Holiday Giving For Shutterbugs

Thanksgiving traditionally marks the start of the holiday shopping season so for many of us, it’s time to make our Santa Wish list and consider the lists of family and loved ones too.

Whether you’re hoping for a new camera, lens or accessory for yourself or giving one as a gift, consider the helpful advice from a few of our instructors.

E. DAVID LURIA has offered camera recommendations to many people attending the Safaris he teaches with us and through his own company, Washington Photo Safari. He offers the following advice to the Holiday Giver.

“If your spouse is a serious photographer, very knowledgeable about cameras, give him/her a gift certificate to a camera store so that he/she can make the wisest choice.

If size and weight are issues, check out the new line of lightweight mirrorless cameras that take interchangeable lenses, like the Olympus, Fuji, Pentax or Sony.
If size and weight are not major issues (all cameras are easily carried around the neck with a strap!) then look at basic DSLR models like the Canon Rebel T6i or the Nikon D5300. The next level up would be the Canon 70D or the Nikon D7200. 
A versatile 18-250 by Sigma or an 18-270 or 16-300 by Tamron are good all-purpose lenses. For architecture and wide angle use, try the very good Tokina 11-16 mm.

We definitely recommend cameras that take interchangeable lenses and external flash units so that the person can grow his/her system in the future. Point and shoots without interchangeable lenses lose their value quickly and are not able to expand into other uses, and many of them are being replaced by smartphone cameras.

These first-time camera purchases, especially those made by well-meaning but non-photographer spouses, are best made in a STORE, where the salesperson can ask a series of questions that will help you make a more careful and reasoned decision for this expensive gift.
Great advice David!

Instructor and founder of Capital Photography Center, MARIE JOABAR recommends shopping local. “Visit your nearby camera store and purchase an item with the recommendation from the experts. The sales staff are knowledgeable about the various manufactures product line and can help you compare items and make a better decision about which will work best for your shutterbug. 

If you want to do some homework ahead of time, try visiting the manufactures website to learn more about the options available.  DPReview  is another great online resource where you can browse cameras, lenses, do side by side comparisons, read product reviews and more.”

Marie’s favorite items for gifting? Camera store gift certificates, a sturdy tripod, a Hoodman Loupe so you can see your LCD screen when shooting on a sunny day, fingerless gloves for managing your camera buttons and dials in the winter, and of course, Capital Photography Center Gift Certificates.

“Ho Ho Ho!!! and Happy Holidays!!!” from KAREN L. MESSICK Master iPhone Photographer. 
“These few little add-ons can make it super fun for the mobile photographer in your house and can make holiday shopping a little easier for you!
The OlloClip- lenses for your iPhone  

A subscription to iPhoneLife Magazine  

A Mophie JuicePac or Power Station battery pack to extend the life of your iPhone

A Joby TriPod 

A stylus from PogoSketch to navigate through all those apps and in the cold 

A pair of Isotoner touch screen gloves  

“Looking for some gift ideas for the photographer in the family?  Here a few inexpensive extras that any photographer would like to have in their camera bag!
High Quality Tactical Flashlight for general use or Light Painting-$41

Compact Gel Holder for off camera flash-$17

Extra cable releases-under $10

Extension Tubes for the Macro Enthusiast-$199

There’s not a shutterbug out there that has everything so we hope we’ve given you some ideas to make your holiday shopping a bit easier and your giving a lot more fun!


  1. Mark Van Bergh says:

    Too bad the recommendations for the DSLRs show a typical Canon-Nikon bias.  There also are excellent alternatives from Sony and Pentax that may offer the consumer that might better meet their interests or that they might find more comfortable to use.  Unfortunately, when it comes to DSLR’s, many people offering advice either don’t know or tend to forget the alternatives from Pentax and Sony, and thus recommend only a Canon or Nikon (which is what they likely shoot).  For example, the Sony A58, A65 and A77 are all very capable DSLR type cameras priced at $800 or less (body only for the A77, with at least a kit lens for the A58 and A65).  They have a different design than more “traditional” DSLRs using a pellicle mirror and electronic viewfinder that some might find preferable for the features it offers, while others may not.  Pentax has the K-5 II, K-50 and K-500, all for $800 or less (K-5 II body only, others with at least a kit lens).

    Folks who recommend only Canon or Nikon may be doing a disservice to those for whom they are providing the advice, as the Pentax or Sony alternatives might be a better fit for the recipient of the advice.  But if someone doesn’t know they exist, and go and look only at a Canon or Nikon that is recommended, they will never have the chance to even make a comparison.

  2. Marie Joabar says:

    Great feedback Mark! Thank you for pointing that out and for listing some of the cameras offered by Pentax and Sony! People should definitely consider these manufacturers (Olympus too) when considering a new purchase as they also offer a great line-up of products. Size, weight, camera features and ease of use are all important factors to weigh regardless of brand.

  3. vickie gray says:

    I agree with Mark. I shoot with a Sony and find it frustrating at the very limited options for purchasing Sony accessories, as well as a lack of information on blogs, Facebook pages, etc. on Sony cameras. Additionally, there are NO shops near me (in Baltimore) that sell Sony accessories or service these cameras (I am referring to camera stores, not big box stores like Best Buy). Sony is doing a lot these days with mirrorless cameras, though, and I suspect in the next few years we will have access to a lot more information on their cameras and lenses.

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