If you happen to have a photography enthusiast on your Christmas shopping list, then you are in luck.
There is a whole Christmas stocking worth of photography gifts and gadgets that your special photographer would love to find under the tree on Christmas morning. I will be detailing some of the more useful items, all of which are under $150.
Today's newer DSLR cameras have sensors with a lot of megapixels. Lots of megapixels mean larger photo files, which mean that photographers need more and larger memory cards for their photos to be stored in the camera.
I recommend either Lexar or SanDisk brand cards. You should look for cards with storage capacities of at least 16 GB. You will also find cards with 32GB, 64GB and even 128GB of storage. The higher the number the more photos that can be stored on the card.
Expect to pay anywhere between $20 and well over $100 for memory cards. It is important to remember that different cameras take different types of cards. The most popular for DSLR cameras are Compact Flash and SDHC cards.
Photographic filters are round, screw-on devices that attach to the front of the camera lens. There are many different types of filters, but the two most useful filters are a UV and a
A UV filter will help reduce a blue cast in bright sunlight but the most important reason to keep a UV filter on the lens at all times is to protects the lens from scratches, dust and moisture. UV filters start around $30, but you will need to know the diameter of the lens that it will be going on. A polarized filter removes unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces, such as water or glass. They also saturate colors providing better contrast. Polarized filters start at $60.
As with UV filters you will need to know the lens diameter measured in millimeters, for example 58 mm. This information is normally near the front of a lens.
Another gift that photographers can always use are camera batteries. There is nothing worse than having a great photography session come to a screeching halt because of a dead camera battery. Most high-end digital cameras use a specific
rechargeable battery made for that particular camera. Expect
to pay $30 to $60 for a camera
battery depending on the camera brand and model.
A couple of other items that every digital photographer should have in the camera bag that would make great stocking stuffers are items to keep the camera, lens and sensor clean.
A good quality bulb blower removes small particles of dust from lenses and digital sensors. Expect to pay $15 for a quality blower. A microfiber lens cloth, $5, is good for removing
smudges from a camera lens. The sensor can collect dust that will show up on images. A
sensor cleaning kit includes
everything a photographer needs to safely clean the sensor and start around $40.
One item that every photographer needs is a good camera bag to store all of these new goodies. Camera bags are a very personal choice and there are hundreds of styles to choose from -- hard cases to shoulder bags to a backpack style. Some are small with just enough capacity for a camera and lens, while others will hold enough equipment for a photo safari to Africa. Plan to spend at least $100 for a medium sized, good quality bag.
Of course, every photographer also wants some knowledge to go along with all that equipment. Fortunately there are many good instructional books and DVDs on almost every aspect of photography. Scott Kelby's books on photography are very good. They are available locally at Barnes & Noble. The Merced College Community
Service office will be holding a basic digital photography class.
This class, which I am teaching, runs three consecutive
Saturdays beginning Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at Merced College. The cost is $120. For more information, call the
community service office at (209) 384-6224. I also offer gift certificates for private instruction and group workshops. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All of the items listed above can be found online at either www.calumetphoto.com or
Some items are also available at some of the big electronic stores.
Jay Sousa, a former Sun-Star photographer, has his own photography business in Merced. He also teaches photography at Merced College and conducts private classes.