- The printing process was flawless, with no ink smudges or stains.
- The high-quality canvas is tightly wrapped around the frame, with no waves or puckering.
- The frame is well-made with square corners and a center support to ensure it stays square.
- The canvas is attached to the frame with plenty of staples to further ensure the canvas remains tight.
- 22 Gatekeeper attachment points (up from 10 on the previous version)
- 4 detachable, quick-release, lockable Gatekeeper straps
- Hypalon ski strap loops
- Ice axe loops
- Bungee loops (that can be released with a single hand)
- Angled MOLLE webbing on the hip belt
- ISO range: 100-25,600 (expandable to 51,200)
- 11 fps burst shooting
- 179 phase-detection autofocus points and 25 contrast-detection autofocus points
- 1080 video at up to 60p
- Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
- Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary - Sony E Fit
- Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
- Sigma 35 mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary - Sony E Fit
- Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS
- A slotted turner
- A basting spoon
- A slotted spoon
- A ladle
- A mix-stir
- A potato masher
- Compatible with many quick-release plates
- 25-pound load capacity
- Quick-release lever
- Fits all standard tripods
- Holds 35 liters of gear (and expands to 42 liters)
- External straps (so you can carry items like your tripod)
- Removable interior dividers (so you can customize the bag to your needs)
- Easy side access (for quickly grabbing your camera)
- Comfortable straps (including chest strap and waist belt) for a more comfortable carrying experience
- Space for your clothes too!
Photo by AsiaVision via iStock
With a $500 budget, there are tons of options for getting your loved one an ideal photography gift.
A used camera perhaps? Or maybe an awesome camera bag? Maybe a beautiful canvas print or GoPro?
The list below includes all these options - and many more - to consider for your 2022 holiday gift-giving!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: CanvasPrints.com Canvas Print
I don’t know about you, but I find that there are two common problems when searching for gifts for my loved ones. First, I have a lot of people in my life that are difficult to shop for. And second, it can be difficult to find gifts that have long-term utility.
I think I’ve found a solution for both problems, though…
This year, I’m giving canvas prints to many of the people on my holiday shopping list. Why? Well, it’s easy! Even the most difficult of people to shop for enjoy a good photo. What’s more, the chances are high that they have wall space to put a printed photo.
On top of that, a canvas print is something that can be enjoyed for years - decades, really - to come. It isn’t a one-and-done gift that offers flash-in-the-pan excitement during the holidays, then finds its way into a closet somewhere.
Instead, by giving someone a gorgeous photo that’s been hand-crafted just for them, you can give them the gift of time - time to enjoy the print each and every day.
So, the question is, where do you get a good canvas print?
Earlier this year, I ordered a canvas print from CanvasPrints.com. It was my first such order, so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect.
Well, what I got in the mail was a superb canvas print!
As I shared in this post, the canvas I got from CanvasPrints.com ticks all the boxes in terms of quality:
Additionally, I like that CanvasPrints.com uses a wire hanger on the back rather than the more typical sawtooth hanger. I find that sawtooth hangers are often not attached to the frame in the center (and often aren’t level, either), which obviously complicates hanging the print level. With a wire hanger, there’s no concern there!
In other words, my first experience with CanvasPrints.com could not have gone better. As a result of that, they’ve earned my business for additional prints for myself and for my loved ones this holiday season. You should entrust them to create a beautiful print of your images as well!
I should note that the materials used to create these prints are American-made and of the utmost quality to ensure the print that arrives at your door looks incredible. If something goes awry, no worries - CanvasPrints.com offers a 100-percent money-back guarantee with your print.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your holiday shopping done, get a fantastic gift that keeps on giving, and give the gift of a special moment in time with a CanvasPrints.com print!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: f-stop Tilopa 50L DuraDiamond Travel and Adventure Camera Backpack
I'll tell you right now that this bag isn't just one of my favorite items on this list. It's one of my favorite pieces of photography gear of all time. I mean, it's on my 2021 list of the best camera bags for a reason. And not to spoil the party, but it'll be on my 2022 list of the best camera bags as well.
Let's start on the outside of the bag...
This version of the Tilopa, which was released last year, is constructed of DuraDiamond 315D HT nylon ripstop (an f-stop proprietary product) to give it supreme durability. Add in C0 DWR coating and a TPU layer that gives the fabric excellent waterproofing and added strength as well.
