- 20.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
- Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors
- 10 fps burst shooting
- ISO to 16,000 (expandable to 51,200)
- 1080/60p video
- Weather-sealed body
photo by krystiannawrocki via iStock
The holidays are getting ever closer. That means we all need to get on our game and start making shopping lists for our loved ones.
But if you ask me, photographers are one of the toughest groups of people to satisfy. Many of us are picky and if you aren’t a photographer yourself, you might not know what the best gifts for photographers might be.
So before all the Black Friday sales begin to crop up, consult our list of the top gifts for photographers so you know what to keep your eye out for when holiday shopping really begins to get underway.
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: CanvasHQ Prints
If you’re like me, sometimes finding the perfect gift for certain loved ones is a long, drawn-out process that causes tons of stress, and often you still don’t get something that totally blows them away.
I think a lot of photographers fall into this category. We have specific likes, and many of us already have most of what we want or need gear-wise, and what we don’t have is usually too expensive to put on a Christmas wish-list anyway.
But for all those hard-to-shop-for photographers on your 2019 holiday shopping list, I have the perfect solution - a canvas print.
Think about it…
A canvas print is a gift that keeps on giving.
Not only can you immortalize one of your favorite images from your favorite photographer, but you also give them a means to showcase their work in a format that’s drop-dead gorgeous.
I have tons of canvases in my home, the vast majority of which are from CanvasHQ.
Now, I know what you’re thinking - canvas is old school.
Sure, maybe it is, but I’m telling you that these canvas prints from CanvasHQ are mind-bogglingly beautiful. In fact, they go head-to-head with any metal or acrylic print I have in my home.
The attention to detail is just amazing, and the materials they use are top-of-the-line. We’re talking archival-grade canvas, commercial-grade inks that are water and UV resistant, and kiln-dried pine frames to keep everything straight and true.
I love the personality that the canvas texture gives my images. That’s true whether it’s a portrait of my son or a landscape photo.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the customer service you get with CanvasHQ.
These guys are committed to getting it right, so if something doesn’t go as planned, you won’t be hung out to dry.
If you have questions, they’ll answer them. If you have a problem, they’ll fix it. If you need assistance with uploading your photo or even picking the best finishes for your canvas, they’ve got your back.
In the video above, I explain why I highly recommend a CanvasHQ canvas print as the ideal gift for the photographer on your holiday shopping list.
Start shopping for your favorite photographer today on CanvasHQ!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Holdfast Roamographer
With a $1,000 holiday budget, you can give the photographer on your list a gift that is impeccably designed, highly functional, and way under budget, too.
The Holdfast Roamographer bag is one of the finest leather camera bags on the market. It offers gorgeous aesthetics with an American Bison leather exterior that’s beautiful and rugged at the same time.
Not only will this leather stand up to the elements and age with grace, but it’s also weather resistant so you can be sure the contents of the bag remain safe and dry.
It’s a big bag and can carry lots of gear, but carrying it is a breeze with an adjustable shoulder strap with a shearling-lined shoulder pad for comfort.
Or, if you prefer, you can carry the Roamographer using the Holdfast MoneyMaker for even more functionality and comfort, as seen above.
The inside of the bag must be mentioned as well.
The removable camera insert means that no matter how much or how little gear your favorite photographer needs to carry, the Roamographer will help them keep it organized.
The padded insert has cubbies specifically for cameras, lenses, flashes, and other accessories, while there’s interior and exterior pockets for other goodies like a phone, car keys, and a tablet.
The insert is removable, too, so on weekends when they’re not on the job, the photographer on your list can use this as a weekend bag, too.
That makes the Holdfast Roamographer a beautiful, functional, and multi-purpose bag!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: iMovR Lander Lite Desk
One of the worst parts of the job as a photographer are the long hours spent sitting at your desk, culling and editing images.
But the photographer on your holiday shopping list needn’t sit in discomfort all day long!
