- 17-inch printing capability
- Borderless printing
- 30-sheet media input tray
- Calibrated internal light
- 2.4 and 5 GHz Wireless
- 4.3-inch touchscreen panel
- 10-channel print head
- MicroPiezo AMC Print Head that has an ink-repelling coating that prevents clogs
- Windows 10 Pro
- 8-core 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with up to 5.1GHz max boost
- NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 GPU
- 15.6” OLED touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass
- Up to 4TB of SSD storage
- Up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory
- Upgraded backlit keyboard
- 45MP full frame sensor
- DIGIC X Image Processor
- ISO Range of 100-51200, expandable to 102400
- 12 fps burst shooting with the mechanical shutter
- 20fps burst shooting with the electronic shutter
- Dual card slots
- 5.76 million dot OLED EVF
- Vari-angle LCD touchscreen
- 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi
Photo by Marcus Millo via iStock
Each year I buy and test a ton of photography gear. And a lot of that gear is really good stuff that impresses me from moment one.
But a small percentage of that gear falls into the "innovative" or "game-changer" category. It's hard to be on the leading edge, yet the companies on this list have managed to plant themselves firmly at the forefront.
Below is my list of the Best of 2020. Each item on this list is something I have either personally bought or have thoroughly tested for review purposes.
From bags to cameras, filters to monitors, there is something for everyone on this list.
Let's get to it!
Hex Brand Ranger Sling Bag
You might recall that the HEX Ranger Sling Bag was on my Best of 2019 list.
The new-and-improved Version 2 has appeared on this list because, just like its predecessor, it is an absolutely fantastic bag.
I remember when I brought this bag home for the first time just how impressed I was with it in every aspect.
The design of it is spot-on. It's big enough to hold eight liters of gear, but the way it's designed it hugs your body.
So, this means that you get all the room you need for quick photography outings, but in a bag that doesn't flop around or get in the way.
In fact, I've never owned a bag that conforms to my body as well as this one does. It's perfect for running and gunning, street photography, and trips where long hikes are involved.
Additionally, when you look at the stitching of this bag you really see the attention to detail.
It's thoughtfully constructed - and well-constructed too - which makes it a bag that works well for multiple purposes (and will work well for years to come).
Another feature of this bag that's truly a home run is the collapsible interior dividers.
Having these dividers means a couple of important things. First, this bag is incredibly packable. It packs completely flat so you can stash it inside your carry on or another bag with ease.
Second, the collapsible dividers (which includes the bottom divider) mean you can completely customize the interior compartment to meet the needs of each individual photography outing. Not bad, right?
This bag has loads of other features that make it so useful for so many photographers...
There's a hideaway rain fly (shown above) for those drizzly days out shooting and increased padding on the top lid for added protection.
HEX also added more padding to the shoulder pad for added comfort and a double buckle strap that allows for more sizing options.
There are also side adjustable load straps and an adjustable bottom carry straps so you can carry your tripod or other gear if need be.
On the inside, you'll find pockets galore to keep your small items like memory cards neatly organized. Add to that a faux fur-lined pocket for your phone, another faux fur-lined pocket for your tablet, and multiple hidden Velcro stash pockets that are perfect for hiding your credit card or cash.
Back to the exterior, you'll find that it's made of genuine Cordura material for supreme durability. There are genuine YKK zippers with metal pulls as well, so you can rest assured that the bag will withstand years of use.
Between the streamlined design, the impeccable construction, the smart use of space, and the price tag of less than $100, you should be able to understand why this bag took top honors on my Best of 2020 list!
One of my favorite products to come out in 2020 is definitely H&Y's Revoring.
In short, Revoring is a variable step ring. It eliminates the need to have a pile of step rings in your bag and replaces it with one easy-to-use gadget.
But Revoring is so much more than easy-to-use. It is inexpensive, so you can save money. It also saves weight and space in your camera bag. On top of all that, it will help you improve and streamline your workflow. That's not a bad list of benefits if you ask me!
Using Revoring couldn't be easier...
As you can see in the GIF above, you simply twist the mechanism built into the filter to adjust its size. It then locks into place on your lens, allowing you to use different-sized filters with multiple lenses.
Revoring comes in three different variations:
This means, for example, that you can use the same filters with your lens with a 46mm thread as you do with your lens that has a 52mm thread.
But that's not all H&Y had up their sleeve...
They developed another Revoring that has a built-in circular polarizer and a built-in variable ND filter.
