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The Holiday Gift Guide For Photographers | $100-$500

By SLR Lounge Official on December 13th 2017

Oh what a wonderful time of year with all the holiday trimmings; “Presents, a tree, decorations, agents sliding down the chimney…”. whether there’s a photographer in your life or it’s you you’re shopping for, the world of photography is littered with a litany of options to the point of being overwhelming. But that’s why we’re here – to sort the wheat from the chaff for you.

We’ve had a year to look at, test, play with, and ponder about many of the best  (and worst) photography products available, and we’ve filtered them all through our collective experience to make the holidays just that little bit easier, better, and more successful by bringing you the best photography gifts regardless of your budget.

Bookmark this page and keep checking back as we’ll be continually updating these lists as more and better products and deals surface for the season.

Holiday Gift Guides: 

RELATED: Holiday Sale! $75 Off SLR Lounge Premium + Free Gift

LaCie 5TB Rugged Thunderbolt / USB-C Mobile HDD $279

LaCie makes some of the most eye-catching external drives in existence, and they do it time and time again. They are a beautiful blend of utility and function that make the mundane and messy world of storage, attractive and tidy. This is a highly capable high-capacity drive that’s stylish, safe, versatile, and will bridge the tech gap between the computer you have now and the one you’ll get next. This is a drive any photographer would do well to have, and will likely get more use than they imagined. There are also smaller capacities.

[REVIEW: LaCie Rugged USB-C Review | Bridging The Gap Between The Computer You Have Now & Your Next]

Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet (Medium) $349

The Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet from Wacom is a flexible graphical tablet that can be used to digitize your work, and by flexible, we don’t mean bendable. By itself, the Intuos Pro is a standard drawing tablet that connects to your system via USB or Bluetooth. It has eight customizable ExpressKeys and a Touch Ring to assist you with your workflow, and comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2, which has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Few things will improve someone’s editing like this. Highly recommend.

Capture One Pro – The Best Raw Processor $299

There is a lot that can be said about the editing softwares on the market, and perhaps it’s bold to say, but it is with confidence we say that Capture One is the best raw processor on the market, bar none – there’s a reason you’ll see , almost exclusively, Capture One being used in professional fashion and portrait photography studios the world over. Nothing compares for tethered capture nor color grading within a raw processor, and the new layers abilities and PSD integration makes Capture One more compelling today than ever. If you want to see your files ‘sing’, this is the software to use.

Leica Sofort Instant film camera $299

Leave it to Leica to introduce an instant film camera that looks like it was part of an art installation at Art Basel, and functions just that much sweeter than most other instant offerings out there. The rather Bauhaus aesthetic is beautiful and functional, and the camera looks and feels like a conversation piece. It accepts Leica’s new line of instant film but also Fuji’s Instax, and its digital controls on the rear are basic, they are easy, and fast. Yes, it costs more than anything Fuji has on offer but then when you pick it up and use it, you realize it is a bit ‘more’ than anything Fuji has on tap, and is a special gift piece to be sure.

REVIEW: Leica Sofort Review | The Instant Camera For the Grown Up & As Leica As It Gets]

Samsung T5 $99+

You’d struggle to find a device that grows on you as much as this will. Samsung’s T1 was a brilliant portable SSD and the T3 that followed was better, and the T5 is better still. T1s can still be found as go-to pieces for staff at SLRL, in fact. With a form factor that’s not much bigger or thicker than a few credit cards, the T5 is super fast, solid, durable, and perfect for quick transfer of any types of files, anywhere.

In addition, if you’re a Lightroom User who moves between computers like a desktop station and a laptop and studio, they are ideal for moving around catalogues and make using LR between machines much easier. The same goes for Capture One sessions, which are probably the best ways to move around a shoot’s files. The size of the drive is a benefit and it’s the kind of gift someone is sure to use and wonder how they ever were without one. They come in various capacities from 250GB up to 2TB, and are all on holiday discount right now.

