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18 Gifts Photographers Will Really Appreciate for $100-250

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Mason Resnick is the editor of the Adorama Learning Center and a lifetime photography enthusiast.

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18 Gifts Photographers Will Really Appreciate for $100-250

A gadget gift guide that will make you look like a digital photography genius! UPDATED FOR HOLIDAYS 2012

Photography enthusiasts can be some of the hardest people to buy gifts for, especially given the scary-high prices of camera bodies and lenses.


Additional Research by Josh Lehrer


There are seemingly endless amounts of photography gadgets, gizmos, and accessories available on the market, and it can be tricky to sort out what is useful and what is junk.

Photographers often don’t anticipate getting gifts they can really use to improve their pictures, since the equipment can be highly specialized and hard to decipher. The look of surprise and appreciation on a photographer’s face after they receive one of the gifts on this list will make your holiday!

This guide will help you make a smart purchase within a $100-250 budget, and will put a smile on the face of any enthusiastic photographer.  (Note: Prices and availability are current as of early November 2012)


Western Digital My Passport Essential 2TB Portable Hard Drive
Adorama price: $179.95
Pocket-sized hard drives can stowe more data than ever, which is essential in this age of  commonplace high-resolution images and HD video. This USB 3.0 hard drive can transfer up to 5Gbps, and is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Weighing half a pound and at the dimensions of a deck of cards, this portable drive affordably lets you take a lot with you.




 

Datacolor Spyder4
Adorama price: $114
A great basic color calibration tool, the Datacolor Spyder4 will easily profile your monitor or laptop in a few simple steps. Before-and-after screens tell the story as it increases color accuracy by 26 percent. Getting the color right has never been easier!

 

 

 

 

Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB WiFi Class 10 SDHC Memory Card
Adorama price: $99.95
Eye-Fi's wireless remote SD card series got faster and more sophisticated with the introduction of the X2. Now available in 16GB capacity, this card has a Class 10 rating, meaning it will record hi-res videos without hiccups. Features include wireless uploads with built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi networking abilities, streamlined workflow, an Endless Memory Mode in which the card automatically frees up space once your photos and videos have been wirelessly transferred, access to 10,000 hot spots, and automatic wireless backup into the photos of your choice.


Joby Gorillapod and Ballhead X Combo
Adorama price: $149
The Gorillapod is a small tripod with highly flexible legs that allows a camera to be attached to almost anything the legs will wrap around. The Professional model will hold a camera up to 11 pounds, which covers about any professional digital SLR camera available today. Also works as a regular table-top tripod. The Gorillapod should never be far from the camera bag, especially when traveling.  This kit includes a Ballhead X, which features an X-shaped mounting plate which connects  to your camera and easily slides on and off the ballhead for smooth, full 360-degree pans and tilts up to 90 degrees.


Kelly Moore 2 Sues Camera Bag, Walnut Brown
Adorama price: $199
Who says a camera bag has to look like a camera bag? A new generation of stylish bags geared towards women let you make a fashion statement while still accomodating your gear. This one will hold up to a 10-nch lens, a pro camera body or a standard body and a grip, or a camera body with a lens attached. And don't let its feminine lines fool you: This bag is waterproof, and has pockets and dividers so you can customize the interior to carry what you need.

 

Flashpoint F-1128N Carbon Fiber Tripod
Adorama price: $124.95
Built like more expensive name-brand models, the Flashpoint F-112BN is a full-featured camera support that extends to 55 1/4 inches. Featuring double-grip twist locks and carbon-fiber construction, this tripod does not conduct heat like aluminum, but it absorbs vibrations. Recommended: a Flashpoint F-1 Magnesium Alloy ball head ($49.95) can hold a camera and lens combo weighing up to 8.8 pounds.

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V4
Adorama price: $124.95
Manage and edit your images with one-click adjustments, create photo books, organize your images and do so much more. Image manipulation features include highlight and shadow recovery, advanced black-and-white conversin, noise reduction, flexible editing brushes and a non-destructive editing environment—plus video editing and adjustment support!



Wacom Intuos5 Touch Small Pen Tablet

Adorama price: $209.95
With 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, this 4x6 (approximately) surface pen tablet has a resolution of 5080 lines per inch and can capture subtle, natural media-type nuances when working with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator or other draw/image editing programs. It is compatible with all current flavors of Windows and Mac, and has a touch ring that controls programmable functions. This is a great little tablet that you can throw in your camera bag for on-location work.



