by the best in the business Scott Kelby is the head of the school and he has gathered all of the superstars of the photoshop world to teach you the tips and methods you want. Not only is there a mag subscription, an online teaching service,but there are heavy discounts on products you would be buying anyway.
Adobe.tv- free teaching videos online. Yep, free.
Photoshop CafÃ©> – a well made series of videos from 2 photo companies now joined together. We love the Dean Collins lighting and the Colin Smith Wacom instructional DVD’s in particular but name your photo subject and they have a perfect teaching DVD. Prices vary.
Lynda.com – online tutorials for an incredible range of imaging subjects. From $25.00 per month to discount yearly subs.
We recommend checking out one of the free demos on the last 2 to determine teaching styles and see what may be best. for you or your giftee.
Ok, not necessarily photographic in nature, photographers should have these kind of items in their toolbox. Lots of utility right here.
Muji Tool : these are the best small screwdrivers with a full range of sizes to do whatever you need to your gear.$10.
Joby Gorillatorch Switchback : Who doesn’t need another flashlight?
This set-up gives you 130 lumens LED in a wide spreading lantern mode, or use the LED headlamp stored in the body. Adjustable light in a 2-AA package. We love rechargeable batteries, but when they are built-in you need an outlet to recharge. So use your AA rechargables and carry a bunch with you at all times. Coming in at about $60.
Apple iPad Really? Is that a shock?
How about the best new way to present your portfolio? Or watch personal movies. Or do email. Or use any number of apps to hep you through your day? We love FlightTrack for our flying needs, and using the Zinio reader for photo magazines. There are over 400 photo apps available, and you don;t need to buy into everything MAC to mac it sing for you. Starts at $500. We have the 3G and Wi-Fi model and honestly, have not used the 3G yet. Always have wi-fi or we bring our own.
iTunes card – from $15. this is a great gift or stocking stuffer for the person who wants to pick their own tunes or try those apps they’ve heard about. Like the SunSeeker. even Vince Laforet loves this app.
Mobile mi-fi: If you travel to enough places that still charge for internet usage, this unit will give you a personal hotspot so you are online when you need to be. On a 2 year contract they are usually free, with a $60. per month commitment. We are also hearing great things about the Virgin Mobile unit which is $40 a month and no 2 year contract.
Can you have too many?
The ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 is our latest fave unit because it holds everything we need for a days coverage of events including HD video with sound and an iPad with a keyboard. The best part is the disguise part as it never looks like it;s holding the thousands of dollars worth of gear that it does. $170.
Then slip it over the handle of the Airport International V 2.0, the best way to get your gear around the world. Fits into all international guidelines for carry-on, and looks like any standard overnight suitcase. we’ve used one for over 2 years and it just works right. $350.
Boda Bag- for the event/wedding photographer this company does it right. Especially the previous version.Try to find that one. Soft, enough compartments,and comfortable. New V3 didn’t cut it for us. Around $200. if you can find one.
Other goods in the misc. area:
Want the best Flash Bracket we’ve ever seen? it’s the Newton Flash Frame. Go vertical or horizontal with one of the best machined workhorses we’ve ever used.And Mr. Newton is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. This one is a real treat for any shooter. Get all the parts you need for your rig for the full effect. Starting at $190.
If you want to go real small (and a bit less expensive), keep a CB Mini-Rc in your bag of tricks. Straight forward, simple, and just does the job. Under $50.
You know we are fans of this product-folds flat and shapes your light with ease, every speedlight user should consider the Rogue FlashBenders>. Check out this video for a closer look on ways to use em. From $30 for the smallest unit and just over $100. for the full set.
Ok, show of hands of everyone who is using some kind of color chart in their photography…..well, if you are or haven’t started yet, this is one of the best solutions we’ve seen-The X-Rite ColorChecker Passport
Nothing hurts worse than losing a shot to a slow writing card. Had it happen today. Invest in a fast card and treat yourself or the fave photog on your list.
We are partial to the Lexar 600x – CompactFlash
cards. Everyone has a story about whichever card they don’t use so choose the one you are most comfortable with. Speed is the issue, and you’ll be amazed when you see the diff. About $160 for a 16gb 600x card.
Here is a vid showing the differences.
