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The Holiday Gift Guide For Photographers | $500 +

By SLR Lounge Official on December 8th 2016

It’s that wonderful time of year again, and 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. Luckily, we’ve had a year to look at, test, play with, and ponder about many of the best photography products available, and we’ve filtered them all through our collective experience to make the holidays just that little bit easier, a little 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: 


DJI Mavic Pro $999

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-dji-profoto-sunbounce-nikon-canon-sony-s6500-osmo-mavic-ipad-2The DJI Mavic is the runaway drone hit from 2016 and it’s just come out, but it’s dominated the GoPro Karma is pretty much every comparison and packs features once thought possible only on much larger platforms into a compact quadcopter that is snappy, agile, and captures high-resolution images.

The drone features an advanced flight control system that draws on a host of sensors — including a ground-facing camera, ultrasound, GPS, dual redundant IMUs, and more — to keep track of where it is flying in 3D space and even avoid collisions. The Mavic works in tandem with DJI’s GO mobile app for accessing settings, getting a telemetry readout, viewing a low-latency video feed, and even editing and sharing your footage. In addition traditional joystick style controls, you can fly with simple tap-based commands, and the Mavic can even recognize gestures for the perfect selfie, and all while being in a tiny form factor that shoots 4K.

Apple iPad Pro 9.7 $649

new-ipad-pro-photography-videography-wacom-intuos-photoshop-lightroom-wedding-studio-slrlounge-kishore-sawh-3The iPad has been an indispensible tool for photographers since its inception and the iPad Pro seems to have taken that very dearly to heart. With it, Apple has taken the basic idea of an iPad and made it much more photography-centric, giving the screen a wider color gamut; allowing it to handle RAW files from hundreds of cameras as well as capture its own, and the integration of Apple Pencil now makes the iPad a great retouching tool.

The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combination give the iPad an almost Wacom Cintiq-like ability when you use an app like Astropad, and the Pencil is incredibly sensitive to pressure and tilt, and palm recognition is superb. The iPad Pro is genuinely a great companion to any photographer to use for editing, looking at imagery, tethering to, and sharing images.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 $1,199

sigma-85-art-lensSigma set the bar high for everyone when they released the ART line, especially the 50mm and 35mm ARTs, but perhaps with those as the first, creating an 85mm ART was the true test as it’s the focal length everyone had been waiting for to have an ART tag. Well, with the 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens, and they delivered an optic with high performance, a large f/1.4 aperture, and a variety of technologies.

It also two SLD elements, one anomalous partial dispersion/high-refractive index element, and one aspherical element that minimize aberrations and ensures a crisp, clear image. The Super Multi-Layer coating helps by suppressing flare and ghosting, and the hypersonic motor provides rather fast and accurate focusing while the focus ring allows for manual override. Sigma has truly created a lens worthy of wearing the ART badge.

Canon 5D Mark IV $3,499

canon=5d-mark-IV-dslr-20Canon’s 5D line has become something somewhat legendary with a throng of professionals and enthusiasts who swear by every iteration of it, and use them to death. The 5DIV had big shoes to follow as well as ground it had to cover to keep pace with and also outpace the competition.

This multimedia maven offers a newly developed 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor paired with the DIGIC 6+ image processor in order to balance fine detail and resolution with low-light performance and sensitivity. It is able to work within a native range of ISO 100-32000, which can then be expanded to an impressive ISO 50-102400, for sharp, low-noise images in a variety of conditions. Along with these improvements to image quality, users will enjoy a performance boost across the board with an enhanced AF system, built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS, and much more. All of this and with Dual Pixel Raw the 5D Mark IV is a glimpse into where Canon is heading.

Sony a6500 $1,398

sony-a6500-alpha-release-mirrorless-apsc-2Sony’s a6500 is the next evolution of Sony’s ever-loved a6000, and it is nothing short of remarkable. With it, what Sony has done is taken everything great about the a6300, and made it…more. With a 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, clean image quality is provided with a wide expandable sensitivity range to ISO 51200, along with accelerated readout speeds for internal 4K30 and Full HD 1080p120 video recording with full pixel readout. The processor further benefits videographers with the inclusion of an S&Q (Slow & Quick) Motion setting that permits capturing Full HD video at a variety of frame rates ranging from 1-120 fps.

Stills shooters also benefit from the apt processing speed, which enables continuous shooting at 11 fps for up to 301 JPEGs in a burst, as well as 14-bit raw file output. Complementing both stills and video, 5-axis SteadyShot image stabilization minimizes the appearance of camera shake with ALL mounted lenses to support working with slower shutter speeds. The sensor and processor combination is a marvel and also avails 4D FOCUS, which utilizes a wide-coverage 425-point phase-detection system with a 169-area contrast detection system for quick and precise focusing performance. It’s pretty much all the camera most people will ever need, and in a small package.

