2009 Digital Camera Holiday Gift Guide - Part 5
2009 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
In part 4 of our 2009 digital camera holiday gift guide, we looked at a series of $400 to $600 cameras that launched into the prosumer market. In the final portion of our guide, we will dive into the best cameras in the $600+ price range. These cameras are targeted at professional photographers; ideally for photogs seeking an upgrade of their previous generation DSLR. This lineup of digital cameras features the best you will find in image quality, the ability to use custom lenses and advanced, expert level features for tweaking your shots. Similar to part 4 of our guide, there is extremely little color variety with this models.
So take a look at the fifth part of our 2009 Holiday gift guide, the $600+ digital camera range. Our following recommendations are based on quality, features and the best value available on the digital camera marketplace above $600 dollars (MSRP).
Top Pick: Nikon D300s
The latest camera from Nikon in the sub-$2,000 category, Nikon's D300s adds HD video to its already impressive 12.3 megapixel sensor, and continuous shooting speed up to 7 frames per second. The D300s also has Live View on its super-sharp 3" LCD, easily activated with a dedicated button. Dual memory card slots allow for a variety of options to back up pictures onto another card as you shoot, and the 1,005 pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II system gives the automatic exposure modes incredible accuracy in determining the proper exposure. With a shutter rated to 150,000 shots, this durable camera will be a reliable shooter for years. When you factor in the ability to use almost any Nikon lens ever made on this camera, it is hard to see any flaws in this system.
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A unique feature on this digital SLR from Olympus is its articulating LCD screen that measures 2.7" and offers Live View. The 12.3 megapixel sensor has built in self cleaning and image stabilization, meaning that any lens mounted to the camera will be stabilized. This makes Olympus lenses smaller and far more affordable. The E-30 has numerous scene modes to help decide the best settings for the shot at hand, and the TruePic III+ image processing engine makes for responsive handling. Another helpful feature is the built in digital level sensor, which helps makes sure the camera is level, ideal for landscape or architectural shooting.
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The Canon 7D is a superb digital SLR for the budding enthusiast photographer. It has Canon's latest Digic 4 image processing engine, an incredible 18 megapixel sensor, and shooting speed up to 8 frames per second. These features would only be found in cameras over $5,000 just a few years ago. The Canon 7D represents the peak of image quality for cameras in this price range, and is a great upgrade from an older Canon digital SLR, such as any in the Digital Rebel series. The extremely high resolution 3" rear LCD makes images look fantastic right on the camera, and the highly developed autofocus system is ideal for sports and fast action. Add in the ability to shoot full HD video with a wide array of options and controls, and the Canon 7D shapes up to be a serious camera for under $2,000.
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
The trend in digital cameras today is large sensors in small camera bodies. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 uses "4/3" sensor technology, which essentially means it has a sensor that is ½ the size of a traditional 35mm film negative. It has a 12.1 megapixel sensor and offers interchangeable lenses. This increases the size of the camera but allows users a wide range of lens options, from small fixed lenses to larger zooms. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 bridges the gap between digital SLR and point and shoot. There is a built in flash, and a hot-shoe for adding on more powerful flash units. It also captures HD video and provides significant control while shooting movies.
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Ricoh GR Digital III
It might be hard to imaging spending this much on a point and shoot camera, but the Ricoh GR Digital III isn't just any camera. It has a fixed 28mm, F1.9 lens, great for street photography and low-light, indoor shooting. The 10.1 megapixel sensor has very large pixels to deliver optimum high-sensitivity image quality. The LCD screen on the back is 920k dots, meaning it is among the highest resolution of any digital camera on the market. The GR Digital III offers RAW and JPEG shooting, great for aspiring prosumers and enthusiasts. Response time is incredibly fast, and while it does not match the speed of a digital SLR, users will be incredibly pleased.
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