The iMovR Lander Lite Desk is the ideal solution, offering both sit and stand options for workers.
I have the Lander Desk in my office, and I can tell you first-hand that it is one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my work life - it’s that good!
The Lander Lite Desk has all the same crazy-good technology as the Lander Desk, but with “lighter” features and a smaller price tag.
For example, this little beauty has a height control paddle with built-in health coach, just like it’s big brother, the Lander Desk. The paddle syncs with your smartphone so you can even move the desk up and down remotely.
Likewise, you can choose from hundreds of size and color combinations so the photographer in your life gets the precise desk they need.
The Lander Lite incorporates whisper-quiet motors, too, with 225 pounds of lifting capacity.
And if you think that standing desks aren’t stable, you’re wrong! The Lander Lite offers the ultimate stable work surface. And since it’s 3-D laminated, the desktop is virtually indestructible.
Best of all, the Lander Lite Desk arrives nearly pre-assembled, so you won’t have to spend your afternoon putting the darn thing together.
Plus, it’s made in the USA, so you know the quality is top-notch!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Pre-Owned Sony Alpha a6300 and Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
A great holiday gift idea for the photographer on your list is a Sony camera/lens setup.
By opting for a pre-owned camera and lens, you can save a ton of money while still giving an awesome gift this holiday season.
The Sony a6300 offers tons of features, including a 24.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor, a BIONZ X image processor, 4K video at 30p, HD video at 1080p/120, and continuous shooting at 11fps.
Add to that a spectacular 425-point autofocus system with tracking AF, excellent image quality, and a small, lightweight body, and the a6300 is a perfect gift for a photographer that needs a capable yet highly portable camera.
Pair that with the Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, and you've got quite the package!
This lens has an effective focal length of 27-202.5mm to give photographers incredible versatility from wide-angle to telephoto.
It also sports Optical SteadyShot technology, which minimizes camera shake so you can get sharper images when holding the camera in your hand.
With quick and accurate autofocus performance and quiet operation that's ideal for shooting video, this lens is a great choice for still photographers and videographers alike.
All told, this camera and lens combination is under $1,000, so you can give two gifts for the price of one!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Ikan Onyx Digital Color LED Panel Light
Photography requires great light, and while there are many different lighting options out there, few match the creative possibilities that the Ikan Onyx Digital Color Light provides.
It has a RGBWA LED panel that offers five color modes to suit just about any kind of photo shoot.
When in RGBWA mode, the light gives photographers complete control over red, green, and blue LEDs independently. That being the case, the photographer on your list can literally create millions of different colors!
Meanwhile, the amber and white LEDs give photographers the option of recreating daylight or tungsten light with incredible accuracy.
There’s also a CCT Mode that is adjustable from 2800K up to 10,000K. Again, this gives the photographer on your list infinite possibilities for customizing the light for their photos.
Add to that a Hue Shift feature of magenta and green lights, and you’ve got a lighting option that offers supreme matching control when using this light with other LEDs.
On top of all that, the Onyx Digital Color light has eight built-in special effects (a candle flame and police car lights among them), 33 different gels to choose from, and a built-in ½-stop diffuser.
With a CRI/TLCI rating of 95, this light produces gorgeous, clean light that is sure to knock the socks off the photographer on your holiday shopping list.
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Synology DiskStation DS 1019+
It's crucial for all photographers to have a solid backup system, that way if catastrophe strikes - a flood or fire, a break-in, a hard drive failure, and so forth - their precious photos and other files will be safe and sound.
For that task, it's tough to beat the Synology DiskStation DS1019+...
I have this exact model on my desk, and it has proven to be the reliable backup I need to ensure my files are duplicated and safe.
It's small enough that it doesn't take up a ton of room on my desk while also being packed with features that make it an easy-to-use and powerful storage option. Read my complete Synology DiskStation DS1019+ review to learn more.
There are five hot-swappable bays, each of which can accommodate a 2.5-inch or a 3.5-inch drive. If the photographer on your list has TONS of files, they can easily expand that capacity to 10 bays with the Synology DX517.
