It's one thing to needlessly buy every photography gadget and accessory you can get your hands on...
It's another thing to invest in smart, high-quality accessories that actually have a noticeable impact on the way you work and the quality of your images and videos.
I like to consider myself in the latter category - a savvy photographer (most of the time!) that's always looking for ways to improve.
I was thinking the other day about what items in my personal kit have had the biggest impact. Then I thought about the three camera accessories I'd put at the top of my list as being the most helpful. Here's that list.
A Better Camera Strap
For me, the camera strap you use is one of the most important - and underrated - photography accessories.
Think about it...
You can keep using the strap that came with your camera and be uncomfortable all day as it cuts into your shoulder and slides around, or you can upgrade to something better that fits like a glove, is lightweight, and is easy to use.
When I invested in a new camera strap I chose the Piuma QR from 4V Design.
Let me start by saying that upon first look and feel, I was absolutely floored by how beautiful this thing is.
Now, I know aesthetics isn't necessarily a big deal when it comes to a camera strap, but it doesn't hurt, either.
The Piuma QR has a quick release attachment, which allows me to attach it and remove it from my camera without any fuss.
It's also got a unique, contoured design that makes it conform to your neck or shoulder. And speaking of necks and shoulders, the Piuma QR has two separate length adjustments so I can cinch it up for use as a neck strap or give it a little more length to sling across my shoulder and chest.
When it comes to comfort, this thing is the most comfortable strap I've ever owned.
It's got a memory foam pad that makes it feel as though I'm barely carrying any weight. And the High-Grip Technology of this strap means it stays put on my shoulder or neck, making it a safe and comfortable way to carry my gear.
The Piuma QR looks good, feels good, is highly versatile, and durable. What's not to like?
Though all cameras come with some manner or sort of eyecup, most of them are terrible, uncomfortable, and don't seal out ambient light.
In other words, they don't work...
The whole point of putting your eye to the camera's viewfinder is so you can see what you're shooting. It's tough to do that if there isn't a good seal between your eye and the eyecup.
That's why I upgraded my eyecup to a Hoodman HoodEYE.
Not unlike the Piuma QR camera strap, the Hoodman HoodEYE is comfortable and easy to install.
All you do is pop the old eyecup off your camera, slide the Hoodman on in its place, and lock it down.
Once you do that, you have an accessory that allows you to actually focus on the shot by sealing out all ambient light.
What's more, the Hoodman is made of hypoallergenic silicon rubber, so it's super comfortable and conforms to the shape of your brow, nose, and cheek.
With one of these guys on your camera, you won't ever have to worry about getting a good view of the scene before you again. And you know what that means, right? Better photos!
A Better Microphone
I might age myself here, but I remember using those VHS camcorders in the 80s that you had to hold up on your shoulder.
Looking back on it, those videos were terrible quality. But the audio was even worse.
Those little built-in mics couldn't pick up anything, so the sound was always garbled.
Fast-forward to today, and we can shoot 4K video with our DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. It's quite an advancement.
Yet, the built-in microphones on today's DSLRs and mirrorless cameras still aren't up to snuff.
That's why I have a Sound Shark.
When it comes to making awesome videos, you can't just have great video footage. You need great audio too.
Sound Shark allows you to capture crystal clear sound, both up close and far away.
In fact, with Sound Shark, you get audio like your subject is wearing a mic - from up to six feet away. If you have a shotgun mic, put it to the test against Sound Shark. You'll discover (as I did) that the Sound Shark outperforms the shotgun mic, hands down.
The other feature I love about Sound Shark is that it's lightweight. Just mount it to your camera's hot-shoe, and you can get high-quality sound without lugging around a huge mic and boom.
It makes taking videos so much easier - and they're better quality, too!
Wrapping It Up
As I noted earlier, there's a mountain of camera accessories for photography and videography that promise all sorts of benefits to you.
And though there are plenty of accessories you might want or think you need, for me, the list is pretty small.
When it comes down to it, the accessories I've outlined above have made all the difference in the experience I have shooting photos and videos. The quality of each has improved too.
If you want to shoot in comfort with better results, I can't think of three more important accessories for photographers than a great camera strap, an upgraded eyecup, and a microphone for better videos.
I know what you're thinking...
This article is nothing but a bunch of useless accessories that you'll never need.
But trust me, this has nothing to do with spending a bunch of money on unnecessary photography gear.
Instead, this is all about maximizing the use of your Nikon camera with high-quality accessories that expand your creative and technical abilities.
If you want to take better photos, you obviously have to learn basic photography rules of composition, framing, exposure, and the like.
But having the right gear also helps you take better photos.
If you've got a Nikon camera, these five accessories are among the best you can buy.
4V Design Piuma QR Camera Strap
For me, the most underrated camera accessory is the camera strap.
That just doesn't make any sense because an upgraded strap not only means a more secure means of carrying your camera but a more comfortable one as well.
Believe me - I know the difference.
For years, I kept the original Nikon strap on my camera, but only when I upgraded to an aftermarket strap did I realize just how stupid I was not to upgrade sooner.
If you want something that's the height of comfort, choose the Piuma QR Camera Strap by 4V Design, pictured above and below.
The Piuma QR has an ergonomic design that allows you to carry your Nikon for hours on end without feeling the pinch and fatigue that cheap camera straps cause.
What's more, the Piuma QR has a memory foam pad with high grip technology, so not only is it comfortable, but it also conforms to the unique contours of your neck and shoulder for an incredible fit.
Speaking of fit, this strap has two length adjustments, so you can raise and lower the camera to just the right length such that your camera is right at your fingertips.
And for those times when you need to remove your strap quickly and easily, the Piuma QR has a quick-release attachment too.
In other words, this thing is comfortable, helps you securely and safely carry your camera, is versatile, and looks absolutely incredible. What's not to like about that?
Alpine Labs Pulse
Having a camera remote for your Nikon opens up all sorts of creative possibilities for your photography.
On the one hand, you can take better selfies and family portraits by being able to fire your shutter remotely.
On the other hand, you can get sharper photos because you can fire the shutter without having to touch your camera, an action that can produce enough vibration to cause blurry photos.
But not all camera remotes are made equal...
If you want to have expanded capabilities for your photography, get Pulse by Alpine Labs.
This little gadget packs a big punch because not only can you fire your shutter remotely, but you can also create gorgeous long exposures and time-lapse videos.
Just attach Pulse to your Nikon's hot-shoe mount, plug it into your camera's USB port, and you have control over the shutter remotely from your smartphone.
You can also control aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, get thumbnail previews of the images you take, look at the histograms for your images, and even tackle HDR photography too.
With Bluetooth connectivity, you can operate your camera from up to 100 feet away, and if you need to venture further, just dial in the desired settings and Pulse will take it from there - even if your smartphone is no longer paired with it.
Take awesome real-time videos, time-lapses, long exposures, and still photos, all with one tiny gadget that weighs just 1.5 ounces. That's a lot of bang for your buck!
Formatt-Hitech Master Filter Kit, Ken Kaminesky Signature Edition
Having a good set of filters is a must-have for any shooter, not just those of us with Nikons.
But not all filters are made alike...
Just like you tend to get what you pay for when you buy a lens, cheapo filters tend to get you cheap-looking results.
Instead, I recommend the Master Filter Kit, Ken Kaminesky Signature Edition by Formatt-Hitech.
No matter if you enjoy landscapes, architecture, travel photography, or long exposures, this kit has you covered.
