Ever since the Three Amigos brought gifts of gold, frankenstein and maple syrup to the baby Jesus the first Christmas so long ago, mankind has delighted in the swapping of neat stuff with loved ones come this time of year.
Frankenstein and maple syrup might not be on our list this year, but we still put the same careful thought into what gifts we give to our family and friends. Without further ado, here’s our gift-giving guide to what to buy, and why, for the coming holidays….
Gifts for Your Camera
We all know the most important person (or, erm, thing) to consider in your gifting pursuit this year is your Camera. So here are a few goodies that’ll put a smile on Fred’s face… (Fred’s the name our camera likes to go by, btw.)
A 50mm prime lens
We can still remember the moment when we got our first-ever SLR. Point-and-shooters are nice, but there’s nothing like your first SLR camera to make you feel like a photographer.
And the great thing is you can experience that feeling over and over, just by buying new lenses for your SLR! One of our current faves is the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens â€“ it’s great for portraits, weddings, special events, and any number of low-light situations… and at about $100, it’s an insane value. The 50mm f/1.8 really outdoes itself, and we couldn’t help but pick one up. We hope you do too.
WHY BUY? For this price, no SLR owner should be without a prime lens like these. Great lens + great price = Awesome value.
|A Camera Bag with a Built-in Solar Panel
Nobody goes “Whoo hoo!” over a camera bag, but with the Eclipse Solar Gear Camera Bag, they just might. We’re surprised nobody’s thought of this before â€“ this bag not only carries your camera/electronic gear, but it charges it too.
With a built-in solar charging panel, the Eclipse Solar Gear Camera Bag can put out 1.5 watts of power â€“ good enough to trickle-charge a camera or cell phone fully in about five hours (and your iPod in about eight.) And with plenty of room for your camera, lenses and extra goodies, we’re definitely thinking this is one bag to love.
HOW MUCH? The Eclipse Solar Gear Camera Bag, for $150 at Amazon.com.
WHY BUY? Fully charged, securely stored camera gear, ready to go right when you need it. Ahhh.
The Eye-Fi Wireless Camera SD Memory Card
You can never have enough memory cards for your camera. And here’s one we think every camera should have: The Eye-Fi wireless memory card.
Why? Because this 2GB SD memory card looks like a regular memory card, but has a hidden super-power: the Eye-fi has Wi-Fi built right in, so that while you’re snapping away at your photos, it’s automatically teleporting them to your computer, Flickr, Facebook, or any one of 15 other photo sharing sites.
HOW MUCH? The Eye-fi Wireless Camera Memory Card for $99 at the Photojojo Store! (CF card adapters for the Eye-Fi are now on sale too!)
WHY BUY? Never have to worry about having the right card adapter or cable again. Heck, you might never even take your memory card out of your camera again.
Gifts for the Fam(ily)
Nobody loves you like the fam. No matter how crazy they can be, your family is your family â€“ and they deserve something extra-special from you every once in awhile. Without further ado, here’s a few gifts that’ll bring a smile to their faces:
The Accordian Photo Album Kit
We think everybody has a bit of crafty, DIY spirit in ‘em.
That’s why we like The Accordian Photo Album Kit â€“ because no matter how inept you feel you are, this Kit will make you feel like a DIY pro. Add your photos to a nifty Accordion-fold book that you can bind yourself (don’t worry, the Kit makes it easy!), and you suddenly have a beautiful, tasteful gift for anybody on your list.
That’s alright, you can let ‘em think you made it on your own.
HOW MUCH? The Accordian Photo Album Kit for $16, with enough material for 2 different books, from If’n Books + Marks.
WHY BUY? An amazingly beautiful gift showcasing your photos, hand-crafted by none other than you!
||17″ Widescreen Digital Photo Frame
We think photos are, of course, the best gift you can share this holiday… but we know how tough it is to go through all that printing and ink and whatever else.
That’s where Digital Photo Frames come in handy â€“ preload one of these bad boys with photos of the kids, and you’ve got the perfect, no-hassle photo gift for the grandparents (or anybody else you can think of.)
