National Camera Exchange Photography Articles

Top 10 Gifts for Photographers Under $5,000 - 2018 Edition

gifts for photographers under 5000Image Credit: evgenyatamanenko via iStock

With a budget of $5,000, you can go hog wild on photography gear for the photographer on your list.

Whether they want a camera or a photography trip, a new drone or a new computer, there are tons of options to consider.

Honestly, the hardest part of having a $5,000 budget is simply deciding how you're going to spend it!

Here's our list of the best gifts for photographers under $5,000.


Let’s face it - photography gear can be expensive. Really expensive.

That’s a problem year-round, but when you’re holiday shopping and have tons of gifts to buy, it’s even more difficult to justify getting your loved one the $1,000 lens that they really want.

Fortunately, Lensfinder can help in more ways than one.

On the one hand, you can find great deals on pre-owned camera lenses at Lensfinder. 

That means that you can get a truly top-notch lens for the photographer in your life but do so without busting your budget. It’s a win-win!

On the other hand, if you have some old lenses that you don’t use anymore, you can list them for sale on Lensfinder. When the lens sells, you can use it for holiday spending money for the photographer in your life. 

Image Credit: xxmmxx via iStock

The best part? You can list your lenses for sale for free. 

There’s only a transaction fee (just 3.99%) when the lens sells (with a maximum fee of $500). If your lens doesn’t sell, there’s no charge at all!

And for peace of mind, the Lensfinder platform has advanced fraud filtering for both buyers and sellers as well as mediation services in the event that there’s a problem.

Payments are made and received via PayPal, so you can rest easy knowing that the transaction is safe and secure.

In other words, Lensfinder is the ideal solution for your holiday shopping needs. Either use it to find a loved one a killer lens or use it to sell old gear to pad your pockets for holiday spending!

Learn more about Lensfinder

DJI Inspire 2 Eagle Edition Kit

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Designed especially for prosumers, commercial applications, and business applications, the DJI Inspire 2 Eagle Edition Kit by Drone World represents one of the top drone kits that’s currently available.

The DJI Inspire 2 was already a great drone, but after Drone World’s engineers worked their magic, you truly have a beast of a machine. The new HD Helical Antenna offers four-times better performance, including 720p resolution with minimal latency. That means you get more consistent and reliable video feed performance from the drone. You can see this drone kit in action in the video below:

This kit also comes packed with lens filters that allow you to enhance the images you take with the drone. That includes two dual-stacked neutral density/polarizer filters, a polarizer, and a variable neutral density filter that ranges from ND 2 to ND 64.

And to minimize the time you’re charging your Inspire 2’s batteries, this kit includes a battery hub and charger that charges two items simultaneously. Even better, you can plug four devices into the hub and it will automatically charge the two that have the highest battery percentage so you can get back to flying sooner rather than later.

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Other accessories in the Inspire 2 Eagle Edition Kit include a power bank portable battery charger, a 64GB memory card, a controller sunshade for easier video viewing in bright conditions, and an FPV mini drone, among many other items. That’s not to mention that a hard-sided rolling case is also included with room for the drone, up to 16 batteries, a remote, monitors, lenses, and all the other gear you need to tackle professional drone work.

This drone kit takes what was already a fantastic drone and makes it even better. Between the expertly designed and crafted accessories outlined above and the Inspire 2’s inherent capabilities - up to 5.2K recording, a top speed of 67 mph, a dual-battery system with 27-minute flight time, intelligent flight modes, obstacle avoidance, and other technologically-advanced features - you have the makings of a professional filmmaking drone like no other. See these and other features in the video above.

Learn more about the DJI Inspire 2 Eagle Edition Kit

National Photographic Adventures

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National Photographic Adventures is one of the premier photography tour companies in the world.

Spearheaded by master photographer Kevin Vandivier, a 40-year veteran of photography, National Photographic Adventures will put the photographer on your holiday list in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, providing opportunities to learn and grow as a photographer along the way.

With Kevin's expertise - he's won multiple awards, been published in Life Magazine, National Geographic, and Texas Monthly, and shown his work all over the world - photographers of all skill levels will find a wealth of opportunities to learn from Kevin's experiences.

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Speaking of experiences, National Photographic Adventures specializes in taking participants to unforgettable places.

