Celebrate Mom with Great Photo-Imaging Gifts

Celebrate Mom with Great Photo-Imaging Gifts

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Every year at this time, Digital Imaging Reporter’s editors turn their attention to great gifting ideas for the upcoming Mother’s Day celebrations. Leading the way into the summer picture-taking season, Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to flower moms young and old with the right tools to preserve precious family memories.

And let’s not forget that May 1st annually marks the start of four weeks of photographic celebration—otherwise known as National Photography Month. The entire month is dedicated to learning the history of photography, mastering its techniques as well as researching which cameras and imaging gear are best to invest in.

To make gift-giving a little easier, our editors have selected some pretty awesome cameras and accessories. Moreover, they cover a range of price points. Of course, this is just a small sample, but we think our picks represent a broad range of imaging applications that will appeal to casual snapshooters, memory keepers, analog fans as well as content creators for livestreams, podcasts and vlogs.

Great Photo-Imaging Gifts for Mom
Fujifilm Instax Pal Camera & Instax Mini Link 2 Printer Bundle

We start off with this little cutie: Fujifilm’s Instax Pal camera and Instax Mini Link 2 smartphone printer bundle. The palm-sized Pal is the first all-digital Instax camera. Fujifilm designed it to capture spontaneous moments for printing on Instax instant film via an Instax printing device.

With the Pal, mom can snap photos digitally and use the free Instax Pal smartphone app to add effects. The effects include creative filters, text and stickers. And once she’s transferred the digitally stored image to the Instax Pal app, she can print through any Instax Link smartphone printer. Or print the Instax Pal images with the Instax Mini Evo and Instax Mini Liplay hybrid instant cameras. The images print on Instax instant film (sold separately) in any of the Instax formats. Plus, with the app, mom can share her digital images to social media.

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Fujifilm Instax Pal

The app will also get mom in the photo when she uses its remote shooting feature and controls the “snap” with a smartphone. Plus, the Instax animation function combines multiple Pal images into an animation similar to a flipbook. In “L” (link) mode, the Pal connects via Bluetooth to the Instax Mini Link 2 smartphone printer. The camera additionally features a wide-angle lens and a flash. Also in the bundle is a detachable ring that works as a finger strap, a simple viewfinder or a camera stand. The Pal holds up to 50 images in its memory with expanded capacity via an optional Micro SD card.

With a suggested retail price of $199.95, the bundle also includes a 10-pack of Instax Mini white border instant film and a DIY idea booklet.

Customodish Photo Jewelry

Who doesn’t love photo jewelry! Here’s a unique line. Customodish is a photo jewelry design company based in Columbia, Missouri. It specializes in “projection” jewelry. It’s a photo novelty craze currently flooding online Etsy shops. Each piece of jewelry is designed around a single, molded-plastic lens that looks like a small bead. The image is embedded on one side of the bead and enlarged when projected through the other side. Mom can see her embedded images by holding the beads up to a smartphone camera lens or by shining a bright light source through the bead.

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Customodish Photo Necklace

This projection effect is achieved using microphotography, according to Steve Rowe of Esco Optics, in Oak Ridge, New Jersey. “A 3mm piece of artwork is inset on the plano (or flat side) of the lens. It works like a mask, blocking some of the light and allowing the image to illuminate on a wall or other surface. By using a light source such as your smartphone flashlight to illuminate the lens, it projects an image on nearby objects. The lens also enlarges the artwork, so it is clearly visible at a legible size.”

Founded in 2016, Customodish was an early supplier of projection jewelry. Their extensive collections feature sterling silver and 18K gold-plated projection necklaces; bracelets; keychains and rings; and braided rope projection bracelets. They also offer a variety of more conventional photo-engraved necklaces and personalized nameplates.

Nikon Coolpix B500 P&S

Yes, you’re right. This point-and-shoot camera made it into last year’s picks as well. But because of its versatility and value, we chose to include it again this year! This handy Nikon long-zoom camera lets anyone take great photos and videos. Turn it on, point and shoot! Mom can even select easy auto mode for the best settings for each shot—whether zooming in with its super-telephoto 40x Nikkor glass lens or recording steady 1080p Full HD video with stereo sound.

