Looking for a Christmas gift for a photographer friend – or for yourself? Andy Westlake and Michael Topham have selected some of the best gifts for photographers for you to choose from
If you’re struggling to come up with gift ideas for a friend or family member this Christmas, then read on. We’ve selected the best gifts for photographers so that whatever your budget, you’ll find something they love.
Best gifts for photographers under £50
If you’re struggling to find the perfect backdrop on which to shoot product, food or lifestyle images you’ll want to take a look at these. The 40x40cm (£18) Photo Boards are ideal for small items, while the larger 60x60cm (£30) designs offer better space for more complex still-life set-ups. The company has larger 80x90cm boards in its range too, all in a variety of styles. Fantastic results can be attained using these boards under natural light and the website offers a visual idea of what can be achieved using them.
Eyelead Sensor Dust-Sticking Bar
Eyelead’s Sensor Dust-Sticking Bar (SCK-1) is one of the most effective accessories we’ve used to remove dust safely from a camera’s sensor. The gel on the sticking bar is formulated to capture dust without damaging the sensor and leaves no residue behind. After the dust has been removed, dab the bar on special cleaning paper, with the higher adhesion of the paper retaining the dust and enabling the sticking bar to be reused. It’s important to note that the SCK-1 version should not be used with Sony or Leica sensors; instead it’s imperative to use the SCK-1S (red) version.
Hähnel Universal Flash Accessory Kit
This flash accessory kit provides you with everything you need to start getting more creative with your hotshoe-mounted Speedlite. The kit is made up of different light-diffusion accessories, which includes a honeycomb grid, flash reflector, filter holder with seven coloured filters, foldable light-beam snoot and flash bracket to aid with supporting a flashgun off-camera and attaching an umbrella. Each light-diffusion accessory attaches using a Velcro accessory strap, of which five are supplied in the kit.
Kenro Kenair Master Kit 360ml
The Kenair air duster removes dust and dirt from negatives or slides, as well as computers, camera exteriors and other equipment in a matter of seconds. It emits a powerful and controllable blast of air to get dust and dirt out of those hard-to-reach places. If you like to keep your camera kit in pristine condition, add a can of Kenair to your shopping list. With the Master Kit you get a reusable valve, meaning when you run out you’ll only need to buy a refill canister (£14).
PhotoTEQ pin badges
Sought after by those who’d like to show off their love for the craft of photography, these pins have become very popular due to their faithful reproduction of a wide variety of classic cameras and films. So whether you want to show your love for Rollei cameras or Ektachrome film, you’re bound to find one for you.
Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries
Fed up of having to buy fresh batteries for your flashgun, triggers, and so on? Eneloop Pro batteries with their extra- strong performance are ideal for devices with high power consumption and can be recharged up to 500 times using a standard NiMH charger – great for the environment and your wallet.
Matin M-7096 rain cape
If you don’t want bad weather to interrupt your photography, you’ll want a suitable camera cover that can be pulled out at a moment’s notice to keep your kit dry. This simple but effective rain cape fits most popular DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with up to a 300mm lens attached. A small aperture covered by a protective flap allows an uninterrupted view through the viewfinder and it packs down well, so it won’t take up too much space in your bag. Not only useful for rain, this cover also provides good protection from dust and is a useful accessory to have when you’re working on a sandy beach
Spudz lens cloths
Spudz microfibre lens cloths are available in different sizes, with 6x6in examples starting around £8 and 10x10in cloths costing around £14. The cloth is attached inside a neoprene pouch, complete with a hook that allows you to attach ittoaziporstowitaway inside a pocket. Well suited to cleaning lenses, they’re also great for cleaning screens and sunglasses. To clean the cloth, simply handwash it with mild detergent and hang it up to dry.
OpTech Pro Strap
The neoprene Pro Strap from OpTech is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever used. It does an excellent job of evenly dispersing the weight of light and heavy camera set-ups, while the strap functions like a shock absorber, effectively eliminating neck and shoulder fatigue. It also features a non-slip grip and is available in more than eight colours. It’s worth a look if you’d like to improve your comfort when working with a single camera.
Zeiss cleaning spray
This offers gentle and effective cleaning for lenses, smartphones, tablets, laptops and LCD displays. For best results, lightly spray onto a microfibre cloth before wiping. The two 120ml bottles will keep you going for some time, but you may want to decant into a smaller bottle to take up less space in your camera bag.
