Let The Learning Lensman help you (spend more money)!
In Part One of The Learning Lensman’s Gift Guide for Christmas this year, the gift suggestions ranged from below P500 up to P10,000. Admittedly those are still on the lower end of the photography spending spectrum.
Lower end? P10,000 is still considered “LOWER END”?
Yessir. There are more expensive ways to gift the favorite photographer(s) in your life.
Read on to find out what’s available out there, and links are provided per item for more information.
P10,001 to P25,000
- Fujifilm Finepix XP10: A 12-megapixel compact digital camera that’s built to resist water (submerged up to 3m for a limited time), shock, dust and freezing. Has a 5x Fujinon lens, and has built-in picture editing features so you can resize, make adjustments (brightness and contrast) within the camera, and instantly upload the pictures when connected to a computer with internet connection. Great for those who want a life-proof outdoors camera for a relatively low price. P10,260 with 2GB SD Card from Fujifilm Digital Imaging Megamall.
- Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-f/5.6 IS Lens: Canon’s entry-level image-stabilized telephoto zoom lens for 1.6x crop DSLR bodies (all Canon EOS bodies except for the 5D and 1D cameras). Ideal complement to the 18-55 kit lens that comes with most Canon DSLRs. P10,500 from Mayer.
- Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight Flash: Nikon’s mid-level flash unit. Great value, and with a flash head that can swivel and tilt for bouncing the light off other surfaces. It’s slated to be replaced by the SB-700 soon but it’s still a good first external flash for Nikon users. P11,800 from Mayer with CDSC (Official Nikon Distributor) warranty.
- Canon Pixma iX4000 Printer: An inkjet printer that can print up to A3+ paper size (13″ x 19″). Has 4800 x 1200 dpi print resolution and 4 individual ChromaLife100 inks. Great for those who want to print their special photos in larger sizes at home. P12,695 from Silicon Valley Megamall.
- Infrared (IR) Conversion for DSLR: Infrared photographs have a very surreal quality about them, and are usually taken with infrared filters that are screwed into a DSLR lens. These are taken using long exposures, and you have to pre-focus and meter before you put the filter on. With the IR conversion, a DSLR camera is converted to shoot in infrared and one can use it the same way a normal DSLR would be used. The IR conversion is permanent, so one should have it done on a spare DSLR, unless that person really loves infrared photos. 17,000 from Filters Exchange (not including cost of camera).
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens: A step up from the budget EF 50mm f/1.8 lens, the f/1.4 version has Ultrasonic Motor autofocus for more accurate and quieter focusing, more robust construction, and more aperture blades for smoother background blur. Ideal for those who shoot indoors with available light, or those who like a nicer background blur effect. P17,500 from Mayer Photo.
- Pentax Optio w90 Digital Compact: A tough 12-megapixel with 5x camera that can go down to 6m under water. Everything about it screams RUGGED, and its strap is a carabiner like what mountaineers use to secure ropes. Very good companion for those who are adventurous. P18,990 with case and 4GB SD card, from Camerahaus Megamall.
- PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 Wireless Flash Trigger Set: These are used to pop external flashes by remote control (you’ve probably seen this at work during weddings, where the photographer has this thing with antennas on top of his camera, and an assistant holding his flash off to his side). The MiniTT1 is a radio transmitter you put on a DSLR’s flash hotshoe, while the FlexTT5 goes under the flash unit itself (FlexTT5 can also act as a transmitter). In addition, the PocketWizard system can read the DSLR’s readings and make adjustments automatically, and also allows one to use flashes at shutter speeds much higher than the usual. There are more affordable radio trigger sets out there from China and Korea, but the PocketWizard ones are just more dependable and can be used over a longer working distance. Ideal for photographers who need a radio trigger system that they can depend on for their off-camera flash/strobe work. P21,000 for the Canon version from Aperture Trading.
- Canon Speedlite 580Ex II Flash: Canon’s top-of-the-line flash. Powerful, faster-cycling, a flash head that can tilt and swivel, comes with a bounce card to put catchlights in subjects’ eyes. It is also rugged, weatherproof and can be used as a wireless commander for other Canon flashes for off-camera flash use. Ideal for photographers who need a dependable flash in all situations. P21,500 from Pixel Pro Megamall.
- Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] Lens: This is a “standard zoom” lens for Canon and Nikon digital cameras with cropped sensor, has very good image quality and has a large maximum aperture that means that it is usable for indoor available light shooting. Its focal length range of 17-55mm means that this is an upgrade for the 18-55mm kit lens that typically comes with cameras, and it is a very good alternative to the similar, but much pricier, offerings from Canon or Nikon. P21,990 for either Canon or Nikon mount, from Pixel Pro Megamall.
- Olympus µ TOUGH-8010 Digital Compact: One of the latest in the line of venerable Olympus TOUGH compact cameras, this water-, dust-, freeze- and shock-resistant compact digital cameras packs 14 megapixels and 5x optical zoom in a slim and stylish body. Features improved double waterproofing that lets it go up to 10 meters under water. P22,995 with 4GB Card, Speedo watch and Olympus Lenspen from SM Department Store.
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5: A worthy successor of the excellent Panasonic LX3, and regarded as one of the best point-and-shoot compact digital cameras of the year with excellent ambient light shooting capability. It has a 10-megapixel sensor (less megapixels in a small sensor = better low light performance and image quality), manual controls, optical image stabilization and a lens designed by Leica of Germany (yes, the same Leica that sells a P500,000 lens). It is ideal for those who want a great compact camera that has manual controls and very good image quality, or those who want a less-bulkier alternative to their DSLRs. P23,000 from Mayer with 1 year service warranty and 6 months on parts.
- Canon EOS 1000D with 18-55mm IS Lens Kit: Canon’s entry-level 10.1 megapixel 1.6x crop DSLR camera. With Live View and will work with all Canon EF lenses. A great way to get into DSLR photography if on a budget. P24,500 at Mayer with 3-year Canon Philippines warranty.
- Tokina AT-X M100 f/2.8 Pro Macro: This 100mm macro lens can do 1:1 life-sized pictures of small things, and has received good reviews. Ideal for photographers who love shooting small creepy-crawlies or fine details, and is also a very good lens for portraits. Competitively priced against the Canon or Nikon counterparts. P24,990 for either Canon or Nikon mount, from Pixel Pro Megamall.
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Lens: Sigma’s equivalent of the Canon and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. While not up to the level of the Canon and Nikon offerings in terms of image and build quality, it is very good for the price one pays for it. It is a very good fast zoom lens for those on a budget. P25,500 from JT Photoworld. HSM version (faster and more accurate autofocus) is P43,000.
- Canon S95 Digital Compact Camera: The 10-megapixel S95 is Canon’s latest premium compact and has the features that put it above your average point-and-shoot: a fast f/2.0 lens (big maximum lens opening allows more light), very good low-light performance, optical image stabilization, RAW image files, and full manual control. All these in an elegant slim-profile (probably the most compact among its direct competitors). Ideal for those who want a pocketable camera with full creative control, and it can also be a good companion for a DSLR. P27,950 at SM Appliance Center.
- Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Printer: One of Canon’s professional-grade inkjet printers, the Pro9000 Mk II can print A3+ size (13″ x 19″) prints at 4800 x 2400 dpi resolution. It has excellent color reproduction and long-lasting prints, made possible by 8 different ChromaLife100+ ink colors in individual cartridges. This is a very good printer for those who want to print out their special photographs in bigger sizes. P29,995 from Silicon Valley Megamall.
- Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR II DX Lens: This is an 11x superzoom lens with the Vibration Reduction mechanism designed for Nikon’s DX-format (1.5x crop) DSLR cameras. It is a very versatile lens and ideal for Nikon users who want to take only one lens on their travels. P32,990 from Pixel Pro Megamall.
- Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit: Nikon’s new 14-megapixel entry-level 1.5x crop DSLR, 11-point AF, 3 frames-per-second shooting, and now with 1080p high-definition video. Does not have a built-in lens motor, so only motor-equipped Nikon lenses will autofocus on this one. A great way to get into photography with the Nikon brand. P32,000 from Mayer Photo.
- Olympus E-PL1 with 14-45mm Lens Kit: The 12-megapixel E-PL1 is Olympus’ third entry in the Micro Four Thirds 2x crop format, and belongs to the EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) category of cameras by virtue of having a DSLR-sized image sensor in a smaller body (made possible by eliminating the mirror box/optical viewfinder of a traditional DSLR. It has DSLR-quality images, built-in image stabilization (all lens you attach to it are automatically stabilized to reduce blurring), pretty good high ISO performance and can do 720p video. It is actually more of a compact camera with a DSLR-sized sensor rather than a shrunken DSLR, because its manual controls are relatively simplified. The E-PL1 is a good alternative to traditional and bulkier DSLRs, and can even be used as a back-up camera by those already with DSLRs. P33,995 from Pixel Pro Megamall.
