Follow my daily 12 tech days of Christmas. The words of the perennial 1909 festive song by Frederic Austin’s original have changed slightly, but the meaning is all the same. Merry Christmas!

“On the seventh day of Christmas my tech love gave to me, seven image catchers, six shiny laptops, five top-tier smartphones, four odd collections, three streaming players, two instant photos and a java in a pear tree.”

Smart phone cameras are getting better but are no match when it comes to tough weather or long zoom lenses. My camera gift guide offers value and a few ways to get best of class cameras at a saving.

Sony RX100V has it all in a compact tough metal shell

  • The Sony RX100 V Cyber-shot $1249 inherits the same DNA of the original RX siblings, including the higher quality 1.0-type image sensor, but now with very fast 0.05-second autofocus using 315 AF points across your screen. Continuous 20 FPS shooting on auto focus and auto exposure (AF/AE) up to 150 frames. It has a smoother looking screen during fast image capture and automatically switches from auto to manual focus if the image is not moving. The highest 1/32000 sec anti-distortion shutter speed does not distort fast moving objects across your view while the 4K movies record 1.7 times more information than the minimum for better quality movies. The 24-70 equiv 24-70mm F1.8-2.89X optical zoom captures almost four times more light for dark scene photography than competitors.It’s loaded with scene modes and creative filters and works with three different types of memory cards The 2,359,296 dot electronic OLED viewfinder is so close to optical viewing. RX100 V is a pocket-size, small, tough metal body do-it-all camera worth the price.

For the budget minded, the cheaper older Sony same DNA RX100M3, $900 will produce very similar picture quality minus some bells and whistles.

Olympus TG-4 and TG-870
  • Olympus has gotten its generations of water/drop/cold proof cameras down to science. The Olympus TG-4, $449 is waterproof to 15m, crushproof to 100kgf, freezeproof to -10 degrees C, shockproof up to 2.1m, and dustproof. Its 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor is similar to most pocket cameras offering superior images to that of any smart phone. CMOS Shift image stabilization also helps reduce camera shake so you get sharp images It records Full HD 1080p video and continuous 5fps shooting with a super wide 4x optical zoom (25mm – 100mm 35mm equivalent). The 3-inch 460,000 dot LCD display is bright with featured aperture and shutter manual exposure modes.  http://www.getolympus.com/ca/en/tough
  • The cheaper Olympus TG-870 $379 Waterproof/Shockproof/WiFi/GPS 16MP has some better features, minus the 4K video, RAW format and the one f-stop faster aperture) than the Olympus TG-4 above. It’s unique 180-degree sharper 920,000 dot flip display for creative shots and selfies makes it more usable. The wider variable 5X zoom. And 21mm (35mm equivalent) lens has a longer 5X zoom range to 105mm equiv…a plus for me. A customizable button on the front lets you configure it as the shutter release for hassle-free selfie shooting.
Olympus TG-Tracker
  • The Olympus TG-Tracker, $400 is a new different kind of similarly tough camera, recording up to 4K videos but only 8 MP stills with constant detailed GEO measurements, even between photos as you travel or hike. Share a lot more information around you for each photo you take. Read my recent review on my phototutor.ca photography blog. Compare the Tough cameras of the Olympus here.
Nikon’s affordable D-SLR D3400
  • For the budget minded wanting to get into serious quality photography, Nikon’s entry level D3400 D-SLR, $649.95 (with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens) shoots in low light with its clear pro-like optical viewfinder shooting with a 24.2-megapixel image sensor for stunning images. Nikon’s built-in Guide Mode provides step-by-step instruction for using advanced settings. Nice. It can transfer images while they are captured using Nikon’s exclusive SnapBridge technology and once connected works seamlessly with NIKON IMAGE SPACE, a cloud storage and sharing site, to back-up your photos and to help you create and share albums with your friends and family. It captures in RAW format too between ISO range 100-25600 and Full HD 1920×1080 60 FPS. The kit lens uses a stepping motor for smooth and quiet autofocusing, for unobtrusive audio in you videos. Product page info.
Nikon Coolpix A900 35X zoom fits in you pocket but the bulkier 60X zoom Coolpix B700 reaches farther
  • Travelling light? The small Nikon COOLPIX A900, $499.95 packs a 35x optical zoom lens. The tilting screen makes framing high or low angles easy, and the A900 is always connected to your smart device with SnapBridge. Product page If you don’t mind a slightly bigger size, the Coolpix B700, $549, spots an impressive 60X zoom lens with 4K video. Product page
Save several hundred bucks on Olympus OM-D E-M5 MKII with M.ZUIKO ED 14-150MM F4.0-5.6 II 10.7X
  • When is a slightly older amazing professional magnesium body, weatherproof DSLR camera too good to pass? Check out the loaded, full swing screen, Olympus 16 MP OM-D E-M5 MKII, $900 (body only – London Drugs or Henry’s for GTA folks) It includes an oversized matching pocket flash and a special 40 MP mode for still photography. Match it up with the also weatherproof discounted super long ZUIKO ED 14-150MM F4.0-5.6 II at Olympus Canada for only $549 CDN. You will save enough money to add an Olympus Zuiko faster normal lens later.

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