Best Cameras for Dads

best-cameras-for-dads.jpgFather's Day is coming up fast (Sunday, June 19, if you've forgotten), and the last thing you want to get for your loving Father-Dad-Pop-Pa-Papa-Husband-Grandfather-Gramp-Grampa-Grampy is another awful tie.  Steaks are pretty good, but may'haps Daddy Dearest needs a new camera because the last one he bought used "film" (whatever that is!).  Or maybe he simply loves taking pictures.  Either way, friends, if you're out of ideas about what to get your Dad for Father's Day, you've come to the right article. We've got a great selection of digital cameras a a number of different price points, sure to fit all types of Dads.  As the saying goes, a picture's worth a thousand words, but boring presents (looking at you, macaroni card!) speak volumes too.  Unloving volumes.  So why not give with confidence this year.  Give him a camera.  


Canon PowerShot A3300 IS

Full Review

FOR THE PENNY-PINCHING PAPA

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If your Dad's anything like mine, he loves great deals and finding value at low prices.  The Cannon Powershot A3300 IS is a sub-$200 digital camera available in five colors (blue, silver, pink, red, and black).  At a price like this, you can take all the money saved and spend it on getting to places where Dad can take lots and lots of sweet shots.  Though it won't win any awards in low-light situations, the Eye-Fi compliant A3300 IS features a host of nice functions, including a super speedy Face Detection and a Smart Auto mode that keeps noise levels down to a minimum.  

The A3300 IS has a 16-megapixel image sensor, 3.0-inch LCD viewing screen,5x optical zoom lens, and even shoots 720p HD video. And, as an upgrade over previous A-series generations, the more compact A3300 IS uses a rechargeable Li-on battery (the older models required AA).

Nikon Coolpix S9100

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FOR THE COOL (PIX) DAD

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If your Dad is the type of guy who understands you don't need the highest megapixel sensor size to get sharp, high-quality images from a digital camera, then we have a camera for you.  Nikon's Coolpix S9100 is super well rounded.  It's strongest feature is the 18x optical zoom (that's a 25-450mm equivalent range).  It also has a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor (backside illuminated) which splashes your pictures onto a gorgeous, 921K dot resolution, 3-inch LCD viewing screen.   

The Coolpix S9100 also takes full 1080p HD video (in stereo sound) and "excels at night and backlit images by combining multiple shots to reduce noise and create an HDR-type image."  Another great feature is how fast it is (for a point-and-shoot digicam), with the ability to turn the camera on and take your first picture in under two seconds!  In the end, the Nikon Coolpix 9100 is perfect for the Dad who wants the convenience of a compact digital camera, while not sacrificing on image quality or breaking the bank. Pick up the Nikon Coolpix S9100 for less than $330

Pentax Optio WG-1 and WG-1 GPS

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FOR THE ROUGH N' TUMBLE FATHER

pentax_WG-1_GPS_YellowGreen_550.jpgcheckprice.pngIf your Dad is loves the outdoors -- hiking, hunting, climbing, skiing, diving, you name it -- or simply happens to break everything he gets his hands on, the Pentax Optio WG-1 may be the digital camera for him.  With solid outdoor image quality, the "Lifeproof" WG-1 is has an amazing series of stats: dustproof, waterproof down to 33 feet, crushproof up to 220 pounds (or 100 kgf), coldproof to 14-degrees F (or 10-degrees C), and shockproof up to a 5-foot fall.   While we personally weren't able to test out the camera's water depth claims, we did submerge it in a muddy stream and  freeze it in a block of ice before dropping it from 5 feet! 

At the end of the day, this 14-megapixel camera with a 5x optical zoom is one tough cookie, with the ability to service both demanding environments and clumsy owners.  Pick up the WG-1 for less than $350.  Lastly, if your Dad is the kinda guy who won't stop for directions, spend $50 more for the WG-1-GPS so at the very least, the camera will know where it is.

Sony SLT-A33

Full Review

FOR THE DAD WHO LIKES THE LATEST GADGETS

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checkprice.pngIf your Dad loves gadgets and electronics, the type who reads up on technical wonders like processors, chips, pixels, and resolutions, Sony has a new twist on the entry-level dSLR that might peak your Dad's interest (and take some great pictures).  The SLT-A33 is part of Sony's brand new Single Lens Translucent (SLT) series, which eliminates the Optical Viewfinder to allow full time Live Viewing via the camera's high-resolution, rotating and tilting, 3-inch LCD.  This camera design, when combined with Sony's 15 point Phase Detect Autofocus, means the A33 is able to continuously shoot up to 7-frames-per second. 