Not only do you get a 3-stop Firecrest neutral density filter, but you also get a Firecrest 6-stop, and 10-stop neutral density filter too.
Also included are two Firecrest Soft Edge graduated neutral density filters of 2-stops and 3-stops, respectively.
Add in an aluminum holder, a 67mm and an 85mm adapter kit, a polarizing ring, and a Firecrest SuperSlim circular polarizer, and you've got a complete filter kit that's ready to work for you. There's even a 100mm version!
Firecrest filters are known for their superior quality that gets you plenty of reduction in visible and non-visible light without impacting the color or detail of your images.
A Good Prime Lens
Everyone needs a good prime lens...
Prime lenses offer great low-light shooting capabilities, tons of versatility for tackling different subject matter, and are usually lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry.
As a Nikon shooter, there are plenty of prime lenses you can choose from, but my bet is on the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX.
This standard lens produces images that closely resemble what we see with our own eyes, giving a familiar look to the images you take.
But with that massive f/1.8 aperture, you can tackle low-light photography, create portraits with beautiful bokeh, get more intimate landscape shots, and even take on things like street photography.
That makes the 35mm lens a versatile option, too.
In fact, you'll likely find that it becomes your default lens, the one that's attached to your camera when you pull it out of your camera bag.
A Good External Flash
I don't need to tell you that the built-in flash on your Nikon isn't all that. It's not good on any camera!
So, if you're looking for must-have accessories for your Nikon camera, add a solid hot-shoe-mounted flash to your list.
For starters, flashes like the Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 have a head that can tilt and swivel to adapt to your lighting needs. That tilting and swiveling action also allows you to change the quality and intensity of the light that falls on your subject.
What's more, you can use an external flash to bounce light off a wall or ceiling, for a softer, more even look that's impossible to get with your camera's built-in flash, as seen in the image below.
But there's versatility in how you use a flash like the Metz Macablitz as well...
Take it off your hot-shoe mount and fire it remotely.
Add a radio trigger, and you can get an improved range for remote firing, giving you much more leeway regarding how you light your photos.
Wrapping It Up
This is by no means a comprehensive list of every accessory you can get for your Nikon camera, but these are some of the very best, in my humble opinion anyway.
Taking a better photo is all about being prepared, and one way to be prepared is to have a kit that helps you improve composition and exposure, expands your creative boundaries, and makes taking photos an easier and more streamlined experience.
The accessories on this list will help you do just that!
Take one look at the variety of camera bags available to photographers today, and you'll find all sorts of options.
From backpacks to roller bags to messenger bags and everything in between, it's not like we're lacking for choice.
One of the most popular types of bags today is the messenger bag, and for good reason.
Of course, even within that segment of the market, there's tons of choice.
In this guide, I outline a few crucial considerations to make when looking for a messenger bag using the 4V Design SIMO Messenger Bag as an example.
Is It Versatile?
One thing to think about when buying a camera messenger bag is if it's versatile to fit a number of needs.
On the one hand, you want something that can help you carry your gear comfortably while protecting your camera, lenses, and other accessories at the same time.
On the other hand, you also want something that can serve other purposes, too, like everyday use.
The Simo Messenger Bag does just that.
The bag has a removable photo insert that changes the bag from a photo-specific carryall to a bag you can use to carry personal belongings on a weekend trip or use as a briefcase for your commute to work.
But when the photo insert is in the bag, it provides you with a padded, organized space to keep your gear safe and sound as you travel from one shot to the next.
That's precisely the kind of versatility you want!
Speaking of Camera Inserts...
A key component of any camera bag should be an ability to organize your gear in a way that makes it easy for you to see and access.
With four dividers to separate camera bodies and lenses, the SIMO Messenger Bag's insert gives you precisely the organization you crave.
The insert will accommodate two mirrorless cameras and lenses or a large DSLR camera and two lenses.
Beyond that, the insert also has pockets on the front, rear, and sides for easy storage of camera accessories like memory cards and extra batteries.
In other words, even if you aren't the most organized person in the world, the camera insert in this bag will get you organized with each piece of your kit stowed securely in its own little padded space.
Is it Accessible?
When it comes to camera messenger bags, some photographers assume that one is just as accessible as the next.
That's not the case, though.
Some bags have a narrow top opening, making it more difficult to see into the bag, let alone put items in it or take items out.
That's why it's necessary to inspect the level of accessibility of a messenger bag before you commit to buy.
The SIMO Messenger Bag has two leather flaps, that way when they're opened they stay flat in a vertical position against the bag walls.
That gives you a wide berth for getting gear in and out of the bag...
Additionally, the top flap can be folded onto the back of the bag, giving you even easier access to all the interior compartments.
What's the point of having a camera bag if you can't get into it easily?!
What Else Can You Carry?
I noted earlier that versatility is an important virtue in a camera bag.
So too is having enough space inside the bag to carry something other than your camera and lenses.
In the case of the SIMO, two large inner pockets are available to carry anything from valuable items like your smartphone to documents to a laptop.
In fact, one of the pockets is padded and large enough for a 12-inch laptop, meaning you can easily bring your post-processing tools along with you when you head out to shoot.
And where lesser bags might offer you space, something you don't get is thoughtful details like YKK spiral anti-scratch zippers...but the SIMO bag does.
One of the interior pockets has these zippers.
That gives you peace of mind that the valuables you put in there won't get scuffed up on the way in or out.
How's the Strap?
The strap on a messenger bag is probably the single most important feature.
Because you only have the luxury of one strap, all the weight you're carrying is borne by one shoulder.
That means that an exceptional strap is needed so you can carry that load in ultimate comfort.
The SIMO bag has a top-of-the-line strap that's purpose-built for performance and comfort, just like 4V Design's impeccable camera straps.
It's ergonomically cut so that it adapts perfectly to the contours of your shoulder, no matter which shoulder it's being carried on.
The strap is also highly adjustable to adapt to a wide range of heights. Carry it across your shoulder or your chest, too, with lengths that range from 41 inches up to 53.5 inches.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg...
The Simo bag's strap has a roller buckle attachment on one end.
That means you can add accessories like lens pouches to the strap for even more versatility and convenience.
Even the way that the strap is attached to the bag is innovative.
Using two large, custom rivets and 40mm D rings, the strap and bag are joined together for a safe, secure method of carrying the weight of your gear.
The angle of the strap attachment also helps distribute that weight for a more comfortable carrying experience.
When it comes to the shoulder pad, you want a bag with a pad that allows you to comfortably carry your gear.
The SIMO bag not only has rich padding to soften the load you're carrying, but it also has Ultra-Grip Technology to keep it in place on your shoulder.
What's more, Ultra-Grip Technology is waterproof and washable so that you can carry your bag with confidence, even in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
In other words, the SIMO Messenger Bag might just be the ideal camera bag.
After all, it's got all the features you want in terms of versatility, carrying capacity, versatility, and comfort.
Believe me, as someone that owns a 4V Design bag, I can tell you firsthand that it will be one of your favorite camera accessories hands down!
I know what you're thinking...
Photography is far too complex of a pursuit to make it easy in just one tutorial.
And to a large extent, that sentiment is correct.
It takes years to perfect the knowledge and skills it takes to create gorgeous photos.
However, you can work to make that process one that's simpler, more productive, and as a consequence, easier as well.
There are probably a thousand and one ways to make photography easier, but if you ask me, the three tips I outline below are among the best.
