Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers: The Top 15 PDN Objects of Desire of 2012


DECEMBER 10, 2012

By Dan Havlik

It's that time of year again when photographers are shopping for holiday gifts for other photographers. But what do you give that special shooter in your life who already has just about everything photo-related? Check out our choices for our favorite PDN Objects of Desire of 2012, and see if there's something here you can add to your holiday photo shopping list.
(If you're still stumped, here's our favorite Objects of Desire from 2011.)

Ilott Vintage Limited Edition Rangefinder Cameras

For anyone who gets the least bit excited at the sight of beautifully restored classic cameras, Ilott Vintage’s online product gallery is almost like pornography. Run by Andrew Bellamy, a transplanted Brit who now resides in Miami, Ilott Vintage features a variety of limited-edition rangefinder cameras that have been refurbished, meticulously modified and posted for resale. Ilott Vintage’s special touch is adding gorgeous wood veneers to the exteriors of the old cameras to replace the worn leather and give these mechanical marvels a unique look. The classic rangefinder models available include wood-paneled versions of the Canon Canonet and Canonet QL17 (image upper right); Konica Auto S2; Minolta Hi-Matic 9 and Hi-Matic 7/7s; and the Argus C3.
$1,850 and up; ilottvintage.com


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Photorito Lens Wrap
The Photorito protective lens wrap makes us as hungry for Mexican food as it does for photography. Inspired by San Francisco’s Mission District, which is, arguably, one of the best places in the world for burritos, the Photorito is a padded sleeve designed to swaddle your precious lenses while giving you cravings for guacamole, salsa and sour cream. When you wrap the Photorito around your lens, a built-in band will encircle and cinch it to keep it in place. Made of rugged and waterproof Tyvek, and cushioned with neoprene, the Photorito protects your lens so you can put it in a regular tote bag or satchel and head out for a day of shooting. The Photorito Lens Wrap measures 15 inches across (15 x 15-inches) and fits lenses from 24mm to 200mm.
$20; photojojo.com/store


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ICE Light
Let me let you in on a little secret: Photographers are big nerds. And like all big nerds, many of us are obsessed with Star Wars, which is why photographer Jerry Ghionis’s ICE Light is such a brilliant idea. Yes, the ICE Light is a cleverly designed LED light (manufactured and distributed by Westcott) with a built-in handgrip on one end so you or an assistant can comfortably hold it over your subject to provide soft, flattering light for photos or video. But it also looks like a light saber. A frickin’ light saber! The 20-inch ICE Light comes with a power cord and a charger, gel clips, and a case with an adjustable strap and a belt loop. So in other words, you can wear the ICE Light on your belt just like Obi-Wan Kenobi. May the force be with you.
$499; theicelight.com
Full story here.




Gizmon iCA iPhone Case
Don’t let your eyes fool you. This is not a camera in the conventional sense. It’s actually an elaborately designed camera case for the iPhone, maybe the most elaborately designed case we’ve seen yet. Created by a Japanese company called Adplus, the Gizmon iCA is more than just another polycarbonate shell to protect your precious Apple product (though it does do that). As you’ll notice from the photo, it transforms your iPhone 4/4s into a simulated rangefinder camera, complete with two mock lenses that attach to the front with miniature mirrors for framing self-portraits. There’s also a conversion lens mount over the iPhone’s actual lens if you want to add an optional lens modifier to the case. There are seven in the works including a fisheye, a tele and a macro lens. Other features of the Gizmon iCA include a shutter button that fits over the iPhone’s volume button and can be used to snap a picture; an optical viewfinder; a micro hot shoe; and an attachable tripod stand.
$65; gizmon.com


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Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 Fisheye

There are lenses and there are lenses and then there is the colossal Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 Fisheye. This Moby Dick-size lens, which offers such a panoramic perspective it can actually see behind the front element, was first unveiled at the Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, back in 1970. Only a few hundred were ever manufactured and finding one for sale is extremely rare. That’s why it caused such a stir last spring when Nikon retailer Grays of Westminster in London put one up for sale for 100,000 British pounds (about $160,000). The lens eventually sold for that asking price to a private collector. This monster fisheye weighs 11.5 pounds and makes the SLR attached to it look like a tiny point-and-shoot. The lens comes with an equally impressive, padded hard-shell case.
$160,000; graysofwestminster.co.uk