There's heavy-duty stitching with industrial-bonded thread, a 500mm Polyurethane coating, and heavy-gauge weatherproof zippers. The 20-year warranty speaks to the durability and impeccable construction of the bag.
You can access the bag from every side, making quick work of grabbing your camera for a shot. There's also external side pockets for keeping small items. All told, this bag offers 50 liters of storage space, so, really, you can take just about all the photography gear you have if need be! You can carry stuff on the outside of the bag, too, thanks to a variety of mounting options:
Even if the pack is fully loaded, the carrying experience is so comfortable. The internal metal frame helps stabilize the load and shift the weight of the bag to your hips. Of course, the BLOOM EVA padded hip belt (which is contoured for comfort) helps to further ease the pressure of carrying a heavy load.
The shoulder straps are also made of contoured BLOOM EVA, and are hands-down the most comfortable shoulder straps I've ever used.
Inside, the bag is lined with 700 Nylon Ripstop fabric. The main compartment holds 39 liters of gear while the various smaller pockets on the top, bottom, and sides round out the remaining 11 liters of storage space. Get a complete tour of this bag in the video below:
Of course, the star of the interior of this bag is the excellent line of ICUs from f-stop. The Tilopa accommodates small, medium, and large ICUs to give you a complete interior organization system for your gear. You can even mix and match smaller ICUs to create a truly bespoke storage space.
And since the ICUs are removable, you can adjust how you use them from one trip to the next. Honestly, this bag would be worth the price of admission even if it wasn't compatible with ICUs. Their availability is simply icing on the cake!
I've had several Tilopa bags over the years, and each time I didn't think f-stop could improve it. Yet, each time, f-stop proves me wrong!
Everything about this bag is done so, so well, from the construction to the materials to the way it fits your body. I absolutely love this bag, and the photographer on your holiday shopping list is sure to love it as well.
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: reMarkable 2
There are plenty of photographers that enjoy writing notes, brainstorming, and otherwise keeping their thoughts organized by using paper notebooks. I'm certainly one of those people.
But at some point, it becomes a little impractical to use paper notebooks, both because of the environmental impact and because of the space you need to store dozens of notebooks in your studio or office.
I, for one, had dozens of Moleskine notebooks floating around my office and it simply became overwhelming trying to keep them organized. So, I switched to paper-like writing on the reMarkable tablet a few years ago. The reMarkable 2 has since been released, and it's even better than the first!
The reMarkable 2 is super thin, lightweight, and has a great feel to it. The marker also feels great in your hands and gives you that tactile experience of writing with an actual pen and paper. I have no doubt that was a difficult thing to achieve, but boy, did the mad scientists at reMarkable figure it out!
The tablet has a 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM processor, 1GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM, 8GH of internal storage (that can accommodate around 100,000 pages of notes), and a marker with tilt-detection capabilities, 4,096 levels of pressure, and a high-friction tip. The marker doesn't require charging, setup, or pairing, either!
Since the tablet has a Linux-based Codex that's optimized for e-paper applications, there is ultra-low latency. You really do get the feeling that you're writing on paper!
You also get 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, USB-C connectivity, and an accessory port, in addition to a 3000mAH battery that is rechargeable via USB-C and will last up to two weeks on a single charge.
It has a beautiful screen, too. The second-generation CANVAS display gives you 10.3-inches of diagonal viewing space with 1872 x 1404 resolution at 226 DPI. Add multi-point capacitive touch, a gorgeous monochrome display, and a writing latency of just 21 milliseconds to the list.
I've had my reMarkable 2 for over a year now and have enjoyed it profusely. You can read more about my experience with it in this review.
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Pre-Owned Sony a6000
The Sony a6000 is an oldie, but it's definitely a goodie.
Released in 2014, the a6000 quickly became one of the most popular mirrorless cameras ever made. In fact, you can still buy a brand-new a6000 - they're still that popular!
But with a budget of $500, a new a6000 is out of reach. But a quality pre-owned a6000 is well within your budget if you shop at MPB.
The a6000 has a 24.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor that's paired with a BIONZ X image processor. This combination results in a superb stills and video camera for beginner and enthusiast photographers and videographers.
