2013 Holiday And Christmas Camera Gift Guide: DSLRs Or Mirrorless Cameras To Buy From Canon, Nikon And Sony

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Holiday and Christmas shopping for a “pro-sumer,” or even an amateur looking to getting into photography, can be a burden with the multitude of digital cameras choices to choose from. More often than not, the argument over what camera to get usually devolves into a Canon vs. Nikon debate, but what about the rest of them? IBTimes takes a look at several DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for the amateur, “pro-sumer,” and even those looking to shift into semi-professional photography, so you can make the right choice this holiday season.

A few things to keep in mind before you pick a DSLR or mirrorless camera:

What type of shooter are you?
Are you just starting out or are you looking to step up to a more durable and more professional camera body.

Lens System
Camera choices you choose will affect overall picture quality, but with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, you can swap out lenses for different purposes and roles. Lenses, will likely stay with you long after you’ve upgraded to a different camera model, so it’s wise to look into the average cost of lenses vs. quality in each camera system, whether it be Nikon, Canon, Sony or perhaps another brand.

Video
If you’re only looking for a camera that shoots stills, you can save quite a bit of money with a camera body that only shoots still photos. However, more and more DSLRS are incorporating video recording and video-friendly features such as a swivel screen and various frame rate recording options.

Weight and Size
The best camera you can have is whatever camera you have in your hand. In some cases you’ll want to trade off more “professional” features for a lighter DSLR body, or spend extra for a camera body built to be weather resistant and built with stronger materials.

Sensor Format 
For cameras creeping into professional territory, you’ll hear the term “full frame” often which refers to the classic 35mm size photo taken using a traditional 35mm film camera. On the cheaper end of the scale is a “crop sensor” camera (Advanced Photo System type C or APS-C), which uses a smaller sensor. Manufacturers will have their own names for the format in the form of their camera lens system such as Canon’s EF-S and Nikon’s DX formats.

DSLR Or Mirrorless Camera?
While Digital SLR cameras may have gotten more compact over the years, another option that have emerged is the mirrorless camera, a camera that removes the mirror and prism viewfinder that makes DSLRs much bulkier. 

With that out of the way, take a look a few of International Business Times’ picks in our DSLR and mirrorless camera holiday gift guide below.

Canon
Canon (NYSE:CAJ) is among one of the go to camera brands for those looking to mix still photography with video. Fortunately, they also provide a wide range of cameras for every price point and every experience level. Take a look at IBTimes’ Canon picks.

EOS 70D
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Those looking to step up to a “pro-sumer” class camera should look at the EOS 70D. While it is still a plastic body, this larger camera is sturdy and well built. With a 20.2MP sensor, swivel screen, 1080p video and a 7 frames-per-second (FPS) continuous shooting speed, the 70D strikes a balance between price and quality. If you’re looking to get the 70D separate from a lens, as of this writing, the 70D can be found around $1049 or $1199 in a lens and camera body package. However prices do fluctuate depending on promotions, so that may change.

EOS 6D
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Price has usually been the barrier for most photographers looking to go full frame. To bridge that price gap, the Canon EOS 6D was released last year to address just that. With sturdy camera body, 20.2MP of full frame goodness, 11 autofocus points and Wi-Fi and GPS support built in, the 6D makes full frame photography available to photographers at a much more affordable price point. Currently I can be found as low as $1507 for the camera body only, or $2084 with 24-105mm IS f/4 kit lens.

Nikon

Nikon (TYO:7731) also offers a wide range of cameras for each type of user as well. While video is not exactly Nikon’s strong suit, they have improved some video features over the years. Nikon makes up for those shortcomings, with the ability to use older Nikon lenses and additional photo-centric features.

D3200
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On the amateur end of the spectrum is the D3200 with a 24.2mp DX sensor and support for HD video recording. For those new to photography, it features a “guide mode,” which walks newcomers to photography through getting the most out of their shots. With that said, the compact size makes the D3200 less of a burden to carry as opposed to higher tier models. A basic camera kit for the D3200 can be found roughly around the $499 range.

D610
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For Nikon photographers looking step up to “full frame” the D610, is a more affordable option than its higher tier siblings. With 39 autofocus points, it’s even easier to get the shot you’re trying to take. While the smaller camera body might not be for everybody, it’s an affordable option for full frame photographers. The D610 can be purchased for around $1996 for the camera body only, or $2499 with a 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S lens.

Sony

For those looking to step out of the Canon vs. Nikon world, another camera manufacturer to look at is Sony (NYSE:SNE), with its mirrorless camera selection.

NEX-7
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The Sony NEX-7 combines a 24.3 MP APS-C “crop” sensor with a mirrorless body that is more compact than even the smallest DSLRs on the market. For those looking to bridge the gap between the point and shoot and DSLR world, this is a great camera to consider. Basic NEX-7 camera kits can be found for around $1099 and around $948 for camera body only.

A7
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For those looking to go full frame, but in a smaller package, the Sony a7 is a great option that strikes a balance between compact size and a full-frame 24.3MP sensor. While there was initial skepticism with the autofocus speeds of mirrorless cameras, the A7 proves itself with DSLR-like fast autofocus, minus the bulk of a DSLR. However you still retain the ability to buy different E-mount compatible lenses for the Sony A7. Currently the Sony A7 can be found around $1699 without a lens, or $1999 with a 28-70mm lens.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, IBTimes hopes this will help you with your decision making process while you're finishing up your 2013 holiday and Christmas shopping.

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