The holidays are here, and you’ve got a photographer on your shopping list. At the best of times, this can be a daunting task; camera enthusiasts are seriously picky about their gear. But this isn’t just any shopping trip. No, ho, ho. This is a holiday shopping trip.
You’re in for a torturous voyage to the very deepest pits of hell. You’ll languish in parking lots engorged with SUVs, contend with frantic shoppers bitterly jockeying for the latest widget, and idly fester in checkout lines that make the Motor Vehicle Registry feel like a springtime stroll along the Seine.
And when you emerge from the other side of this excruciating ordeal, does the picky photo geek on your shopping list appreciate what you’ve gone through? Hardly. Instead, you’re reluctantly informed that the camera bag you bought doesn’t quite have enough padding, and that the lens cleaner you bought would be perfect, if only it were the correct PH balance.
Man, photo geeks are annoying.
But if you think the picky photog on your list deserves something other than coal, here’s a curated list of the best holiday gifts for photo enthusiasts that we’ve come across this year.
We’ve included something for every budget, so take a look, enjoy some inspiration, and shop from the comfort of home.
Film, Film, Film
This is one of the most obvious yet often overlooked presents. Film is an almost perfect stocking stuffer for the photo geek, and a roll of film is much more than just a gift. For film addicts, a roll of film is an opportunity to create, it’s a fantastic day out, and it’s a handful of memories waiting to be captured. When a photo geek holds an unexposed roll of film, the excitement is hard to describe. It’s almost as if one’s holding a roll of limitless possibilities.
When buying film for your photo geek, it’s good to get something a little out of the ordinary. Try to buy a type that the shooter hasn’t used before, or one that’s a bit unique. Old standbys include Kodak’s offerings, Portra and Ektar, or try more specialized film like the stuff from CineStill. If your shooter is of the more adventurous variety, let them try some expired film. Whatever roll you choose, your photophile is sure to love it.
Photo Themed Pins and Patches
We’ve written about the pins and patches from Asildastore before, but because Anastasia has released a handful of new designs since we wrote our previous article, we feel just fine recommending them again. She’s a great gal, a wonderful photographer, and her pins and patches are designed with incredible love and attention.
Espousing the benefits of exploration, freedom, and discovery, these pins and patches remind us all to get out and shoot. They’re well-made, cost next to nothing, and look fantastic adorning any photo geek’s favorite camera bag.
Get them straight from the source at Asildastore.com
Amazing Camera Straps
There’s an overabundance of choice when it comes to camera straps. You can go the hippy route with a vintage, woven strap. You can buy a branded strap to represent the shooter’s favorite maker. Or you can go with the artisan alternative, such as the leather offerings from Tap & Dye or Artisan Origin.
Whichever style suits your shooter best, straps are a perfect stocking stuffer on account of their size and relative low price. Granted, the silken cord and leather examples start to get a bit pricey, but surely there’s something for everyone.
Books for the Photo Geek
Sometimes it’s impossible to play with cameras. Perhaps we’re trapped under six feet of snow, or we’ve contracted a bad case of Guatemalan Goat Flu, or maybe we’re just stuck babysitting. In any case, there are going to be days when cameras and photos just aren’t an option. What’s the next best thing? Reading about them, of course.
There’s no shortage of books out there for photo enthusiasts. From the most mind-bending of technical tomes to some truly luxuriant coffee table books, there’s a camera-centric book out there to fit all tastes.
Our current book obsessions include an incredible collection of the work of early 1900s nature shooter, George Shiras, whose photographs helped spur the very notion of environmental conservation. For lovers of photography, nature, history, or the process of artistic creation, this is a book that’s not to be missed.
Prints and Camera Decor
In addition to being useful tools of journalism and a means of achieving artistic expression, cameras are also quite beautiful. Naturally this has led to the creation of works which focus solely on the beauty of the machine itself. Whether through sculptures, prints, or in industrial drawings, we’ve come across a huge number of fantastic camera-related artwork that photo geeks will surely appreciate.
For three-dimensional objects worthy of your photophile’s bookshelf, check out Alex Stanton’s Etsy shop. His castings of rather iconic, vintage cameras are among the best we’ve seen. For those looking for something to hang on the wall, there’s a myriad of prints available to purchase. Some of our favorites include this incredible print, and our own series of Exploded Views.
An Affordable Film Camera
If your photo geek is stuck in a rut shooting only the latest and greatest digital camera (how sad…), perhaps they’d enjoy getting back to basics. There’s no better way to reconnect with photography than by diving into the amazing world of analog photography. Finding an affordable and incredible film camera is super easy, and a film camera is the kind of gift that will be treasured for decades.
We’ve written a number of articles to help people choose the right film camera for them. Whether it’s a point-and-shoot camera, a Japanese SLR, or something else entirely, there’s a perfect camera out there for every photo geek. Think about your photog’s personality. Do they like classy ’60s style, or the retro tech of the 1980s? Would they want a totally manual camera or something new and simple, like the Polaroid Snap?
A More Expensive Film Camera
Looking to get your photo geek a camera that’s just a bit more exclusive? Maybe something a bit more high-end, and a bit more professional?
Try a medium format machine. These cameras have been favored by serious film shooters for decades for their impeccable imaging capabilities and typically robust build. Perennial favorites include the Hasselblad 500, the Rolleicord TLR, and the Fujifilm rangefinder series.
We’ve also put the Minolta Autocord through testing and found it to be a stunning camera with an affordable price tag. Whichever maker you choose, gifting a medium format camera is sure to please.
The Ultimate Holiday Gift
Let’s say your photophile is something of a connoisseur. He or she has all the best stuff, digital and film, and knows everything there is to know about shooting. What’s more, they’ve got all the books, a freezer full of film, and couldn’t possibly fit another accessory in their bag. It seems that there’s nothing left in the world of photography to buy this person. Fear not; we can help.
Your camera buff needs a special camera. Something unique. Something rare. A camera that is impractical on paper, but perfection in the flesh. This shooter needs a Hasselblad X-Pan.
This specialized camera shoots panoramas on 35mm film by exposing two frames simultaneously, side by side. Exceptional build quality, relatively compact size, fantastic glass, and a passionate cult following all combine to make the X-Pan one of the most coveted and loved film cameras ever. If your photo geek deserves a gift to be remembered for a lifetime, this could be it.
And that’s a wrap (ha…ha…) for our holiday gift guide. We hope we’ve helped you find a great gift for the deserving photo geek in your life. And if this list didn’t have exactly what you’re looking for, hopefully we’ve provided some inspiration to help your shopping go that much smoother.
Happy holidays, everyone! [I hope my wife reads this]