The holiday season is right around the corner, and for most of us, that means it’s time to do some shopping. This list should hopefully help you to find some inspiration for christmas presents, either for yourself or others, because like most, I don’t find shopping for presents to be particularly easy, and that’s why I compiled this list for you. I just wish I had more friends who are into photography! If you have a problem, or a question about any of the items, then please don’t hesitate to ask me, and I’ll get back ASAP. Enjoy the list!
These are some of the best cameras on the market at the moment, in different sizes and price ranges.
The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is a compact, high-performance digital camera offering superb image quality and precise imaging control. An ideal traveling companion to your DSLR, the Coolpix P7000 will be found in gadget bags of advanced amateurs and pro-shooters alike. Powered by Nikon's leading-edge technology, the P7000 is designed for no-limits shooting in low-light or tricky light, for fast-moving subjects, dramatic landscapes and detailed close-ups.
The performance of a DSLR, in about half the size and weight. The NEX-5N is the interchangeable lens camera that fits in your pocket. Enjoy Full HD 1080/60p or 24p movies, astounding low-light pictures, continuous shooting up to 10 fps, incredible panorama shots, and 3.0-inch tiltable Live View touch screen LCD. I don't own one yet, but I fully plan on getting one.
This camera and lens will help photographers who are looking for an easy-to-use camera to create their next masterpiece. The next in a long line of phenomenal compact DSLRs, the EOS Rebel T3i continues the Rebel tradition of easy operation, compact design and no-compromise performance. Featuring Canon's newest DIGIC 4 Image Processor and an 18.0 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor plus cutting-edge technologies like Full HD video recording, Live View shooting, Wireless flash photography and even a Vari-angle 3.0-inch LCD monitor, the EOS Rebel T3i offers the best of EOS photography in a compact package.
The new D700 digital SLR camera featuring a 12.1-effective megapixel Nikon FX-format sensor that measures 23.9 x 36mm, which is nearly identical to the size of 35mm film. Benefiting from Nikon’s legacy of imaging technology innovation, the D700 offers both advanced and professional photographers stunning image quality, accurate color reproduction and revolutionary low light performance.
The integration of HD movie capability into a high-end 21.1-megapixel camera opens a multitude of new possibilities for photojournalists and news photographers. With its full-frame CMOS sensor and outstanding ISO performance, the EOS 5D Mark II will appeal to any photographer in search of the finest camera equipment available -- from studio and wedding to nature and travel photographers.
Lenses make great presents, in fact, they’re all I ever ask for. If you don’t already have one, then a 50mm f/1.8 is an absolute must buy.
When it comes down to quality for price, bang for buck, a 50mm 1.8 is one of the best lenses on the market, and an upgrade that I recommend to every new SLR user. For a very small investment of $105 for the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 or slightly less for the Canon, you can have one of the best upgrades that you can make to your camera.
When it comes down to quality for price, bang for buck, a 50mm 1.8 is one of the best lenses on the market, and an upgrade that I recommend to every new SLR user. For a very small investment of $105 for the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 or slightly more for Nikon, you can have one of the best upgrades that you can make to your camera.
The Canon EF 24-70mm standard zoom lens does what many pros thought couldn't be done--it replaces the L-series 28-70mm f/2.8 lens with something even better. The lens offers extended coverage to an ultra-wide-angle 24mm, making it ideal for digital as well as film shooters. The new processing unit, meanwhile, makes the autofocus (AF) faster than ever. I use this as the replacement to my 18-55mm kit lens, and I honestly don't know what I did without it.
The AF-S Nikkor 24-70 mm f/2.8G ED from Nikon is a professional wide-angle optical lens with a 24 to 70 mm focal range (equivalent to 36 - 105mm in DX format) and a recent winner of the TIPA and EISA awards. It's a true workhorse lens and the silent wave motor ensure speedy and accurate focusing. It's a bit more expensive than Canon, but if I shot Nikon, this is that I'd use.
Capture the far-off action of fast-paced sports or zoom in for an intimate portrait with the Canon EF 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens. The L-series lens offers an Image Stabilizer that provides up to four stops of shake correction--a first for Canon IS lenses. The use of fluorite UD lens elements, meanwhile, produces an excellent optical performance in terms of resolution and contrast.