The SLT-A33 also features a 14.2-megapixel Exmor HD CMOS image sensor, Sweep Panorama Mode (in both regular & 3D), an HDMI output, AVCHD video recording at 1080i/60, a long-lasting Li-on rechargeable battery, and memory card slots for SD, SDHC, SDXC, PRO Duo, Pro-HG Duo, or PRO-HG HX Duo cards.  Oh, and it has interchangeable lenses, so your Dad can pick out the right glass for any setting and situation.  $600 will get you the body alone, and $700 will help you grab the kid, which includes an 18-55mm lens.

Fujifilm FinePix X100

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FOR THE RETRO DADDY-O

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checkprice.pngThe Fujifilm FinePix X100 is for the Dad who has everything.  Or at least he used to...  The Fujifilm FinePix X100 is an unusual camera: it costs over a thousand dollars, has no zoom, is a little slower than other cameras in this price range, and doesn't have an interchangable lens.  Why then are we suggesting it?  First, it looks just like the cameras your Dad may have had when he was growing up, so there's a bit of nostalgic fun to be had. 

But, and much more importantly, the FinePix X100 delivers outstanding image quality.  It has an APS-C-size (23.6 x 15.8mm) CMOS image sensor, delivering 12.3 megapixels, with a prime 35mm-equivalent focal length, F2 lens.  If you've got the extra money and your Dad already has his fancy dSLR, consider getting him the Fujifilm FinePix X100 instead of that prime lens.


Accessories

If buying the "Old Man" a camera is a little bit more than your Father's Day budget can handle [We understand times are tough; it's not like the man cared for you your entire life, right?] or if Dad already has the camera of his needs and dreams, then why not get dear old Dad some fun accessories.

bottle-cap-tripod.jpgFor MacGuyver Dad, we have the Bottle Cap Tripod, which can turn any 28.5mm to 30.5mm bottle into an instant tripod for smaller digital cameras.  It fits easily onto most soda, beer, and wine bottles (with their original caps still on), but make sure to have most of the liquid still in the bottle, or the whole thing may be more likely to tip.




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If you don't trust bottles to do your bidding (or stay upright), check out The Monsterpod.  Designed for digital cameras weighing 20 ounces or less, the Viscoelastic Polymer-based Monsterpod is made to repeatedly stick (and later un-stick) to nearly all surfaces at many death-defying angles and stay there from one to ten minutes.  Surfaces tested include brick, trees, marble, cement, steel, sheet rock, wire fences, metal poles, glass, furniture, cars, and streetlamps -- allegedly, over 1,000 surfaces.

kodack_PULSE_10in_.jpgThere's no better way to show off Dad's new camera-gift than the put his photos on display, but instead of your typical photo frame, how about a Kodak Pulse Digital Frame? Last year, Kodak introduced its huge, 10-inch model, and there is a 7-inch version as well.  Pulse frames are fun because it not only has standard features like a USB connection and an SD memory card slot, but this digital frame is WiFi enabled.  To swap out pictures, all you need to do is email them to Kodak, or upload them on your online Kodak Gallery account.  Pretty cool stuff for less than $170.  The 7-inch model retails for around $100.  Click here for the lowest prices.

personalized-carved-night-light.jpgIf you've already got your hands on a digital frame, and want something with a little more flare, have a look-see at personalized carved Night Lights from Light Affection.  With prices starting at $45, you send Light Affection a photo you love, and they carve out and hand-assemble a night light that, when lit, projects your picture in an old timey-looking fashion.  The whole process takes about two weeks, but quicker turnarounds are available at an added cost.


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Lastly, if you insist on giving Pop anything that looks like a bad tie, but isn't, how about a custom camera strap from Highkey Camera?  Made for SLR/dSLRs, Highkey's camera straps can be anything from bad-tie impressions to police tape ("Police Do Not Cross") knockoffs.  My personal favorite is the London Underground tube map.  Pick up anyone of these straps for between $30 and $50.  And if the Highkey camera straps don't work for you, check out all of these straps here.