Welcome to my "8th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide." If you've been a faithful reader of this Gear Guide for the past seven years, this year's name probably sounds familiar, and that's because it is. It's the original name for this Gear Guide, and I'm bringing it back with a vengeance (I'm not really sure how to make a Gear Guide vengeful but I'm working on it), with all of its original "Gonzoness" (yes, that's a word, I'm pretty sure).
This is replacing last year's "Awesome Gear Guide" name (awesome is way overusedâ”mostly by me), and now here you are, reading it right now. How "in the moment" is that, right? Okay, this year, I'm breaking things into three distinct categories:
1: Stocking Stuffers (You can also use these as actual holiday gifts if you're not that crazy about the person.)
2: Great Value Gear (Stuff that's a really good deal for not a lot of money, but he or she will totally dig it.)
3: Cha-ching! (Stuff you buy for the doctor/lawyer/rap mogul on your holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.)
Anyway, the "Awesome" is out, the "Gonzo" is back, and this year's Gear Guide is packed with some really cool stuff that we don't need, but we really, really, really want because getting (ahemâ”I mean giving) is what it's really all about. At least, that's what I read in a Christmas card once.
These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It's just two rules, actually. To be listed here the products have to be ones that I use myself, that I absolutely love, and now can't live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn't want to). And if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend were a rich doctor (kidding). Okay, folks, hang on to your Fruchtsaftgetr¤nke, here we go!
20×24″ Rosco CTO Gel Sheet
Roll of Gaffer's Tape
30″ Westcott 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector/Diffuser
Some Cool Books
GREAT VALUE GEAR
Vanguard Quovio 49T Rolling Bag
DxO FilmPack 4
Imagenomic's Portraiture Skin Retouching Plug-in
Westcott's Rapid Box 20″ Octa Mini and Deflector Plate
Kata LPS-216 DL Laptop Backpack
Lexar Professional Workflow HR1 (Four-Bay USB 3 Reader Hub)
Yongnuo YN560-III Hot-Shoe Flash
Impact Quickbox Softbox Kit
FP-1 Floor Plate for Using Remote Cameras
B&H Gift Cards
PocketWizard PlusX Wireless Transceiver
Canon Close-up Lens Filter (for Canon or NIKKOR)
Westcott SkyLux LED
Canon EOS 70D
PrioLite MBX500 500 W/s Monolight
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR or Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC
If the photographer on your list is a Canon shooter, unfortunately Canon doesn't make a compact 28-300mm like this Nikon model. (The Canon version is full size, quite heavy, and expensive at an MSRP of $2,689.) Tamron makes a 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC that will do the trick. It's not as sharp as the Nikon 28-300mm or the Canon for that matter, but it's not nearly as expensive either at around $630.