This Revoring works just like the other one - just twist the housing to adjust it to the size of your lens, lock it in place, and off you go.
Since it has separate controls for the polarizer and the variable ND filter, you get all the precision control you need to create beautiful images.
This is truly one of the most innovative products to come out in 2020 - if not the previous several years. It can totally change your workflow for the better...I know it has for me!
ViewSonic VP3881 38-Inch Ultra-wide Curved Monitor
I have always used laptops for work simply because I want the mobility of being able to take my work with me when I travel.
So that means I need a larger monitor for my home office, that way I'm not staring at the tiny laptop screen all day.
Earlier this year, I upgraded my home office with a ViewSonic VP3881 38-inch ultra-wide curved monitor, and man, was that ever a good decision!
I had been an LG monitor user for years and years, but I decided to give ViewSonic a try after hearing so many good things about their 38-inch widescreen monitor.
When ViewSonic says the curved widescreen design is an "immersive...curved viewing experience," they aren't kidding.
This thing has impeccable colors, gorgeous detail, and superb sharpness.
The 60Hz SuperClear IPS technology makes the viewing experience incredibly pleasant...even when I'm staring at the monitor all day long.
The monitor has multiple color spaces plus a 4.39-trillion color display. It has 14-bit LUT and 3D LUT capabilities as well. I also appreciate the simple calibration setup, that way I can quickly and easily make sure that the display matches the colors in my images files.
The frameless design means there isn't a huge bezel to look at, which I also appreciate. And with ViewSonic's ViewSplit technology, I can create multiple viewing windows to give my productivity a boost.
Add in U.S-based customer service and a three-year warranty, and you begin to see why I've put this monitor on my Best of 2020 list. It truly is the best monitor I've had the pleasure of using! Get more details about this monitor and how it's impacted my workflow in the video above.
Haida M10 Filter System
The Haida M10 Filter System gets a nod on my Best of 2020 list for a wide range of reasons.
For starters, I've tested my fair share of filter systems over the years, and this one is definitely among the very best.
Right out of the box, this filter system demonstrates how committed Haida is to quality.
The M10 holder itself is super lightweight. As you hold it in your hand, you can tell that despite its light weight it is a durably-constructed piece.
Something else I appreciate about the holder is that it has a felt lining that prevents scratches as you insert and remove filters.
Additionally, there is a quick-release clip for quick and easy removal. Even the clip shows a durability and quality that's above the norm - it has a good degree of tension that prevents you from accidentally knocking it off.
And since this is a drop-in system, it is super functional because you can use round or square filters.
Speaking of the filters, the filters in this kit are impressive.
The kit I have has multiple square and circular filters, including graduated NDs, solid NDs, and a circular polarizer.
With two slots, you can mix and match and stack filters as needed.
The kit is well-designed, easy to use, and its matte black finish with red accents looks killer.
The included filters are well built, too.
Since I'm primarily a landscape photographer, the included polarizer is something that caught my eye from moment one.
Its holder has a seal that prevents light leaks for cleaner shots. There's also a dial on the filter that allows you to rotate the filter in its housing without having to move the filter holder.
Needless to say, this is very handy if you have stacked filters along with the polarizer!
This kit is well put together and super functional. I highly recommend it to my fellow filter snobs!
Learn more about the Haida M10 Filter system
Epson SureColor P900 Printer
A few years ago, I made the switch from Canon printers over to Epson. My first Epson was the SureColor P800.
That printer completely changed how I viewed the quality that a desktop printer could produce.
Don't get me wrong...my Canon printers were reliable, functional, and did a great job. But that should tell you just how impressive that P800 printer was!
Now Epson has a new-and-improved version out, the SureColor P900.
Here's a quick overview of some of its basic specs:
The P900 also has a larger 4.3-inch touchscreen that I really appreciate. The P800's touchscreen was 2.7-inches, so it wasn't tiny by any means, but the P900's screen is definitely easier to use and read.
10-channel ink cartridges for the Epson SureColor P900
Second, the 10-channel print head is something to behold.
With 10 channels for printing, you get dedicated Matte Black and Photo Black. This means that you no longer have to swap between these cartridges. That's a very handy feature.
This 10-channel print head also has a new violet channel that gives you much-improved color rendition of violet, purple, and blue tones. In fact, the P900 has a 6 percent wider color gamut than its predecessor, and you can definitely see it when you print your photos!
Additionally, these printers can use different printing medias, so you can adjust your printing process to your specific needs.