From Texas Hill Country to Iceland, Monument Valley to Teton National Park, there's no shortage of places for your favorite photographer to experience the beauty of the world with their camera.

Better still, each adventure is limited to just seven people, so each attendee can benefit from one-on-one learning time with Kevin.

From composition to lighting to processing images, photographers on these adventures will learn essential techniques for improving their images.

Each participant's work will also be published in National Photographic Magazine, with several copies given to each attendee for sharing with friends and family.

Taken together, all these benefits make a trip with National Photographic Adventures the ultimate photography gift for 2018! 

Learn more about National Photographic Adventures

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

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If the photographer on your shopping list is a Canon fan, why not upgrade their camera experience with a top-of-the-line Canon EOS 5D Mark IV?

The 5D Mark IV is a workhorse of a camera that offers tons of features for photographers that want to step up their game.

The 30.4-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor captures clean, bright images, and the camera's DIGIC 6+ image processor makes the camera a powerful addition to any photographer's kit that's looking for images that have fine detail and high resolution.

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The 5D Mark IV offers excellent low-light shooting capability with a native ISO range of 100-32000.

For occasions when the ISO really needs to be pushed, the camera is capable of shooting at up to ISO 102400.

Even at higher ISOs, the 5D Mark IV offers low-noise images with excellent sharpness in a variety of shooting conditions.

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Of course, the camera is packed with modern features that any photographer will appreciate.

That includes GPS, Wi-Fi, and NFC, an enhanced autofocus system, a weather-sealed body, and a 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD monitor, among many other amenities.

Any Canon shooter would love to have this camera, and with pre-owned models going for around $2,500, you can make that dream come true for your favorite photographer while saving half of your budget!

Learn more about the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Nikon D850

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I shoot with a Nikon D850, and I can personally attest that this is one of the best cameras on the market today. I can say that because I’ve tested and owned cameras from Sony, Nikon, Pentax, FujiFilm, and other manufacturers over the years. In a word, this camera is incredible, and any professional photographer would love to get this for the holidays this year! 

Perhaps that most impressive feature of the D850 is its sensor, a 45.7-megapixel back-illuminated behemoth that produces jaw-droppingly detailed images.

In fact, no other camera has beaten the Nikon D850 when it comes to image quality testing from DxOMark. The D850’s sensor was the first to achieve a perfect 100/100 score, and only the Sony A7R III has ever matched that mark.

Not only does the sensor produce gorgeously detailed images, but it also offers excellent dynamic range so you get beautiful highlights and shadows without losing detail, even when the lighting conditions would challenge other cameras. The sensor also performs beautifully in low-light situations, offering an unmatched level of noise control, even when pushing the ISO to the limits. 

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The D850 also has a fantastic 153-point autofocus system with 99 cross-type points that gives you the ability to set and maintain focus on a variety of subjects, even those that move quickly, like wildlife. The 7fps burst shooting speed is an excellent feature for capturing action as well, and with an optional battery grip, the burst shooting speed can reach 9fps.

The massive buffer - it can handle 170 12-bit RAW files - is a much-appreciated feature for photographers that need to shoot a lot of photos in rapid fashion as well.

As if all that isn’t enough, the D850 has cutting-edge features that truly make it a one-of-a-kind camera. 

It’s got built-in focus stacking that allows you to combine up to 300 images, a silent shutter mode that’s perfect for things like wedding photography, wireless control via Nikon’s SnapBridge, a tilting touchscreen LCD, a weather-sealed body...the list goes on and on.

Aside from the incredible list of specifications this camera has, it’s just a great camera to use. 

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The beefy grip feels good in your hands, and the layout of the buttons and knobs on the camera has that familiar Nikon feel. That makes it easy to learn where everything is so you can make on-the-fly adjustments without even taking the camera away from your eye.

And for a big, professional camera, it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying around a giant rig. I wouldn’t say that the D850 is lightweight, but it at least feels like it’s a svelte camera, even after carrying it around for a few hours. 

So, the moral of the story here is that if you’ve got a budget of $5,000, the Nikon D850 should get strong consideration as the ideal gift for the photographer on your holiday shopping list.

Best of all, with incredible pricing at Paul’s Photo, you can pick up the D850 for your favorite photographer without even coming close to the $5,000 mark!

