Keeping with our yearly tradition, we’ve asked a number of our friends in the photography community to share with us some gear they either highly recommend or hope to receive this holiday season! We’ll continue adding more gear to this list over the coming weeks, so keep checking back!
Robert Caplin is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Manhattan who specializes in documentary, travel, celebrities, portraiture, and events. He’s a regular contributor to The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal and his work has been published in National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and Newsweek. His clients include individuals such as Justin Bieber, Tiki Barber, and Victoria Justice and organizations such as The International Emmy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Electric Power. His photographs were honored at the 2010 Clio Awards for advertising, and HarperCollins published his long-term documentary as part of Justin Bieber’s New York Times Bestselling visual autobiography, First Step 2 Forever, which has sold over a million copies in 25 languages.
1. OWC Envoy Pro Mini
Storage has gotten smaller and more affordable in recent years, so why not pick up a super fast solid state USB thumb drive from OWC? It’s nearly twice as fast as the average thumb drive. Sustained speeds up to 427MB/s mean real-world performance you can depend on. Available in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities, it’s a powerful little workhorse to drive any project! Pick one up on Amazon.
2. OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
If you’re like me and many others who are looking to pick up the new MacBook Pro with touch bar…you might notice there’s only one USB 3-type ports. Our friends over at OWC have the perfect solution with their Thunderbolt 3 Dock that delivers more connectivity, more power, and charging capability at the fastest speed available today so all your connected devices perform at their maximum. You can drive two 4K displays, connect and charge up to six USB devices, work with legacy FireWire storage, enjoy pristine audio, wired networks, and read SD cards, all at twice the speed of Thunderbolt 2 and all through a single cable. I’m getting two!
3. OWC Drive Dock
How do you back up your archives? You can buy pricier “enclosed” drives from LaCie, G-Tech, etc, or you can buy high capacity bare SATA drives for a fraction of the price and use this great Drive Dock, which makes hot-swapping a breeze. Two drive bays accommodate both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives and can access a drive in each simultaneously to easily make redundant backups of your most important files! Pick one up on Amazon.
4. Tenba Transport Rolling Tripod/Grip Case
Lately I’ve been working on larger productions that involve numerous light stands, video tripods/monopods, light modifiers, and other random grip accessories. I’ve always used a larger shoulder case to lug this equipment, but do these pieces of gear get heavy! Tenba makes a great rolling grip case is available in 38 and 48-inch lengths. Each case in hand-built in Tenba’s Brooklyn, NY factory to provide the best protection available. Custom-made, air-channeled ABS walls and ballastic nylon exterior ensure amazing durability, and heavy-duty, ball bearing wheel assemblies make it easy to move heavy tripods and stands.
5. Anker Astro E1 5200mAh Compact Charger
I can never recommend having extra portable power banks around for your emergency charging needs. You never know when you’re going to be in a position when your mobile phone, tablet, or computer dies. With the new USB C laptops in the pipeline, you’ll even be able to use these power banks to charge your laptops! It adds almost two full charges to an iPhone 7 or 6s or at least one full charge to a 7 Plus, Galaxy S7, Nexus 5 or other smartphone. Anker always makes a solid power bank…and these prices, pick up a couple…one for every bag!
Originally from the South of Israel, Limor Garfinkle relocated to New York City after her military service with the IDF. While in college earning her degree in communications design, Limor worked for Grey NYC as Production Studio Coordinator. Limor writes iReports for CNN and her story about Super-Storm Sandy had earned her a nomination for CNN iReport of the year 2012 in the Personal Story category. These days, Limor is the Director of Marketing & Photography for Gallin, while running a bustling freelance photography business in her “free” time. Her favorite job title, however, is mom to her awesome seven-year-old, James.
1. Photogenic ISB2182 Lithium- Pure Sine Wave Inverter System with Spare Battery
I never used battery packs on my shoots before, so I wasn’t sure which one I should get when I recently had a photo shoot on a historic site location with no power source. I got this pack, which was the less expensive option, but it was wonderful. And this kit comes with an extra battery, which provided me with some extra peace of mind on that remote location.
