The incredible quality of cameras in phones like the iPhone 12 or Pixel 5 means that everyone is a photographer these days, but there are still plenty of photographers among us who want to take their work beyond simple smartphone snaps. For those people, there are a wealth of camera options from compact mirrorless cameras, through to DSLRs, with endless options of accessories, tripods and bags.
To help you find the ideal gift for the photographer in your life -- or for yourself -- this holiday season, we've rounded up our top picks of the best cameras, tripods, drones and more. Whether they're a keen landscape photographer or a budding vlogger, we've got gift ideas to fit all budgets.
Best 8K-capable camera
Canon EOS R5 (body only)
Canon's EOS R5 has a slew of great features, including its amazing image stabilization, its lightning-fast autofocus and its quick burst shooting, but its standout feature is its ability to shoot video in 8K resolution. While not everyone will need such a huge amount of pixels, 8K can give a lot more scope for cropping and creative editing, making it a great choice for the dedicated videographer.
Canon's EOS M50 packs all the features a keen vlogger will need including a flip-out display, stabilized video and a microphone port for connecting a good external mic. It's lightweight, too, so holding it up to film yourself won't be too big a strain on the arms, while the 15-45mm kit lens is plenty wide enough to keep you in frame.
Best budget vlogging microphone
Rode's VideoMicro might be small, but it's capable of capture professional-level audio from the top of your camera, without needing any batteries or external power source, making it ideal for vlogging. It plugs directly into the microphone port on your camera (such as the one on the EOS M50 above) and can be bought with a cable that's compatible with smartphones, if that's more your thing. It comes with a sturdy shockmount as well as a big, fluffy windshield which will help you get crystal clear audio, even in difficult, windy conditions.
With a 24.1-megapixel sensor, a pop-up flash and a fairly compact size, Canon's Rebel T7 (also known as the 2000D) is a great DSLR for those looking to take their first steps in photography. This kit comes with a great all-round 18-55mm lens, as well as a 75-300mm zoom lens, making it ready to tackle everything from sweeping landscapes to close-up wildlife images.
When moving at high speeds, nothing beats an action camera for sharing the most breathless moments. The latest version of this excellent little action cam got rid of the separate mounting frame, improved on its already-terrific image stabilization with even better image stabilization, and made it easier to shoot better-looking videos. This travel camera is a perfect gift for the outdoor enthusiast or traveler landscape photographer shooting landscape adventures.
With cameras shooting stills and videos at ever-increasing resolutions, it's easier than ever to run out of storage when you're out in the field. Thankfully, storage doesn't have to break the bank and this 128GB SD card from SanDisk packs a huge amount of space for your files and comes with a very reasonable price tag attached. It's an ideal option for beginners wanting one card they never need to worry about filling up, while being cheap enough for enthusiasts to buy several to make sure they can always keep on shooting. Just make sure the camera it's going in supports SD cards up to 128GB in size.
LowePro has been a staple of the photography bag world for years and with the ProTactic 450 it's easy to see why. This rugged backpack opens fully from the back, although there are side and top quick-access points too. It provides a wealth of storage slots for a DSLR, multiple lenses, filters, batteries and other accessories -- I even stuffed a small drone in amongst my gear.
If you can't quite fit everything inside, you can get additional accessory pouches that attach to the outside of the case, where you can also attach your tripod. It's comfortable to carry thanks to both chest and hip straps, it's made of durable materials and it has a zipped compartment for laptops up to 15 inches.
Best messenger-style photography bag
Tenba DNA 13 Messenger
As a messenger style bag, the Tenba DNA will already be carried in a position that provides quick camera access, but this bag takes it further, with a hidden top zip that provides instant access to the main compartment. I've found this bag to be extremely convenient for street photography, where pulling the camera out quickly makes all the difference in getting the shot.
It's made from robust-feeling materials, has space for a 13-inch laptop or iPad and it's got enough room for a mirrorless camera and extra lens, as well as accessories like spare batteries and even some snacks. You won't want to take it hiking into the hills but for city shooting, this bag is a great choice.
Best travel tripod
Peak Design Travel Tripod
Peak Design's Travel Tripod, as it's known, is best for exactly what its name suggests: traveling. The carbon fiber version weighs only 2.8 lbs (1.27kg) and packs down to only 15.4 inches (39.1cm) long, making it easy to chuck in a backpack or camera bag. The aluminum tripod model weighs 3.4 lbs (1.5kg).
Its ball head is quick and easy to use, it's sturdy enough to hold a professional DSLR and it comes with its own grip so you can mount your phone on the tripod that tucks away inside the central column. It's all extremely well thought-out and feels reassuringly sturdy.
Photography filters come in all shapes and sizes, but few are as well thought-out or as high quality as Polar Pro's. With aluminium frames, each filter is study, easy to hold and convenient to slot into the filter holder. The landscape set comes with a circular polarizer, two neutral density filters and a graduated neutral density filter to help balance bright skies in your landscape photos. It's an essential set for the keen landscape photographer in your life.
This is a great camera choice for an experienced photographer who wants the photo and video quality that only a full frame camera can produce. It's one generation old, but it's relatively small and for just under $1,000 you get a lens with it -- not a terrific lens, mind you, but there are lots of FE-mount lenses to choose from at a wide range of prices before you shoot.
Canon's entry-level full-frame mirrorless EOS RP is a quality camera. I recommend this mirrorless camera for people who already own Canon EF lenses or who'll be OK buying new ones. That's because the camera line is relatively new so there aren't many affordable R-mount options, but there are tons of compatible lenses (telephoto lens and otherwise) that can be used with an adapter.
Best all-round tripod
Manfrotto BeFree GT X Pro
The sturdy legs and smooth ball head of Manfrotto's BeFree GT X Pro tripod make it great for all kinds of photography, from landscapes to wildlife, products or pets. But it has an extra trick up its sleeve with its 90-degree rotating centre column, which makes this tripod superb for shooting close-up macro images in awkward positions, or for getting those artsy top-down images of food that you see all over Instagram.
Mirrorless digital camera models are lighter and more convenient than their cheaper mirrored counterparts. One of the best things about this quality Micro Four Thirds interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera as a DSLR alternative is that the lenses are tiny -- you can throw five in your bag and barely feel them. The E-M10 Mark II is fast, with solid photo and video quality and a useful feature set, plus Olympus' policy of adding features via firmware upgrades makes this compact camera a long-term choice. The Mark III succeeded this one, but most of the changes were in the interface, so performance and photo and video quality should be identical if you feel compelled to shoot with something newer.
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Originally published last year and updated periodically as we review new products.