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The season of giving is upon us – which becomes immediately obvious whenever you walk into a store and you’re overwhelmed by Whamageddon. If you want to avoid the Christmas music and prefer to do your shopping online, then have no fear, DIYP’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guides are here to rescue you with some of our favourite new releases of the year, as well as a few old favourites that always seem to find a place in our gear bags.
In this post, we’re going to be taking a look at some of our favourite new accessories and gadgets of 2021 that help us with our photography and filmmaking, as well as a few classics that continue to prove their worth every day. Be sure to check out our previous guide going over the best of this year’s new Cameras, lenses, lighting gear and tripods, sliders & gimbals.
Rode AI-Micro (B&H) – $79
For anybody who does live streaming or voiceovers for their videos on the computer, the Rode AI-Micro is one of the best gadgets you can get if you normally record them using a wired lav or on-camera shotgun microphone. It’s a USB audio interface that offers plug-in power, letting you use lavalier microphones and unpowered on-camera microphones like the Rode VideoMicro while bypassing the often noisy built-in preamps on your computer’s sound card to maximise the audio quality going into your computer.
Since the first 1TB memory cards were teased at Photokina, they’ve been pretty slow to take off. But now there are a few out there and the Silicon Power Superior is one of the best value microSD cards I’ve seen. You can read our review here, but the short version is that it’s slightly faster than other 1TB microSD cards on the market but significantly less expensive. If you’ve got a device that can utilise cards of this capacity, like the Insta360 ONE R and ONE X2 or a smartphone, this is a fantastic option when you need big storage.
Field Made Co Lens and Camera Labels (Field Made Co) – CAD$7.99-29.99
If there’s one thing that slows you down on a shoot, it’s trying to find the right lens when you need to swap one out and switch things up a bit. These labels from Field Made Co are fantastic to help you quickly and easily see which lens is which in your bag to be able to save time and grab the one you want. The labels are available branded to match your Fuji X, Sony E, Canon EF and RF, Nikon Z and Sigma lenses and definitely help to make them look a little more stylish and unique in your bag.
Cosyspeed PhotoHiker 44 (Cosyspeed) –
The Cosyspeed PhotoHiker 44 (review here) is probably the most comfortable camera backpack I’ve ever used while hiking or camping. And that’s not an exaggeration. Designed and built in collaboration with German outdoor specialist, Vaude, the PhotoHiker 44 is built primarily as a hiking and camping backpack that happens to carry camera gear. And opposed to a regular camera backpack that’s not really designed to carry a bunch of heavy equipment for long periods, this bag is a breeze to carry around fully loaded all day long.
Rode Lavalier II (B&H) – $99.99
The Rode Lavalier II is Rode’s long-awaited update to 2010’s original premium Rode Lavalier microphone. A noticeable step up from the Rode Lavalier Go, the Rode Lavalier II comes with a new design that makes it easy to hide with clothing when filming and more comfortable to wear even when it is visible. The newly designed capsule offers broadcast quality sound for a significantly lower price than its predecessor and comes with an accessory kit including pop filter, furry windshield, mounting clip, coloured ID rings for when you’re using several together and a zip-up case.
I’ve tried a bunch of portable SSDs for backup and external editing over the last few years, but the OC Envoy Pro Elektron (review here) is one of the fastest and most rugged USB 3.2 Gen 2 drives I’ve tried. Offering transfer speeds of up to 1011MB/sec, it’s compatible with Windows and macOS devices as well as Android for backing up your work in the field. It’s available in capacities from 240GB up to 2TB and takes up very little space in your bag (or your pocket, if you want to keep a backup with you!)
The Rode Wireless GO II (review here) has held since its release as the standard against which other wireless microphone systems are judged and it’s held its own pretty well. So, it remains on our list as one of the top recommendations when you want the highest possible quality without destroying your bank account. It also has the advantage that the receiver can be plugged straight into your computer’s USB socket, bypassing your sound card’s preamps to improve quality. This makes it ideal for live streams and recording voiceovers at the computer.
The Loupedeck Live is Loupedeck’s lower-budget alternative to the Loupedeck CT. It’s essentially the top half of the Loupedeck CT, removing the big centre dial and a few other buttons. It still offers the same twelve configurable touchscreen OLED buttons with countless pages of macros and shortcut commands as well as six button dials and eight regular buttons that can be used to perform various tasks or switch through different pages of macros. While targeted primarily towards live streaming, the Loupedeck Live features native integration into applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro while also coming with custom profiles for non-native apps DaVinci Resolve.
If you edit your videos with DaVinci Resolve and prefer an editing deck with native support, the DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor is still one of the best out there. Initially sold with a free copy of DaVinci Resolve Studio, that offer seems to have been withdrawn although there are still plenty of devices out there for sale that come with the free activation code or dongle that lets you use DaVinci Resolve Studio on up to two computers.
The Godox MoveLink (review here) is Godox’s entry into the world of wireless microphones and it makes a pretty impressive entrance. It doesn’t offer digital USB audio connectivity or the ability to record a copy of your audio straight to the transmitter, but if you don’t need those features, this is probably the best audio quality to cost balance wireless microphone on the market right now. The MoveLink M2 comes with a pair of transmitters, as well as lav mics and a charging case. If you only need one mic, the single transmitter MoveLink M1 is available for only $139.
The second-generation Sennheiser MKE 400 (review here) is an update to their popular original MKE 400 and brings with it some significant improvements. It brings with it a completely new design with internal shock mounting to minimise handling noise, headphone output for monitoring, low cut filter, as well as 20dB gain and attenuation. It offers up to 100 hours of use with a pair of AAA batteries and produces great quality sound straight into your camera.
When it comes to card readers for your desktop, the SanDisk Professional system really takes the prize. Individual readers are available for various formats including microSD, SD, CompactFlash, CFast, CFexpress and even RED Mini-Mag. while you can just buy one of these and wire it straight into your computer’s USB port, there’s also a dock, allowing you to install up to four readers on your desk while providing two Thunderbolt 3 & USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with up to 87W of USB Power Delivery, as well as DisplayPort 1.4 and a Gigabit Ethernet port. It even provides an audio passthrough with a 3.5mm TRRS combo jack.
So, that’s our final gift guide for 2021. It’s been quite audio-heavy this year when it comes to accessories, with a lot of new microphones released by Rode, Sennheiser, Godox and others. Storage and backup have also played heavily in our list this year, with solutions from SanDisk Professional, OWC and Silicon Power. Of course, workflow both on location and at the computer are important, too, with easy labels for your lenses, a bag to put them all in, as well as console decks for when it comes time to edit!
Thanks for checking our 2021 gift guides, and don’t forget to have a look at our previous guides for the best of this year’s new cameras, lenses, lighting gear and tripods, sliders & gimbals. What’s been your favourite accessory of 2021?