Here are some other cameras you can gift with and pretty much guarantee a smile on the recipients face.
GoPro HD Camera is not primarily a still camera. It is an awesome, place anyway full 1080p HD video camera.
Here is the cool thing – it does time lapse photography!!! Yep, set it to shoot every 2,5,10,30 or 60 secs with it’s wide angle lens and 5mp sensor. A real tiny unit, we’ve even worn it in public shooting the day as it unfolded. High recco on this this.$300 gets you set up with a camera ,mounting gear, and everything you need to get started but an SD card.
Every shooter should have one of these in the bag. Flip UltraHD Video Camera . Notes, interviews, behind the scenes, back-up to your real video camera, and at $170., not too tough a call. And the home movies for the holidays will actually happen without a huge production.
With a plethora of point and shoot cameras out there right now, we are currently having a love affair with the Canon PowerShot S95 . This pup shoots RAW, has a fast 2.0 lens, 720p HD video and it slips into our suit jacket pocket with no unsightly bulge. Street at $370.00 right now.
Moving up the ranks to a more pro level in this category, Nikon has a real winner with the Coolpix P7000 . Not sure if Ashton is using this one, but he should be. Around $500.
And of course, the Canon G12 which is always mentioned in the same breath as the Nikon, and this time they added an articulated LCD. Also in the $500 range.
Both companies got real smart and lowered the megapixels to around 10 in each unit. Less MP = Less noise. the more you pack into these smaller unit sensors, the more digital noise you get.
Kinda like opening up a package of socks :
Here are some other very un-sexy, but necessary, gifts-
G-Technology has been a leader in this area for years, and they have just been purchased by Hitachi so we’ll see how it continues.
You have this set-up, G-Tech G-SAFE 1TB , which can do mirror back-ups with ease, although you may want some more room to grow and go with a G-SPEED eS 8 TB High Speed eSATA RAID Array for Video Editing Applications 0G00265 (Silver)
A new entry into the photo market is this high end company using no proprietary hard drive mounting sleds WiebeTech. here’s what we like about them: Unlike companies like Drobo, who spreads your data over all 4 drives using proprietary software, this system simplifies it and keeps your data where you want it. Plug and play any hard drives you like, then store in a static free case. We’re going to post a white paper on the subject shortly. for what it’s worth, the military uses their systems.
The smallest unit in that realm is WiebeTech RTX 220-QR
In the portable world we like these:
LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Portable External Hard Drive has been a good steady player in this field, and we think the orange bumpers make people feel better traveling this unit.
Or perhaps the G-Tech G-RAID mini 1TB. $261 at B&H
What we like about the 7200 RPM is really more for video editing on the road. 5400 RPM should be fine for your still images
And of course, the Software.
We are partial here to the King Of The Road, Adobe Photoshop CS5 . With tools like Content Aware Fill, and too many to list, this is your digital darkroom. Period. $700. and worth every penny.
If you fell like that may be a more complex course than you may need, then go for Photoshop Elements 9 . An amazing deal at about $72.00
And the great thing about the Adobe family is that most plug-in developers design their products to use in those main systems. Like OnOne Plug-in Suite 5. they have simplified some of the complex tasks in CS5 and made them so user friendly, you’ll probably get more work done, and have it looking the way you want it to, in less time. They have a plug-in called Focal Point that has the simplest tool to use way to direct the viewers eye. Just a fave of ours.
Try them in a free demo and see what you think. About $500 for the set.
Living in the same zone, at about the same price, is Nik Software Complete Collection . the discussion will go back and forth on both of these packages, and everyone’s preference.
Our suggestion is to download the free demos of each and see what you like.
Most of what they do can be achieved in Photoshop, but you’ll need a bit of expertise.
You could always invest in more Photoshop education.
So that is what we have for now.
There will be a special Book Gift Guide, but it deserves it’s own space. We’re getting word on all kinds of special deals coming up so sty with and keep checking back.
Plus if you have questions about purchases, we have just sen a ton of the new products and can help guide you through the process, whether it’s for you or someone else.
Join us on Facebook too, as we’ll be posting there, and direct message us on Twitter if you like.
There will be giveaways coming on both of those spaces throughout the holidays so keep coming back for a look see.