Learn more about the Nikon D850

Microsoft Surface Studio

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If you really want to impress the photographer on your holiday shopping list, it's hard to go wrong with the Microsoft Surface Studio.

With a gorgeous 28-inch PixelSense display to delight their eyes, the Surface Studio is a fantastic computer for editing photos.

And since the screen is both tilting and touch-enabled, it's also highly functional for editing photos and other daily tasks of being a photographer.

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Throw in the Surface Pen and Surface dial, and you have the ultimate computing package for photographers.

Plus, since the Surface Studio's giant screen has a Zero Gravity Hinge, it's super simple to adjust - very light pressure on the screen will move it backward or forward as needed.

This particular model has an Intel Core i7 processor for fast computing, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of disk space, so it'll be a fast companion with tons of storage for your favorite photographer for years to come!

Learn more about the Microsoft Surface Studio

Nikon Z7 Mirrorless Full Frame Camera and 24-70mm f/4 S Lens

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Nikon just released the Z7 full frame mirrorless camera to much fanfare, and any professional photographer that you're shopping for this holiday season would no doubt love to have one of these in their camera bag.

For starters, the Z7 has a top-of-the-line 45.7-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor that captures beautifully detailed shots.

Paired with an EXPEED 6 Image Processing Engine, this camera makes quick work of taking photos, even in sub-optimal conditions.

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The 493-point phase-detect autofocus system helps ensure photographers get their subjects in sharp focus, and the built-in 5-axis vibration reduction comes in handy for handheld shooting without worrying as much about camera shake.

Like any modern camera should have, the Z7 also sports ultra high definition 4K video capabilities at 30p.

Whether shooting photos or video, photographers will appreciate the large 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen LCD as well.

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The Nikon Z7 features a 3.6m-dot electronic viewfinder, 9 fps continuous shooting, and a native ISO range of 64-25600.

There's a top panel dot-matrix OLED screen, an XQD card slot, and the Z7 is compatible with current FX lenses (with an adaptor).

In other words, this little full frame mirrorless camera packs a solid punch, and at just under $4,000 from National Camera Exchange, you can give this camera and a new NIKKOR 24-70mm f/4 S lens this year without even coming close to your $5,000 budget!

Learn more about the Nikon Z7 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

eMotimo spectrum ST4 Run & Gun Bundle


For the photographer on your list that's itching to add videography to their repertoire, the eMotimo spectrum ST4 Run & Gun Bundlespectrum ST4 Run & Gun Bundle is a perfect gift with a $5,000 budget.

Included in this bundle are a spectrum ST4 4-axis motion control unit, a eMotimo heavy duty L-bracket for mounting a camera, an eMotimo Fz focus motor, and iFootage Shark Slider with both two-foot and four-foot lengths.

Also included is an iFootage integration kit with the motor of your choice, a uSD card with instructions, an Arca compatible quick release clamp for tilt, and an Arca compatible plate for pan axis.

In other words, this bundle is loaded for bear with all the fixings a photographer needs to create breathtaking cinematic films and time-lapse videos!

Learn more about the eMotimo spectrum ST4 Run & Gun Bundle

Arca-Swiss F-Classic 4x5 View Camera

arca swiss 4.5

For discerning photographers that enjoy working in medium format, it’s tough to beat the Arca-Swiss 4x5.

This is a professional-grade tool that is both easily transported and produces high-quality images.

It’s made specifically for 4x5 medium format film and digital backs made to fit medium format digital camera systems.

It’s a fully modular system, too, with a wide array of accessories for everything from viewing to conversion.

Whether it’s used for film or digital prints, this camera will bring a smile to any photographer’s face!

Best of all, it's well below the $5,000 budget mark, so you can give an awesome gift and save a ton of money, too!

Learn more about the Arca-Swiss F-Classic 4x5 View Camera

Amazon Gift Card

Totally stumped regarding gift ideas for photographers on your list?

Why not go the easy route and get them an Amazon gift card?

Though a gift card isn't exactly the sexiest gift, when the photographer in your family sees that you dropped $5,000 into a few gift cards (there's a $2,000 limit per card), they'll love it just the same.

With an Amazon gift card, they can buy whatever they want - a new lens, a second camera body, lighting gear, a laptop - you name it!

As far as flexibility goes, there's nothing better to give a photographer than a gift card with some serious money loaded onto it!

Learn more about Amazon gift cards

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