Got someone on your shopping list who's been very nice this year (or maybe you've been extra naughty)? Here are our top camera picks for gifters with cash to burn.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V has an unmatched zoom range for its size: 24-720mm. To save you the trouble of doing the math, that's a 30x optical zoom in a body that can fit in your jacket pocket without looking like you're smuggling a small woodland creature. Along with that, it's the only camera in its category with a hot shoe on top that can be used for adding a flash, an external mic, or even an electronic viewfinder. But this exclusivity definitely comes at a high price.
The FZ200 may not have the longest zoom lens for a full-size megazoom, but its large f2.8 aperture throughout its 24x, 25-600mm zoom range makes it a standout in the category -- even a year after its release. It's a great choice if you're looking for a does-it-all compact camera for shooting kids, pets, and sports or even birding. Plenty of accessories to buy for this one, too, including external flashes and a mic.
The HX50EXR is a great camera with a great lens. Unlike other megazoom cameras, the 42x f2.8-5.6 24-1000mm lens on this model isn't motorized, but manual. This means you can zoom in and out much more quickly and makes finding your target easier should you lose your framing. It's loaded with shooting features and has a very digital SLR look and feel to it, too.
If you're feeling really generous, the RX1 or its successor, the RX1R, will thrill any photographer -- unless they were expecting a Leica. This full-frame, fixed-lens compact is great for street shooters and schlep-averse world travelers.
Know someone who wants a camera as comfortable shooting video as stills? The 70D's video-optimized, and generally fast, autofocus system makes it a great choice for the enthusiast sports shooter or videographer.
If you know someone who's getting started as a nonsports pro photographer, treating them to this great full-frame camera lets them use the pennies they've saved for some excellent lenses to pair with it.