Gear Inspirations

Ten top photography gifts for this holiday season

Need a present for a friend or even yourself? This is what you should be spending your money on…

It’s been a strange old year, but holiday season has once again rolled around and this means it’s time to invest in a gift for a friend or to spend some money improving what sits inside your kitbag. To save you time and make things easy, we’ve put together a list of ten top products any photography would love to find under the Christmas tree…

Take to the air with a drone
The easiest way to capture a completely fresh view of a well-known location is to shoot the scene from the air. To do this, you’re going to need a drone and one of the best on the market is the DJI Mavic Air 2. With a folding design, the Air 2 is lightweight and highly portable and can capture ultra high-quality 4K footage up to 60p, along with options of shooting 2K and Full HD too. Along with great video, the Mavic Air 2 can capture high resolution 48-megapixel stills creations and offers users a maximum flight time of 24 minutes on a single charge, along with a rapid top speed of 43 miles per hour. Other features include the ability to shoot epic 8K hyperlapse creations and the remote to control the drone comes included with the bundle.

Make magical movies
The festive season should be about meeting with family and making memories so why not film a little video to remember these times? One great camera for carrying around all day and shooting movies is the Canon EOS M50. This is a small mirrorless body that accepts Canon’s equally small M-mount lenses and tips the scales at just 387g, allowing it to slip into a tiny camera bag. Despite the small size, the M50 packs a beefy 24-megapixel APS-C sensor but the great news for movie shooters is that the M50 can capture ultra high-quality 4K footage and better, still, features a vari-angle screen so you can flip the LCD over and try some Vlogging too.

Back up your treasure
Once you’ve filmed some memorable holiday season moments, you’re going to want to protect and treasure them forever and to do this, you’ll need a robust hard drive. Sure, external hard drives aren’t the sexist thing to find wrapped up under the tree, but they are one of the most important weapons in a photographer’s arsenal. Leading the pack is the Lacie Rugged Mini 1TB, which is built to survive the knocks that will inevitably come its way. What’s more, this hardcore hard drive offers a transfer rate of up to 130 MB/s and connects up via USB 3. The Lacie Rugged Mini 1TB can even survive a drop from heights of 4 feet, so you can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that all those precious moments are secure.

Protect your lens
Not all photo gifts have to be big investments and if you’re looking for something small to slip into the stocking of a photo-enthusiast friend, then what about a Hoya UV filter. Not only do these inexpensive filters cut down on any haze in the scene, but they are also referred to as glass lens caps as they protect the vulnerable front element of your lens. Think about it, if the worst comes to the worst and you accidentally bump your favourite lens, would you rather scratch a UV filter that comes a few pounds or dollars, or the front element of your pricey lens? Without a UV filter to fit every size lens thread, there really is no excuse to star the year with this accessory in your kit bag.

Perfect your portraits
One of the coolest presents you can give somebody is a portrait of themselves. The best focal lengths for a natural looking portraits is between and 100mm and 50mm lenses like the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM are really affordable. The fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 not only creates a shallow depth of field to help your subject stand out from the background, but will also help keep shutter speeds fast – particularly in low light conditions, which in turn will help prevent camera shake. If the lens is used on a crop sensor camera, the effective focal length switches to 80mm and what’s more, the quiet STM motor also makes the lens idea for shooting video, too.

Look for some support
If your festive budget doesn’t stretch to a tripod then why not invest in a monopod instead? More affordable, monopods are great at supporting larger lenses and that takes strain away from the mount between camera body and lens. The Manfrotto MM290C4 is carbon fibre so weighs next to nothing yet can hold up to 11lb of photo gear and extends from 19.3″ to 59.4”. With a wrist strap and four leg sections, it’s a worthy addition to your camera bag and will prove particularly useful if you are shooting sports photography for extended periods of time.

Make the most of your phone
If you’re the sort of photographer that prefers shooting images with a smartphone rather than a heavy camera, there’s plenty of gifts you can make the most of this festive period. One that will really make a difference is the new DJI Osmo Mobile 3 – a stabilised gimbal that will bring Hollywood-level production values to your smartphone movies. After a 2.5 hour charge, the Osmo Mobile 3 will run for up to 15 hours, meaning you can shoot all day without running out of power and the neat gimbal connects up via the free DJI Mimo app to help you create awesome content the easy way. What’s more, you can even charge it up on the go via a USB-C connector.

Rediscover a love for landscapes
The beauty of landscape photography is that you can actually shoot regardless of the weather – if it’s a grey, miserable day, just convert the image to a moodyblack and white. One thing you will need when shooting landscapes however is a decent wide-angle lens, so maybe drop a few hints that you would like an optic like the Tokina atx-i 11-20mm f/2.8 CF. This APS-C optic is available for Canon EF and Nikon F mounts and, at 11mm, will help make more of your foreground by stretching its perspective. The lens features a One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism for fast changing between AF and MF settings, and an internal focusing design enables the photographers to attach filters such as an ND grad or an ND via a holder..

Snap the party
The festive holiday season means the party is getting started and one way to live in the here and now is to capture the party vibe by shooting some Instan photos. One camera that’s great for this is the Fujifilm INSTAX Wide 300 Instant Film camera.  Making use of large format INSTAX instant film, photographers can use the INSTAX Wide 300 to create images measuring 2.4 x 3.9″ in size on a 3.4 x 4.3″ piece of film. Other features of the camera include a retractable 95mm f/14 lens and there’s even an LCD that will display how many shots you have remaining. For low light photos, the INSTAX Wide 300 features a built-in flash and the camera is powered by four AA batteries.

Go further with a superzoom
If you love wildlife photography, you’ll know that focal length is king, and the ability to zoom in closer will enable you to capture great images of your subjects without scaring them off. One camera that has plenty of zoom to go around is the Sony DSC- RX10 IV, which is a superzoom camera that packs a fixed lens that stretches from 24-600mm – more than enough to snap great wildlife shots. Behind the lens is a high-resolution 20-megapixel Exmor sensor and the DSC- RX10 IV can fire off a rapid burst rate of 24 frames per second to ensure you don’t miss any split second moment.