in tips

Every year, just before Christmas, I get a few desperate emails from friends and customers asking me what camera they should buy for their husband or wife (or for themselves, ha!). I always ask what the camera is going to be used for and the most common answers are everyday pictures of the kids and vacation. Since I already did the research this year, I thought I’d share it with all of you in case you’re freaking out a little bit trying to wade through the 100s of cameras on the market…

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, thoroughly stated as such. Canon and Nikon are equally good cameras, but I just happen to be a Nikon shooter, so I’ve included a Nikon option below. I’ll also try to keep the photo-jargon to a minimum so that you don’t fall asleep on me before the end of this post. Lol

If you’re looking for a middle-priced, everyday camera that’s compact (fits in your purse and easy to take on vacation), has manual functions, takes video, and is good in low-light indoor situations (I own its predecessor, the S95):

Canon S110

canon s110 great camera for taking on vacation

If you’re looking for a higher priced (i.e. people will secretly be jealous of what you pulled out of your bag) compact camera that’s versatile, has manual functions and performs beautifully for low-light situations:

Leica D-Lux 6


If you’ve got an aspiring photographer in the family and really feel the need to get something bigger (remember that it’s harder to fit in your purse or take on vacation, though), this is a great camera. By the way, I never recommend buying a “kit” because they just include cheap lenses that aren’t worth much.

Nikon D90

nikon D90 good starter camera for aspiring photographers

And pair it with a lens like this (great for low-light and portraits):

Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

nikkor 50mm lens is great for portraits and low light

Or a lens like this for outdoor pictures of the kids and sports:

Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6

nikkor 18-200 great for sports and outdoors

And because the best camera is the one you have with you, this one is always a winner:

iPhone 5

iphone-5 the best camera is the one you have with you

Wondering where to buy? Click the names above the pictures for a direct link to my favorite online stores. If you’re local to Sacramento, you’ll have a great experience at Pardee’s in the Arden-Arcade area.

I hope that helps to sort through the swamp of options out there!

– Jill

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