Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for the digital photographer

Gift Guide 2013: Gifts for the digital photographer

Summary: It's the time of year when gift guides are all the rage, and since I'm an avid digital photographer it's only reasonable that I pull together a cornucopia of gifts aimed at the 'tog' in your life.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware
10

 |  Image 3 of 26

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Thumbnail 13
  • Thumbnail 14
  • Thumbnail 15
  • Thumbnail 16
  • Thumbnail 17
  • Thumbnail 18
  • Thumbnail 19
  • Thumbnail 20
  • Thumbnail 21
  • Thumbnail 22
  • Thumbnail 23
  • Thumbnail 24
  • Thumbnail 25
  • Thumbnail 26
  • Formatt-Hitech Colby Brown signature landscape filter kit - Highly recommended!

    In my mind, once you've invested in the camera and lenses, the next thing to get and master are filters, specifically neutral density filters. These filters allow you to tune what you're seeing in front of you, enabling you to capture as much of the detail as possible in the photos you take by better balancing the light that enters the camera.

    Formatt-Hitech is a manufacturer of high-spec camera filters, and the Colby Brown landscape filter kit is a great set for anyone looking to capture dramatic landscapes, and consists of the following:

    • 100x150mm (4x6") Resin Neutral Density Grad Soft Edge 0.6 (2 Stops) - Ideal filter for balancing the brightness of a sunny sky against the darker land.
    • 100x150mm (4x6") Resin Neutral Density Reverse Grad 0.6 (2 Stops) - A special grad filter that is darkest near the center and lightens toward the top of the filter (opposite of a standard ND grad filter), perfect for balancing out shots of sunrises and sunsets.
    • 100x100mm (4x4") Resin ProStop IRND 6 (6 Stops) - Perfect for creating ethereal flowing streams, shorelines and waterfalls by slowing down the exposure time without compromising image quality by closing down the aperture. This filter also blocks out infrared light, thereby further eliminating color casts and keeping the colors authentic.
    • Circular polarizer - This fits in front of the square filters in its own ring holder, which means that it can be rotated separate to the filters in the stack. This filter is great for removing glare from shiney objects such as water or metal, and for boosting the saturation of skies and greenery when the weather conditions aren't ideal.
    • Threaded adaptor for 100mm aluminum holder.
    • 100mm aluminum holder.

    The kit comes well presented in a pouch and comes with an instructional (and very inspirational) leaflet.

    This kit contains three essential filters, hand-selected by world-renowned photographer Colby Brown, and should be consider a “must have” filter kit for any serious landscape, travel, or outdoor photographer. Below are a few examples of shots I've persoanlly taken with these filters.

    (Source: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes)
    12571334814_e8846a84f8
    (Source: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes)
    (Source: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes)

    I've been using filters for years from manufacturers such as Cokin and Lee, but these are by far the best filters that I've used. The color accuracy is spot on and the light transmission is even, showing no signs of patchyness or color casts. Blacks are a deep, rich black, while whites stay pure. This means I can spend more time taking photos and less time in front of my PC processing.

    What's more, in 2011 Colby founded “The Giving Lens”, an organization that combines his prodigious talent as a photographer with humanitarian work on various causes such as clean drinking water, education, women’s rights and species preservation. A portion of the proceeds from this kit will be donated to “The Giving Lens.” 

    This is a truly wonderful kit and it allows you to take yoru photography to an entirely new level.

    Formatt-Hitech also have a great (and for now, free) iOS app that you might like to check out.

    More info | Price: $399

    (Image: Formatt-Hitech)

  • Vanguard Supreme 53F case

    There's no point having a ton of awesome camera gear and then being too scared to take it into the outdoors. When traveling it's a great idea to have a hard case to put camera bodies and lenses into, and the more gear you have, the bigger the case you need.

    The Vanguard Supreme 53F is huge – 24.75 x 20.5 x 9.5-inches – and is built to last.

    The Vanguard Supreme cases are O-ring sealed and waterproof up to a depth of 16.5 feet. They are also airtight, and built to withstand the most extreme conditions (-40°F/-40°C to 203°F/95°C), and are great for airline travel because they feature an automatic pressure equalization valve. And, to keep things civilized, it has wheels.

    These cases can support up to 265 lbs/120 kg of exterior weight and have anti-slip rubber feet and a solid carrying handle offer extra durability. Thick, quick-release latches lock in place and steel-reinforced lock holders are great for use with pad locks for added security.

    Inside is a dense, customizable hexagon-shaped foam for an extremely tailored, custom fit for gear. There's also an option to have dividers fitted.

    More info | Price: $250

    (Image: Vanguard)

  • Duracell batteries

    Genuine Nikon or Canon camera batteries are expensive, and if you buy online there's a good chance that you might be paying top dollar for a fake (I've had counterfeit batteries sold to me by a number of prominent retailers). This is why I tend to buy Duracell-branded batteries.

    In my tests they seem to be just as good as the genuine batteries, lasting just as long, and being just as resistant to cold and heat, while at the same time being significantly cheaper.

    More info | Price: varies depending on type

    (Image: Duracell)

Topic: Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

Talkback

10 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • not recommended

    this is the fallacy of xmas: it is improper to presume to know what a dedicated hobbyist would need for his/her equipment.

    and in the interests of getting special gifts for xmas a lot of money gets wasted on stuff people don't want and can't use

    it doesn't matter if the person is a photographer, fisherman, woodworker, -- whatever. don't try to guess what they want.
    Mike~Acker
    • Cheer up, mate

      Scrooge!
      Key Lime
  • Gallery

    Who can be bothered to trawl through 26 gallery items. Make a new year's resolution to kill the idea!
    David M. Senior
    • yup

      didn't read past the first page
      frylock
      • Horrible content

        I did read after the first slide, most of the items after slide 10 are absolutely useless.
        dheeraj_nagpal
    • Gallery format - hate it

      x
      Tuaussi
  • Thanks Adrian

    Don't love the 1-item per page but I love the items! Thanks for the list.
    I really like the Advanced Stacker for star photos, and the custom filters for landscapes... want want want!
    kbreak@...
  • Great list!

    I don't get the negativity... Bunch of stuff here I'd love to have.

    Thanks Adrian (-:
    gcloman
  • You might not know what's best!

    As a pro photographer I can tell you that if someone got me off brand batteries I would never put them in my camera! No way would I risk my $2k camera on a cheap version of something that I trust to be there for every time I need it to be. The other stuff is ok I guess but photographers are very picky and it might be better to just hit them a gift card to B&h photo or a local photography store.
    94freerider
  • G-Technology...

    I quibble with picking G-Technology. I have a dead G-Technology drive on my desk. Lasted about 3 months before it died. The drive managed to scramble the catalog contents. Support's response was "that's not a hardware problem, that's a software problem" as though that distinction matters! Underlying G-Technology is Hitachi and not surprising, the only portable drive I own that didn't survive at least a year was, yep, a Hitachi.

    I've had GREAT success with LaCie, however.
    Steven Christenson