Photo by Liudmila Chernetska via iStock
There's just a few weeks until Christmas, so time is of the essence to get your shopping done.
If you're like me and you wait until the last minute, you know the stress and anxiety of trying to find the ideal gift. That's where this list comes in!
Below, I've outlined ten awesome gift ideas that you can get right now that will impress the heck out of the photographer in your life.
The f-stop Tilopa is a perfectly-sized bag for photography with 50 liters of capacity. At 24.5” tall, 13.7” wide, 11.1” deep, and 4.2 pounds empty, there's room for all your gear with room to spare - without it being too big and cumbersome.
The DuraDiamond 315D HT nylon ripstop exterior has a DWR coating and TPU layer (which is a proprietary f-stop product that’s lighter, stronger, and has better weather resistance). The bag also features weather-resistant zippers that are woven in to provide superior durability and strength.
Furthermore, you'll find heavy-duty stitching with industrial bonded thread, T6 aluminum and plastic hardware for durability, and tons of attachment points (including 22 Gatekeeper attachments, ski strap loops, ice axe loops, bungee loops, and more).
The shoulder pads on this bag are supremely comfortable, too. They're made of an algae-based BLOOM foam, as is the contoured hip belt. You won't find a more comfortable carrying system! The aluminum frame helps in the comfort department by shifting the weight of the bag from your shoulders to your hips.
Inside, the Tilopa has all the organization and storage you need. There are various pockets for small items, built-in storage in the lid, and the main compartment features f-stop's superb inserts. The Pro-Large or Pro-XL camera bag inserts are ideal for this bag, but a combination of small, medium, large, and XL inserts can be used as well.
To top it all off, you get a 20-year warranty with this bag. That kind of peace of mind is rare!
Sony a7 IV
The Sony a7 IV is the newest in the a7 line - it came out last year to much fanfare, and for good reason!
The a7 IV is equipped with a full frame 33-megapixel Exmor R back-illuminated sensor that offers incredible image quality, including better color reproduction and low noise.
Additionally, the sensor is capable of accommodating more than 15 stops of dynamic range, which offers photographers the ability to capture a wide range of highlights and details in the scene.
The Sony a7 IV isn’t just a photographer’s camera, though…
The fast sensor readout enables 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video recording at up to 60p. Likewise, you get full pixel readout with no binning, the option to edit footage in slow-motion at 30p or 24p, and oversampling at 7K
Of course, that’s just the start! The a7 IV offers a host of other features that includes a 3-inch free-angle tilting touchscreen LCD, an OLED EVF, up to 10fps burst shooting, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 5-axis image stabilization.
In other words, this camera is loaded up with goodies that will make your favorite photographer smile from ear to ear!
Westcott FJ400 400Ws Strobe with AC/DC Battery
If the photographer you’re shopping for needs to upgrade or expand their lighting gear, this Westcott 400Ws strobe will be an ideal solution.
This light comes with an AC/DC battery, making it highly portable for use in the studio or in the field. The AC/DC battery offers 480+ full-power flashes with each charge, so photographers get long-lasting use out of it. And with less than a second recycle speed, work can commence quickly!
The FJ400 offers superb color accuracy, has a 9-stop output range, and a stable color temperature of 5500K (+/-150K). There’s an easy-to-use menu system with an LCD color display for making quick adjustments in addition to having both manual and TTL flash modes.
Westcott incorporated other nice features into this light as well. It offers High Speed Sync (HSS) at up to 1/8000s, Freeze Sync up to 1/19000s, Continuous Capture at up to 20fps, and automatic memory recall.
Add to the list mask function, delay function, rear curtain sync, and group and channel assignment, too!
Even better, this light is firmware upgradable via USB-C, so additional features can be added in the future. What’s not to like about that?!
f-stop Duradiamond Drone Case
If the photographer on your list is a drone photography enthusiast, the f-stop DuraDiamond Drone Case is an ideal gift idea.
These cases have full-access zippers that give you unimpeded access to the dual-sided storage compartments. Both compartments have padded dividers to protect the drone and its accessories. These dividers are also adjustable, so the case can be used with different types of drones.
The case also features an organizer panel with four magnetic closure accessory pockets to keep small items neatly organized. There's a drop-in storage pouch for a small tablet as well.
The exterior is protected by DuraDiamond material that provides weather resistance for the gear inside. Smart features like a carry handle with closure clip, four Gatekeeper attachment points, and glove-friendly zipper pulls are included, too.
Atomos Ninja V
If you're shopping for a photographer that wants to try their hand at audio and video production, the 5-inch Atomos Ninja V portable monitor/recorder is a great gift idea.
