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Cameras

The 12 best Black Friday camera deals we've found so far

Rather than dump every available Black Friday discount on you, we've hand-picked the seasonal deals we think are actually worth your money.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Editors' note: This article was first published Nov. 17 and has since been updated with B&H and Adorama Black Friday deals. Also, expired deals have been pruned.

There aren't many Black Friday deals on cameras to get excited about -- at least not yet, unless you want to wade into some murky shopping waters. For instance, Abe's of Maine deals are so good they're suspect, and the best deals at Ritz Camera tend to be "international" versions. In other words, they're gray market, so there's no US warranty.

For those unacquainted with my holiday shopping philosophies, I don't consider bundles with massive amounts of mostly useless, zero-profit-margin accessories at higher prices good deals. The only thing that makes the bundle more valuable are lenses, and depending on the camera, possibly a battery grip.

That leaves you predominantly with the manufacturer's seasonal discounts, where more mainstream places like B&H, Adorama or Best Buy shave a few trivial bucks off most already-discounted models. I'll update this as I see more aggressive price cuts.

The Canon printer and dSLR bundle

Canon gives a rebate on a few of its photo printers if you buy one in conjunction with many of its dSLRs, and there are several prebuilt bundles for the EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS 6D Mark II with the Pixma Pro-100 and a $350 mail-in offer. The ultimate price of the camera does turns out lower than without the printer rebate. Since plenty folks never mail in the rebates, I kind of think this means a lot of hoop jumping unless you actually want one of the printers, which makes me ambivalent about the deals, despite the fact you can ultimately get the 5D Mark IV body for $2,850 at Adorama (requires code CADEAL2016), or bupkes, if you do the work.

But if you're inclined to take advantage of the offer, keep a few things in mind. First, because it has a higher initial price than you'd see without the printer, you'll be paying more sales tax (where applicable). Second, the rebate comes in the form of an American Express Reward Card, and if you don't spend it all within seven months they'll start charging you $2 a month, and you can't exchange it for cash. Third, you're going to have to find something to do with that printer unless you wanted it. It runs through the end of December, so you have some time to decide.

Adorama deals: Canon | Nikon | Sony | Fujifilm | Olympus | Panasonic

B&H deals: Canon | Nikon | Sony

In any case, here are my picks of the products worth buying at their current seasonal prices as well as the Black Friday discounts.

Nikon D3300 (with 18-55mm II lens, Black)

Nikon D3400 with the AF-P 18-55mm VR lens.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Best dSLR value under $500

Nikon D3400 with AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

While you can find cheaper, more accessory-packed entry-level dSLR kits, these D3400-based options combine one of the best products in its price class with good value for the money.

My top pick here is the Nikon D3400 with AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens for a hair under $500. (Note that "VR" here stands for "vibration reduction," Nikon's term for image stabilization, and not virtual reality.) Since it's a manufacturer discount, you can get it directly from Nikon, or for $4 less from B&H, Adorama, Amazon and elsewhere.

 Buy from NikonBuy from B&HBuy from AdoramaBuy from Amazon

Three-lens bundle for $800: If you're OK spending more than $500, Nikon also offers a deal on a very clever bundle: A "parent's" kit, which runs about $770 for the body plus three lenses. On one hand, I'm not jazzed about the combination of the AF-P versions of the 18-55mm and 70-300mm (which come as part of another dual-lens kit bundle) because it leaves the 55mm-70mm range open. I like a 18-55mm and 55-200mm option more, but Nikon doesn't have an AF-P version of that lens, yet.

But for the triple-lens Parent's Camera Kit, Nikon throws in a 35mm f1.8 as well, a fast lens that will let you shoot in low light. The price went up from $770 to $800, but it's still a good deal. Sadly, this bundle only comes with the red model.

Buy from Nikon | Buy from B&H


Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 with the AF-P 18-55mm lens.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Best kit under $1,000

Nikon D5600 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens for about $950

Once again, there are tons of combinations of bodies and lenses on sale this time of year, but the excellent D5600 paired with a solid general-purpose lens like the 18-140mm is a great bet. Nikon lists it as back-ordered on its site, but you can get it from Amazon, Adorama, Best Buy and so on.

Buy from AmazonBuy from AdoramaBuy from Best Buy

Another good option: The dual-lens kit, with the 18-55mm and 75-300mm AF-P lenses, for $797 at B&H.

