Friday, November 23, 2007

Seasonal shopping solutions

If you're shopping for gifts for photographers or photojournalists (PJs) in your life (or want to drop a hint to your parents or significant other), I've compiled this little list of useful items under $100 and under $50. There's also some stocking stuffers at the bottom (under $25). The trick is to order before Dec. 1 to get the equipment before the holidays at a reasonable shipping price.

If budget doesn't matter, take a look at cameras, lenses and video equipment. PJs need to remember that whatever they buy before the end of the year for their business is a write off. :-)

Pro PJs shopping for their own inventory probably would prefer rooting through the PJ Candy Store because the list is more complete.

Books and photo-related software are always safe and appreciated gifts. Otherwise, you'll need to know a bit about the PJ. Find out what equipment they already have. Most importantly, you'll need to know the camera system they own.

I'll try to list item below in the most useful order for new photographers.

Nice photo items under $100:

Bogen 3231 Professional Monopod with deatchable Legs
This is a PJ's primary support. The legs on this unit make it critical for VJs and PJs moving toward video. I got one recently and can't imagine life before it.
Kata W-94 GDC Waist-Pack for complete DSLR camera system
I just got mine and already love it. It comes with a small elastic rain cover for the entire bag. It's not deep, but it's long enough for a 200mm and still has lots of room. It's still better to add a 200mm pouch. You may need to hand sew some elastic bands inside the lid to hold a dry reporter's notebook.
Lowepro Sideline Shooter
A smaller profile option.
Nikon PK 13 - Extension tube
Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube For EOS Digital Cameras
Stroboframe Press-T Flash Rotating Bracket
This gets a flash off camera and helps eliminate red-eye. A palm-sized mini-DV recorder can be mounted instead of a flash to handle both at one time.
Bogen 8' light stand
The best starter height. Two are better than one, but one is better than none.
Kata RC-15 (CRC-15) Compact Rain Cover for DVR
Lexar 4GB Professional Series CompactFlash Card 133x ( CF4GB-133-380 ) (Retail Package)
Domke PhoTOGS vests
These vests were designed for PJs. Mostly film shooters use vests anymore, however new PJs may opt for a vest to be easily "recognizable."
Wein PN Peanut Slave (100' Range) set of 3 - for digital cameras
These make flashes fire when another flash is fired.

Useful photo items under $50:

Black and Decker VEC1046BD 400 Watt inverter
Powerful enough for most uses.
Bogen Quick Action Super Clamp
This item is useful for everything from camera to light support. It's light and small enough to fit in a camera bag and works as a backup or special use support.
Bogen Back-Lite Stand
A great piece for someone starting to "get" lighting. Small, durable and effective as part of an infrared trip cord system as well. Also works as a very stable tabletop tripod.
Bogen adjustable pole for back light stand
This adds height to the item above for quality directional lighting.
LumiQuest ProMax SoftBox
I can't shoot without mine.
Sony TCM-400DV Pressman Standard Cassette Recorder
Hodgman® chest waders Bantam weight 2-ply nylon / rubber chest waders w/ cleated soles green
I paid almost double this price locally. These waders work great in floods. They also have quick disconnect suspenders to keep PJs from drowning if they fill with water (or fire ants).
Crazy Creek Sports Chair
This is useful for most indoor sporting events. It won't damage the floor (or out-of-bounds players) while saving PJs a chiropractic visit after a hoops tournament.

Stocking stuffer photo items under $25:

Roscolux Swatch Book , small sampler of almost every filter
This is extremely inexpensive and very useful for flash filtration. The samples fit over most flash heads. Get two books and have a spare to replace damaged gels. This is probably the single best bargain of all photo supplies.
Pelican Case 1020 Black
Technically, it's a case, but use it as a waterproof, crushproof, airtight disk wallet for memory cards
Lowepro DMC-Z for memory cards. Made of neoprene - black
LumiQuest Snoot
27 Watts 5500K Color corrected daylight fluorescent lamp photo bulb - 2 Pack
Put some of these in regular lightbulb sockets to ease eyestrain, save energy and make every neighbor jealous of your home photos. Can be used as a cumulative bank light, to provide a cool, low-power, continuous light source.
Memorex 700MB/80-Minute 52x CD-R Media (100-Pack Spindle)
Tape Recorder to Telephone Adapter
Sto-Fen Omni Bounce
Some folks really love these. If this is your softener of choice, you'll need a white, green (for Fl) and gold (for tungsten) one to match your specific flash.
Azden omni-directional Lavalier microphone lapel mic. Unit includes lapel clip and can attach to most digital audio devices as well.
Orange Mesh Safety Vest with 2" Reflective Tape
Coleman Float Head Lamp , battery operated
Bottle Top Camera Pod
6" Length Nylon spring clamps
Stanley 66-039 6-Piece Jewelers Precision Screwdriver Set
Boonie hat
Probrella Portable Compact Umbrella
Protects against sun, heat and rain damage.

Enough for now,


Bryon Houlgrave said...

Fire ants? Really?

Mark M. Hancock said...

Fire ants float. You're in water. They want to be dry. You're dry ... and cuddly.

Marie said...

I adore, crave, ok slobber with greed over your PJ Christmas list. After a double header basketball game, I'm lovin to have me one of those Crazy Creek chairs. But I am officially broke. I bought me one of those new fangled Nikon D300s w/ the battery pack.
Saw it in action the other day...saw the high iso range and then looked lovingly into my husband's eyes ;)
Nikon is my necklace of choice.

Mark M. Hancock said...

Jewelry often contains metal and glass. ;-)

After last year's state tourney, I got a sideline chair. I'm old. Now, Storm is almost full with the stuff I might need for any shoot.