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens: As one of Canon’s red-ringed L lenses (L for Luxury, Canon’s designation for its high-end lenses) lens is very sharp, has great color rendition, a max aperture of f/4 at all focal lengths, robust construction and is weather-sealed against the elements. Its focal range on both 1.6 crop cameras and full-frame cameras are on the wide side, and this lens is a great walk-around lens. It also happens to be one of the more affordable L lenses available . Very good upgrade for those with the Canon 18-55mm kit lens, or as an ultrawide angle lens for a full-frame camera. P34,500 from Mayer Photo.
- Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens: The best ultrawide angle (UWA) lens for Canon’s 1.6x crop DSLR bodies (all Canon EOS bodies except for the 5D and 1D cameras). Has professional-grade optics and is very sharp. Lens barrel is made of plastic, but it’s tough plastic and the lens feels quite solid. Ideal for those who like to take landscape shots and/or those who want to take it all into the frame. P36,120 from JT Photoworld.
- Sony NEX-5 with 18-55 Lens Kit: The higher-end model of Sony’s EVIL cameras, the 14-megapixel NEX-5 has a DSLR-sized 1.5x crop image sensor in a very compact body, and offers the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. It can also do full HD video recording. A very good camera for people who are moving up from point-and-shoot cameras, or even as a back-up camera to a DSLR. P37,999 from Sony Shop Megamall.
- Canon EOS 550D with 18-55mm IS Lens Kit: Canon’s latest upper entry-level 1.6x crop camera with 18-megapixel resolution, 3.7 frames-per-second shooting, 63-zone dual-layer metering system and 1080p high-definition video. Aside from being a very good DSLR, it’s also the choice HD-DSLR of many professional videographers. Excellent first DSLR, or as a backup to a higher-end DSLR. P41,500 from Mayer Photo.
- Pentax K-x with Dual Lens Kit: This 12-megapixel entry-level 1.5x crop DSLR from Pentax is actually equipped with features normally found on higher-spec’d DSLRs, such as 11-point autofocus, 4.7 Frames Per Second shooting, and built-in Shake Reduction (all lenses you put on it are image-stabilized to reduce blurring). It has a small compact body and even comes in 12 different colors (Black, Navy Blue, Red and White available locally)! With the included 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses in the dual kit, one can immediately start shooting almost anything. It is also made in the Philippines, so you’re supporting the local economy if you get it. Ideal for first DSLR, and as a compact digital body for those with old Pentax K-mount lenses. P46,990 from CameraHaus Megamall.
- Canon EOS 60D DSLR Body Only: Canon’s latest advanced amateur level 1.6x crop camera. 18 megapixels, 5.3 Frames Per Second shooting speed, 1080p high-definition video, articulated screen. A great upgrade for those already using Canon’s entry-level DSLRs and have at least one lens, or you can pair this body with a lens of your choice. P49,000 with official Canon Philippines 3-year warranty, from Mayer Photo.
- Sony Alpha A33 with Dual Lens Kit: The 14-megapixel Alpha A33 is one of Sony’s DSLR 1.5x mid-range cameras, with 15 autofocus points, Live View, 7 Frames Per Second shooting speed, Full HD movie recording, built-in SteadyShot Inside (all lenses you attach become image-stabilized to reduce blurring). It is also one of the two innovative Sony Alpha models that are equipped with a translucent fixed mirror, resulting in a more compact size than traditional DSLRs and the ability to smoothly autofocus in movie mode. It has very good picture and movie quality, and the included 18-55mm and 55-200 lens will allow one to shoot a great variety of subjects. A very good camera, ideal for those who want to start out in DSLRs and may want something different. P51,999 from Sony Shop Megamall.
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM: Canon’s fastest standard zoom with excellent image quality in terms of sharpness and color saturation. Big maximum aperture at f/2.8 means that this is usable for indoor available-light using. Professional grade and weather-sealed too. Very good upgrade from the kit lens, but might be a bit too long for use on 1.6x crop cameras. Ideal for those looking for a high-quality general-purpose lens for their Canon. P60,000 from Mayer Photo.
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM: One of Canon’s sharpest, and image-stabilized, 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens. Ideal for those who need that focal length and don’t need to shoot at f/2.8 aperture. Professional grade and weather-sealed too. Ideal for Canon photographers who snipe from a distance. P54,000 from Mayer Photo.
