Xmas Gift Guide - Christmas Gifts for Men
With Christmas looming large here's our selection of the best Christmas gifts for men...
For the compact camera enthusiast...
While the bigger APS-C sensors inside DSLRs offer the ultimate in image quality, it isn't always practical to carry a DSLR (and a bag of lenses) around. Advanced compacts aim to solve this dilemma by providing a compact-sized camera with a larger than average sensor, full manual control over shooting settings and the ability to shoot in Raw. The Lumix LX7 combines a 10.1MP 1/1.7in sensor with a fast 24-90mm f/1.4-2.9 zoom lens to produce great image quality. In addition it also offers a host of advanced features including on-the-fly control over aspect ratio, 1080p Full HD video recording and a built-in Neutral Density filter.
For the frequent flyer...
Travel compacts have become an increasingly popular choice in recent years. That's primarily down to their ability to pack a powerful optical zoom (usually around 20x) into a camera body that's small enough to slip inside a coat pocket or daysack. The Lumix TZ30 comes with a 14.1MP sensor, a 20x optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 24-480mm and the ability to record Full HD movies with stereo sound. If you're off on your travels then the TZ30 would make an ideal compact companion.
For the stylish man about town...
Canon's IXUS range has always been the style-driven alternative to its more practically minded PowerShot range. The IXUS 500 HS benefits from all-metal outer construction while it's sharp edges and angular design
lend it a classy feel in the hand. Internally, the 500 HS is no slouch either with a 10.1MP backlit CMOS sensor combining with Canon's latest DIGIC 5 processor to produce good image quality. On the front you'll find a 12x optical zoom that offers the 35mm focal range equivalent of 28-336mm.
For the aspiring DSLR enthusiast...
£820 with 18-55mm kit lens
2012 has been a busy year for Nikon with the launch of new DSLRs at all price points - from the entry-level D3200 to the flagship D4. The D5200 sits in the middle of the range and comes with a 24.2MP backlit CMOS sensor, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600, 1080p Full HD video recording and a vari-angle 3in, 921k-dot rear LCD. Thanks to its built-in Guide Mode it's a great camera to learn the ropes with, while enthusiasts will also find a number of advanced features that can be used to keep the learning curve going once the basics have been mastered.
For the sports and action shooter...
£540 with 18-55mm kit zoom
The A57 hails from Sony's SLT (Single Lens Translucent)
range. While SLT cameras use the same APS-C sensors and look and feel very much
like regular DSLRs they differ in that the internal mirror remains fixed in
place, rather than swinging open to expose the sensor every time you press the
shutter button. The big benefit of this approach
is that SLT cameras can generally shoot much faster than their DSLR cousins; the A57, for example can hit 12fps - making it the fastest camera in its price bracket. Perfect if you're looking for something to capture fast-moving action with.
For the outdoors enthusiast...
If you're looking for a camera that can stand up to an active outdoors lifestyle and live to tell the tale then the Olympus Tough TG-1 is just about the best on the market. Waterpro
of to a depth of 12m, shockproof to drops of 2m, crushproof to 100kg and freezeproof to -10C the TG-1 more than lives up to its billing as a Tough compact. Not only that but it takes a more than decent image too - with a usefully quick f/2 lens helping you to capture fast-moving action usingh higher shutter speeds than would otherwise be the case. If you're looking for a camera to take snorkelling or on the piste then the Olympus TG-1 is one of the best examples around.
For the retro design fan...
The X10 is a super stylish advanced compact that effortlessly combines retro rangefinder design with cutting edge technology to produce one of the best cameras of its type. Traditionalists will love the manually operated zoom and full manual control, while enthusiasts will appreciate the ability to shoot in Raw. Even novice photographers are well catered for with the X10's unique range of EXR shooting modes that take advantage of the X10's unique sensor design to ensure you get the best results possible when faced with tricky lighting conditions.
For the landscape shooter...
If you're planning on shooting landscapes then a sturdy, reliable tripod is a must. The Manfrotto 190X PROB has been around for years and is rightly considered something of a design classic. Constructed from aluminium, the 190X PROB comes with three leg sections and an innovative centre column design that can be reversed to facilitate shooting heights of as low as 8cm - or as high as 146cm. Pair it up with the Manfrotto 804RC2 pan and tilt head (£45) for a tripod that'll serve you well and last a lifetime.
For the mobile DSLR shooter...
If you prefer to carry a DSLR aaround with you then you'll need a durable and secure bag to keep it all safe with. The Lowepro Pro Messenger 160 AW is the smallest model within a trio of shoulder bags but is still big enough to easily transport a mid-range DSLR along with a spare zoom lens and a flashgun. The bag is constructed from a custom-milled performance fabric and celeverly designed to allow quick and easy access to your kit, while keeping unwanted hands out of your bag. To protect against the elements the bag even has an all-weather cover that stretches around it to keep rain out.
For the man without enough memory...
While digital cameras allow you to take an almost unlimited number of pictures without having to shell out on costly 35mm film, the increase in sensor resolution ver the yearshas led to ever bigger files, which in turn puts pressure on even the biggest of computer hard drives. This is where portable hard drive solutions, such as that offered by the Western Digital My Book Live 2TB come in handy. Not only will the drive keep your files safely backed up, but thanks to its built-in NAS (Network Attached Storage) technology, the drive can be hooked up to wi-fi router, enabling you to access it (via a secure password) from anywhere you can connect to a Wi-Fi signal. In other words, it's a bit like having your own personal 'cloud' storage - albeit without the annual subscription fees.