Get a Better Camera Strap
Tell me if this sounds familiar...
You go out shooting with your new camera, with its thin, flimsy shoulder strap and all.
After a while, that shoulder strap starts to cut into your shoulder, so you switch it to the other side.
Then, after a bit more time, that shoulder gets sick of bearing the weight of your camera, too.
Out of shoulders, you resort to carrying your camera around your neck so it gets to experience the pain and fatigue of that flimsy strap.
Eventually, tired and in pain, you just give up whether you got the shots you want or not.
That was me when I was a beginner photographer because I didn't understand that better options existed...
Take a look at the strap above and tell me that you don't see a massive difference between it and the factory strap that came with your camera.
This one, the Versis SL Kit by 4V Design, was built with your comfort in mind.
The ergonomic pad isn't just incredibly soft against your shoulder with thick memory foam padding, but it's also positionable on your left or right shoulder depending on how you shoot. The lining of the pad grip ensures it stays put on your shoulder as well.
Additionally, the Versis has a "short" and "long" mode to adapt perfectly to your body so that your camera is right at your fingertips.
It gives you flexibility in terms of how you carry your gear, too.
With two connection options - one safety hook to connect to the bottom of the camera and another to connect to the strap connector - you can customize how the strap operates and feels.
Both connectors are made of high-performance 25mm polyamide bands and Tuscany leather, so you know they're durable (and they look incredible too!).
Better yet, you can add optional accessories to carry two or even three cameras in total comfort.
Looking at the GIF above, you can see how the Versis SL system works to give you easy access to your cameras while keeping them close to you for safety at the same time.
That's a great combination if you ask me!
- Find a Better Camera Strap for Your Camera
- The Trick to Selecting the Right Camera Strap
- 3 Items Photographers Need to Upgrade Their Camera
Get a Good Tripod
If you ask a group of photographers what the biggest enemy to a good photo is, a lot of them will tell you camera shake.
Usually, you would associate camera shake with holding the camera in your hand and getting blurry shots as a result of a shutter speed that's too slow.
But your images can also suffer from camera shake if you mount your camera on a less-than-ideal tripod.
Think about it - if you put your camera and lens on a flimsy tripod, you aren't giving your camera the stable base it needs to get a sharp photo.
In that regard, having a cheap tripod is essentially pointless if it can't hold your camera steady.
That's why a good, solid tripod is a great investment.
Take the Sirui N-2004KX Aluminum Tripod as an ideal example.
With thick, solid legs, it has plenty of heft to support more than 33 pounds of camera gear.
But don't think that means it weighs a ton. At just 4 pounds, it's not like you'll feel as though you're carrying a ton of weight.
The N-2004KX features three leg angle positions so you can adapt it to uneven terrain, a built-in monopod for occasions when you don't need to fold out the full tripod, and retractable spiked feet that ensure it stays put when you're shooting outdoors.
This tripod also has a center column that can be inverted for better positioning for low-angle shots.
Add legs that fold up to 180-degrees for easier carrying, automatic leg locks to speed up the setup process, and a hook to hang a weight bag for added stability, and you have the makings of a tripod that will provide your camera with a rock-solid base for getting tack-sharp photos.
- Find a Better Tripod for Your Camera
- How to Choose a Tripod for Landscape Photography
- This is the Most Underrated Camera Gear You Own
Learn Advanced Camera Modes
If you combine some advanced camera skills with better gear that helps you work more efficiently and helps your camera perform at itsbest, there's nothing stopping you from making photography much easier.
That isn't to say that you have to start shooting in manual mode right this minute, either...
These semi-automatic modes give you more control over what's happening in the camera, and that means two very important things:
- You learn how to use your camera and manipulate controls like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. That knowledge is power!
- You become less dependent on the camera to make decisions about what settings should be used.
So, tackling your camera's advanced shooting modes will not only be an educational experience, but it will allow you to make more informed decisions that result in improved photos. Get a detailed overview of these advanced shooting modes in the video above by Spyros Heniadis.
In the end, becoming a better photographer is about challenging yourself, learning new techniques, and being equipped with the kind of gear that makes better photos possible.
If you can do those three things, you'll be in good shape to be a better photographer!
If you've had a DSLR for any amount of time, you've likely realized a few things.
First, there's a lot to learn about how to use your camera.
Second, there's a ton of accessories out there that you can purchase to expand your camera's capabilities in an effort to capture better photos.
In both regards, things can get a little overwhelming...
But man, is it exciting!
On the one hand, learning how to use your DSLR to its fullest extent is awesome because the result of your hard work is (hopefully) images that are wall-worthy.
But like most artists, photographers are usually in pursuit of a better photo, no matter how great their last one was.
That's where all the accessories come in.
I wouldn't say that I have Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), but I do enjoy the hunt for the next gadget or doo-dad that I can try with my DSLR.
In that spirit, I've compiled a list of a few items that I certainly enjoy, and I think you'll enjoy too.
Alpine Labs Spark
If you're looking for a do-it-all camera remote, Spark by Alpine Labs is it.
Spark is that tiny gadget on top of the camera in the image above. But don't let its small stature fool you - this is one powerful remote!
Use it as a wired trigger, an infrared remote, or as a wireless trigger using the Spark smartphone app.
That means you can take long exposures, selfies and group photos, and even real-time and time-lapse videos, all with the same remote.
If the 30-foot infrared range isn't enough, simply switch to using the smartphone app, and you can control Spark from up to 100 feet away using Bluetooth connectivity.
Even better, if your phone runs out of juice, you can use Spark on its own to program time-lapse intervals!
Sirui W-2204 Waterproof Carbon Fiber Tripod
Obviously, a tripod is an essential component of your DSLR swag bag.
Like a lot of other camera gear, you certainly get what you pay for when you buy a tripod.
I'll admit, I gave some cheap tripods a try, and as you can imagine, I went through them one after the other because they always broke.
Then I got my hands on the Sirui W-2204 tripod, and I haven't bought another one since.
Not only is this thing waterproof (which is great for my long exposure adventures at the beach) but it's built like a tank.
But that high-quality construction doesn't mean that the tripod is heavy. You get something that's durable and lightweight (and easy to setup and take down, too).
It's also versatile - remove one of the legs, attach it to the center column, and you have yourself a monopod. It can even hold up to 40 pounds - more than enough for my DSLR and a big lens.
As much as you need a full-sized tripod, sometimes you'll encounter a situation in which you can't use a full-sized tripod, or you might simply want to travel lean and mean and leave your tripod at home.
That's where HandlePod comes in.
This versatile accessory gives you all sorts of options for supporting your DSLR.
You can mount your camera to it and use it as a tabletop quadpod.
You can also hold HandlePod in your hand with your DSLR attached and use it as a handle for taking stills and videos that have reduced camera shake. Press it against a solid object like a tree trunk, and you can get more stable photos as well.
And the best part?
As seen in the image above, you can also lash HandlePod to a stationary object, allowing you to take group photos or selfies without worry that your camera will tip over or fall off.
It's small too - small enough to fit in your pocket - so it is certainly easy to carry around.
4V Design Piuma QR Camera Strap
I find a lot of my colleagues invest a ton of money in their cameras, lenses, and other accessories, but then still carry their camera around on the cheap, uncomfortable strap that came with the camera.
The Piuma QR camera strap is incredibly soft, amazingly comfortable, and light as a feather.