2. Flashpoint Triple Shoe Mount Bracket-Cast Metal with Umbrella Tilt Holder
I just love that I can use more than one flash on one light stand,and this convenient holder works great when you need some extra power while using speedlights. You can mount up to three speed lights on it. Watch David Bergman’s Two Minute Tips tutorials on Adorama TV to learn how to use it.
3. Hoodman Compact HoodLoupe Optical Viewfinder for 3.2″ LCD Displays
I never leave for a photo shoot without my trustee HoodLoupe. It helps me look at the screen on the back of my camera during daylight and I even use it at night, just because it helps me check focus more closely, and in general, helps me asses my images on the run. When I cannot shoot tethered, this is the best next thing for me.
4. Adorama Pix Photo Prints
I love Adorama Pix’s photo printing service. The quality is unbelievable and the prices can’t be beat. I use it for all my clients printing needs. Whether you are a professional photographer or not, I’m pretty sure you have some images to print, which is what makes an Adorama Pix gift card the perfect gift for everyone.
5. Panasonic 4 Position Charger (AA Approx 9 Hours, AAA Approx 7 Hours) with 4 Eneloop Pro “AA” NiMH 2550mAh Rechargeable Batteries
These batteries with no doubt outlast any other batteries I have ever used. I use those on all my speedlights and the radio transmitters. Can never have too many batteries.
6. LaCie d2 Quadra 5TB External Hard Drive with USB 3.0, 7200 RPM, FireWire 800/eSATA Ports, Up to 130MB/s Data Transfers via USB 3.0
I love these hard drives. I have two on my desk. One for storage, and one for my Time Machine backup.
Pete Marovich is an independent documentary photojournalist based in the Washington, D.C., metro area. When not working on personal projects he covers politics and contributes to Bloomberg News Photos, The Washington Post, Getty Images, European PressPhoto Agency, United Press International as well as other news outlets. His photography has appeared in Time, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Financial Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, Sports Illustrated, Politico, Essence, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone and other news publications worldwide.
1. Fujifilm X-T2
I am a Nikon shooter but I really wanted a small, low-profile camera for my project work. I got on board with the X-T1 when it was released and loved it even though it had some quirks. The XT-2 is a major improvement and I have two of them. I can’t tell you how much I love this camera. Its low light capabilities are great and the build and ergonomics of it make it feel made for my hands. Highly recommend! Check it out on Roberts Camera.
2. Fujifilm Fujinon XF27mm F/2.8
To stay with Fuji for a minute, if you are a street photographer, I think you will love the XF27mm. With a 35mm focal length equivalent of about 40mm, and its low profile on either the X-T1 or the X-T2, it makes a great street package. Check it out on Roberts Camera.
3. Think Tank Photo Retrospective Lens Changer 3
I have this bag for my project work when using the Fuji X-T2 cameras and lenses. Lightweight and compact with a great shoulder strap. Plenty of room for an extra body and lots of lenses accessories. The people at Think Tank just keep making great products that last. Check it out on Roberts Camera.
4. My Book Pro
I use this external storage device in my desktop system for archiving and backup. Fast and reliable. It is expandable up to 16TB and has both a USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 interface and two hot-swappable drive bays.
5. Digital Silver Imaging Gift Certificate ($10.00-$500.00)
As far as I am concerned, Digital Silver Imaging are simply the best at what they do. Their true silver gelatin fiber printing services are raved about by photographers making fine art prints. I have used them exclusively for a couple of years now to print all my B&W work. The prints are truly spectacular! They also offer much more including fine art color inkjet printing, film processing services, as well as framing, scanning and retouching. The staff is first rate and always ready to help!
BP Miller is an award winning photographer and photojournalist, whose work has been published in several national publications, including The New York Times. Subjects in front of his lens include local families and businesses, as well as national and international celebrities, politicians, and dignitaries. He is the Associate Chair (Mid-Atlantic) for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), and an active member and occasional instructor for the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
1. The MAGMOD Mega Kit
A lot of my friends have been talking to me about this company for over a year now, and only recently did I have a chance to check it out myself. I’ve used a lot of different light modifiers on my flashes over the years…but this one is the best without a doubt. Versatile, easy to use and if you invest in the whole kit…your go-bag set up just got a WHOLE lot easier. While the entire package is worth the bucks, you can start out with the MAGMOD Basic Kit for around $90.00
2. TENBA Cooper 15 Camera Bag
I’ve been doing a LOT of travel back and forth to San Francisco lately, and my satchels have been taking a beating. Robert himself was the one that turned me on to this Tenba model, and I couldn’t be happier. Enough room (if you get creative) for 2 bodies, 2 lenses, a flash and other accoutrements PLUS a 15” laptop…I’ll never go back. Added plus for those on the go, a WeatherWrap rain cover. TENBA FOR LIFE!
