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Gadget Bag: Stocking Stuffers
While holiday dreams of the latest D-SLRs rather than sugar plums dance around most photographers’ heads, there’s no shortage of more affordable fair to satisfy passionate shutterbugs. Though a large wrapped box with our name on it is always appealing, we decided to suggest a variety of stocking stuffers for yourself or the photographer in your life. While some of these items might not fit snugly in a stocking, each one fits a special niche that will help keep your favorite photographer happy and perhaps more eager to produce memorable photographs.
Once you’ve tried this camera strap, you can’t imagine using anything else. The UPstrap SLR-Classic’s beaded, nonslip pad eliminates one of the most irritating aspects of carrying a camera over your shoulder: slipping off. In addition to supporting the weight of any digital SLR, the narrow strap can be wrapped easily around your hand when you don’t want it hanging from your neck or shoulder. List Price: $32 | (877) 872-7639 | www.upstrap.com.
Hoodman Right-AngleViewfinder H-RAV
Creating a macro shot with the camera low to the ground may result in a remarkable picture, but it can also result in a spike in your dry-cleaning bill. The Hoodman Right-Angle Viewfinder H-RAV helps the close-up photographer get the shot without making the mess by providing a right-angle finder that can be attached to the viewfinder of a D-SLR. It features a built-in diopter, full 360-degree rotation and up to 2x magnification. List Price: $130 | (800) 818-3946 | www.hoodmanusa.com.
Keeping cameras and lenses clean in the field can be a challenge and a point of frustration. The Lenspen provides a compact, effective tool for removing dust and debris from your lenses. With a retractable dust brush on one end and a nonliquid cleaning element on the other, the Lenspen helps safely keep the front and rear elements of your lenses clean. List Price: $15 | (877) 608-0868 | www.lenspen.com.
Epson P-Series Multimedia Storage Viewers
Backing up your digital images, especially when you’re far from a computer, is an important part of the outdoor photographer’s workflow. Unfortunately, packing a laptop everywhere you go isn’t convenient. The Epson P-3000 and P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewers solve the problem by providing a portable drive that backs up all of your digital images. Available in capacities of 40 and 80 GB, respectively, the storage viewers feature a four-inch LCD screen, media card slots, and JPEG and RAW support. List Price: $499 (P-3000); $699 (P-5000) | (800) GO-EPSON | www.epson.com.
Tamrac MicroSync Digital
To create certain wildlife and sports images, you can’t be right behind the camera if you have any hope of capturing the photograph. The Tamrac MicroSync Digital is an ultra-compact wireless transmitter/receiver that allows you to trigger your camera or portable strobes up to a range of 100 feet. The small form factor of the equipment minimizes what you have to carry in the field, while providing the versatility you need for making those hard-to-get shots. List Price: $179 | (800) 662-0717 | www.tamrac.com.
VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly 724
The accumulation of dust on a D-SLR sensor can result in lengthy periods of retouching at the computer. If you prefer spending time shooting rather than “fixing” images, the VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly 724 offers the means for a light dusting of the sensor. A built-in motor powers the rotating head with a sensor-safe brush. Used regularly, you can minimize the buildup of particles on your sensor, leaving more time to enhance your image rather than cloning out problems. List Price: $90 | (780) 455-1082 | www.visibledust.com.
Maha PowerEx 2700 mAh AA Batteries
Few things are more aggravating than missing a shot because the batteries for your camera and flash have given up the ghost. A long life and reliable power source is a must. The Maha PowerEx 2700 mAh AA batteries provide 2700 milliamps of power to your portable strobes, digital cameras and any other electronics using AA-sized cells. The batteries can be recycled hundreds of times and don’t suffer from the memory problems associated with previous generations of rechargeable batteries, such as NiCDs. List Price: $15 (four-pack) | (800) 376-9992 | www.mahaenergy.com.