Røde has a good reputation for high-end microphones. Its VideoMicro is a directional microphone that primarily picks up sounds from in front of the camera, and is designed to match small mirrorless cameras. As there’s no battery it’s short (8cm) and light (42g); instead, it uses ‘plug-in power’ that’s supplied by many cameras. It comes with a Rycote mount and a furry windshield. Optionally
available is the Røde SC7, a TRS to TRRS cable that allows it to be used with smartphones.
H&Y magnetic filter frames
- From £23 (100x100mm frame)
Fed up of getting fingermarks on your filters and want to give them lifelong protection? H&Y’s magnetic filter frames are your answer and are made for 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters. You need to modify your filter holder to accept them, but owners of Formatt-Hitech, LEE Filters and NiSi filter holders can fit magnetic holder adapter strips (£15). The frames let you easily attach and stack filters to your holder.
Best gifts for photographers between £50-£100
Sirui K-10X ball head
With a ball diameter of 33mm, a height of 96mm and weight of 390g, the K-10X is a natural companion for relatively portable tripods like the Manfrotto 190 series, or Sirui’s own T-2204X. It’s beautifully engineered and impeccably finished. The quick-release platform has three bubble levels, and a safety interlock post to stop your camera inadvertently sliding off the head. With an impressive 20kg maximum load, it can easily support a full-frame DSLR with 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom.
Walkstool Comfort 45L
Outdoor photography can involve a lot of patience and remaining in one place, so some sort of portable chair can be handy. The Swedish-made Walkstool Comfort is not the cheapest option, but stands out due to its two-section telescopic legs that make it taller and more comfortable than most, while still being lightweight and portable. The mesh seat material means it won’t pool water in wet conditions. It’s available in four sizes of various heights.
Lastolite HaloCompact Diffuser 82cm
Unlike your average reflector-style diffuser that collapses and folds down to around a third of its original size, this Lastolite diffuser, which features a frame that slots together with tent-pole-like sections, is considerably more compact. It makes a great accessory for portrait and wedding photographers who’d like a portable, quick to assemble and easy-to-use diffuser. Better still, it packs down into a conveniently sized carry case, which can be clipped to your belt.
Benro 3XS Lite smartphone stabiliser
If you use your smartphone to capture video but feel the quality of your handheld footage is let down by your shaky hands, a smartphone gimbal stabiliser could be the answer. Benro’s X series 3XS Lite is a seriously impressive piece of kit. It folds down to a nice compact size and has a nifty feature whereby you can rotate your phone’s filming orientation from horizontal to vertical or vice versa from the press of a button. If shooting movies or vlogging on your smartphone is something you regularly do, this gimbal makes a great value-for-money purchase.
The Hähnel ProCube2 is a dual battery charger based around the same concept as the original ProCube, with a sturdy metal body shell and interchangeable plates that each accept a pair of batteries. The battery holders clip into place without the need to plug in a fiddly connector wire and the LCD display helpfully shows how much charge has been fed into each battery. An in-car charger is also supplied and it’s an accessory well worth considering if you’d like to quickly charge two batteries simultaneously. It even has a high-power 2.4A USB output that can be used to charge phones or tablets once the camera batteries are full.
TimeLine Events gift voucher
It might not be an accessory, but one of the gift vouchers from TimeLine Events would make a great gift for a photographer. It organises some of the best photographic events across the county and specialises in recreating scenes from a bygone era with re-enactors adding human interest. Events focusing on British transport and industrial heritage dating back to the Victorians are run along the length and breadth of the country. With restricted numbers on each event you’re guaranteed to capture some unique images. Worth looking into if you’re struggling for inspiration or fancy gaining access to somewhere out of the ordinary.
Tenba DNA 10 messenger bag
A small, messenger-style bag, the Tenba DNA 10 is designed for a mirrorless system, plus tablet. Made from premium-quality materials, right down to the Whisper Hook closure used for the flap (allowing you to open the bag almost silently – great for wedding or wildlife photographers), the bag has magnetic clips that snap into position without you having to look at what you’re doing. The camera compartment has three sections, for a camera with lens attached, and two lenses either side. Inside the main compartment is a zipped pocket, and smaller pockets for accessories.