AF Nikkor lenses work with Nikon SLRs for optimal performance, even the very latest. The Nikon 80-200mm f2.8D ED AF is a superb 2.5x telephoto zoom for sports, portraits, and nature photography. With a fast and constant f2.8 maximum aperture through the entire focal range, ED glass elements provide high-resolution and high-contrast image even at maximum aperture. The rotating zoom ring provides precise zoom operation.
I've never been a big fan of all in one lenses in the past, but I understand that they're the best option for a lot of people. The image quality is never going to be as good, but it does allow you to only have to carry one lens with you, which is perfect for when you're travelling. I carry extra lenses all the time, so I can certainly see the advantages of only carrying one.
Buy an external flash and you’ll wonder why you ever even used your pop-up flash in the first place. It will make a huge difference to the way you take photos.
I always thought I hated photos with flash, but that was before I invested in an external flash; there’s so much you can do with it. External flashes are so useful because they can make a photo look like a flash hasn’t even been fired – a real natural look. There is a more powerful version of this flash which is worth it if you’ve got the money as it brings more functionality, but if you’re just starting out then this is the flash for you.
The next great speedlight from Nikon is here, introducing the Nikon SB-700, a high-performance portable flash with a host of new features designed to make flash photography simple, accurate and creative. The SB-700 is for photographers looking for an on-camera Speedlight offering more power for greater depth-of-field control than the built-in flash or for users looking for a compact Speedlight that can be set up as a Commander or a Remote in wireless flash set-ups as well as those who want to upgrade from their existing or older Nikon Speedlight.
It’s been a couple months since I first bought my first flash trigger and receivers, and let me tell you, I’ve never looked back. I lost my Canon infrared flash commander at a festival I was shooting at, and decided that it was time to switch up to radio transmitters and receivers. After deliberating over Pocket Wizards and Radio Poppers, I was being continually put off by the price, and then I came across the Phottix Odin.
If you can afford one, it’s great to way of experimenting with light and giving your photos the professional look. You can create some really cool effects with it too, as well as using it for fill flash. It works great with a canon camera as anything you change in the camera will then change in the transmitter and in your external flash.
FlexTT5 Transceivers gives you full flash exposure control with the freedom and reliability of a PocketWizard radio. There are no special settings to make or modes to call up. Use the camera's exposure compensation controls for basic control of remote flashes, or add an AC3 ZoneController or Nikon Master unit for even more flexibility.
If the off-camera flash options listed above are too expensive for you, then I would thoroughly recommend a flash sync cable. It allows you to maintain all the TTL functionality, but at a much lower cost. Of course, you're going to have to keep the flash wired, so it's limited to the length of wire that you're using, but it's still a very viable option.
Different bags for different occasions. I’m currently on the look out for a good Pelican Case to store all of my photography gear, and I think I’ve just found it.
This rugged Pelican case has everything you need to keep your valuable equipment safe and secure. It features easy roller wheels, double throw latches and watertight construction. It also comes with an easy to adjust single layer padded divider set.This case meets the FFA requirements for maximum carry-on size and has a retractable handle. The image pictures an olive coloured case, but the actual case is Black.
The unique design of the SlingShot provides a quick access to camera gear and accessories. Perfect for photojournalists, it fits comfortably and easily rotates from back to front. If you're sensible, and unlike me, know how to pack light, then this is the ideal bag really. You only carry what you need, and you can keep your camera safely in your bag, without having to wait too long to get to it.
Padded adjustable dividers allow you to customize the case to your equipment. Durable shell, rugged water repellent nylon fabric, looks great and protects your valuable equipment. Large front pocket with internal compartments, perfect for notes & papers. Tripod straps on bottom of case to easily carry a tripod or monopod. Padded twin side pockets for extra storage and quick access. Shoulder strap with non slip, adjustable shoulder pad for carrying comfort.
The compact, lightweight design of the Flipside 300 backpack lets you carry your pro digital SLR without worry. The unique back compartment entry gives you safe, easy access to camera gear when you're setting up plus extra security when you're on the move. Outer storage panels keep digital accessories and personal items close at hand. There's enough capacity for 1 Pro DSLR with 300mm f2.8 lens attached plus 1 extra lens.