3. The 2017 Northern Short Course In Photojournalism
Not every gift has to be a physical one. I’m a huge believer in continuing education, and what a great gift it can be to a friend of family that’s a photographer (photojournalist or otherwise). Brought to you by the National Press Photographers Association, The Northern Short happens yearly and brings some of the industry’s top photographers and editors to its attendees. Where else can you find a legend like Magnum Photographer Eli Reed breaking bread with a “legend in his own mind” like myself? Personal note: as it is with most photo conferences, what you’ll learn after hours is just as important as what you’ll learn during the day. 2017 dates are March 2nd to 4th, 2017 in Fairfax, Va.
4. The Samsung SD850 32” Monitor
The older I get, the larger a screen I need. I’ve been in love with this one since I took it out of the box. Rotates easily from landscape to portrait mode. While it doesn’t have an Adobe color matching profile (you’d have to spend about $800.00 more for a monitor that does) it’s pretty spot on for sRGB. I still calibrate my monitors weekly though…because I’m OCD like that.
5. The Fun Film Toilet Roll Canister
Yes…nothing says “you’re in the house of a photographer” quite like this toilet paper dispenser. Sadly, because I’m married, and my wife doesn’t have the same sense of humor I do, they were forbidden in our house…but I do showcase them proudly in our studio. There are a ton of bad jokes about developing I could make here…but I’ll leave those to someone else. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!
Nick Onken is a photographer, podcast host, and creative entrepreneur devoted to inspiring the world to create their moments and create their life. A former graphic designer hailing from the soggy city of Seattle, now residing in the concrete jungle of New York, Nick has photographed personalities such as Justin Bieber, Usher, and Jessica Alba. He has photographed print campaigns for international brands such as Nike, Coca Cola and Adidas and his work has been published in magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire. On his podcast, he’s interviewed celebrities such as Usher, Scooter Braun, Stacy London and others. He photographs for the charity, Pencils of Promise as he believes that education is the root problem solver of our world.
1. iPhone 7 plus
It’s the best point and shoot camera in your pocket. I never carry a point and shoot any more because the iPhone is so great. The only need for a point and shoot is a night party camera with a rear shutter synchro that the Canon SD1000 series has.
2. Mint Camera InstantFlex TL70 2.0 Instant Film Camera
The Mint is a fun new instant camera in, like a Rolliflex.
3. Ona Bag
If you carry a camera, lens and a few other accessories through the city, Ona Bags are great camera bags and they’re stylish.
4. Beats Pill+
Beats Pill is excellent for portable music. I use them on photo shoots and any other fun adventurous excursions.
Jennifer S. Altman is an award-winning photojournalist who specializes in editorial, reportage, environmental and celebrity portraiture, and corporate and commercial work. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Barron’s Magazine, The United Nations, London Sunday Times, CAP Today, Business Week, USA Today, CUNY, UNICEF, Art Magazine, NJ Monthly, American Express, MetLife, Cantor Fitzgerald, Carnegie Corporation and Showtime.
She also has vast photo-editing experience working on special projects for UNICEF and with many newspapers over the years. Jennifer is an Adjunct Professor of Photojournalism at Columbia University since 2016, teaching photojournalism classes and mobile photography. She is an Adjunct Professor of Photojournalism at The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism since 2013, teaching photojournalism classes and developing workshops on portrait, lighting and post-production, mobile photography, news and photo intensives. She has also taught photography seminars for UNICEF USA for beginner, advanced and intensive hands-on experience.
Jennifer was the principal photographer for the book The Color Purple, A Memory Book of The Broadway Musical.
She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the New York Press Photographer’s Association since 2008 and is a member of the NPPA.
1. LaCie 4TB Rugged Mini Portable Hard Drive
I have learned the hard way about losing work due to a fallen external hard drive. I work a lot on location with a large volume of images and this protective casing and large memory, mini portable external hard drive is something I always have with me for my post production needs.