The strap has a unique shape that allows you to comfortably carry your DSLR over the shoulder, around your neck, or across your chest. And if you're a tall person (like me) or short, with dual length adjustments, the strap will fit you like a glove.
Better still, the Piuma QR strap has a quick release camera attachment so you can quickly and easily remove it from your camera. That comes in handy when you mount your camera on a tripod and don't want your strap flapping around in the wind.
Add to that a memory foam pad, high grip technology that keeps it from slipping on your shoulder or neck, and stunning aesthetics, this is the camera strap you need for your DSLR.
Formatt-Hitech Colby Brown Signature Edition Landscape Photography Filter Kit
If you're a landscape photographer, a solid set of filters is as much of a must-have as a good lens.
There's plenty of obstacles landscape photographers face, from uneven exposure from the sky to the landscape, not being able to use long shutter speeds in the daytime, and sunset photos that just aren't quite right from an exposure perspective.
The Colby Brown Signature Edition Landscape Photography Filter Kit helps you address all those problems...
The included Firecrest 6-Stop ND filter allows you to take long exposures even during the daytime.
The Firecrest ND soft edge grad filter brings the dynamic range of landscapes into a more acceptable region by darkening bright skies and leaving the landscape unfiltered.
The ND reverse grad helps you perfect sunrise and sunset photos by evening out the exposure with the darkest filtration in the middle of the filter, right where the rising or setting sun would be.
The kit comes with all the hardware you need too, including a Firecrest 100mm filter holder, step rings, and an 82mm rotating adapter ring. That makes this an all-in-one filter kit for DSLR shooters.
Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Backpack
Of course, you need something to carry your DSLR, and Vanguard camera bags are among the best.
Pictured above is the Vanguard Alta Sky 51D, a camera backpack that's purpose-built for the DSLR shooter on the go.
Not only can you carry your gear in comfort with an ergonomic Air System back, but the Alta Sky 51D also gives you plenty of support with a harness and waistbelt that helps spread the load out across your chest and hips.
There are multiple entry-points into the bag as well, so you can grab your gear from the back, side, or top - whatever is easiest at the moment.
You don't have to dig around looking for your gear either. As you can see above, the interior compartment is beautifully organized, and with that bright yellow interior, you won't be lacking for an ability to see what's inside, either.
Carry one or two DSLRs with the lenses attached, a few lenses, memory cards, batteries, a camera remote...you get the picture. It's a bag that can fulfill all your carrying needs!
Yongnuo YN560 IV Wireless Speedlight
As DSLR accessories go, you can't get much more bang for your buck than this flash.
It's smart to be leery of off-brand accessories because the chances are good that they just won't be up to snuff and you'll be replacing them sooner rather than later.
However, that's simply not the case with the Yongnuo YN560.
This is the latest in a long line of Yongnuo flashes that have a solid reputation for build and performance.
For about $70.00, you get performance from the flash that's similar to name-brand flashes that cost three or four times as much.
It supports wireless master functions and can perform as a wireless slave as well. It's even got a multiple trigger synchronous mode so you can fire multiple flashes at the same time.
If you're on a budget - heck, even if you aren't - this flash will serve you well without breaking the bank.
Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 Memory Card
When it comes to memory cards, you want something with plenty of storage space, but you also want something that has a fast read/write speed.
The Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB memory card certainly fits the bill on both fronts...
With a read transfer speed up to 2000x - or 300MB per second - you'll be able to transfer your images in record time.
It comes with an SD UHS-II reader as well, so high-speed file transfers from the card to your computer can be done quickly.
You'll have plenty of space for your stills, HD videos, and 4K videos too with 65GB of space.
It even comes with image rescue software should something go awry.
That's a lot of features packed into a tiny package!
WD 1TB My Passport External Hard Drive
Part of your image storage and organization should include an external hard drive, and it's tough to beat the WD 1TB My Passport.
It's certainly got the space, and with a 4-inch form factor, it doesn't take up much room either.
That means if you use your DSLR at home or on the road, you have a huge amount of storage space right at your fingertips.
The hard drive has password protection and hardware encryption to keep your images safe, and with a WD backup option, you can back up your images to Dropbox for even more security.
Transferring files is easy and fast too, with USB 3.0 connectivity.
You get peace of mind with a 3-year limited warranty as well!
Delkin Devices SensorScope DSLR Camera Sensor Cleaning System
There's no point in buying all the accessories above if you don't keep your DSLR's sensor nice and clean to produce the best possible images.
What makes Delkin Devices' kit so good is that it comes with a scope that allows you to get a good view inside your camera for easier cleaning.
With three different sizes of swabs, you have flexibility in terms of what you use to clean the sensor. There's even a Sensor Pen that has a retractable cleaning brush and a dry cleaning element.
The kit also includes a tiny vacuum with a static-free brush tip to get big chunks of debris and suction it away.
In other words, this kit has everything you need to do some sensor housecleaning in a quick, efficient, and safe manner.
Bonus Item: Lightbox Photography Cards
A list of the best items for your DSLR wouldn't be complete without a tool that brings something to the table that other accessories can't: inspiration.
I know I get in a rut sometimes, and when my creative juices need a boost, the first place I turn to is Lightbox Photography Cards.
This set of 52 cards by award-winning photographer Paul Michael Kane has a photography idea for every week of the year.
Not only does that help give you idea after idea for your photos, but it also encourages you to grab your DSLR and get out there to shoot.
Just pick a card, read the challenge, grab the necessary gear, and you're all set to explore creative photography like never before.
These challenges are easy, straightforward, and fun, too!
I know what you're thinking...
Camera straps aren't that big of a deal, so why have an article that outlines how to choose one?
Well, if you've carried your camera around all day long with the original camera strap, you understand that there's a lot to be said for upgrading to something better.
Factory camera straps aren't meant to be anything special, which is why it seems that so many people think that one camera strap is just as good as the rest.
But once you experience the joy of an aftermarket strap that's designed for comfort, safety, and security, your view of camera straps will change - fast.
So, with that in mind, let's take a look at five essential questions you need to ask yourself when choosing the best camera strap for your needs.
What is It Made Of?
The materials used to make a camera strap are important for a variety of reasons - comfort, aesthetics, and, of course, durability.
For me, there is no better material for a camera strap than leather.
Not only does leather conform to the contours of your shoulder over time, but it's also incredibly durable.
That means that a leather camera strap, like the ALA TOP by 4V Design pictured above, will last you for years and years and will be something that you can move from your current camera to your next.
In fact, this and other 4V straps are not only for mirrorless cameras but also for DSLRs.
The soft and rich padding makes them very comfortable for heavier cameras like a large Hasselblad H system, even if the strap is relatively narrow. There's no need to go too wide to have a nice weight distribution if the padding is right!
The durability of 4V Design's straps isn't just great from a wear and tear perspective, but it's also nice from a budget point of view.
Sure, leather is a bit more expensive up front, but because materials like the vegetable tanned Tuscany leather used to make the strap shown above will stand the test of time, it's a smart choice to make an investment that will last for years, not for months like many cheap straps.
How is the Padding?
Naturally, when buying a camera strap, you don't just want something that's durable, but you want something that's comfortable as well.
Again, leather delivers on this front.
As I noted earlier, over time, the leather will conform to your body, giving it a fits-like-a-glove fit that will make carrying your camera a veritable breeze.
When inspecting potential camera straps, look hard at the padding, in particular, as that will tell you about the comfort level the strap can offer you.
In looking at the image above, you can see the full leather padding that offers plenty of support.