GoPro HD Hero2 Surf Edition
Adorama price: $249.99
Catch a wave! This amazing little video camera is packaged with an underwater housing for all kinds of water sports videos in MP4 format in up to 1080p at 30fps. The 127-degree field-of-view superwide lens is great for point-of-view action shooting, and the f/2.8 lens offers good results in lower light. The camera also captures 11MP still images, and has a burst mode that will capture 10 images in 1 second.




Manfrotto ML360H Midi-36 LED Panel
Adorama price: $114.95
Designed for HDSLRs, the Manfrotto LED panel is a hybrid model that produces both continuous 6000 degree Kelvin (sunlight equivalent) light for video lighting, as well as a "flash" mode for shooting stills. Flash output is four times that of the continuous light. Two flash shoe mounts let you mount the unit on the camera either vertically or horizontally. You can also stack multiple panels to further increase the light. A dimmer controlls the light output from 0-100%, and there's an LED backlight so you can see your camera's controls even in total darkness.



DxO Optics Pro 6.6 Elite Edition
Adorama price:$134.95
Designed to improve the quality of both RAW and JPEG images, Optics Pro can automatically correct images based on specific combinations of lenses and cameras used to take each shot. Changes can be applied manually on signle images or automatically to batches of hundreds of images. Optics Pro can automatically compensate for lens distortion, increase dynamic range, reduce noise, and adjust color variances that can be introduced by different lenses. There are nearly 5,000 free downloadable lens modules available, so it's likely that DxO has a module that will correct any optical errors introduced by whatever lenses you use.


Polaroid Instant 3x4-inch GL10 Mobile Printer
Adorama price: $114.95
Small and portable, the Polaroid Instant Printer uses an inkless system to produce 3x4-inch photo-quality prints on thick paper, direct from your digital camera via USB connectivity, or from your smart phone via Bluetooth wireless technology and apps for Android and Windows-compatible phones. Prints can be borderless or have the classic white border reminiscent of old Polaroid prints. This printer is bundled with a 30-pack of paper to get you started.



 
B+W 77mm Circular Multi Coated Polarizer
Adorama price: $124.95
Polarizing filters should be standard in any photographer’s kit. They help reduce glare and reflections, and give blue skies an extra “punch” of color. B+W filters are some of the highest quality on the market. It is easy to get a cheap filter, but keep in mind you would be putting cheap glass in front of an expensive lens! Not sure what size to get? The 77mm size is extremely popular, and about as large as most lenses get. It is easy to get “step-down” adapters to make the 77mm size fit smaller lenses.

 




ExpoImaging ExpoDisc 77mm Digital White Balance Filter
Adorama price: $99.95
White balance is the key to getting the right colors in a photograph. When shooting with a digital camera, the color of the image will change as the type of light changes, for example, when shooting under fluorescent lights versus daylight. The ExpoDisc allows the photographer to take a “reference” image, and then set a custom white balance for every shooting situation. This means even in tricky, mixed lighting, colors can come out looking great.

ExpoImaging Ray Flash Ring Flash
Adorama price: $199.95
For the photographer with an external flash like the Nikon SB-900 or Canon 580ex II, the Ray Flash gives the unique quality of light that only a ring flash can provide. Great for portraits and macro photography, the ring flash “look” is unique and a lot of fun to experiment with. The Ray Flash is an adapter specific to the flash unit, so make sure you know what flash unit it will be attached to.





Joby Gorillapod and Ballhead X Combo
Adorama price: $149
The Gorillapod is a small tripod with highly flexible legs that allows a camera to be attached to almost anything the legs will wrap around. The Professional model will hold a camera up to 11 pounds, which covers about any professional digital SLR camera available today. Also works as a regular table-top tripod. The Gorillapod should never be far from the camera bag, especially when traveling.  This kit includes a Ballhead X, which features an X-shaped mounting plate which connects  to your camera and easily slides on and off the ballhead for smooth, full 360-degree pans and tilts up to 90 degrees.


Manfrotto 682B Self-Standing Pro Monopod
Adorama price: $141.06
It's the best of both worlds: the Manfrotto 682B is a monopod with three legs that come out from the bottom to give you quick, additonal support. Made of black adonized aluminum, the monopod has three sections, a rubber grip, quick action leg lock system, and the Manfrotto 234 Quick Release Swivel Tilt Head. Consider adding even more stability when using this as a standard monopod by adding this Shoulder Brace.






Honlphoto Complete Kit of Small Flash Modifiers
Adorama price: $199.94
Working with external flashes is a great way to improve the quality of light in your photos, and the next step is to shape and modify the light. Honlphoto light modifiers are designed specifically to work on small flashes; the “speed strap” system consists of a Velcro strap that secures around the flash, allowing any of the Honlphoto modifiers to be easily attached. The complete kit comes with a wide range of accessories to control light like never before. 


 

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