Pantone Eye-One Display LT
With all the time and effort spent on composing our images, it’s especially important that the color and tones be accurately reproduced on the computer monitor. The Pantone Eye-One Display LT provides an accurate and affordable way to ensure a CRT or LCD display is producing the best and most accurate colors possible. The easy-to-use software and measuring tool walk you through the process of optimizing the brightness and color values of your display, step-by-step. So whether your images are destined for the web or print, you can be certain your colors are true. List Price: $169 | (866) PANTONE | www.pantone.com
SanDisk Extreme III 12 GB & 16 GB CF Cards
The increasing resolution of D-SLRs and the use of RAW make the choice of media all the more important. The SanDisk Extreme III 12 GB and 16 GB CompactFlash cards are designed to accommodate the large files produced by today’s 10-plus-megapixel D-SLRs. A minimum read/write speed of 20 MBps provides improved transfer speeds of files from camera to computer. List Price: $779 (12 GB); $1,049 (16 GB) | (866) SANDISK | www.sandisk.com.
Lowepro PixelPak V2
Protecting the memory cards that hold your recorded images is essential, especially when you’re spending lots of time in the field. The Lowepro PixelPak V2 provides a secure place to store your media cards, with a case made of a hard, resilient combination of aluminum, rubber and plastic. Accommodating four media cards of different formats, the case helps ensure that your images remain safe and secure until you have the opportunity to back them up. List Price: $15 | (707) 575-4363 | www.lowepro.com
Cokin Z-Pro Series Filters
Although many enhancements can be made via computer, producing results in-camera can often be achieved easier and quicker. The Cokin Z-Pro Series filter system provides a host of enhancement filters compatible with both digital, film and video systems. The selection of 19 filters includes a variety of neutral-density, gradual neutral-density and color filters and can be slipped into a simple holder attached to the front of the lens. List Price: $42-$130 | (410) 374-3250 | www.cokinusa.com
Kingston USB 2.0 Hi-Speed 15-In-1 Reader
With so many digital products using a variety of media card formats, it’s useful to have a single card reader for downloading all those files. Whether it’s the CF card from the D-SLR or the SD card used in your compact digital camera, the Kingston USB 2.0 Hi-Speed 15-in-1 reader provides a great way for downloading your files to your computer. Supporting a diverse array of media formats, the card provides faster download times than when transferring files directly from the camera. List Price: $19 | (877) 546-4786 | www.kingston.com.
Adorama 22-Inch Soft Gold/White Reflector
Modifying and controlling light in the field doesn’t have to include multiple strobes or power packs. The Adorama 22-inch soft gold/white reflector provides a photographer with convenient ways for reducing contrast when creating successful macro shots. Choose between a warm or neutral fill light by simply flipping the reflector over for even more control over the appearance of your fill light. List Price: $14 | (800) 223-2500 | www.adorama.com.
Lexar Professional 133x SD Card
Advanced compact digital cameras as well as compact D-SLRs are part of the outdoor photographer’s arsenal. For these cameras and high-end D-SLRs, the media card you choose to record your images to is important. The Lexar Professional 133x SD card in capacities of 1 and 2 GB provides the ample storage and speed needed for maximum efficiency. Although physically smaller than CompactFlash, these cards are built to provide high-end performance while delivering a sustainable read/write speed of up to 150 KBps. This helps to reduce the transfer time of data from card to computer. List Price: $79 (1 GB); $149 (2 GB) | (800) 789-9418 | www.lexarmedia.com
Novoflex Ball 19 Mini Ballhead
Sometimes a photographer needs the flexibility of a ballhead without a lot of bulk and weight. The Novoflex Ball 19 head weighs less than four ounces and features rugged metal construction and a set of rubber rings around the head for a solid grip. With a 1/-20 mounting screw and a platform for mounting a camera, it’s a versatile device when you’re working in the field. List Price: $43 | (800) 735-4373 | www.hpmarketingcorp.com