With Christmas looming large here's our selection of the best Christmas gifts for men...

Xmas Gift Guide – Christmas Gifts for Boys

With Christmas looming large here’s our selection of the best Christmas gifts for boys…

For the extreme sports (and camoflague) fan…

Nikon AW100

£200

The Nikon AW100 is a ‘ruggedised’ compact, which means it’s

built tough to withstand the kind of conditions and treatment that would spell

the end of regular compacts. Looking at the numbers, the AW100 is waterproof to

depths of 10m, shockproof to drops of up to 1.5m, and freeze-proof down to

-10C. The camera itself gets a 16MP backlit CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom,

with a top shooting speed of up to 5fps to help catch all the action. Best of

all though, the AW100 is available in a natty camouflage colour scheme, and what

12-year-old boy wouldn’t want a camo compact?

For the first-time creative compact user…

Canon SX150 IS

£100

While there are more fully featured advanced compacts out

there, the SX150 IS comes in at a fraction of their cost and offers very good

value for money. Like it’s more expensive siblings the Canon PowerShot SX150 IS

benefits from full manual control, and also offers a good range of built-in features that budding young photographers can play around and experiment with. The camera itself is a little bulky and uses

2x AA batteries rather than a proprietary li-ion battery, however invest in a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger and this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

 

For the aspiring DSLR user…

Nikon D3200

£440

Not only is the Nikon D3200 a fantastically capable camera

in it own right, but thanks to its built-in Guide Mode, it’s also a great

camera to master the basics of DSLR photography with. Built around a 24.2MP

APS-C CMOS sensor and Nikon’s own EXPEED 3 image processor, the D3200 is able

to capture staggering amounts of detail, which in turn gives you the ability to

crop your images without sacrificing overall image quality. Other highlights

include an 11-point AF system, 4fps continuous shooting, 1080p Full HD movies and

a 3in/921k-dot rear monitor for pin-sharp images when the camera is being used

in live view or Playback mode.

For the James Bond fan…

Pentax Q10

£380 (£250 for Pentax Q)

Looking not unlike 007 might carry around with him the

Pentax Q10 is a compact system camera that places the emphasis on ‘compact’. In

fact, it’s currently the smallest CSC on the market and by some distance too. Using

a 1/2.3in backside-illuminated CMOS sensor with 12MP of effective resolution, the

Q10 comes with a generous selection of digital filter effects that can be mixed

and match to create all kinds of fun effects. If the £380 asking price for the

new Q10 model sounds a bit steep, then the Q10’s predecessor – the ‘Q’ – can

still be found online for around £250.

For boys that want to get closer to the action…

Lumix TZ25

£190

The TZ25 is effectively the younger brother of the flagship

TZ30 travel compact. Whereas the more expensive TZ30 gets a 20x optical zoom,

the TZ25 comes with a still very flexible 16x zoom that offers the 35mm focal

range equivalent of 27-432mm. Elsewhere, the TZ25 also lacks the built-in GPS

functionality of the TZ30 and it’s 12.1MP CMOS sensor is slightly less powerful

than the 14.1MP chip inside the TZ30. In just about every other way though the

two cameras are identical, with the TZ25 also benefitting from full manual

control and 1080p Full HD movie recording. The other big difference is the

price, with the TZ25 coming in around £40 cheaper.

For the first-time compact owner…

Nikon L25

£50

Ideal for the younger snapper, the L25 is a budget

point-and-shoot compact that comes with a 10MP CCD sensor, a 5x optical zoom

(28-140mm) and the ability to record 720p HD movies. Ok, so the feature set is

a little compromised in some areas – most noticeably the quality of the rear

LCD monitor – and picture quality isn’t going to compete with more expensive

compacts, however as a first-time compact the L25 offers great value for money

and a cost-effective stepping stone into the world of photography. As a first

compact, you could certainly do worse.

For the iPhone/Android smartphone owner…

Lumix SZ5 

£150

The SZ5 is one of the new breed of Wi-Fi enabled compacts

that allow you to post your captured images directly to social networking sites

such as Facebook without the need for a computer. Smartphone users can also

download the ‘Lumix Link’ app (free from the Apple App Store and Google Play),

which allows you to control the SZ5 remotely from your smartphone. The camera

itself is a very capable 14MP snapper, with a good range of features although

movie recording is pegged at 720p HD rather than the more commonplace 1080p

Full HD.

For the aspiring enthusiast (and bargain hunting mums and dads)…

Lumix LX5

£230

We freely admit that the LX5 is a bit of a wildcard entry on this list, given that it’s already two years old and has recently been superseded by the Lumix LX7.

That said, the LX5 earns its place here on account of being a fantastic advanced compact that’s now available at

a bargain price. At its heart the LX5 employs a slightly larger than average

1/1.63in sensor that offers 10MP of resolution, which is combined with a 3.7x

optical zoom with the 35mm focal range equivalent of

24-90mm. In keeping with its advanced compact positioning the LX5 can shoot Raw

images as well as JPEGs, which should keep budding Photoshop enthusiasts more

than happy. All in all the LX5 is a great camera, and now at a great price too.