Friday, June 6, 2008

Father's Day Digital Camera Gift Ideas

After our alternative gift ideas for Mother's Day, we continue with an alternative Father's Day gift ideas buyer's guide!

We start with the most important gift you can ever get a father, a paternity test kit ;-) Because you don't know, until you really know.

We had the perfect gift for the dad who has it all. Dad may have all the Leica, and Contax and Zeiss and premium DSLRs, and L-series lenses, but this special gift we were going to suggest, no one else had. Unfortunately this giant $100,000 Canon Lens is no longer available.

After that disappointment, there's a number of plebeian digital cameras and lenses to consider.

There are plenty of DSLRs to consider, the hottest at the moment in the under $1000 segment are the Canon 40D, but also the new Canon Digital Rebel XSi 450D.

We are not drinking the Canon kool-aid, these two are the hottest DSLRs at the moment. The market has spoken :)

But there are plenty of other DSLRs to consider as well. For the beginner photographer or the photographer on a budget, there is the Nikon D40 and D60, Pentax K200D, the adorable Olympus E410 and E420, and Sony A200.

For the dad who is just wired differently from the rest of the people around him, or the dad who likes to pick up arguments with everyone around him, we have the perfect DSLR, the Sigma SD14. You may also want to print a few pro-Foveon articles and include them in the gift bag so you can give dad some early ammo :)

For a more advanced photographer, there's the Nikon D80 and D200, Sony A350, A700 and A300, Olympus E510 and E520, and Pentax K20D. And needless to say, all the cameras above them are great choices as well, assuming they match the gift budget and the interest and experience of the gift recipient.

For a summary look at all the current and recent DSLRs, be sure to visit and bookmark the DSLR Map Reference blog.

The "safest" super zoom to give as a gift is the Canon S5 IS, which goes for around $300 and has the usual Canon features and values. The "most fun" superzoom is the Panasonic TZ-series, which is the new TZ5 and TZ4 and also last year's TZ3 and TZ2.

For dad who likes more "horsepower" in their zoom lens, there's a number of cameras with zoom ratios ranging from 15X to 20X. Just don't expect them to behave like an f1.2L :) Models here include the Olympus SP570uz and SP560uz, Fuji S8100fd and S8000fd, Sony H50, H9 and H7, Nikon P80 and Panasonic FZ18.

For the more advanced superzoomer out there, these cameras support RAW and they are big, I am talking of course about the Fuji S100fs (half the times I write it as S100fd), Casio EX-F1 (can't buy online), and the Panasonic FZ50. And if dad has a Leica fetish, there's the Leica V-Lux 1 as well, which is a Leica version of the Panasonic, but with "Leica magic".

Other Digital Cameras
There are hundreds and hundreds of cameras to chose from in this general purpose category, and if we are not careful this segment will be ten pages long.

For the advanced photographer who likes a small(er) but feature-packed camera, there are the likes of the Canon G9, Panasonic LX2, Ricoh GX100 and GRD II and I. And of course the Shiguma DP1.

If dad is obsessed with noise noise noise noise and then some more noise, you may have to dig into eBay and pull out a Fuji F31fd.

If dad is an outdoorsy type who mixes it up with the elements, there are some digital compacts designed to fare better than the average digicam in such situations. (OMG did I just say digicam? All apologies to all the purists out there!) Cameras in this segment include the Pentax Optio W30 and W60 (just announced), the Olympus Stylus SW-series, and such. Now if dad works in industrial environments and doesn't mind waiting for the camera to be imported from Japan, there's the Fuji BigJob and also a Ricoh line of camera designed for harsh environments.

If you are not sure what to get, here are some safe purchases, any camera from the Canon A-series that has IS (image stabilization), such as the A720-IS, A590-IS, A570-IS or A650-IS or one of the trillion Canon Elph Ixus Ixy Powershots. Unfortunately for most dads, Maria Sharapova is not included ;-)

And some bargains out there, such as the Nikon P50, some of the cutesy Casio Exilim models, Fuji F40fd, F45fd and F50fd (all use SD and xD), the Kodak V1003, and many more.

If dad's self esteem relies on having the highest numbers, then consider the 14-megapixel Sony W300. Then dad can brag and tell professional photographers "My W300 has more megapixels than your $5000 Nikon D3! I win!".

Purists don't like these, but superzoom lensea are popular with the populous. Nikonians like the 18-200 DX VR, Four Thirds users dream of the Leica 14-150 DC OS, and of course there's also the 3rd party lens manufacturers at a more affordable price (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina).

A bang for the pixel is the normal prime lens, often lost in a jungle of superzooms. The prices for these are usually low and the light quality is great. Most brands have at least one available at a great price and you can't go wrong with these - most of the time.

There's also the special lenses to consider if dad doesn't have any of these in his arsenal. Things like pancakes, fish eye lenses, tilt-shift, lens babies, teleconverters, and such.

We won't go into any of the other gear, because this is going to turn into a 100-page post!

Traditional Father's Day Gift Ideas
If you are interested in a more traditional Father's Day gift ideas page, be sure to check what has come up with! Ties not included :)

The Reader Dad
If Dad likes to read lots of books and blogs, then perhaps you can skip the cameras and lenses, and go for an Amazon Kindle. This will also have the extra benefit of making dad look leading-edge high-tech cool among his friends and co-workers. And this is a good time to buy the Amazon Kindle. It has been discounted to $360 and it includes free 2-day shipping. Of course you still have to buy content, but Dad can pay for that :)

Where to buy all these?
We can suggest the Noisy Mall, a place where 50 of the internet's greatest retailers are located ;-) And don't forget, shopping through the noisy mall supports this blog and allows us to remain independent and also avoid a number of not-reader-friendly monetization approaches. Or you can donate (details).

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