Digital Camera Holiday Gift Guide - $600 - $2000 Cameras
2015 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is a fantastic ILC, featuring great image quality, excellent performance, and an amazing image stabilization system. It packs all of Olympus's great features into a very compact body. This model features their 16.1-Megapixel Live MOS imaging sensor, powerful TruePic VII image processor and 5-axis image stabilization, all sitting behind the versatile Micro Four Thirds mount. Along with the great features, Olympus offers an easy-to-use interface and layout that everyone will enjoy, whether they are shooting with iAuto or in full manual mode. A slew of creative "Art" filters adds a great set of adjustable filters that everyone will enjoy. Top it off with some great full 1080p HD video recording and the E-M10 II is truly the total, but very compact package. The addition of Olympus's 5-axis image stabilization system really adds some versatility to this second generation E-M10. With the IS active, all of your handheld shooting will be sharper, as the camera can adjust for minor shifts and shakes with no problems, even with most of the telephoto lenses. Pick this up if you are looking for an affordable and compact ILC. It is great for travel and everyday use. A great upgrade from a point-n-shoot.
The Samsung NX500 is a compact and powerful ILC that remains affordable and easy to use. Its 28-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor and DRIMe Vs Processor provide excellent image quality and performance. A great collection of automatic shooting modes allow anyone to shoot with it, no matter how much experience they have or don't have. WiFi adds additional capabilities that let everyone share their high quality images with their friends and family immediately after capturing them. Pick up this camera if you are looking to upgrade or purchase your first ILC or dSLR type camera. With the ease of a point-n-shoot and performance and quality of an entry-level dSLR, this ILC is great for anyone wanting better quality images.
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i (called the 750D in some parts of the world) is a really nice entry-level DSLR camera. The T6i works fast in Viewfinder mode, which those photographers migrating from a point-n-shoot camera to this model as a first DSLR will greatly appreciate. The Canon T6i has a sharp LCD screen that's articulated and has touch capabilities, which is helpful for inexperienced photographers. And Canon's designers gave the Rebel T6i a great mix of advanced and automatic shooting functions, which will help inexperienced photographers learn to fully make use of this DSLR camera's features at a comfortable pace. Beyond the inclusion of numerous automatic shooting options, the T6i's APS-C sized image sensor is perfect for a consumer-level DSLR. Its 24.2-megapixels of resolution is a more than 33% improvement over its predecessor, the Rebel T5i. And those extra pixels do make a difference, as I liked the T6i's image quality better than the T5i. Pick this up if you want to migrate to an entry-level DSLR camera that includes plenty of performance features and the latest internal technologies.
Fujifilm has created another very powerful fixed lens camera with the X100T. Its image quality is outstanding, but because of the absence of an optical zoom lens, this camera is at its best when you can move close to the subject and shoot portrait or landscape type photos. It's impossible to recommend this model as a good all-around camera because of the lack of a zoom lens. Portrait and landscape photos will look great with this model, but you will struggle when involved in sports photography, for example, because of no telephoto option. The X100T has a fast f/2 lens, making it easy to blur the background with a shallow depth of field, which is again great for portraits. The retro design is cool, Pick this up if you are looking for a high quality and reliable dSLR that will survive just about any shooting situation that you put it in.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX8
Panasonic's Lumix GX8 is their new mid-level ILC sporting a few new features not yet seen on any other Panasonic cameras. The first 20.3MP Panasonic Micro Four Thirds Live MOS imaging sensor, it also features a new in-body optical image stabilization system that works with their I.S. lenses for an even more efficient stabilization system. Along with these great features you still have the great and easy-to-use shooting modes, 4K video capture, the new 4K photo mode, full manual control (both still and video) and the fantastic collection of Panasonic Lumix G and other Micro Four Thirds lenses. The GX8 is available in two classic color combinations, black and black/silver. Panasonic's new 4K burst shooting modes add a whole new level of performance. The camera is able to capture 4K resolution, approx. 8-Megapixels, for fantastic video. With a few special settings, this mode is transformed to capture sharp images at the same rate. These images are stored on the camera as a video file. While on the camera, you can then look through the images frame-by-frame and save the frames that you like as individual JPEG images. While this does take a little extra time, it is well worth it to find that exact moment for the perfect picture. Built-in WiFi brings a lot of versatility to the camera, letting you view and copy images form the camera to your smartphone. Pick this up if you are looking for a fantastic and compact Hybrid camera. It is great for anyone that works in both still and video medias and would like one camera that will work for both.
