The holidays aren’t just a great time to take pictures, they’re also a great time to spread the photo love (to yourself, or to others.)
Since many of you are probably looking for great photo gift ideas right about now, we thought we’d give you a hand by telling you about a few of our favorites.
For each of the categories below, there are dozens, often hundreds of options. We’re not going to tell you about all of them–we’ve picked the best of the best. It’s the stuff we’d buy (or have already bought) ourselves. We’ll tell you why, and leave rest up to you.
Without further ado…
Which Camera to Buy
Whether you’re shopping for an upgrade for yourself, or giving the gift of photography to another, here are the two we recommend above all others…
||Point & Shoot: Canon SD800 IS
Canon’s latest and greatest in their Elph line is the perfect all-around digital camera: The Canon SD800 IS. After weeks of research, we just picked one up. It’s great.
HERE’S WHY: It’s small. Small enough that you won’t leave it at home. It’s got a wide-angle 28mm zoom. A rare feature that will get you shots you’d otherwise miss. It takes really, really good pictures. Canon’s compacts are known for their image quality. It has Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). Even in low light, you’ll get sharp shots without flash. Flash ruins pictures and OIS helps you avoid it. This is a big deal. (OIS also means smooth-as-butter video.) Canon packed it with the newest goodies. Face recognition, longer battery life, and an LCD that’s almost twice as sharp. It’s got the best user interface. Simpler than Nikon, Casio, Pentax, Sony, and the rest.
Buy for $361 at Amazon
Beginner Digital SLR: Nikon D40
We’ve been shooting with a Nikon D70 for two years now. It’s not just a reliable workhorse, it’s a friend. Of course, we have pals that swear by their Canon’s, too. Normally, we’d abstain from entering the Canon vs. Nikon wars — but this year Nikon made it easy.
The brand-new Nikon D40 is perfect for someone who’s getting their first digital SLR. And at $600 with a decent starter lens, it’s a surprisingly good deal.
HERE’S WHY: It’s wicked small. Something you’re gonna appreciate, trust us. It’s got all the features you’d expect in a DSLR: instant power-up, interchangeable lenses and flash units, advanced focus and exposure systems, full manual control, etc. Excellent build quality. This guy will stand a beating and feels good in your hands. Its user interface was made for SLR newbies. SLRs are known for cyptic, unlabeled buttons, the D40 is not. Intuitive screens even explain what different settings will do for your photos.
Pre-order for $599 at J&R
Memory Card: The SanDisk SD USB+
Those big pictures and smooth videos take up a lot of memory! We love the SanDisk Ultra II SD Plus USB. It’s a fast card with a unique feature: it folds up so you can stick it straight into a free USB port on your computer–no card reader or USB cable required! Our favorite.
HERE’S WHY: It’s fast and it folds up to fit into your USB port to download pictures. It’s not only insanely cool, it’s also darn handy. Includes keychain carrying case.
Buy the 1GB version for $40 at Amazon
Buy the 2GB version for $90 at Amazon
Photo Sharing: Mailable Photo Frames
Nothing says “I bought you this sweet digital camera, so you’d better take some kickin’ photos and send some my way!” quite like a dozen Mailable Photo Frames.
HERE’S WHY: They’re beautiful and shiny and come with a built-in stand that works horizontally and vertically. And since it only requires letter-rate postage to send them, your friends have excuse for not sending you photos! Starts at just $2 each!
Buy for $12 at The Photojojo Shop
Gifts From Your Photos
FlipClips: Flipbooks Made from Your Short Videos
Ever since we wrote about them back in August, you’ve have been telling us you love FlipClips — the one and only site that will turn those short 30 second video clips you can take with your digital camera into real-life flipbooks! For the holidays, why not turn some of your best video clips into stocking-stuffer-perfect flipbooks?
Buy for $9 at FlipClips
(Use coupon “holidayjojo” for $3 off your order!)
Custom Photo Soda Pop Bottles
Everyone’s seen those photo mugs and t-shirts, but not many have seen the custom Jones Soda photo soda bottle. Upload your photo, choose a flavor, and get a custom-made case delivered to your door!
HERE’S WHY: It’s totally unique, and you can even get Turkey & Gravy flavor for a limited time!
Something for the Whole Family, or Office
The Non-Photo Frame: Magnetic Photo Rope
Need something fun and inexpensive? At just $12, our Magnetic Photo Rope is the perfect Secret Santa Surprise. 8 so-tiny-yet-so-mighty neodymium magnets hold your photos to a thin steel cable you can hang just about anywhere.
Wanna buy one for every cube in the office? Or stuff one in every stocking? We’ve got great bulk discounts!
HERE’S WHY: It’s way more fun than a boring picture frame, and lets you re-arrange your photos on a whim. You can even use it for notes, cards, memos, or anything else made of paper. You can hang it anywhere and the tiny, powerful magnets will keep whatever you desire firmly attached.