The best gifts for photographers and videographers

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 R100

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Canon’s latest budget mirrorless camera is the EOS R100, and it’s a great gift for that special someone just getting into photography (not to mention one of the best cameras you can get right now). The 24.2-megapixel sensor delivers beautiful photos with warm skin tones, and it supports 4K video, albeit with a crop. It’s great for travel, street photography and more, and can even capture bursts at up to 6.5 shots per second. The R100 comes in at $500 (although it’s often on sale for a bit less), though you’ll likely want the $599 package with an 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 kit lens.

$429 at Amazon

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ40

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you want to be a holiday hero, just buy your favorite person the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ40 instant camera and thank me later. It lets you take real, physical photos (3.39 x 2.83-inch Instax Square prints) that friends and family can see, touch and enjoy immediately – a far different experience than digital photos on a screen. It’s stylish and comes with a flash, selfie mirror, front front shutter release and hand strap, and it’s relatively light and easy to carry around. The camera alone is priced at $150, but you’ll need to budget for film as well, which costs about $33 for 40 prints.

$150 at B&H Photo

GoPro Hero 12 Black

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GoPro’s $400 Hero 12 Black didn’t change much over the last model, but it’s still the best action camera on the market for that adrenaline junky on your gift list. As before, it offers outstanding video quality (up to 5.3K 60p), Hypersmooth stabilization that’s still the best in the business, and an HDR mode tuned for improved handling of mixed lighting. The biggest improvements over the last model are better battery life and a new log mode that improves dynamic range in tricky lighting conditions. It also works with Bluetooth headset for playback and recording, including AirPods.

$349 at Amazon

Joby Gorillapod 3K Stand

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One of the most useful accessories out there for vlogger on your gift 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.

$35 at Amazon

WD My Passport SSD

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Photographers always appreciate the gift of storage, particularly fast storage. Western Digital’s 1TB My Passport SSD fits the bill with fast NVMe speeds of 1,050MB/s read and 1,000Mb/s write speeds, fast enough to back up the entire drive in around 20 minutes. It’s drop resistant up to 6.5 feet, offers USB-C connectivity, supports 256-bit AES hardware encryption and can often be found on sale for less than $100.

$90 at Amazon

Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II Backpack

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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.

$236 at Amazon

Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

With its rugged, practical design, Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger Bag is an ideal gift for adventurous, photo-shooting loved ones. It’s built with a lightweight yet durable 100-percent waterproof recycled 400D shell with handy 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 tote around a camera, lens and laptop along with my wallet and keys. It’s not the cheapest bag out there, but your giftee won’t have to buy another for a good long while.

$230 at Peak Design

Nanlite LitoLite 5C RGBWW Mini LED Panel

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

A good light is an awesome tool in your favorite photographer’s 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 itself 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.

$75 at B&H Photo

Rode VideoMic Go and Wireless Go II

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

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 Lavalier Go, the Sennheiser Pro Audio ME2 or others.

$289 at Amazon

Lexar Professional 1667x 64GB SDXS UHS II card

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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. While not as quick 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. If speed is of the essence, then SanDisk’s top-end V90 cards with 300MB/s read and 260MB/s write speeds are a solid choice.

$22 at Amazon$26 at Walmart

ProGrade Digital CFexpress 2.0 Type B Gold card

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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. 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 cameras like the EOS R5 and Nikon’s Z8/Z9.

$100 at Amazon

Amazon Basics 60-inch tripod

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If your loved one is just jumping into photography, this one from the Amazon Basics line is a solid tripod that doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s compatible with most cameras up to 6.6 pounds, is easy to get flat thanks to two built-in bubble levels, and includes a carrying case with a shoulder strap. It’s very light at under three pounds, and stretches to a height of 60-inches, great for most types of shooting. It’s mainly designed for photography, so don’t expect fluid tilting or panning – but it’s surprisingly sturdy given its low price.

$30 at Amazon

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

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This popular tool will help keep your favorite photographer’s gear in pristine condition for the holidays. Each squeeze gives a powerful but steady stream of cleaning air, and the elongated shape makes it easy to reach into tight spaces without damaging fragile parts. It’s well-built and looks cool, with the rocket-like feet letting you set it down anywhere.

$19 at Amazon

SmallRig SD Memory Card Holder

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Organizing memory cards can be a pain, but the SmallRig SD memory card holder case will help your gift recipient keep them organized and safe. It includes 15 slots (6 for SD cards, 6 for microSD cards, 2 CFexpress Type A, and 1 CFexpress Type B). It’s relatively lightweight, but also water and shock resistant, with the interior using soft silicone – all for just $17.

$17 at Amazon

Lenspen L-DSLRK1N lens cleaning kit

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This cleaning kit is the best way to clean lenses, viewfinders and displays on the market, as it removes lint better than any other system. It has a brush end that removes the majority of dirt, and the carbon tip end finishes the job, getting rid of any residual smudges. It’s a perfect gift for photographers, and the kit is affordably priced and includes three cleaners and a microfiber carrying pouch/cleaning cloth.

$18 at Amazon

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio 18.6

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Blackmagic Design

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 Studio 18.6 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 polished project.

$295 at Blackmagic Design

Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera

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If your loved one is a fledgling photographer who wants to learn more about cameras, this book is an ideal gift. It’s considered one of the bibles of photography, talking not just about theory but showing example scenarios and the resulting photos taken. They’ll learn not just how to operate their camera and which lenses to use, but also why and what each setting means.

$20 at Amazon

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