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2022 Camera Gift Guide

Black Friday is well upon us which means it is time for Christmas gift ideas!

If you really love your family buy your loved ones a new camera this holiday season! IF you really love them. If you don’t really love them, then just buy them socks.

Canon

It’s Christmas at Canon in 2022. They’ve released 3 new cameras this year, the Canon EOS R10, EOS R7, and EOS R6 mark II, all of which are new for 2022. Joy to the world!

Canon EOS R10

The R10 is Canon’s entry level APS-C format camera priced at $979 USD but still packs a punch much like its more expensive siblings.

The R10 is a capable camera for general purpose use and it is a great camera for aspiring photographers in your circle of family and friends. The R10 is targeted at photographers who have some idea of how to take pictures but aren’t ready for or don’t need the ultimate in image quality and features. The R10 is also an easier camera to own and use as it is very light, easy to handle, and relatively capable compared to most cameras at this price point.

Canon EOS R7

The R7 is a more capable APS-C format camera at a higher price point of $1,499. While it might be tempting to compare this camera to the R10 they’re very different beasts. Both camera’s are APS-C format but the R7 strives for professional recognition by employing a higher resolution sensor of 33 megapixels. It also features in body image stabilization which the R10 lacks. Stabilization ensures that camera shake will be substantially reduced whether shooting stills or video. This makes the R7 capable of delivering professional quality results in the right hands. The density of pixels on the R7’s APS-C sensor makes it roughly equivalent to higher resolution cameras when shot from long distances where the subject does not fill the frame. This also makes it an attractively priced option for amateur wildlife photographers. Despite all this, the R7 falls slightly short in sheer image quality as its sensor has some minor issues at high ISO settings. Used within its limitations it should be a great option for a semi-pro photographer.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Also new for 2022 Canon has released the $2,499 Canon EOS R6 mark II. Like the first version of the R6, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II is a 35mm full frame camera. Being version 2 it has been updated to be a better value at the same price as its predecessor. While the original R6 looked good on paper, the market wasn’t super impressed with it’s 20 megapixel sensor and good but not great image quality. The newer model attempts to address that with a new 24 megapixel sensor. 24 megapixels is still not quite on par with other cameras on this list, but the R6 promises to make up for it with excellent low light performance and a continuous burst rate of 40 frames per second. For photographers who are fans of high frame rates in low available light, the R6 Mark II seems like a no brainer.

Canon EOS R3

For certain professional photographers Canon has provided the Canon EOS R3 at a price of $5,999. The EOS R3 is targeted at professional users with an integrated battery grip and larger more powerful battery system. The camera offers high image quality and fast shooting speeds in addition to professional level weather sealing and decent enough physical build quality. But the main benefit here is the larger battery. Paying $5,999 for a larger battery may seem crazy but not so much when you realize just how many things in a modern camera demand more and more power. The sensor requires power all the time the camera is on, the CPU requires power to process images and perform AF calculations, the stabilization system in the camera and in the lens require power, the AF motors require power, the rear display and EVF require power. More power = more capability across the board. The big battery in the R3 also allows professionals to shoot for hours without worrying whether their battery is about to die. In particular, it allows the camera to work well with the large and power hungry super telephoto lenses in Canon’s arsenal such as the RF 400mm f/2.8, 600mm f/4 L, 800mm f/5.6 L, and the 1200mm f/8 L super telephoto lenses. Keeping with the theme of more power, the EOS R3 uses that extra power to take its image stabilization system up another notch. The IBIS system in the R3 has been upgraded over the R5’s and the R6’s, making it the best stabilization system available at any price from any company. It’s capable of delivering over 9 stops of stabilization with specific RF lenses. Strong words for a strong performance from Canon’s current top of the line camera.

Sony

It’s been a slower year for Sony but they remain a top shelf option with class leading sensor specifications and highly refined and powerful tracking autofocus.