Aside from the expansion capabilities, the DS1019+ is easy to operate thanks to the intuitive Synology operating system. Even if you've never setup or used a network attached storage device before, this one will be a breeze to use.
In fact, I set it up in just a few minutes with no problems or issues at all.
This unit is power-packed with an Intel Celeron J3455 1.5GHz quad-core processor that’s capable of burst speed of 2.3Ghz.
Add to that 8GB of RAM, built-in applications for video transcoding, read/write speeds up to 225MB per second, tool-free installation for 3.5-inch drives, and the Synology reputation for reliability, and you have the makings of a perfect - and practical - holiday gift idea for the photographer in your life!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Syrp Genie II Linear
If the photographer you’re shopping for is into shooting time-lapse videos (or real-time videos, for that matter), then a perfect gift idea is the Syrp Genie II Linear.
What’s so great about this product is its size and weight - at little more than 5.5 x 5.5 x 6.33 inches and two pounds, this little guy can be easily added to any photography bag for on-the-go motion control.
What’s more, the Genie II Linear can attach to any slider on the market, giving your favorite photographer incredible versatility in how they craft their time-lapse setup. It can also attach to cable cam systems up to 328-feet in length.
This thing is also loaded for bear with features that will enable the photographer on your list to create professional-looking videos.
From key-framing to time-lapse video, shooting B-roll to recording interviews, the Genie II Linear can get the job done!
Throw in live view, camera control for ramping exposures, wireless control via a smartphone, and many other intelligent features, this is simply one of the best motion control devices you can get this holiday season!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Aputure 120d II
Over the years, Aputure has established itself as one of the top lighting choices of photographers worldwide. That’s because of the incredible features and build quality of products like the 120d II.
I use this light in my home studio (you can read my review of it here), and it is far and away one of the best lights I’ve ever owned.
The light it produces is beautifully clean and bright (25 percent brighter than the 120d). Additionally, it has a pleasing color temperature of 5500K.
You can control the 120d II using a wireless remote from up to 328 feet away, giving photographers the ultimate in flexibility regarding the positioning related to the subject.
Speaking of flexibility, this light is dimmable from 100 percent down to just 1 percent, so the photographer on your list can dial in the precise level of lighting they need to get the shot.
Aputure has built in all kinds of lighting effects for further creative lighting. What’s more, the redesigned handbrake offers a super secure lock to prevent the light from moving.
That means that when the light is dialed in and positioned, you don’t have to worry about whether or not it will stay in place. That’s the kind of peace of mind photographers want from their gear!
The integrated power and control box make for easy transport while the 18 dB quiet fan won’t distract photographers while on-location. Add in a CRI and TLCI of 97+, and you have a recipe for one heck of a light for the photographer on your list!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens
Earlier this year, I took the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 for a test drive with my Sony a6400, and I was blown away by the quality of the images I was able to get.
For me, the best feature of this lens is that it is incredibly sharp. A close second would be its extremely fast and accurate focusing.
As you can see in the sample image below, this lens also produces nice bokeh that’s great for portraits.
Additionally, this lens is super lightweight, so you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a huge kit while you take photos. The photographer on your shopping list will surely appreciate that!
The look of the lens is something else, too - it’s sleek design reminds me of the Zeiss Otus lenses from back in the day.
And while some would argue that the streamlined design means it’s not comfortable to use, I disagree.
The big rubber ring offers tons of grip, and the lens feels great in the hand, due in large part to the lightweight design I mentioned above.
The angle of view of 29 degrees is perfect for portraits, and the maximum f/1.8 aperture allows for flexibility in low-light shooting situations.
The floating element design of the lens minimizes aberrations, and since it’s dust and weather-sealed, it can be taken out for shoots in adverse weather without worry that it will be damaged.
