Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Photography Gift Guide 2011: Part 1

Are you looking for something to buy the photographer in your life this Christmas? Here are a few ideas to help you along. Items are listed by budget to help you select them based on how much you are willing to spend.

Budget, under $100:

Filters: Filters can be a great tool to help photographers improve the quality of their images. Circular Polarizer,  Variable ND or ND (available in different types). If you know your loved one wants some filters, you might want to give them a gift card from a camera shop, so they can pick the right one for their needs. 

Memory Cards: A photographer can never have too many memory cards. Unless your loved one has a high end camera (these use CF cards) you can buy them SD/SDHC or SDXC memory cards without breaking the bank. 4GB and 8GB cards are very affordable, even high performance cards are in the $40-60 price range. 

Camera Batteries: Most digital cameras today come with special lithium ion battery packs, and just like memory cards having more than one is always nice. These cost between $60-90 (make sure to buy genuine manufacture batteries) on average.

Cable or Wireless Shutter Release: These are nice tools to have for taking long exposure shots from a tripod, or for family photos! There are wireless and wired versions for most cameras, but you'll have to do some searching to make sure you get the right one. These range in price from $20-80+ depending on the model of camera. (some shutter releases for higher end cameras may be over $100)

Budget $100-300

Lens: In this price range you can buy your loved one a nifty fifty (50mm F1.8) lens or for the Nikon DX camera users, a 35mm F1.8G. 

Filters, memory cards and batteries can also make the list in this price range. High end cameras use expensive $150+ batteries. High quality filters can also fall into this price range as well. Large capacity memory cards (16GB or 32GB) in either SD/SDHC or CF card format also fall into this range.

Low end flash: Both Canon and Nikon for example have small basic flashes that work with high end point and shoot cameras (Canon G12, Nikon P7000/P7100) and entry level DSLRs. These flashes are better than the built in flashes because you can change the angle that the flash directs the light upwards. 

Budget $300-500

Once you have a budget this large there are numerous options, from lenses, to cameras. Here are a few ideas.

Cameras: Most of the best options in this price range are point and shoot cameras, such as the Canon Powershot SX230, ELPH 510,  S100, G12, Nikon S9100, P300, P7100, AW100, Pentax WG1, Panasonic ZS10 etc. You might be able to get an entry level DSLR or mirrorless camera like the Nikon D3100 (body only), Panasonic GF2 kit (14mm F2.5 or 14-42mm) or Olympus E-PM1 on sale. 

Lenses: There are many options in this price range, too many to list. A gift card towards a lens might be the best route to go, unless the person asked for something specific. 

Flash: Even the high end flashes from Canon and Nikon fall into this price range. Find out if this is something your loved one would like, and which one they prefer.