If your loved one is into action sports, filmmaking or photography, a camera or accessory would be a highly appreciated gift, to say the least. And there’s never been a better time to own a new camera, as the latest technology will let them take better photos and video than ever. It can be difficult to know where to start, though, with all the camera models out there, let alone the numerous accessories like backpacks, memory cards, tripods and more. Fortunately, we’ve done all the research and found cameras at a wide range of prices, along with accessories that will help your giftee get the most out of their gear.
Canon EOS R10
Though it just came out, Canon’s EOS R10 is near the top of the list for desirable camera gifts, thanks to a mix of great handling and strong performance. It has a nice big grip and generous controls, so it’s easy to change commonly used settings. It can shoot bursts at up to 23 fps, and the eye- and face-detect autofocus is powerful enough to keep up. Video is solid too, with up to 4K 60p resolution, 10-bit color and super slow-mo (1080p at 120 fps). It also comes with a flip-out display and built-in flash. The main drawback is the lack of in-body stabilization.
GoPro Hero 11
The Hero 11 is GoPro’s most refined action camera yet, so it’s guaranteed to please any adventurous folks on your gift list. It now comes with a 27-megapixel sensor, offering a significant bump over the previous 23-megapixel chip. With that, you get the highest resolution video of any action camera (5K 60p and 4K 120p), with 10-bit color across the board. It also has a faster f/1.9 aperture. The higher resolution enables the horizon-leveling feature that keeps things steady when the camera tilts, on top of GoPro’s class-leading HyperSmooth stabilization, now in its fifth generation. You probably don’t need to update if you’re coming from a Hero 9 or 10, but it’s far and away the best option otherwise.
Sony A7 IV
Sony’s A7 IV is a follow up to the immensely popular A7 III, and would be guaranteed to please any photographer for Christmas. Resolution is up over the last model to 33 megapixels and image quality is much improved overall. And video is finally on par with rivals as well, with 4K at up to 60 fps and high, billion-color 10-bit quality. Autofocus is incredible for both video and stills, and the in-body stabilization does a good job correcting camera shake. The biggest drawbacks are rolling shutter that limits the use of the electronic shutter and the relatively high price.
Panasonic GH5 II
Panasonic’s GH5 II is an update and not an overhaul of the original GH5, but it’s still the best value in a mirrorless camera for video – and a great gift for a videographer. New features include improved stabilization, 10-bit color for 4K 60p video, All-I capture, PD charging via USB-C and new video streaming options. The drawback is the continuous video autofocus that’s not up to par with rivals, but it’s better than before. For around $1,700, it costs less and delivers more than most rival cameras.
Libec TH-X video tripod
Having a good fluid-head tripod is a must for shooting video, but they can get quite expensive. For a gift that won’t break the bank, Libec’s TH-X is a great choice. It can handle cameras up to 9 pounds, and includes a sliding plate that makes it easy to balance your camera. It offers smooth tilting and panning, easy leveling, a quick-release plate and 2-stage legs. It weighs just 3.1 KG and best of all, costs only around $200.
Joby Gorillapod 3K Flexible Mini-Tripod
One of the most useful accessories out there for vlogger on your Santa list are Joby’s famous mini-tripods, and the best one for the money is the GorillaPod 3K. Attaching your camera couldn’t be easier thanks to the secure clip-in mounting plate with a built-in level. And the flexible legs let you set your camera anywhere to shoot, or even wrap it around a tree or other object. And of course, you can bend them out for the ideal vlogging angle and steady out your shooting, to boot. Best of all, you can now pick one up at Amazon for just $45, a bargain for such a versatile tool.
Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II camera backpack
The ProTactic 350 AW II from Lowepro is a versatile camera backpack that makes a great gift for any photographer. It’s comfortable whether you’re doing a shoot across town, in the middle of nowhere or in another country, and spacious enough for a generous amount of photo or video gear. Lowepro claims you can carry a Pro DSLR and 24-70mm zoom, plus eight extra lenses or flash units, along with an additional DSLR and 13-inch laptop. It’s also modular, with adjustable dividers, removable straps and multiple pockets.
Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag V2 13L
With its rugged, practical design, Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger Bag is an ideal gift for adventurous or photo-shooting loved ones. It’s built with a lightweight yet durable 100-percent waterproof recycled 400D shell with the ingenious Flexfold dividers in the main storage area. It also offers a pair of zipped pockets, two elastic side pockets and a compartment big enough for a 13- to 15-inch laptop. I own one myself and find it practical both for work and daily activities, letting me fit a camera, lens and laptop along with my wallet and keys. It’s not the cheapest bag out there at $230, but your Dad won’t have to buy another for a good long while.
Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio 18
If you’re not interested in paying for Adobe’s subscription services, the best video editing software gift idea is Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 18 app. It gives users two ways to edit, with a Cut mode for quick projects and Edit for more advanced videos. Plus, you get Resolve’s well-known color correcting tools, the Fairlight audio editor, along with the Fusion graphics and compositing system – everything needed to deliver a project.
Nanlite LitoLite 5C RGBWW Mini LED Panel
A good light is an awesome tool in your favorite photographer or videographer’s arsenal, and a relatively affordable gift to boot. One of the best all-around models is the Nanlite LitoLite 5C RGBWW Mini LED Panel. It weighs just 4.8 ounces, but offers dimmable lighting across a range of colors, with adjustments either on the fixture or via a smartphone app. It mounts on any wall or light stand via a magnet or quarter-inch threads, has cordless operation and a battery that runs for 1.5 hours at full power (charged via USB). The most interesting feature is special effects that range from a cop car’s flashing lights, flames, candlelights, a lightning storm and more.
Rode VideoMic Go and Wireless Go II
If the vlogger in your life doesn’t already have one, Rode’s wireless and shotgun microphones are solid, affordable gifts. The VideoMic Go is ideal for interviews and run-and-gun shooting, thanks to the crisp directional audio and relative ease of use. It comes with a shock mount to eliminate bumps or vibrations that could interfere with sound and doesn’t require a battery, unlike past Rode models. Meanwhile, Rode’s Wireless Go II is one of the most popular wireless lavalier mics out there, functioning as both a microphone (for up to two subjects) and wireless transceiver. It offers a reliable connection and good audio quality, or you can maximize clarity by connecting external 3.5mm microphones like Rode’s $80 Lavalier Go, the Sennheiser Pro Audio ME2 or others.
Lexar Professional 1667x 64GB SDXS UHS II card
There’s no point in buying your favorite photographer UHS-I cards anymore when faster UHS-II models can be found at nearly the same price. That’s the case with Lexar’s 64GB or 128GB 1667x V60 UHS-II cards, available at just $33 and $50, respectively. While not as fast as a top-of-the-line 2000x card, you still get faster read and write speeds (250 MB/s and 120MB/s) than any UHS-I card for a fraction of the price. If speed is of the essence, then SanDisk’s top-end V90 cards with 300MB/s read and 260MB/s write speeds can be found for $80 and $150, respectively.
ProGrade 256GB CFexpress 2.0 Type B Gold
Many new camera models these days, including the Panasonic GH6, Fujifilm X-H2, Canon EOS R3 and EOS R5, along with others include CFexpress Type B slots that are multiple times faster than SD UHS-II cards. Prograde’s Type B Gold with 1700 MB/s read and 1500 MB/s write speeds are a good value, available in 128GB and 256GB versions for $100 and $140 respectively. And if even more speed is required for 8K or RAW capture, ProGrade also offers the 165GB and 325GB Type B Cobalt versions compatible with 8K and RAW on the EOS R5 for $180 and $450, respectively.
Edelkrone SliderOne V2
Nothing ups video production value like a camera slider for doing “dolly” moves, and one of the most affordable and gift-friendly models is Edelkrone’s SliderOne V2. It’s relatively lightweight and small at just 20 centimeters (8 inches), so it’s portable enough to fit in a camera bag. It offers smooth operation that’s easily programmable from a smartphone, and works nicely with other Edelkrone products like the HeadONE motorized panning system.
Capture One Pro
Lightroom is well loved and well regarded, with good reason. But it’s not the only game in town. Capture One Pro has been gathering a loyal following for its impressive depth of controls and unique workflow. It’s particularly popular with Fujifilm shooters who believe that Capture One is just much better at handling Fuji RAW files than Lightroom. (They’re not wrong.) Additionally, users aren’t locked into a subscription. People can still just buy Capture One outright (that said, there’s a subscription option too).
If you’re shopping for a photographer who hasn’t sworn their allegiance to Adobe Creative Suite – especially if you know they use Fuji cameras – consider getting them a license for Capture One. It’s highly customizable, powerful and even has an incredible live capture mode that makes it easy for photographers working in a studio to examine their work immediately while tethered. — Terrence O'Brien, Managing Editor