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Photo gift tips: 3 items for 100 EUR each

Coincidentally, they are about 100 USD each as well

November 13th, 2011

With christmas coming up, you might be looking for a gift for that hooked-on-photography brother of yours, or maybe you just want to treat yourself to something. Either way, if you are looking for photo related stuff but don't want want to break the bank (too much), let me suggest three items that might interest you.

1. Lowepro SlingShot 202 AW

We are all interested in camera bags, for that is where the camera and its lens are going to spend the rest of their lives.

The SlingShot is a... well, slingshot model, meaning it's built like a backpack with only one strap. This enables you to wear the bag on the back, but still be able to quickly access its contents by simply sliding it around your shoulder.

The bag. Except from the main compartment, it also has one on the front (for pens and super-small tripods) and a top compartment with a pocket on the front. Inside the top compartment, there is a pocket with a zipper which I guess is for your wallet. It's ridiculously small though.
The bag. Except from the main compartment, it also has one on the front (for pens and super-small tripods) and a top compartment with a pocket on the front. Inside the top compartment, there is a pocket with a zipper which I guess is for your wallet. It's ridiculously small though.

A few highlights that make this bag stand out:

  • A monopod or small tripod can be strapped to the side of the bag
  • It has a built-in lens cleaning cloth which doubles as a gray card
  • It features a built-in rain cover (which also looks like it could be sort of used as a gray card)
Inside the bag. The compartments are rearrangeable, so you should be able to fit pretty big lenses in here if your Tetris-Fu is strong enough. And in case you wonder why there is no camera inside - I was using it!
Inside the bag. The compartments are rearrangeable, so you should be able to fit pretty big lenses in here if your Tetris-Fu is strong enough. And in case you wonder why there is no camera inside - I was using it!

You may not be able to fit all your equipment in this bag, but on a day tour, that would probably be too much anyway. Small and convenient.

2. Nissin SpeedLite Di622

This external flash sort of plays in the same league as the Canon 430EX-ish and is a good and affordable start for anyone tired of that pop-up flash. Also available for Nikon! It might be a little more than 100 though, but it's a nice unit so what the heck.

Swiveling, tilting, flashing.
Swiveling, tilting, flashing.

Some feature highlights:

  • A tilty-swively head which allows for bouncing the flash off the ceiling both when shooting vertically and horizontally
  • Diffuser and flash-card built in, making the light softer
  • Optical trigger - place the flash on a table next to your subject (stand included) and have the pop-up flash trigger it remotely.
  • Subjectively, the flash is also crazy strong :)

A Mark II version is also available - costing a little more, but fixing adds some nice features, like remote radio triggering. Worth it IMO - off-camera flash opens up a world of possibilities. Mark II also has a Sony fit flavor. Yummy.

By using this flash unit, you can achieve some results difficult to produce with the built-in flash. Or, as shown here, at least different.
By using this flash unit, you can achieve some results difficult to produce with the built-in flash. Or, as shown here, at least different.

I often feel that carrying this thing around everywhere is a bit too much, but it makes up for it once you see the results. Not as fancy as some more expensive Canon models, but a great and flexible start that gives some serious bang for the buck. Just get some quality rechargeable AAs as well!

Super-pro tip: Off-camera triggering is cool and all, but since the built-in flash must be used, it tends to make the image look flat and less dramatic. Use the flash exposure compensation to weaken the built-in flash and make the effect of the external flash stand out more.

3. Canon 50mm f/1.8 "Nifty Fifty"

A must-have. Considering that a good lens often will run you, like, 400 EUR or more, the price tag of around 100 EUR for this little gem seems like a steal.

Clearly one of the ugliest lenses on the market. And the sound it makes when focusing is pretty unpleasant. Great stuff. ;)
Clearly one of the ugliest lenses on the market. And the sound it makes when focusing is pretty unpleasant. Great stuff. ;)

Highlights:

  • 50mm on a crop body makes this a perfect lens for portrait shots
  • Very light - thanks, of course, to the the weak, plastic build quality
  • That 1.8 aperture is sure to deliver some bokeh-licious action!
  • And of course, it's fast too

Might feel like a toy, but it produces some quality results. The lack of an optical stabilizer is made up for - in part - by the fact that it's very fast with the aperture fully open.

"Bokeh" is Japanese and means "Overly blurred-out background that shows that we use expensive cameras with big lenses". Shown here. Except with a cheap camera. And a small lens.

And there is also a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for you Nikon fanboys too!

Shameless affy links (by request)

November 14th, 2011 10:24

Ok, nice stuff. But where can I get it?

November 14th, 2011 19:38
Erik

I often get my stuff from Amazon. It may cost a bit more, but they are reliable and usually deliver fast. Check the links above.

Seems like they don't have the Nissin SpeedLite Di622 Mark I anymore though. You will need to pay up a bit to get the Mark II, but the new features should be worth it.

November 16th, 2011 14:30

Cool, just ordered the lens. Wasn't able to use your link, though. They don't ship to Germany...

November 16th, 2011 20:49
Erik

Aw, that's too bad. But anyway, great choice buddy! Have fun with the lens. :)

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Erik Moberg  2019