Actually, the padding consists of special close-cell memory foam for maximum comfort and adaptability.
Close-cells are great because they don't absorb humidity, which is very important for leather. It also offers all the support you need for long days of shooting - even if you're carrying quite the load.
The ALA and ALA TOP models from 4V Design feature long padding to protect the collarbone, chest, and back. It's perfect when carrying your camera across your chest. In fact, no other strap has such long padding!
What's more, premium camera straps like the ALA TOP features 4V Ultra-Grip technology, which means the strap doesn't just deliver a soft and tactile experience, but it is also sure to stay put on your shoulder.
That means your camera won't be sliding off your shoulder and won't rub your skin raw.
The ALA TOP even has a pre-curved cut to give it an ultra-comfortable fit that naturally conforms to your shoulder.
If you ask me, that's the kind of comfort we all need!
How Does It Connect to Your Camera?
All the durability and comfort in the world won't matter if the camera strap you want isn't compatible with your camera.
That's why when making your choice of camera strap it's necessary to investigate exactly how the strap connects to your camera.
Some straps, like the one shown above, give you two attachment choices: a universal 10mm aramid reinforced band with a Fit Kit or a fixed metal Spring Ring attachment shown above.
Either way, you can rest assured that these connections are solid and stable, offering you the utmost of security and peace of mind knowing that your strap is safely connected to your camera - and will stay that way.
What's more, 4V Design has excellent quick release systems. Their QR system is very unique in that it has the advantage of having no parts left attached to the camera.
That means you get maximum protection for your equipment, and maximum functionality for your mirrorless or DSLR camera as well.
The Piuma QR shown in the images above is the only one that's fully made of leather that has this QR feature. That gives you a strap that's soft and comfortable, and lightweight as well.
And like other straps from 4V Design, the Piuma it versatile with length adjustments (more on that below) and the ability to use it as a neck strap or across your chest. Of course, it's built like a tank too, with unparalleled attention to detail.
What is the Length?
I'm a pretty big guy. My wife is pretty small. That means that the strap that's best for me isn't necessarily the one that's right for her because I need a longer strap to keep my camera at my fingertips than she does.
But more than that, some photo shoots necessitate that I cinch up the strap to keep the camera a little closer to me - like when I'm traveling and don't want it to be flopping around at my side.
That means that you need to have a look at the camera strap's length, not just to ensure it's big (or small) enough for you, but that's it's adjustable to fit differing needs from one day of shooting to the next.
The ALA TOP camera strap gives you precisely that kind of versatility.
With plenty of length to accommodate short and long torsos, it's a one-size-fits-all solution.
Better still, this strap has the length needed to carry your camera around your neck or across your shoulder.
Notice in the image above how the strap has a double length adjustment - one on each end.
That's the kind of versatility you need when looking for an ideal camera strap.
What are the Features?
When you think about camera straps, I imagine that you don't immediately wonder what sort of features they might offer.
But trust me, if you go about things the right way and get a top-quality camera strap, you'll be surprised at just how many features you'll find.
For example, the strap featured in the image above has a folding flap that allows you to fold and shorten the strap.
Simply use the leather flap on the top of the pad to lock the strap ends into a folded position.
This is a great feature for instances in which you need to shoot with your camera mounted on a tripod, but don't want to remove the strap altogether.
Instead, by folding and securing its ends, this strap won't catch the wind like a typical strap would do, allowing you to minimize camera shake to get sharper photos when shooting with a tripod.
Another handy feature to look for is an attachment band, like the one seen in the image above.
This 10mm band is strong and durable, allowing for incredible resistance to wear and tear, and even resists cuts by would-be thieves.
And in the case of the ALA TOP strap, its attachment band features a herringbone design that doesn't just look good but provides improved strength for a much stronger connection. This enables the weight of your camera to be distributed more evenly for better comfort and performance.
As if that's not enough, this attachment band is folded and stitched, making it much more difficult for the band to slip out of its buckle. That means you get a much safer carrying experience than you do with lesser straps.
Lastly, a feature that we all want is a camera strap that looks good.
Sure, a beautiful camera strap isn't going to help you take better photos, but there is something to be said for sporting a strap that can be worn by photographers at weddings and other formal events.
Looking at the image above, you can see the height of camera strap design, with Italian leather construction and rich details like gorgeous stitching and hand-painted details.
When it comes down to it, choosing the right camera strap for your needs really comes down to five things: durability, comfort, compatibility, length, and features.
If you ask me, the ALA TOP camera strap by 4V Design hits all five targets. If you have a camera and you need a high-quality strap that looks great and will give you the utmost in comfort for years to come, I suggest you give the ALA TOP a good, long look.
The great thing about shopping for a photographer is that there is no lack of awesome gear from which to choose.
From camera bags to tripods, camera remotes to photo prints, you can find just about anything for any photographer.
Better still, there's a wide selection of gifts for photographers that come in with a price under $100.
Here's a list of ten of the best photography gifts you can find with a budget of $100.
Vanguard ALTA Rise 43 Sling Bag
For the photographer on your holiday shopping list that wants a versatile bag that can carry a ton of gear, the ALTA Rise 43 Sling Bag should be on your radar.
Built to hold a professional DSLR body, 4-5 lenses, a flash and other photography accessories as well as a tablet or small laptop, this bag has plenty of space for all of your favorite photographer’s necessities.
Carrying the bag is a breeze with its Air System back, padded sling strap, and securing strap to keep the load evenly distributed on the body. The bag is protected with padding all the way around, too, so gear will be safe from bumps and bruises along the way.
When it’s time to take a photo, this bag has quick access with side zippers that make reaching gear incredibly easy. The brightly colored interior further makes for ease of use, as your favorite photographer won’t have to dig around in a dark bag to find what they need. And since it’s a sling bag, it’s quick and easy to take on and off, too.
In short, this bag is feature-rich, comfortable to carry, and priced right at under $100!
Syrp Product Turntable
If you’ve got someone on your holiday list this year that’s got a thing for product photography, there’s no better gift to give them than Syrp’s Product Turntable.
The Product Turntable allows you to automate the process of product photography. Paired with the Syrp Genie Mini, the Product Turntable gives you the ability to rotate products to create incredibly smooth rotating video and even interactive 360-degree images of products, too.
And since you use the Product Turntable with the Genie Mini, that means you can use your smartphone to control the turntable via the Genie Mini app.
The Product Turntable comes with all sorts of goodies, too, including an 8-inch turntable platform, black and white cardboard background disks, and a downloadable template so you can make your own DIY mounting setup.
If that doesn’t make your loved one a product photography genius, I don’t know what will!
Sirui 3T-35 Aluminum Tabletop Tripod
Available in sleek red, shown above, and black, the Sirui 3T-35 Tabletop Tripod is a perfect gift for photographers in your life that need an ultra-compact, flexible, and portable tripod.
It’s got a center column that can raise the tripod’s height to 13.5 inches tall. And even when extended to that height, the tripod is stable with its large legs providing excellent stability. When it’s time to pack up, the legs fold up for easy storage. For low-angle shots, you can remove the center column and attach the included ball head right to the base.
In other words, this little guy packs a punch, offering you all sorts of options for working with your camera. And at a price under $65, it’s a great buy, too!
Artbeat Studios HD Metal Print
This holiday season, you can give the gift of a stunning HD Metal Print to the photography fans on your list, and do so without spending a huge sum of money, either.
