Christmas Wish List 2011 – Prepare for Black Friday – Part II

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By Steve Russell

Black Friday is this week. As a complement to Tiffany’s article on November 11, I thought I would put together a Christmas Wish List for the advanced photographer in your life or if that photographer is you, a list you can give to someone else as a hint. As Tiffany suggested, get a cup of coffee and settle in. Just one thing, make sure you swallow the coffee before you look at each item because I sort of threw thriftiness out the window for this list. Hey, no one ever said that photography was inexpensive.

I’m going to start with what’s on my list. It’s was on my list last year and they’ll probably be on my list next year because I don’t really expect to get any of these items. Hey, it is a wish list and if you’re going to wish, you may as well wish big.

Steve’s Wish List

TheCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is my dream lens. Unfortunately, even though Canon announced the lens in February of this year, it still hasn’t been released. My guess is that the tragic earthquake and resulting tsunami is the main culprit. Yes, I know that this lens is currently priced at $9,499 and that the current model of the 500mm lens priced at $6,799 is $2,700 cheaper but why buy an old model when you know a new model with better quality glass will be released in the not too distant future? Besides, remember what I said about wishing big.
Gitzo GT3541XLS Series 3 Long 6X Carbon Fiber 4-Section Systematic Tripod with G-Lock – Replaces GT3540XLSYes, I know that to many people paying $705.41 for a tripod is ridiculous. I agree that for many applications this tripod is overkill. However, try using a more modest tripod while using a 500mm f/4 lens and professional model camera with battery grip. I tried that when I went to the Everglades back in March. As I watched all the other photographers using this tripod and the next item on the list, a little light went on. Another great thing about this tripod is that it will extend to 78 inches in height. I’m 6′ 3″ and most tripods that are more reasonably priced are around 64 inches in height when fully extended and even with the ball head and the camera mounted, I still have to bend my back to see through the viewfinder. With the Gitzo that problem is solved. That’s why this tripod is on my wish list.
The Wimberely Gimbal Head makes working with super telephoto lenses like the 500mm a breeze. You can reposition the camera with one finger and it will remain in place. This head also allows you to easily track birds in flight or animals moving. It comes with a hefty price tag of $595 direct from the manufacturer, but it makes life much easier when shooting birds and other animals.

There are other items on my wish list but that’s enough gift ideas that are way out of the price range for most people. Here are a few more gift ideas for photographers.

Okay, the Apple iPad 2 MC916LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi, Black)is on my list as well. What I recently discovered while using my wife’s iPad is that in addition to everything else it does, it’s a wonderful device for sitting down with a client and reviewing proofs from a portrait session. Much lighter than a laptop, easy to flip through the images and the clients really seem to prefer holding the iPad in their hand instead of looking at the screen of a laptop. In my opinion, it’s over-priced at $800, so if you don’t want to spend that much money there are other tablets on the market.
Last week Tiffany posted an article about setting up an inexpensive speedlight studio. This book, Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers by Neil van Niekerk is a great guide and how-to for using off-camera flash and it’s only $23.07 at Amazon.

Two great cameras that are considered the “cross-over” models from amateur to professional are the Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)currently priced at $1,199 and theCanon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Body Only)currently at $1,484 at Amazon. These are both very high quality cameras with the rugged magnesium alloy body found in high-end, professional model cameras. If you, or a photographer you’re buying a gift for, are ready to move up a step in the camera equipment area, either of these cameras would make an awesome gift.


With the exception of the Wimberely Gimbal Head, all prices are those listed on at the time I wrote this article. Prices change, sometimes daily, so when you click on the link to one of the items, you may see a different price.

Most of the items I listed are quite expensive and not for everyone. But they are things that any serious photographer can use. Besides it’s nice to wish even if you know the wish will remain just that.

Photo Credit:

Christmas Presents by Q,A,O,P Spaces on Creative Commons

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