Best Cameras for Girlfriends - 2011 Edition

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Girlfriends are easy to buy for but hard to surprise.  And yet, they expect you to get them presents for any and every occasions.  Unfortunately, because she knows you better than you know yourself, she already knows what you bought her and where you hid it.  So surprise her this year with something totally unexpected: a new, sleek and sexy digital camera.  There is a camera out there to suit every need for all of your girlfriends, whether she is the outdoorsy type or the kind of girl most likely to be found in Neiman Marcus all Saturday. 

Girlfriends require a certain amount of stuff and thank god they have purses to put all that stuff in.  Get her a camera that will fit nicely in her oversized handbag or clutch.  Also, make sure you buy for your girlfriends needs.  Is she outside a lot?  Does she appreciate going to sporting events?  Will the camera see the most action inside a bar or club?  Following this guide to figuring out which type of girlfriend you have (good luck with that) will help you finally get your girlfriend something she never expected.


Samsung ST700

Full Review

For the girlfriend most likely to be taking pictures of herself

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Created with your self-portrait crazed lady in mind, the Samsung Dualview ST700 builds offers a nice large 3.0-inch touch screen LCD on the back of the camera, along with a small 1.8-inch screen mounted on the front. This allows you to easily frame yourself for self portraits, or get shots with your friends without having to guess on the framing when holding the camera in one hand and pointing it towards you. Other important features include 16-megapixels of resolution, a wide 5x optical zoom lens, 720p HD video capture, Smart Auto 2.0, Magic Frame options, and various photo and video filters. Combined, these options give the ST700 quite the appeal to the girl who likes to capture friends and families and fun times...but enjoys being in the pictures as well.  As Henry Ford may or may not have said, you can have the $230 ST700 in any color your girl prefers (as long as it's black).


Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS

Full Review

For the girlfriend taking pictures in the club

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The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS is the entry-level model to the 2011 ELPH lineup. It features a 12.1-Megapixel CMOS image sensor as well as a 3.0-inch LCD screen. The wide angle 28mm equivalent lens has a 4x optical zoom as well. The "HS" System allows for pictures in low light situations without the use of the flash, thanks to usable ISO capabilities up to ISO 3200. For a camera at this prize and roughly the same size as a deck of cards, this camera's HS low-light ability is unmatched. Other features of the PowerShot EPLH 100 HS include 1080p HD video recording with a Movie Digest mode to capture a stream of short videos into a single clip. It also comes equipped with Smart AUTO for automatically adjusting focus, exposure and subject detection. It is currently available in Blue, Orange, Pink, Silver, or Gray for around $130.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3

Full Review

For the girlfriend who prefers the outdoors

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If she's hitting the beach on the weekends, kayaking during her time off and jumping out of airplanes for your anniversary, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 will keep up better than you can. It is capable of surviving depths of up to 40 feet under water, falls from up to 6.6 feet, temperatures as low as 14°F and its seal also keeps dust and sand out. On top of this outstanding ruggedness, you also get the quality and ease of use expected from a Panasonic digicam. Sporting a 4.6x optical zoom lens, 12.1-Megapixel imaging sensor, iAuto shooting mode and full 1080p HD video capture; you are not sacrificing anything for the tough features. A GPS radio was added that allows the camera to record where each of your images was captured. Available in 4 standout colors; Orange, Aqua Blue, Deep Red and Silver, this camera is also very eye-catching.  Not only does this camera have the benefit of being the third generation version of Panasonic's Lifeproof cameras.  Since this mighty beast will run you only MSRP $349.95, you might as well get yourself one while you're at it.    


Olympus PEN E-PM1

Mini Review

For the girlfriend who takes photography & style seriously

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If your girl has already has the shutterbug, but isn't quite sure if she wants the bulk of a dSLR, check out the Olympus PEN E-PM1. Available in six stylish colors (purple, pink, brown, white, silver, and black), it's both compact (like a point and shoot), but feature fast, high quality interchangeable lenses (like a dSLR). It feature a 12.3 Megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor, a TruePic VI Image Processor, a Dust Reduction System, 3.0" LCD screen (460K pixels), and a high 12,800 ISO capability. There's a FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus Tracking System, as well as a built-in collection of Olympus "Art Filters" to help customize the look of photos without the need for after-the-fact photo editing software. Olympus has even added 3D capabilities to the PEN E-PM1 via its 3D Photo Mode, which allows for the camera to automatically create a 3D images in landscape or macro shooting situations. This versatile, yet compact digicam will look great as a fashionable accessory that just so happens to take terrific photographs.

Accessories

Cameras are a great gift for women for two reasons: everybody loves to take pictures of a good time and they provide the gift giver with a foundation of future gift giving.  While the initial gift of the camera is a big, bold gesture for a big event (birthday, annual anniversary, "Congrats, we're pregnant", etc.), the accessories are great gifts for getting extra brownie points.  Lucky for you, there are lots of companies out there that make some super cute and functional camera accessories.  And double lucky you, there are a couple right below!

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Often times, cameras themselves are bulky and cumbersome to carry around for a long period of time.  Add to the aesthetic value of your girlfriend's awesome new camera with these amazing camera straps from Capturing Couture.  They come in a variety of styles for every kind of camera, ranging from full neck straps for dSLRs to adorable wristlets for digital compacts.  The wristlets come with a convenient easy attach/detach clip that makes it easy to switch between different wristlets for different outfits (hey look, more gift opportunities!).  The neck straps are sturdy and beautiful so your lady friend can look like a pro in style.  Not to mention their fantastic camera bags that keeps your camera safe and fashion-friendly.  How good can you possibly look with a broken camera?  While you're at it, take a look at the men's collection too (their vintage line is particular fetching).  Find Capturing Couture camera accessories here

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Although necessary, a camera bag can be annoying when it prevents you from getting a great shot because you were too busy fumbling your camera out of the case.  Problem solved. A Cloak Camera Bag must have been what Mary Poppins was carrying around.  This thing is literally bottomless.  The Cloak bag protects the cameras on three sides leaving the lens available for picture taking.  The handy flap keeps it easy to access the viewfinder and LCD screen.  And wouldn't you know they even thought about how you were going to hold the camera.  The built-in hand slits allow you to hold the camera and lens safely when taking pictures while the shoulder strap keeps it close at hand when you aren't.  Check their site to see how it works and if your camera fits the dimensions of the bag. Find Cloak Bags here.