Holiday gift ideas - and some of my favorite products of 2020

Equipment Review

I know this is a little late in the holiday shopping season, but some people have asked me to list out my favorite newer products and give them some suggestions to add to their gift list this year. The following list includes my favorite photography equipment which range from very inexpensive accessories to more expensive cameras and lenses. I have put shopping links for each item so that you can go right to B&H Photo to order if you want.

I hope this helps you find something good for family, friends or yourself.

Canon R5 and R6 Mirrorless Cameras

Price: Canon R5 ($3899) and Canon R6 ($2499)

I have reviewed both of these cameras in previous blog posts and have found them to be game changers. Even though I have the Canon 1Dx Mark III and Canon 5D Mark IV in my gear bags, I keep opting for the new mirrorless cameras to do my work. The Canon R5 has a massive 45MP resolution while the Canon R6 only has 20MP. But honestly, 20MP is more than enough for what I shoot (95% of the time) and so I have opted to use the Canon R6 for the bulk of my professional shooting. The Canon R6 is also much less expensive than the Canon R5. Either way, you won't go wrong with one of these amazing products.

Canon RF 100-500mm lens

Price: $2699

I returned from the rain forest of Costa Rica in the middle of November, where I used the Canon 100-500mm lens for the first time. This lens is not ideal for low light shooting, since the best aperture at 500mm is f/7.1, but for any situation with decent light, this lens is great.  It is super sharp all the way from 100mm to 500mm, with fast focusing and easy hand holding.

Thinktank Essentials Convertible Rolling Backpack

Price: $279

I love the camera bags from Thinktank and have been using them exclusively for many years. They are super rugged and I have never had any issues with them, even having taken them around the world countless times. My go-to bag for the last 5 years has been the Thinktank Streetwalker Rolling Bag, but their latest rolling backpack is even smaller and lighter. For those times when I want to travel light, I am now using the Thinktank Essentials Convertible Rolling Backpack which can be rolled or used as a backpack. For longer trips when I pack a lot of gear, I still opt for the Thinktank Streetwalker Rolling Bag, and for shorter trips or day trips from home, I am now using the Thinktank Essentials Convertible Rolling Backpack. Both are awesome!

MagMod Magbox and MagShoe

Price: MagBox ($179) and MagShoe ($59)

I am a simple guy who likes to go out and take nice photos without taking a truckload of equipment with me. When I go out to take portraits of people, I take the MagBox. I really like the light weight of this product, but the best part is the simple way in which it sets up and breaks down. And I mount this on the MagShoe, which is on top of every one of my light stands now. I know this sounds weird to say that a flash folder makes a huge difference to me, but this one does. It holds the flash better than any other product and even locks it in place. Both of these products are simple and work incredibly well.

Price: $159

I recently reviewed the TourBox on the blog (which you can see here), and have fallen in love with this little accessory. You can read the review to learn more about this little known product. But trust me when I say that this little tool can really help you save time when editing.

Macbook Pro 16"
Price: Starting at $2099 (and up depending on configuration)

About a year ago I reviewed the new MacBook Pro 16" from Apple and was really impressed with the performance and usability of this laptop computer. It is so good that I have never traveled without it. When it came time to upgrade my desktop system, I actually researched different options and decided to purchase a second MacBook Pro 16" to act as my desktop workstation (connected to an external monitor and keyboard). I opted for the unit with a 2TB SSD (since most of my data is stored on the Drobo 8D RAID system) and 64GB of RAM (to make sure I got the best performance when using programs like Adobe Photoshop).

iPhone 12
Price: (Depends of carrier and capacity)

I was really happy with my iPhone 11 Pro that I had been using for more than a year, and even contemplated holding onto that phone and not upgrading to the iPhone 12. But with the new 5G network (providing super fast Internet access) I saw that as a reason to upgrade. Heck, the iPhone is my most used piece of technology and so it better be good. I decided not to go with the iPhone 12 Po since the main difference was in the camera lenses, and if I want a really good wide photo, I will grab my Canon R6.

ProGrade Digital V90 SD Cards

Price: From $84 (64GB) and up

Now that I am doing almost all of my professional photography using the Canon R6, I need to get a lot more SD memory cards. I love the V90 cards from Pro Grade Digital because they are fast and very reliable. The speeds are perfect for capturing RAW images and 4K video (which I am starting to shoot now).

Powerex Batteries and Chargers

Price: $12 and up

Things don't have to be expensive to be useful, and that is the case with the Powerex batteries. These are not really new, but the company has come out with some new chargers with which you can recharge the batteries. I have their D cells (for flashlights), AAA (for my wireless microphones), but mostly use their AA batteries for all of my Canon 600 EX-RT flashes. These batteries last a really long time. I am still using sets of AA batteries that I put into use 3 years ago. My favorite charger is the MH-C800S which will charge AA and AAA batteries in an hour.

Jeff Cable Sweatshirt, Hat or Mask

Price: Sweatshirt ($35), Hat ($19), Mask ($15) - Plus $8 shipping

OK, I know that these are not really photography accessories, but I thought I would add them to the list anyways. I do have branded sweatshirts, hats and face masks if you are interested in proudly wearing these while you are taking photos. If you are interested in purchasing these, click here.

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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 


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Review Equipment

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