For example, you can use the 30-sheet media tray and use traditional photo paper, but you can also use rolls up paper up to 10-feet in length.
Add in high-capacity cartridges, color permanence that's measured in centuries, and updated print drivers, and you begin to see why I've put the Epson SureColor P900 on my list of the best of 2020!
PolarPro Shutter Collection for GoPro Hero 9 Black
PolarPro has a long-standing reputation for developing innovative products, and their three-pack of ND filters for the GoPro Hero 9 Black is no exception.
By using these ND filters, you can slow the shutter speed on your GoPro to cinematic levels, giving you the ability to capture gorgeous slow-motion video and long exposures even in the brightest daylight conditions.
The pack includes ND8, ND16, and ND32 filters that are custom-engineered to directly replace the front lens element on the GoPro.
Each filter has CinemaSeries™ Glass, which offers superb durability and protection from impact while you're out adventuring.
Not only that, but the CinemaSeries™ Glass also has 16 layers of coatings that help protect from scratches, fingerprints, and oils. These coatings also minimize flare.
Add in a storage case for the filters, a low price, and PolarPro's Adventure Assurance™ money-back guarantee, and you have the makings of one heck of a photography product for 2020!
Peak Design Mobile
I've been a peak design fan for years and years.
I have a number of their bags. I also have their incredible Travel Tripod.
And now I will be adding their Mobile products to my kit.
As usual, Peak Design is launching this product on Kickstarter. Their past campaigns have been hugely successful. This one is no exception.
Peak Design has a reputation for designing and building high-quality, innovative products. Their Mobile by Peak Design products will follow that trend.
I have the pre-production versions of the Mobile line, and I have to say that I am very impressed.
This isn't just some fancy phone cases...
Instead, the collection includes mounts, chargers, and other accessories that will help you integrate your phone more seamlessly into your life.
There's a kickstand wallet, a tripod, and a Creator Kit with goodies for content creators to maximize the power of their phone.
These accessories are compatible with the new MagSafe system on the iPhone 12, but they are also compatible with other phones, including some Androids.
All these accessories are centered around the Everyday Case.
This is a sleek, low-profile case with stunning good looks. Better still, it wraps around your phone rather than adding bulk.
One of the most interesting aspects of this case is its dual-locking mechanisms.
There's a soft lock that uses MagSafe-compatible magnets for light-duty use, like mounting your phone to your car's air vent. There's also a hard lock that has mechanical claws for a heavy-duty connection for rugged use - like riding dirt bikes.
In other words, this slim case and mounting system bring ruggedness, ease of use, a slim profile, and good looks together in one awesome package.
Each accessory in this collection has auto-aligning magnetic connections for ease of use and is made from premium materials. Each item is also individually serialized and is guaranteed for life. No more buying cheap accessories that fall apart...buying these bad boys is a lifelong investment!
Perhaps most impressive is that the Mobile line from Peak Design is 100 percent carbon neutral. That means you can score some killer gear while helping save the planet. Nice!
Razer Blade 15 Studio
Some of you might recall that I have a 2019 Razer Blade 15 Studio.
It's been an incredible computer, to be sure. The graphics card alone makes it one of the best laptops I've ever had.
But for this list, I want to talk about the 2020 model, which is even better...
It's retained many of the best features of the 2019 version and juiced up many others.
Get a load of these specs:
The biggest news with the 2020 Razer Blade 15 Studio is that it keeps the incredible GPU from the 2019 model - the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000.
When I say that this GPU is high-end, I mean it.
I've had plenty of laptops (and desktops, for that matter) that have claimed to have a "high-end" graphics card, but none have come close to what this NVIDIA card can do. In fact, I'd describe it as having Hollywood studio-level stuff in your laptop at home!
A second very exciting feature on the 2020 Razer Blade 15 Studio is that you can now get one with an 8-core processor.
Combined with the raw power of the NVIDIA GPU, these new 8-core processors make this a true workhorse for intense photo and video editing.
I appreciate the bigger OLED touchscreen that gives you 15.6-inches of real estate to view. The display is even color-calibrated and has a Gorilla Glass panel to beef up its durability.
This laptop has tons of ports, a UHS-III card reader, and a gorgeous anodized aluminum body as well. It is truly a work of art if you ask me!
Each year, our “best of” list includes photography gear that is innovative, unique, unusual, and above all, highly functional for photographers.
So while coffee might seem like a strange item to have on my list of the best of the best photography gear for 2020, when you think about it, it’s an essential part of the day for many photographers.