The Nikon D7200 is a new mid-level, DX-format (APS-C sized image sensor) DSLR that boasts a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter (OLPF) and the EXPEED 4 image processing system. With a wide 100-25,600 ISO range, you can shoot stills or Full 1080p HD videos with minimal noise, even in marginal lighting conditions. The D7200 also includes two new Picture Controls (Flat and Clarity) as well as built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies which - using Nikon's Snapbridge experience - connect the D7200 to compatible smartphones and tablets where you an do everything from transfer images, share them online, or even remotely control the camera; effectively making your smartphone an external display. Thanks to 30% faster image processing, the D7200's increased buffer capacity allows this DSLR to shoot "18 consecutive RAW 14-bit lossless compressed images, 27 12-bit compressed shots or 100 JPEG frames." Additionally, this powerful DX-format DSLR offers users the versatility to shoot at 6 frames-per-second (fps) continuously or up to 7 fps in 1.3x crop mode, a popular shooting mode for both sports and wildlife photographers." (1.3x crop mode extends the optical zoom range.) Full 1080p HD Videos can be recorded at 30, 25, or 24 fps, while you can extend that to 60 or 50 fps in 1.3x crop mode. The D7200 is also capable of recording stereo sound (with 20 step adjustments), and offers Auto ISO for smoother transitions between lighting conditions, Zebra Stripes to avoid over exposing video, and a Time Lapse Mode for creating, you guessed it, Time Lapses. Pick this up if you are looking to upgrade from an entry-level dSLR or you are in the market for your first and want a little more than the basics.
Canon PowerShot G3 X
Aimed at advanced amateurs looking for a second camera or a point-and-shoot alternative to an entry-level DSLR or Micro Four Thirds ILC, Canon has announced the G3 X for 2015. It sits next to the G1 X Mark II as this series' co-flagship model, and slightly above the G7 X. The G3 X has been constructed with a weather sealed -- dust and water resistant -- magnesium alloy body equivalent to the EOS 70D DSLR. The camera boasts a 20.2-megapixel image sensor as well as the DIGIC 6 image processor and a 24-600mm (equivalent) f/2.8-5.6 optical zoom lens. To handle such a long zoom range, Canon has added a 5-axis intelligent image stabilization system as well as digital image stabilization. This camera offers numerous shooting modes, including Programmed Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, and Bulb. Still images can be captured in either the JPEG or RAW image format. The G3 X also features Full 1080p HD movie recording in the 24p, 30p, and 60p frame rates. HD video recording length is limited to 29 minutes. 720p HD and VGA video recording is also available at 30p. To aid with professional video production, Canon has built in a headphone jack to monitor audio, a stereo input to record from an external microphone, HDMI Live Feed to output to a monitor, and a three-stop ND filter for bright shooting conditions. Pick this up if you need high-end image quality in a large zoom, fixed lens camera, you don't mind carrying a tripod for telephoto photos, and you can fit this model's high price into your photography budget.
Fujifilm's new X-T10 ILC combines a classic rangefinder styling and usability with the top features available to give us a very exciting enthusiast level camera. Sporting a 16-Megapixel X-Trans CMOS II imaging sensor, EXR Processor II, new Hybrid AF system with 77-point tracking system, Full 1080p HD video capture and Built-in WiFi; this camera gives you both powerful and convenient shooting tools that allow you to have fun with the camera anywhere. The X-T10 and all other "X" series Fuji cameras share the collection of 18 high quality XF/XC lenses, to assure that you can find the appropriate lens for any shooting conditions. Available in all black or black and silver, there is a X-T-10 to meet anyone's style. Pick this up if you are are looking for one of the top mirrorless ILCs on the market, the high starting price is not a concern, and you don't mind that the cool retro design can be a little awkward to use without some practice.