Anti-static and lint-free microfiber lens pouch protects your equipment in case or backpack. Not only do they keep your lenses clean and safe, but you can actually use the microfiber casing to clean the lens and filter too.
Don’t dismiss this too quickly, I would go so far as to say that the Sun Sniper strap is one the best things I’ve ever bought for my camera.
I’ve raved about this style of strap for ages now, but it’s hard to really convince people to switch over, without having seen it used. This is probably the best accessory I’ve bought for my camera as it makes it so much easier to walk around and use, meaning that I’m actually carrying my camera more now. I personally own the Sun Sniper Steel, but the design and quality is very similar to the Black Rapid so I’ve grouped them together.
Firstly, there’s the Black Rapid RS-5 strap, which is very similar is design, but doesn’t come with a steel wire or insurance, although it does contain a pocket. Black Rapid have a few straps on the market, which can get a little confusing, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t think their finish is quite as good, and again, the camera is mounted into the tripod screw mount.
If you’re a pro looking to carry two cameras at the same time then you’d do well to choose either the Sun Sniper Double Press Harness or Black Rapid Double Strap which are very similar in design, although the Sun Sniper does have the option to carry an extra, small camera or binoculars on the front. These straps are very useful if you’re a wedding or sports photographer and need to have a wide angle and a telephoto lens at your disposal.
I know it may seem expensive, but if you buy the best quality tripod that you can afford, then you will only have to buy it once. I personally own the first two items, but went through a lot of rubbish tripods before I settled on these.
The 055XPROB makes the famous Manfrotto-patented horizontal center column feature even easier to use. By extending the column to its highest vertical position, it can be swung around to horizontal without removing the head or disassembling the column itself, so switching between framing and positioning setups is more convenient than ever. The ergonomics of the leg angle release mechanism and the quick action leg locks themselves have also been greatly improved.
The 327RC2 has been designed to suit advanced photographers looking for high-performance products. Made of sophisticated, high performance materials, it offers superior specifications and durability. The 327RC2's ergonomics have been optimized to improve control and precision. This is a product that is lightweight, compact and easy to carry, intuitive and easy to use, yet also extremely precise and sturdy.
All the features of the professional Monopod 681 with a handy addition of three retractable legs. Dual 1/4” - 3/8” coaxial camera fixing screw. This replaces the Bogen Manfrotto 682. It's great for long walks, where you don't typically want to carry around heavy, cold tripods, as this can also be used as a walking stick. The legs at the bottom provide the added stability needed for longer exposures.
The Gorillapod SLR-Zoom is our new heavy-duty version, designed with the serious photographer in mind. It attaches to SLRs (with zoom lenses!), video cameras, and your own tripod head, and can support a whopping 6.6 pounds (3kg)! Use it as a regular tripod, or wrap it around a tree; it's the ultimate lightweight tripod solution.
Too many photos are ruined due to camera shake, especially those in low light conditions due to the delayed shutter speeds. Tripods are the typical solution, but when you don't feel like lugging a tripod with you everywhere you go, or the shooting situation doesn't allow for a tripod to be used the Pocket-Pod is your solution. "Every photo will be razor sharp every time". Pocket Pod is a versatile camera "bean" bag which allows you to capture rock-steady shots with your digital, film or video camera on just about any surface.
This unpadded tripod bag is a great way to protect your tripod and gives a convenient carrying solution. There are cheaper solutions available, but it's been my experience in the past that if I don't buy the best the first time round, I usually have to buy it the second time round. Buy once, and buy right.
The main reason I use a remote is not because I want to be in a photo, but because I don’t want any camera shake. I love doing night photography and that means spending a lot of time with my camera on a tripod and when you’re taking a long exposure, even the slightest movement will make your image less sharp. Be careful which one you buy though as there are different remotes for different cameras – wireless and wired.
When you start playing with off camera flash, then it can become incredibly tempting to start splashing out on lighting setups, and I would always encourage that.
This is a basic light stand that extends to a height of 9 feet. It is designed to accommodate small light fixtures, reflective panels, or small boom arms. When it comes to stands, I now only buy Manfrotto, because I've bought the cheaper alternatives in the past, and they've either not lasted, or not been strong enough to do the job. Sure it's more expensive, but it's something you'll hold onto for years to come.
