Digital Camera Holiday Gift Guide - $400 - $600 Cameras

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In part 3 of our 2014 digital camera holiday gift guide, we looked at a series of $250 to $400 cameras that currently offer a step up in features from our first round of $150 to $250 cameras. In part 4, we will dive into the best cameras in the $400 to $600 price range. This lineup of digital cameras are targeted at the upper end of the point & shoot crowd, ideally for those seeking cameras for outdoor use or cameras that offer many of the same performance standards and features of entry-level DSLR cameras. Bottom line, these aren't your standard point & shoot models.

So jump into the fourth part of our 2014 Holiday gift guide, the $400 to $600 digital camera range. Our following recommendations are based on quality, features and the best value available on the digital camera marketplace between $400 to $600 dollars (MSRP).

Sony PowerShot G16

Top Pick:
Canon PowerShot G16
(Full Review)

The Canon PowerShot G16 is the first G-series PowerShot camera to include built-in Wi-Fi, which allows the G16 to share photos and videos to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and even via email. It also features a 12.1-megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS image sensor, a DIGIC 6 image processor, a 5x optical zoom (28-140mm) lens with an f/1.8 - f/2.8 aperture, improved Auto Focus times / reduced shooting lag, continuous shooting speeds of up to 9.3 frames-per-second, and Full HD 1080/60p video recording. With an f1.8 aperture, High Sensitivity image sensor, the DIGIC 6 processor, and three new Star Modes, the G16 has been designed to excel at night and other low light scenarios.The G16 might be a point-and-shoot digicam, but it has the look and feel and dials of Canon's more expensive EOS DSLR cameras. It even has HDR Scene Modes such as Natural, Art Bold, Art Embossed, Art Standard and Art Vivid options. Pick up this camera if you want to shoot in less than ideal lighting conditions, but don't want to lug around your full sized DSLR.

Click below to see the best price on the Canon PowerShot G16.

Canon PowerShot G16

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Fujifilm XQ1 black

Fujifilm XQ1
(Full Review)

Fuji's premium, pocket-sized XQ1 digital camera boasts a 12-megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II image sensor has been designed to "control moiré and false color generation by using an original color filter array with a highly randomized pixel arrangement." This means the camera doesn't need a resolution-reducing Optical Low Pass Filter. And thanks to the EXR Processor II, the XQ1 boasts the fastest AF (Auto Focus) speed -- as little as 0.06 seconds -- in its category. The compact camera also starts up in 1.0 seconds, has a shutter lag time of 0.015 seconds, and a shooting interval time of 0.3 seconds. This is one peppy digicam. The XQ1 uses a Lens Modulation Optimizer and Optical Image Stabilization with the F/1.8 4x optical Fujinon Zoom Lens to capture sharp and stunning pictures even in low lighting conditions. This applies to recording Full HD video as well, which shoots at 60 frames-per-second, with Auto Focus tracking engaged, to make sure moving subjects never go out of focus. Available in black or silver, pick this up if you are looking for a compact and powerful digicam that is easy to carry but will not disappoint when it comes to performance or quality.

Click on a color below to see the best price on the Fujifilm XQ1.

Fujifilm XQ1 Black Fujifilm XQ1 Silver

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Nikon 1 J4 black Nikon 1 J4
(Full Review)

Nikon's new 1 J4 takes over the reigns as their new middle of the road ILC (interchangeable lens camera). This incredibly compact camera is as small as most point-n-shoots, without the lens, fitting easily into the palm of your hand. Small but powerful, the J4 sports an 18.4-Megapixel imaging sensor, Hybrid AF system, built-in WiFi, 1080p HD video capture and a beautiful 3.0-inch Touch LCD screen. It is even easy-to-use with a plethora of shooting modes from full Auto to full Manual, with everything in-between. There are even creative shooting modes like Auto HDR and a wide variety of image filters that assist you with improving your creativity. With all of these great features, Nikon did not forget about performance either, providing you with a blazing fast Hybrid AF system and incredible burst rates. The convenience of the J4 makes it a lot of fun to use anywhere. Starting with the built-in WiFi that allows you to connect to your smartphone or tablet anywhere, sharing your images with the world has never been easier. When connected to a smartphone, you have the option to not only view the images that are stored on the camera's memory, but you can also use the phone as a remote for the camera. This adds a whole new dimension to self and group photography. Transferring images is also a snap, letting you upload copies of the images to your other portable devices to be uploaded or emailed to social media sites for family and friends to see. Pick this up if you are looking to upgrade from a point-n-shoot or step down to a more compact ILC. Either way, this is an affordable ILC that performs very well all around.

Click on a color below to to see the best price on the Nikon 1 J4.