Speaking from experience, I just can’t get my brain to work until I’ve gotten my day kickstarted with some coffee.
Now, I fully admit that I’m a huge coffee snob. I’ve tested dozens of coffees over my lifetime, and I know when I get a great cup of coffee and when the coffee simply falls shot.
f-stop Coffee certainly belongs in the former category...it is quite simply a fantastic cup of Joe!
I first tested their f/1.4 Light Roast, and it was so good that I immediately added it to my 2020 list of the best gifts for photographers under $25.
I’ve now had the chance to take their f/11 Medium Roast and f/22 Dark Roast coffees for a test drive and they proved to be equally as tasty.
I’ve prepared f-stop coffee in two ways - in my Chemex coffee maker and in my French press. In both cases, f-stop’s coffee was tantalizingly good and allowed the different flavors and notes of each coffee to come shining through.
I’m a landscape photographer, so there are plenty of early mornings, late nights, and cold climates for me. f-stop Coffee is just what the doctor ordered when I’m out adventuring and need a pick-me-up. The same goes for right here in my office!
When you combine great taste, a full selection of brews, and inspiration from photography, you get the best coffee for photographers...f-stop!
ProGrade Digital 650GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card
A few months back when I bought my Canon EOS R5, I knew that I would need a big, beefy memory card to handle all the data that the camera recorded, particularly when shooting 4K and 8K video.
I needed a card with a huge amount of storage space as well as one that has quick read and write speeds.
The obvious solution was the ProGrade Digital 650GB CF Express Type B memory card...
This card can read up to 1700MB/s and write at up to 1500MB/s. Not only that, but the write speeds are guaranteed not to fall below 1400MB/s. This gives you the consistent speed you need no matter what kind of data is being written on the card, be that 8K video, 6K or 4K video, or fast burst shooting of still images.
Regardless, this card helps keep your camera's buffer clear so you don't miss any action.
On top of that, ProGrade Digital made this card backward compatible with XQD devices. All you have to do is download a quick firmware update and you're ready to roll.
And since this is a shock-resistant, vibration-resistant, temperature-resistant, and X-ray-resistant card, you don't have to worry about durability. It will give you long-lasting performance for years to come.
Plus, this card has features that many other cards don't...
For example, each card has laser-etched serial numbers to help prevent counterfeiting. ProGrade has advanced recovery software that helps prevent your files from corrupting too. On top of that, ProGrade has software that helps keep your card running at peak performance. Called Digital Refresh Pro, this software (which is offered separately) sanitizes your card to keep it at the top of its game.
In other words, this is a beast of a memory card that is worth every penny!
GoPro Hero 9 Black & Media Mod
I've used GoPros for years and years. They have always been innovative little gadgets, but with the Hero 9 Black and Media Mod, these cameras are now becoming a more functional, all-around rig that you can use for much more than crazy adventures.
For those of you like me that had a Hero 8 Black, you'll immediately notice that the Hero 9 Black is bigger. In fact, it's about 10 percent larger.
As a result, some of the mods from the Hero 8 (like the Media Mod) won't fit. That's a bummer, but the trade-off is that the Hero 9 has a larger rear screen and a full-color front-facing screen as well. Having those features is well worth the price of having to buy a new Media Mod.
Another consequence of the larger size is that GoPro was able to fit a larger sensor inside. The Hero 8 has a 12-megapixel sensor but the Hero 9 has a whopping 23.6-megapixel sensor.
As a result of the larger sensor and added resolution, the Hero 9 can shoot 5K video at up to 30p. And for still images, the sensor allows for 20-megapixel photos that have a higher level of crispness than what you get on the Hero 8.
The list of improvements doesn't stop there, either....
There's a new longer-lasting battery that has 30 percent more life. You also get built-in horizon leveling, HyperSmooth 3.0, and Hindsight, which records 30 seconds of video before you press the record button.
The Hero 9 also is also compatible with the new Max Lens Mod that gives you various lens options. You can also shoot 2.7K video at 60fps with a 155-degree angle of view.
Speaking of mods, the Media Mod is one of my favorite GoPro accessories...
It has a built-in 3.5mm jack for an external mic as well as two cold-shoe mounts for adding accessories like the Light Mod.
There's a built-in microphone, which is okay, but definitely not up to par with my RODE mics. You also get an HDMI port so you can quickly review the footage you've shot
I like the design of it too - it fits the Hero 9 perfectly and feels like it's part of the camera rather than an add-on. And speaking of add-ons, there are all kinds of third-party accessories you can add to the Media Mod.
