From a new camera to accessories that will be welcome, PVC’s gift suggestions for vloggers and YouTubers cover a range of different price points and equipment any vlogger will find useful.
With so many people trying to get their own YouTube channel or vlogging, either about their passions or looking for a path towards a professional career, you probably know someone that talks constantly about what they do, the equipment they use and what they want to buy next. This list of gift ideas, which should be used as a starting point, presents suggestions that cover anything for the vlogger who has everything to those starting now.
One word of advice: before committing to buy a gift, try to understand what the person you are buying the gift for really needs. Nothing worst than to surprise someone at Christmas with a gift that they will never use and will end in a trunk on a corner in the attic. The good thing is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make someone happy, because some of the accessories or equipment a vlogger needs are not expensive.
The best cameras for vlogging
If you’ve money to spend and know a vlogger that wants a new camera for Christmas, then the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, which costs $749.00, should probably be at the top of your list. The newest model on Canon’s G7 range, this 20.1 megapixel one-inch sensor offers uncropped 4K video recording and all the little things a vlogger will want, from a lens covering anything from 24 to 100mm to a flip-up screen, the option to stream directly to YouTube and, among other interesting features, a microphone socket.
The compact body of the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III makes it a good choice for vlogging, but you should also consider other models, adapting your choice to the specific needs of the vlogger who you’re buying the camera for. Because this is such an important element, it’s better to know exactly what the person wants/needs, before offering an expensive gift they will not use. For example, a GoPro Hero 8 Black, priced at $370.00, may be a better choice for someone covering action sports. Models like the Micro Four Thirds Panasonic Lumix G90/G95, or the APS-C mirrorless Canon EOS M6 Mark II may also be ideal, but expect to pay higher prices. If the vlogger you’re buying the camera for likes DSLRs, then the clear choice is the Canon EOS 90D.
A tripod, not just any tripod
A tripod is an essential tool for a vlogger or YouTuber, but not just any tripod. Vloggers, like anyone else in the imaging industry, need to have more than one type of tripod, from the classic solutions from either Manfrotto, 3Legged Thing or other company, to small, versatile tripods, that can also be attached anywhere.
Besides small tripods used for tabletop photography, which are ideal to hold a lighter camera or place lights around a subject, I also have a couple of small Miggo tripods, which are a good carry around solution. Here, though, I suggest the JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit, a small tripod for compact mirrorless cameras or devices up to 3g (6.6lbs). This version, priced at $79.95, can be wrapped around anything from a tree branch to a pole, used as a vlogging grip to hold your camera or… as a tripod, with the advantage of having flexible legs that adapt to any position needed. The JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit is the basic option, and you can go from there to solutions as the Joby GorillaPod 3K Video PRO, which costs more but pairs the flexible Gorilla Pod 3K legs with a solid fluid video head for creative control with a range of camera setups up to 6. 6lbs in total weight.
Get a microphone for better sound
Sound is an essential element of vlogging, so it does not matter if the image is a pristine 4K, if sound is bad, people will notice, and probably go elsewhere. Microphones built in cameras are usually not good friends of vloggers, so having an external microphone is essential, and there is a lot to choose from, starting with the type of vlogging microphone to be used: lavalier or shotgun microphones. Lavalier microphones are small and can be clipped to clothing, for interviews, for example. Shotgun microphones are the most common, especially among people that move around when vlogging, and probably the one any vlogger will need/want the most.
Because audio quality is important, a good external microphone is an excellent investment. Don’t buy some of the cheap solutions available on the market as a microphone is an accessory that will last for a long time. A shotgun microphone like the RØDE VideoMic Pro compact directional on-camera microphone with Rycote Lyre shockmount is probably a good start, if you’re willing to spend somewhere around $170.00. You’ll find more accessible solutions within RØDE, but this is a true shotgun microphone designed for use with camcorders, DSLR cameras and portable audio recorders as a source of primary and reference audio. The VideoMic pro is battery powered, and provides over 70 hours recording from a single 9V battery.
For bloggers who sit at a desk, there are other options that make more sense, like the BLUE Condenser Microphone, a little over $100.00, which is tri-capsule array featuring multiple pattern selection – cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo – perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings or streaming, allowing a vlogger to record in ways that would normally require multiple microphones.