They’re all the rage this holiday season, so you’re bound to find a Digital Photo Frame in your price range. Personally, we’re saving our pennies for the PhotoVu 17″ Widescreen Digital Picture Frame.
At $699, it ain’t cheap â€“ but it’s the top dog of photo frames. A beautiful 1280 x 800 LCD display, customized picture frame and mat, and built-in software that connects with iPhoto, Picasa, and RSS feeds has us convinced. (Set one up to automatically grab the latest photos from your Flickr feed, and it’s like a brand new photo framed every day!)
WHY BUY? The best-looking, highest-quality digital photo frame money can buy â€“ and the easiest way to share the photo yuletide.
The Game of Photo-opoly
We can’t tell you how many hours we’ve spent with our family caught up in a riveting game of Monopoly. Inevitably somebody always gets frustrated and ends up throwing the board across the room, but what can we say? We’re making family memories.
With Photo-opoly, though, not only do you get to enjoy a game with your family – but they get to be the game. Photo-opoly plays just like the original, except it’s your photos that make up the game.
We can’t tell you how awesome it is to play this and see our own lovely pics smiling back up at us…
How much? The Game of Photo-opoly, 1 for $30, or 2 for $56 at the Photojojo Store.
Why buy? Photo-opoly combines two of our favorite things â€“ board games and photos â€“ and has given us a great new family past-time.
Gifts for the Photo-Lover
Some people just really love photography. We know you’re one of those folk, but undoubtedly you have friends who do too. You need something extra-special for them. What can you get?
You can’t do better for photographic inspiration than National Geographic â€“ they’ve been at it for more than 100 years, employing some of the best photographers in history and covering every part of the globe. It takes us twice as long as it should to actually read the magazine, because we keep getting distracted by all the great photos.
In the lavish, hardcover coffee-table book, “Through the Lens”, you can now experience 250 of National Geographic’s best images, taken from around the world. It’s like one hundred years of National Geographic magazine, but with none of the reading!
HOW MUCH? “Through the Lens”, for $30 at National Geographic’s online store.
WHY BUY? Gorgeous photographs, from the world’s best source for photography. Bound to inspire your photo-loving friends.
|The White Stripes & Lomography Limited Edition Cameras
If you’ve never shot with a Holga or Diana camera, you don’t know what you’re missing.
These small, plastic cameras have been around for decades â€“ they were originally sold as simple toy “snapshot” cameras, but ironically people started taking really awesome photos with them.
So, when the band White Stripes came along to create some limited edition Holga and Diana cameras with Lomography, we knew they were exactly how to get our photo-loving friends hooked. Not only do the resulting “Jack” Holga and “Meg” Diana limited edition cameras look cool, but they have a bunch of special goodies like mask filters, ring flashes, and books about the Holga/Diana legends included. And did we mention they take awesome photos?
WHY BUY? Neat little toy cameras that look really awesome (thanks White Stripes!) and take very distinct-looking, brilliant square photos. Every photo-lover needs to try them out at least once.
We think everybody should have a Polaroid instant camera. We’re huge fans â€“ there’s nothing that makes us as happy as an instant, touchable photograph. You can buy a new Polaroid Instant Camera for $45 at Amazon, or if you wanna go retro, you can easily find an older model on eBay.
When New York-based photographer Zana Briski started teaching children in Calcutta’s “Red Light” district how to take photographs, she gave them a powerful, unforgettable voice.
As documented in the award-winning film “Born Into Brothels,” Briski began showing children â€“ whose mothers work as prostitutes and who endure hardships you can’t imagine â€“ how to see the world through a camera’s lens. Their lives were soon changed, restored, through the extraordinary power of art.
This 224-page, hardcover book beautifully presents the children’s photographs â€“ giving stirring glimpses into the children’s lives and souls.
WHY BUY? The collection is a stirring testament to the restorative power of photography, with images that will stay with you forever. Plus all proceeds from the sale of the book goes to support the non-profit organization Kids with Cameras, in their mission to teach the art of photography to children all over the world.