It’s that time of year again. Time to shower the mothers and fathers in our lives with gifts, time to buy our graduates something that will help distract them from the mound of student loan debt ahead of them. Give them something that will really make them smile: a better camera.
Whether it’s a simple point-and-shoot, a good old-fashioned DSLR or a chic new Compact System Camera, we’ve got the right match for the Mom, Dad or grad in your life.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 $349.99
The Lumix ZS20 is the latest in a long line of Panasonic point-and-shoots designed with the traveler in mind. It has a long 20x optical zoom lens, built-in GPS tracking and high speed burst shooting at up to 10 fps. A 3.0-inch touch screen adds features like touch shutter and focus, while the manual shooting modes will give advanced shooters more options. It’s a first-rate family and travel camera.
The PowerShot 110 is a mighty little point-and-shoot from a manufacturer that’s know for having some of the mightiest compact cameras on the market. It’s easy to get started shooting with little more than a glance at the quick start guide. A 4x optical zoom lens and 1080 HD video recording make it a great go-to camera for gatherings and parties.
The term Micro Four Thirds might scare off a first-time camera buyer, but the Olympus E-PM1 (or Pen Mini) has a friendly, point-and-shoot-esque interface with the added advantage of interchangeable lenses. It comes in a variety of colors and slips easily into a small bag or purse. With a 12.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor, it offers some room to grow with a full array of automatic and manual shooting modes as well as RAW shooting capability. The best part? It’s priced competitively around $500.
When nothing less than the top-of-the-line will suffice, consider the NEX-7. It’s a Compact System Camera loaded with a big 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, a bright electronic viewfinder and full 1080 HD video recording. A new TRINAVI interface puts aperture, shutter speed and ISO controls at the shooter’s finger tips, and an articulated 3.0-inch display offers some help with composition in tricky situations. Overall, it’s a veritable Swiss Army knife of a camera, perfect for the tech-savvy Mom, Dad or Grad looking for a compact camera with lots and lots of features.
For the serious Mom, Dad or Grad looking to take his or her photography to the next level, the Nikon D7000 is a great option. It’s a traditional DSLR, leaning heavily toward the “pro” side of its “prosumer” category, offering a 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, 1080 HD video capture and a 39-point AF system. It offers the pro or enthusiast shooter plenty of options.