Friday, December 05, 2014

Photocentric Stocking Stuffers

The past few years I have had a look around at the paraphernalia and small gadgets photographers (and aspiring photographers) may like. I try to keep the price down so they are good stocking fillers or perhaps a gift into a Kris Kringle or for a relative. Well the things at the cheaper end are pretty much the same as previous years,sorry but that’s life. So I have added a couple of more expensive things you could consider
True Stocking fillers for photographers
Well outside the usual suspects, mugs that look like lenses, lens cleaning kits and lens pens , or USB Memory Card Readers I can’t see much in the under $20 range that might excite a photographer anymore.
The one possible exception is memory, SD cards are getting larger capacity (but not all cameras can use the high capacity SDHC cards (so check camera make model, most older cameras will be able to handle the Straight Sd models with come in 1 & 2GB capacities). In simple terms an 8 GB (gigabyte) card will be large enough for any photographer, perhaps except for those taking high Definition movies. After capacity, the faster the card the better (its show as the the number inside the @ symbol or called class, larger numbers are faster, again make sure the camera can read these newer cards). Well known brands like Scandisk and Lexar are a little more expensive but likely to be more reliable. (~AUD$9.99+)
If you are considering giving SD cards perhaps include an SD card Wallet as well.
Slightly More Expensive and Just for Fun
Selfie Poles, (and monopods) seem to me the big new toy this year. Frankly I’m not so sure they are necessary but there are a lot of damn selfies these days all disturbing close up and distorted, and all so similar. So anything to change the view (ie get a bit further away and thus less distorted) could be an advantage (ie give you more views on Social media). The extender pole shown here with the butterfly bracket caught my eye. Importantly it has a remote trigger in the handle (you do need to plug in a cable to your earphone jack) and no (expensive) app to have to download. (~$30 to AUD$100)
The Photoshop Fridge Magnet set is a bit pricy and I can not find any Australia Distributors, but it is available from Photojojo (who have a good reptuation delivering here but you’ll need to add priority UPS delivery to get things by Christmas). It looks like fun, you get magnets that are Abode PS menus, toolbars and Pop-up Dialgue box. Stick your photos to the fridge door (or a magnetic noticeboard and create the illusion that your are a mater photoshopper! (~USD$25 plus frieght)
More expensive but likely to be useful/appreciated
Vouchers are often seen as a cop-out but giving the voucher for a photo book can be the right trigger for the lucky person receiving the gift to produce something they will be proud off. If you know someone that takes hundred of photos but they all just sit on their computer or cloud account consider giving them a photo book voucher (starting in the range AUD $50 to $100 should get you a decent 20 page book). You may find cheaper offers around but you probably want to make sure that doesn’t come with an extra and expensive deliver and or too few pages
Stylus pen for Ipad (or Android Tablet), most of the hype for these is around Paper for IPads app and I gather its been a bit of a hit and miss affair. What I have heard first hand is that wacom’s bambo or intuos stylus have better drivers/compatibility for a whole range of applications including many photo editors, making tasks that are difficulty for fat fingers a breeze. (~AUD$30+)
A simplie fun drawing app (free or low cost) or itunes voucher to get such an app might be a nice addition so the pen can be used straight away.
Speaking of tablets and pens, I can strongly recommend having a pen tablet input for most photo processing software. These can be expensive but a simple system to start with is the bamboo fun pen & touch. Which comes bundled with both Adobe Photo Shop Elements (Mac or Windows) & Corel Painter Essential (windows only) and by looking around you will probably get this at a good price (~AUD$ 220+).
Finally a word of warning. if you intend  buying camera gear, like new cameras, lens, or even tripods for an existing photographer. It is important you check with them that it is firstly suitable/compatible and that they would actually use it. To avoid a very expensive present that sits on the shelf.

PS If you are in Melbourne the mga gallery has a great range of photographically oriented gifts 
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