Artbeat Studios offers a wide range of HD Metal Prints for well under $100, but they look like a million bucks.
That's because Artbeat Studios gives you tons of options for customizing the look of the print, from the surface and finish to the type of wall mount and wall hanger.
Their HD Metal Prints have incredible colors that are color checked to color calibrated monitors before printing commences to ensure the best look.
What's more, these prints are heat infused into a specially coated aluminum sheet. The result is a scratch-resistant, UV-resistant, and water-resistant metal print.
That means that for less than $100, you can give the gift of a vibrant, durable, gorgeous metal print that your loved one will cherish for decades to come!
Alpine Labs Pulse
If you have a person to buy for this holiday and they love photography and gadgets, the Alpine Labs Pulse is the gift for them.
Pulse might be a little thing, but it packs a mighty punch as a camera remote on steroids...
Not only does Pulse allow photographers to control their cameras via a smartphone app, but it enables them to take traditional still photos, long exposures, real-time videos, and time-lapse videos.
And Pulse does all that by sitting on the camera's hot-shoe mount and plugging into the camera's USB port!
Using Bluetooth, Pulse talks to smartphones and delivers the ability to change exposure settings, start and stop video, review thumbnails and histograms, and so much more.
But the best part is that once Pulse has its commands, your phone doesn't have to stay connected - Pulse will take it from there.
Canon 50mm f/1.8 II EF Mount Lens
Ask any experienced photographer, and they'll likely tell you that the first lens new photographers should buy is a "Nifty Fifty."
If you're shopping for a Canon shooter this year, give them a great little lens in the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II.
With a large maximum aperture of f/1.8, this lens offers excellent low-light performance. It's sharp lens as well, producing clear, bright, detailed images.
At 50mm, this is an ideal normal lens on a full frame camera and a short telephoto lens on a crop sensor camera, so no matter which system your loved one uses, they'll find all sorts of uses for this lens.
It's also super lightweight - coming in at just 4.6 ounces - so it won't make your favorite photographer feel like they're carrying around a tank!
And if you by pre-owned, you can get a great deal, too!
Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Circular Polarizing Filter
For landscape photographers, the number one filter to use is a polarizer.
That's because it's so versatile and offers photographers so many benefits.
That includes reducing glare off of shiny surfaces like water and helping to reduce atmospheric haze for landscape photos that are clear and crisp.
Polarizers also boost the contrast in the sky, deepening the color of the sky and making clouds appear whiter for more visual impact.
One of the best polarizers around is the Formatt-Hitech Circular Polarizing Filter shown above.
It has a Formatt-Hitech's superb Firecrest anti-reflective multi-coating, so the images your loved one takes will have gorgeous color fidelity and contrast.
The filter glass is housed in a precision-milled SuperSlim or UltraSlim mount, too, meaning they stay out of the way of the lens to do its job.
If you have a loved one that loves landscape photography, this is the filter to get them!
4V Design Ergo Wrist Strap
If you have a photographer on your holiday list that likes to shoot lean and mean, a wrist strap for carrying their camera is an ideal gift.
But not all wrist straps are made alike...
Give them the gift of a highly functional and durable strap that also looks incredible by giving them the 4V Design Ergo Wrist strap.
It's got a unique curved design with inner padding that helps distribute the weight and pressure of the camera more evenly around the wrist. The special way that the strap is cut also helps prevent the strap from sliding off, too.
It's length adjustable to accommodate various sized wrists and has a reinforced, stitched, and folded attachment end for additional safety.
This thing even has hand-painted edges for a custom look that's sure to knock the socks off of your loved one when they open it.
Sirui Mobile Phone Lens
Sirui has built a reputation for making some of the best tripods in the world, and now they've expanded their product line into the mobile phone market.
That means that for this holiday season, you can surprise that photography lover on your list with one of Sirui's mobile phone lenses.
With three different lenses to choose from - a portrait lens, a wide-angle/macro combo lens, or a fisheye lens - you can help your loved one create their artistic vision with their mobile phone.
Each lens has a multi-layer anti-reflection coating that allows for high light transmission. What's more, they produce images that have precise color rendition, reduced vignetting, and minimal distortion for a 4K professional image quality.
They're easy to mount, too, as they attach to a mobile phone case or lens mount adapter (sold separately).
Sew Trendy Elsa Crown
If you have a photographer on your list that works with young ladies (or if you have a young lady to buy for), you might consider the Sew Trendy Elsa Crown as a top choice this holiday season.
This stunning, free-flowing crown is adorned with acrylic crystals that give it all sorts of sparkle.
It can be worn for various occasions, from holiday-themed photo shoots to princess parties.
At approximately 6-inches in diameter, it's large enough to command attention but not so large that it's weighty or overwhelming for a young lady to wear.
Looking at the image above, you can see just how gorgeous this crown is!
Shopping for photographers can be a tough task during the holidays for a couple of reasons.
First, by and large, photography gear is expensive.
Second, there's just a ton of great gear out there, so it can be hard to decide what the photographer in your life might want the most.
We're here to help, with this list of 10 of the best photography gifts for less than $150.
Vanguard VEO 2 235AB Tripod
Many photographers need a lightweight, super portable tripod for taking photos on the go. If you have one such photographer to buy for this Christmas, you should consider giving them the Vanguard VEO 2 235AB tripod.
This tripod is made of magnesium and aircraft aluminum alloy, so it weighs a mere 3.1 pounds, but it can hold a load up to 13.2 pounds. What’s more, with 5 leg sections, it can extend to a height of 57.1 inches for easy eye-level shooting. Each leg can be positioned at three different angles to accommodate uneven terrain, too.
Its advanced Twist Lock system allows for fast and rock-solid setup of the tripod in mere seconds so there’s less of a chance of missing critical shots. It also has a dedicated suspension loop for adding ballast for additional stability in windy conditions. Paired with its angled rubber feet, this tripod has tons of stability-enhancing features.
And even though this tripod is priced below $150, it comes with a multi-action ball head with knobs for locking, panning, and friction control. That makes this tripod an even better deal!
4V Design SELLA Neck Strap
Those flimsy neck straps that come with cameras are just about the worst feature of modern-day camera systems. Fortunately for the photographer in your life, you can help them upgrade their strap to something that’s out of this world.
This holiday, consider the 4V Design SELLA Neck Strap as the ideal gift for the photographer on your list. These professional leather straps are made of Tuscany leather, meaning they’re not only rich, supple, and comfortable on the neck, but they’re also incredibly beautiful, too.
The Slow-Memory foam padding and the Ultra Grip technology on the strap means it will conform to your loved one’s neck and won’t slip, either. And with 32cm of length range, it’s adjustable to fit any size of body. That makes for a comfortable and a safe carrying experience!
Speaking of safe, the military standard polyamide camera attachment and metal buckles ensure durability for decades of use. But don’t think that this strap is strictly utilitarian - the hand-painted detailing on the strap gives it a touch of customization and class.
If you’re after a gift that’s sure to wow, consider giving the gift of a 4V Design SELLA Neck Strap!
Sirui A-1005 Aluminum Tripod
A great introductory tripod, the Sirui A-1005 model offers an incredible number of features for the price.
It has a center column that raises for extra height and can be inverted to get extra low, that way the photographer on your holiday list can get a different perspective on the subject being photographed.
If you need to be a little more mobile to follow your subject, you can even detach one of the tripod’s legs and use it as a monopod.