Think Tank Photo Trifecta 8
This bag has all the space a mirrorless camera owner needs for a day’s shooting. Expect to be able to fit a mirrorless camera with a mounted lens, and two or three additional lenses. It sits comfortably on your back and has well-placed, supportive padding. For hiking, the Trifecta 8 is small, light and comfortable, and for city shooters it won’t get in the way on busy streets or public transport. Though it’s not a new design, it makes a brilliant choice if you’re working to a sub-£100 budget.
LEE Filters 100 Holder
Earlier this year LEE Filters renewed its filter holder for the company’s popular 100mm system. If you regularly change filter-slot configurations in the field, want a polariser that clips on easily at the front and you like the sound of having a locking ring with three settings – neutral, half lock and full lock – it makes a good buy. It’s compatible with all existing LEE Filters 100mm filters and is both lightweight and strong. It received a four-star rating and our recommended award when we reviewed it in May.
Vallerret Markhof Pro 2.0 Gloves
If you’re after an excellent pair of gloves to keep your hands warm during cold winter shoots, look no further. With a merino wool liner, thinsulate insulation and weather-proofed fabrics, you’re guaranteed comfort and warmth, along with excellent grip. Fingertips can be folded back and there’s even a pocket for an SD card or lens cloth. They’re a slim fit so we’d recommend going up from your usual size.
Gitzo Century Sling Strap
As befits Gitzo, this sling strap is beautifully made, with a generously sized leather shoulder pad that’s backed by thick Neoprene rubber. The main strap is constructed from sturdy nylon webbing, while the chunky metal fittings are chrome-plated. It does a great job of making large, heavy cameras comfortable, and is particularly well suited to full-frame SLRs and mirrorless cameras.
Best gifts for photographers between £100-£250
Billingham Hadley Pro 2020
This lovingly made Billingham shoulder bag provides space for a full-frame SLR or mirrorless body (minus battery grip) and up to four lenses. It’s similar to the original Hadley Pro, but benefits from a leather grip on the underside of the carry handle, a new luggage trolley strap and a weatherproof zip that provides easier access to the rear pocket where important documents and your latest copy of AP can be safely stored. Stylish shoulder bags simply don’t come any better.
Datacolor SpyderX Pro
If you like to manipulate images on a computer before printing or sharing them online, you need to ensure your monitor is showing colours accurately. The SpyderX is designed to calibrate your display faster than ever before, with the whole process taking about two minutes. For most people, the Pro package makes sense.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB
This portable SanDisk SSD has been made with ruggedness, practicality and affordability in mind. Small and thin enough to slip inside a jacket or trouser pocket, it allows you to work freely knowing your prized images are well protected and safe. Best of all it’s sensibly priced, with smaller and larger capacities available. The 500GB version costs £99 and the 2TB version costs £320. Quite simply it’s one of the best portable SSD drives money can buy.
Hold Fast Camera Swagg
The Hold Fast Money Maker is one of our favourite camera harness support systems for carrying two cameras simultaneously. The Camera Swagg has the same design albeit made from a non-leather material. High-grade cotton canvas, anchored metal d-rings, safety straps that connect to the side lug mount, completely bypassing the clip and screw for ultimate security makes this an essential accessory for photographers who regularly shoot with two cameras off the hip. It’s available in blue, copper, red or black and comes in one size fits all.
Røde Wireless Go
This brilliant little wireless microphone is great for capturing high-quality audio when narrating to camera or vlogging. It’s remarkably compact, the integrated rechargeable batteries last up to seven hours and it provides you with much better results than a camera’s internal microphone when talking from any kind of distance.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro
If you’re out on an extended shooting session, you will want to back up your pictures, and the WD MyPassport Wireless Pro is the best option we’ve yet come across. Storage options range from 1TB to 4TB and it has a powerful built-in rechargeable battery. Simply pop in your SD card and press the copy button. You can view your shots on a phone or tablet using the device’s built-in Wi-Fi.
Hähnel Modus 360RT
This is a really smart little flash that provides a lot of capability for the price. The Modus 360RT promises more flashes per charge than its competitors (approximately 400 at full power), along with quick recycling times of just 1.5sec. Its head can be set to almost any angle for bouncing light off a wall or ceiling, and zoom to cover 24-105mm equivalent lenses. TTL-Auto, manual and stroboscopic modes are all on offer, along with high-speed sync for daylight fill-in. While not especially high-powered, it delivers accurate exposures and its small form factor complements today’s mirrorless cameras. For £160, it’s a steal.
