Holiday Camera Buying Guide
Whew, what a whirlwind Black Friday this was! Now, for those of you who know Betty and I closely will know that we are serious nerds… we probably wouldn’t leave the house if we could get away with it! Amazon Prime is easily the greatest creation of all time and the best money we spend all year long to renew our membership… We buy everything from clothes to cat litter on Amazon. With Mom and Mark in town for Thanksgiving this year, we did head out for a little Black Friday shopping but not without taking advantage of all of the great Cyber Black Friday deals going on today. Usually it’s “Cyber Monday” when everything happens online, but this year Black Friday was still huge online and offline. Besides picking up a few things for Miles at Once Upon a Child, we bought some “presents” for ourselves of course!
All of this shopping for me thinking about the advice friends have been asking lately. Throughout the past couple of weeks, various friends have asked us for recommendations on what cameras to buy for themselves or as gifts. The one caveat is that I don’t want to sound like a Canon fanboy or Nikon fanboy, if you have a large investment in lenses for one system or the other then I wholeheartedly recommend you to stick with what you have. Just because a Canon 5D Mark II may be a smarter purchase than a Nikon D700, that doesn’t mean you should sell all of your Nikon lenses and immediately switch to Canon, these recommendations are based on a new purchase for a new photographer. That being said, here are my recommendations.
Best High End DSLR
Canon EOS 5D Mark II – $2499 (Body Only)
This camera is still the standard in digital photography. As much as I would love to have a Nikon D3X, Nikon D3S, or Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, it is hard to justify $5000+ on a camera when you can get the amazing 5D Mark II and at least one high-end L lens. This camera handles low light situations amazingly well, provides rich, high-contrast images thanks to it’s large sensor, and of course shoots industry standard HD video that has been used in commercial television series, music videos, and movies. Unless the 5D Mark III becomes a reality in the near future, this camera is still a very solid purchase. The equivalent in Nikon, the D700, just doesn’t compare when you factor in the HD video aspect.
Best Bang for Your Buck DSLR
Canon 7D – $1599 (Body Only) or Nikon D7000 – $1,199 (Body Only)
This one is a very hard choice between the D7000 and the new Canon 60D or the Canon 7D. Right now this category has really emerged as the sweet spot between the two companies. Canon has TWO great cameras at almost the same price point, and with Nikon’s recent release of the D7000 you have a serious contender from those of us that still love Nikon lenses and are patiently waiting for the camera technology to finally catch up with Canon. The new Nikon D7000 finally has all of the technological advances of the $5000+ professional D3S wrapped up nicely in a sub-$2000 camera. The reviews are all stunning, if this camera wasn’t sold out everywhere we would have one to play with too! The Nikon D7000 seems to be popular for a very good reason, and I would honestly recommend this camera over my lovely Canon’s for the time being for someone looking for their first camera – however that’s not to say the 7D isn’t a great camera. If I were to choose Canon (and I do), I’d get a 7D. For a few hundred more than the 60D, you get better low-light capabilities, better high-speed shooting (for sports), and professional weather sealing. You lose the awesome articulating screen that the 60D has which is great for video and shooting at odd angles. With the Canon 7D you get access to industry-standard HD video and the line-up of Canon lenses, which while similar to Nikon in offerings, I still prefer Canon glass.
Point and Shoot
Canon S95 – $399
More Canon love, I know I know… while I agree that the Nikon D7000 may be the best bang for your buck right now, in the compact point and shoot market I think we have to hand it to Canon. My first rule for a point and shoot is that it has to be small enough for you to actually bring it with you to shoot with! See my recent post on iPhonography and why “the best camera is the one that’s with you.” The Canon G12 may be a technically superior camera but you’re going to need some serious cargo shorts to carry that thing with you! The Canon S95 delivers similar image performance to the higher G12 line with a much smaller form factor. If you need to save some money on your point and shoot all of the latest Canon’s will perform great, don’t skimp and get last year’s model when it comes to point and shoots, invest in the latest technology so that you get all of the latest advances in image quality.