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Few artists are as picky about their hobby as shutterbugs. Buying gifts for photographers (what’s digital photography? What is Digital Photography? [Technology Explained] What is Digital Photography? [Technology Explained] Read More ) can prove a Herculean challenge. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a curated list of the best hardware around for photographers of all stripes — from the neophyte with a point-and-shoot to the field-tested veterans of the mighty DSLR.

Who You Should and Shouldn’t Buy Camera Peripherals For

I don’t recommend buying camera equipment for a professional photographer (our guide to photography A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography You may think that picking up a digital camera, turning it on, and taking the photo is all that you need to know about digital photography. Think again. Read More ). A professional wields their camera as if their income depends on it — because it does. They likely won’t use or appreciate anything you could buy dealing with their camera because they’ve already bought everything they need. Instead, this article focuses on three demographics:

  1. The Serious Hobbyist with a DSLR.
  2. The Amateur with a Point-and-Shoot.
  3. The Neophyte with a Smartphone.

For the Serious Photographer With a DSLR

Out of everyone you might buy a camera peripheral for, the serious photographers can be the hardest to shop for. They probably already own a great camera and lens, but some of the items they might skimp on — the luxuries — include items like filters, top-tier backpacks, and remote pan controls.

1. MindShift BackLight 26L Camera Backpack (UK/CA)

MindShift BackLight 26L Backpack for DSLR Camera, Mirrorless Camera, Lenses, Flashes, 15" Laptop and Tablet, Charcoal MindShift BackLight 26L Backpack for DSLR Camera, Mirrorless Camera, Lenses, Flashes, 15" Laptop and Tablet, Charcoal Dedicated compartments fit up to a 15" laptop and full-size tablet Buy Now At Amazon $249.99

The MindShift BackLight offers a tremendous amount of storage, allowing photographers to carry a tripod, water bottles, laptops, and an assortment of lenses. The Wirecutter rated the BackLight as one of the best camera backpacks around because of its impressive versatility. On B&H Photo, the BackLight received 4.5/5 stars on 27 reviews. In short, it’s a great, although expensive, accessory for anyone owning a DSLR.

2. Syrp 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter (Sponsored Listing)

Syrp 67mm 9-Stop Variable ND Filter with Case and 58mm & 52mm Step Down Rings Syrp 67mm 9-Stop Variable ND Filter with Case and 58mm & 52mm Step Down Rings This Item Includes: Syrp 67mm 9-Stop Variable ND Filter - Lens Cleaning Cloth - 58mm & 52mm Step Down Rings - Spiffy Zip Up Leather Pouch - Syrp Warranty Buy Now At Amazon $139.00

Neutral density filters reduce the intensity of light that would otherwise cause an overexposed shot. This allows photographers to shoot using slow shutter speed in bright light. Syrp’s filter functions as a circular polarizer, meaning the user can twist the lens in order to control the amount of light blocked by the filter.

Overall, it’s a fantastic gift for any photographer who shoots outdoors. Syrp’s filter also comes with two step-up rings (72 and 77mm), for a wide range of lens compatibilities.

3. Syrp Mini Genie (Sponsored Listing)

Syrp 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter Kit includes 72mm & 77mm Step down ring Syrp 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter Kit includes 72mm & 77mm Step down ring Item Includes: Syrp 82mm ND Filter, 77-82mm and 72-82mm Step-Up Rings, Lens Cloth and Genuine Leather Filter Case Buy Now At Amazon $189.00

The Syrp Genie Mini allows photographers to remotely control the motion of their camera. It works with a wide array of camera types, including point-and-shoots, GoPro Action cameras, and DSLRs. It’s among the most creative devices around, and pretty much anyone passionate about photography would love to own one — particularly if they shoot moving video.

It’s also compatible with time-lapse photography, which means you can set a time-lapse (example of a hyper-lapse Hyper-Lapse Photography is Like Time-Lapse Photography On Speed [Stuff to Watch] Hyper-Lapse Photography is Like Time-Lapse Photography On Speed [Stuff to Watch] Time-lapse photography is a method of showing the passing of time from what is usually a fixed viewpoint, sometimes incorporating a pan, zoom or sweep. The technique uses still photos shot at regular intervals which... Read More ) and then set the Genie Mini to slowly pan across a region. The results are astounding!

For the Amateur With a Point-and-Shoot

Most folks using point-and-shoots (six best point-and-shoot cameras 6 Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras: Style, Features or Optics 6 Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras: Style, Features or Optics Some people may want the most stylish camera, others may want superior zoom, and some may be on a strict budget. Don't worry, we have you covered. Read More ) don’t like messing around with their settings much. They do, however, like being able to use their camera — and that means cleaning cloths, memory card cases, and a handy-dandy USB SD/microSD card reader.

4. Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Cloths (UK/CA)

50 Ct - Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Cloths for Cameras, Microscopes, Glasses 50 Ct - Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Cloths for Cameras, Microscopes, Glasses 50 individual packets of pre-moistened, non-abrasive lens cloths Buy Now At Amazon $5.78

One thing that’s sure to ruin a photographer’s day is a dirty lens. You can’t just clean a camera lens with any old rag — it needs to leave no trace of lint or cleaning residue. That’s why Zeiss offers streak-free pre-moistened lens wipes. It’s dirt-cheap and receives 4.4/5 stars on 270 Amazon reviews. They’re also great as stocking-stuffers.

