Feed the Photo Bug with Fabulous Gifts for Grads & Dads

Feed the Photo Bug with Fabulous Gifts for Grads & Dads


Coming out of another winter spent under the Covid-19 veil and its variants, we hope to truly see a renewal of normal life this spring and summer. So many of us have had to embrace a new lifestyle of working remotely, either part- or full-time, as well as traveling less to see those we love. Remarkably, over the last few years, the pandemic created an uptick in all things photo related, feeding the photo bug.

Families stayed connected with photos and videos of everyday life along with big moments. We shared new photos and digitized old ones to swap with loved ones. We also found time to organize our memories. And we had prints made and we created photo books. And we even got those old VHS home movies digitized so we could share them.

In addition, we learned how to videoconference while working from home or connecting with family online. All of this opened new avenues for the photo-imaging industry. At first, we saw various webcam utility software released, and then came an entire ecosystem of products to help us vlog and Zoom our way through the day. The industry responded to the new demand for everything from vlogging-specific cameras to lighting and camera supports. Of course, print service providers continued to offer new, exciting photo merchandise.

Let’s keep the photo bug going! Our editors wanted their choices for this article to reflect this new environment. Above all, we wanted to offer a selection that encourages a continued resurgence in imaging.

While you may not offer all the products below, they’re a good sampling of gear to promote—whether it’s to create a more effective home office, celebrate National Photo Month, gift to dads and new grads, or even for customers who want to feed their own passion for photography.

                 Great Gifts to Feed the Photo Bug

Tamron 18–400mm f/3.5–6.3 Di II VC HLD

Long-range all-in-one zooms are great for summertime shooting. Dads, grads and outdoor shooters of all stripes can capture a variety of compelling travel, nature or sports photos with just this single lens in their bags.

The Tamron 18–400mm, 22.2x zoom lens is a stellar example of versatility. It provides amazing 27–620mm-equivalent coverage for Canon EF- or Nikon F-mount cameras. From wide-angle to ultra-telephoto shooting, it also excels at tele-macro photography with its maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.9.

photo bug Tamron-18-400mm-f3.5-6.3-Di-II-VC-HLD
Tamron 18–400mm f/3.5–6.3 Di II VC HLD

In addition, built-in Vibration Compensation (VC) tech provides a 2.5-stop advantage in combatting the effects of camera shake. The lens also boasts a quick, ultraquiet HLD AF motor for pro-level still and video performance.

Moreover, its advanced 16-element, 11-group design uses one hybrid aspherical, three LD (low dispersion) and two molded glass aspheric lenses. Bottom line: the lens delivers impressive image quality over its entire range. Other features include a rounded 7-blade electromagnetic diaphragm for pleasing bokeh; a 17.7-inch minimum focus distance; and moisture resistance. $599.99.

Sony ZV-1 Vlogging P&S Camera

Whether for a job hunter, an online entrepreneur or influencer, the pocketable ZV-1 is an all-in-one vlogging solution. It packs a Sony 1.0-type, 20.1MP CMOS sensor with DRAM chip into its compact body. Its 24–70mm-equivalent f/1.8–2.8 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* large-aperture lens creates beautiful bokeh, with subjects popping out from the background. Vloggers can switch between two levels of background bokeh, and the bokeh button is easily accessible for selfie shooting.

photo bug Sony-ZV-1-vertical-as-grip-black
Sony ZV-1

While it produces natural skin colors, there’s a soft skin effect for a smoother look. Plus, real-time eye AF and tracking let users smoothly switch focus between multiple subjects while controlling the AF speed and tracking. And a side-opening, vari-angle flip-out LCD makes it easy to compose shots in selfie mode with audio accessories connected. Add to that 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and enhanced image stabilization, and content creators of all breeds can produce pro-looking movies.

A bonus is the product showcase setting for quick focus transitions between the subject’s face and an object placed in front of the lens. Versatile audio options include an onboard mic for forward-directional audio capture; it clearly captures the subject’s voice while minimizing background noise. The ZV-1 also has a multi-interface shoe, a 3.5mm mic jack and a wind screen.