Buy from B&H


Sony Alpha ILCE-7 (A7)

The Sony A7 with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Best body under $1,000

Sony A7 for $800

The price has dropped even more since I first published this story, down to about $799. At that price, it goes from a pretty sweet deal to a steal. Though several generations old and not the fastest camera, the Sony A7, aka the ILCE-7, is a full-frame model for less than $1,000. Plus, it's far more compact than Nikon and Canon's newer and much more expensive dSLR versions. You'll also want to pick up a spare battery or two, since the A7 has sad battery life.

Buy from B&H | Buy from Adorama | Buy from Best Buy | Buy from Amazon

Kit with 28-70mm lens for $1,000: The price on this dropped as well, hitting just under $1,000. The 28-70mm isn't my favorite E-Mount lens, but it's one of the least expensive ones, so it's a reasonable choice if you want to get up and shooting immediately.

Buy from AmazonBuy from Adorama | Buy from B&H | Buy from Best Buy


More good deals 

A6000-06.jpg

The Sony A6000 with 16-50mm power zoom lens.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Sony A6000 dual-lens kit for $700

My perennial gifting go-to, the Sony A6000 APS-C mirrorless, comes in a kit with the 16-50mm and 55-210mm power zoom lenses for $700 at places like B&HAdoramaAmazon and Best Buy, which is a great value.

Buy from Amazon | Buy from B&H | Buy from Adorama | Buy from Best Buy

Another option: The successor to the A6000, the A6300, is dropping into solid-deal territory as well. You can get a dual-lens kit with the A6300 for just under $1,000 at B&H, which is a good price for it.

Buy from B&H

GH4-8.jpg

The Panasonic GH4.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Panasonic GH4 for $900

The GH4 has been replaced by the Panasonic Lumix GH5, but this groundbreaking-for-video Micro Four Thirds mirrorless still holds its own for 4K videography, and it's now really good value for the money. B&H offers the GH4 for the same price as everyone else, but throws in a Rode VideoMic kit or an alternative model with the V-Log L firmware update -- which Panasonic charges for.

Buy from B&H (Rode mic) | Buy from B&H (with V-Log L)

nikon-d7500-mfr-10.jpg

The Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm lens.

Nikon

Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm lens for $1,550

Most of the discounts you see before December are placed on inventory the manufacturers are trying to dump. And while Nikon's discount on this new, terrific midrange model optimized for action photography isn't that big, its combination with the discount on the lens this Nikon D7500 bundle makes a pretty compelling option for the money.

Buy from Nikon | Buy from B&H | Buy from Adorama | Buy from Best Buy


canon-eos-rebel-t6i-01.jpg

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Canon EOS Rebel T6i dual-lens kit for $900

Canon's T6 looks alluringly cheap this time of year, but the Canon EOS Rebel T6i is a better camera -- almost anything is -- so if price matters go for one of the D3400 deals I mentioned earlier. You can get the generation-old T6i for $750 with the 18-55mm lens, but the best value is the $900 kit with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses from B&H. Everyone else tries to sell you the Creator's Kit, which has the lenses and other video-related paraphernalia for $50 more. There's also a kit with the 18-135mm and 55-250mm lenses for $1,100, but that's a strange pairing that overlaps quite a bit.

Buy from B&H


olympus-om-d-e-m5-ii-ovr-0445-1.jpg

OM-D E-M5 Mark II with 24-40mm f2.8 lens.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens for $1,500

A very nice Micro Four Thirds mirrorless, the E-M5 Mark II is on sale for $800, the price it really belongs at (not $1,100). Olympus doesn't really specify kit discounts, but it offers lens discounts when purchased with a body. You get a nice deal when you pair the pricey 12-40mm f2.8 lens -- one of my favorites -- with the Mark II for $1,500 all told, effectively giving you about $300 off the lens. And B&H has bundled it all up for you.

Buy from B&H

gopro-hero5-preview-black-08.jpg

GoPro Hero5 Black.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

GoPro Hero5 Black for $350 at Target on Black Friday

Target's the only retailer that's announced any Black Friday-specific camera deals as yet, and when its doors open at 6 p.m. local time on Thursday you'll be able to get the GoPro Hero5 for $350, $50 less than the usual price.


Black Friday dealsSee every Black Friday 2017 deal we've found so far

Holiday Gift GuideCNET's full gift guide, including dozens of products priced under $25, $50 and $100