It’s December again, which means lots of us are sitting there wondering what to buy for ourselves or the photographer in our lives this holiday season. We’ve been saving up all year to get that something special, but we don’t want to deal with in-store queues – or maybe we’ve just slacked on our Christmas shopping this year. We want to stay at home where it’s nice and warm and see what we can find online that gets delivered straight to our door!
So, this means it’s time for the 2022 DIYP Holiday Gift Guides. It’s the last day today, so we’re going to be going through the list of our favourite new gadgets and accessories that have been released during 2022. Have a look at our previous guides in the series this week covering cameras, lenses, lighting, sliders, tripods and gimbals.
Note: It’s worth pointing out that the prices shown here are the MSRP prices. Some of these items are currently on sale and will be priced differently at different retailers throughout December, so be sure to check all links for the best price!
The Haida Pro II CPL-VND is a 2-in-1 filter that, as the name suggests, features both a variable neutral density filter and a circular polarising filter in one unit. It differs from a standard variable ND filter, which also typically polarises, by letting you adjust both the VND strength as well as the rotation of the polarising component of the filter independently from each other. No longer will you need to choose between long exposures or better-looking reflections. With this, you can have both!
The Hollyland Lark C1 is a teeny tiny single or dual microphone combo with a receiver that connects directly to your Apple or Android smartphone via the Lightning port or USB-C socket. It’s Apple MFi-certified and comes with two transmitters and a charging case to keep them both topped up. The receiver takes power from the phone itself, although it does also contain either a USB-C or Lightning socket with power passthrough to keep your device charged while you’re recording.
Loupedeck Live S (B&H) – $179
The Loupdeck Live S is the latest interactive console deck from the team at Loupedeck. It’s the least expensive option in the OLED display series and while it’s primarily targeted towards live streamers, it works extremely well for both photo and video editing, too. Our personal favourite here at DIYP is still the original Loupedeck CT – and it’s well worth it if you can justify the cost – but if you want to buy yourself or a loved one something a little less expensive just to see how it goes, the Loupedeck Live S is an excellent option.
ProGrade Cobalt 3rd Gen CFast 2.0 Cards (B&H) – $329.99-599.99
It feels quite strange to see a new CFast 2.0 card release in 2022 but there are still a lot of devices out there in daily use that have CFast 2.0 card slots. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema cameras, for example, as well as the XDynamics Evolve 2 drone (review here) both use them and need big fast cards. Well, ProGrade delivered for those users this year with their new Cobalt CFast 2.0 cards in 320GB and 640GB capacities. As CFexpress continues to take over the world, these may be the last new CFast 2.0 cards we see from any manufacturer.
ProGrade Gold CFexpress Cards (ProGrade) – $179-799
To keep things a little more current, ProGrade also released their new 512GB, 1TB and 2TB CFexpress cards this year, too. They’re priced at $179, $399 and $799 respectively and offer both huge capacities and very fast transfer speeds. A company born from the remains of the old-guard Lexar before it was sold to Longsys, ProGrade has proven itself to be an excellent manufacturer of quality memory cards. You can’t really go wrong with these to keep up with your needs for your stills or video.
Let’s change gears here (see what I did there?) with the new SmallRig MagicFIZ. It’s SmallRig’s first wireless remote follow-focus system and has seen quite the buzz. There are several kits available, depending on your needs priced at $299, $399 and $699. Each comes with a different collection of bits allowing you to control either one or two motors for both focus and zoom (or focus and iris). One of the few new wireless follow-focus systems we’ve seen for a while.
The Rode VideoMicro II (review coming soon) is the latest iteration of Rode’s small low-budget on-camera microphone. The original Rode VideoMicro has been a staple amongst vloggers since its initial release in 2015, but the new VideoMicro II kicks things up a notch with a whole new annular tube design, much lower noise levels and even clearer and more accurate sound. While it is worth going up to something like the Rode VideoMic NTG eventually, the VideoMicro II is a fantastic starting point for new vloggers.
Separate refective light meters have fallen a little out of favour over the past couple of decades. Since film became a thing of the past and in-camera meters got so good, they’ve just been kind of redundant. But with the resurgence in film, particularly the old-school kind that don’t have meters built-in (or for which you can’t get batteries anymore), separate light meters have started to become popular again. TTArtisan’s Brassed Light Meter lets you “see the light” in style.
When it comes to turning your cameras into serious filming rigs, Zacuto is up there as one of the best. With smartphones now becoming more capable than ever, it was inevitable that the company would set its sights on that market, too. And boy, have they delivered. The Zacuto Smart Z-Finder turns your smartphone into a mobile cinema rig, complete with a viewfinder loupe and a bunch of cold shoes for attaching accessories. It’s certainly not the cheapest way to shoot video with your smartphone, but it definitely provides you with a lot of versatility.
For what it costs, this is a card reader that should be in everybody’s kit bag. At less than $35, it presents extremely good value. As well as supporting both UHS-II SD and microSD cards, it even supports SanDisk’s proprietary protocol that lets them transfer UHS-I SD/microSD cards faster than 100MB/sec. You can see our review of the PGM0.5 reader here, including our speed tests. This reader goes everywhere with me now, for use with my laptop, Android phones and iPad to quickly and easily offload footage and photos.
The Rode NT-USB+ is the latest in desktop USB-C cardioid condenser microphones from Rode. As a USB-C microphone, it only has one output which lets you plug it directly into your computer, avoiding the need for XLR cables, mixers, audio processors and an audio interface. You just plug it straight into the USB socket on your computer (or smartphone/tablet), fire up your software and you’re good to go for live streaming or recording voiceovers for your videos. It’s also compatible with Rode Connect, allowing you to mix multiple microphones on a single computer as well as enable various advanced audio processing features, like low-cut, APEX Aural Exciter and Big Bottom filters.
That’s our favourite gadgets and accessories of 2022. There have been some great ones this year, one or two unique ones, and some retro products modernised. What’s been your favourite photo or video gadget this year? What are you hoping to see in 2023?