Vloggers can record one-handed with its easy-hold grip and large topside record button. Other video functions abound: Hybrid Log Gamma (HDR)/S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3; S-Gamut3/S-Log3; interval shooting; and slow motion recording (960 fps!). Plus, the ZV-1 transforms into a webcam when connected to a PC via USB. $749.99.

Canon Pixma G620 MegaTank Wireless Photo Printer

MegaTank printers are perfect for anyone who prints high-quality photos at home and wants the convenience of a continuous ink supply system. That’s because MegaTank printers significantly reduce the need to refill ink tanks. The compact Pixma G620 wireless printer leverages MegaTank technology specifically for photo printing. It boasts a 3,800-page yield for 4×6 color photos. Canon says the cost for a 4×6 color print is $0.25.

Also an option for crafters, it has an expanded color gamut, compared to four-color inkjet printers. And its six-color dye-based ChromaLife100 inks produce long-lasting, archival photo-quality prints.

photo bug Canon Pixma inkjet printers Canon-Pixma-G620-MegaTank-Photo-lifestyle-2
Canon Pixma G620 MegaTank

Moreover, the G620 prints on various papers, including semigloss, gloss and matte. Its rear tray holds 20 sheets of 4×6 or 10 sheets of 5×7 photo paper, but it will also print 5×5 square photos, borderless prints up to 8.5×11 and even photos 47 inches long.

Best of all, built-in Wi-Fi lets users print from almost any room in the house via Android devices with the Mopria Print Service or Apple devices with AirPrint. They can also print, copy and scan from smartphones or tablets via the Canon Print app. $299.99.

Lume Cube Edge Light for Video Calls & Streaming

Working from home or livestreaming content, check out the Lume Cube Edge desk light. The multifunctional Edge doubles as a task light and brightens workspaces to maximize productivity, enhance mood and improve users’ visual clarity while on camera.

For the modern world of Zoom calls and video streaming, the Edge features a built-in clamp; multilevel diffusion; adjustable brightness; USB charging ports; color temperature controls; and five pivot points. Moreover, its lightweight construction lets users expand their potential for productivity both on and off camera.

Lume Cube Edge

Notably, its Edge Lit technology transforms harsh light to soft, easy-on-the-eyes illumination from all angles. The technology achieves color adjustability from 3200K–5600K; brightness adjustability from 0–100% in 1% increments; and a CRI of 97.

With an SRP of $119.99, the Edge includes an A/C plug and two USB ports for more charging options. Lume Cube also offers it in the Edge Light Pro Streamer Kit. The bundle provides two-point desktop lighting to eliminate shadows and prevent glare while livestreaming. The kit has an SRP of $219.99.

Nikon Coolpix A1000 Long-Zoom Point & Shoot

While we love the Nikon Coolpix P1000 for its remarkable to-the-moon reach, the Coolpix A1000 is its budget-friendly sibling for outdoor picture taking. Packed inside this sleek P&S compact is a 35x super-telephoto Zoom-Nikkor ED glass lens along with serious imaging power. The A1000 offers low-light capabilities; rock-steady image and video stabilization; PSAM control; RAW shooting; and multiple creative modes with 20 image options.

Talk about versatility. Its 24–840mm f/3.4–6.9 lens shoots it all. In macro mode, the 16.8MP P&S gets as close as 0.4 inch from the subject to reveal small details. But it really excels with wide-angle vistas and flattering portraits, as well as 840mm-equivalent close-ups. Want more reach? Dynamic Fine Zoom provides a whopping 1680mm-equivalent view. Worried about losing sight of the long-distant subject? Just press the snap-back zoom button to reacquire it.

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Nikon Coolpix A1000

Of course, users can also record 4K Ultra HD videos or Full HD 1080/60p movies. What’s more, hybrid Vibration Reduction tech combines optical and electronic VR to keep photos and videos sharp and steady, even during handheld telephoto shooting.

Other handy features are 10-fps, full-res bursts; a 1.17M-dot EVF for eye-level viewing; and a 3-inch, 180° tilting touchscreen LCD. Plus, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth maintain a constant connection between Nikon’s SnapBridge app and the A1000. So, each shot automatically transfers to a smartphone for sharing, editing or uploading to favorite sites. $479.95.