Again, these suggestions should be used as a starting point because, besides different brands, there are different types of microphones. Don’t forget, too, that recording sound can also mean using a voice recorder, like the inexpensive Zoom H1n Handy Recorder, priced at $99.99. The H1n’s USB port provides a digital output of the stereo mix and allows data to be sent to and from your computer. It also allows the H1n to be used as a USB microphone and a microSD card reader. From there, it can be imported into editing software, to add to your video. The Zoom H1n is the basic voice recorder solution, and you’ll find more advanced versions. Just make sure that this is the type of accessory needed by the vlogger, because in most cases a microphone will be the most practical solution.
Lighting your videos
Many vloggers will use natural light to shoot their videos, because of the nature of what they do, but vloggers and YouTubers know the importance of light to make their videos shine, so a lighting kit may be a good gift idea. Vloggers need different types of lighting, depending on what they do, but one popular light among vloggers is the Ring Light, of which you’ll find multiple solutions available.
While ring lights are not suitable for everything, they are optimally suited for a lot of activities related to vloggers and YouTube, like close-ups and make-up tutorials, due to the almost shadowless look of the final video. One such solution is the Halo 14″ Bi-Color Ring Light Base Kit from Nanlite, priced at $119.00. The kit includes the ring light with an AC adapter and a smartphone bracket. Additionally, a case is included to carry it all in.
While there are complex lighting setups for professional video even for YouTube, this article centers on gift ideas, so let’s keep it simple and accessible in terms of price. There are multiple lighting solutions, using umbrellas and softboxes, and some starting kits are inexpensive. Since LED panels were introduced, they became the main source of light for many uses, both in photography and video, so it makes sense to point to one example from where readers can explore further.
The Nanlite Compac 40 Dimmable 5600K Slim Soft Light Studio LED Panel, at $139.00, is a good entry level solution, offering the ideal choice to light your subjects with studio quality light output. The advantage of this panel is that it achieves lighting similar to large softboxes but at a fraction of the size and none of the setup time. It is possible to control brightness from 0-100% and color temperature is set to 5600K for compatibility with other light sources and camera white balance presets.
There are also small portable LED lighting panels that sit atop your camera, and they are a viable solution for those always on the move. The Manfrotto Spectra 500 S LED Fixture 5600K Spot, which costs $195.00, is an example of a small and versatile panel that I’ve used frequently. The versatile design of the 500S allows it to be used either on-camera, via ball head, or in combination with Manfrotto’s numerous accessories (stands, booms, clamps, arms..), using the ¼” threading on the bottom of the device.
Reflectors, lightstands and more
Reflectors are a vloggers best friend. With just one light and a reflector, you can start to explore more complex lighting solutions. A reflector is always a welcome gift, and the best reflector is, in my opinion, the one that offers multiple choices. The Westcott Illuminator 30″ Gold/Silver Collapsible Reflector 4-in-1 Kit w/ White Diffuser is a good example. Compact and lightweight to carry around is also big enough for most needs, both inside and outside, it is a 4-in-1 reflector, meaning whoever uses it is prepared for every occasion. The two separate panels allow you to diffuse and reflect light in tandem. The compact and lightweight design makes them easy to carry and handle. The Illuminator Arm and Lightweight Stand complete this kit for easy use. The price is $64.90.
Lightstands are another type of accessory used by vloggers, and those should be both portable and stable.The Dracast DLS-805 Spring-Cushioned Light Stand (6′), at just 3.4 lb / 1.5 kg , extends from 28.5″ 7 72.4 cm to 72″ / 182.9 cm and features a load capacity of 13 lb / 6 kg. The stand folds down to 28.5″ for transport. There is a 5/8″ stud on top of the stand. Composed of lightweight aluminum and anodized to cut down on reflections, it is spring-cushioned to keep lighting fixtures damage-free when lowering and has large knobs that are easy to grip and allow for quick, smooth adjustments.
When buying lightstands, buy a couple – the Dracast DLS-805 cost $36.00 each – because even when using a one light solution, a vlogger may use the second stand to hold a reflector. Lightstands are, in fact, usable to more than placing lighting fixtures, as any photographer or videographer will tell you.
This list of gift ideas for vloggers and YouTubers does not include many other items that can be added to any shopping list for content creators. From memory cards, to powerbanks or portable drives like the ArmorATD from G-Technology, from backpacks to the software needed to edit and polish the videos, there are so many other things that can make a vlogger or YouTubber happy that there is no excuse to offer them something they will never use. Just make sure you know what they need, before deciding what to buy from this list.