In keeping with the impending Giftmas (yes, I am spelling that right, and thanks to Yankeefoxtrot on Twitter for the name), and hopefully in time for your holiday shopping, I have assembled a cornucopia of items to share with you either as the photographer, or as the one with a photographer in the family. The best thing about this list though – all the items are $25 or less. After all, the economy is tight – we all know it and everyone is cutting back, but there’s no reason to feel denied simply because photography is known as an expensive hobby! This way, there’s also no need to feel like you are asking for someone’s first born, or that the guy/gal is just in a hobby that is too expensive to give something photo-related. Actually, that’s just one of the best things about this list. The other is that these are all items that I either own, or want for my own gear bag. So, take note, link this post, and enjoy!
- Battery Caddy – this is probably my most appreciated item. Ranging in price from $5 to $14, I absolutely love mine and have been meaning to get more. (Thanks go out to Scott over at Weekly Photo Tips who sent me mine as a prize for a photo contest last year – I literally love this item!)
- Eneloop Batteries – Since you have a battery caddy now, you may as well stock it with batteries. Yeah yeah, I know, batteries for flashes are so mundane, but get yourself a set of Eneloops and you may re-think this. These guys are not only super powerful but they retain their charge much longer than traditional rechargeables. Plus, they really do seem to have the staying power of traditional alkalines. A set of 4 of these can be had from any store, whether it’s B&H, Radioshack, or Newegg. The link above takes you to Sanyo’s page (the folks who make them), and it includes a whole laundry list, which includes Costco!
- Stickey Filters – Okay, I am cheating here for two reasons. First, because I discovered these from another list (Scott Kelby’s Gonzo Gear Guide), and second, because the price is actually $49.95. But here’s how I justify it – you get two sets of these stickey filters, so it’s really like they are $25 each. Lame? Kinda, but these are so cool, you’re gonna want a set anyway. These guys are basically gels that have a sticky side that slaps to the front of your flash and act as a filter. Boom. Done. Stickey Filters look to be so cool! No more cutting and using Velcro on your flash, no more buying sheets of gels and finding a place to store them. Stickey Filters seem to be the answer to what the gellin’ photog needs in their gear bag. Plus, they offer a lifetime replacement! That’s impressive…
- Camera Bubble Level – These little doohickeys are awesome. My bubble level on my tripod cracked about two years ago and the liquid drained out, rendering it useless. I’ve been meaning to replace it until someone (I forget who) pointed these guys out to me. It slides in your hot shoe mount too, so you know the camera is level. Amazon is the linked place, but these can be found many places for $10 or less!
- Remote cable release – Okay, okay, I also stole this from Scott Kelby’s list, but truth be told, I also love mine (got it at the local camera store for like $39, but that was only because I didn’t want to wait the week for Amazon to ship me one. YOu can get them for any brand, but I have to go with Canon given the blog name. It’s linked above, and can be had for $24.95 at the time of this post.
- Joby Gorillapod – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve found myself out and about with my P&S only to wish I had my tripod with me for some stability just for a few seconds. I’d heard about the Gorilla pod but never really thought about it for my P&S because I didn’t have a small portable until fairly recently. When my brother showed up for the holidays with the Gorilla Pod and his P&S, not only was he more portable, but also more stable. (Don’t you hate it when your brother beats you at your own hobby!) I had to get one, and you should too! For the P&S original, it’s $21.95!
- Earbud Microphone set – When I first got my iPod Touch, it was disappointing to learn that the included headphones did not include a microphone. The tech in me should have known, but I rushed back out to get the Apple-compatible headset. When I didn’t have it with me one day, I tried the set for my Blackberry and sure enough, it worked just fine. (Why wouldn’t it, it’s the same technology in headsets – all with the same adapter.) Now that my “Apple-certified” headset has developed a short, the replacement set will be the one from Plantronics for $5 from Amazon. Shoulda gone there first! For those out there without iPhones, Touches, or Blackberries – most phones these days come with a headset plug, and the mini-RCA should work in all of them. If not, you’re only out $5. Small price to pay for the ease with which these operate (and I think they sound better too!)
- Microfiber Cloths – I know, it sounds crazy, but these do get dirty themselves and you must throw them out. No biggie though when a10-pack costs a mere $17.99 you can’t go wrong! You can get different sized cloths from camera vendors like B&H, and I think even Wal-Mart Visioncare has a 3-pack for like $10 bucks, but I like the ones from Simply Good Stuff (linked) simply because the price is right, they are designed for lenses, and it’s just a cool name for a website.
- Gaffers Tape – anyone who’s been around photography for any amount of time has heard of gaffers tape. It’s low tack so the sticky stuff won’t adhere to your gear, but man can it save your $%^& in a pinch. For a mere $5 you can get 12 yards of the stuff from B&H, so the question isn’t “Why?”, it’s “Why not?”
- Flickr Pro – there’s so much more you can do with a Flickr Pro account over the standard free account. At only $24.95, it meets the criteria, and the photog will fully enjoy the added features, including statistics, unlimited uploads, and so much more. Plus, you can give it to them online, so it saves all that added expense of tape and wrapping paper!
There you have it, 1o things under $25 (well, 9 since I kinda cheated on one). Have any ideas of your own? Products or items you prefer? Something blatant I missed? I’m sure there are lots of other ideas out there, so sound off in the comments and let others know about your “gotta have it gadgets”.! Just in time for the holidays too! Happy shooting all, have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday!