2020 DIYP Holiday Gift Guide – Cameras
‘Tis the season to give gifts to the photographers and filmmakers in your life. Or, if you’re the photographer or filmmaker in your life, to treat yourself to something special. But what to do get? Well, in 2020’s DIYP Gift Guides, we’re going to show you some of our favourite new releases over the last year that could make for ideal gifts, as well as a few old favourites that still make the cut as classic holiday gift recommendations.
In this post, we’re going to be taking a look at cameras, but keep an eye out for upcoming guides featuring Lenses, Lighting, Tripods, Sliders & Gimbals, and other accessories and gadgets!
The Sony A7C was a refreshing new camera from Sony this year, offering full-frame A7 III-like performance in a body that more closely resembles its APS-C format A6400. Ideal for every day carry when you don’t want to pack a ton of gear, the Sony A7C also makes for a great little vlogging camera, too.
Speaking of vlogging, Panasonic’s G100 has seen quit the warm reception since its initial release a few months ago. With three built-in microphones that utilise Nokia’s OZO Audio tech, it intelligently determines which sound is most important while you’re shooting video. So, whether you’re stood in front of it or behind it, it knows exactly where you want to be.
The follow up to 2018’s Nikon Z6 is an impressive looking camera, including many of the features and tools that some users thought the Z6 should have had from the start. Like dual card slots and massively improved Eye Autofocus. Well, we might not have had it two years ago, but it’s here now. A good time to upgrade, no?
The Canon EOS R6, along with the EOS R5, were Canon well and truly stating “We’re here!” in the full-frame mirrorless world. Despite a few early overheating hiccups, the EOS R6 has proven itself to be a solid shooter for stills and not bad for video, either. If you’re a Canon shooter that’s looking to make the leap from DSLRs to mirrorless, this is probably the best bang for your buck.
The Fuji X-T4 is a worthy successor to the X-T3, offering continuous shooting with the mechanical shutter at up to 15 frames per second, 4K video at up to 60fps and a pair of UHS-II SD card slots to keep up with those file writing demands. It houses a 26.1-megapixel sensor that’s also capable of shooting 1080p up to a very impressive 240fps.
The Panasonic S5 is probably the first real full-frame mirrorless camera we’ve seen that holds itself up as a solid tool for working photographers and filmmakers while also offering benefits to the vlogging crowd. The S5 is essentially what you’d get if you bred a Panasonic GH5 with the Panasonic S1. A bit smaller than the S1, but more than capable in many respects.
This is the one that many have been waiting for. For too long, many have been waiting. Now Sony shooters know how Nikon shooters felt waiting for the D500. Regardless, the A7S III shows that Sony does actually know how to make a decent video-centric mirrorless camera that’s geared towards fairly high-end use, especially since RAW over HDMI support was announced in conjunction with the Atomos Ninja V.
Canon C70 (B&H) – $5,499
Maybe your video needs are a little more demanding, though. If you want to jump onto the RF cinema bandwagon, but can’t get your hands on a RED Komodo, then the Canon C70 is probably the next best thing. For now, at least. It’s Canons first Cinema EOS camera, although it certainly won’t be the last. It does look extremely capable for its relatively low price tag, though.
We’re back to a little more vlogging and travel with the tiny Sony Z-V1. It is designed primarily as a vlogging camera, but like the RX100 series cameras on which it’s based, the Z-V1 makes for a fantastic general purpose pocket and travel camera, too. The main advantage is the flippy out LCD, which will be fantastically useful when we’re all allowed to travel again.
Another pocket-sized travel and general day-to-day documentary camera is the DJI Pocket 2. Replacing DJI’s original Osmo Pocket, the Pocket 2 comes with a larger and higher resolution sensor, a wider lens with a wider aperture, better ISO performance, more microphones and new HDR video mode. There’s not much to say about the Pocket 2. It’s a tiny camera with a tiny gimbal. It fits on your pockets and produces pretty amazing footage for its small size.
The Insta360 ONE X2 has become probably my favourite small camera for this year. 360° cameras provide a level of versatility that other types of cameras just simply can’t offer. There’s no need for a gimbal, thanks to Insta360’s FlowState stabilisation, which uses the actual gyro data of the camera to keep your footage stable no matter how shaky you are. It’s also small and light enough to just slip in your pocket and forget it’s there. But when you need it, it’s always handy.
Staying on the 360° camera theme, the Ricoh SC2 is another contender from this year that’s proven itself to be rather good. It only offers 4K resolution vs the 5.7K offered by the Insta360 ONE X2 above, but it also doesn’t come with quite the price tag, either. If you just want a general-purpose basic 360° camera, the Theta SC2 is a great option.
So that’s our cameras list for this year. It’s been tough to pick this list for this year, because so many of them have stood out as being rather unique or exceptional for one reason or another, and there are plenty that didn’t make it onto this list.
What’s been your favourite new camera in 2020? Were this year’s camera announcements all that you hoped they’d be? Or are you still waiting for something more?
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.