Now that it’s the Holiday Season and everyone has a photographer in their life or is one themselves, I have put together my picks for the best photo gifts on a budget. Save some cake and upgrade your kit… Cheers!
SHARKK Portable Boombox
Photoshoots need music. It’s the number one way to make the environment relaxed and fun. With the advent of cheap bluetooth speakers and no data limits on Pandora streaming, there is no reason to not have it anymore when shooting on location. After hours and hours on reading online reviews about bluetooth speakers, I have come to the conclusion that this is the one to get. It has an 18 hours of playback on its lithium-ion battery, charges on a micro USB cable and gets louder than almost all the other bluetooth speakers in the price range. The consensus online is that it essentially out-performs every other option under $100.00. Oh yeah I forgot to tell you, IT COSTS $59.99!! Mine is in the mail from Amazon as we speak.
Sony A7 at Reduced Price
The Sony A7 was my favorite new camera when it came out last year. Sony just dropped the A7II which has sent the price of the original a7 thru the floor. It’s currently discounted $400.00 at B&H and if you turn in any camera film or digital, you will get an additional 15% off leaving you with a final price of $1043.00. That is a sick deal. If you are currently balling, go for the A7II, but for fullframe mirrorless on a budget, the A7 is a really awesome buy right now.
Paul C. Buff Einstein E640
This monohead strobe is THE BEST VALUE in lighting. The specs are ridiculous. All you need to know is that it is 640 watts, can maintain color accuracy shot to shot better than most Profoto gear and also has a fast setting giving you insanely short flash duration allowing you to freeze any motion in the natural world. If I were buying this strobe (which I already have) I would also be getting the radio transmitters which are the extremely inexpensive Paul C. Buff version of Pocket Wizards, and the Vagabond Mini lithium battery pack (which I also own because it’s awesome). This kit together gives you lightweight portable stopping power that rivals systems costing 10 times as much.
iOgrapher Mini Mobile Media Case
This $65 device turns your iDevice (in this case the iPad Mini) into a capable little movie rig. It has wide handles making for stable shots and also has three cold shoes for mounting microphones and LED lights. It was designed by a teacher in California who was looking for a way to get video cameras into the hands of all his students. Realizing that most of them had iPhones, he came up with this little case with handles and the rest is history. It has made a huge splash online with the tech geeks and I’m dying to get my hands on one personally.
Crucial 256GB SSD Memory for Laptop
If you are processing images from a laptop, you absolutely have to get an SSD. It’s just too achingly slow to run Lightroom from the 5600 RPM or 7200 RPM drives that come stock in these things. The SSD is your answer and will boost your ability to cruise through edits. This crucial MX100 is $109.99 on Amazon and represents an incredible value for a 6G SSD drive. If your in the market, just get it, the research is already done, or go hard and get the 512gb version. But this 256gb drive is the best value going in late 2014.
Silcon Power 2TB Backup Drive
Not to be outdone by the speed performace of an internal SSD. Any photographer working longer than 2 weeks is going to need an external portable backup drive. This Silicon Power drive has 2 terabytes, is extra rugged, and is waterproof. It’s also USB 3.0 so you’ll be cruising with it if you have a new computer. Again, after hours of online research I bought this one last month and couldn’t be happier. For $119.99 it is a no brainer.
Tanner Goods Field Camera Bag
When I first got this Tanner Goods waxed canvas camera bag I was impressed by how nice it felt and how minimal it was. After months of using it, I can’t live with out it. I feel super secure with my cameras inside and I like that it only fits a small kit and doesn’t have tons of pockets to lose stuff. What really sold me on this bag actually happened just last week when I spilled an entire double vodka and soda on it. If you had any question as to whether or not waxed canvas can handle 8 ounces of liquid poured right on it with out getting wet, now you know. It can. This bag took it like a champ and was dry within a short period of time following the mis-hap. At $350 it is very well priced for a bag that will last you forever.
Induro Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs (CT214)
Another often forgotten essential is the tripod. If your going to be shooting in varied environments, you’ll quickly learn how integral they are. In my opinion carbon fiber is where it’s at for anything other than a big heavy tripod for studios. I hate carrying heavy gear and have come to rely on my Gitzo carbon fiber tripod legs which I’ve had for ten years. If I was buying now, I would be team Induro. Induro makes really well made tripod legs and their prices are just soooooo good. You can pick up a 61″ carbon fiber tripod for under $400 on Amazon. Step up your game and get it.
Tanner Goods Monogrammed Camera Strap
A great gift from a great company. The monogrammed detail is very nice on this American Made leather camera strap from one of our favorite purveyors Tanner Goods. There’s not much more to say. It will age well and the monogramming will make it a personalized gift. $125.00
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