2010 Digital Camera Holiday Gift Guide - $600+ Cameras

In part 4 of our 2010 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 2010 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: Canon EOS 60D 

This is a powerful "mid-level" dSLR that is positioned in between the EOS Digital Rebel T2i and the EOS 7D, and boasts some impressive features, including being Canon's first ever EOS model to offer an articulated 3.0-inch LCD screen. Other appealing options include an 18-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS image sensor, DIGIC 4 image processor, Full 1080p HD video recoding with manual controls including audio level control, in-camera image processing including RAW and image filters, iFCL Metering System (Intelligent Focus, Color, Luminance), 9-point AF system (cross-type sensors with a hybrid "X" cross center AF point), powerful built-in flash unit with Canon's Integrated Speedlite Transmitter control, card slot for SD/SDHC/SDXC type media including Eye-Fi cards, and much more.  

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Sony Alpha NEX-5

The Sony NEX-5 represents a new class of camera for Sony, supplementing their existing dSLR interchangeable lens system.  After the success of the Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds system cameras, it comes as no surprise that other manufacturers like Sony are also going to take advantage of the trend where users want higher image quality in a smaller and lighter package, while still giving them the versatility of interchangeable lenses.  This new Sony model has an ambitious design, making the new Sony NEX series cameras the smallest interchangeable lens cameras made with an APS-C size sensor. The Sony Exmor HD CMOS sensor provides 14.2MP of resolution from a sensor size of 23.4 x 15.6 mm.  The NEX-5 uses this imaging sensor to capture both still images and HD video, and it also provides a Live View feed to the LCD. The camera does not need a mirror assembly, since no optical viewfinder is included, reducing space requirements significantly.  Pick this up if you are a looking for dSLR image quality combined with the ability to shoot HD Video in a smaller and lighter package with superb build quality and surprisingly good ergonomics. It's Intelligent Auto mode offers ease of use for beginners, while still offering lots of manual settings, features and fine tuning options for more Advanced Photographers, with image quality matching or exceeding what you'd expect to see from a larger dSLR. 

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Olympus E-5

The E-5 is Olympus' latest entry in the advanced amateur / professional category of dSLRs. This is also the long awaited successor of the popular E-3 from 2007. Built on almost the same foundations, the E-5 offers several enhancements and new features to the already powerful feature set offered by its predecessor. These include a a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor (same unit featured in their E-PL1 digital PEN camera), 4/3 lens mount system, TruePic V+ processor unit, "Fine Detail" processing technology, high-quality (920k pixel) 3.0-inch LCD screen that rotates up to 270 degrees, in-body IS system, 720p HD video recording, high-speed 11-point AF system, and much more. Pick this up if you are an amateur or professional photog that demands a capable dSLR camera for your business, that is able to capture the moment no matter what the weather conditions might be.  

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Canon EOS Digital Rebel T2i

Canon's continues to improve their entry-level line of EOS Digital Rebel dSLRs, with the latest version being the Rebel T2i (aka EOS 550D). This unit replaces the T1i from last year with several upgrades, many of which have been borrowed from it's big brother, the EOS 7D. The T2i boasts some very impressive features for a "base" level dSLR, including an 18-megapixel CMOS image sensor, Canon's EOS Integrated Cleaning System, DIGIC 4 processor, a 3.0-inch LCD (1.04 million pixel), Live View shooting mode, 63-zone Dual layer metering system, Full HD (1080p) video mode, and much more. Pick this up if you are in the market for your first dSLR, or you're one who needs the control and quality offered by the T2i and are on a tight budget.  

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Canon EOS Digital Rebel T2i

Nikon D7000 

Just in time for the 2010 holiday season, Nikon has introduced one of their most impressive DX-format dSLRs to date, the Nikon D7000. Positioned between their legendary D90 and D300/D300s models, the D7000 boast a mid-level dSLR label, however this unit is packed with features and specifications that professional photographers long for. Some of these include an all new 16-megapixel (APS-C) CMOS image sensor, which Nikon claims offers low-light capabilities not yet seen in a DX-format camera, EXPEED 2 image processing unit, full 1080p HD video recording, a new 39-point AF system, expanded sensitivity settings from ISO 100 - 25,600, and an impressive 2,016 pixel RGB 3D Matrix metering sensor. 

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