Though the camera lacks modern amenities like a touchscreen LCD, in-body image stabilization, and 4K video, it has a host of other features that make it a very useful camera, even so long after its release. For example, the a6000 comes with:
All of this is wrapped in a tiny body that weighs just 12 ounces without a lens or battery.
The a6000 uses Sony E-mount lenses, so there is a wealth of native Sony glass available as well as a host of third-party E-mount lenses:
With such a wide selection of glass, this camera can be used for all sorts of pursuits, from portraiture to sports photography to landscapes. With a battery life of 360 shots, you can shoot for a good, long while, too!
If you want to give someone a highly capable, yet inexpensive camera, this is it! Buy with confidence at MPB, which offers a six-month warranty and a seven-day return window. Each a6000 has been thoroughly graded, so you know exactly what to expect when the camera arrives at your door.
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Coravin Timeless Six+
Over the years, I've gotten a lot of requests to add lifestyle items to these gift guides. I'm finally obliging!
I'm not a huge wine drinker, but I'll have a glass now and then while I'm editing photos or with dinner after a long day of work. Occasionally, I'll share wine with clients, too.
When you don't drink wine all that often, the problem is that you hesitate to open bottles for fear that they'll go bad. My old cork system only extended the life of the bottle for a few days after it was opened, so I wasted tons of wine. Not anymore!
The Coravin Timeless Six+ system is the precise holiday gift for folks like me that enjoy wine but need to preserve it for long periods of time.
When wine is bottled, argon gas is inserted to the bottle to preserve the wine. The problem with many cork systems is that the argon gas escapes, leading to ruined wine.
But the Coravin system has an argon capsule that you pop in and a needle that inserts directly into the cork. Then, you hit a button and the bottle becomes pressurized as new argon gas is inserted into the bottle. As the argon gas is inserted, wine comes out, allowing you to pour the perfect glass without losing the argon inside the bottle. Then simply remove the needle and the cork seals back up without losing pressure.
It's an ingenious system, and like I said, it allows me to preserve wine for weeks or even years now. Not only that, I can start buying better wine because I won't fear that it'll go to waste. It's a win-win!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Cutco 6-Piece Kitchen Tool Set With Holder
I know a kitchen set might not immediately come to mind as something to give a photographer, but hear me out...
Just like photographers want to have the appropriate gear for taking photos, you need the appropriate gear for cooking up meals. A great kitchen set like this one is just what the doctor ordered!
I love photography and I love cooking, so having a kitchen set like this helps me accomplish my cooking goals for dinner after a long day working in the photography space.
As you’ve probably guessed, this set exudes the high quality of Cutco products.
There are six pieces in the set, including:
The set also includes a gorgeous oak holder that’s available in a cherry or honey finish.
Each accessory in this set has a stainless steel head and a highly-engineered thermo-resin handle that’s available in a classic or pearl finish.
Given the materials used and the Cutco commitment to quality, you can bet that these tools will last for years and years, whether they’re used at home in the kitchen or out in the wilds while you’re camping.
Clearly, this set of tools will help you create all sorts of meals, from mashed potatoes to soups and stews to pancakes and everything in between. And having well-made kitchen tools will make the process of whipping up those meals so much more enjoyable! You can focus more on what you’re making and less on finding the right accessory to make it.
Even if the person on your holiday shopping list isn’t much of a chef, they can still get a lot of use out of this six-piece set. It can be used for simple meals at home or meal prep before a photography trip.
If you want to give a gift that offers decades of reliable service, then Cutco has what you need!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Holdfast Sightseer Camera and Lens Modular System
One of the things that gets in the way of taking great photos is not being able to carry all the gear that you need in comfort. Additionally, problems arise when you aren’t able to easily access your gear when you need it.
The Holdfast Sightseer solves both of those problems for the photography lover on your shopping list this holiday season.
The Sightseer holds a crazy amount of gear for a small bag. That includes up to a 13-inch laptop, a camera with lens attached, two additional lenses, and all the needed accessories inside the bag.
But because it’s a modular system, you can add even more gear by adding Lens Pouches that attach to the exterior of the bag (or you can carry them on the Holdfast MoneyMaker or even on your own belt). That means that the big zoom lens that won’t fit in the bag can be carried safely in a padded Lens Pouch attached to the outside.
