Best Cameras for Husbands - 2011 Edition

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Whether you have been married a year or decades, buying gifts for your husband never seems to be easy.  They either buy it themselves the second payday rolls around, they've convinced you to buy it for them that one time you asked "Do you need anything while I'm out?" or they are so non-verbal you can't remember what your name sounds like coming out of their mouth.  There is one guaranteed gift that will make your husband smile and that is the gift of an awesome new camera.  There is one out there for every kind of guy, including your elusive fellow. 

Men like their cameras the same way they like to think of themselves: versatile, able to withstand tough situations, top-notch and proud.  Luckily, there are some cameras out there that appeal to a man's desire to see himself in everything he owns (and yes, that theory applies to cars, big screen TVs, houses, "man caves", etc.).  This guide will explore the options best suited to your manly man and all his desires. 

Canon PowerShot S100

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For the husband who wants it all (for a price).

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If your husbands wants the quality and speed of a dSLR tucked into the compact size of a point-and-shoot camera, look no further than the Canon PowerShot S100. While many of the features remain the same as last year's S95, the biggest changes here are the upgrade from a 10-megapixel CCD to a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and the all new DIGIC 5 image processor. CMOS allows for full HD 1080p video recording and the DIGIC 5 is all about speed and quality imagery. The S100 is capable of high speed bursts of up to 8 frames. Also, Canon's built in HS SYSTEM works with the DIGIC 5 and the CMOS sensor to allow for cleaner and more accurate photographs, reportedly all the way up to ISO 6400. Helping keep images free of blur is Canon's Intelligent IS (Image Stabilization). The camera automatically chooses between six different modes (Normal, Macros, Panning, Dynamic, Powered, and Tripod). The S100 also has the ability to shoot in either JPEG and/or RAW file formats. And, the camera automatically collects latitude and longitude data with its built in GPS -- this data can be used for geo-tagging your pictures or with the included map utility software.  The PowerShot S100 is available in silver or black for around $430.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47

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For the super husband who needs a super zoom.

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Ever feel like you can see closer than your camera can? It's always surprising how far away many digicams make their photograph subjects feel.  If your husband shoots a lot of wildlife, or sports, he'll need a camera that will put him (safely) into any possible situation.  The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ47 will to just that.  It features a 12.1 Megapixel Hi Speed CCD image sensor routed through a 24x optical zoom LIECA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens. In 35mm equivalency, that's good for a pretty-wide 25mm all the way up to a far-reaching 600mm. The lens itself has been constructed using Panasonic's Nano Surface Coating technology, which purports to minimize "ghosting" and "flare" light reflections. Tech upgrades to the FZ47 over previous FZ models include faster auto focus speeds, 3D photo shooting, and "full HD" video recording.  All for less than $380.

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Olmpus E-P3

Preview

For the husband who enjoys elegance, performance, and flexibility.

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DSLRs aren't for every husband, but nothing beats the versatility of being able to select the perfect lens for any given shooting scenario.  The E-P3 from Olympus is the flagship model in their PEN series, offering a compact body (available in silver, white, or black), and a Micro Four-Thirds lens mount system. The E-P3 features a large 3.0-inch OLED touchscreen display, 12.3-Megapixel Live MOS image sensor, a TruePic VI Image Processing Engine, and FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus which is supposedly the world's fasts AF system.  The E-P3 also features Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction, iAuto (intelligent), Program AE, Aperture/Shutter Priority, Full Manual, and Custom exposure control. In-Camera Art Filters (applicable to both still and HD video), 3D Photo Mode, an Auto ISO sensitivity from 200 - 12800, and HD video recording make this a compact, high performance camera for just under $900.

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Nikon D7000

For the husband who is up to the challenge.

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Holy Nikon, Batman! That's "dude speak" for "Why yes, that new to market Nikon D7000-dSLR would be an excellent gift." This camera is as robust as it looks, inside and out. Notice the metal loops on the top and side of the camera? That means the whole frame is metal (specifically, magnesium-ally)! That also means this camera is tough as nails, dustproof and weather resistant. You can sling that thing around (please don't) and not have to worry about damaging the internal components. This camera not only starts out big, it has the capacity to get massive. There is an extra MB-D1 multi-power battery grip that can be added to the bottom of the camera. Not only does it extend the battery life but also adds over an inch to the body of the camera (which comes in handy for guys with larger hands), adds a second shutter button for vertical picture taking and some heft to the camera. 

The lens mount on this camera accepts all Nikon F-mount lenses. So right there, you have given yourself gift options for next Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. In terms of how good the camera is, it's awesome. With a 16.2-megapixel DX format CMOS image sensor, 39 point AufoFocus sensor, ISO sensitivity ranging from 100 to 6400 and the capacity to 25,600 with an ISO expansion and the Expeed 2 Image Processor, the D7000 is as close to professional as a mid-line dSLR gets. To diversify this beastly device just a touch further, there is an envious Full HD Video (1920/1080) mode that records at 24frames or 30frames per second. While the body will run you MSRP $1199.95 and the full kit is MSRP $1499.95, this camera is only for the most deserving of husbands.

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Accessories

As much as husbands give wives flack for accumulating accessories, they do it to in other ways: fishing lures, shot glasses, football jerseys, different types of car wash soap, lady-centered magazines.  The list goes on.  And while they assume their wife's 34 different pairs of shoes are impractical, they too suffer from Junkus Impracticalus.  Give them the gift of rational thought by getting them a few cool accessories to go with their new camera. 

Not only do they provide a ridiculous amount of flexibility when it comes to taking pictures, Joby Gorillapods elicit some sort of childhood dare devil mentality.  Your husband will find himself looking in the garage or backyard thinking to himself "Can the Gorillapod take a picture while dangling around the lawnmower?  Heck yeah it can!"  The website offers a matching service that pairs your particular camera with the perfect Gorillapod making sure your camera is stable and safe.  They even make a magnetic version that mounts your compact camera to anything the original version may slide off of.  These puppies by themselves will keep your hubby entertained for hours: Check prices on Joby Gorillapods here

Even with a Lifeproof camera, do you still not trust your husband to keep it alive?  Buy him an Aquapac, a simple to use, hermetically sealed waterproof pouch to keep the camera safe.  It comes in all sizes from Compact to Large dSLR so no matter which camera you go with, you're covered.  With Aquaclip technology, there is absolutely no way for water to get in once sealed.  It's like a life insurance policy for your camera.  Check prices on Aquapacs here.