If you’re looking to treat someone in your life to a new camera this Christmas it can be an overwhelming task to choose the right one. We’ve rounded up a few of the top cameras for Christmas 2015 that are great options for any photographer.
Buying a camera as a present can be a veritable minefield of information, especially if you don’t know too much about the latest technology and gadgets.
The first thing you might want to think about is what kind of photography the lucky recipient wants to do. Are they looking for a new holiday camera? Something to take snaps of the family with? Do they spend a lot of time at the local wildlife reserve looking for birds?
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of photographer they are, then you should have a much easier task ahead of you deciding which is the best camera for Christmas for their needs. We’ve split up some great camera gift ideas into three different common categories to help you make that important decision, with all the cameras coming in at under £350 (and some even cheaper than that!).
Best camera for travel or holiday photographers
Perhaps the photographer you know has a full range of expensive kit, but doesn’t want the hassle of taking it on holiday with them.
Look for cameras with a long zoom range, which offer a great deal of flexibility when it comes to shooting different types of subject. The three mentioned here all have 30x optical zooms, but anything from 15x and up is well suited for travellers. Something small which you can slip into a pocket or small bag is also great when you’re trying to travel light too.
There are lots of high zoom compact cameras on the market right now, so you have plenty to choose from. Here are some great options:
Read our Panasonic TZ70 Review
With a 30x optical zoom, a 12 million pixel sensor, the ability to shoot in the advanced raw format, a viewfinder, inbuilt Wi-Fi, and a range of shooting modes, the TZ70 offers a lot in a small package at an attractive price.
This Canon also has a 30x optical zoom, a host of different shooting options, inbuilt Wi-Fi and a 20 million pixel sensor. You can pick it up for a very attractive price at the moment, but bear in mind it doesn’t have a viewfinder.
Read our Sony HX90 Review
There’s lots to love about this stylish Sony. There’s a 30x optical zoom, inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC, lots of different shooting modes and a tilting screen which is ideal for shooting selfies. Well suited to a range of different shooting conditions, it even houses a small viewfinder.
Best camera for wildlife and bird photographers
If you know someone who has a penchant for spotting wildlife – even if it’s just in their own garden – a camera with a huge focal length can help them to get close-ups of their spots from a good distance.
A DSLR equipped with a very long zoom will set you back thousands of pounds, but you can also achieve good results with a “bridge” camera at a fraction of the cost. Many of these cameras currently on the market have 50, 60 and even 83x zooms.
As a side note, it’s also worth investing in a tripod to help keep the camera steady when shooting at such long focal lengths. See our guide to choosing a tripod here.
The standout feature of the P610 is its 60x optical zoom which will get you nice and close to the action. There’s also an electronic viewfinder, inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC and improved vibration reduction – ideal when you’re using the camera on its longest focal length setting.
A 65x optical zoom makes this a great choice for bird and wildlife photographers. One extremely useful feature is the “zoom framing assist” function, which helps you to track moving subjects around the frame – ideal for bird photography. Its’ also got an articulating screen, an electronic viewfinder and built in Wi-Fi and NFC.
As this camera is a couple of years old now, you can pick it up for a bargain price at the moment. It features a 60x optical zoom and a wide angle of 20mm, so it also works well for landscape photographers as a bonus. There’s an electronic viewfinder, high speed burst shooting and the promise of super quick autofocus.
Best camera for family photographers
Sometimes your camera phone just won’t do when it comes to capturing those precious family moments. For portraits of people, parties, and the like, you don’t need to worry about extensive zoom ranges and pocketability probably plays second fiddle to high image quality.
An interchangeable lens camera with a large sensor offers you the flexibility to buy more lenses for the system once you’re ready to move past the kit lens, but starts you off on a great footing for learning more about photography and getting those high quality snaps you long for. Luckily, there are some great cheap system camera which make ideal presents right now.
Read our Sony A5000 Review
Sony’s compact system cameras are equipped with the same size sensor you’d find in most DSLRs, which all but guarantees high picture quality. The A5000 is available at a super cheap price and has a range of great features including a tilting screen, inbuilt Wi-Fi and a 20 million pixel APS-C sized sensor. The kit lens it comes with is collapsible so the overall unit is also small enough to make it ideal for travelling.
Read our Panasonic GF7 Review
The GF7 is a very stylish camera which is fitted with a Four Thirds sensor. These are smaller than DSLR sensors but still much, much bigger than those found in the average compact camera or smartphone. It’s another one which is small enough to fit into a bag for your holiday when paired with the kit lens, but there are dozens of other lenses available should you want to expand your collection at a later date. Other useful features including a tilting screen, inbuilt Wi-Fi and a range of shooting modes.
Read our Nikon D3300 Review
A great starter DSLR for somebody who is keen to learn more about photography as well as take great family shots. The D3200 has a guide mode to help walk you through different types of photography when you’re just starting out. There’s a 24.2 million pixel APS-C sized sensor, an optical viewfinder and all the styling associated with a traditional DSLR camera.