I'm not going to recommend the single kickass camera that you must have slung around your neck. One that magically turns she who possesses it into an amazing photographer. You know why?
It's not the camera, it is what you do with it.But camera accessories? oh yes! I have Big Opinions on those. Like, a new camera strap is a perfect gift. Until Nikon pays me for the ad space around my neck, I ditch the loud branded strap that comes with my cameras. My current favorite strap is aqua with big brown dots from My Funky Camera . But the faux wood strap over at Splityarn cracks me up, and how about these at Souldier. FWIW? The ones you'll find that are black rubbery non-slip feel awful to wear (and leave black skid marks) and the uber stretchy neoprene ones are sweaty and way too bouncy, especially if you have a heavy dslr slamming up into The Girls. If you know what I mean.
The most important accessory: the camera bag. Great gift options. We women photographers have compounded camera bag issues. a) being smaller than guys , the gender most camera gear is designed for and b) needing to solve the purse/camera gear conundrum. If not the purse/camera/diaper bag/knitting bag conundrum.
Keep in mind these important points:
1) I was only kidding, diaper bags & camera bags do not mix well. Bacterial mold can invade your camera lens elements and it costs a lot to get it cleaned out. Ask me how I know.
2) You don't want your digital camera bumping & jostling around. Back in the day, you could be all cool and casual and toss your mechanical metal slr into any old bag. Now, you want those electronic sensors to be floating on air and padding . Go for function over form in the camera bag department. If it's cute but not padded with divider sections, take a pass on it.
Personally, I like a bag that's roomy, that allows quick one handed grab access to what's inside, and that doesn't send out a siren screaming "Hey, over here! I am a photographer ! Grab my bag!".• Domke bags. These wear like crazy, look even better when they are all beat up, are well designed and you'll fit in with the globe trotting PhotoJ crowd. Downside: no matter where you go, you look like you are on assignment. Or maybe that's an upside, the bag gets you access.
• The LowePro backpacks. That one I linked to is a two piece deal, with a super padded belt pack , you could use it alone swung forward, that holds a camera, lens battery packs and strobe, and an upper packpack section for clothes or knitting ot whatever I'd put in my purse. Downside- totally inaccessible when it is on your back. Upside- sturdy, compact & pretty comfortable for travel in all terrain & airports.
• Crumpler bags . So many sizes and colors. So...cute.I haven't personally tested one but I'm looking at you Crumpie.
• Courierware Incognito bags. Look at the bottom row. Form + function, this could pass as a purse. brilliant.
Extra special camera bag gift idea: put something in it. An inspiring photo book, or a Tshirt like this one , or the PhotoJoJo book that mixes photography and crafty projects. Or a gift certificate to a photography class . Self promotional alert: if you happen to live near Connecticut, I just happen to be teaching one day workshops of Photography for Knitters in January. I have gift certificates and I'm not afraid to sell them. Just saying.
ps. If you are looking at cameras , click over to DPReview, it has a features search and a compare side-by-side function. Nice!
Disclaimer: none of the aforementioned gear was given to me to flack. Most of it I've test driven personally, or examined covetously.