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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Great State Classic Skinny strap review images (1 of 8)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 2.0

It’s no secret that photography gear is very expensive and that the hobby is general isn’t a cheap one. But there are gifts that you can snag for the photographer in your life (or yourself) that won’t break the bank too much or even at all. We’ve spent a week perusing deals and thinking of ideas for really affordable but solid gifts for the photographer under $100.

Here’s our roundup of gifts under $100.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The year is 2014, and we as photographers have been bred to believe notions that have come from the film days and early days of digital photography. When film was king, photographers would try to not shoot with film above ISO 400 when publishing their images. And in the earliest days of digital photography, the same thing happened. But then something happened: the high ISO output became better and better. There were articles saying that ISO 1600 is the new 400.

And they were right. But at the same time something else happened. Software manufacturers started to come up with ways for you to fix that high ISO noise or even embrace it to make an image look beautiful.

The year is 2014. And we’re still bitching and complaining about high ISO noise despite the fact that the process of creating an image doesn’t stop when the camera’s shutter clicks and cocks itself back into position. In fact, it never stopped there even back in the film days. The photographer would go into the darkroom and spend time developing, pushing and pulling, or working with the images. And today is no different.

But something else has happened.

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Enlarger-Camera-1

All images by Chuck Baker. Used with permission.

Making your own cameras usually results in the creation of pinhole cameras, but photographer Chuck Baker recently created a large format 5×7″ camera after being inspired by a 20×24″ camera. He tells us that he wanted to create a smaller version and that the stuff that he collects from garage sales helped him to build a camera using an old film enlarger.

For the uninformed, 35mm film needed to use enlargers in order to print them at a larger size. These enlargers had lenses, bellows, etc. And in many cases they are indeed turned into cameras. But the story about this one from Mr. Baker really amazed us. His ingenuity inspired us–and his knack for tinkering helped him to create his own large format camera.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica MA first impressions (1 of 6)ISO 6401-80 sec at f - 2.8

When Leica announced the M-A camera at Photokina 2014, a spark was lit. We don’t believe it’s possible for a camera to be a soul mate, but if it was then the Leica M-A would be stringing hearts along as it struts through life. The Leica M-A is designed to pay homage to the cameras that put the company on the map in the photojournalism world and that are still used by many photographers today. Those cameras beautiful pieces of machinery and can far outlast any other cameras made out there. Amongst that lineup are the Leica M2, M3, and M4–with the M4-P perhaps being one of the company’s most popular products in this line.

And with that, the Leica M-A is designed incredibly simply. It takes film, has a film advance lever, is designed with lots of metal, and has no light meter built in–just like many of the older cameras. Think that that’s a waste of your money? Think again–especially when you consider the fact that the camera could be used by people many generations from now with no major problems to the machinery.

No–this isn’t a camera meant for the new breed that rely on meters; it’s designed for those photographers who used the tried and true Sunny 16 methods to capture scenes in every day life. And despite it’s near $5,000 price tag, it makes complete sense if you consider that many of the much older Leicas still go for a lot of money and that this is a made with brand new materials.

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The Phoblographer Solargraph (2 of 2)

All images by Oli Stevens. Used with permission.

We’ve featured long solargraphs shot with beer cans before, but every time we run across new ones we find something incredibly fascinating. Take this 10 week Solargraph shot by photographer Oli Stevens. Oli is a Biochemistry Masters student, splitting his time between London and Oxford. He’s primarily a 35mm analog photographer who enjoys pushing the technical limits of film photography. What other way to push them than to play with a super long exposure and to work with the most experimental form of the craft: pinhole photography.

To create the image above, Oli created his very own camera from a beer can and used Ilford sheet film to shoot the image. We talked to him more about the setup, the camera, and his photography.

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The Affordable 4x5 camera

The larger the format is that you’re working with, the more time it will surely take you to get a single image due to all the work that goes into it. And while large format cameras can be expensive, a duo from Europe are Kickstarting a more affordable camera. It’s called the Intrepid 4×5 camera, and it promises to be a light weight camera made from birch ply wood.

The Intrepid will take 75-300mm lens boards, has ground glass for focusing, comes with a choice of bellows colors, and folds down into a very compact size. With it being made from plywood though, I’d personally want it to be finished with a sealant of some sort to prevent moisture from affecting it too much in the long run. For the 125 Euro that they’re apparently charging for the camera though, we can’t really expect much.

It will take standard film cases for the image loading: which means that you can enjoy many of the offerings from Fujifilm, Kodak and Ilford still available for the format.

The intro video is after the jump, but be sure to head over to their Kickstarter page too to see the different rewards offered.

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