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Best video and camera gifts for the holidays

by Danny Zepeda | December 10, 2016December 10, 2016 12:00 pm PDT

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start planning the gifts you will need to get all those distant relatives. The team here at TechnoBuffalo has a tradition of writing up shopping lists, and here is mine.

Each list usually has a specific theme to it; some of them focus on the gadgets you can’t live without or the best traveling accessories, but my focus is on camera gear. A lot of our audience out there have an interest in video or photography, and this list is meant to pull the veil and let you guys in on some of the gear we love.

A word of caution. This list is about video gear, which means a simple $100 camera probably won’t deliver the best quality you’re looking for. At that point, you’re best sticking with your smartphone camera. Some of which is expensive but it is the best of the best. They offers the best image quality or build quality and delivers a robust performance that professionals look for.

I also included some products that don’t specifically pertain to camera gear, but come in handy when you are in a workflow when editing footage or photos. It’s a far-ranging list I hope you find helpful when you find yourself looking for gift ideas.

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Money is No Object

Sony a7s II

$3,000

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Sony’s mirrorless a7S II is our camera of choice here at TechnoBuffalo to shoot videos and it will make a great option for any would-be video makers out there. The small, compact design is of the same ancestry as the a7R II and a7S II, but make no mistake about it, this camera is a beast.

The main focus of this camera is video. With native 4K recording, it delivers great dynamic range with superior low-light performance. It still takes solid stills, but it is with video where this camera truly delivers the best performance.

At just under $3,000, this camera is not cheap, but you won’t regret it if you want quality video.

Gifts Under $2,000

Zeiss Loxia 35mm

$1,300

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If you’ve got a camera like the A7sII, then you will need to invest in a lens to compliment it. The Zeiss Loxia 35mm is just the lens to deliver fantastic video and images from a camera. Zeiss builds some of the best lenses out there, and this one is a continuation of that reputation with an all-metal design that screams premium.

The sleek focus ring lets you manually adjust the focus with buttery ease. It’s also a hybrid lens, which means the aperture can be adjusted for both video and images. The E-mount makes it easy connecting with the Sony’s cameras, whether you have a video or image focused camera.

The lens comes in at just under $1,300, which means it costs a pretty penny, but it’s worth it for one of the best lenses you can buy.

Gifts Under $300

Manfrotto Tripod

$240

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One of the staples of being involved with video is having a great camera tripod. Manfrotto makes great ones and offers different options to best fit your need.

The one I’m recommending MVKBFR-LIVEUS; it’s a 3 section tripod with an adjustable ball head mount that makes maneuvering to any angle you want quite easy. With adjustable legs, you also change it to the height you want. This particular model costs $240 and will make a great tool in your video-making arsenal.

Gifts Under $200

Incase Travel Backpack

$128

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Having all of this cool gear means nothing if don’t have a great bag to carry it. Incase makes terrific camera bags that look great and can carry all you gear. The Incase Travel Backpack is great option to use to store all of your camera gear.

It has different Velcro dividers can be moved to fit in your camera, lenses, mics or any other gear you need to take on the go. It also has a strap to mount your tripod. If you are carrying around gear like the a7S II or a Zeiss Loxia lens, then you will probably want a backpack that protects your expensive investments, and the Incase Travel backpack is up for the task.

It comes in two colors, black or grey, and both look really good.

Samsung T3

$100

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Storage is a precious thing for editors. The 500GB or 1TB (or more) storage your computers comes equipped with will get eaten up really quick with some 4K video files, but there are plenty of external SSDs that can help alleviate storage woes. One of the must-have items for our video editors is the Samsung T3.

The T3 comes in options varying from 250GB up to 2TB and it is an easy way to expand your storage and edit off an external device seamless. It also comes with USB-C connection, which makes transfer speed quick and it’s set for the future when the standard connector should be USB-C.

You can find the 250GB model at under $100 on Amazon, or spring for a little extra if you want more storage.

Gifts Under $100

Rode VideoMicro

$60

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Attaining the perfect audio situation for video is not that difficult if you find the right gear. A simple set-up can become expensive, but if you pick up the Rode VideoMicro, you’ll get an inexpensive option that will deliver terrific audio.

We have one in our office that we use when we don’t use lav mics, and every single time, it works as advertised. It’s small, portable and connects to the top of your camera, so you won’t have to worry about losing or forgetting it. It’s a great alternative to up your audio game.

It cost just $60 and is one of the cheapest ways to improve the production value of your videos.

SanDisk Micro SD Card

$67

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SD cards are the livelihood for videographers and photographers, even if Apple doesn’t think so. Maybe some day down the line a hand-off feature between cameras and computers will be developed, but today nothing comes close to the practicality and efficiency of SD cards.

Their sizes and transfer speeds depends on which model you get but they’re pretty cheap now. SanDisks 128GB SD Card is around $67 on Amazon right now, but smaller storage options are available for less.

Gifts Under $50

Iqunix Edin Computer Stand

$40

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This one is more of a bonus to improve your workflow at work or home. Many professionals rely on external displays for the extra display space to view their editing canvas. A 15-inch display on a laptop will never deliver the same space that a 27-inch display on a monitor. A great trick to maximize space on your desk with a display is a laptop stand.

I use the Iqunix Edin Stand for my 13-inch MacBook Pro and it not only saves space, but it improves the look of my desk. I’m hate clutter, and having a laptop taking up precious space and looking out of place is not my version of a clutterless workspace. It’s not a necessity, but it’s a small improvement that goes a long way. The $40 tag is the cheapest option on this list and will make your desk a whole lost cleaner.

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Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...

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