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Saatchi Gallery Hasselblad T-Shirts

Hasselblad owners are a devoted lot and now they have a way to show off their love of these classic cameras thanks to a trio of new T-shirts designed by illustrator Yukio Miyamoto. Each of Miyamoto’s shirts comes emblazoned with stylish, vectored drawings of famous Hasselblad film cameras. The shirts, which are offered in white, gray and off-white “apple” versions, also have illustrations of the Swedish cameras on the back and shoulders.
$63; saatchistore.com


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BlackRapid Sport-L

Here's a great gift for that left-handed photographer in your life: Black Rapid's Sport-L, a camera strap tailored to lefty shooters. The Sport-L sling is contoured for photographers who like having the strap lying over their right shoulder so they can more easily grab their camera from the left side of their body. No, that’s not exactly a revolutionary design concept but it’s the first strap we know that’s specifically geared to left-handed photographers and we call that progress. Otherwise, the strap is very similar to BlackRapid’s regular Sports Strap, which is a slimmed down version of the company’s older camera sling. Like the right-handed models, the Sport-L adds a built-in underarm stabilizer strap with a less prominent pad, making it lighter but with added security for active outdoor shoots. The Sport-L is made from the same ballistic nylon material as BlackRapid’s other sling straps.
$69; blackrapid.com


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Zeal Optics iON HD Camera Goggles

Dedicated ski goggles that shoot HD video and stills are nothing new but Zeal Optics iOn HD Camera Goggles score points for offering both high-quality imaging features and stylish goggle functionality for skiing. The Ion HD Camera can shoot full 1080p or 720p HD video and will capture 8-megapixel still photos, while sporting a 170-degree lens with infinity focus to help you shoot jumps, tumbles, and scenic mountain views. The camera and lens also automatically adjust for variable lighting conditions, which is a big help when you're moving from dark shadows to bright snow. You can play your HD clips and photos back immediately inside the goggles on a built-in viewfinder and there are big, glove-friendly buttons on the side of the frame for playing, pausing, and fast forwarding. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery will let you shoot for a maximum of three hours. For skiing purposes, the lenses have an anti-fog coating so things don't get blurry and there's 100 percent UV Protection for bright days.
$399; zealoptics.com


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Canon EOS 60Da Camera
If you’ve ever stared at the stars with your camera and wondered why your photos of the Milky Way look only average, you might want to consider setting money aside for the Canon EOS 60Da digital SLR. Designed specifically for astrophotography, the 60Da has a tweaked infrared filter and a low-noise image sensor offering what Canon calls “heightened hydrogen-alpha sensitivity.” We’re not sure exactly what this means but we’ve seen sample shots of galaxies, nebulae and assorted star clusters shot with the 60Da and there’s a great richness of detail and color in these night sky images. Otherwise, the camera is similar to the original 60D, and uses an 18-megapixel, APS-C size CMOS sensor in a relatively lightweight DSLR body with a 3-inch, 1,040,000-dot, vari-angle flip out screen.
$1,499; usa.canon.com


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Langly Camera Bags

When World War II buff and photographer Evan Lane decided to design his own camera bag, he knew what type of look he was going for. “I have this total attraction to World War II, maybe it was a past-life experience,” Lane says. “And I was like: What if I take this and apply it to a camera bag and make something that’s vintage, military and covert, and something that works?”  The results are the Langly camera bags, which look as much like the World War II rucksacks that soldiers hauled across Europe, as they do like modern photo backpacks. And that, according to Lane, is the point. Lane describes Alpha as having “a traditional vintage look,” while Delta is “more of an updated version of a rucksack.” An upper compartment in the bags fits a jacket or accessories, while the bottom has room for a camera and three lenses. Meanwhile, a back slot has space for a laptop. The exterior shell is made from “vegetable tanned leather” and is waterproof. Brass hardware locks everything down and there are vintage-style straps and pockets.
$199; langlybags.com


