Treat your loved one (or yourself) to some new gear
It’s that time again! “Black Friday” has morphed into “most of November” for deals and sales on photography gear and software. Here are some items I strongly recommend for the photographer in your life (even if it’s you).
Many of the items on this list are indispensable when you’re in the field
- Memory Cards (CF Express, SD)
- If you’re moving from XQD to CF Express Type B, make sure you have a memory card reader that supports both formats, such as this one by Sony. Older XQD readers won’t read CF Express cards, and some CF Express readers won’t read XQD.
- Memory Card Wallets by ThinkTank Photo
- ThinkTank Filter Hive Mini filter cases
- Filter wrenches to help remove stubborn filters
- Microfiber lens cloths (because you can never have enough)
- Tabletop smartphone tripod
- Smartphone tripod mounts: I like these because they’ll fit in an Arca-Swiss style tripod clamp.
- Kolari Solid ND filters can be used with both visible and infrared cameras for long exposure photography.
- Clever Supply Leather Straps
Professional flash units that won’t break your budget
Computer & Travel Accessories
On the road? Consider upgrading your backup drive to a portable SSD. They are small, extremely fast, and have no moving parts. I use a 2TB SanDisk portable SSD when I’m on the road.
Most newer cameras can be charged directly via a USB-C cable. Save the bulk of packing your standard charging brick and consider a multi-port USB-C charger to charge both your camera and your smartphone. This 40W dual charger by Anker has enough power to charge the Nikon Z9 battery, either in-camera or using the charging cradle.
When it comes to traveling, I like to pack my gear in a rolling bag, then transfer it to a shoulder bag when I’m out shooting. The ThinkTank roller bags are my personal choice for carrying larger kits through airports. When I’m traveling light and just want a backpack, the ThinkTank/MindShift Backlight 18L or 26L backpacks are amazing. They can hold lots of gear, and open from the back, making them more secure.
Update: ThinkTank is offering 25% off their Freeway Long Haul Duffel bags through Dec. 9th.
More good bags
- Billingham Hadley Pro and Hadley Pro Small shoulder bags
- Wotencraft Pilot Series
- Brevite Jumper backpacks
Image Editing Software
I personally use Adobe Lightroom Classic in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop. The newest masking features in Lightroom put it at the top of its class for raw image editors. I also recommend the following plug-in tools:
- Topaz Photo AI: This suite of tools delivers some of the best sharpening and noise reduction I’ve seen; far superior to using Lightroom alone. The suite also includes the new Photo AI program, which is still evolving but bundles sharpening, noise reduction, and up-sizing images into one application. I have recently started re-thinking my triage criteria for “acceptably sharp,” as Sharpen AI (and Photo AI) can sometimes work miracles on slightly soft subjects. Any software package that makes me re-think my workflow deserves recognition.
- Nik Collection by DXO: This suite is still my go-to “creative” editing package. I use Silver Efex Pro for monochrome conversions, and Color Efex Pro to add subtle but powerful adjustments to contrast and color in my photos.
- DXO Pure Raw 3: This is my go-to tool for noise reduction and detail retention on high ISO images.
Infrared Conversion Services
If you have an older camera, why not give it new life by converting it to infrared? Kolari Vision offers a variety of conversion options, but the most intriguing (to me, at least), is the full-spectrum conversion. When paired with Kolari’s clip-in filters (for mirrorless cameras), it means you can have one camera that can truly deliver a wide range of creative infrared looks.
Cameras and Lenses
If you’re really looking for an upgrade this holiday season, you can check out the holiday specials at B&H Photo.
Photo Safaris & Workshops
There’s no better way to get good at the craft of photography than by spending several days in the field. My 2024 photo tours and workshops are listed here. You can also contact me for one on-one online training.