Neewer 5-in-1 Portable Reflector Kit

This nifty 43-inch light modification tool from Neewer literally lets users harness the summer sun by controlling and directing Earth’s most powerful and ubiquitous light source. The kit includes white, silver, gold and black discs plus a one-stop translucent diffusion disc.

Neewer 5-in-1 Reflector Kit

It’s a great way to achieve precise and pleasing lighting effects when shooting at the beach, in the field or even indoors. The white disc provides a neutral fill; the silver one adds contrast and increases specular highlights; gold adds a touch of warmth; black blocks unwanted reflections and eliminates light spill; and the translucent disc cuts the light by one stop and creates broader, softer lighting effects that are great for portraits.

The 43-inch size of the discs makes them suitable for three-quarter-length portraits as well as medium-sized still life subjects. What’s more, the discs fold to a third of their size for convenient storage in the included carrying bag. $38.99.

JOBY Wavo Vlogging Kits

JOBY’s new Wavo products for content creators, podcasters, streamers and videographers make great gifts! They include microphones, motorized sliders, vlogging kits as well as connect and charging cables. With this gear, dads, grads and any vlogger/livestreamer can create videos, vlogs, time-lapse sequences and photos on the go using mobile gear.

Besides stand-alone accessories like the Wavo Pod large-diaphragm USB microphone; Wavo Pro DS and Wavo Pro shotgun mics; and the Wavo Air wireless, two-person microphone system, JOBY offers complete vlogging kits.

JOBY Wavo GorillaPod Advanced Kit

The GorillaPod Vlogging Kit ($399.99) bundles a camera GorillaPod tripod with a Wavo Pro shotgun mic. The GorillaPod Advanced Mobile Kit ($239.99) offers options; e.g., choose the Smartphone GorillaPod, a mini-LED light, a Lightning dongle and the Wavo mini shotgun mic.

JOBY Swing & Spin. To add motion to videos and time-lapse productions, JOBY created a pocket-size slider—the Swing. The app-driven portable electronic slider is controlled by the JOBY Motion app. It mounts via a ¼”-20 thread on a tripod or GorillaPod supports. Weighing 0.8 pound, it easily supports 1.3 pounds. It’s available with a Phone Mount Kit ($149.95) or as the Swing Complete Kit ($179.95).

Creators can also add 360º movement to mobile video or time-lapse footage with the Spin ($89.95). The pocket-size 360º rotating smartphone base was built in partnership with Syrp—makers of motion control accessories. USB-C rechargeable, it has a pan-and-tilt bracket for vertical/horizontal panning. It’s controlled via Bluetooth or the JOBY Motion app.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary

Want a great photo? Use a great lens. Here’s an ultrafast, wide-angle Sigma prime lens for everything from creative, travel, landscape and family photos to even wedding and events photography. It has a 24mm-equivalent focal length on E-, L-, EF- and M-mount cameras. And on MFT cameras, it provides a 32mm-equivalent focal length. Its wide f/1.4 aperture facilitates low-light photography and provides extended depth-of-field control for selective focus effects.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN | Contemporary

What’s more, its cutting-edge optical design features three FLD (fluorite-equivalent) elements; two SLD (special low dispersion) and two molded aspherical elements. They minimize chromatic and spherical aberrations to create sharp and clear still photos as well as videos.

Individual elements also feature Sigma’s Super Multilayer coating to suppress flare and ghosting for greater contrast and color fidelity. Plus, a stepping AF motor achieves quick, quiet, precise AF (with full-time MF) down to 9.84 inches, while a rounded 9-blade diaphragm augments its beautiful bokeh. It also has a durable, solid brass lens mount and dust- and splash-resistant construction. In E, EF-M, MFT and L mounts, $375. Sigma will also soon offer it in an X mount, $449.

Lowepro ProTactic TLZ 70 AW II

Who doesn’t need another bag! This attractive, water-resistant, nylon holster bag from Lowepro holds a DSLR or mirrorless camera with an attached lens in its protective 8.1×6.1×6.3-inch main compartment. In addition, its bottom expands to accommodate a long 24–70mm f/2.8 lens and hood with a portrait grip. The top-loading bag also provides a separate top pocket for small accessories. What’s more, it features a soft tricot interior lining; a zipper that wraps around on three sides for easy access; and loops for attaching ProTactic accessories.