In addition, she can take advantage of the camera’s dynamic fine zoom to double the reach of its 22.5–900mm-equivalent f/3-6.5 ED integrated lens to an impressive 80x zoom. The Coolpix B500’s 3-inch, tilting LCD display also makes it easy to compose shots at interesting angles and monitor recording. Key features are a 16-megapixel low-light sensor; lens-shift vibration reduction (VR) for blur-free images; easy menus and controls; and creative effects. Plus, while mom’s shooting, the B500 will connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth LE for instant sharing.

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Nikon Coolpix B500

The camera has 18 scene modes, including beach, snow, night portrait and sunset. And unlike many smartphones, it uses target-finding AF to quickly determine the intended subject and put the focus where it belongs. Additionally, mom will appreciate the B500’s smart portrait system, with face priority AF, skin softening, blink warning and more, for perfect people pictures. And in creative mode, she can choose from five presets that combine options like aperture, contrast and color reproduction for great results. $349.95.

Slik Creator’s Clamp Universal Tool

If mom is a vlogger, podcaster or just family videoconferencer, the Slik Creator’s Clamp is a multifunction tool she’ll love. It provides support for cameras, small lights and monitors, as well as phones. It works in confined spaces where a tripod is impractical.

The universal clamp is crafted from lightweight aluminum. A reverse surface adapter rotates 180° to work on flat or round surfaces up to three inches wide. Mom can mount it to countertops, desks, shelves, kitchen islands, etc. For outdoor shooting, she can also clamp it to poles, rails and branches. The lightweight clamp takes up the same room in a camera bag as a standard zoom lens. Further, its removable 17-inch sliding pole lets you move a camera or light up/down or extend it from the center fulcrum. With dual accessory ports, the pole has a U1/4 20″ thread to mount ball heads and a U3/8″ thread adapter.

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Slik Creator’s Clamp

Slik’s complete studio setup, the Creator’s Studio Kit, bundles the Creator’s Clamp with a Slik Sliding Arm II and the SBH-400AS ball head. The Sliding Arm II is a mini boom arm that’s perfect for product photographers, vloggers, studio professionals and enthusiasts. Mom can position her camera or other attachment away from the center column of a tripod or the clamp’s sliding pole. Consequently, she can access vantage points that may be otherwise inaccessible. The arm also extends up to 19.5 inches from the tripod’s center column to capture overhead perspectives.

In addition, Slik’s low-profile ball head features an independent pan knob and tension adjustment dial. The cam lock quick-release system lets you attach the camera from the top of the platform without sliding in or out of the grooves. Slik Creator’s Clamp: $69.95; Creator’s Studio Kit, $159.95.

Tamron 70–300mm f/4.5–6.3 Di III RXD

Tamron’s all-around, full-frame, telephoto zoom comes in the popular Nikon Z and Sony E mounts. Moreover, it spans a useful 4.3x zoom range in an impressively compact, lightweight package. And the lens performs very well across a wide range of applications and shooting styles. So, mom only needs to take the one all-in-one lens with her to shoot a variety of scenarios.

Its 15-element, 10-group optical formula (Z mount) includes one low dispersion element that suppresses axial chromatic and other aberrations. The lens is also compatible with in-camera shading and aberration correction functions. As a result, mom can be sure her images are sharp from edge to edge. Plus, it incorporates Tamron’s RXD stepping motor for quick, quiet, decisive AF.

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Tamron 70–300mm f/4.5–6.3 Di III RXD

Plus, with Tamron’s antireflection BBAR coating, the lens also creates crisp, clear images throughout its range. Made of high-strength aluminum magnesium alloy, the lens has moisture-resistant construction for worry-free outdoor use. Also incorporated is a rounded 7-blade diaphragm that contributes to its bokeh effect, enabling the subject to pop from a pleasingly blurred background.

The Tamron 70–300mm f/4.5–6.3 Di III RXD focuses down to 31.5 inches (wide end), so mom can also capture dramatic close-ups. It measures an average of 5.8 inches in length and weighs 1.3 pounds for easy carry. Nikon Z mount, $699; E mount, $549.99.

Shimoda Women’s Photo Backpacks

Shimoda Women’s camera bag collection is its first women’s-only teal colorway line, based on response to its female-specific harness straps. Shimoda’s team of female creators, through real-world testing and guidance, developed the collection in five of Shimoda’s most requested backpack sizes.

Each backpack includes women’s tech straps fitted to the pack. The lineup includes three sizes from the Action X v2 series as well as two from Shimoda’s Explore v2 series to fit various gear needs. Plus, all the photo backpacks feature a harness system designed to fit more comfortably to a woman’s body. The women’s tech straps curve around and away from the chest area and are slightly smaller than Shimoda’s stock shoulder straps. Additionally, the dual sternum straps eliminate awkward pressure points across the middle of the chest. They also integrate two pockets for storing accessories.

