It’s that time of year again – as Fathers’ Day 2009 approaches on Sunday 21st June, many of us have probably failed to roll up the sleeves and put serious thought into what the get the ‘old man’ for Fathers Day. Not forgetting the loving husband, the doting dad, the technology-shy granddad, and so many more – there’s an appropriate camera out there for everyone. But which one should you buy and why?
Every Dad needs a camera. Be it for the family holiday, the lad’s night out, the romantic night off with the wife, or just because he likes taking a decent photo. With so many options on the market, and at so many price points, what is a sensible purchase to make that’ll keep him happy? Here are the What Digital Camera Top 5 Fathers’ Day cameras for 2009…
There’s an undeniable synergy with the Sony name that oozes style. Even the website is an aptly trumpet-blowing ‘SonyStyle.co.uk’. The Sony T900 is an undoubtedly good-looking compact, dressed in black and with a slim body. Its chic looks are matched by a supersized, highly-detailed 3.5in touch-screen LCD. It’s a technology that we’ll see more and more of over the coming years, but the Sony has beaten many manufacturers to the post by offering the ability to touch the screen itself for a fluid interactivity with your subject. An HD movie mode means it’s possible to record at 720p too – ideal for hooking up to the HD TV via the T900’s HDMI output. However, being a Sony, it doesn’t come too cheap. But you get what you pay for.
For those into their sports, you’ll know that the action often happens at a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ pace. This can be a nightmare when your slow compact fails to release the shutter on time, misses the shot, or just captures a useless blur. Not so with the Casio EXILIM EX-FH20 – part of the company’s ‘high speed’ range. Capable of capturing 40 frames per second stills (though this can be tuned down for optimum capture), there are even video options that capture up to 1000fps. Whilst this may seem a little crazy to many, get your friend to film you teeing off on the golf course at 210fps and you can watch it back in super-slow-mo – so much so you could get all technical and analyse your swing. Very snazzy. Add to this a 20x optical zoom, and even if seated at the back of a stadium, you’ll have the ability to zoom in close to the action. At its original price the Casio EXILIM EX-FH20 may have seemed a little steep – but if you’re quick enough then go check out Jessops’ £199 offer. A fine steal if we ever saw one.
3. For the keen photographer Dad – Canon PowerShot G10
Original score: 91%
PRICE (best available): £342.07 from DigitalRev
The Canon G10 is a powerhouse of a compact, so much so that it’s got near-DSLR-busting capabilities. Indeed, due to its small size, many professionals even carry one around as a back up for those day-to-day shots. Those keen on creative photography will be chuffed with its fully manual options, offering an abundance of control that will see you capture the shot every time. There’s even manual focus so you can set up shot unlike with almost all other compacts. A hugely populated 14.7 million pixel sensor means large images, the camera’s response is most swift, plus you can shoot Raw files to make best use of your digital darkroom. It’s got all the options any savvy photographer would want in a compact, so certainly one for the real enthusiast.
4. For the active Dad – Olympus Mju 6000
PRICE (best available): £195.51 from RapidEShop
Olympus has been cashing in on the ‘Tough’ compact range – as one of few manufacturers that make cameras that lean on the ‘indestructible’ side. Ideal for the active gent, the Mju Tough 6000 is waterproof, should you drop it in a puddle, crushproof should you fall on it, and even shockproof if it were to slip out of a pocket onto more solid ground. And for those colder occasions, it’s freezeproof too. Bottom line is, the Mju Tough range are the Mike Tysons of compact cameras. They’re hard as nails, and – importantly – they take decent pictures too. Dual Image stabilisation ensures your icy-cold fingers will still take a sharp shot, making the Olympus Mju 6000 the ideal all-round adventure camera. Or, should you have kids, a safe option to leave around the house.
Panasonic makes mighty fine compacts that, thanks to the company’s iA (intelligent Auto) system, are easy to use for anyone – from a young child through to the technophobe granddad. Intelligent Auto sets up the shot based on the subject so, for example, if the camera detects a moving subject it will ‘know’ which settings to use to keep them sharp. You needn’t worry about any of the settings – just point and shoot. The FX series has passed through many iterations, with the newer Lumix FX37 being both excellent and affordable. For those looking to squeeze a little more from their compact use, the FX550 is a superb touch screen compact that, whilst keeping its simpler point-and-shoot nature intact, offers manual options and a touch screen too.