Holiday Gift Guide – Our favourite gadgets and accessories of 2023
Another lap around the sun means another winter holiday season! Black Friday may be over, but here are some more gift ideas this giving season, even if you’re giving to yourself. In this guide, we’re looking at some of our favourite gear of 2023.
It’s the last day of our holiday gift guides today, so it’s time for accessories and gadgets! We’ve already posted our cameras, lenses, lighting, and sliders, tripods & gimbals gift guides, so be sure to check those out.
Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo – $99
Having your camera see accurate colours is the first step to a good photography or filmmaking workflow. At least, having your computer see the colours that the camera saw. That starts with profiling your camera. The Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo is a pocket-sized calibration chart to make sure you get consistent colour and contrast from one shot to the next.
Rode Wireless Pro – $399
Rode released the latest in its small wireless microphone system in 2023. The Rode Wireless Pro enhances the Rode Wireless GO II with 32-bit float recording, built-in time code, increased range and bundled in a pair of Lavalier II mics. If you haven’t bought into a wireless microphone set yet, this is the best bang for your buck out there right now. It actually works out cheaper than the Wireless GO II if you were going to buy separate lavs anyway!
SmokeNINJA Portable Fog Machine – $249
Fog machines are an excellent addition to any studio, and the SmokeNINJA is ideally suited to particularly small studios. Whether you’re photographing humans or teeny tiny toys and products, the SmokeNINJA has you covered. It emulates fog, dry ice or steam, for a variety of different looks in your shoot. And it’s super compact, allowing you to slip it in your pocket between uses.
Comica Vimo Q – $249
Most microphones offer 2 channels of audio. Either left and right stereo, or two separate mics for different subjects. The Comica Vimo Q, on the other hand, offers four channels of audio, to let you record up to four sources. It’s ideal for recording vlogs, podcasts, interviews and round table discussions where you want to have several people talking at once.
Datacolor Spyder X2 Ultra – $299
Seeing accurate colour is as important as capturing it. If your monitors aren’t showing your colours correctly, how do you know how your images really look? That’s where devices like the Datacolor Spyder X2 Ultra step in. These devices look at the colours your monitors put out and tell your computer how to correct them so they look accurate. They’re an invaluable tool for any photographer or filmmaker.
YoloBox Ultra – $1,499
Live streaming has become a big trend since the pandemic began. It’s led to a revolution of sorts. New, high-capability webcams, mirrorless cameras with native USB video, and video switchers, like those from YoloBox. The YoloBox Ultra is the company’s new flagship all-in-one switcher and streaming box for both horizontal and vertical video, combining the best of the YoloBox Pro and Instream into one unit.
Shure SM7dB – $499
When it comes to YouTube, Podcasting or voiceovers, the Shure SM7B has been a staple for years. The company’s refreshed Shure SM7dB is everything you love about the SM7B but with USB-C connectivity. That means no more messing around with mixers, audio interfaces or signal boosters. You can just plug it straight into your laptop and record your audio right inside your DAW.
OWC Atlas Ultra CFexpress 4.0 – $579
With the new CFexpress 4.0 specification here, it’s time to start thinking about the future. That future will give us cameras with higher bandwidth and storage requirements. Available in 1TB and 2TB capacities, the OWC Ultra CFexpress 4.0 Type B cards bring that future here today. These cards are faster than any camera on the market needs today, but it means you won’t be held back when it comes time to upgrade to a more demanding camera.
Tascam DR-10L Pro – $219
If you need compact recorders on your talent, the Tascam DR-10L Pro is probably the way to go. It’s a compact belt-pack recorder that accepts a wired lavalier microphone. It shoots 32-bit audio, so you don’t even need to worry about them being too loud or quiet. It even has support for Atomos Wireless Time-Code-Sync to make lining everything up in the edit easy!
Atomos Ninja 5.2″ – $599
The Atomos Ninja 5.2″ is the updated model of the popular Atomos Ninja V. It’s a 4K on-camera field monitor with built-in recording capabilities. And it’s not just recording highly compressed h.264, either. It offers 4K DCI and UHD over HDMI at up to 60fps in ProRes RAW. It’ll even record 6K at up to 30fps. You can take this footage straight into your editing software and won’t even need to worry about in-camera storage anymore.
Wacom One Creative Pen Display – $399
A graphics tablet display is one of the most valuable devices you can get for your editing computer setup. Whether stills or video, they’re fantastic for fine-tuning on-screen sliders and finessing fine image details. They offer a level of precise control that a mouse simply can’t offer and make colour grading a breeze. The Wacom One is a series of display tablets from Wacom at comfortable prices.
We all have our favourite photography & filmmaking accessories and gadgets, and this is our list of ours for 2023. What accessory or gadget can’t you live without?
Will you be treating yourself or a loved one to something from this list? What are you hoping for in 2024?
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.