Lowepro ProTactic TLZ 70 AW II

With both a shoulder and waist strap, the convertible camera bag can be worn cross-shoulder; cross-shoulder belt-holster-style; on the chest using the straps as a harness system; or on a compatible belt. Moreover, an all-weather AW cover protects gear. It has exterior dimensions of 10.2×7.9×7.7 inches and weighs in at just 1.5 pounds. $84.99.

DJI OM 5 Smartphone Camera Stabilizer

This easy-to-operate smartphone stabilizer helps elevate anyone’s content creation. DJI upgraded it with a magnetic phone clamp and built-in extension rod. One-third smaller and lighter than its predecessors, the device boasts DJI’s 3-axis stabilization technology and improved ActiveTrack 4.0.

DJI-OM-5-slant photo bug

Palm-sized when folded, its new clamp goes over the smartphone’s case for better protection. And the built-in extension rod enables more creative shooting angles. A new button on the handle also lets users control its core functions more easily. Moreover, for content creators on the go, 3-axis stabilization technology supports walking as well as sports scenarios. Even those new to videography will benefit from its ShotGuides feature with 30 sets of preset shooting tutorials and automatic editing into one polished video.

Conveniently, users can also start and stop recording or take photos by using hand gestures. Plus, with DynamicZoom, they can create a visually appealing cinematic look. The OM 5 automatically adjusts the zoom function to create the dramatic background shift made popular by Alfred Hitchcock. Add to that three panorama options; story mode templates; and glamour effects! It comes in two new colors, sunset white and Athens gray. $159.

Polaroid Now+ Connected Instant Camera

We couldn’t complete our list without a film camera! This connected analog instant camera is Polaroid’s most creative model. Labeled an “experimental sidekick,” it connects to a phone via Bluetooth. And with the Polaroid app, photographers unlock creative tools, or they can mix it up with five experimental lens filters.

In fact, the Now+ has more creative tools than any other instant camera. When users open the app, they can swipe between light painting, double exposure as well as manual mode. Newly added were aperture priority and tripod mode to put depth-of-field control and long exposures into the hands of creatives.

Polaroid Now+

In addition, its lens filter kit includes five filters that snap onto the analog camera’s lens. Photographers can use them to saturate photos in color and deepen contrast. They can also add effects with experimental filters like starburst and red vignette, as well as orange, blue and yellow filters. Other core useful camera features include autofocus, dynamic flash, a self-timer and a tripod mount. In blue gray, white and black colorways. $149.99.

GoPro Hero10 Black

A 2022 Rudy Award winner, this GoPro action cam uses the high-performance GP2 processor to deliver better image quality and video frame rates. It also allows the camera to capture 5.3K, 60-fps video and 23MP photos. Further, the GP2 enabled improved video algorithms for finer detail, more realistic textures and better contrast. It also permitted HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization for smoother video. Plus, in-camera horizon leveling with an increased tilt of 45° makes chaotic footage look steady.

GoPro Hero10 black million dollar challengeGoPro-Hero10-Black-w-acc
GoPro Hero10 Black

What’s cool here is that the Hero10 is cloud connected; when plugged in to charge, it automatically uploads captured footage to a GoPro cloud account. Other upgrades are a front color display with higher frame rates for smoother live preview and a more responsive rear touch-zoom display.

The camera also captures RAW photos with noticeably improved low-light performance. And 5.3K video provides more fluid playback and 2x slow motion. Action cam shooters can also record 4K video at 120 fps (4x slow motion) and 2.7K at 240 fps (8x slow motion). Waterproof to 33 feet, the Hero10 adds a water-shedding protective lens cover. Of course, it adopts GoPro’s entire universe of shooting functions, including stabilized 1080p livestreaming and a 1080p webcam mode for vlogging and videoconferences.

Other benefits are digital lenses for ultrawide, wide, linear and narrow perspectives; voice control; three mics with wind-noise reduction; stereo + RAW audio; and folding mounting fingers. With one-year subscription, $399.