Since the Sightseer is a truly modular system, you can mix and match lens pouches as you need to carry as much or as little gear as the situation calls for. What’s more, this system can grow with you as you get more gear - start out lean and mean with just the Sightseer bag, and as more lenses are accumulated, add Lens Pouches as needed.
Better still, because your gear is easily accessible, you don’t have to worry about missing a shot.
It’s easy to carry, too. Just use the two sets of carrying handles, the shoulder strap, or attach it to the Holdfast MoneyMaker dual camera strap for a super easy way to get your gear from point A to point B.
These bags look amazing, too, with a waxed canvas and American Bison leather exterior and an Aztec flannel fleece interior. In other words, the Sightseer is the complete package!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CB 160S Carbon Fiber Tripod
A good, solid tripod is a must-have for photographers and videographers. But not all tripods are made alike.
Certainly, there’s a difference in design, functionality, and build quality. There’s also significant differences in the specs and features of available tripods.
For my money, one of the best representations of these criteria is the Vanguard VEO 3+ 263CB 160S Carbon Fiber Tripod.
For starters, this is an all-in-one tripod kit, so you can give a gift with everything your loved one needs to jumpstart their photography or videography projects.
The tripod has a Multi-Angle Central Column that moves from 0 degrees to 180 degrees in various vertical and horizontal positions. This enables photographers and videographers to get the precise angle of view to fulfill their creative vision.
Also included with this tripod are legs with three adjustable angles of 23 degrees, 50 degrees, and 80 degrees for quick setup. Vanguard has equipped the tripod with non-slip all-weather grips on two legs for easier maneuvering in less-than-ideal weather. The Vanguard BH-160S dual-axis ball head is part of the kit, too.
Of course, being a Vanguard tripod means this bad boy has plenty of other features.
For example, one leg converts to a monopod for lean-and-mean shooting situations. There’s spiked feet on each leg, too, to give the tripod a stable base on uneven terrain. Vanguard’s superb quick-twist leg locks are yet another feature that makes this tripod such a treat to use out in the field.
In other words, this isn’t just any old tripod…
Vanguard’s long-standing reputation for designing and building quality gear is on full display with the VEO3+. You get a rock-solid carbon fiber tripod, tons of accessories, and loads of features in one killer unit.
And with a price that’s well below the $500 mark, it’s one of the most affordable options on this list!
Gifts for Photographers under $500: Acratech GP-SS Ball Head
The Acratech GP has been my primary ball head for over a decade. It's proven its longevity with a rugged design that's tough enough to stand up to the rigors of daily use.
The GP-SS is built like a tank, but doesn't behave like one. By that, I mean that even though it can withstand a bomb blast (figuratively speaking, of course!) it offers super fine and delicate control that gives you the smooth, precise adjustments you demand.
Back in the day when I used big, heavy gear like my Nikon D850, an L-bracket, and a 70-200mm lens, I marveled at the Acratech GP's ability to maintain its precise movements. Of course, now that I've got a much lighter kit in the Canon EOS R5 and R6, the GP-SS ball head is more than enough to handle the load.
So, this is a fine choice for a gift for your loved one who needs a strong, stable, and functional base for their imaging and video work!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Pre-Owned Canon EOS M50
As noted earlier, a pre-owned camera is an ideal gift for a photographer because it saves you money and gives them a like-new gift that serves every purpose and function that the same brand-new camera would provide.
In this case, the Canon EOS M50 is a nice option for a beginner photographer's first camera or a more advanced photographer that needs a second camera body.
The M50 sports a 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor that's paired with Canon's DIGIC 8 processor. If the photographer on your list likes to photograph wildlife or action, the 10 fps burst shooting rate will be a nice bonus.
This camera boasts a host of other features, too.
For example, it has a native ISO range of 100-25,600 that's expandable to 51,200 for shooting in low-light situations. It has a host of video capabilities as well, including UHD 4K video at 24fps, full HD video at 60fps, and 720p video at 120fps for slow-motion video capture.
For still imagery, the M50 has Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which helps generate accurate, sharp images thanks to quick autofocus performance. This feature also works for shooting video.
Add in 5-axis image stabilization to the mix and you have the makings of a well-featured camera for still photography and videography use! And with a pre-owned price tag of less than $500, it won't break the bank, either!