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Shimoda Womens Explore v2 25

The backpacks also have an adjustable waist belt that mom can shorten or lengthen by 2.4 inches—for a better fit around her hips and to take full advantage of transferring weight off her shoulders to her hips. The packs also range from the smallest adventure bag sized to meet international carry-on regulations as well as fit under airline seats to midsize travel and landscape-specific outdoor backpacks. You can choose the perfect backpack based on mom’s gear.

Moreover, Action X v2 backpacks have interchangeable, adjustable shoulder straps. The straps have two zippered pockets for pro-size phones, a water bottle or personal accessories. They all provide side camera access and two removable tripod pouches. The pouches can move to the belt location for access to accessories like snacks and lenses. Or mom can completely remove them to save weight. The feature-rich collection ranges in price from $362.90 to $419.90.

Sigma WR Circular Polarizer Filter

Even casual photographers can benefit from a circular polarizer filter. This multicoated, water-repellent (WR) filter from Sigma will increase the overall color saturation of mom’s images. Perfect for shooting summer scenic and landscape images, the adjustable filter adds contrast to clouds for dramatic skies. In addition, it eliminates unwanted glare and most reflections on water and glass surfaces.

Sigma constructs the filter from high-spec, high-transmission optical glass with a black rim. In addition, set within a rotatable aluminum alloy filter ring, it has antistatic and water-repellent coatings. The coatings shed water and oil, facilitate cleaning, as well as enhance the filter’s scratch resistance.

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Sigma WR Circular Polarizer Filter

What’s more, to get the effect she wants, mom simply rotates the milled front ring of this two-part filter until she sees it in the viewfinder or on the LCD. Then she’s ready to take the perfect shot! Additionally, unlike linear polarizer filters, circular polarizers don’t affect meter or autofocus accuracy when used on today’s TTL-metering DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Sigma offers its WR CP filters in various sizes: from 46mm to 105mm, $74–$323.

Canon PowerShot V10 Vlog Camera

As video content continues to absorb our attention for work and leisure, Canon introduced the PowerShot V10 vlog camera. It’s the first in the PowerShot V (Video Communication) camera series for consumer video production, livestreaming and vlogging.

The V10 is for on-the-go creators who want to level up their content and step up from a smartphone. The integrated-lens point-and-shoot camera has an intuitive interface on its 2-inch touchscreen LCD and frame AF mode for product reviews. However, mom can also use it as a lightweight camera for travel photography. It’s compact, measuring 2.5×3.5×1.4 inches and weighing 7.4 ounces. Moreover, it has a handy built-in stand for leaning the camera back or forward with 30º of angle for table- or countertop recording. Plus, there’s a tripod port.

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Canon PowerShot V10

The camera connects to a Wi-Fi router and outputs directly to YouTube or Facebook via the Camera Connect app. For those stepping up from smartphones, it operates and handles like a smartphone with a vertical grip and one-handed operation. Or it can act as a webcam, and if mom wants to share on the big screen, there’s an HDMI micro output port.

Key Specs

Notably, its 1-inch, 15.2MP CMOS sensor shoots stills and 4K UHD 30p and Full HD 60p video. Further, the integrated 19mm-equivalent wide-angle lens is ideal for selfies. It has a wide enough angle so mom won’t have to outstretch her arm completely to record herself. Canon also included two stereo microphones to capture voices clearly. A third mic helps cancel out unwanted sounds.

As a still camera, the V10 provides auto photo mode for set-it-and-forget-it capture. It also offers face detection and tap-based subjection selection. In addition to image stabilization, its face-tracking AF automatically autofocuses on a person’s face. What’s more, mom can change the scene’s ambiance with 14 built-in color filters. Also, an automatic neutral density filter helps darken a video without affecting the colors. $429.99.

Aura Mason Luxe Digital Photo Frame

Digital photo frames now offer a convenient way to display, store, switch out as well as share pictures. Digital photo frame trends also include connectivity, versatility and style. What better way for mom to enjoy her precious memories!

Wi-Fi-enabled models take the picture frame concept to new levels. They use Internet connectivity, storage media as well as social media to create a multifaceted visual interface. Mom can create slideshows of pictures transferred from a smartphone or memory card or loaded from the Internet. And she can change them out as often as she likes. Additionally, digital frames with sound let you watch videos on their handy midsize screens.

