If you’re like me, when your wife or loved one comes up to you and wants to know what to get you for Christmas, you have no idea what to say. Either our hobby is too expensive, we get everything we want throughout the year anyway, or we just forget about some of the neat and functional gadgets that might make our hobby or vocation just a little bit more fun.
So to that end, photographyvoice.com presents some of the cooler tools and devices out there that you might consider jotting down on your Christmas wishlist. If you’ve not been too naughty that is!Wacom Intuos4 Tablet ($229-$789 retail)
This year Wacom released a major new edition of its ever-popular series of drawing tablets for the PC and Mac. The Intuos4 doubles the precision of its predecessor offering 2048 pressure levels for very fine control. Available in sizes from small (6x4) to x-large (18x12), the Intuos4 is a welcome and necessary addition to your photo-editing workflow.
For the hobbyist, Wacom also offers the Bamboo line of tablets including the new Bamboo Touch which allows you let your fingers do the walking. $69-$199 for the various models.OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro [LINK] ($59.99-$359.99 retail)
Portable hard drives powered by the connection to your computer, so no external power required, the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro drives are a great addition to your field gear or presentation system. The drives vary in speeds from 5200-7200 rpm, offer either USB, Firewire 400 or Firewire 800 connectivity and capacities from 80-750 GB. A 1 Terabyte model is due in 2010 and solid state models (flash memory) are also available.Casio Waterproof Exilim G EX-G1 [LINK] ($299.95 retail)
Sometimes conditions aren’t the best for capturing those great bad-weather or underwater (or bad-weather, underwater) images. However, with the new Casio Exilim G EX-G1 your camera will work through rain, sleet or snow. Sporting a hot-red case, the EX-G1 is waterproof to three meters and will function for up to 60 minutes underwater. It’s also freeze proof to -14 degrees and is designed to withstand shocks from drops up to seven feet. The EX-G1 takes shots up to 12.1 megapixels and has an interval shooting mode to automatically take photos and videos at several predefined intervals.Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 [LINK] $299 retail
Are you not using Lightroom yet? What in the world are you waiting for? Perhaps a Christmas gift? Lightroom has become the essential starting point to many professional workflows and it should be yours to. It allows non-destructive edits of your photos singly or in batch and offers a host of presentation option from slideshow, web, and print. Corel Painter 11 [LINK] ($399 retail)
Let your inner artist out! Photographers are artists at heart and what better way to express yourself than turning your photographs into their own painterly works of art. Corel Painter 11 provides tools to allow you to creatively take your images to the next level and beyond. Turn photos into portraits, combine images and more. All the fun of painting with none of the mess!Lensbaby Composer [LINK] ($270 retail)
Want that soft, narrow focus sweetspot so popular with portraiture and landscape photography? Take a look at the Lensbaby Composer system. Its ball and socket design allows for precise control over the focus target. Interchangeable rings allow adjustment of the aperture from f2-f22. The Composer is available “in mounts for Canon EF (EOS), Nikon F, Sony Alpha A / Minolta Maxxum, Pentax K / Samsung GX, Olympus E1 / Panasonic Lumix DMC."
Already have the Composer? Additional Optics ($34.95 each or a kit of three for $95) allow you achieve various effects such as pinhole shooting.Sigma Lenses [LINK]
Offering a wide variety of lenses for most major DSLR mounts, the Sigma name means quality glass at reasonable prices. If you have a hole in your lens collection, Sigma is a great place to look. Be careful though, you may find you have holes in your collection you didn’t know were there!SensorScope System [LINK] ($129 retail)
Delkin’s SensorScope system gives you the ability to look inside your DSLR (at 5x magnification) and see what dust and gunk may have built up on the your sensor. You can then use the SensorSafe wands and (safe) cleaning solution to wipe the mirror clean and dry on the second pass. The included battery-powered vacuum removes the larger particles prior to cleaning.Spyder3Elite [LINK] ($249 retail)
It doesn’t do any good taking great photos if your computer’s monitor isn’t accurately representing the colors you captured. DataColor’s Spyder3Elite colorimeter will analyze your monitor’s display and create computer adjustment profiles so that what you see is what you caught.NAPP Membership [LINK] ($99, $129, $199 per year US, Canada, International)
Scott Kelby has made a name for himself (his mother is so proud) as both a photographer and a Photoshop wizard. Through the his National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Kelby and his staff have produced countless training videos, podcasts, articles, and books. In addition there is the popular Photoshop User Magazine and with NAPP Membership you receive a full year’s eight-issue subscription. Other benefits of being a NAPP member include access to exclusive tutorials and discounts from many photography vendors. Multiple year discounts are also available.Memory Cards from OCZ or SanDisk OCZ Technology
You can never have too many memory cards and high capacity, high-speed SD or CF cards from OCZ or SanDisk make a perfect stocking stuffer. Faster shooting requires faster speeds, so look for class 6 or class 4 cards.Cokin Filter System [LINK]
The Cokin Creative System removes the drudgery of owning different screw-on filters for each of your lens sizes or having to use step-up or step-down rings to adapt your existing filters to the lenses. With the Cokin system, you buy a single filter holder and then an adapter ring which connects that holder to the lens. The filters themselves are larger than the lens glass, so you are not hampered with vignette effects the way you can be with step rings. Each holder can manage up to three filters so you can stack effects as needed. The system is available in various sizes to accommodate most cameras, including smaller point-and-shoot models and Cokin offers a variety of colored, effects, and light-reduction filters.