Monday, November 1, 2004

Digital gift ideas — stocking stuffers to wallet busters


By Jon Canfield

Are you looking for gift ideas for the digital photographer on your list? Perhaps you're looking for ideas for yourself. Whether you're a dedicated pro, or take casual snapshots, there are plenty of options to choose from. I've rounded up a list of items I've either found useful, or have drooled over for myself. One word of advice though, if you're the drooling type, wear a bib!

Low cost options

Not everything digital is expensive, and not everything needed by a digital photographer has to be digital itself. In fact, some of the most useful items are sure to fit any budget. All the items listed in this category are $10 or less.

LensPen -- about $10

With a soft brush at one end and a cleaning pad at the other, the LensPen, shown in Figure A, will make quick work of dust and smudges on your lens without worrying about scratches.


The LenPen is a lens brush and cleaning pad all in one. (click for larger image)

Konica Minolta inkjet papers -- about $7

In Figure B, the new line of papers from Konica Minolta work equally well on dye or pigment ink jets, and come in satin or glossy finishes.


Konica Minolta's new line of papers work on many printers and come in a range of finishes. (click for larger image)

Tiffen UV filters -- starting around $10

Which would you rather replace a $10 filter or a $200 lens? The Tiffen UV filters shown in Figure C are cheap insurance for expensive lenses, and they help cut down on UV light.


A UV filter is much cheaper to replace than your expensive lens. (click for larger image)

Energizer Lithium batteries -- around $9

To paraphrase someone, you can never be too thin, too rich, or have enough batteries. If your digital uses replaceable batteries, the Energizer Lithium brand you see in Figure D will keep it going, and going, and going.


The Energizer Lithium series is designed to provide the high energy and long-lasting power cameras need. (click for larger image)

Moving on up.

If your budget has a little more room, say up to $100, these gift ideas will go over well.

Memory cards -- around $100

A year ago, I would have been recommending 128 MB or maybe 256 MB memory cards in this category. Thanks to prices that are sinking faster than the Titanic, that same $100 will buy you as much as 1 GB of Compact Flash or SD memory from SanDisk and Lexar, like in Figure E.


Last year's $100 will now buy this year's high capacity memory cards. (click for larger image)