Sony 2
Credit: Sony
Fuji
Credit: Fuji

Fuji X-T1

($1,300, body only; fujifilm.ca)

Best For: Experienced photographers looking for a rugged shooter.

With three manual dials and retro look, on first blush the X-T1 looks like a throwback to the SLRs of the ‘80s. Yet, it is packed with high-tech wizardry including super-fast shutter speeds, one of the fastest auto-focus pickups, high-resolution LCD screen, 16MP and speedy startup time. It’s also built to shoot outside. In bright sun, the tilting LCD screen remains easy to view and with 80 points of weather-sealing, the body (and three new lenses) is dust- and water-resistant and freeze-proof to -10 degrees Celsius. 

Bottom Line: With dials for shooting mode, aperture, shutter and white-balance, it’s fast and easy to get creative; perfect for experienced shooters. 

 

Fuji Fujifilm X-T1 16 MP Compact System Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Graphite Silver)
Amazon Price: $1,499.95 $1,498.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
Nikon
Credit: Nikon

Nikon Coolpix S810C

($370; nikon.ca)

Best For: A step up from your phone’s camera.

Think the compact point-and-shoot is dead? This little beauty might change your mind. With a 12x optical zoom and 16MP image sensor, it takes shots that are far superior to those of a smartphone. And with a touch-screen, Android operating system, access to the Google Play store and Wi-Fi, it does just about what any mini-tablet can do. This makes for a powerful, easy-to-use camera that can post directly to social media (plus, Angry Birds); ideal for those of us that find phone pics lacking and DSLRs too bulky (the S810C fits in our pockets.)

Bottom Line: A stellar camera on its own; for the price it’s a steal and a worthy addition to the gadget quiver.

 

Nikon Nikon COOLPIX S810c Digital Camera (White)
Amazon Price: $349.95 $346.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
Sony
Credit: Sony

Sony Cyber-Shot QX100 Lens-Style 

($500; sony.ca)

Best For: Instagram addicts.

While Nikon’s S810C attempts to make the compact camera more phone-like, Sony takes the opposite approach, adding better shooting ability to your phone. The QX100 is essentially a 28-100 mm zoom camera with 1080p video and a 20.2MP sensor, but without a viewfinder. With Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app downloaded, your smartphone becomes the viewfinder. The lens grabs onto the phone via a binding and then it’s just a matter of pressing the shutter on the app to take a pic. In use, it feels like a zoom camera and the results are similar — crisp, noise-free images that are better than any phone can take on its own.

Bottom Line: If you’re not happy with the pics your phone takes but love the instant connectivity, this is a great upgrade.

 

Sony Sony DSC-QX100 Smartphone Attachable Lens-style Camera
Amazon Price: $499.99 $448.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
Plan your next great adventure with explore!
Off the beaten path locations, tips and tricks, interviews with intrepid explorers and more.