On a budget but still want to impress someone this Christmas? We have the solution! In fact, we have 20, each costing less than £50. (Note: this article was published in 2013 – some products may no longer be available)
Christmas is just over a month away and you'll no doubt want to treat both yourself and those closest to you. A new piece of kit is always high on the wish list, although, realistically, the exotic lenses and pro-grade bodies we all dream of may be a little out of most budgets.
But fear not! If cash is tight there are still many ways you can either bolster your own photographic setup or surprise someone with a new toy. Whether it's a camera, printer, hard drive or even a telescope you're after, you can bag one for less than £50. And, if you're simply after a stocking filler, we've got those covered too.
1. Fujifilm FinePix JV500
Ideal as a first camera, the Fujifilm JV500 is replete with top functionality such as HD video, face detection and Intelligent Scene Recognition. It can even be programmed to capture the image as soon as it senses the subject has smiled!
2. Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom Tripod
The Gorillapod SLR Zoom supports camera/lens combinations up to 3kgs, which suits it to most entry-level and enthusiast DSLR setups. Its 190g weight makes it an ideal travelling companion, while its sturdy, bendable legs allow it to be wrapped around trees or lampposts, or simply extended for more conventional use.
3. LaCie Rikiki 500GB USB 3.0 Hard Drive
Wrapped up in a smart, brushed aluminium body and sporting the latest USB 3.0 connectivity, the LaCie Rikiki 500GB USB 3.0 Hard Drive manages to both look the part and perform speedily, while still being affordable. You can set it to automatically back up your data, while backward compatibility with the USB 2.0 interface means that it can still be used in conjunction with a range of older systems.
4. Lowepro Event Messenger 250 Shoulder Bag
This smart shoulder bag will happily accept a DSLR kit and 3-4 additional lenses, while still leaving room for a laptop and sundry items. The internal divider allows you to customise the space to your requirements, while the side pocket lets you store a bottle of water for quick access.
5. Sky-Watcher Heritage-76 Mini Dobsonian Telescope
Fancy giving the budding astronomer a present to remember? The Sky-Watcher Heritage-76 Mini Dobsonian Telescope is the answer! Portable and user-friendly, it comes complete with two different eyepieces and a 5x magnification finderscope.
6. Garlands Wool and Thinsulate Photographer's Gloves
A warm pair of gloves in winter is a must but what if you want to operate a camera or smartphone? These allow you to do just that, with a removable tip on the index finger of both gloves and Thinsulate lining for excellent heat retention.
7. Opticron Oregon 8-32x50 Zoom Binoculars
Not only do the Opticron Oregon 8-32x50 binoculars offer excellent magnification for their modest price tag, but they also allow you to switch from wideangle to telephoto in just one click.
8. Canon Pixma iP2702 Printer
Photolab-quality prints delivered in less than a minute, the Canon Pixma iP2702 is also said to be intelligent enough to optimise separate parts of the image for the best exposure, as well as automatically dealing with minor annoyances such as red-eye.
9. Holga 120N Black Camera
The most basic model in the Holga stable, the 120N may only offer a choice of two apertures, although its hotshoe, bulb option and tripod thread show it to be suitable for both spontaneous and considered photography. There's an optical viewfinder for composing images and you can even switch between different medium-format dimensions between rolls.
10. Fujifilm USB Card Reader for SD/SDHC Cards
Ditch those cables and save your camera's battery when transferring images over to your computer with this tiny card reader. It accepts SD and SDHC memory cards, although it can also be used with other SD variants through an adapter.
11. Canon RC-6 Remote Control
The Canon RC-6 is an ideal gift for Canon users looking to get into macro or long-exposure photography, or any other genre in which the camera benefits from being triggered remotely. It's tiny and cable free, and can be used up to 5m away from the model. And, depending on the camera with which it's used, you can even use it to start movie recording or trigger burst shooting!
12. Lomography Fisheye One Film Camera – Nautica
Fancy an funky alternative to digital? Then how about this, the Lomography Fisheye One Nautica, which shoots on 35mm film and comes with a lens offering a 170-degree angle of view. It also features a built-in flash and, with the optional case, you can even use it underwater!
13. Metz 20 C-2 Flash Unit
One of our most popular budget flashguns, the Metz 20 C-2 offers a respectable Guide Number of 20m at ISO 100 and an integrated swivel reflector. Perfect if you want a little extra illumination without the fuss of more complicated units.
14. Hahnel Duo Traveller
Not only does the Hahnel Duo Traveller allow you to keep your appliances juiced up wherever you may be, but it also comes with twin USB ports so you can charge two USB-powered devices at the same time. How neat is that?
15. Cokin H250A ND Gradual Filter Kit
A set of ND grad filters is an essential part of any landscape photographer's kit bag, and this set marries flexibility with affordability. Not only do you get three separate filters, each with a different strength, but you also get the adaptor in which to fit them. If you want to get shooting right away, make sure you also grab the adapter ring that matches your lens.
16. Giottos MML3290B Aluminium Monopod
With five leg sections, this monopod can be extended to a maximum height of 128cm, while its 12kg support means it'll handle most DSLR/lens combinations with ease. The foam cover and wrist strap also ensure comfort and security, and, as if that wasn't enough, you even get a five-year warranty thrown in!
17. LensPen Original Lens-Cleaning Tool
Super affordable and yet super useful, the Original LensPen features a brush at one end for gentle cleaning and a pad at the other for dealing with more stubborn marks. It's not just limited to cleaning lenses either, with viewfinder windows, LCDs and anything else which can gather dust or marks benefiting from a quick LensPen treatment.
18. Tamrac Jazz 83 Backpack
Despite its compact proportions and budget price tag, the Tamrac Jazz 83 still manages to hold all the gear the average photographer would need for the day. Once you've packed in your DSLR with a lens attached, you've still got space for up to four extra lenses and a flashgun, as well as a tablet and smaller items such as filters and memory cards.
19. Manfrotto ML120 Pocket LED Light
Fancy a little extra light for stills but also want something that can be used for video recording? The pocketable Manfrotto ML120 Pocket LED Light helps out in both situations, with 12 LED lights balanced at 5600K (daylight) and conveniently powered off a single AAA battery.
20. Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap with FastenR-3
Constructed from ballistic nylon, and with a thick foam pad with mesh lining, the RS-7 boasts a unique curved design for a more comfortable and secure fit on the shoulder, while the stainless steel FastenR boasts locking ridges on its inside for a more solid connection to the camera body.