If big-ticket electronics are out of your gift-giving budget, you can still impress your favorite digital photographer with an inexpensive camera accessory. Here's a list of great digital camera gifts you can snap up for $70 to $15, in descending price order. [For more details, see our the related article: Five great digital camera accessories for under $70.]
Tenba Discovery Top Load
Designed to be lightweight but rugged the Tenba Discovery Top Load holds a large dSLR body with a mid-sized zoom lens. It's not big enough to be a mainstay, but perfect for grabbing for the day when you don't want to carry around your big bag.
With a pro-size camera like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, you won't have room for much more than a few memory cards and extra batteries in the side pockets, but if you have a smaller SLR, you could probably fit a couple of lenses. At just 16 ounces, it won't add much weight to your load, and the waterproof bottom panel is a nice touch.
Aquapac's line of submersible waterproof cases are more affordable than custom housings and work well for casual underwater shooting. They use a patented plastic sealing mechanism with no removable parts to drop in the water. The Mini Camera Case with Hard Lens fits popular compact cameras like the Canon PowerShot S100 and S95, and is simple to use. It's surprisingly easy to see a camera's LCD through the very pliable TPU material, and you can even operate a touchscreen through it. The hard acrylic lens piece protects your zoom lens when protruded and photos shot through it were clear and of good quality. The case is rated to a depth of 15 feet.
Apple's iPad Camera Connection Kit only supports SD cards or USB devices, but you can find third-party CF card readers, such as the M.I.C. iPad 2 CF Card Camera Connection Kit. Reports on these card readers from third-party resellers find that they're not quite as reliable about connecting to the iPad as the SD card reader from Apple, but photographer Rob Galbraith tested the M.I.C. model with 30 different CompactFlash cards and had fairly good results from at least 24 of them.
Available from ThinkGeek, a great place to find gifts for gadget fanatics, this whimsical charging station from modern design shop Kikkerland is simple but clever: You feed your cables in through the bottom of the white plastic pot and up through the faux grass, and your electronics sit comfortably cushioned in a grassy mound, looking casually scattered yet still neat and tidy. And best of all, there's no more crazy pile-up of wires.
Anyone that's tried to balance a camera on the slippery hood of a car, a bike seat, or a not-quite-level boulder or railing knows how nice it would be to have an easy way to stabilize a point-and-shoot camera. Enter the Tiltpod: Designed to be looped onto your camera's wrist strap, the Tiltpod is a tiny camera support that stabilizes your camera without taking up any room in your bag.
The Tiltpod works with a small magnetic ball pivot that screws into your tripod socket (an adhesive version is also included in case your camera's tripod mount is off center) and attaches magnetically to a little socket on the base. The the ball-and-socket design lets you pivot your camera to different angles. The rubbery base grips most surfaces so you can position your camera on an incline and it won't slide. It's also magnetic, so you can attach it to a metallic surface as well.