May and June marks a great time of transition. Spring turns to summer, and students across the country celebrate the successful completion of high school and college. Camera gear makes a great gift to mark these personal milestones. We’ve put together this helpful list to fine-tune your selection of which gear is right for your recent grad. And as a bonus, all cameras and lenses featured here are currently offering special instant savings pricing now through the end of June!
For young photographers who want the ultimate image quality in a compact camera
The Sigma DP1 Merrill and Sigma DP2 Merrill both boast the same 46 megapixel Merrill Generation APS-C Foveon sensor as the flagship Sigma SD1 Merrill DSLR in much more compact packages. While these are small cameras, the images are spectacular thanks to fast F2.8 primes, a 19mm F2.8 (28.5mm equiv) on the DP1M and a 30mm F2.8 (45mm F2.8 equiv) on the DP2M. These are the compact cameras for old-school purists who value exceptional image quality above all else. Check out this test shoot, and these field test shots for more on this amazing pair of camerascurrently offered at the best pricing ever. And of course, the Sigma SD1 Merrill features the same sensor in a DSLR body compatible with over forty interchangable lenses!
For the grad heading out on the Great American Road Trip (or Europe by Rail)
The Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM is a 13.8 superzoom with Optical Stabilizer that can go from capturing wide angle landscapes to distant wildlife to close-up details without skipping a beat. The Optical Stabilizer keeps shots sharp even at slower shutter speeds, so ditching the tripod doesn’t necessarily limit your creativity! For on-the-go adventures pairing versatility and compactness, this lens is ready for just about anything. Check out Jack’s field test of this lens for image samples and hands-on tips!
For the budding cinematographers
HDSLR cinematography is exploding in popularity thanks to new cameras and the popularity of high-quality online distribution channels like Vimeo, and the 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is a super sharp fast aperture lens with great bokeh and lovely shallow depth of field for isolating the subject and softening the backgrounds to really give a cinematic feel to each scene. On full-frame HDSLRs, it is, of course, a classic, fast, normal prime lens. And on APS-C HDSLRs, it feels more like a short tele prime. Either way, it can make the feel of stills and videos captured have a classic, timeless quality.
For the aspiring photojournalists
Here’s two great lens pairings for photographers on the go covering a great range with constant aperture the whole combined focal length For full-frame cameras the 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM and the APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM are a duo that’s ready for just about any assignment.
Shooting exclusively APS-C? The 17-50mm EX DC OS HSM and 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM covers the same equivalent range at a more economical price with Optical Stabilizer in both lenses!
For the detail-oriented
If the grad on your gift list doesn’t have a dedicated macro lens in their kit, they are missing out on really magnifying the details of tiny worlds! The Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Macro is a great economical macro lens, while the 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro adds the benefits of Optical Stabilizer and non-zooming lens barrel in a slightly longer focal length for greater working distance and the ability to ditch the tripod while keeping shots sharp at slower shutter speeds.
The single best addition to the basic kit lens on a tight budget
On a tight budget, but want to add the gift of reach and range to your grad who shoots pretty much exclusively with the bundled kit lens? The 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro adds telephoto reach plus macro magnification for a very nice price. Perfect for the photographers wanting to do more with nature, portraiture and close-ups.
For the portraitist
The Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is renowned for its sharpness, shallow depth of field and bokeh. It is the perfect lens for a the aspiring pro photographer working in portraiture, location, and studio work.
For the outdoorsy types
An ultrawide zoom is the right choice for photographers wanting to take in sweeping landscapes and dramatic vistas. The 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM and 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM are two great options for APS-C photographers, while the 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM II covers a very similar field of view for full-frame cameras. Whichever you choose, the images will give an immersive feel from far-flung lands.