Nissin i40 flashgun
A compact flashgun that’s designed specifically for use with mirrorless cameras, the i40 stands out for its high specification, compact size and ease of use. Its auto-zoom head covers lenses from 24-105mm equivalent, and is extendable to 16mm using the slide-out wide diffuser panel. With a powerful output that belies its size, built-in LED video light, and support for advanced functions such as wireless flash control and high-speed sync, it’s available for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Sony and Micro Four Thirds cameras.
Fujifilm Instax Mini Link
This small portable printer makes credit card-sized photos using Fujifilm’s Instax Mini film. It uses Bluetooth for communicating with your phone, rather than Wi-Fi, making it easier to set up whilst consuming less battery power. With a sleek, curvy design, it’ll slip into a coat pocket or bag and the Mini Link app offers a good range of functions that are all intuitive and accessible. You can even use your phone as if it were an instant camera, with the printer acting as a remote control. A standard pack of 20 colour prints costs £15, while a 50-print pack is £35. Most importantly, it delivers gorgeous little prints with fine detail and vivid colour.
Benro GD3WH geared head
For photographers who demand precise control of composition, perhaps for architectural or macro work, a geared head can be a godsend. Benro’s GD3WH is a relatively lightweight, portable and precise example that incorporates an Arca Swiss-type quick release. Three large control knobs, one for each axis of movement, drive the camera directly in the corresponding direction, allowing highly accurate setting of composition. With its sturdy magnesium-alloy construction, the head is rated to support a 6kg load.
Vanguard Veo Select 49
If you’re forever trying to choose between a shoulder bag or a backpack for carrying your kit, then this cleverly designed Vanguard bag might just be the answer. It comes with both a backpack harness and shoulder strap, and can be switched between the two carrying modes quickly and easily. There’s space for one or two cameras and three to five extra lenses, along with a separate compartment for a 15in laptop and a tablet.
Syrp Super Dark Variable ND
As variable ND filters go, this is one of the best. It sandwiches two polarisers which can be rotated relative to each other to block between 5 and 10 stops of light. Two Syrp kits are available: one includes an 82mm filter with 77mm and 72mm step-up rings, while the smaller option includes a 67mm filter together with 58mm and 52mm step-up rings. The filter delivers neutral colour and the kit is beautifully presented in a leather case.
Best gifts for photographers between £250-£500
Elinchrom D-Lite RX One/One Softbox To Go Set
This D-Lite RX One kit is a good introduction to studio flash and it makes the next logical step from using flashguns off-camera. With roughly twice the power of a Speedlite and a variable power output of 6W-100W, it’s ideal for smaller studio environments where space might be limited. It comes with a built-in receiver for wireless triggering with the EL-Skyport Plus, and features a cooling fan to prevent overheating. In the kit you get two RX One flash heads, two stands with a carry bag, two Portalite softboxes, one translucent deflector, an EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus and a robust storage bag to transport it all in. Note that no reflectors are
included but they are available to buy separately.
Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI
This is the most interesting Speedlite to be announced in recent years. It’s a powerful mid-range flashgun, equipped with Canon’s Auto Intelligent (AI) bounce feature, which works out the optimum bounce position to eliminate unwanted shadows before automatically tilting and swivelling the flash head for beautifully lit, natural-looking results. The guide number of this flash is 47m at ISO 100, and it has a lens coverage of 24-105mm. It’s one highly innovative Speedlite that performed well when we reviewed it.
LEE Seven5 Deluxe Kit
The LEE Filters Seven5 system is a brilliant filter set-up for users of small, mirrorless cameras and lenses. This deluxe kit includes a 0.6ND hard grad, 0.6ND soft grad, 0.9ND hard grad, Big Stopper, Seven5 circular polariser and Seven5 filter holder, which is everything you need to balance the exposure between sky and foreground, eliminate distracting reflections from water, or extend your exposure times to convey a sense of peace and stillness. The only thing not included is an adaptor ring to fit your lens, but these are available separately in a range of sizes.