5. JJC Water-Resistant Memory Card Case (UK/CA)

JJC MC-SDMSD24 Water-Resistant Holder Storage Memory Card Case for 12 SD cards + 12 Micro SD Cards JJC MC-SDMSD24 Water-Resistant Holder Storage Memory Card Case for 12 SD cards + 12 Micro SD Cards Tough water-resistant polycarbonate case for carrying memory cards Buy Now At Amazon $6.99

The JJC memory card case offers a low-cost method of organizing and carrying multiple memory cards — both SD and microSD cards. It has a solid 4.2/5 stars on Amazon, with an A-rating from FakeSpot. While larger capacity cases exist, few combine water-resistance, durability, and compatibility with both SD and microSD cards for less than $10. It’s a low-risk, high-value product worthy of any photographer.

6. Sabrent SuperSpeed 2-Slot USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader (UK/CA)

Sabrent SuperSpeed 2-Slot USB 3.0 Flash Memory Card Reader for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Certain Android Systems - Supports SD , SDHC , SDXC , MMC / MicroSD , T-Flash [Black] (CR-UMSS) Sabrent SuperSpeed 2-Slot USB 3.0 Flash Memory Card Reader for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Certain Android Systems - Supports SD , SDHC , SDXC , MMC / MicroSD , T-Flash [Black] (CR-UMSS) SuperSpeed USB 3.0 for maximum performance. Backward compatible with USB 2.0 hosts. Buy Now At Amazon $6.49

The Sabrent SuperSpeed card reader currently sells at a tremendous discount over its MSRP. At $7, it’s among the best priced of all card readers on the market. Part of its popularity is that it can read and write to both microUSB and full-sized SD cards in a portable USB 3.0 thumb drive form factor. As an owner of this reader, I swear by its ruggedness and cross-system compatibility.

It scores a 4.3/5 stars on a whopping 2,000+ reviews and is Amazon’s best-selling card reader. Considering its price, it’s a great gift for photographers who just want to easily transfer photos from their camera to a computer.

7. WhiBal G7 White Balance Card (UK/CA)

WhiBal G7 White Balance Studio Card WhiBal G7 White Balance Studio Card This Item Includes: WhiBal G7 White Balance Studio Card - 6 Mil PolyBag Case - WhiBal Warranty Buy Now At Amazon $29.95

One of the lessons many point-and-shoot photographers need to learn is how to properly white balance a camera. A white balance card isn’t sophisticated. It’s just a plain white card designed to maintain “spectral neutrality” in all lighting environments. Here’s a video on how to white balance a camera:

For Photography Neophytes With a Smartphone

Everyone who doesn’t own a point-and-shoot should look at smartphone lenses and self-sticks. They’re relatively inexpensive and can take one’s photography game to the next level.

8. TaoTronics Telescopic Mini Selfie Stick (UK)

TaoTronics Telescopic Monopod Mini Selfie Stick for Android and iOS Smartphone - Black TaoTronics Telescopic Monopod Mini Selfie Stick for Android and iOS Smartphone - Black Plug-and-go selfie stick for Android and iOS smartphone, no battery, no Bluetooth connection, connect with 3.5mm universal jack and take instant photos and selfie. Buy Now At Amazon $11.99

There are hundreds of selfie sticks out there, the majority of which are re-badged and sold as a unique brand. Don’t get fooled, most selfie sticks are pretty much the same beast. They feature collapsible handles, a 3.5mm jack for plugging into your smartphone, and a grip.

One of the most cost effective options out there is the $9.50 TaoTronics Mini Selfie-Stick. It scores 4.4/5 stars on 480 Amazon reviews. TaoTronics receives a B from FakeSpot, meaning the reviews are legit.

9. Moment Wide Angle Lens

The $90 Moment Wide angle lens attaches to the back of your smartphone, just over the camera, improving its optical capabilities. It’s also compatible with a wide-range of devices, including Samsung Galaxy and iPhone models. (Full compatibility list.) Moment also offers a telephoto version, although the majority of smartphone users probably aren’t using their phone for long distance shots.

moment wide lens gift photographers

Overall, reviewers warmly received the Moment. Wirecutter rated it as the best smartphone camera lens around. CNET gave it a 7/10 based on its heavy weight and bulky size (qualities that lend to the Moment len’s optical quality).

Buying Gifts for Photographers Can Be Hard

Photographers are a serious crowd. Learning how to take pictures A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography You may think that picking up a digital camera, turning it on, and taking the photo is all that you need to know about digital photography. Think again. Read More can take a very long time. Buying the right gift for the obsessed can take almost as much effort! Fortunately, there are enough photography gifts out there to satisfy almost anyone.

Does anyone recommend another gift for photographers? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Barry Durano
    November 28, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    We all know how hard it is to buy gifts for photographers, both my sons are! Great article - thank you for writing it. I also appreciate the use of Fakespot, it is so critical as a tool to prevent getting duped by companies selling cheap products. TaoTronics has been selling pretty good quality items from my experience.

    • Kannon Yamada
      November 29, 2016 at 4:39 am

      Thanks for the comment Barry. FakeSpot is really one of the best sites around for keeping Amazon honest. Amazon has improved their review score system recently, but it always helps having a third party.

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