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Aura Mason Luxe

There are so many to choose from, but this time we went with the Aura Mason Luxe. This attractive Wi-Fi-connected frame with a 2K display earns top ratings from a high percentage of users. Mom can set its 9.7-inch (diagonal), 2,048×1,536-pixel screen on a flat surface in horizontal or vertical orientations. What’s more, the Mason Luxe comes with a free Aura app to upload photos. And mom can adjust the slideshow speed or swipe the touch bar to change images. Additionally, she can create, in effect, a mini curated social media network for private sharing of images with loved ones.

Aura recently updated it with an in-app scanner and an AI-powered colorizer for printed photos. Moreover, a smart cropping feature makes it easy to center photos and fill the frame. Plus, you can preload photos when giving it as a gift. In addition, it connects via any 2.4GHz broadcast-capable router. It works with Apple (up to iOS 14+) as well as Android (5.0+) devices. The frame measures a 9.8×7.8×2 inches and weighs 2.2 pounds. It comes in a sandstone or pebble finish. $249.

Leica Sofort 2 Hybrid Instant Camera

The Leica Sofort 2 hybrid instant film camera is surprisingly affordable for its brand status. Like other instant cameras, it offers a unique photography experience. To keep up with the times, this new hybrid instant camera enables you to capture and share special moments, whether as analog instant photos or digital moments on social media.

The Sofort 2 is Leica’s second-generation hybrid instant camera. With a modern, minimalist look, it has a user-friendly menu structure and button layout that align with Leica digital cameras. But the Sofort 2 offers the option to permanently save digital images and choose the best shots before printing them. This includes all photos on mom’s smartphone as well as those taken with Leica cameras and stored in the gallery of the Leica Fotos app. She can transfer the photos to the camera via the app and print them as instant photos. Pull the manual printing lever on the Sofort 2, and seconds later, the camera prints the image on Instax Mini photo paper.

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Leica Sofort 2

The camera is also family friendly. With a 3-inch LCD, its features assist in creatively capturing moments. For example, selfie mode has a separate shutter button. Landscape mode achieves a wide-angle characteristic. Plus, there is a macro mode for close-ups from 3.9 inches, as well as 10 lens and 10 film effects. It also boasts a 28mm-equivalent f/2–16 Leica Summar lens.

Leica also offers accessories for the Sofort 2. Wooden picture frames to showcase the prints; wrist straps; carrying straps; as well as bags. The Leica Sofort 2 is available in black, red and white versions. $389.

Persnickety Box Photo Subscription Service with Keepsake Box

We love this idea as a gift for mom. Persnickety Box is a mom-founded brand that transforms digital memories into eco-friendly keepsake boxes filled with Fujifilm prints. The online app-driven subscription takes digital photos and converts them into 30 4×4-inch luster prints stored in a keepsake story box and delivered to mom’s doorstep.

The subscription program is designed to get your photos in your hands without complicated uploading. This new form of scrapbooking was inspired by the Tinder swipe. It enables you to easily build cherished memories without uploading images.

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Persnickety Box

You begin by downloading the free interactive photo app (iOS and Android). Then select photos from your camera roll by swiping or clicking. The Fujifilm prints arrive with white borders in a recycled photo-safe box. Persnickety Box also integrates with Google Photos. Moreover, the digital photos are processed with chemistry like film in a darkroom. The process embeds the image into silver halide paper that is fade, scratch and water resistant. The company says the archival prints will last more than 100 years!

The subscription costs $19.99 a month or you can opt for buy-10, get-2 free with a yearly plan. Subscribers also get discounts. For example, you can add one 4×4-inch album per box at the member price of $12. In addition, you can add an album, journal or a variety of acrylic frames to your order. Once you subscribe, if you need to skip a month, no problem. The boxes stay open until you’ve filled them. In addition, the company offers a wide variety of custom photo print items.

Pentax WG-90 Waterproof P&S

Here’s a camera for adventurous moms! The Pentax WG-90 is an all-weather digital point-and-shoot camera with a rugged chassis, plus waterproof and shock-resistant features. It’s a photographic tool for various scenes and subjects, from snapshots to outdoor and underwater photography as well as worksite applications.