- Canon EOS 7D DSLR Body Only: Canon’s most advanced prosumer 1.6x crop DSLR. 18-megapixels image sensor, 8 Frames Per Second shooting, 63-zone metering system, very fast autofocus system and very good high ISO performance (for low-light shooting). It has a rugged and weather-sealed body, and can shoot high-definition 1080p video in 24 FPS, 25 FPS and 30FPS formats. Ideal for those moving up from entry-level Canon cameras, those who need to shoot in fast-paced situations like events and sports or professional videographers who need a tested HD-DSLR for work. Makes a nice companion to full-framed cameras. P73,000 from Mayer Photo.
- Pentax K-5 DSLR With 18-55 WR Lens Kit: The 16-megapixel K-5 is Pentax’s semi-professional 1.5x crop DSLR with 11-point autofocus, 7 Frames Per Second shooting rate, 1080p high-definition video, sturdy weather-sealed body and built-in Shake Reduction (any lens attached to it becomes image-stabilized to reduce blur). The included weather-resistant kit lens means that one can immediately go shooting in harsh weather conditions, straight out of the box. As with many current Pentax DSLRs, this one is proudly made in the Philippines. A great upgrade for those who use lesser Pentax models, and those who need to shoot in adverse weather conditions. P87,990 from CameraHaus Megamall.
- Nikon D7000 DSLR Body Only: Nikon’s latest DX-format (1.5x crop) DSLR model as of this writing, the 16-megapixel D7000 has 6 Frames Per Second Shooting, 39-point autofocus, high-definition video. Positioned above the D90 and below the D300S in the Nikon DSLR line-up. Very good upgrade for those moving up from other Nikon models and have at least one Nikon F-mount lens. P71,990 from Pixel Pro Megamall.
- Nikon D700 DSLR Body: Nikon’s most affordable full-frame (FX) DSLR. Full-frame sensors have significant advantages over the crop sensors, such as better image quality at high ISO settings, bright big viewfinder. This model has very fast autofocus and very good high ISO performance (for low-light shooting). Very good upgrade for those using Nikon DX-format (1.5x crop) cameras and want to go full-frame. P100,000 from Mayer.
Where To Buy the Stuff Above:
- Aperture Trading: 5th Flr., Prosperity Bldg., 395 Banaue St., Quezon City Tel: 732-8991
- CameraHaus Megamall: 5/F SM Megamall Building B, Mandaluyong City
- Filters Exchange: Mezzanine-B, 632 Shaw Blvd, Mandaluyong City Tel: 534-9879
- Fujifilm Digital Imaging: Basement Level, SM Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City
- JT Photoworld: 1082 Pasong Tamo St., Makati City Tel: 8972561
- Mayer Photo: 111, 113, 115 C. Palanca St., Quiapo, Manila Tel: 733-7598, 733-7722
- Pixel Pro Megamall: Cyberzone, 4/F SM Megamall Building B, Mandaluyong City
- Silicon Valley Megamall: Cyberzone, 4/F SM Megamall Building B, Mandaluyong City
- SM Appliance Center: Anywhere there’s an SM mall.
- Sony Shop (Avid) Megamall: 5/F SM Megamall Building B, Mandaluyong City
Want something less expensive? Check out Part One of this guide!
Still have money left? A lot of it? Check out what you can get for more than P100,001 and above in Part Three of this guide, watch out for it!
A few things to note:
This isn’t about saying that these are the best or only photography stuff out there, but about giving an idea of what’s out there from different shops, given a set price range. Given similar products with with different prices, it’s usually a “you-get-what-you-pay-for” condition when buying photography-related products. Do more research on the stuff you want, there are a lot of reviews out there on the web.
I’m only limiting the list to products from stores that I have personal experience with, and have actually shopped at.
Prices are for cash basis and are subject to change by their respective suppliers. Prices of mall-based stores may be higher by around 10% up, and is typically consistent with prices in their branches in other malls; one is basically paying for the convenience.
Prices here aren’t necessary the lowest, and are listed at MSRP as far as I know. Many items in this list are also under promo and may have further discounts or freebies so don’t be afraid to ask for them. Also ask about, and be clear, about warranty coverage (e.g. Canon 3-year warranty, CDSC 2-year warranty, or just “shop warranty”) and service centers, as these will help prevent possible misunderstandings should your purchase breakdown in the future.
Have any other gift suggestions? Put it in the comment box below!