In other words, if the photographer on your holiday list is after a fantastic portrait lens, this is it!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: f-stop Sukha Backpack Master Bundle
A top-of-the-line camera backpack is sure to score you some brownie points with the photographer on your holiday shopping list…
I have an f-stop Sukha, and to say that this thing can hold a lot of gear is a huge understatement…
In fact, it can accommodate 70 liters of gear, so if your favorite photographer has a ton of stuff or they’ll be hitting the road for a while, this is the bag that they need.
And I know what you’re thinking...big bags like this make a mess of organizing gear. With all that space, everything gets jumbled up and is hard to find, right?
The Master Bundle comes with a wide range of ICUs (Internal Camera Units) that maximize the space in the bag while keeping the gear inside safe, secure, and organized.
From the ultra-small Micro Nano ICU to the big, beefy Pro X-Large ICU, there are six ICU options for a highly customizable interior space.
The f-stop Sukha Master Bundle also features goodies like a hydration sleeve, a large rain cover, and a packing cell kit that will keep your clothing nice and organized.
There are three accessory pouches, a Mano pouch, and an ICU gate as well.
And even with all that gear inside the bag, it’s still ultimately comfortable to carry. That’s thanks to the large, cushy should straps that help distribute the weight of the bag over a larger area. The padded waistbelt is a nice touch as well.
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: Pre-Owned Canon EOS 7D Mark II
If the photographer you’re shopping for is ready to upgrade their APS-C camera to a higher-end model, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is a great option.
This professional-grade camera is not only budget-friendly, but it offers some great specs, too:
On top of that, Canon implemented its Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system into this camera, which is a big deal because the Dual Pixel system is usually reserved for Canon’s more expensive cameras.
The autofocus system offers 65 AF points, all of which are cross-type. The camera has six customizable modes for focusing as well, which gives you tracking sensitivity options that improve its performance.
This thing feels like a top-shelf camera too. There's no body flex, the buttons, dials, and switches feel beefy and crisp, and the weather sealing means you can shoot in less-than-ideal conditions without worrying that your camera will be soaked to the core.
In other words, if you want to help your photography loved one step up their game, this camera is an excellent option!
Gifts for Photographers Under $1,000: ProMediaGear Pro-Stix 34 Series Tripod
When it comes to the very best tripods money can buy, one has to look to ProMediaGear.
The Pro-Stix 34 Series tripod is my everyday rig, and has been for about the last year or so. To say that it’s the best tripod I’ve ever owned is a massive understatement.
It’s really no contest, either.
Granted, when I first started in photography, I “bargain-basemented” my way through various cheap tripods that didn’t last more than a few months.
But as I got more experienced and had more money to devote to gear, I began utilizing more well-known brands and highly reviewed tripods.
It wasn’t until I started using ProMediaGear tripods that I reached the pinnacle of what a tripod can do, though.
For starters, this tripod can accommodate up to 60 pounds of gear. That might seem like overkill for a photographer, but as I move more and more into videography and have more and more gear to put on the tripod, having an abundance of support is definitely a good thing (and since the apex has a 1/4-20 threaded adapter port, I can easily add more gear when I need to).
Despite having a huge load capacity, this tripod is still easily transportable - it’s just over four pounds and folds down to less than 23 inches.
The beefy 34mm legs are made of 10-layer carbon fiber, so they are about as rock-solid as you can get.
The legs have three locking leg angle positions, tension-adjustable leg mechanisms, large molded rubber feet, and integrated stainless steel spikes to boot. In other words, this sucker is rugged and will give you durability for years and years to come.
But beyond the awesome specs and incredible reliability, I appreciate that ProMediaGear makes this and their other tripods right here in the U.S. (in Tinley Park, Illinois, to be exact). Not only that, the folks at ProMediaGear are experienced photographers, and their expertise was crucial in designing this tripod.
From a functionality standpoint, a versatility standpoint, a build-quality standpoint, and so forth, the ProMedia Gear Pro-Stix 34 series is simply the cream of the crop when it comes to the best tripods of 2019.