[REVIEW: Samsung T1 External SSD – Tiny & Blazing Fast| Review]

SLR Lounge Premium $271/year Sale ($348 Normally)

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-9We created SLR Lounge products to help the photography community learn and do it with speed and great understanding, and we brought SLR Lounge Premium to pull all of our materials into one spot, able to be streamed anywhere, without the need to lay out the initial investment it would take to buy all the courses you want – Premium gives you the best of both worlds, and covers everything from portraiture, wedding photography, engagements, post processing with Lightroom, fashion photography, lighting, and more.

As part of the package members get our touted SLR Lounge Preset System and included in our Premium offer this year is the new Lead Generation & Instagram Growth Playbook ($149 Retail) – a playbook detailing one of our biggest secrets for generating thousands of leads and new Instagram followers. This step-by-step guide walks you through how to use Photo Session Giveaways to take your business to the next level. The last time our studio used this strategy, here were our results:

  • 6.3K unique emails collected
  • 6.1K additional Instagram Followers
  • 6 weddings booked (with an average package price of $7.2K)

SLR Lounge Premium members are also privy to material from our partners, and discounts from major brands, and get our absolute newest and best materials before anyone else. Premium membership is, we feel, the best choice for those who are serious about learning and improving their photography with the steepest learning curve.

  • Check out all premium has to offer here.

Pelican 1607 Air Case $289+

Combining durability and lightness, the black 1607 Air Case from Pelican offers water, dust, and impact protection to your equipment in a travel-ready package. The case is molded with a proprietary lightweight resin that forms honeycomb structural elements, reducing the weight of the case while preserving durability and impact resistance. Optimized for travel, the case comes with a wheel design that was roll-tested for nearly 3000′ for durability. Overmolded handles are available for transport, as well as a retractable trolley handle. You have the option with the 1607 to have it with a set of padded dividers with hook-and-loop straps and limited lifetime warranty.

TETHER TOOLS CASE AIR WIRELESS TETHERING SYSTEM $159.99

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-3The Case Air Wireless Tethering System from Tether Tools is an innovative camera controller that connects and transfers images instantly from a DSLR camera to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Once connected to a camera via a small USB cable, Case Air creates its own wireless connection between camera and tablet, phone or computer (no wireless internet connection needed). Case Air is powered by a simple, easy-to-use mobile App with advanced camera functions including live-view, focus peaking, histogram, and grid overlay.

Images can be downloaded to a mobile device for on-the-go tethering and sharing. The Case Air App displays images full screen and a simple pinch-to-zoom lets you check critical focus on any image. The Case Air features built-in mounting options for the camera’s hot shoe or can be secured with included quick-release lanyard if a flash or camera trigger is in use.

Bose QC 35 Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Headphones $349

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-7It’s true that headphones aren’t exactly directly camera related, and this pair also a bit indulgent overall, but for a traveling photographer or those who need to work on-the-go within a city, or at airports, or louder studios or coffee shops, they are a God send. Bose took everything that made their QuietComfort headphone line the best in class, and then cut the cables, making them even better, and they can be the photographers companion they never knew they needed.

Since I’ve bought my QC35s they are with me essentially everywhere, and speaking as someone who travels a lot, they’ve covered a lot of ground/sea/air. They let me create an almost silent space wherever I am, and that means turning a noisy plane or airport lounge, or studio office into a peaceful retreat, allowing me to focus on retouching, writing, and all other facets of this business. They are, to me, absolutely indispensable. – Kishore Sawh, Editor-In-Chief

Tiffen Digital Neutral Density Filter Kit $120

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-8The Tiffen 77mm Digital Neutral Density Filter Kit is a complete set of filters to help you get better shots in bright light as well as assisting you with some special effect images.
Neutral Density filters have several uses and offer the possibility to achieve otherwise unachievable results. They enable the shooter to adjust exposure without affecting color balance, and this set from Tiffen has 2,3, and 4 stop filters in a nice tidy package.

Tiffen is and has been one of the primary names in filters for decades and for good reason. This set it just a sample of what’s available, and they offer them for pretty much any lens size you can think of.

WANDRD PRVKE 21 BackPack $185


There are camera bags and there are camera bags, this is the latter, but this is also a bit more. With the PRVKE 21 WANDRD has earned our only 5-star rating on a bag – something truly exceptional. Its combination of size, modularity, overall functionality, attention to the finer details, and overall aesthetic and form factor make this a bag that you may not lust after to begin with, but will end up falling in love with.

