HERE'S A last-minute look at some last-minute gift items and stocking stuffers for the person interested in photography:
Film is a great idea. There's always a need for it, and with many easy-to-find, super new films on the market there's a wide choice. For use with compact automatics, look for Fujicolor HG (in 100, 200 and 400 speeds) and Fuji Reala, which is ASA 100 and marvelous for both indoor and outdoor shooting. The Kodak Gold 200 and 400 remain very good basic films for shooting in all conditions. The Kodak Ektar 125 is worth the extra cost. Don't hesitate to try both the Agfa XRC 100 and 200 and the Konica 100, 200 and 400. They are competitively priced and crisp, with lots of saturation.
For the SLR owner who shoots slides, look to the Fuji Velvia and the ASA 50, the Kodak 100HC and the Agfachrome 200, a remarkably versatile film.
Single-use cameras: Fuji makes the Quicksnap and the Quicksnap Flash. The latter has a tiny, built-in flash that works like a charm. The Kodak "Fun Saver" line offers the Panoramic 35, a neat way of shooting those wide vistas; the Weekend 35, waterproof down to eight feet in depth; and the Fun Saver itself, which is a basic 35mm camera.
Frames, mattes and albums: The camera stores have some terrific bargains. You can get wooden frames for under $5, brass frames for under $10 and silver frames for as little as $15. Some stores offer two-for-one price deals that are true savings.
Nothing enhances a picture the way a good mount does. I like the Callen Photo Mount, a double matte, beautifully beveled and in many colors. It's available in standard sizes at K mart and Hechinger.
This year there are dozens of reasonably priced albums to choose from. Most have vinyl covers that simulate leather, and are well-made and sturdy. They range in size to handle from 3x5 prints all the way up to 8x10. Many have replacement pages at low cost.
I looked at some of the free-standing, Rolodex-like displays. Most are sturdy and easy to load. These are good for keeping pictures out in the open for display.
Calendars: Two of the major chains are offering holiday bargains. At Snap Shops, they have coupled their calendars with their new, while-you-wait Create-a-Print enlarging machines. You bring in your negative and in a few minutes you have the picture of your choice in a neat-looking calendar. All for $4.95.
At Ritz Cameras, you can get a calendar and a free roll of Fuji Reala film for $3.99. The calendar features pictures that were winners in the Ritz 1990 Photo Contest.
Cleaning materials: Many stores are featuring cleaning kits. They include lens-cleaning tissue, lens-cleaning liquid and a soft camel's hair brush. Packages of lens-cleaning tissues alone are always welcome.
Look for the Luminex cleaning cloths. These are the cloths with hundreds of thousands of cleaning
from previous page "fingers" that whisk away dirt and smears from lenses and cameras.
Darkroom supplies: For anyone with their own darkroom, photographic chemicals are always appreciated. You can make up a small gift box with developer and fixer. Such related chemicals as Photo-Flo, reducer and intensifier are handy.
Any darkroom can always use another safelight. There are good small ones available at low cost.
A focusing magnifier for enlarging would make a great present -- one that would be used all year long.
And, about every camera store I've seen has racks and pegboards filled with wonderful items. There are lens hoods, magnifiers for 35mm, filters, straps and bags. There are even some small, desk-top tripods that fit right into your camera bag.
If all else fails, make your own gift certificates. These are a great way to allow a person to go out and buy just what they want. HERE'S A way to take great pictures of the Christmas tree: Set your camera on a tripod (or bookcase or table) and set the exposure to either bulb or time. Darken the room, turn on the tree lights and make time exposures. If your camera has "slow flash," that will work, too. If your compact doesn't have any of the above, don't fret -- make sure your flash is on and shoot away.
Carl Kramer died on Dec. 12. This is the last column he wrote for Weekend.