Gift giving can be difficult, so we’ve decided to compile a short list of 10 last minute, budget friendly, holiday gift ideas that you still have time to stuff into a stocking or slide under the tree for your camera enthusiast.
1. Memory Cards
Video and Still photographers can never really have enough media. We use them in our cameras, audio recorders and even to deliver final projects to clients. They’re small enough to fit in the smallest of stockings and are invaluable for beginners, amateurs and professionals alike. We’ve had great success with SanDisk Extreme Plus Cards which can be found locally at Best Buy for a great sale price.
Average Cost $20-80 depending on media type and capacity.
2. Sanyo Enloop Batteries
We use AA and AAA batteries in everything from external monitors and LED lights to flashlights and label makers, so we find it much more cost effective and green to use rechargeable batteries when possible. We’ve been using Sanyo Enloops for the past 5 years with great results and highly recommend them for anything that uses small batteries. One of the reasons we love Enloops is because they hold a charge really well even when not in use so batteries are always fresh and ready to go. We’ve found the basic starter kit with (8) AA, (4) AAA plus a charger locally at Costco for around $30.
3. Halogen Work Lights
Portable Halogen Work Lights are a super low cost, high-output light that anyone can use. Whether you need to a to light up a room or a craft service tent, these lights can be extremely handy to have on any set.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowes and City Mill usually have these in stock.
Average Cost: $10-15
4. Clamp-on Can Lights
Clamp lights can make great fill and accent lights in a scene and can be attached to book shelves, tables and basically anywhere you need a little blast of light. You can quickly and easily swap between incandescent and florescent light bulbs to match your lighting conditions making these an extremely versatile and handy addition to your light kit. Average Cost: $10-15
5. Portable LED Light
While we’re on the topic of lighting, whether you’re shooting food in a dimly lit restaurant or need to add a little fill to a portrait image, having a little LED light on hand is always helpful. This tiny Manfrotto ML240 Mini LED light packs a pretty big punch for it’s size and can be found locally at Best Buy in a few different sizes.
On Sale at Best Buy: $66
6. Multipurpose utility tool/knife
Multipurpose tools are always great to have around. You just never know when you’ll need to cut, crimp or unscrew something on location or at a football game, so the tool we always have with us is the Leatherman Skeletool. It’s sturdy and is backed with Leatherman’s Lifetime guarentee, but the small detail that makes this our favorite is the built-in carabiner. Having it attached to the outside our bag means it’s always with us ready to go. We’ve recently seen the Skeletool at Costco for as little as $35, but there are lots of other multi-tools from Leatherman, Gerber and Craftsman to choose from, and available at most hardware and sporting goods stores.
Average Cost: $35-80
7. Keychain Flathead Screwdriver
If you use any Manfrotto tripods or monopods, you’re familiar with the question, “Do you have a Quarter?” I always have this little flat head screw driver on my key ring for those moments when we need to swap out quick release plates. Side note, we’ve never had a problem flying with these in our carry-on luggage which is great if you plan on filming in or around the airport like we often do.
Average Cost: $1-5
8. External Hard Drive
Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper every year. That is fantastic news for everyone in our industry. Whether shooting RAW still images or hours of video, we constantly need to back up and archive our data. 4TB of storage is a great place to start if you need to offload your media. We always suggest purchasing two drives of the same capacity to store a back up of all your data. Thankfully you can pick up external hard drives from all major big box stores like Best Buy, Costco, Target and even Walmart, so if you’re looking for a nice gift for someone in a hurry, an external hard drive might just fit the bill.
Average Cost: 4TB $130-160
9. Mobile Charger
My iPhone is the only piece of “gear” I have with me everywhere I go. Whether we’re on location in Kauai or on vacation in Japan, my iPhone is always by my side. I can’t count the number of times, I’ve gone though half a day of work and drained 80% of my battery. Having an external charger for those times when a wall socket just isn’t available can mean the difference between writing a critical email or finishing an important call. You can find options from Mophie, Sony and Anker at Best Buy, Costco, Target and even Ross.
Average Cost $30-150 depending on battery capacity and output
10. Amazon Prime
Let’s be honest, a lot of what we need/want for production just isn’t locally available in Hawaii so we’re constantly shopping online for products and parts. Amazon Prime membership upgrades all your “Prime” purchases to 2-day shipping for free, and yes, it does get here in 2-3 days even in Hawaii. Other great benefits of Amazon Prime membership are: Unlimited, ad-free access to over a million songs, Instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video, Free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive and free books each month through Kindle First. This may not be a tactile or tangible gift, but I can guarantee you it’s a great one to receive.
Most camera toys and electronics are either expensive or not available in Hawaii so I hope this short list will help give you some ideas for any last minute presents you need to pick up.