No place to mount an umbrella on your light stand? That is no problem with this Manfrotto Swivel Umbrella Adapter (Lite-Tite). This adapter attaches between the light head and stand, giving a receptacle for mounting an umbrella. The adapter also tilts allowing multiple positioning of the light head and umbrella. Use it with the hotshoe adapter below for the best results.
Featuring a clamping-style lock, this Stroboframe 300-SHO flash mount securely holds the heaviest shoe-type flash units. It will not loosen up even under the most rigorous use, and a locating pin ensures that it won't twist on the bracket. This bracket shoe mount attaches with the bracket's mounting knob. Constructed of machined, solid aluminum.
This is a 40 inch Lighting Umbrella with a Removable Black Cover, Reflective Silver Backing and Internal White Satin Panel. Remove the black cover and it can be positioned close to the subject for a shoot-through diffuser. Use the black cover to create a soft silver interior for a bounce source. It's a cheap way of diffusing the light, and folds up so it's really easy to carry.
This is the perfect accessory for the portrait photographer. The beauty dish has an internal light shield that allows bounce-only lighting. This provides high output making it a perfect soft light source for portraits. It will also provide moderate round catch lights in the eyes where a softbox will yield larger rectangular catch lights. It also comes with a front cover diffuser for softer looks. This Beauty dish is made of 100% aluminum with superior design. Ideal for all flashes with hotshoe mounts.
This fold-able softbox is portable and flexible. With a removable grid, a front diffuser, a secondary diffuser, and a round mask, you can soften and modify your light source in many different ways. The softbox attaches to an adjustable bracket that is in turn set on a ball joint swivel mount, giving you freedom to point it in any direction.
This is a set of 4 professional heavy duty sand bags. Their unique saddlebag design can be draped over or clamped onto light stand legs, or to boom arms to provide extra stability. With dual 10 1/4" x 9 1/4" interior compartments, these heavy duty bags can be filled and emptied over and over again with sand, gravel, even nuts and bolts. These sandbags will prove to be an integral part of your studio system for years to come.
This 5 in 1 collapsible reflector disc Comes with translucent, silver, gold, white, and black five most popular surfaces. Packs into a zip packet. Folds into 12" carry pouch for easy to carry, durable and flexible steel spring frame insures easy spreading and closing. This reflector fits any standard reflector holders.
Simply flip this 2-in-1 reflector to use either the grey card or silver screens for quick and convenient shadow fill as well as camera white balancing. Convenient shape and handhold make this reflector easy to use on your own.
Use Honl Color Correction filters to color correct your strobes for tungsten, fluorescent or cool daylight lighting environments. Use CTO filters to match your flash output to tungsten lights, or simply to give a pleasing warm tone to your portraits. Use Full + Green to match your flash output to fluorescent lights. These superior filters are pre-cut with velcro strips attached so they can be quickly fastened to a Speed Strap (sold separately). Honl Filters can be used in conjunction with Honl Snoots, Gobos and Grids. The usable filter area is 2.5" x 4" and can be trimmed to fit individual strobes.
Put an end to rubber bands, tape or sticky residue from gluing velcro to your expensive strobes. The Speed Strap fits any shoe-mount strobe unit, attaches and removes in seconds, and provides a large wraparound surface area to quickly attach gobos, bounce cards, barndoors, and snoots. Non-slip so it won't budge when attached.
So simple, so effective, so cheap, so important. This adds to the functionality of your flash by adding a basic lightbox onto the end of your flash. That means you can fire your flash upwards to nothing and it’ll shed a nice soft light onto your subject. Far better then a harsh direct light and great for taking photos of people outdoors at night.
Memory and Batteries
If you’re taking thousands of photos, then you need somewhere to put them all. Sensible storage is a must, because it really sucks when you lose all of your photography.
Dedicated to fulfill the demanding requirements of performance-conscious photographers, Transcend proudly releases its Extreme 400X CompactFlash cards. With its amazing performance and huge capacity of up to 64 GB, the Transcend 400X CompactFlash memory card allows the professional photographers and enthusiasts to get the most from your digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera. Users are guaranteed to make consecutive shooting and non-stop video recording and share their digital artwork with the world!