Canon EOS R5
I was a Nikon shooter for my entire career until I sold off all my Nikon stuff and bought a Canon EOS R.
I decided to make the switch for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the RF lineup of lenses. So, really, the EOS R was a placeholder for me until a professional-grade camera came out to take advantage of the RF lenses. That camera is the R5.
To say that the R5 is the best camera I've ever owned is an understatement.
We all know about its game-changing 8K video capabilities...
And we also know about its 5-axis in-body image stabilization.
But I think my favorite feature of this camera is its Dual Pixel AF system with 1,053 AF areas.
This is an incredibly accurate autofocus system whether you're shooting stills or videos. Its ability to acquire and track a person's (or animal's) eyes is truly impressive. In fact, even when the camera can't see the animal's eyes, it can still figure out where the animal's face and body are.
And then there's all the other awesome specs...
I mean, the list goes on and on...
I reserve only my top picks for these lists each year. The products I include have to be innovative in some way, and this camera ticks multiple boxes on that front.
I honestly believe that in 10 years we'll look back at the R5 as being the one that changed how mirrorless cameras are made and what they can do.
I guess we'll have to wait a few years to see if I'm right!
DJI Mini 2
I've had DJI drones for years and years.
My current stable of drones includes the Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic Air 2, and the original Mini. I recently added the Mini 2 to the fold as well.
Of these drones, my favorite is the Mavic Air 2. I think it's the best drone for the money out there.
However, that doesn't mean that the Mini 2 isn't a really impressive drone...
For starters, there are plenty of upgrades over the original Mini that makes the Mini 2 a huge leap forward.
And some of those new features are things you wouldn't expect on a drone that's priced under $500.
You get 4K video at 24, 25, and 30p, 2.7K video at 24, 25, and 30p, and 1080 video at up to 60p.
It's equipped with Occusync 2.0, which gives you a much stronger signal than the Wi-Fi transmission system on the original Mini, and you get no interference.
The Mini 2 has 4x optical zoom to go with its 24mm equivalent lens.
The 12-megapixel sensor can record JPEG and RAW options, and with a 3-axis gimbal, your images will be sharp and your videos will be beautifully smooth.
You get multiple QuickShot modes, including dronie, circle, helix, Cinesmooth, and rocket. And you have time to cycle through those QuickShot modes with a 31-minute flight time.
There's a new controller as well - the same redesigned one that comes with the Mavic Air 2. The controller has an updated battery too.
Then there's the transmission distance...it's 6.2 miles thanks to the Occusync 2.0 system.
So, you can see why I've counted this little guy as one of the Best of 2020. It has some high-end features while retaining an entry-level price.
If you're considering getting into drone photography and don't want to bust your budget, this is the drone for you!
Holdfast has been one of my favorite photography brands for years.
And it isn't just because they continue to come out with innovative and functional photography gear...
Holdfast also has a high standard of quality that ensures each product is constructed in a way that makes that product reliable, durable, and beautiful too.
I appreciate that the Holdfast team is based in the U.S. and manufactures their goods here as well!
My first experience with Holdfast was with their Roamographer camera bag.
Not only is this bag big enough to fit my entire kit, but it does so in a way that keeps my gear organized, safe, and keeps me comfortable carrying it.
The Roamographer is impeccably designed, beautifully crafted using the finest materials, and it’s versatile, too.
Just remove the camera insert and you’ve got a gorgeous weekend bag with tons of space for all your clothes and other necessities for a fun few days away from home.
Another product I've enjoyed using is their MoneyMaker Solo camera strap.
Sometimes when you want to go out for a quick shoot, you just need a lean and mean strap for your camera. That's what the MoneyMaker Solo is.
The Solo is a streamlined version of the original MoneyMaker dual-camera strap. In fact, the Solo uses the same leathers and metal materials.
It has a big, contoured shoulder strap that offers you a comfortable carrying experience while the integrated stabilizer strap helps keep the shoulder pad in place.
The included Belt Anchor adds further stability to the MoneyMaker Solo by keeping your camera locked into place no matter if you’re walking, stooping, kneeling down, or something in between.
Just pull the release tab on the Belt Anchor and your camera is free so you can get the shots you need. A quick one-handed action engages the Belt Anchor again to lock your camera back in place.
The MoneyMaker Solo might be small, but with the ability to add lens pouches or a cell phone pouch, it’s got all the features and functionalities you’d expect from a Holdfast product!