Three Useful Gift Ideas for Photographers for Under $100

If you're looking for a gift for your photographer friends, spare them the lens mugs that they probably already have five of. Instead, here's a list of three useful but reasonably priced accessories that will make life a little easier for the shooter in your life.

UK-based wedding photographer/cinematographer and YouTuber James Feaver describes three quick-hit products he uses to make his life a little bit easier on the job. Though for UK folks the video talks about accessories under £75, that works out to a little more money for Americans, and so, this list is items that are just below $100. Still not unreasonable in the land of photography gear.

A camera cage is never something I really thought to use as a photographer, but Feaver makes a good case for one, pointing out the myriad one can easily attach to all sides of the camera with bolts instead of relying on the hot shoe all the time. As someone who does occasionally attach a mic or an action camera to the hot shoe, it makes more sense to use a cage because of wear and tear on the hot shoe. Something I found out is particularly an issue with my EOS R6, is that the hot shoe tends to fall off with extended usage, as I wrote about previously. Yikes. Feaver points out SmallRig as a particularly good brand that's reasonably price, about $50 for a cage for an EOS R5 or R6.

Another useful tool is the hahnel Professional Charger PROCUBE2. It's a charger that can charge two batteries for your camera at once, but also includes a plate that can rest on top to charge four rechargeable AA batteries. Sounds like a much more portable way to carry multiple chargers than, well, carrying multiple chargers. The device plugs into USB 3.0 ports on a computer or uses its own power adapter. At $87.89, it's not much more than just one name-brand charger.

Finally, at $99.88, the Manfrotto MOVE Quick Release Catcher System Set is easily the most expensive item on this under $100 list. I've never found it all that hard (or necessary) to change heads on my tripods, but if that's something you find yourself doing often, this just might do the trick. Feaver explains how the system (and the other items on this list) is used in detail, and you can check out the video above for more information.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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The PROCUBE2 only has two contacts for batteries. The charger that comes with your camera has at least three. What's the third contact? T for temperature.

The genuine OEM charger uses that to ensure a genuine battery isn't too cold or too hot to start charging, detects the rise in temperature as internal resistance increases as a battery nears full charge so it can switch to a slower, gentler charging method that will make your batteries last longer and reduce the risk of a fire, and will also shut off in the case of a battery getting dangerously hot during charging.

The PROCUBE2? Well, it doesnt have any of that safety monitoring, so it will happily set a battery on fire. Is this a common occurrence? No, but the risk is very real, and it can - and does - happen to anyone. Is the convenience and cost-saving worth the risk?

Aaannd just took it out of my B&H cart. Thanks much!