Páramo Halcon jacket
Super lightweight and able to cope with up to four hours of rain, the Páramo Halcon jacket is ideal for spring, summer and autumn. It uses soft, breathable waterproof fabric, which is quiet and rustle-free, so shouldn’t scare off wildlife. The jacket has decent-sized external pockets and two large internal mesh pockets. It comes in both men’s and ladies’ fits, in a wide range of sizes.
Wildlife Watching Supplies Long and Low Dome Hide C31.1
If you want to blend into your surroundings and have a portable waterproof enclosure to protect you and your gear, buying your own personal hide is worth considering. Wildlife Watching Supplies produces a variety of hides and the C31.1 is particularly good for low-level photography with its low-opening window. It measures 2.15m long, 1.25m wide and 1.1m high with pockets around the base. There are three different printed patterns to choose from so you can match it to the type of shooting environment you plan to use it at most. A groundsheet and kneeling mats are also available.
Manfrotto BeFree GT Carbon Fibre Tripod kit
This set of sticks is aimed at keen enthusiasts and working pros who want their tripod to be strong, portable and lightweight. Measuring a compact 43cm long when folded, it extends to a maximum height of 162cm and supports a maximum load of 10kg. It comes supplied with Manfrotto’s excellent 496 aluminium centre ball head, but if you regularly shoot from low angles or like to capture overhead macro images, you’ll be better served by the BeFree GT XPRO with its 90° rotating centre column.
LowePro Powder Backpack 500AW
This beast of a LowePro backpack offers ample space for outdoorsy types who’d like to carry their photo kit as well as a few days’ worth of clothes; waterproofs; 15in laptop; and personal gear such as headphones, smartphone, keys, wallet, sunglasses and other accessories. The features for the price can’t be faulted and the shoulder straps, sternum strap and waist straps distribute the weight of heavy contents very effectively. The only downside is that it exceeds many airlines carry-on baggage allowances.
Westcott Ice Light 2
If you enjoy painting subjects with light at night, such as cars, the Westcott Ice Light 2 is the ideal tool for the job. This long, thin LED light creates a narrower beam of light than circular or rectangular LED panels and successfully squeezes 1,740 lumen of daylight-balanced (5,500K) light into its compact cylindrical housing. Set to full power it offers one hour of constant flicker-free illumination, and it allows you to drop out the rechargeable battery and replace it with a fully charged spare. Power is easily controlled across an 18-step range and optional barn doors can be bought separately.
Rotolight NEO 2 with barn doors
The Rotolight NEO 2 combines sophisticated flash and continuous light features in a robust, easy-to-use and portable package. It boasts electronically adjustable colour temperature and zero recycle time, and with the optional barn doors you’ll be able to modify the shape of the light to prevent unwanted spill.
Lastolite HiLite Background 6x7ft
Lastolite’s HiLite backgrounds allow photographers to take high-key portrait images on location and in restrictive spaces. The white background can be rear-lighted so there is no longer a need to use a background light behind the subject, and because the background is illuminated the subject can stand directly in front without casting a shadow. Better still, it’s collapsible, allowing it to be easily stored and transported. This large 6x7ft version is ideal for full-length portraits and small group shots. Larger 8x7ft (£619) and smaller 4.5×3.5ft (£184) versions are also available.
Gitzo Gimbal fluid head
If you photograph birds, wildlife or sport with a heavy telephoto lens and are after a tripod head that provides superb balance, control and support, gimbal heads don’t come much better than this. Useable with any tripod with a 3/8in mounting screw and supplied with a detachable pan arm, the Gitzo Gimbal fluid head is a mighty fine example of an accessory that makes light work of supporting heavy kit.
Best gifts for photographers between £500-£1000
BenQ SW2700PT monitor
To do full justice to your camera equipment and photography you need a high-quality, calibrated monitor that will accurately display colours when you’re processing your images. The BenQ SW2700PT is a really impressive 27in, 16:9 aspect ratio LCD monitor that boasts 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution, IPS technology for wide viewing angles, and 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB colour space. It even comes with a hood to block out glare from ambient light. Perhaps most importantly it comes fully colour-calibrated from the factory, while also supporting hardware calibration using a range of X-Rite and Datacolor devices.
Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD
Long telephoto zooms with this kind of range tend to be large and cumbersome, but this lightweight option from Tamron bucks the trend. It’s compatible with full-frame DSLRs, but in many ways is even more attractive to APS-C users, for whom it offers a 150-600mm equivalent reach. It employs an ultrasonic- type motor for rapid autofocus and benefits from effective optical stabilisation, while image quality is very creditable indeed. Moisture-resistant construction and a removable tripod collar round off a very impressive package for wildlife and sports photography.
Phottix Indra360 TTL Studio Light and Battery Pack kit
Ideal for events on location and anyone who needs to move fast and stay portable, the Phottix Indra360 TTL provides 360W of power, with the Phottix Odin receiver built-in for Canon and Nikon. It’s powered either via a separately available AC adapter, or the included 4,000mAh rechargeable compact battery pack that has sufficient charge for up to 350 full-power flashes. A 7in (S-mount) reflector is included and you get 8 stops of power adjustment – from full power to 1/128 – perfect for overcoming midday sun or adding just a hint of light when shooting with large apertures. A large and clear interface at the rear complements the excellent design of this easy-to-use kit.
Huawei P30 Pro
There’s a lot to be said for owning a good quality point-and-shoot that you’ll carry with you everywhere, which for many people these days means a smartphone. In the midst of negative press surrounding Huawei’s relationship with the USA, it’s perhaps easy to forget about the P30 Pro, which remains one of the best phone cameras we’ve tested. Its 27mm equivalent main camera is joined by 16mm ultra-wideangle and 125mm telephoto optics, along with a Time of Flight module for calculating depth maps. Full manual control and raw-format shooting are available to complement its clever computational photography tricks such as Night and Aperture modes.
Epson FastFoto FF-680W
If you have a box full of prints from pre-digital days that you really ought to digitise, this brilliant little scanner from Epson might well be the answer. It takes up little space on a desk but can batch scan up to 30 photos of varying sizes in as little as 30 seconds. It can also crop, rotate and straighten, boost colour and contrast, remove redeye and even scan any handwritten notes on the back of your prints. It’s super-simple to use and can be controlled using either a USB or Wi-Fi connection. It’s a transformative piece of hardware and the more prints you have to digitise, and the more valuable those prints are to you, the more of a bargain it becomes.
Panasonic Lumix TZ200
Long-zoom compacts are great for travelling when you don’t want to carry large, heavy kit or mess around with changing lenses. The TZ200 marries a 20MP 1in sensor with a 24-360mm equivalent f/3.3-6.4 zoom, which means it’s capable of covering a huge range of photographic opportunities. Unlike most small cameras it sports a decent electronic viewfinder along with an excellent rear LCD, the touch interface of which nicely complements the physical controls. If you want a pocket camera that can shoot almost anything pretty competently, and which you can pass to friends and family and be confident of getting good results, it’s a great choice.
LEE Filters LEE 100 Deluxe Kit
While LEE Filters’ Seven5 system is aimed at users of small mirrorless cameras, its 100mm system is the gold standard for serious photographers who use high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras. This kit includes the LEE 100 holder along with a selection of essential filters, namely a circular polariser for manipulating blue skies and reflections, three ND grads (0.6 medium, 0.9 hard, and 1.2 medium) for balancing bright skies with darker foregrounds, and a Big Stopper for experimenting with ultra-long exposures. You’ll just need to add adapter rings for your lenses, which are available in a range of sizes up to 82mm.
Epson SureColor SC-P600
Aimed at photographers who demand high-quality prints, this A3+ printer uses nine UltraChrome HD pigment inks to give both vivid colour and neutral monochrome output. It offers three connectivity options, USB, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, which together enable easy printing from all kinds of devices including laptops, tablets and phones. Its tilting control panel plays host to a 2.7in colour touchscreen, while the relatively compact footprint of 24.2×14.5x9in won’t take up excessive amounts of desk space. Along with conventional photo paper, it’s also capable of printing onto thicker fine-art media. Most importantly, print quality is first class.
Profoto bills this unusual-looking flash as the ‘world’s smallest studio light’, and it’s certainly very different from the average speedlight. Its distinctive circular head is designed to deliver softer, more flattering illumination, and employs a twist-zoom mechanism for controlling the light angle. It also accepts a range of optional light modifiers that attach magnetically. A rechargeable Li-Ion battery delivers super-fast recycling times, while an integrated LED modelling light is handy for visualising lighting effects. The large rear screen clearly displays settings, and ProFoto’s AirTTL wireless control system is built-in. Versions are available for Canon, Nikon and Sony users.
