Camera Accessories Make Holiday Gift-Giving a Snap
Face it, sometimes you can't afford to buy the shutterbug in your life a brand new camera because it will bust your holiday budget. But that doesn't mean you can't help them get the most out of the camera they already own. From a practical gift of a spare battery to a lavish new camera lens, there are plenty of add-ons that a shutterbug will love.
[See related slideshow: Cool Camera Accessories to Make Shutterbugs Smile]
If the person on your gift list is headed to the tropics, check out the variety of underwater cases for cameras. A lot are simply bags that you dump a camera in, but others are actual cases that snap onto the camera, allowing a photographer to dive (relatively) deep and snap the wildlife. The popular Canon PowerShot G11 (pictured, top left) has its case on sale for roughly $175 (pictured, bottom left) -- not too steep for the quality of action. You can choose to dive deeper with Liquid Image's Scuba Series of camera masks. These water-resistant electronic goggles capture 720p HD video and 5.0MP stills for $250. You can also get lower-grade Liquid Image products for $100.
There are loads of cool things a shutterbug can do with a zoom lens, and there are many lenses to choose from: prime, zoom, wide-angle, fish-eye, telephoto, and macro, to name a few. A fish-eye lens for a new Nikon camera can set you back as little as $30 to as much as $700 and beyond, so check your recipient's skill level before checking your bank account.
Most cameras have a tiny amount of built-in memory, so memory cards are essential. There are tons of different cards -- SD, SDHC, MMC, MiniSD and MicroSD -- so, again, you'll need to know what card goes with what camera. Technology has advanced to the point where you can slap on 2TB of storage -- a ridiculous amount meant for people who prefer keeping everything on their cameras and not backed up on computers. (And speaking of backup, you could get an external hard drive for your favorite shutterbug's computer, just in case it goes south.) Memory cards have dramatically dropped in price: you can pick up a 4GB SanDisk card for $7 or 16GB for $30 -- which could be more than your recipient should ever need.
To introduce the photographer on your list to the next generation of camera memory, try the Wi-Fi enabled Eye-Fi memory cards, available starting at $50 for 2GB. Eye-Fi detects the user's computer, selects a list of 17 online photo-sharing or photo-blogging sites, and uploads the photos to any of the above without the hassle of cords.