7 Hot Gifts for Photography Nerds

I’ve been tossing around the notion of adding photography-related content to my DMC repertoire…and what better time than during the biggest shopping season of the year?

As an avid photography geek, I understand the challenges involved with buying gifts for people of my ilk. Photography is a fairly personal hobby (or profession, or art form) and just randomly choosing a piece of gear for someone else is dang near impossible. What to purchase generally hinges on a number of factors that are likely to be unknowns; what camera system do they use? What’s their preferred style of shooting? Do they use strobes? What do they already own? The list goes on.

The following is a list of items across a range of prices that I’m sure any photographer would love.


Pelican Products ProGear Sport Tablet Backpack


Pelican cases are renowned for their indestructibility. They’ve applied their expertise to create a line of ProGear bags that combine their crush-proof, waterproof hard cases with modern, stylish backpacks. These bags don’t come cheap, carrying price tags that start at around $200 – but the model pictured above, the ProGear Sport Tablet pack, is currently on sale. Down from a list price of $199, you can snatch this bag up for a mere $39.95! The Sport features a hard case sized for most 10″ tablets — crush-proof and waterproof to 3 feet — as well as a padded lumbar compartment for camera gear or other devices. It’s hard to pass up at that price (I’ve already ordered mine.)

Update: It arrived yesterday, and I’m very happy! Read my quick review of the Pelican ProGear Sport here.


Holdfast Gear MoneyMaker Camera Harness


What photographer doesn’t want to look like Dixon Hill? These all-leather camera harnesses by Holdfast Gear are great for people who carry two or more cameras around at once (such as wedding photogs.) They’re way more stylish than the usual black nylon and webbing harnesses! You can pick one up for around $200 on Amazon.

Manfrotto BeFree Compact Travel Tripod


Photographers don’t use tripods all the time, but when we do, we want them to be solid. Manfrotto is among the best of the best when it comes to three-legged camera stabilization. The BeFree compact tripod stows easily while still being stable enough for long exposure and HDR shots. It’s not a cheap tripod, but it’s worth every penny. My fellow photographer, Joshua Harris of Beyond 3 Sigma, swears by his.

Olympus OMD EM-5 Mark II (or Mark I)


The EM-5 Mark II is a Micro Four-Thirds camera, which means it’s a smaller and lighter mirrorless camera. Also known as EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens) cameras, mirrorless have been quickly gaining ground in the entry level, enthusiast, and even professional camera markets. I chose this recent Olympus model because it’s not only one of the nicest M34 cameras on the market, it’s one of the best cameras, period.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who’s used to carrying around a massive DSLR, they’ll be sure to appreciate this much smaller, yet high-performing EM-5 Mark II. It’s pretty much the only thing on my Christmas list this year.

The Mark II retails for around $900-1100, depending on trends. If you want to step down to the slightly older EM-5 Mark I, you’ll still be getting a very impressive camera for about half the price. I’d recommend checking out eBay for these cameras rather than Amazon, since that’s where I’ve been finding the best prices.

Fujifilm X100T


It seems like every serious photographer who’s picked up an X100 series camera has immediately wanted one for themselves. It’s no surprise, considering the solid construction, beautiful design, and professional-grade image quality boasted by the camera. It’s been called the ultimate travel camera, an ideal street photography camera, and the next best thing to a $5000 Leica rangefinder. I’ve had mine for about six months now, and I consider it one of the best cameras I’ve ever owned…and it’s small enough to carry with me everywhere.

The only consideration (some would call it a downside) is that it’s a fixed 35mm equivalent focal length camera. In other words, no zoom and no lens swapping. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend it to many people as a primary camera. Not because the X100T can’t handle it, but because there are very few photography enthusiasts who can live without the ability to swap lenses.

That’s why the X100T — or the X100 or X100S, for that matter —  makes such a great gift idea. It’s a camera that any photographer will truly enjoy, but not one that many will buy for themselves. Check out the current pricing on Amazon; the X100T has recently dropped to around $1099.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone


For the photographer who already has everything else! I can’t imagine anyone who loves taking pictures not wanting to play with one of these modern marvels. The DJI Phantoms are among the most coveted right now, with extremely simple controls, a great camera, and a modest price tag. You can get the standard HD model for less than $600 right now on Amazon! If you want to go all-in on drone technology, the DJI Inspire 1 is a great choice, but it rings in at $2699 — well worth it considering the 4k camera and cool, motorized landing legs.

Check out this video review of the DJI Phantom 3 on DigitalRev!


Fujifilm Instax-SP1 Smartphone Photo Printer


This little device allows you to print Polaroid-esque photos right from your smart phone or wifi-enabled camera! The prints are about the size of a credit card, which makes them great for social gatherings and street portraits. I’ve got one of this in my bag most of the time, and it’s definitely a conversation starter.

All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!

J. Paul

I'm a professional writer and amateur filmmaker from Miami, Florida. Huge fan of the Dark Tower Cycle, strategy games, photography, and food trucks.

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