What does it take to become a photographer nowadays? Oftentimes, all you need is a proper smartphone and a little creativity to craft, say, an Instagram feed worth following. Truly, there's no better time to be a photographer than now with the abundance of tools and technologies to create and publish evocative images.
What tools are these? Here we have a rundown of some of the amazing photography gear to have come out the past year. These devices may just help you elevate the kind of images you can produce.
1) A smartphone with an advanced camera
Screengrab from Apple
Smartphones have become everyone’s default and pros’/hobbyists’ second camera, and the good news is that all of the big names now offer overall image quality that matches or exceeds that of the point-and-shoots of yesteryear. This year, some have begun to offer RAW capture through native or third-party apps, which allows you really take control of how the final image will look like. More and more smartphones that are 4K video-capable appeared this year – great for those who simply must have the best.
If you’re an Apple user or like shooting at medium telephoto for portraits and street photography, the dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus is the only choice. For Android, overall standouts include the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S7. For shooting landscapes, look at the Sony Xperia XZ and Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, which boast 20-plus megapixel resolutions and lots of detail in bright light.
If you want a camera you can push to the limits and even shoot the Milky Way on by accessing ISO 3200 and longer shutter speeds of 30s, the affordable Asus Zenfone 3 and the Huawei P9 can do this without additional apps.
Don’t forget to throw in a good smartphone tripod adapter for better night exposures, time-lapse, vlogging, etc.
2) A better, faster, lighter tripod
MeFoto breathes some excitement into the tripod market with their new Air series. They’re smaller and lighter than the excellent “classic” MeFoto tripod, but the new HyperLock leg lock System might be the fastest and easiest way to extend tripod legs ever. Try it, and you’ll wish all tripods could be set up this quickly. Order from their online store for $175.
3) A bag ready for any adventure
If your photography trips tend to be hardcore adventures, then the Burkard Tanuck 40 Camera Backpack, made by Mountainsmith to the specifications of adventure photographer Chris Burkard, might be the bag for you. It’s rugged, adaptable to any adventure, and offers a lifetime warranty.
4) A DSLR-replacing point-and-shoot...
It’s 2016 – who still wants to travel with full size DSLRs and bags full of heavy lenses if they can avoid it? The Sony RX 100 V packs a professional photo and video feature set inherited from the Sony Alpha line and delivers outstanding image quality via its 1-inch sensor, all in a compact body. Its burst mode is so fast, you’re basically shooting video in RAW.
Photo from Sony
It’s not cheap (currently at $999 in the US) but its “power-to- weight ratio” makes it a beast in a small package.
5) ... or a full-fledged professional mirrorless camera
The retro-stylish Fujifilm X-T2, the successor to the excellent X-T1, inherits the APS-C size class-leading sensor on the Fujifilm X-Pro2, while adding faster autofocus, huge leaps forward in video with 4K rivaling the Sony A6500, as well as advanced flash control.
Photo from Fuji
Along with that you get Fuji’s outstanding color and selection of compact, affordable high quality lenses. Professionals will appreciate that it’s fully weather-sealed and has dual SD card slots. It’s a pro camera through and through – at a pro price, too. It's available for P84,990, body only. It's for those who really want to get serious with their photography this coming year.
6) A small but serious droneNever miss an opportunity for an epic aerial shot because of weight or space restrictions again: The $1000 DJI Mavic Pro has to be seen and held in the palm of your hand to appreciate its combination of small size, professional build quality, and clever design. It’s a beautiful machine from an industry leader and a must-have for traveling videographers.
7) Adobe’s latest and greatest
If you’re still toiling on Adobe CS6 and below, it’s time to stop holding out and see what you’ve been missing. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, already the industry-standard for many years, continue to get better and faster and are pretty much indispensable to any serious photographer in 2016.
The Creative Cloud Photography Plan makes it affordable to own both these apps while having access to regular, helpful updates, and even a library of professional fonts through TypeKit at no additional cost. If you bought a camera in 2016, you’ll need these updates so that your RAW files and lens profiles are supported.
For those who shoot and edit video, Premiere Pro CC (sold separately) has significant improvements over CS6 that will save you a lot of time, effort, and sanity.
8) A computer that’s a work of art in itself
Photo from Microsoft
While its primary appeal is to artists and designers, photographers will gawk at that stunning 28” display, and those who do a lot of retouching, masking, and compositing could find it a worthy – and envy-inducing – workhorse. – Rappler.com