Nikon D500 $1,796

nikon-d500-d5-SB5000-dx-flagship-d300s-dslr-photography-gear-slrlounge-kishore-sawh-9The D500 is the flagship DX APS-C camera that Nikon shooter have been longing from since the D300s, and has become the APS-C DSLR to beat. The D500 looks the Pro part, feels like one with its magnesium alloy weather-sealed body, and handles like one too. The controls are all familiar but now with upgrades like NFC and Bluetooth and WiFi.

Centered around a 20.9MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, this camera appeals to both still and video shooters with its fast 10 fps continuous shooting rate and 4K UHD video recording abilities. The sensor and processor also combine to avail a native sensitivity range up to ISO 51200, which can be further expanded to ISO 1640000 for working in dark and difficult lighting conditions. But perhaps above all that is that the D500 is also characterized by its expansive Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system, which features 99 cross-type points for fast performance and accurate subject tracking capabilities. Its AF is blazingly fast, making this a compelling sports and action and wildlife camera. All together it’s a truly incredible camera with few if any faults.

DJI Osmo $649

DJI-OSMO-gopro-drone-phontom-zenmuse-videography-slrlounge-6DJI’s Osmo came out to much speculation and then much adoration as it made super-smooth cinematic video accessible to everyone, and didn’t require an expertise to achieve it. The Osmo line has expanded and this is the most current offering that features a 3.5x optical and 2x digital zoom, giving up to 7x zoom when shooting in Full 1080p resolution, and up to 3.5x zoom at all other resolutions.

The Osmo+ features a 4K camera capable of capturing DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution at 24/25 fps, Ultra HD 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 30 fps, 2.7K, and Full HD 1080p at 24-120 fps. It also shoots sharp 12MP still photos. Audio can be captured via an on-board mic or an included external FlexiMic, which plugs into the front of the gimbal handle and unobtrusively points in the direction of the subject. The on-board mic is located on the handle. The detachable handle also features a joystick and other controls. The Osmo+ records to microSD cards up to 64GB, and an iPhone can be mounted in an included phone holder on the side of the handle to display a live feed from the camera via a high-speed Wi-Fi link using a designated DJI iOS app, so you can monitor your shots, including your zooming in and out. With the world going video, this is one of the nicest steps into that world.

California Sunbounce Sun Swatter $669

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-dji-profoto-sunbounce-nikon-canon-sony-s6500-osmo-mavic-ipad-9Not all reflectors or scrims or diffusers are made equal, and California Sunbounce arguably makes some of the best, which is why you’ll see them in the BTS shots being used in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition shoots, Vicotria’s Secret, and major shoots akin. This Sunbounce system consists of a collapsible aluminum frame that can be easily assembled and combined with different reflecting, light-reducing, or light-absorbing screens to take full advantage of any kind of light–hard or soft, natural or artificial.

This Sun-Bounce Big Super Saver Starter Kit (6×8′) includes the lightweight, stable, anodized aluminum frame, a reversible silver/white screen, a grip head for attaching the reflector to a stand (not included), tuning clips for modifying the reflector by attaching custom fabrics or other material (not included), and a shoulder bag to hold the kit. The silver reflector is for reflecting strong contrasty light; the white reflector reflects a softer, diffused light. The frame is designed with an integrated crossbar and clamp so that it can be comfortably held in many different ways–by hand or by attaching it to a tripod, for instance. A great piece of kit for any photographer to keep and use forever.

Profoto B1 AirTTL Flash $2,095

holiday-gift-guide-christmas-dji-profoto-sunbounce-nikon-canon-sony-s6500-osmo-mavic-ipad-10Whenever Profoto introduces a product, anyone in the photo world sits up and takes notice since at the very least, it’s going to be impressive. The introduction of the B1 500 AirTTL is truly ground-breaking or to be more accurate, game-changing. This B1 is based on the D1 series of lights but is a vastly different animal in flexibility and general abiltiy, especially when paired with the optional Air Remote and also once you get the free update from Profoto’s website adds High-Speed Sync to the B1 and Air Remote TTL-C or TTL-N. If you’re looking for high performing lighting and reliability and quality are paramount for you, then the battery-powered B1 is hard to be beat.

Nikon 105mm f/1.4 $2,196

Nikon-105mm-1.4-bokeh-portrait-wedding-photography-slrlounge-2Nikon’s 105mm f/1.4 ED has to be the most talked about lens of the year, as it breaks new ground in 105mm focal lengths. Not only has Nikon created something new, but its performance is essentially flawless as a portrait lens.

Maintaining clarity and sharpness throughout the aperture range, the optical design utilizes extra-low dispersion glass to minimize chromatic aberrations and color fringing, and a Nano Crystal Coat has been applied to reduce flare and ghosting in strong lighting. Availing a range of unique possibilities for a telephoto lens, the combination of the 105mm focal length and fast maximum aperture greatly benefit portrait photographers as well as event shooters. It’s about as fast or a little faster than you’d expect from a lens this size with so much heavy glass, and the quality of the bokeh is high, not to mention it isolates subjects in a way other lenses just don’t, and yet none of that is as surprising as just how sharp this lens is – astonishing.

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


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  1. Kim Bentsen

    No Hasselblad X1D? But why?

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