As high-tech gadgets become increasingly advanced with ever-improving video and audio quality, we find ourselves needing extra speed and memory capacity to store our high-resolution digital masterpieces. SD cards aren't as fast as CF cards, but there's not much you can do about that if your camera only has a CF card reader built in.
Kingston's new Media Reader moves files seamlessly from a digital device to your computer. It supports 19 card types, including SD, MMC and CF formats. I didn’t realise just how slow transferring photos through your camera can be until I bought one of these. It’s a HUGE speed boost and now that I take more and more photos, it saves me time, every time. Seriously, just buy one!
You should really buy one of these when you buy your camera, as using it a lot will drain your battery fast. I’ve personally got 4 and whenever i’m running low on battery below 50% I just switch out for a new one. They don’t take long to charge either so i’ve still only got 1 charger.
If you're going to be buying extra batteries, then you may want to consider an extra charger too. It really depends on how often you shoot, how long you shoot for, and how long you have between each shoot. In the right situation, an extra battery charger can make all the difference.
If you’re planning on using the camera a lot in one day on a regular basis, consider getting a battery grip. Grips are also useful if you do a lot of portait photography as the improved ergonomics make it much more comfortable to use.
Simple, effective and portable, the Value Charger can charge four AA or AAA rechargeable batteries at the same time. A foldable wall plug makes for easy portability and handy storage. If you're going to be using a flash on your camera quite often, then you'll find that you drain batteries quite quickly. Buying rechargeable batteries and a charger is a much cheaper option.
Whenever I transfer important photos onto my computer, I make sure I import them into an external hard drive at the same time so I have back ups incase anything happens. When i’m done with them on my mac, I relocate the photo masters into 2 separate hard drives so that I can still see them though my photo library, without them taking up room on my laptop.
Filters and Cleaners
Filters not only protect your lenses, but help to take much better photos at the same time. They fix the sort of stuff that can’t be fixed in post production.
Digital Multi Coated (DMC) construction greatly reduces lens flare and ghosting. The Black Almite Frame (BAF) is a black matte finish aluminum frame that reduces reflections to enhance contrast. In addition, the Black Rimmed Glass (BRG) reduces light reflection around the filter edge. Low Profile Frame (LPF) is an Ultra thin frame which helps avoid vignetting on wide-angle lenses. The Knurled Edge Frame (KEF) aids easy attachment and removal. UV filter absorbs invisible ultraviolet rays which make outoor photographs hazy and indistinct and serves as a permanent lens protector.
Polarizing filters are great and essential for most photographers. To see what exactly they do, have a look by searching 'polarising filters'. Remember to make sure you’re getting the right size for your lens and that you’re buying a circular (as apposed to linear) filter for a digital camera. Linear polarizing filters confuse the autofocus on modern cameras.
Often, you want to balance light intensity between two areas within a scene. This is important outdoors to allow more sky detail while properly exposing the foreground. Exposing for the foreground will produce a washed-out, over-exposed sky, exposing for the sky will leave the foreground dark, underexposed. By simply using this filter, you can create a much more evening exposed photo, without the nasty HDR effect.
In conditions of extreme light intensity, such as sunshine on snowy mountains or on the beach, or when using a camcorder, ND (Neutral Density) filters are recommended as essential. Neutral Density filters are often ignored by photographers, but they have several uses and offer the possibility to achieve otherwise unachievable results. ND filters appear grey and reduce the amount of light reaching the film, they have no affect on color balance.
Lens cleaning pen. Safe for use on all opticl lenses, LCD, plasma and glass surfaces. Nothing removes oily fingerprints better that a LensPen. Patented carbon compound, which is good for over 500 cleanings. If you're going to be using a filter on your lens, then I would suggest the option below as this cleaner has a curved cleaning head, which won't work on flat glass.
Zoom Eyewear features fun, colorful readers and accessories for every occasion. This all-in-one cleaning and repair kit comes complete with anti-fog lens cleaner spray and a fun cleaning cloth. I've tried many options for cleaning my lens, but I still reckon that this is the best option available on the market, and it's smaller than most alternatives.
