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Innovation

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Digital SLR camera accessories

There's probably nothing a digital camera enthusiast likes better than gear and gadgets, which makes shopping for your favorite shutterbug a cinch. If you're looking for a great holiday gift for someone who already has his or her dSLR of choice, one of these dSLR camera accessories -- ranging in price from about $33 to $118 -- will have them smiling for the camera.
Written by Janice Chen, Inactive on

There's probably nothing a digital camera enthusiast likes better than gear and gadgets, which makes shopping for your favorite shutterbug a cinch.  If you're looking for a great holiday gift for someone who already has his or her dSLR of choice, one of these dSLR camera accessories -- ranging in price from about $33 to $118 --  will have them smiling for the camera.

SanDisk Image Mate All-in-One

Every digital camera user should have a fast memory card reader for quick and convenient image downloading, and the SanDisk Image Mate All-in-One ($33) is a great match for the dSLR shooter. It not only supports all the popular memory card formats (SD, SDHC, mini SDHC, micro SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro Duo, xD Picture Card, and CompactFlash), but it also lets you perform card-to-card transfers when you insert cards simultaneously -- so you can transfer from SD to CompactFlash, for example. I like the sleek design and the slick way the silver tripod base attaches magnetically, so you can easily detach the reader from the stand and pop it in your bag. Plus, it's not just a pretty face: the card reader can transfer files up to 34 megabytes per second (when using a high-speed SanDisk Extreme IV 45 MB/s Compact Flash card).

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BuiltNY Cargo Camera Bag

You probably know BuiltNY for its ubiquitous neoprene wine bottle totes or brightly colored laptop sleeves, but the design-savvy company also makes some very cool camera bags.  The Cargo Camera Bag, which comes in medium and large sizes ($70 and $100 respectively), are designed to carry SLRs along with lenses and accessories.  Made with protective semi-firm EVA foam and two layers of neoprene, the bags come with adjustable/removable padded dividers, four or six built-in interior compartments for cables and accessories, and additional padding in the base to keep your equipment safe and sound.

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Trek-Tech TrekPod II

A tripod -- or at least a monopod -- is a must-have accessory for any dSLR owner.  Tripods give you the stability you need to get sharp shots in low-light situations, enabling you to use longer shutter speeds, or you can use them to get repetitive shots in the same location over a period of time (for time lapse photography or taking pictures of ghosts). For on-the-go photographers, Trek-Tech's TrekPod line of lightweight combination monopod/tripods (which do triple-duty as hiking staff as well) offers cleverly designed portable models that don't take up as much space as standard tripods. The TrekPod II ($99.99), for example, weighs only 27 ounces and collapses down to 35.5 inches (or even disassembles to a luggage-friendly 28-inches if you're willing to pull out an allen wrench). But my favorite feature is Trek-Tech's unique MagMount, a quick-release camera mounting system (compatible with the industry standard 1/4-20 threaded mount) that uses strong rare-earth magnets to enable super-quick, one-handed attaching and detaching of your camera.

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SpiderPro Camera Holster

This is one of the coolest and most-useful accessory gadgets I've seen in a long time.  I've been following the Spider camera holster since a video from the inventor surfaced on YouTube back in May. Since then, the gadget has been further refined and it's finally slated to start shipping November 1. It's essentially a stainless steel and aluminum cast belt clip that allows you to securely and conveniently carry a big-ole dSLR (or a point-and-shoot for that matter) on your hip like a quick-draw gunslinger. The full SpiderPro holster system, which lists for $115, consists of the SpiderPro camera holster (i.e., the metal clip), the Spider pin, the Spider plate, and the holster belt. To understand best how the system works, check out the new demo videos on the Spider Holster site. But essentially, you attach the round Spider pin to your camera's tripod mount and that slides in and out of the holster like a ball-and-socket, allowing your camera to spin around freely yet stay securely in the holster.  For heavier cameras, the Spider plate enables a more ergonomic positioning of the camera at your hip, and the holster belt keeps the heavy load securely at your center of gravity (rather than dragging your pants down hip-hop style).

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