Nikon 1 J4 Black Nikon 1 J4 White

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Canon EOS Rebel T5 Canon EOS Rebel T5
(Full Review)

The Canon EOS T5 is their newest and most affordable dSLR model. For a dSLR the T5 is very compact and easy to carry. The camera sports an 18-Megapixel APS-C sized CMOS imaging sensor, DIGIC 4 image processor, Live View shooting, Full 1080p HD video capture, 9-point AF system and 3.0-inch LCD screen; keeping it very simple, the perfect camera for anyone just learning photography or ready to step up to a dSLR for the first time. Using Canon's EF/EF-S mount system, the camera works with all of Canon's EF and EF-S lenses, giving you a selection that is second to none. You will have no problem finding the specific lens for whatever shooting situation that you will encounter. The camera kit includes an 18-55mm IS II lens to get you started. Canon's EOS T5 has been designed to be one of the simplest dSLRs on the market to operate. The mode dial is simple and features all of the shooting modes you'd expect to find, so there is no searching menus to find specific shooting programs. These modes range from full Auto to Full manual with all the scene and video shooting modes in between. Pick this camera up if you are looking for an affordable way to get into the hobby of photography or anyone that is looking to upgrade from a compact camera to something more powerful with much better quality and performance, without breaking the bank.

Click below to see the best price on the Canon EOS Rebel T5.

Canon EOS Rebel T5

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Olympus XZ-10 iHSNikon D3300 HD-SLR
(Full Review)

The Nikon D3300 is an entry-level "HD-SLR" packed with features and technologies from the company's more professional models. The D3000 includes a 24.2 megapixel DX-format (APS-C) CMOS image sensor that does have an optical low pass filter (OLPF). Removing the OLPF boosts resolution and image sharpness. The EXPEED 4 image processor is also onboard, allowing up to 5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, helping capture more accurate colors, and improving image quality even at higher ISOs. Speaking of which, the D3300 has a pretty wide ISO range, from 100 to 12800. The Nikon D3300 boasts Full 1080p HD video recording at up to 60p, along with full-time 11-point AF (autofocus). It is also the first Nikon HD-SLR to feature Easy Panorama Mode, one of four new Effects Modes that also include Photo Illustration, Super Vivid, and Pop. The official press release lists 13 In-camera Effects as well, but it's not clear as to whether or not that includes, or is in addition to, the four mentioned above. If you are nervous about making the jump from point-and-shoot to an DSLR, Nikon's got you covered with Guide Mode, which helps beginners learn the basic functions of the D3300. In Guide Mode, you have access to four options: 1) Shoot photos using example images, to help you learn framing; 2) View/Delete; 3) Setup; and 4) Retouch, to fix images in-camera. Pick up this camera if you are are looking for a good value in an entry-level DSLR camera that has a basic list of useful features paired with above-average performance and image quality levels.

Click below to see the best price on the Nikon D3300

Olympus XZ-10 iHS

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Canon PowerShot S120

Canon PowerShot S120
(Full Review)

The thin PowerShot S120 camera from Canon may look like other beginner-level cameras in the PowerShot family, but this model is a fast performer that easily surpasses those less expensive options. Of course once you see the $449 suggested price tag for the PowerShot S120, you'll realize there's more features and power inside this camera than what you'll find in your typical PowerShot model. The S120 measures just 1.14 inches in thickness, which helps to set it apart from other advanced fixed lens cameras, allowing it to fit easily inside a pocket. Unlike most pocket-sized cameras though, the S120 can create high-quality images with fast performance. The PowerShot S120 offers a 12.1-megapixel 1/1.7-inch CMOS image sensor, which is larger than what you'll find in most pocket-sized cameras. Canon also gave this model the ability to shoot in RAW or JPEG format, further improving its ability to create high quality images. Several different video resolution modes are available too, including full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second. Image quality is outstanding with the S120, regardless of the shooting conditions. If you're shooting outdoors, you'll find sharp photos that are properly exposed and that have realistic and bright colors. Indoor photos are of a high quality, too, and you probably won't notice noise in your low light images until you reach ISO settings of 800 and higher. Pick up this outstanding camera if you need plenty of manual control shooting options, RAW capability, fast performance, and great image quality in a camera that fits easily in a pocket.

Click on the colors below to see the best prices on the S120.

Canon PowerShot S120

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line.gif Fujifilm FinePix S1

Fujifilm FinePix S1
(Full Review)

Fuji continues to push the boundaries of what they can do with their compact point-n-shoot cameras. The FinePix S1 is one of the most versatile camera's we have seen from them yet, sporting a 50x optical zoom lens, 5-axis Optical Image Stabilization system, and weather-resistant construction that allows the camera to go just about anywhere. The camera is also loaded up with a slew of other useful features like the 16-Megapixel BSI CMOS imaging sensor, 3.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD screen, Built-in WiFi, pop-up flash with hot shoe and full 1080p HD video recording. This is all packed into a body that is about the size of a small dSLR or large ILC. Fuji's 50x optical Super EBC Fujinon Lens features a 35mm equivalent of 24mm-1200mm, far surpassing any dSLR lens on the market. With a maximum aperture of f/2.8-5.6, it handles low-light situations very well. The camera offers two zoom controls, one on the side of the lens for a dSLR feel, with varying speeds. To support this lens while you are shooting handheld, Fuji has also included its 5-axis optical image stabilization system that provides up to 3-stops of correction. This system will correct pitch, yaw, roll, vertical and horizontal shifts in the camera. This is a huge help when shooting handheld in low-light situations, using telephoto end of the lens or even when shooting stills or movies while on the move. Pick up this camera if you are looking for a more compact and versatile alternative to a dSLR and bagful of lenses that you would to cover any situation. Also great for anyone shooting in tough and adverse conditions. .

Click on the colors below to see the best prices on the Fujifilm S1.

Fujifilm FinePix S1

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