If there’s something really wrong with dirt on my sensor, I take it to a professional and don’t risk cleaning it myself. For anything else however, I use a rocket air blaster for blowing away any pesky dust inside my camera. It’s incredibly effective and once again, cheap. Large black Rocket Air Blaster easily removes dust and debris from cameras, lenses and filters with a powerful blast of air. Made of rubber. Includes a one-way valve to prevent Blaster from breathing in dust and spreading it back to your equipment.
It’s no good having all of this lovely camera gear, without somewhere safe to store your photos. These are the most popular programs on the market, and I currently use Aperture to manage my photos.
Aperture 3 combines powerful performance with iPhoto simplicity to help you refine images, showcase your photography, and manage massive libraries on your Mac. With more than 200 new features and enhancements, it can help you take your photography to the next level. Now you can perfect your images with brushes. Apply adjustment presets to instantly create a custom look. And when you import your pictures from iPhoto, all name and location data is preserved.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software helps you bring out the best in your photography, whether you're perfecting one image, searching for ten, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands. Create incredible images that move your audience. Experiment fearlessly with state-of-the-art nondestructive editing tools, including world-class noise reduction. Easily manage all your images. And showcase your work in elegant print layouts, slide show videos with music, and on popular photo-sharing sites. All from within one fast, intuitive application.
Turn everyday memories into sensational photos you'll cherish forever. Adobe Photoshop Elements 10-the newest version of the No. 1 consumer photo-editing software-makes it easy to edit and create using automated options. Make flawed photos phenomenal with a brush stroke, create perfect group shots, and easily add patterns and effects. Tell your stories in unique printed creations and Online Albums, share photos with your social network, and view photos virtually anywhere you are. Award winning for 10 years.
Expand your creative possibilities and turn your vision into reality with the comprehensive, state-of-the-art image editing tools in Photoshop CS5. Manipulate images with pixel-level precision and control. Create dazzling image composites, beautiful panoramas, and stunning high dynamic range images. Move, warp, or stretch any part of an image, or remove image elements and see the space fill in like magic. Do it all faster and more efficiently with 64-bit cross-platform support and more GPU-accelerated features.
Create distinctive designs for any project. Used by creative professionals worldwide, Adobe Illustrator CS5 software provides precision and power. Paint expressively with vectors, draw in perspective, and explore designing for interactivity. Move easily between Illustrator, other Adobe products, and Adobe CS Live online services. Get the job done efficiently but beautifully, moving quickly from multiple ideas to multiple outputs with complete control and delivering exactly what you had in mind.
These books are priceless to me, I’ve learned so much from them, and I recommend that you read them too.
This book guides you through every aspect of digital photography, from shooting through postproduction and printing, to help you master the theory and technical skills required of a great photographer. In an easy-to-understand format, it’s the complete package. There’s also a bonus chapter for helping you to choose the right digital camera so it’s a great place to start before you’ve even bought one!
With more than 350,000 copies sold, Understanding Exposure has demystified the complex concepts of exposure for countless photographers. in his trademark easy-to-understand style, author Bryan Peterson explains the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, including how to achieve successful exposures in seemingly difficult situations. With new information on white balance, flash, HDR, and more, this updated classic will inspire you to stop guessing and take control of your settings for better photos anytime, anywhere, and with any camera.
Michael Freeman is on this list twice, and with good reason, I love the way he writes. Design is the single most important factor in creating a successful photograph. The ability to see the potential for a strong picture and then organize the graphic elements into an effective, compelling composition has always been one of the key skills in making photographs.
This is a book aimed towards Canon users, but i’ve included it because having read it, the majority of the information can be crossed over to over brands. For those new to flash photography—or for anyone who has previously given up out of frustration—Speedliter’s Handbook is a revelation. Whether you want to create a classical portrait, shoot an event, or simply add a little fill light to a product shot, Speedliter’s Handbook shows you how.
This was a recent birthday present and i’ve been picking it up daily ever since. It’s a collection of famous photos of memorable events from the past 10 year, coupled with a brief description of what the photo’s about. It really helps to jog your memory and remind you of what’s going on in the world. I personally find it a good source of inspiration, but it’s just as good as coffee table book and conversation piece.
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