Remember, buying pre-owned gear at MPB is a smooth process backed by a generous warranty and return policy. You can even trade in your old gear to offset the cost of giving an M50 as a gift!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: GoPro Hero 11 Black
The GoPro Hero 11 Black retains a lot of features of the Hero 10 Black, but offers some significant improvements that make it a perfect holiday gift idea for the photographer on your list.
The Hero 11 Black shares the same form factor as the Hero 10 (and Hero 9), so if your loved one has one of these cameras and has invested in accessories for it, those accessories will still work with the Hero 11 Black.
However, despite the exterior being the same, lots has changed under the hood...
The biggest change is the sensor, which is now at 27 megapixels. The Hero 11 Black can record 10-bit color video as well.
Speaking of video capabilities, video can be captured at 5.3k at up to 60fps. Hypersmooth 5.0 helps stabilize video while the new ultra-wide HyperView offers a bigger 16:9 field of view for shooting videos. You can also shoot vertical videos in 8:7 format.
Other software features include 360-degree horizon lock, Night Effect for nighttime time lapses, and an improved TimeWarp time lapse feature, which now records video at up to 5.3K. You can keep tabs on what you're recording by using the front or rear LCD screens.
Another upgrade in the Hero 11 Black is the new Enduro battery.
According to GoPro, the new battery can extend recording times by up to 38 percent. Add a couple of these batteries to the mix, and you can give your loved one the gift of hours and hours of recording with their new GoPro!
And, as always, the Hero 11 black is ruggedly built to withstand the rigors of shooting in all sorts of environments, even underwater up to 33 feet.
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: DJI Mini SE
Giving the gift of a drone might seem impossible for under $500, but the DJI Mini SE is way under that threshold at less than $300.00.
This little drone weighs about as much as a smartphone, yet has a 30-minute flight time, a 2.7K camera, the ability to take 12MP photos, and a 3-axis gimbal. It’s also equipped with DJI’s QuickShot functions, including “circle,” “helix,” “rocket,” and “dronie.”
The Mini SE offers upgraded wind resistance as well. It can resist winds from 18 mph up to 23.6 mph. It can also take off at altitudes of 13,100 feet, so whether you're at the beach on a windy day or high in the mountains, this little drone will service you well.
That’s a lot of bang for your buck, especially when you have a budget of $500!
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Nomatic x Peter McKinnon Camera Pack
Nomatic has earned its reputation for crafting beautiful, functional, and durable photography gear. And Peter McKinnon is one of the biggest names in photography. It's a match made in heaven!
The Peter McKinnon Nomatic Camera Pack is a fantastic bag that shows that this partnership is all about the user experience.
As I explain in the video above, this bag looks fantastic, versatile, and feature-rich. Get a load of some of its features:
You can tell that this bag was designed by a photographer. It is simply fantastic from the standpoints of size, customization, comfort, and ease of use.
This bag is $400, and while that might seem like a lot, when you consider that this is a bag that you’ll have for YEARS, it’s really a long-term investment. Besides, since there's compartments for camera gear and clothing, it's the perfect weekend bag!
Sure, you can buy a cheap bag, but when you are carrying around gear on your back, don’t you want the most comfortable bag you can get?
Gifts for Photographers Under $500: Insta360 Link
The Insta360 Link is a webcam, but it's so much more than that. Actually, I like to describe it as what you'd get if a webcam and an action camera had a baby!
The camera comes with a 1/2-inch sensor - which is fantastic for a webcam. But it also comes with a full-on three-axis gimbal for getting ultra-smooth video when you hold the camera in your hand. Speaking of video, it records in 4K at 30p or HD at 60p. Not bad!
When using the camera, its AI-powered motion tracking system ensures you're centered in the frame, which is obviously a handy feature when you're using it as a webcam. Other webcam-related features include "Whiteboard Mode," which crops everything out of the frame except the whiteboard you're using, and "DeskView Mode," which gives viewers a shot of your workspace.
The camera even tilts downward when not in use for added privacy.
Add to the list a ton of other features like gesture control, phase-detection autofocus, a USB-C connection, and HDR mode to help prevent blown-out backgrounds.
That's a lot of features that any photographer would love in a holiday gift!