Everyone knows that Christmas is a time for family, fun and festivities.
It’s also a time that you want fond memories captured perfectly on camera to give you years, maybe even decades, of happy times to look at. But with so much equipment on the market, it can be hard to make the right choice.
Here I profile the premier photography essentials you’ll need over the festive period – including cameras, camcorders and digital photo frames. There’s something for every budget and every type of skill level. So even if you don’t know your ISO from your i-Contrast, then read on for my pick of the bunch.
Best for pictures
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS 14MP Digital Camera – £356.85
Look on any retail website, or enter any shop, and you’ll be presented with up to 100 digital cameras to choose from. A good rule of thumb is to stick to well-known brands and, generally, look out for high megapixel and zoom counts. With that in mind, this top of the range model from Canon – with a 35x optical zoom and a 14.1 megapixels – is a perfect purchase, so long as you can afford the price tag.
Best for value
Samsung ES67 Silver 10MP Digital Camera – £49.99
Of course, you don’t need to spend upwards of £350 to bag yourself a decent digital camera. There are plenty of great ones around from just £50 – like this range from Samsung. Its 5x optical zoom and 10.2 megapixels are impressive and the device has attracted lots of five star reviews from customers who have bought in the past. Available in silver or pink, the ES67 is compact, easy to use and has more features than many cameras twice its price. This is a true Xmas bargain.
Best for pros
Panasonic DMC-G2KEB-K SLR Camera Package – £744.59
For those who are a bit more hands-on with their photography, then features like interchangeable lenses, enhanced autofocus and total manual control become important. That’s when you need to move up to a digital SLR camera. A good place to start is this SLR package from Panasonic, which provides higher quality pictures and advanced functions but is still relatively easy to operate. It comes with two lenses, including the H-FS045200E for superior shooting, and touch-screen operation so you can tweak your settings and focus as you snap.
Best for video
Panasonic HDC-SD600EBK Memory Card Camcorder – £549.99
When shopping for camcorders, there are a few vital things to look out for. The first is to make sure you buy a High Definition product, as within 18 months, experts predict the Standard Definition variety will be as obsolete as a cassette deck or VHS recorder. Image stabilisation – to prevent shaky hand syndrome – and high-sensitivity sensors to combat extreme light or sound conditions are also important features. Again Panasonic comes up trumps in all these areas and this camcorder is a much better way to capture Christmas than trying to use your camera phone.
Best for handheld video
Flip Ultra II HD – 8GB HD Camcorder – £114.99
For a camcorder that can fit in your pocket, at a price that won’t empty it, then this Flip does everything you’ll need in style – including uploading videos to YouTube at the touch of a button. Which? Magazine named it as one of their Best Buys Of 2010, singling out its “straightforward controls and software”. High praise indeed!
Best for display
Kodak P725 Digital Picture Frame – £39.99
Once you’ve taken your pictures, you’ll want to put them on show. Just remove the memory card from your camera, slot into the back of this frame, and your snaps will appear in Kodak’s trademark crisp and colourful way. And when next Christmas comes around, you can wipe the card clean and do the whole thing again.
Best for filling stockings
Proline PL-DPF 151 Digital Photo Keyring – £9.99
If you need a last-minute gift then you can’t go wrong with this keyring. Make sure to fill the 8MB internal memory with special pictures, before you wrap it up, for that extra surprise on Christmas morning. Then by the end of the day you can transfer over your Xmas snaps too, directly from that shiny new digital camera.
All prices correct at time of publication.