If you're stuck for Christmas gift ideas, Richard Sibley has some great suggestions, from the latest cutting-edge technology to more traditional photographic accessories. We've got something here for everyone
We have 15 great Christmas gift ideas to inspire you…
Nikon Coolpix S800c
Price: around £315
Released just months ago, the Nikon Coolpix S800c has a 16-million-pixel sensor and a 10x optical zoom, but it’s main claim to fame is that it was the world’s first camera to feature an Android operating system – the same as that found on many smartphones. This means all the applications you are used to having on your phone can now be used on your camera.
Photographers can edit their images quickly on the 3.5in touchscreen using a variety of applications and then send them around the world via the S800c’s built-in Wi-Fi support.
This model should prove to be a very popular present this Christmas.
Giottos Vitruvian VGRN8255 carbon-fibre tripod
Price: around £270
In our travel tripod buyers’ guide in AP 24 March, the Giottos Vitruvian VGRN8255 scored an impressive five stars.
With the MH5400 head attached, the folded tripod is just 40cm long, but its five-section carbon-fibre legs and centre column extend this height to a maximum of 165cm. Each of the legs has foam padding, which is a blessing when working in cold conditions.
The tripod’s size, combined with its 1.38kg weight, make it an excellent travel tripod, whatever the weather.
Gary Fong Lightsphere Coloured Dome Kit
Part of the Gary Fong Lightsphere range of flash modifiers, the red, green and blue coloured domes simply slot into a Gary Fong Lightsphere (available separately for around £65), altering the colour of the flash output.
This makes them a great option for adding a splash of colour to a neutral background, or for using as a backlight for a portrait.
Unlike a conventional gel filter, the domes are made of a durable plastic, and can even be washed if they get dirty so they should last a lifetime.
Manfrotto Pro Field Jacket
Price: around £250
The Manfrotto Pro Field Jacket is designed to be waterproof, windproof, but ultimately flexible enough to allow a photographer to keep shooting in comfort, whatever the weather.
There are number of large, easily accessible pockets, both on the exterior and interior of the jacket to store accessories, lenses and even spare camera bodies.
If you only have a small array of items, the jacket can actually save you from having to carry a camera bag, although if you do, rubber-padded shoulders and popper-button epaulettes will help to prevent the bag or strap from slipping off your shoulders.
The Pro Field Jacket is a must for any keen outdoor photographer, and it is available in a range of sizes for both men and women.
Domke F-831 small photo courier bag
Price: from £109
The Domke F-831 bag has a very simple and traditional-looking design for those who want protection as well as a hint of style. The bag has one large compartment, which can be fitted with dividers to create custom-fit sections depending on your needs.
The bag will store up to an enthusiast-sized DSLR with lens attached, plus an extra lens, while a zipped pocket on the front flap can hold smaller items. This flap is secured with Velcro, which can be silenced with covers if you are shooting in a quiet location. It comes in black canvas and Rugged Wear waxed-canvas (shown here, priced £120).
For city breaks, weekends away or everyday use, the Domke F-831 is an excellent choice.
Kenko Lens2Scope spotting adapter
Price: around £100
Kenko’s ingenious Lens2Scope turns a standard photographic lens into a spotting scope.
The five-elements-in-three-groups arrangement in the adapter gives a 1/10x optical conversion, meaning that a 70-200mm lens becomes a 7-20x spotting scope.
Available in Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax mounts, the Lens2Scope is a very useful accessory for wildlife photographers looking to save both space and weight in their camera bags.
Price: from £24.95
The new Manfrotto Klyp is a case for the iPhone 4/4S with attachments that can be clipped onto one of four positions on the case.
Two attachments are provided in the Klyp kit, one that provides a tripod mount and the other a hotshoe attachment. Different Klyp kits are available, but the one shown here features a Manfrotto Pocket table tripod and ML120 LED light, and is priced £74.95. The case and Klyp snap-on adapters costs just £24.95.
For anyone who enjoys iPhone photography or shooting video, the Klyp is a great product.
SanDisk Eye-Fi SD Card
Price: from around £40
SanDisk’s new wireless memory cards use the Eye-Fi technology that has been around for the past few years. Available in 4GB and 8GB (around £45) capacities, the cards allow direct transfer of images from a camera to a smartphone or tablet device.
When the card has been set up to work with a Wi-Fi network, images can also be transferred to a computer or uploaded to a social network site.
Many cameras are compatible with Eye-Fi cards, so if you want the Wi-Fi functionality of the very latest cameras, but aren’t ready to upgrade, then these SanDisk Eye-Fi SD cards may be the perfect compromise.
Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith
Based on the Leica X2, with its 16.2-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor, this limited-edition version has been created by British fashion designer Paul Smith. Limited to 1,500 cameras, the X2 has been given a makeover, with a bright orange top-plate, vivid yellow bottom plate and a racing green cowhide leather finish on the body.
A hand-drawn Paul Smith sketch of a light bulb has been engraved on the camera’s pop-up flash, and each camera has its own limited-edition serial number and fitted taupe leather case and strap.
Costing only £500 more than the standard Leica X2, the Paul Smith version is actually quite reasonably priced for a limited-edition Leica, and definitely one for Leica collectors to keep an eye on.
Wacom Intuos5 Medium
Price: around £230
Wacom’s latest Intuos5 graphics tablets allow for more precise control over image editing than ever before. Using the supplied stylus, performing localised adjustments to images becomes natural, as if you are actually painting on to the on-screen image.
However, the latest tablets also allow for hand gestures to be used, just like on a touchscreen phone. This makes it quicker than ever before to scroll through images, or to zoom in and out. Even better is the optional wireless accessory that frees the Intuos5 from needing a USB connection.
A superb tool for any enthusiast photographer.
Lumi Inkodye Tricolor Kit
The Inkodye kit contains red, orange and blue light-sensitive inks.
Simply coat a natural fabric, or even wood, with the coloured Inkodye, then place a negative on top of the coated material and leave in sunlight for 10-20mins to create a photographic print. Once exposed, the dye is fixed permanently and any unexposed dye simply washes off.
It is a simple way to get younger photographers interested in traditional photography, while more experienced photographers can use it to make large one-off prints.
Lastolite TriGrip Difflector
Price: from around £50
The TriGrip Difflector has the unique ability to both reflect and diffuse light in one single device.
On one side is a fabric that diffuses light by approximately 2EV, while on the other side are reflective strips that can bounce light onto a subject. There are different reflective finishes available, with a choice of soft silver or soft gold depending on whether a neutral or warm reflection is required.
Best of all, the TriGrip’s handle makes it easy to hold, or it can be supported using one of Lastolite’s TriGrip support stands.
If you shoot portraits, the TriGrip Difflector is an excellent accessory.
Nissin Di622 Mark II
Price: around £115
If you are in the market for an affordable, dedicated flashgun, the Nissin Di622 Mark II is the answer.
With a moderate guide number of 44m @ ISO 100, the flashgun is available in Sony, Nikon and Canon fits.
It also has limited wireless shooting capabilities, with the ability to operate on Channel 1 Group A of any proprietary system, which means you can trigger the flash wirelessly from another compatible flash or camera.
To keep the cost of the flash down there is no LCD panel, but instead a very basic and easy-to-understand manual control.
Alternatively, the exposure can be altered from the camera via intelligent TTL.
Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4
Price: from around £72
Available in a Select version with 26 effects or a full version with 55 effects (around £144), Color Efex Pro 4 makes it extremely easy to change the look of your images.
There is a huge selection of preset image styles, and each can be further tweaked.
However, the excellent U Point Technology within Color Efex Pro 4 allows specific, localised adjustments, making it easy to adjust the highlights, shadows, brightness, contrast, colour hue and saturation of these parts. Landscape photographers should find the software especially useful.
Nokia 808 PureView
Price: around £425 without contract or SIM card
With a 41-million-pixel, 1/1.2in (13.33×10.67mm) sensor, the Nokia 808 PureView is the current king of camera phones.
The high-resolution sensor is actually larger than that used in most compact cameras, and its 8mm f/2.4 lens provides the equivalent viewing angle of a 26mm optic on a full-frame camera.
However, the clever part comes by using the 808’s lower-resolution setting, which downsamples the captured 41-million-pixel image to 8 million pixels, helping to improve noise, colour and sharpness, especially compared to other camera phones.
The 808 also has a LED flash, built-in ND filter and an ISO range of 50-1600. The phone uses a Nokia Symbian operating system, although it is rumoured the next generation will use Windows 8.
Tiffen DFX Digital Filter Suite v3
Price: from $169.95 (around £106)
Perhaps more well known for its range of optical glass filters, Tiffen is also behind the excellent DFX software, which was awarded five stars when we reviewed it in AP 6 October, and was praised for its excellent array of more than 125 digital effects.
These range from simple black & white conversions and graduated filter effects, to more localised adjustments such as the Rays filter, which can create virtual streams of light pouring through windows.
Available as either a standalone product or as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop ($199.95/£125), DFX can also be downloaded for a free 15-day trial.
Photography magazine subscription
Price from £18.99
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