With the holiday season in mind, here are some possible gift ideas for photographers. I've broken them down into several price classes:
There are a several areas in which you can find useful gifts for less than $25. First, there are books. Books make a great gift and there's no shortage at all of photography related titles. Rather than make too many suggestions here, take a look at the BOOKS section here, where you'll find lots of suggestions. Amazon also have an enormous selection of "bargain" books, some of which are discounted more than 50% from their original price.
|For the Digital Photographer||For any Creative Photographer||For the Nature Photographer||For the Portrait Photographer|
Another gift that many photographers would appreciate would be a magazine subscription. Again there are lots to chose from and here are some suggestions. For more choices, see the MAGAZINES page.
|Equipment Reviews, Industry News||Nature, Sports, Travel||Digital Techniques and Equipment||Fashion, Art, Culture|
Memory cards are items that every digital photographer needs and current prices make them very affordable. A card reader for downloading images to a PC or Mac is also a good gift. It's typically faster and more reliable than a direct connection to a camera.
Anyone with a digital camera can always use spare batteries and many are available for less than $25. Many Canon EOS cameras use BP-511 series batteries, the Rebel XS and XSi use the LP-E5, and the XT, XTi and many "S" series Powershot cameras use the NB-2L. Though you can't get genuine Canon brand batteries for under $25, there are 3rd party batteries available. Rechargable AA NiMH batteries are used in the "A" series Powershot cameras.
|Canon EOS 30D/40D/50D/5D||Canon Digital Rebel XS, XSi||Digital Rebel XT, XTi, "S" series Powershots||Canon "A" series Poweshots|
A really nice gift for any photographer who is more interested in the artistic aspects of photography than equipment would be a subscription to "Lenswork", probably the best magazine about the true essence of photography. Black and white images, commentary and no advertising! "Gallen Rowell: A Retrospective" is a wonderful book which pays tribute to Galen Rowell, who died tragically in a small plane crash in 2002. It would make a great gift for anyone who loves images of the natural world. A Digital Photo frame can make a great present, either to or from a photographer (who can pre-load it with images). For the photographer who wants better lighting for portraits without going to the expense of studio lights, perhaps a set of Lumiquest flash diffusers would be useful
Given a $100 budget, we can get a bit more adventurous. For any Canon EOS photographer who doesn't already have one, the Canon EOS 50/1.8 II lens can be found for well under $100. It's much faster than any consumer level zoom lens, in fact it's even over a stop faster than any expensive "L" series lens. Great for low light work, portraits and any situation in which you want to minimize the depth of field. Also available are Image editors such as PhotoShop Elements and Paint Shop Pro, both of which are far better than any free image editors which may be supplied with cameras. You can even get a pretty decent "starter" digital camera like the Samsung S860 8.1MP digital camera with a 3x Optical Zoom for under $100.
For the digital photographer who is running out of hard disk space, how about and external "plug and play" drive. You get get 500GB for under $100 and that's enough to store at least 10,000 JPEG digital images. Or how about a spindle of 100 blank DVD's to backup all those images onto! For the photographer concerned about accurate color printing , you can get the Colorvision Spyder2 system.
With a budget of $250 you can get a pretty nice digital camera such as the Canon Powershot SX110is, which is a 9MP camera with a fairly fast 10x (36-360/2.8-4.3) image stabilized lens and popup flash and an extensive set of features including full manual control or almost every function. It would make an excellent "second camera" for a DSLR owner or a nice portable camera for any photo enthusiast. You can also get a super small sub-compact camera like the Powershot SD790is, a 10MP camera with a 3x (35-105) optical zoom in a tiny (3.6 x 2.2 x 0.8 in) package. For the Canon EOS DSLR owner, the new Speedlite 430EX II just squeaks in at under $250. It's an excellent full featured hotshoe flash that will work with any Canon EOS DSLR from the Digital Rebel to the 1Ds MkIII. Also for the Canon EOS owner, the Tamron SP Pro 1.4x teleconverter might make a good gift. It will work with an EOS lens to multiply the focal length by 1.4x, so it turns a 300mm lens into a 420mm lens, or a 200mm lens into a 280mm lens for greater reach.
In this price range there are some excellent software packages available. Bibble Pro 4.9 is an excellent and very fast RAW converter and it includes the award winning Noise Ninja noise reduction software. Genuine Fractals 5 is probably the best "upsizing" software for creating the sharpest possible enlargements. Aperture 2.0 is the premium RAW conversion package for those using Apple Mac computers. The X-rite color calibration package (software and hardware) is a professional grade product for color monitor calibration.
With $500 to spend you things really open up. You can even get a Digital SLR such as the 10MP Canon Digital Rebel XS with an 18-55IS kit lens, or an absolute top of the line P&S camera like the Canon Poweshot G10. For Canon EOS owners, lenses like the excellent EF 85/1.8 (ideal for portraits) and even the EF 70-300/4-5.6IS USM (ideal for sports and wildlife) become available.
Also under $500 is Canon's top of the line Speedlite, the 580EX II, and the excellent EF 100/2.8 macro USM which will give life size images (1:1) without any extra optics and is one of Canon's best and sharpest lenses. In the software department you can get Adobe's Lightroom 2, possibly the most fully featured and well supported RAW conversion and image organization package. For Nikon fans, the Nikon D40 with an 18-55 lens is available for under $500
The trouble with gifts under $1000 is that there are so many choices. Any P&S camera and any entry level DSLR can be purchased for example! Perhaps the 12.3MP Nikon D90 would make a good gift. It's currently the only DSLR under $2500 which can shoot movies. You can get the full version of the ultimate in digital imaging software, Photoshop CS4. In the Canon lineup you can get the EF 24-105/4L IS USM, a great lens with a wide zoom range. With the current $50 "instant rebate", the Canon EOS 40D is now available for around $860.
If you want a complete DLSR system, you can get the 12.3MP Digital Rebel XSi with the EF-S 18-55/3.5-5.6IS lens, plus the EF-S 55-250/4-5.6IS lens, giving you complete coverage (with Image Stabilization) from 18-250mm (equivalent to 29 to 400mm in 35mm full frame terms). If you buy the two together, you'll even get a $100 instant rebate on your order, making the total cost under $800. For Nikon fans, you can get a 10.2MP Nikon D60 with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR and a 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR lens for around $780.
|Canon Rebel XSi Outfit||Nikon D60 Outfit|
If you simply can't decide what would make the best gift, or you've left it too late to order a gift and have it delivered in time? Well, there are always Amazon Gift Cards. With a Gift Card you can choose what to buy from books, magazines, photography equipment, electronics, CDs, DVDs or any of the other 1001 things that Amazon sells. You can chose the value of the card from $5 to $5000 and it can be sent by email and be delivered immediately. You can also print out the gift card yourself at home and mail it or deliver it by hand