The Photography Gear Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Hello everyone, this is Alberto, your resident G Style Cameras/Photography Editor. It’s that time of year where I give in to the indulgence of looking at tons of gear and think, “what would I love to find under a Christmas tree this year?” The following is a list of items that I would recommend to any photographer that’s been eyeing some new gear (or an excuse to test the limits of the credit card).

New Year, New System (Cameras I’m Eying)

My usual camera system of choice is the Fujifilm X-series cameras – I regularly carry around my X-Pro 1 (non-X Trans sensor and all) or my workhorse X-T2. But around this time of year, I always get a wandering eye and start to think about another system or camera that I’d like to try out for a while. At the top of my list, this year is the digital Leica CL and the Canon EOS-R.

Leica CL with Elmarit TL 18mm f/2.8
Leica CL with Elmarit TL 18mm f/2.8

Like my Fujifilm cameras, the Leica CL is an APS-C sensor camera that echoes the design aesthetic of the legendary Leica M cameras. It’s the closest thing to a “cheap” digital Leica you’ll find at a whopping $4k price tag (including the Elmarit-TL 28mm f/2 pancake lens).

I got a chance to review it earlier in the year, and I must say it was an absolute joy shooting with it – battery/heat issues an all. A big part of that has to do with the Leica lenses and the colors they reproduce. It’s not a practical buy, but neither are those ugly sweaters that I keep getting every year.

HR_EOS_R_RF24-105_IS_USM_3QOPEN_CL
Image courtesy of Canon USA

While sporting a camera with a Red Dot ™ on it may have a lot of appeal, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Canon’s first full-frame camera system, the EOS-RF system, didn’t captivate my attention this year. While the inaugural camera body, the EOS-R didn’t wow may early reviewers, I’m enamored with the promise that the new lens system holds. At a recent press event, I got a chance to spend some time with the EOS-R and a variety of lenses including the all-new RF-24-105mm f/4 L and RF-50mm f/1.2 L and found myself floored by the sharpness and auto-focusing speed of the EOS-R and its native lenses. It’s a first-gen product, i.e., one that is still figuring things out, but if you’ve been thinking about a full-frame alternative to Sony, this is the one to check out. The EOS-R starts at $2299 and can be paired with the RF-24-105mm f/4 L as a kit for $3399.

Keeping Your Gear – Bags and Straps

Even if you aren’t getting a new camera kit this year, you can give your gear a fresh new look with a new bag or strap. This year, I’m recommending the ThinkTank Retrospective V2 line of canvas camera bags and the Commodore camera strap from Sailor Straps.

ThinkTank-Retrospective-V2.0
Image courtesy of ThinkTank

The Retrospective series got an update this year with significant changes in the materials used – instead of the rough canvas material in their first iteration, the new Retrospective V2 uses a much softer canvas blend that feels soft to the touch while still providing the strength and security you’d expect from a ThinkTank bag. We’ve reviewed the ThinkTank Retrospective 7 and found that it had all the space you’d need for an everyday or commuter bag – complete with easy access to your gear and a nifty slot to slide the bag onto the handle of your roller (carryon) bag. [$165 at ThinkTank]

Sailor-Strap-Commodore-Hero
Image courtesy of Sailor Strap

The Commodore strap from Sailor Straps is a beautifully crafted, yet simple strap that instantly adds character to your camera without being overly showy. The straps are handmade from a sailing rope and Italian leather providing a clean and elegant look. Yeah, that sounds like a car commercial, but your style doesn’t end where the camera begins – step up your game.

You can buy the Commodore strap directly from Sailor Strap for $69.99.

Buy Art

Last but not least, buy more art! Buy a large print from your favorite photographer or print one of your own. Create a new photo book or zine; you’re an artist, and your art shouldn’t just live on a social media feed. Check out WhiteWall or Nations Photo Lab – both provide impeccable service with quick turnaround. Order now and you might have a truly one of a kind gift just in time for Christmas.