Gitzo GK1555T- 82TQD Series 1 Traveler Carbon eXact Tripod kit
This superb travel tripod features 5-section, dual-angle carbon fibre legs that reverse fold around the head, providing a maximum height of 148.5cm while folding to just 35.5cm. The twist locks include O-ring seals to stop sand or grit from getting in, and the rubber feet can be replaced with optional spikes. A short centre column is included for low-angle work, and a useful carry-strap included in the kit. Superbly made and impressively stable, it’s easily capable of supporting a full-frame DSLR with barely a hint of vibration.
Best gifts for photographers over £1000
Atomos Shogun 7
For those wanting to push the video capabilities of their camera to the realms of professional broadcast quality, look no further than the Atomos Shogun 7. Simply connect it to your camera via HDMI and you have the ability to capture up to 4K 60p footage, meaning it can get the best from the very latest cameras. Low-compression ProRes or ProRes Raw formats offer far superior quality to the codecs that are used to save the footage to in-camera memory cards, with the Shogun 7 saving directly to SSD drives. The 7in screen has a 1500-Nit, daylight viewable brightness, and can also display HDR footage with up to 15EV dynamic range. In summary, it is one of the best tools you can have if you want to get serious about shooting video.
Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM
Available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Sigma and L-mount fits, the Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM has already earned a reputation for creating stunning portraits thanks to being incredibly sharp, even when combined with the latest, unforgiving, high-resolution sensors. As you would expect from Sigma’s Art range of lenses, image quality comes first, with no compromise to be found in the build of the lens. As such, the 105mm f/1.4 lens weighs an incredible 1,645g (Nikon Fit) and requires a 105mm filter to cover the huge front element that is required to realise the f/1.4 aperture and the beautiful bokeh it creates. Inside, there are 17 elements in 12 groups, with all sorts of low-dispersion glass and aspherical elements used to keep chromatic aberrations, vignetting and distortions to an absolute minimum. For portrait photographers, it is a lens that should be high up on your wish list. You can read our full review online.
Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 UHD
A graphics tablet can make life a lot easier when it comes to retouching images, but what if you could actually feel like you are drawing on your image, rather than using a controller to move a cursor? That is exactly what the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 UHD does. It’s a 16in, 4K-resolution touchscreen that plugs into your computer via USB-C connection and acts like a second display, while allowing you to use a Wacom pen to edit an onscreen image, just like drawing on the image itself. It has over 8,192 pressure-sensitivity levels for responsive drawing, whilst the large screen means you can really zoom into the fine details on your image. It’s perfect for retouching portraits or cloning out unwanted objects from wedding photos, and complete overkill for removing dust spots!
Rotolight Anova PRO 2 Bi- Colour Standard 50 Degree
LED lighting has come a long way in the past few years, and British company Rotolight has been helping to lead the way. The Anova PRO 2 is great for photography and video as it acts as both a continuous light source and a flash. The great advantage of using LED lights for flash is that there is no recycle time, meaning you can shoot at extremely fast frame rates so you can capture a full range of motion, such as a subject dancing. If you want to use the Anova PRO 2 as a continuous light source the LEDs run far cooler than traditional studio lights, making them great for food photography and other product shots. Meanwhile, videographers can take full advantage of a range of built-in special effects that work extremely well when combined with colour filter gels, for instance, to mimic a warm, flickering fire. Whether you are shooting portraits, product shots or video, the Anova PRO 2 is a great bit of kit.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
Flown responsibly, drones can be a fantastic opportunity to take your creativity literally to new heights. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has a whole array of built-in safety features, while its camera is fitted with a 20MP 1inch sensor. A 3-axis gimbal keeps both the 4K-video footage smooth and still images shake-free, and with a flight duration of up to 30 minutes you have plenty of time to capture unique aerial images, as well as shooting amazing video footage.
EIZO ColorEdge CG279X
Eizo is renowned for making some of the best monitors on the planet, and this is a great option for the discerning enthusiast and professional alike. It features a 27in screen with a 2560×1400 pixel resolution and a contrast ratio of 1300:1, as well as a comprehensive set of options for connecting to your computer. It even has four USB ports for connecting peripherals, which is extremely useful if you are planning to use it with a laptop to create more of a desktop-style experience.