Holiday gift ideas for Photographers
Well, it's that time again. Whether you're buying gifts for others or for yourself, here are some ideas for gifts that photographers might like.
First on the list of gifts are books. You really can't go far wrong with a book! They're not expensive and photography is a visual art, well suited to the printed page. You can find a number of suggestion in the BOOKS section of this website and they range from technical books on PhotoShop to books of images. Be sure to check out the AMAZON BOOK BARGAINS page where you can find many really wonderful books on sale for under $10.
For anyone who is interested in maybe making a little income by selling their images, the 2006 Photographers Market makes a great gift. It lists thousands of publications and markets which are looking for images, as well as containing articles on how and where to sell your work.
A magazine subscription is also a popular gift and someone who is really interested in the artistic side of photography couldn't do better than give (or get) a subscription to LENSWORK. Lenswork is a magazine devoted to interviews with photographers and black and white art photography. Even those immersed in digital technology can learn a lot from it.
You can find some other suggestions in the MAGAZINES section here.
Art PrintsWhile you may not want to pay $25,000+ for an original print of Ansel Adams' "Moonrise, Hernandez New Mexico", an art print at $31 is a lot more reasonable! You can view a number of such prints on my Art Prints page.
Digital Camera Memory Cards
When it comes to hardware, most digital photographers would welcome extra memory for their digital cameras. You can get 512MB cards, which are good for at least 170 images with most digital cameras, for as low as $35 and 1GB cards (good for twice as many images) for as low as $60. There are many types of digital memory, but CF (compact flash) and SD (secure digital) are the most common. Make sure you know which type the camera uses. For some suggestions see my article on Memory Cards
While advanced and wealthy photographers can go for the $550 PhotoShop CS2, most photographers will find simpler (and cheaper) image editors will do everything they need, and often offer an easier to understand interface than full-blown PhotoShop. I have been very impressed with Paint Shop Pro, in fact it's my most used image editing program. I have a full review of PSP 9 and a mini-review of the new PSP X. Currently there's a $30 mail-in rebate on Corel PSP X and it comes with a free gift of a mini-tripod, camera case and a set of rechargable batteries plus charger, plus a copy of Corel Photo Album 6 - Standard Edition
Many photographers don't appreciate how much their photography could improve if they used a tripod. It allows you to more carefully frame a shot and it allows you to shoot in much lower light and still get sharp images. Casual photographers probably don't want to haul something big and heavy around with them, but the Velbon 343e is small, light and inexpensive at around $70. It comes complete with a ball head and a carrying case. Check out my full review of the Velbon 343e. I bought one for myself since I thought it was a good travel tripod.
If you're in a more generous mood, an ultra-small compact digicam is a great gift. I actually just bought myself one as an early Christmas gift! The 3MP 3x optical zoom Canon Powershot SD200 (see the full review) is a camera you can take anywhere since it easily fits in a shirt or pants pocket. Image quality is great for 4x6 and 5x7 prints, even the occasional 8x10. Right now you can get one for under $180
If you don't mind a slighly larger size, the Powershot A520 is a great deal for about the same price as the SD200, but it's 4MP, has a 4x optical zoom and more manual control options. It will fit in a jacket pocket, so it's not huge, just a little bigger the the ultra compact SD200.
If you're feeling REALLY generous, the Canon EOS Rebel XT currently qualifies for a $75 rebate from Canon. The final price of the Digital Rebel XT with an 18-55 lens is $800. Not cheap, but you get a very good camera which will give you much better images than those from any small digicam and room to grow into the full Canon EOS SLR system. Check out my full Digital Rebel XT review.
One thing any nature photographer can use is a good pair of binoculars. I just bought a pair of Pentax Papilio 8.5 x 21 binoculars as a gift for a friend. Not are they only high quality, but they have the unique ability to focus as close as 0.5m (about 19"), so they are great for looking at butterflies and insects as well as birds and other animals. A great gift for a nature lover.
You can have too many binoculars though, as I can attest! I recently got a 4th pair as a gift and I really don't need more than 3 so I'm selling the 4th. Brand new National Geographic 8x22 binoculars with case, box, papers etc. Unused. Only $45 (including shipping), See my Stuff For Sale page for more info.
Something else I've found a use for is an MP3 player with built in audio recorder. You can listen to music while out in the field photographing, plus you can use the audio recorder to take notes about what you're shooting. There are lots of units around with such capabilities. I bought a Sandisk which works pretty well.
Finally, if you're still confused about what to give (or get...), Amazon have a page which lists their MOST WISHED FOR CAMERA AND PHOTO GIFTS, so at least you can see what other people want most!
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