But that’s not the only convenient feature your loved one will enjoy - the legs fold up 180-degrees to make it extra compact for storage and carrying, and each leg has an automatic angle lock mechanism for quick and easy setup.
No matter if the photographer in your life enjoys portraits, landscapes, street scenes, or something in between, the Sirui A-1005 will help them get better shots.
Sew Trendy Emerlie Gown
Sthefanie Souza Photography
If you have an expecting mom on your holiday list this year, don’t just focus on getting her gifts for her baby. Give her gifts for her, too!
A wonderful option is the Emerlie Gown by Sew Trendy.
This gorgeous gown has a slim fit cut that shows off her body’s curves and highlights her baby bump, and cascades to the floor for a look that’s not just elegant, but is also a touch romantic, too.
That makes the Emerlie Gown a perfect idea for a maternity photo shoot. It’s soft and comfortable, form-fitting and flattering, and tailored for a custom look. She can even wear it as a non-maternity gown as well!
CanvasHQ 36x24 Canvas Print
If you really want to make a statement with a gift that has true wow factor, a 36x24 canvas print should do the trick!
For the best canvases, you can’t go wrong with CanvasHQ, an experienced printer with a commitment to creating top-quality products. Trust me - I have a number of CanvasHQ prints in my home!
This 36x24 canvas is a great size for a showcase piece on the wall of your loved one’s home. The .75-inch thickness offers just enough depth on the sides of the canvas to give it a little separation from the wall, but without distracting the eye from the gorgeous print. You can even have the canvas placed in a frame later on if you wish, making it a flexible option to meet your gift-buying needs.
And don’t think that ordering a print of this size is a tough process, either. With CanvasHQ, you get free digital proofs so you’re sure that the image meets your wishes. And even if the proofs don’t turn out how you’d expected, no worries! CanvasHQ will make minor tweaks to help you achieve your artistic vision.
Even better, since CanvasHQ is a small, family-owned business, they’re at-the-ready to help make your experience one that you’ll rave about to your friends and family. Call, write, or hit up the live chat with questions or concerns, and a real, live CanvasHQ employee will help you out!
Wolverine Data F2D Titan 8-in-1 High Definition Film to Digital Converter
A question that a lot of photographers have on their minds is, “What can I do with my old 35mm negatives and slides?” If you have one such photographer in the family, think about getting them the ultimate photography gift this holiday season - the Wolverine Data F2D Titan.
This bad boy allows you to convert your old 35mm/127/126 & 110 negatives, slides, 8mm and Super 8 movies into 20-megapixel digital images in mere seconds. Literally - you push a button, and the Titan does the rest without the need for any additional software or even a computer!
Each scanned image is saved to the Titan’s internal memory, or you can opt to save them straight to an SD/SDHC memory card. You can transfer the images to your Mac or PC for storage or editing, or if you want to quickly view the images, you can hook the Titan up to your TV to watch a slideshow (TV cable not included).
In other words, this is an ideal gift for photographers that have a ton of old negatives, or even a friend or family member that’s been hanging onto their old memories, but unable to do much with them. Give them the gift of organizing their photos and being able to enjoy their old memories quickly and easily too!
Sew Trendy Miriam Gown
Iga Logan Photography
A holiday gift that has an elegance about it with a soft, luxurious touch is the Sew Trendy Miriam Gown.
Surprise the mom-to-be in your life with this handcrafted gown, designed to be comfortable, versatile, and look great, too. The dress comes with various options, including a front center split, a side split to show a little more leg or a no-split option for additional coverage. And with a straight top and off the shoulder long sleeves, it’s the perfect gown for gatherings, events, and photo shoots for expecting moms.
The heavy knit material is both flattering and comfortable and has a soft flow to it that adds a bit of whimsy without feeling heavy or in the way. And with non-maternity options available, it’s a great idea for the ladies on your holiday list that aren’t expecting at the moment either!
Microsoft Surface Dial
If you're looking for a gift for a photographer that'll help them with their daily workflow on their Surface Book, Laptop, Studio, or another Surface device, consider a Microsoft Surface Dial.
The Dial is a totally new way of interacting with a computer because it allows you to store, access, navigate, and customize the process of working to suit your specific needs.
That's something your favorite photographer is sure to appreciate!
It's easier to control a Surface machine, get in and out of menus, turn music up or down, and access shortcuts.
It's even compatible with creative software so tasks like drawing, sketching, and editing photos become a total breeze!
Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Circular Graduated Neutral Density Filter
One of the most important filters for landscape photographers is a graduated neutral density filter.
Graduated neutral density filters (like the one above) give landscape photographers the ability to darken bright skies to bring down the dynamic range for an improved exposure.
In other words, it helps balance out the brightness of the sky and the darkness of the foreground for a final image that has a much better exposure from top to bottom.
Formatt-Hitech makes some of the best filters in the business - their graduated neutral density filters have Firecrest rare earth metal coatings to help generate hyper neutral results with no color casts.
In other words, if the photographer on your list complains about sub par results when they're photographing landscapes, this will help them elevate their game!
Learn more about the Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Circular Neutral Density Soft Edge Grad Filter.
Vanguard UP-RISE II 45
One of the problems that photographers face is being able to carry all the gear they need, but do so in a way that's comfortable for them and keeps their gear organized and easily accessible.
To solve that problem, get your photography holiday shopping done with the Vanguard UP-RISE II 45.
This backpack will hold a pro-level DSLR, 4-5 lenses, a flash, camera accessories like batteries and memory cards, and a tripod.
It's got a quick-action side access panel that will give your favorite photographer access to his or her gear in mere seconds.
With an ergonomic air system back and harness, they'll be comfortable carrying all that gear, too.
It's even got an integrated rain cover, so if the weather goes south, their gear will remain protected.
If the photographer on your list loves adventure, get them outfitted with this bag this holiday season!
As expensive as photography can be, you might think that a $500 budget for your gift buying this Christmas won't get you much.
However, nothing could be further from the truth...
Whether you're buying for a novice photographer or a professional, there are plenty of excellent photography products and gadgets for less than $500 that will have them smiling from ear to ear.
Vanguard ALTA Fly 62T Trolley Bag
For enthusiast and professional photographers on your holiday list that need a rock-solid travel camera bag, the Vanguard ALTA Fly 62T is a top choice.
This thing can hold 2-3 DSLRs, 7-11 lenses, camera accessories or a drone, a 17-inch laptop, a tablet, and a tripod. So, in a word, this bag is big!
But just because it’s a big bag doesn’t mean it’s hard to handle. With two integrated wheels and an optimal balance tripod carrying system, your favorite photographer can easily maneuver this bag without feeling bogged down. And when they reach their destination, they’ll appreciate the 3 Security Point System that keeps their gear safe from prying hands, as well as the organized layout that keeps all their gear tidy and easy to find.
The ALTA Fly 62T even has a removable interior divider compartment so it can be used as a traditional piece of luggage, too. And since it’s priced at $329.99, you’ll have a big chunk of change left over from your $500 budget!
4V Design LUCA Messenger Bag
If you’re looking for a gift that will wow your photography-loving friend or family member this holiday, the LUCA Messenger Bag is definitely worth a look.
This bag is handmade in Florence, Italy from the best Tuscany leather. The combination of traditional Italian craftsmanship with modern functionality isn’t just impressive from an ease-of-use standpoint, but it also impressive from a visual point of view as well as this bag is quite eye-catching!
