If you know a photographer who travels, you may have witnessed them in one of these scenarios: squeezing one more lens into a tight spot, making heartbreaking decisions on which gear to leave behind, and using sweaters and undies as extra padding for gizmos. Traveling with photo gear ain’t easy, but these five gifts will help your photog friend carry-on all the necessities.
This is about as minimal as a DSLR bag gets. It’s made up of the same kind of padding you find in larger camera bags, but instead of a heavy exterior, it’s enveloped in a simple drawstring pouch. You can throw it in any bag and still keep your gear protected. Dividers let you split up the interior and its external slim pockets are good for holding small items like memory cards. Fits a camera, lens, and flash.
The Pocket Spotlight is a space-saving alternative to a heavy off-camera flash. This little LED panel fits on your camera’s hot shoe and in your pocket. The light is surprisingly powerful — enough to light subjects from a distance. You’ll also find it doesn’t suck up your camera’s battery because it works off a USB rechargeable battery. Bonus: Use an attachment to plug it into your smartphone. (A neat alternative to this gizmo is the versatile Kicklight.)
Whether you're jetting across town or across the globe, you’ll quickly realize that carrying more than one lens takes work. You not only need space for them in your bag, you also end up worrying about juggling lenses without missing a shot. The Tamron 18-270mm Zoom Lens is an all-in-one lens that’ll cover all your bases no matter where you end up. It gives you wide-angle, standard, and telephoto options so you can shoot portraits, landscapes, and events without having to switch lenses. You might also save a buck since you won’t have to buy multiple lenses. Sweet.
It might sound too good to be true, but this tripod is small enough to fit in your bag, thanks to its fold-up design. The legs of the tripod are similar to tent poles — they collapse when you pull the joints apart, and spring back just as easily when you're ready to use it. For a monopod version, try the Stickpod.
Maybe you’ve heard of Eye-Fi, but there’s a chance you haven’t heard about Eye-Fi’s new Mobi. It’s an SD memory card that gives your camera Wi-Fi so you can easily transfer photos to your phone or tablet. This lets travelers share their pictures on Instagram or Facebook without extra wires. You can also set it so that it backs up automatically, so if anything happens to your camera while traveling, your photos are saved on your mobile device.
Lisbeth Ortega is a writer based in San Francisco. She was head editor at Photojojo from 2010 to 2013. Her specialty is cameras, mobile photography, and tech. She waits years to develop film.