There are camera bags to endure and there are camera bags to enjoy, and this –firmly– is the latter. It’s the kind of thing that you end up realizing you are always gravitating to even in the face of considerable options, and one that you’ll realize is often the daily solution to carrying your gear. Frankly, it’s absolutely brilliant.

[REVIEW: WANDRD PRVKE 21 Review | Not Just A Bag – Another Limb & Extension of Self]

Datacolor SpyderCapture System $369

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-10We’ve said it before that Datacolor is about the best there is for screen calibration, but their attention to detail and understanding of camera physics and workflow make them great creators of products that help throughout the entire photographic process. The Spyder5Capture Pro is a suite of tools that help manage correct calibration of lenses and color all the way from capture to edit and ready for print.

Designed to provide control of camera accuracy and color workflow, the Spyder5CAPTURE PRO from Datacolor includes the SpyderLENSCAL, the SpyderCHECKR case with target color cards, the SpyderCUBE with a protective pouch, and the Spyder5ELITE colorimeter with USB connectivity. Coming as a complete package its the kind of set that a meticulous and sagacious photographer will appreciate, and help maintain professional results. It’s the kind of thing pros wish they had earlier in their career.

Syrp Genie Mini $249

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-11Compact enough to fit into a small carry bag or even your coat pocket; the Syrp Genie Mini is a portable and easy-to-use device for creating smooth panning motion time-lapses or real-time video. It is designed to sit between your camera and tripod and has an internal motor that enables 360° panning motion with cameras weighing up to 8.8 pounds. Control and setup is done wirelessly using a Bluetooth connection and the Syrp Genie App for iOS and Android devices.

To accommodate experienced and beginning time-lapse shooters, the app provides a useful set of presets so you can start shooting right away. A lithium-ion battery provides 48+ hours of time-lapse and 5+ hours of smooth continuous panning on a single charge, with a micro-USB cable included for re-charging the battery. A great gift for timelapse shooters.

Peak Design EveryDay Backpack 20L (BLACK EDITION) $259

The Peak Design team is always pushing out new and innovative pieces and features, and the success of the Everyday messenger led to a whole line of new Everyday bags, including the much-loved backpack. The Everyday Backpack comes in a myriad of colors, but the colors weren’t always subtle, until they released the black edition. The new Black Backpack goes with everything, and has some subtle upgrades inside from the original. It’s incredibly light, versatile, and highly functional as a working pack. The sparseness of the appearance doesn’t do justice to the high number of features, and it integrates perfectly with anything else Peak Design makes, making it a great all ’round bag, backed by good people.

DXO One $499

We reviewed the DxO One last year when it came out and found it to be an entirely surprising little device that produced incredible imagery despite its disarming size. With a 20MP 1 inch sensor and f/1.8 aperture the DxO turned the iPhone into an incredible photography platform the likes of which not even the iPhone X can touch – even major brand campaigns have been shot with it like that of Rolls Royce.

It has continued to be improved upon and now has added WiFi and full RAW workflow support now that iPhones are RAW capable, making it that much better, and relevant as ever. It’s the ultimate iPhone photography accessory for travelers and those who like to keep a small footprint with big power.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G $476

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-12It’s not always easy to find top-notch DSLR camera pieces under $500, particularly lenses, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a a better value than that of Nikon’s famous 85mm f/1.8G. This ear may as well be called the era of the 85 and the 1.8G from Nikon is exceptionally good. It’s been around for a while and is a piece you’ll find in many professional bags due to its price and performance. If you are a Nikon shooter or are looking for a gift for someone who is, particularly if they shoot weddings or portraits or fashion, you simply cannot will not go wrong with this.

Fujifilm 23mm f/2 R WR $449

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-13Fuji has released a few 23mm lenses for their X-Series line-up and it’s incredible how quickly they have become almost cult classics among Fuji shooters, especially the f2 given its price point. They are popular choices among Fuji shooters for everything from lifestyle, boudoir, and wedding photography given it’s 35mm equivalent focal length, and it’s also smaller, lighter, and faster focusing. It would be a welcomed and loved addition to any Fuji shooter’s kit.

Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM $299

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-15A fast 50mm is, as most of you know, sort of the one lens you can always bank on seeing in a photographer’s bag, because they’re typically sharp, small, and relatively cheap for a 1.4. Its f/1.4 maximum aperture makes it very effective in low light situations and able to provide shallow depth of field focus. Two high-refraction lens elements and new Gaussian optics eliminate astigmatism and suppress astigmatic difference. Its ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) enables fast, smooth and silent autofocus action and full-time manual focus override allows for the precision of manual focus even in One Shot AF mode.

It’s not a new lens but it’s still relevant and atop many a Canon shooter’s wish list and if you’re looking for the first lens to buy a Canon shooter you can’t go wrong with this one.

Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS $298

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-14Carrying on with the nifty fifties, Sony’s rather recent 50mm release for their E-mount has been a success. It’s a prime portrait-length lens featuring a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture and a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 75mm. The lens has a lightweight and compact design with an aluminum alloy lens barrel and engraved focusing ring to provide greater handling as well as an aesthetic appearance. This particular 50 comes with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization which is quite effective at reducing camera shake by a number of stops. It’s an overall great value and nice to be able to get this focal length on something like an a6300 without spending as much as the 55 Zeiss.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens (APS-C) $166

Packing in a Silent Wave Motor AF system with a rear focusing design, the NIKKOR 35mm is able to lock focus quickly and quietly. Also, it has manual focus override for taking control whenever it is desired, and it can focus as close as 11.8″ to your subjects. Additionally, it has a 52mm filter diameter and features a 7-blade diaphragm for smooth out-of-focus elements.

 

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens $349

The EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens from Canon is a highly practical medium telephoto prime lens ideal for a range of applications including portraiture. Its fast f/1.8 maximum aperture is effective in low light and ideal for shallow depth of field focus control. An ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) provides fast, smooth and quiet AF action and because the front lens group does not rotate during focusing, polarizing and special filter effects can be used effectively.

A bright f/1.8 maximum aperture makes this lens a good choice for low-light photography and provides shallow depth of field control, ideal for portraiture with pleasing background blur.

Drobo 5C 5-Bay USB 3.0 Type-C Enclosure $319

The Drobo 5C protects your data from a single or dual hard drive failures, but it doesn’t just protect against drive failures, but also from potential data loss after a power outage. The Drobo 5C includes advanced battery backup technology that helps protects data in memory or cache. During a sudden power loss, Drobo protects in-progress operations by saving them to an internal SSD. The operations are resumed and written to the disks once power is restored. This helps ensure important information is safe and sound. The battery recharges itself and is designed to last for the life of your Drobo. This is a fantastic economical back-up solution for photographers, and USB-C means it’ll work with pretty much all new computers and gear on the horizon, allowing for the fastest transfers. This is a gift that will be appreciated by beginners and seasoned photographers alike.

CREATIVE CLOUD SUBSCRIPTION $120

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-5It used to be prohibitive to breach the barrier of entry into professional photography photo editing and retouching simply because the initial buy of the software required was significant, but Adobe’s Creative Cloud plans does away with all of that. With the Creative Cloud Photography plan both Lightroom and Photoshop and a host of powerful Adobe Mobile apps are at your disposal for only $10 a month, and as a creative professional it’s undeniably a great deal. You can gift a year’s subscription to the plan for $120, and it’ll be transformative for any creative as these are required tools.

$500 B&H Gift Card

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-iphone-camera-leica-backpack-bose-datacolor-bh-tiffen-prvke-16Ok, while not requiring the biggest box on Christmas morning, a gift card from B&H will likely get the eyes to light up just as anything else. Any photographer will welcome the chance to spree at B&H and meticulously and even agonizingly pour over all the options at their finger tips. This choice is always a winner.

Articles by SLR Lounge Official are created by multiple authors. They represent official announcements by SLR Lounge.

4 Comments

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  1. Virginia Claudio

    Has anyone ever bought from massdrop? I found this lens at a great price. https://www.massdrop.com/buy/sigma-35mm-f-1-4-dg-hsm-art-lens

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  3. Jean-Francois Perreault

    For anyone who reads this, I want the 500$ B&H gift card. Thanks in advance ;)

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