John Batdorff’s Black Friday List

November 28th, 2010 by John Batdorff

Is Black Friday almost over already?  If you’re looking to buy something practical or just fun for your favorite photographer in the family, then here are a few favorites. You will notice a lot of these suggestions are from my sponsors and for good reason. These folks make quality products and have great customer service. I won’t buy cheap products nor will I recommend companies with questionable service, so I'll try to steer you folks towards companies I know and like. Anyway, here’s a list of things I currently own and really enjoy using.

Here’s my naughty or nice list:

$10-30 range

1. Think Tank Cable Management 10 Organizer—I love these things.  I have my back-up batteries, battery chargers, and pocket wizards all organized in these slick little pouches. And if you’re really Type A, you can get a label maker and slap some labels on them to keep everything seriously organized.
2. Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots—sure I’m a little biased on this one since I contributed a chapter, but this is an excellent book written by Laurie Excel. I’ve had a chance to go through the entire book, and it really has a lot of great tips and the photography is amazing.
3. I Shoot RAW” T-shirt.  The shirt sort of says it all.  No no one will ever wonder what file format you use again.  Then again, non-photographers might look at you strangely…;)

$30-70 range


1. PowerEX battery charger—I think I own more batteries and battery chargers than I do camera bags. (Which is saying a lot). This is by far the very best system I’ve owned.  The docking station has a rapid charge system as well as a slow charging system and a conditioning charge that totally depletes the battery and recharges it.   Like I said, I love this system…then again I’m sort of a rechargeable battery nerd kind of guy.
2. Borrowlenses gift certificate— Anyone who follows my blog knows I love trying out new lenses. has a great selection of gift certificates, but a $50.00-70.00  gift certificate will get you a wide variety of lenses to choose from.
3. Artistic Photo Canvas-  When I won the Shutterstock Safari contest last April the very first thing I did was contact APC about creating a canvas of my winning image. It was my first time ordering from them, and the service was impeccable. The quality of the canvas exceeded my expectations, and now looks awesome hanging in my entryway. If someone you know has been bugging you about getting them a print of one of your best photos, try out a canvas. A frame isn’t necessary, and it displays really well.
4. Portable shooting table—I’ve been using this very table to shoot Nikon D7000: From Snapshots to Great Shots book. This table rocks. It’s folds up to a very small tent size bag and is easy to store. Once it’s assembled you can adjust the height of the back.  If you’re into shooting macro or products then this is a great table to get you started.
5. Black Rapid Strap —  The hugely popular RS-W1, designed with the woman’s physique in mind, might work for the chesty guy too…don’t know.  Don’t want to know…;). What I do know is that women really love it. Also, the new RS-Sport (coming soon) should be perfect for those of us on the go, and my personal favorite is the RS-7.  The quality and design of these straps is awesome and chances are after using one you’ll never use a traditional neck strap again.


$150-200 range

Silver Efex Pro 1. Silver Efex Pro and /or HDR Efex Pro – When it comes to making killer black and whites then Silver Efex is simply the standard.  HDR Efex Pro is so easy and so much fun to use that it takes the mystery out of making great HDR photographs.


$300+ range

1. Lee Filters– I love my Lee Filter system. My only regret is that it took me so long to actually start using them. I’ve been using the Lee Digital SLR starter kit for about 8 months now and I can’t imagine taking landscape photos without it. Word of warning–these are hard to come by and always seem to be on back-order.

2. Drobo S–This is no doubt a big ticket but well worth the investment. I don’t care if your passion is photography, music, video or all the above.  If you have digital files then this a rock solid investment for protecting them.



Learn more about John, view his images and check out his blog here.



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