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Amazon Prime Day 2020 is still several days away (October 13th and 14th) so the best deals are yet to come, but in preparation for the two-day main event, the e-tailer has launched gift guides to pique our interest – the Home Holiday Guide, Holiday Electronics Gift Guide, Holiday Toys List, Fashion Gift Guide, and Beauty Gift Guide.
Below, Autoblog Senior Producer Christopher McGraw highlights some pre-Prime Day deals of travel-friendly gadgets as well as camera equipment suggestions that can help you shoot your car like the pros.
When it comes to mirrorless cameras from camera powerhouse Canon, the new, full-frame R5 and R6 are the sexy options. A less sexy option that has been around for a while is the M50, but I still think it should be considered for a couple of reasons, primarily price. For $650 you can get an APS-C sensor mirrorless camera and a 15-45mm lens. I have to admit I may be a bit biased because I own this camera, but it’s also why I trust it.
The auto focus in 1080p video mode is fantastic and it can shoot 4K, though without the same autofocus features and by cropping in on the sensor, so it’s not something I use very often. It also comes in handy for shooting photos, which is probably what you’ll do with it most. Is it as good as the 5D or the R5? No. But it’s also a fraction of the price and can be used as both a primary and secondary camera with some success. In fact, a lot of the videos you see on our site have been shot with this exact camera.
When Canon introduced its latest lineup of full-frame mirrorless cameras this year, I, like a lot of people, was blown away. This is the camera I had been waiting for: full-frame, shoots 4K video at up to 60fps, 1080p at up to 120fps for great slow motion shots and has two slots for memory cards, so you can shoot all day long. It also utilizes Canon’s autofocus, which, in my opinion, is one of the best out there. The R6 can even be used as a webcam, which is more useful now than ever.
Add all that to the fact that Canon makes some of the best glass out there, and boom, just like that Canon is on top of the camera game again, regardless of whether you’re talking stills or video.
There is one thing that can quickly make a video feel like a high-end production, and that is drone footage. A slow fly-over of a car or capturing angles of off-roading not possible from the ground was the sort of thing that used to cost thousands of dollars per shot not too long ago — and never would’ve been attempted by most outlets as a result. Today, though, we have 4K cameras that can fly all over the place for only a few hundred.
The Mavic Air line has become a favorite of the Autoblog video staff not only for the quality of video, but for the packability of the drone. We don’t pack light, and with multiple camera bodies, lenses, and audio equipment brought on each trip, adding a huge drone to that isn’t exactly our cup of tea. Thankfully the Mavic Air 2, which shoots 4K video at 60 fps and 48 megapixel photos, can fold up to fit in the palm of your hand and features up to 34 minutes of flight time. Get the Fly More combo linked here, and that time doubles, thanks to an extra battery.
Really can’t go wrong here.
We’ve been shooting on Panasonic cameras for videos here at Autoblog for most of the past decade, and for good reason: they’re easy to use, not too big, shoot stunning images and neither the lenses or the camera bodies break the bank.
This GX85 is a great example of all of that. 4K video, with in-camera image stabilization and two lenses for less than $500? Sure seems like a steal. One catch? At 16 megapixels, I wouldn’t anticipate blowing up your photos to mural size any time soon, but if you’re using it primarily for videos and uploading great car photos to Instagram, this camera is a definite step above your iPhone or Android.
What does a Garmin Smartwatch have to do with cars? Absolutely nothing. But I do have to say that, if you like diving into specs of the new C8 or M3, wait until you have a smartwatch telling you all the stats on your life. Think of it as an OBD2 scanner for your body.
The Vivoactive 4 not only tells time, but “energy levels, Pulse Ox (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition), respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, sleep, estimated heart, hydration,” just to name a few.
It also has the ability to download music and podcasts (I use Spotify on mine), so that you can leave the bulky phone at home when you go on your morning run. The battery lasts up to 8 days if you’re only using it as a smartwatch. Use the GPS settings or music and that time plummets to about 6 hours, so this isn’t exactly the watch for ultramarathoners, but for us normal humans, it should be fine. Finally the watch has no problem getting wet, so if you’re hitting the pool, it will keep track of how many laps you’ve swum with surprising accuracy.
Personally, I’m not a fan of spending hundreds of dollars on headphones. With the amount of traveling I do, I’m bound to leave a pair in the airport or at a hotel, or they’ll break while in my bag. Plus, audio technology is getting so good these days that you can get 80% of the audio quality of the best headphones from some that are 20% the price.
That’s where the JBL Tune in-ear headphone comes in. They are completely wireless, so whether you just want to pop one in your ear or you don’t want to bother with a wire wrapping around your head from one ear to the other while you’re on your morning trail run, these will do the trick. The headphones themselves feature a four-hour battery life, which, admittedly, isn’t great, but the case adds on another 12 hours for a 16-hour battery life in total.
Sure you can get a better pair of headphones out there, but for $60, you’re not gonna go wrong with these. Plus, you won’t be kicking yourself if you ever leave them sitting on the bedside table at a hotel halfway around the world.
Yeah, yeah, I know I literally just said above that I don’t like worrying about an expensive set of headphones when you can get a pair that works 80% as well for 20% of the price, but I also know that not everyone shares that point of view and some of you want the best of the best. Since I’m not an audio engineer I can’t say for certain that the WH-1000XM4 are the best headphones out there, but they’re still very good.
This model is over the ear, which, unless I’m running, is the type of headphone I prefer, and have “Dual Noise Sensor technology,” which is marketing speak for having two microphones on each side picking up ambient noise to filter out, so if you’re traveling (do you remember planes?) you can throw these on and the whirr of the train or jet engine will be gone.
These wireless headphones come in both gray and black, and have a 30-hour battery, so long travels won’t be a problem.
Mario Kart 8, Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Brothers, Rocket League, Animal Crossing, what more do I have to say about the Nintendo Switch? There’s a reason it’s been completely sold out during most of the pandemic. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out again, right as I’m writing this post. Our in-house game guru Erik Maier says Zelda Breath of the Wild is a 10/10 game and on top of that, there are few people in the world who have spent more time playing Rocket League than that man.
Is it the most powerful gaming console out there? No. But it is loads of fun, has Nintendo exclusive titles, and, wait for it, is portable. Bring it on a plane, train, long road trip (assuming you’re not the one driving) and play wherever you are. Since it is so hard to find, we’d probably recommend waiting until Prime Day hits on the 13th to pick one up. List price is $299.99, so if the prices you’re seeing are higher than that, stay away for now!
When it comes to editing photos and videos of cars, there’s not much that is more frustrating than a hard drive that can’t spin fast enough to keep up with your computer. That’s why, when I can, I try to edit off a SSD like this one.
Getting a 1TB solid state hard drive for under $300 seems like it was a pipe dream even a year ago, but thanks to ever advancing technology, the prices keep dropping and dropping, so free up some valuable storage space on your desktop or laptop, and throw your car photos (fine, family photos too) on this Samsung T5. You can thank me later.
If you’re just here for the deals be sure to come back to Autoblog on October 13th and 14th for our Prime Day 2020 coverage. We’ll be updating you with the latest gift ideas, automotive gadgets and other great finds all day until Prime Day ends.
If you’re just here for the bargains, we got you. Here are some more early Prime Day deals from Amazon also, be sure to come back to Autoblog on October 13th and 14th for our complete Prime Day 2020 coverage. We’ll have a post that we’ll be live updating throughout both days with the hottest deals and best gift ideas and latest finds from all categories and curating them for the auto-enthusiasts on your Holiday shopping list.