Cool Gifts for Photographers and Other Cool People
It's that time of year again. If you're feeling stumped as to what to get a certain special photographer in your life, or maybe you just want to treat yourself to a cool gift, I have a few suggestions to consider.
Gorillapod SLR Zoom
This is one of a few here that I have written about extensively already but in case you haven't read the earlier article, the Gorillapod SLR Zoom from Joby is the greatest innovation in tiny tripods ever. You can bend it into almost limitless shapes to suit your needs and it holds a surprising amount of weight for its size.
Phottix Mega Cleon Wireless Remote
Another one I've mentioned recently, but if you are looking for a versatile but inexpensive remote control that supports both wired and wireless function, the Phottix Mega Cleon from HK Supplies is it. And this isn't one of those infrared remotes (like Nikon's own) that only work when you point it the right place on the camera, the Mega Cleon works by radio frequency (RF) so you don't even need to be within sight of your camera to control it. Especially when shooting with a fisheye or wide angle lens, it can be hard taking the picture without ending up in the shot when tethered at the end of a remote cable. The Mega Cleon solves this. It may have a funny name, but it's a great product. Available for a number of camera models from different manufacturers.
A Portland, Oregon company with the cool name of Lensbaby makes some of the coolest lenses around. They bend — a lot. This lets you have creative control of where the plane of focus lies meaning you can decide what will be in focus and what won't. Their earliest models weren't much more than toys but their latest versions are more than up to the challenge of creating professional results. You can get a lens baby for most any current SLR body.
Most outdoor photographers I know own a GPS to carry when needed. The Delorme PN-40 though is the first I know of to utilize a dual core CPU so it has a great deal of computing power built in. The PN-40 uses one CPU to track satellites and the other to manage screen refreshes. Scroll the screen and it responds so fast it's amazing. It comes with a full set of Topo 7.0 maps and for only $29.95 Delorme will let you download as many additional maps as you want including high resolution aerial imagery, USGS 7.5-Minute quads, NOAA charts and more. It includes a barometric altimeter, three-axis compass that provides direction information even when stationary, full sunrise/sunset information and tide tables. It can be powered by Li-ion or basic AA batteries. This is one great GPS.
i-gotU GPS Data Logger
GPS technology has become quite pervasive. Somewhere along the way, some cool person came up with the idea to make one that didn't so much tell you where you currently are, but instead tells you where you've been. Such GPS "data loggers" have minimal if any display, but contain enough memory to record where the device is at at set intervals. You can later upload the data and plot it on a map. Better yet, you can match it up based on timestamp to the images you take with your camera to geocode them with where they were taken. The i-gotU GT-100 is small enough to fit in most any pocket and sensitive to stay locked on to satellites while in that pocket. Most GPS loggers don't work well outdoors since they have a hole on one side for a UPS cable, but the igotU solves this by instead coming with a custom docking cradle for charging and uploading data. I'm not a fan of its white and light blue color scheme (reminds me of early iMac Blueberry models I think) but it is the smallest and best thought out model yet for outdoor photographers. There's also the GT-200 with Bluetooth.
Nikon Round to Square Viewfinder Adapter from Gadget Infinity
Nikon has an odd schizophrenia about whether it prefers round eyepiece accessories or rectangular ones. Some models use one and some the other. Gadget Infinity on eBay though comes to the rescue with this inexpensive adapter to use rectangular right-angle viewfinders and similar accessories on cameras that have round eyepieces. If like me you've owned but types of Nikon cameras over the years, this adapter is indispensible. It's about time somebody made this.
Nikon just released their new flagship digital SLR, the 24.5 megapixel FX-sensor Nikon D3x. It may cost over $7,000, but for the photographer that has everything else listed here, this should put a smile on their face. It sure would mine at least, if anyone's offering. A guy can dream, can't he? A cool camera to be sure.
Of course you don't have to be a photographer to appreciate a cool gifts. Sometimes all it takes is being a cool person. And consider if you will that getting a cool gift may be just the thing to start someone you know on the road to being cool person. It is the holiday season, so why not give it a try?