I like to ask my readers each year is what photography gear they got for Christmas.

This year, I finally got a Tamron 18-270 for both Nikon and Canon:

Tamron 18-270 For Canon
Tamron 18-270 For Nikon

The reason why I am so excited about this is because I need as similar lenses as possible for my Epic Shootout Comparisons between Nikon and Canon bodies. Up until this point I’ve been somewhat limited to 50mm 1.4, or 24-70 2.8, but even in those cases, the lenses are very different because one is made by Canon, the other made by Nikon. When you have a third part manufacturer like Tamron making the same lens with different mounts, the lens quality will be much closer between the 2 copies.

BTW- Bhphoto.com is having a special on this lens, $379 with rebate, an absolute STEAL of DEAL. Its only for crop bodies, but if you do not have one, I would say this is the most versatile and best all round lens you can get.

I am also really wanting a Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR for the same reason, to be able to do these comparison tests with similar lenses, but looks like Ill have to wait on it for now.

Something else that is on the way is this Burton Solaris Solar Power blanket. I’ve been holding off on this thing for years, simply because they are so expensive, but I found one for about 1/2 the normal price and decided to jump on it. I mean, Santa got it for me. On these Disaster Aid trips, keeping my gear powered is an absolute nightmare simply because there is no electricity. Luckily, I had access to a generator in the evenings on this last trip, but you cannot always count on that.

I’ve used solar powered recharging units before, and I can say this: total surface area really, really matters. I like this particular model because it is flexible (not glass), folds up to the size of a small notebook and still weighs under 4 lbs. Connect this with a battery pack, and leave it out all day, it should be more than enough to recharge several iPhones. Looking forward to testing it out.

So….what did Santa bring you?