The bag is lightweight, yet features tons of space for all manner of photography gear, accommodating a complete large DSLR kit with four lenses or two DSLR kits and two lenses. Heck, it can even accommodate one DSLR kit and one mirrorless kit. That’s excellent versatility for the modern photographer that might have multiple camera systems and want to carry them at the same time.
The large organizer in the front is convenient for storing personal items or additional camera accessories. There’s a padded inner pocket dedicated to storing up to a 12-inch laptop or tablet as well. The camera insert is removable so that you can further customize the space inside the bag for larger items should it be needed for use as a personal travel bag.
With details like anti-scratch spiral zippers to prevent scratching lenses, a rear trolley attachment for easy transport, and a large carry strap with Ultra Grip padding for a comfortable carrying experience, the LUCA bag is a premier choice that’s well made, highly functional, and a dream to carry!
Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-30X Ball Head
A great tripod can become a photographer’s best friend. In fact, it’s probably one of the most underrated pieces of gear that photographers use.
That’s why a solid, well-built tripod and ball head combination is an ideal holiday gift for the photographer on your list. There are few that are on the level of the Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-30X Ball Head combination.
With waterproof legs, ergonomic leg angle logs that allow for quick adjustment, and a split center column that makes swapping between the standard and short columns nice and easy, this tripod is purpose-built for photographers that need to set up and tear down quickly.
The W-2204 is made of lightweight, 10-layer carbon fiber, meaning it’s got incredible strength with reduced vibration sensitivity. It can also support nearly 40 pounds of gear!
Add to that the K-30X ball head, which has separate control knobs for panning and locking, triple bubble levels to aid in getting level shots, and Sirui’s locking mechanism to keep the head in place, and you’ve got the recipe for one heck of a holiday gift for your favorite photographer.
Holdfast Fundy Streetwise Bag
If you've got a photographer on your list that's into fast-paced, close-quarters photography like street photography or travel photography, the Holdfast Fundy Streetwise Bag is a rock-solid gift idea.
This bag allows photographers to keep their gear close by, but does so in a way that's discreet without sacrificing the ability to get into the bag, grab gear, and take a quick shot.
It can be used as a standalone shoulder bag, or it can be paired with Holdfast's MoneyMaker for an even more flexible carrying experience.
The Fundy Streetwise bag has a gorgeous sheepskin interior that keeps gear safe while its waxed canvas exterior offers excellent weather resistance in case the weather turns south.
It has smart features like a removable false bottom for keeping valuables out of sight and a removable insert so it can accommodate various types of gear.
In a word, this bag is awesome!
Artbeat Studios 36x48 HD Metal Print
If you’re looking for a beautiful gift for the photography enthusiast in your life, an HD Metal Print by Artbeat Studios is tough to beat.
These large-format metal prints have incredible colors that make the image pop, giving it life and vitality that’s eye-catching in a way that’s hard for more traditional prints to pull off. Not only that, by heat infusing the photo into a ChomaluxeTM aluminum sheet, you get a scratch-resistant, water-resistant, and UV-resistant print that will retain its gorgeous look for generations.
With a wide variety of metal surfaces and finishes, as well as different wall mount and wall hanger options to tailor the print to your needs and tastes, an HD Metal Print is the custom holiday gift you’ve been looking for, all for a price of $499!
Artbeat Studios 30x40 HD Metal Print
If you want to give your loved one a gorgeous metal print for the holidays, but want something that’s not too small or not too big, a 30x40 HD Metal Print from Artbeat Studios is a fantastic option.
Printing on metal is ideal for just about any kind of photo, but landscapes in particular. As seen above, the specialized printing process that Artbeat Studios uses to print on metal results in spectacular colors and contrast. That’s thanks in part to the different surfaces on which you can have the image printed - white and silver.
A white surface gives the image a vividness that enhances the detail of the shot, making every nook and cranny beautifully visible. That makes it a great choice for portraits and landscapes. But if you prefer, you can opt for a silver surface instead, which makes any whites in the image appear silver. That makes it a perfect choice for black and white photos or images that have a lot of contrast.
You can choose between a glossy or matte finish, wood or metal wall mounts, a wire hanger or a cleat hanger, and so much more. It’s a totally custom gift that your loved ones are sure to love, and it won’t break the bank at just $345!
Today's cameras certainly have excellent photographic capabilities, but more and more of them have excellent video capabilities as well, including 4K video.
But there's not much point in being able to take incredibly sharp and detailed video if you catch match it with sharp, detailed sound, right?
That's why Sound Shark should be on your holiday gift list.
Sound Shark picks up voices in crystal clear beauty, making speakers sound as though they've got a lapel mic on, even when they don't.
In fact, the videographer on your holiday list will be blown away by how much less noise from the sides and the background they get with Sound Shark as compared to a traditional shotgun mic.
That's because Klover Products, which makes sound shark, is the leading supplier of long-range microphones used to televise sporting events.
If their parabolic mic is good enough for the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the NBA Playoffs, it'll be good enough for your favorite videographer, too!
Wolverine Data 8mm and Super 8 Movie Reels to Digital MovieMaker
The 8mm and Super 8 film formats that were so popular decades ago means a lot of us have precious family movies that are just sitting in boxes, rotting away and degrading with every passing day. Rather than letting those memories fade away, get your loved one the gift of saving those old family videos with the Wolverine Data 8mm and Super 8 Movie Reels to Digital MovieMaker.
This device converts your old movies into digital files (without sound) so that you can preserve your family’s heritage for generations to come. It only takes a few simple steps, too!
Just mount the 3 or 5-inch movie reel to the machine, insert a memory card, press a few buttons, and the MovieMaker will scan the film frame-by-frame as it plays. The result is a digital MP4 movie that you can burn to a DVD, upload to YouTube, watch on your laptop, or even edit in a movie editing program or connect it to your TV to immediately watch the digitized videos.
The Digital MovieMaker is a standalone device, too - you don’t need a computer or any software at all. And considering that photo labs charge a hefty price to convert film to digital, this gadget will more than pay for itself!
If you have a loved one that’s a burgeoning photographer, a great camera to get them started is the Nikon D5300.
This camera is small, lightweight, yet packed with powerful features that make it a great learner’s camera, but one that they won’t outgrow quickly, either.
It’s got a sizable 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor for high-resolution images, an ISO range to 12800 for low-light shooting, a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 seconds to capture fast action, and a sophisticated 39-point autofocus system that will help your loved one capture their subjects in sharp focus.
Add in 1080p video recording, 5fps burst shooting capabilities, and a price tag on pre-owned rigs under $500, and you have the makings for one great gift this holiday season that won’t break your budget, either!
Syrp Magic Carpet Carbon Fibre
Time-lapse photography and filmmaking is a tough gig, but having high-quality gear that’s easy to transport will certainly be on your favorite photographer’s wish list this holiday season.
The Magic Carpet Carbon Fibre by Syrp doesn’t just look cool - it’s incredibly functional, too. It’s extendable to virtually any length you can imagine but packs away in two-foot sections for easy storage and transport. For gorgeous long tracking shots, just attach additional interlocking extension sections for a seamless, smooth shot no matter how long the track is.
Perhaps the best part is that since it’s made of carbon fiber, the Magic Carpet is featherlight. In fact, the center track weighs a mere 1.48 pounds and each extension section adds just .84 pounds. It’s even tripod mountable for additional stability!
That makes this rig a perfect choice for photographers and filmmakers that need a lot of bang for the buck, but without sacrificing on weight and ease of use.