2. Sandisk ImageMate All-in-One USB 3.0 Reader/Writer
This is a compact flash card and SD card reader that downloads at a very high speed for USB 3.0. I have very large image files and this card reader makes the process faster for me for the beginning stages in post production.
I have had other brands, such as Lexar, but have found that they are not so durable. So far this one is working well, but I have noticed that the pins inside the compact flash card port are fragile so be careful when you put in the compact flash card so they don’t bend.
3. Audio gear for iPhone
3.1. Rode VideoMic Me Directional Mic for Smart Phones
3.2. Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Condenser Microphone for Smartphones
3.3. Rode SC1 TRRS Extension Cable For SmartLav Microphone – 20′
3.4. Rode SC6 Dual TRRS Input and Headphone Output for Smartphones
For jobs on the go where you might have to do video interviews with your iPhone, this directional mic and sound system is very good.
I also find the lavalier with extender cable of 20 feet, high quality in audio gathering as well for interviews.
The Input and headphone output is perfect so you can hook the sound gear to your phone and listen back to you track with your headphones.
4.1. Switronix TorchLED Bolt 220W On-Camera Light TL-BT220R
4.2. Lowel Blender, 120V and 240V LED Light Head with 4 Diffusers
For jobs where you need a little extra light that is continuous and you are on the go, but have no plug in power source, this is a great light source you can hold off camera or put on a tripod.
The lighting options that range from tungsten to daylight help you balance the light temperatures to make your subject look natural. The Torch LED is a good option as it is compact, but the Lowell Blender is a higher end option as well.
It has a greater color temperature spectrum and a head that is easier to move for tilting if put on a tripod. You should also invest in the large batteries, not the small ones, so your light will have a longer life span while on an assignment.
5. Lowel Pro-light, Focusing Multi-voltage Quartz Light, 12v, 30v, 120v; 50-250w
I love this light and use it a lot for my portraits. I also mix it with other lights. It has a high intensity focus but can also be diffused with a side knob that allows you to control the output. There are barn doors that you can get with it, and I recommend that as well for betting control on how the light is spreading.
6. Photo Mechanic
This is my go-to editing software. I have used this program since it came out and it has evolved a lot over the years with ways to directly transmit from the program, etc.
This program has a very efficient way to sort your files, with many options in ways to edit and batch caption your images.
I use this in tandem with Adobe Photoshop and it makes for a fluid, solid work flow with a high volume of images.
I have used other editing programs as well, but none of them compare in the usefulness this one brings to a photojournalist who has a lot of post production needs.
Jay Westcott is a staff photographer at the Lynchburg News & Advance, with 11 years experience shooting politics, portraits, sports, and breaking news. Previously he has worked as a photo tech/editor at The Washington Post, as a staff photographer at The Washington Examiner, as a staff photographer for TBD.com, and as a staff photographer for POLITICO. He’s an alum of the Corcoran College of Art and Design and has attended the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop. He lives in Lynchburg, VA and works across the Mid-Atlantic. When he’s not working, he’s riding or racing his bicycle or hiking with his daughter, Lauren.
Some of these I own, some of these I want! These are things that will make time on and off the job a bit better.
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ Quadcopter Drone with 5.5″ FHD Screen Remote Controller
More and more clients are asking me if I have a drone, so now is the time to get one. And if you get one, might as well get one from a company with a proven track record of innovation. DJI does not disappoint.
2. Apple iPad Mini 4 Wi-Fi 64GB
I just got an iPad mini, 64 gb and I love it. It’s perfect for reading books on a flight, showing off your portfolio in meetings with editors, and blowing off steam with a game or two.
3. Sennheiser ew 112-p G3-A Wireless Microphone Kit
Video is part of what we do, and the key to good video is great audio. Sennheiser mics are the way to go.
4. Leica 50mm f/1.4 SUMMILUX-M Aspherical, Manual Focus Lens for M System
The 50mm lens is my absolute favorite. It is one of the most versatile lenses you can have, shooting everything from portraits, spot news, landscapes, you name it.
5. ONA Berlin II Messenger Bag for Leica M-System
This is a beautiful camera bag that looks nothing like a camera bag. Discretion and style = win.