More Cool Gifts for Photographers and Other Cool People
Here are some great gift ideas for the photographer in your life or for yourself. Some of these will make your photography better and some will simply put a smile on your face. And that ain't bad either.
Lens Coffee Cups and Thermos Bottles
Back when it first came out, I used to joke that the Nikon 70-210mm AFS zoom reminded me of a thermos bottle. Holding it by its tripod mount, it had the same heft and basic shape as a coffee thermos. Well, now you can buy a vacuum insulated thermos bottle that fulfills that dream. In fact, you can buy a variety coffee cups and thermos bottles designed to look like camera lenses from both Nikon and Canon. Several sites are selling them it seems. I bought a coffee cup from the Nikonians Photo Proshop that looks remarkably like the Nikon 24-70mm zoom. And it came in a gold box with markings quite similar to the real thing too. Very cool. PhotoJojo.com sells a similar Nikon cup as well as a Canon one. There's also a site called CanonMugs.com that sells a variety of mugs and thermos bottles made to look like both Canon and Nikon lenses. Just be sure when you're still half asleep in the morning you pour your coffee in the right lens. Coffee and real lenses don't mix.
Camera USB Drive
Imagine a tiny SLR camera (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Ricoh or Olympus) that will fit in your hand. But rather than being made to take pictures it's actually a clever, finely detailed replica of an SLR hiding within it a USB thumb drive that stores 4GB of pictures or other digital data. The lens is really a USB drive. Remove it from the camera body and you'll find a standard USB connector that will plug into your computer as would a normal, less stylish USB drive. No, I doubt you really need a camera USB drive, but once you see one, you know you're gonna want one.
iPhones, iPads and Androids
There's no shortage of digital gadgets available out there. And the marketplaces for both iOS and Android have tons of free or cheap applications to make your life on the go easier. Whether it be programs to tell me when the sun rises and sets, when the next low tide is, where I can get a good meal or a good beer in whatever town I may be in, or just the built in web browser or email client that come with the device, I love my Droid X. A smart device may not make you smarter, but it does make you cooler.
Opteka Hot Shoe Three Axis Triple Bubble Spirit Level
Many photographers already have a spirit level that fits in the camera hot shoe. Most of them have already discovered the convenience of a two-way spirit level so you can level the camera on both axis. But when you flip the camera over from portrait mode to landscape, you still have to remount the level to align it to the new orientation. Thankfully, Opteka has now solved that problem with the first (that I know of) three-axis bubble level. Mount it on your hot shoe and leave it. No matter what orientation you mount your camera, this level is ready for use. Definitely cool.
Etch A Sketch iPad Case
Longtime readers may recall my April Fools article this past spring claiming that Apple was releasing an iPad Camera Edition (RED) that looked remarkably like an Etch A Sketch. I don't think I can claim rights to the Etch A Sketch iPad case that ThinkGeek is selling, but their case does look a lot like my original idea. Put your iPad in one of these cases and it'll look just like you remember when you were a kid. Officially licensed by the makers of Etch A Sketch.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my new solar powered Casio Pathfinder PAW2000 watch that has a built-in compass, barometer, altimeter and thermometer, and sets itself using broadcasts from the atomic clock. Sounds like a perfectly cool gift idea to me.
And you may be interested in my original cool gift guide from 2008. The Joby Gorillapod, Lensbaby, Delorme GPS and several other items mentioned are still quite cool. And they'd make great gifts in this holiday season.