The Ninja V is compatible with virtually any DSLR or mirrorless camera. Recording is done directly from the camera's sensor, but because it bypasses the camera's internal compression and record time limits, the Ninja V allows you to record for as long as you want. You get 4K 60p 10-bit recording out of the deal, too.
Files from the Ninja V are in ProRes or DNxHR format, which are ready to edit and can be easily stored on an SSD drive.
The monitor on the Ninja V is a bright 5.2-inch 10-bit HDR screen that offers 1,000 nits of brightness. The unit is wrapped in a 1-inch aluminum body that's both durable and lightweight.
Additionally, the screen is anti-reflective and offers 10+ stops of dynamic range in real-time from various signals, including Log, PQ, and HLG.
You get one-touch operation, fast playback, slow motion, and frame-by-frame analysis with AtomOS as well!
The Sony ZV-1 is a compact, 4K camera aimed specifically at vloggers.
It has a 20.1MP sensor, a vari-angle LCD screen that faces forward, and a three-capsule mic with a windscreen as well.
These features make it much easier for videographers to see themselves as they record and capture improved audio as they do it.
But the list of features doesn't stop there...
The camera is compatible with Bluetooth grips that enable easy handheld shooting. There is also a bokeh switch and a product showcase setting that make it easier to defocus the background and highlight products that need to be singled out in a video.
The ZV-1 also comes with a 2.7x optical zoom, enhanced color science for improved skin tones, and real-time tracking that ensures the subject is always in focus.
In other words, if the photographer on your list is ready to get into shooting video, this might be the camera for them!
Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader Tough-55
Chances are that the photographer on your holiday shopping list already has a ton of gear. So why not give them a gift that helps them carry that gear safely?
The Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader Tough-55 roller case has four layers of foam on the bottom and convoluted foam on the lid to help protect sensitive photography and videography gear from bumps and bruises when traveling.
When closed, the case creates an airtight compartment. With pull release latches, the case is easy to open, and with padlock compatible points, the case can be easily secured as well. Add in a telescoping handle for making maneuvering the case through the airport a breeze!
One of the most interesting and useful features of this case is that it has optional accessories that can attach or latch onto metal attachment pins on the case.
This means that you can add a laptop bag, a tripod bag, or many other accessories to expand the usefulness of the case.
These cases are dust-resistant and moisture-resistant and are rated to IP67 standards, so they are fully capable of being a photographer's go-to travel case in all sorts of environments.
RODE Wireless GO II Microphone
I've used RODE microphones for years, and I can attest to the quality of these mics both in terms of build and audio performance.
The Wireless GO II builds on the success of its predecessor by continuing the tradition of innovation.
It operates in the 2.4GHz spectrum and is compatible with Android and Apple products.
This kit comes with dual transmitters, each of which have an internal microphone and a receiver with a 3.5mm TRS output.
The transmitter and receiver have a USB-C port for charging. These ports can also be used to connect to a computer to get firmware updates.
With completely wireless operation, these mics give you the freedom to move around in front of the camera without worry of tripping over wires. What's more, if you're on camera, there's no wires to try to hide under your shirt.
These little guys simply give you a lot of bang for your buck with professional-quality audio in a tiny package.
RODE Lavalier GO
Another prime last-minute gift idea for photographers is the RODE Lavalier GO microphone.
At less than $80, this is one of the least expensive items on this list. But don't let the small price fool you - this is a high-powered mic!
In fact, this is a professional-grade microphone that can be used in a variety of situations, from speaking directly to the camera in the studio to conducting interviews in the field and many points in between.
The Lavalier GO has a discreet 4.5mm omnidirectional mic that captures beautifully clear audio - even in less-than-forgiving environments.
It has a 3.5mm TRS connector and is designed to work with the RODE Wireless GO and many recording devices with a 3.5mm TRS microphone input.
The key to getting good video is capturing great audio, and with this microphone, the photographer on your shopping list can do just that!
Ikan Professional 15-Inch High Bright Beam Splitter Teleprompter
One of the best pieces of kit I have in my home studio is this Ikan 15-inch beam splitter teleprompter.
I do a lot of videos where I'm speaking directly to the camera, so a high-quality teleprompter is critical so I can speak naturally to my audience while maintaining eye contact with the camera.
With a large and bright 15-inch screen, the text on the screen is nice and big so I can easily read it from across the room. Now, my home studio is pretty small, so I'm no more than about eight feet away.
However, if you're shopping for someone that has a larger studio, this teleprompter can be set back much further, allowing for placement of additional cameras, lights, and other gear.
The teleprompter itself is about 25 x 20 x 16 inches and weighs about 22 pounds. These figures are just for the teleprompter, so once you add in a camera and lens, a tripod, and so forth, the entire setup is fairly large. That means it's probably more of a studio setup than something you'd want to travel with.
Still, I've been thoroughly impressed with this rig and can't recommend it enough!