The compact sports a lightweight body that houses a 5x optical zoom, 28–140mm-equivalent lens with user-friendly functions. For instance, its intelligent zoom function extends the zoom by 36x—a 1008mm equivalent! And its 16MP CMOS sensor and processor deliver low-noise images and high-speed readout of image data signals. The P&S’s solid, airtight body is waterproof to 46 feet, shockproof against a 5-foot fall, as well as freezeproof down to 14°F. It will also withstand weights up to 100kgf.

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Pentax WG-90

Further, its built-in ring light has five adjustable illumination levels. The light powers the Pentax-original digital microscope mode, which captures images of a microscopic world undetectable to the eye. Six LED macro lights around the lens barrel provide bright, uniform light. Plus, self-portrait assist mode uses the blink of an LED lamp to check if the subject’s face was captured within the frame. Mom can also use the macro lights as a flashlight.

The WG-90 has a 2.7-inch LCD monitor with an antireflection coating. And its underwater and underwater movie modes compensate for the loss of contrast caused by light diffusion in the water. They also enhance the reddish hues that fade away in the water. Other features include three-way shake compensation; Full HD movie recording; handheld night snap mode; auto picture mode; 16 scene modes; face detection captures 32 faces in focus in 0.03 sec; and smile capture. In sky blue or black, $329.95.

Lume Cube Edge Light 2.0 Collection

Crafted to elevate your focus, ambiance and video appearance, the Lume Cube Edge Light 2.0 collection includes white and black versions of the LED lamp. The desk lamp is aimed at content creators on all stripes, whether livestreaming, vlogging or videoconferencing. The LED fixture features Edge-Lit technology to create evenly diffused, flicker-free illumination. Lume Cube developed this technology to provide balanced light, sparing your eyes from harsh bright spots.

Exclusive to the Edge Light 2.0 with Base is a minimalistic weighted base that allows mom to position the multifunctional desk lamp wherever her workflow demands. She can also adapt the ambiance on the fly with its touch-based control base. It has a suggested retail price of $159.99.

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Lume Cube Edge Light 2.0 Two Pack

The Lume Cube Edge Light 2.0 LED desk lamp is a space-saving light that has a clamp for easy positioning. Again, button controls adjust the ambiance. Moreover, additional features include a color temperature control and dimmable LED brightness. The fixture also has a 270° rotating light head for video streaming lighting and five adjustable pivot points. What’s more, it integrates USB-C and USB-A charging ports. SRP: $139.99.

The Lume Cube Edge 2.0 two pack is also available in black or white fixtures. It’s a two-point office desk lighting solution. Furthermore, Lume Cube designed the dual desk lamp setup to reduce shadows, prevent monitor glare and provide full illumination. Also featuring Edge-Lit LED technology, the two office desk lights permit mom to use one Edge Light as a key light and the other as a fill light to illuminate her video appearance. Both lamps feature a clamp that frees up desk space and allows positioning anywhere. The two-lamp setup boasts all the features of the single-unit fixture. SRP: $259.99.

Lensbaby Sweet 22 Selective Focus Lens

Mom can really get creative with this lens! The new pancake lens features the smallest sweet spot with the most blur outside that spot of any Lensbaby lens yet. Further, with a compact, metal body, the selective focus lens focuses down to 5 inches from the front element. Lensbaby says it creates a “sea of impressionistic blur gradually transitioning to a precise, tack sharp sweet.”

Moreover, Lensbaby engineered the mirrorless-only creative effects lens to bring dramatic optical effects to still photos and videos. Lensbaby’s Sweet lenses let photographers isolate a specific area of the frame in sharp focus while gradually blurring the surrounding area. This creates a sweet spot of focus you can move around by tilting the lens in the Composer Pro II.

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Lensbaby Sweet 22

What’s more, the Sweet 22’s compact sweet spot gives a sense of motion to still images. It also creates dramatic focus transitions of moving subject matter coming into or out of the sweet spot when shooting video. Plus, it has a super-wide angle of view of almost 90º on full-frame cameras. So, mom can pinpoint a single subject from its surroundings while getting up close to separate it from the background.

Lensbaby also includes a 3-stop ND8 (neutral density) filter to reduce the amount of incoming light when shooting in bright light. Additionally, the Sweet 22 has a 46mm filter thread, so mom can use other filters, like a CPL polarizer. The Sweet 22 is compatible with APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras. Lensbaby offers it in Canon RF, Nikon Z, Sony E, Fujifilm X and L mounts. The kit bundles the Sweet 22, a zippered clamshell case, a lens cloth, as well as the ND filter. $222.95.

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