Sony a7r V

While Sony hasn’t had a lot of releases in 2022 they did release a new camera just in time for the Christmas season, the a7r V. The a7r V (don’t mess up those letters and numbers) is a powerful camera coming in at a price of $3,899. The a7r V brings impressive 4k and 8k video as well as 61 megapixel BSI sensor powered still photos. Despite this large sensor the a7r V remains a fast shooting camera with an impressive burst speed of 10fps and an even more impressive continuous burst buffer of over 550 images. Landscape photographers and videographers will love the high resolution sensor and impressive low light image quality that Sony is known for. Like all of Sony’s top of the line alpha series cameras, the a7r V features in body image stabilization, high quality auto focus, and fast sensor readout, making it a camera that competitors will have trouble matching up with on a feature by feature basis.

Sony a1

At the top of Sony’s professional camera lineup sits the Alpha 1, usually referred to simply as the a1, this camera brings state of the art technology across the board. When released in March of 2021 the a1 set a standard that all others aspired to reach. Sporting a huge 50 megapixel sensor that is capable of taking full resolution stills at an insane 30 frames per second, the Sony a1 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It may look a lot like Sony’s other cameras but the a1 is very different on the inside. While the sensor is unique to the a1, so is the Bionz XR image processor that performs 120 AF calculations per second. Such processing power helps ensure excellent tracking AF even when maxing out the camera at 30 fps. In addition to this the a1 can shoot 4k and 8k ultra high resolution video, and it has in body image stabilization. If anyone out there is wondering if Sony is capable of making a true “professional” level camera, the Alpha 1 should put such concerns to rest once and for all.

Nikon

Nikon has a variety of cameras up its sleeve for the 2022 Christmas season.

Nikon Z6 II

Coming in at $1,899, the Nikon 76 II is the most oddly priced camera on this list. While it only has a 24 megapixel sensor, that sensor is an FX format (full frame) sensor, theoretically putting it amongst the elite 35mm cameras. But it is let down by the fact that its solid maximum burst speed of 14 frames per second can’t be used with tracking AF enabled. While it’s not a camera that has won a ton of accolades or notoriety, some users are slowly beginning to adopt these cameras thanks to their good overall image quality and the nice selection of cheaper Z mount lenses. Nikon has also worked to improve the video performance of their cameras making them more competitive with Canon and Sony on paper. Still, it’s very difficult to recommend this camera over Canon’s R10 or even the R7, which are both substantially cheaper yet faster shooting and have much more capable autofocus.

Nikon Z7 II

At a steeper price of $2,799.95 the Z7 II is another Nikon oddity. Priced about $1,000 lower than the similar resolution Canon EOS R5 and the higher resolution Sony a7r V, Nikon looks eager to earn your money with this offering. However their are some caveats worth noting. While the Canon R5 and Sony a7r V will shoot 4k 120fps video as well as 8k video, the Nikon Z7 tops out at 4k 60fps and it doesn’t offer 8k at all. Nikon claims that the sensor in the Z7 II is the best ever 35mm digital camera sensor, that is debatable as it isn’t as high resolution or fast shooting as the sensors in the Canon or Sony equivalents. Ultimately, a sensor’s quality isn’t just about a single image for many photographers, it boils down to how well the camera can focus, how fast it can focus, and how fast it can shoot. Taking all that into consideration, Nikon remains behind Canon and Sony. A fact reflected in the much lower retail price of the Z7 II.

Nikon Z9

Nikon’s attempt to make themselves relevant again culminates in the $5,499 Z9. A fairly legitimate offering, the Z9 has some impressive specifications to take note of such as the claimed 120fps burst speed. But that spec again comes with caveats as the images are only 11 megapixels at that speed. This is greatly reduced from the full resolution of the camera’s 45.7 megapixel sensor. Most likely this is because the full sensor is not sampled at 120fps, a common trick used to increase the FPS in video cameras. Another oddity is that this camera has no mechanical shutter whatsoever. It only features an electronic shutter. Because of that limitation, photographers who use this camera will be forced to deal with the electronic shutter readout speed and thus subject to any limitations related to the electronic shutter such as rolling shutter distortion or lower quality readout. Oddly enough the Z9 is essentially a video camera that also works as a stills camera. For me this makes the Z9 less of a game changer and more of a game ender for Nikon’s professional mirrorless aspirations.

Wrap Up

That’s about it for the Christmas 2022 Camera gift guide! I hope you found something to get your friends and family this Christmas season! Whether you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Feliz Navidad, Mele Kalikimaka, or simply Happy Holidays, please enjoy this seasons greetings!

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