Reasonnable budget photography gift ideas !

I am photographically horny as hell: I just received my 50mm 1.2 AIS lens... review and samples soon ! But until then, some xmas shopping tips !

You just remembered you have a remote cousin coming from christmas and you are socially bound to make him a present. But what?

Thank god your cousin is a person of taste and follows ACameraDiary, which tells you one thing about him/her: he/she is into photography.

You got the general idea covered, but what will you get? Cameras and lenses are too expensive of gifts for someone who doesn't have the power to make you sleep in the couch ! Luckily photographers need plenty of little things that we postpone getting all the time.

A set of Lens Filters
Cheap, super useful. How many photographers do I see walking around with a $1200 lens in the open and not filter to protect the glass. How dumb. Also, you can do plenty of cool things with a filter : increase contrast, filter a color, polarize light when plenty of sun to avoid weird reflexions of light, even exposure etc etc.
Read this to make more sens of it, but essentially, it is very very useful and under used.

You'd rather have this happening to your filter than to your lens.

A smart camera bag
I can only recommend KATA Bags. Read that CNET review too if you want. Because they are super nicely conceived, they don't look too much like a camera bags too. It's versatile, can take a laptop, and not too pricey.

A tripod
Such an underestimated device. I shoot everything you can see you my portfolio with a tripod. How can you do landscape without one? The problem is most people go cheap, and end up having one that breaks down after a short period of time, then buy an other one that is more expensive. So what to get?
I recommend entry level Manfrotto for anyone willing to travel light and that doesn't use super heavy pro gear. For a compact or entry level SLR, that will work just fine.

A strap
I use that strap from Black Rapid. Why? because it's not just a strap for around the neck hanging with your camera bouncing around. It keeps the camera tight on your chest (under your arm) with a smart blocking system, and allows the camera to slide along the strap when you raise it up. Pockets are conveniently placed, if you are moving around, traveling, it's really a must have for an SLR.

Waterproof cases
How many of your friend buy a new compact just before on vacation to Thailand? How nice would it be to provide them with the underwater case to go along with their diving lessons?
Most manufacturers make one adapted to each model, like this Canon one. I'm sure you can find one for your friend's compact camera !

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