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Litepanels Croma

LED light fixtures that attach to your HD-DSLR’s hot shoe and offer soft, continuous light for shooting videos or stills have been around for a few years now but the Croma from Litepanels is the first one we’ve tried that also offers color temperature control. That’s a plus if, like most photographers who also shoot video where you’re typically moving from one lighting environment to another and don’t have the time to change your set-up or add gels. Changing the color temperature on the Croma is a simple process: Just turn one of the light’s two dials. The larger, lower dial is the dimmer control, letting you change the intensity of the light from zero to 100 percent. The smaller dial controls color temperature giving you light output ranging from daylight (5600°K) to tungsten (3200°K). The 12-ounce Croma is powered by either six AA batteries for up to 1.5 hours of battery life or an AC adapter.
$584; litepanels.com
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Polaroid Z2300

Those who fondly remember the classic rainbow stripe that adorned Polaroid’s instant cameras back in the day will be happy to know that it’s back. The distinctive rainbow—which has since been co-opted by photo-sharing service Instagram in its logo—now graces the front of Polaroid’s snazzy, new Z2300 instant digital camera. Available in black or white, the pocket-friendly Z2300 camera employs a 10-megapixel sensor to capture images that can be printed out instantly via its built-in Zink printer. The printer uses 2 x 3-inch Zink paper, which has dye crystals embedded in the paper that turn into color prints when heated. Just like in the old days, prints emerge from the Z2300 in less than a minute. Though unlike traditional Polaroid photos, the Zink prints are cheaper than instant film, smudge-proof, water- and tear-resistant, and don’t require drying time. The Z2300 has a 3-inch LCD display on back along with some other “modern” digital features. Those nostalgic for more classic Polaroid design touches will like that you can add the traditional white print border to your Z2300 photos or have them printed as full bleeds. The 2 x 3-inch photos are available with a sticky back for posting in the “real” world rather than the virtual online world.
$159; polaroid.com
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RucPac Hardcase Backpack Conversion Strap System

We love Pelican hard cases for the great protection they offer to all our precious photo gear. They aren’t, however, the easiest things to haul around when you’re in a hurry. That’s why we’re jazzed about the RucPac, which converts a wheeled hard case into a backpack while still giving you quick access to your gear. Developed by photographer Laurens Parsons, the RucPac is compatible with both Peli and Pelican cases (check the RucPac Web site for all the models it works with), letting you strap your rolling case to your back and hike into the mountains or speed through the airport, hands free. All in all, RucPac is a fairly simple setup, featuring a large padded area and straps that distribute the weight and are easy to attach and remove from your case. Once RucPac is connected, you might swear your rolling case always looked that way. When it’s removed, the lightweight strap system can be stored in the case.
$99; rucpac.com


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The f/60 Lens Kitchen Timer
The f/60 Lens Kitchen Timer is exactly what its name suggests: a 60-minute kitchen timer masquerading as a zoom lens. To start the timer, twist the realistic, knurled handgrip to whatever time you’d like from one minute to 60, and the faux lens will begin the countdown. When the time is up, the kitchen timer’s familiar bell will ring and you’ll know it’s time to take that DSLR-themed birthday cake out of the oven. Unlike some complicated photo gear we know, this device is perfectly simple. And it doesn’t even need batteries!
$14; photojojo.com/store
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Vintage Camera Lamps

Here’s a photo novelty product that’s both practical and downright hot. These Vintage Camera Lamps are made by Tinker & Tailor from old, classic cameras that have been retrofitted with wires and bulbs so they truly light up a room.Each camera lamp is one of a kind and once they’re sold, the company says it’s unlikely they’ll have another one just like it. Talk about limited editions! We like the vintage lamp made from an old Praktica camera, which were film shooters manufactured by Pentacon in East Germany during the Cold War. There’s also an old Russian Zenit camera with a massive telephoto that’s been transformed into a light. The lamps come with a 50W halogen bulb and an inline dimmer. There’s a black-cloth-covered electric cable and a plug.
$507 and up;  notonthehighstreet.com/tinkerandtailor/



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