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Canon EOS 7D DSLR at Amazon
"This Canon model has an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor sporting the latest technologies."
Fujifilm X-E1 Mirrorless ILC at Amazon
"A sharp-looking, powerful camera that measures only 1.5 inches in thickness."
Nikon Coolpix A at Amazon
"Includes a APS-C DX-format image sensor, which is much larger than what most fixed lens cameras use."
Nikon D7000 DSLR at Amazon
"Look for 1080p HD video capability, a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, and a built-in flash unit."
Nikon D7100 DSLR at Amazon
"You'll find a 51-point autofocus system and a 6fps (frames per second) burst mode."
Panasonic Lumix GX7 Mirrorless ILC at shop.panasonic.com
"One of the more impressive mirrorless digital interchangeable lens cameras on the market."
Pentax K-5 II DSLR at Amazon
"Boasts a 16.3-megapixel image sensor, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD, an optical viewfinder, a pop-up flash, and full HD video."
Samsung NX30 Mirrorless ILC at Amazon
"A terrific combination of easy-to-use features and outstanding image quality."
Sigma SD15 DSLR at Amazon
"Its buffer is large enough to allow 21 RAW images to be shot continuously."
Sony NEX-6 ILC at Amazon
"It can use interchangeable lenses and is graced with a 16.1-megapixel resolution."
Those looking for an advanced DSLR camera heading into the holiday season will want to consider an interesting candidate from Canon: The EOS 7D. This Canon model has an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor sporting the latest technologies, including a 19-point autofocus system, high-end ISO settings (100 to 6,400) for low-light photography, full HD video capture at up to 30 frames per second, and a built-in dual-axis electronic level.
Several accessories are available for the award-winning EOS 7D, too, including a wireless file transmitter (the WFT-E5A), which allows for remote photography, controlled over a laptop or smartphone. The EOS 7D's big brother, the EOS 7DSV, is a more expensive studio version.
The Fujifilm X-E1 interchangeable lens camera is a sharp-looking model that offers a smaller size with powerful features. Its large CMOS image sensor can shoot at the 16.3-megapixel resolution. Few consumer-level cameras can match the quality of the X-E1's image sensor.
The TIPA award-winning X-E1 includes an electronic viewfinder as well as a 2.8-inch high-resolution LCD screen. It can shoot at full HD video, offers a pop-up flash unit, and can accept a variety of interchangeable lenses that will work with a Fujifilm X lens mount.
The X-E1 carries a price tag in excess of $1,000 with a starter lens, so this model won't appeal to everyone. However, it's a sharp-looking, powerful camera that measures only 1.5 inches in thickness (without the lens) and can be found in all black or silver with black trim.
One way for camera manufacturers to set their fixed lens cameras apart from the low-end point-and-shoot portion of the market — and from cell phone cameras, for that matter — is to include large image sensors in the advanced fixed lens models.
Nikon has done exactly that with its Coolpix A camera, which includes a APS-C DX-format image sensor, which is much larger than what most fixed lens cameras use, providing great image quality. The Coolpix A has a high-quality 28mm equivalent prime Nikkor lens, meaning it offers no zoom capabilities.
You can shoot in full manual mode with this advanced camera. Certainly, at this price point, the Coolpix A isn't going to appeal to everyone. However, if you don't want the bulk of a DSLR camera, the Coolpix A would work well for shooting great portrait photos.
The Nikon D7000 features a 16.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor. When coupled with Nikon's EXPEED 2 image processing system, which allows for fast autofocus, low noise in photos, and six frames per second in burst mode, the D7000 creates high-quality images with impressive speed.
Look for 1080p HD video capability, a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, and a built-in flash unit with the D7000.
Although it seems like entry-level DSLR cameras are being released at a rapid rate of late, Nikon hasn't forgotten that advanced DSLR cameras have a solid position in the market, too.
One of Nikon's latest advanced DSLR models, the D7100, is now available for purchase. The D7100 has an impressive 24.1MP of resolution in a CMOS image sensor. It also includes a large 3.2-inch LCD screen and full 1080p HD video recording. The D7100 is compatible with DX or FX-format Nikon lenses. You'll find a 51-point autofocus system and a 6fps (frames per second) burst mode with the TIPA and EISA award-winning D7100.
One quick glance at the specification list for the Panasonic Lumix GX7 DIL camera will quickly convince you that this is one of the more impressive mirrorless digital interchangeable lens cameras on the market.
The GX7 uses a MOS Micro Four Thirds image sensor with a 16-megapixel resolution, a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, a 3.0-inch touch screen LCD, and full 1080p HD video capabilities. The Lumix GX7 has some nice advanced features, too, including full manual control, ISO settings up to 25,600, 5fps (frames per second) in burst mode, and shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second.
The GX7 has a silver and black magnesium alloy on the exterior of the camera body along with rubber accents.
If you're a fan of Pentax DSLR cameras, you're going to want to pay special attention to the recently announced Pentax K-5 II DSLR. As you can guess from the name, the K-5 II is an upgrade to the older Pentax K-5 DSLR.
The K-5 II boasts a 16.3-megapixel image sensor, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD, an optical viewfinder, a pop-up flash, and full HD video capabilities. The K-5 II can accept a variety of interchangeable lenses, too.
I've long been a fan of the Samsung NX series of mirrorless ILC cameras, as they have a terrific combination of easy-to-use features and outstanding image quality. The latest model in the NX series, the Samsung NX30, follows along those same lines and easily makes the list of the best cameras of the year.
The NX30 features a 20.3-megapixel resolution, 9fps burst mode, a tiltable electronic viewfinder, a 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD, full HD video recording, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC wireless connectivity. In other words, the NX30 has just about every high-end feature and add-on that you'd expect from this innovative manufacturer.
If you can find the NX30 for a bit below its MSRP, this model becomes even a stronger contender.
The Sigma SD15 DSLR camera makes use of a 14 megapixel Foveon X3 image sensor, which captures pixels in the primary RGB colors, providing high-quality images. In addition, the SD15's buffer is large enough to allow 21 RAW images to be shot continuously.
Earlier this year, Sigma also announced two additional DSLR-like cameras, including the DP2s and DP1x. Sigma initially announced plans for the SD15 in 2008, so photo enthusiasts have been waiting for this model for a long time.
Not only does the Sony NEX-6 DIL camera have a name that allows it to fit between the NEX-5 and NEX-7, but it also combines some of the best features of both of those older DIL models.
The NEX-6 is a little larger than other DIL cameras, and Sony appears to be trying to create a bridge between DSLR and DIL cameras. The Alpha NEX-6, which is available only in black, can use interchangeable lenses and is graced with a 16.1-megapixel resolution, an electronic viewfinder, full HD video options, and a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD touch screen that can tilt.