Holiday Photographer's Gift Guide, $500 or Less

Holiday Photographer's Gift Guide $500 or Less | http://photorec.tvPut together a wish list of fantastic photography gear for the upcoming holidays that won't break the bank for your family and friends! 

Prime lenses

Prime lenses are a fantastic value for any photographer, regardless of your budget. If you're brand new to shooting with prime lenses, the 50mm f/1.8 (Canon | Nikon) is a terrific place to start. 50mm is a versatile focal length for portraits, street photography, styled shoots, and much more. If you already own the 50mm 1/.8 or are more interested in other focal lengths, the 40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8, and 85mm f/1.8 are also great options for Canon shooters. Nikon has the 35mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8. For Sony shooters, Sigma offers a selection of prime lenses for under $500, including the 19mm f/2.8, 30mm f/1.4, and 60mm f/2.8.


Many photographers are intimated to purchase filters. High-end filters are expensive, and numerous professionals bash budget filters, discouraging photographers from using them. While you can skip the cheap UV filters, budget CPL and neutral density filters are quality products. Purchasing budget filters also allows you to test the gear at a low price point. You can always upgrade later. Tiffen and Altura are both great budget filter brands for CPL filters. I own the Altura neutral density filter set, which is an ideal starter set for experimenting with different filter numbers.


The holidays are the perfect opportunity to ask for smaller camera gear, such as speedlites, tripods, and straps, to fill out your photography gear without asking for items that are too expensive. When you're in the market for a budget flash, your best place to start is YONGNUO. The YN-560 IV is just $65 and has an impressive range of features including supporting wireless master and slave functioning and multiple trigger synchronous mode.


There are a wide range of sturdy tripods that will keep your equipment safe without breaking the bank. When in doubt, choose a well-known tripod manufacturer, such as Dolica, Benro, or Mefoto, and then browse their budget or travel tripods. I use the Dolica TX570B150SL Ultra Compact Tripod, which currently retails for under $70. I purchased it for travel but love the convenient, compact design so much that it's become my standard tripod. When purchasing a tripod, don't skimp on durability just to save a few bucks. The tripod you purchase should be sturdy and well-equipped for your photography needs.PhotoRec tripod reviews: Dolica TRX570 vs Mefoto Travel Tripod, Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod, and Ball Head, Benro Aero 2 & 4, Feisol CT-3442 Tripod, and Mefoto Globetrotter Air.


A strap is a must-have for every photographer. Ditch the uncomfortable, awkward strap that comes with your camera, and invest in a better strap. My go-to recommendation for hobbyist and professional photographers alike is the Altura Photo Rapid Fire Camera Neck Strap. I've been using a similar BlackRapid model for several years, and the Altura is just as durable and considerably cheaper. Short of shooting weddings full-time, the Altura is ideal for all of your photography needs.If you're looking for a more stylish strap, check out Envy Scarf Straps, which are extremely versatile and come in a wide range of styles. You can also find a wealth of camera straps on Etsy. Check out ten8e, theBLUEcoopDOOR, and LiVeCameraStraps.


Personally, I'm a huge fan of ThinkTank camera bags. Most recently, I purchased the SubUrban Disguise 10, which is a great bag for traveling with a lightweight system or taking day trips (full review). I also highly recommend the SubUrban Disguise 20 and the Urban Disguise 40 Classic, both of which are very similar to the now discounted CityWalker 20, which I've been using as my main camera bag for several years. Tenba is another fantastic camera bag company with a wide range of products for $200 or less (full review: Tenba 14L ActionPack Camera Bag).I also cannot say enough good things about the LowePro Fastpack 250 DSLR Camera Backpack. It is one of the first items I ever purchased for my DSLR and has held up beautifully through numerous travel. For less than $100, you'll be hard pressed to find a DSLR backpack that holds as much gear and is versatile enough to serve as a primary carry-on travel bag as well.Are you looking for a stylish camera bag on a budget? Consider Jo Totes or Grafea.

Fun items

I couldn't write a holiday gift guide without including a few purely fun camera items. Camera lens cups are always a popular choice. If you have a lot of social gatherings at home or love to take candid pictures of your family and friends, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is the best polaroid or instant camera on the market right now. Finally, add a couple of nerdy photography shirts to your wish list.

What budget camera gear is on your holiday wish list this year?Is there anything else you'd like to see in this holiday gift guide?

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