Christmas gift guide
Posted on Dec 14, 2023
Putting together this guide involves making our list and checking it twice, discounting products that are naughty and including those that are nice
Christmas comes earlier each year, the start of the silly (sales) season heralded by the import that is Black Friday and extending – via various manufacturers’ and retailers’ cashback, instant savings and trade-in deals through Christmas and into early January. But which products are actually worth seeking out amid the marketing noise, particularly if you’re looking for something to gift the photographer in your life… even if that’s you.
We’ve picked some of our favourites among recent(ish) launches and announcements that have obvious gifting potential for those seeking to make a snap decision this Christmas. We’ve also sought to ensure there is variety not only in terms of the products featured, but also the price points they can be found at, to ensure a ‘something for everyone’ approach.
While its AVX digital wireless microphone system is top end, a more affordable option for vloggers and content creators is the Sennheiser MKE 200 on-camera microphone. Features include a provided furry windshield and shock absorption for enhanced in-camera audio, while a supercardioid capsule provides focus and detail while rejecting unwanted background noise at the same time. In the package are interchangeable 3.5mm TRS and TRRS coiled cables, while the MKE 200 has an integral coldshoe mount for swift and intuitive attachment to a compact camera or mobile device. Operation is battery free.
An alternative step-up option is the MKE 400, which includes built-in wind protection and is a directional on-camera microphone designed to isolate and enhance audio when capturing video. Only difference is, features that are traditionally accessories, such as the windscreen and shock mount, are now fully integrated.
Nikon has had a plethora of interesting products in recent years, with some of its most exciting announcements rebooting ideas from the past and launching them into the future, including the Nikon Z f and its Plena lens. While we’d love to find the former in our stocking, perhaps a more realistic option is the Nikon Z 30, its first dedicated vlogging camera.
Main Z 30 features to note include the ability to shoot 4K-resolution video at up to 30fps, plus record up to 125 minutes uninterrupted. At its heart is a 20.9-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor similar to that found in the same manufacturer’s earlier Z 50. It features hyper-sensitive built-in microphones, while an external microphone can alternatively be attached. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are incorporated, as is compatibility with Nikon’s Snapbridge software. Composition and review is via a three-inch variable touchscreen, rather than eye-level viewfinder.
An online buying and selling platform for used photo and video gear, MPB affords us the opportunity to purchase a better class of camera, lens or accessory than we might be able to afford if buying new. It might not even be that ‘old’, either. Equipment typically comes up for sale via the platform three months after original launch, often for a sizeable third less than it was new.
Having definite gifting potential for fledgling content creators is the DJI Osmo Pocket. The smallest three-axis stabilised handheld camera DJI has ever designed features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor on the original 2018 model, or one-inch CMOS sensor via its very latest Osmo Pocket 3 iteration. We also get a screen onboard, with the ability to record 4K-resolution video at up to 60fps on the debut device, or up to 120fps on the latest one. Essential to its appeal is a three-axis mechanical gimbal that lends videos a cinematic look. Not only that, but a selection of original-gen devices are available via MPB.
A great gift for anyone creating content is a high-quality accessory microphone. Enter Rode and its Wireless Me ultra-compact wireless mic with a range of 100m+. Offering compatibility with cameras, computers and smartphones via 3.5mm output or USB connection, it’s ideal for interviewing, reporting or presenting to camera and is compatible with the Rode Capture iOS video app. This allows direct in-app control of compatible Rode microphones.
An alternative is the ultra-compact on-camera Videomicro II. This shotgun microphone is highly directional, it can clearly pick up sound at the front, while reducing background noise from the sides and the rear. Just 80mm in length and weighing only 39g, an all-metal body and premium components provide durability.
The video-first Canon Powershot V10 heralds a new series of cameras aimed squarely at vloggers. This fantastic all-in-one device is designed to fit inside a pocket, capable of up to 4K-resolution video capture and has a built-in fold-out stand enabling self-recording. In fact, it can generally be operated with one hand, thereby appealing to existing camera phone users looking to up their game, due to it featuring both a larger sensor and the bonus of better audio than a smartphone.
An alternative is the family-targeted EOS R100, Canon’s most affordable ‘R’ camera to date. Features include a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Digic 8 processor, a light sensitivity range that runs up to ISO 12,800 but is further expandable, 3.5fps capture with face and AF/AE tracking. Its silent mode, 4K-resolution 25p video, Full HD up to 120fps or 720p up to 120fps provide plenty of scope. Compatibility is offered with the Canon Camera Connect app to allow for remote shooting.
See the full gift guide in Issue 112 of Photography News.
Don’t forget to sign up to receive our newsletter below, and get notified about the new issue, exclusive offers and competitions.