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Dads love cameras, both as a way to capture special moments and just as fun gadgets. If your father wants to go beyond their smartphone, a new camera would certainly be a welcomed gift. The question is, what type does he need and how much should you spend? We found some of the best models with the latest tech, like fast shooting speeds, sharp video and incredible autofocus. Better still, they cover a wide range of prices, and we’ve also recommended some accessories to complement the gear your dear father already owns.
GoPro Hero 11 Black
GoPro didn’t change the design on its latest model, but it has a larger sensor that enables a couple of cool features – Horizon Lock stabilization and Full Frame mode that makes it easier to shoot for, say, TikTok and YouTube at the same time. Otherwise, the Hero 11 Black offers better video quality than ever (up to 5.3K 60p), Hypersmooth stabilization that’s still the best in the business (by far), battery life that’s improved by 40 percent over the last model, and more. The best action product on the market is not the cheapest – but if your dad is serious about filming his exploits, it’s well worth it.
Canon EOS M50 II and EOS R100
Canon’s EOS M50 II is three years old, but with current deals, it’s the best value camera you can give your dad right now. It offers features like a 24.2-megapixel sensor, flip-out screen, tap-to-record and focus, plus 4K video with a 1.5x crop. Its light weight makes it a great travel camera, with the flip-out display allowing your father to shoot selfies or do some vlogging. If you want to pay less and your dad can wait an extra month, though, Canon just released the 24.2-megapixel R100. It has most of the features of the M50 II, but lacks a flip-out display. It’s priced at just $480 for the body only, or $600 with a 16-50mm lens, which makes it the cheapest mirrorless camera on the market. You can pre-order it now, but shipping is set for July.
Canon EOS R50
Still in the budget category but stepping up a notch is Canon’s 24-megapixel APS-C R50, which will suit your dad whether he does photography or video. It can shoot bursts at up to 15 fps in electronic shutter mode, and offers 4K 10-bit video at up to 30p with supersampling and no crop. It has a fully articulating display, and unlike other cameras in this price range, an electronic viewfinder. It uses Canon’s Dual Pixel AF with subject recognition mode, and even has a popup flash. The only drawback is the lack of in-body stabilization, but the electronic stabilization is very effective with the price of a slight crop.
Sony Alpha ZV-E10
If your father is a content creator, Sony’s 24.2-megapixel ZV-E10 APS-C camera is a strong budget option. It can shoot sharp, downsampled 4K video at up to 30 fps with a 1.23x crop (or 1080p at 120 fps) and uses Sony’s fantastic AI-powered autofocus system with face and eye detection. It also has a few creator-specific features like Product Showcase and a bokeh switch that makes the background as blurry as possible so your subject stands out. Another nice feature is the high-quality microphone that lets you vlog without the need to buy an external mic. The main drawbacks are the lack of an EVF and rolling shutter.
Nothing will enhance your father’s photos like the sweet bokeh of a full-frame camera, and the 24-megapixel Nikon Z5 is a stellar deal right now. It’s mostly aimed at photographers, with features like hybrid phase-detect autofocus and Nikon’s excellent color science. And for such a budget option, it has desirable features like five-axis in-body stabilization, dual fast UHS-II card slots, a 3.69 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder and a tilting touch display. Video isn’t a strong point, but it can handle 4K 30p with a crop and 1080p at 60fps.
Canon EOS R8
Moving up in price, Canon’s EOS R8 is a better-rounded option if your dad likes shooting video as much as taking photos. It has the company’s excellent Dual Pixel AF with subject recognition AI, and can shoot bursts at up to 40 fps. It’s equally strong with video, supporting oversampled 10-bit 4K at up to 60 fps. The R8 also offers a flip-out display, making it great for vloggers. The main drawback is a lack of in-body stabilization.
Panasonic Lumix S5 II and S5 IIX
For dads who take their content creation very seriously, check out Panasonic’s full-frame S5 II. It’s the company’s first camera with hybrid phase-detect AF designed to make focus “wobble” and other issues a thing of the past. He can shoot sharp 4K 30p video downsampled from the full sensor width, or 4K 60p from an APS-C cropped size, all in 10-bit color. It even offers 5.9K 30p capture, along with RAW 5.9K external output to an Atomos recorder. It also has a flip-out screen for vlogging and updated five-axis in-body stabilization that’s the best in the industry. The main drawback is the slowish burst speeds, but it’s made for video more than photography. If you don’t mind spending an extra $200, the S5 IIX lets you record in the Apple ProRes format directly to an SSD, or in RAW modes (Apple or Blackmagic) via the external HDMI port.
Peak Design Everyday Messenger
With its rugged, practical design, Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger Bag is an ideal gift for adventurous or photo-shooting dads. It’s built with a lightweight yet durable 100-percent waterproof recycled 400D shell with the ingenious Flexfold dividers in the main storage area. It also offers a pair of zipped pockets, two elastic side pockets and a compartment big enough for a 13- to 15-inch laptop. I own one myself and find it practical both for work and daily activities, letting me fit a camera, lens and laptop along with my wallet and keys. At $230, it’s not the cheapest bag out there, but your dad won’t have to buy another for a good while.
Magnus VT-4000 tripod
For dads serious about video, the Magnus VT 4000 is the best budget tripod option. It’s stout enough to handle a mirrorless camera and accessories weighing up to 8.8 pounds, more than the eight-pound weight of the tripod itself. That lack of heft makes it practical for travel, while the fluid head helps you tilt and pan smoothly. Other features include a middle spreader to keep things steady and legs that extend up to 64 inches so you can match the eyeline of your subjects. All of these features come for $199, a relative steal considering the quality.
Joby GorillaPod 3K mini tripod
The most useful accessories out there for vlogging dads are Joby’s famous mini-tripods, and the best one for the money is the GorillaPod 3K. Attaching your camera couldn’t be easier thanks to the secure clip-in mounting plate with a built-in level. The flexibility also lets you set your camera anywhere to shoot, or even wrap it around a tree or other object. And, of course, you can bend them out for the ideal vlogging angle and steady out your shooting, to boot.
Lexar V60/V90 UHS-II SD cards
Camera-loving dads can never get enough memory cards, but they can be a pretty pricey gift. One of the best budget options is Lexar’s V60 UHS-II SD cards, which offer a good balance between speed and value. The 120MB/s write speeds are enough for most H.264/H.265 4K video modes, and you can then transfer files to your computer at up to 250MB/s. If that’s not fast enough, Lexar’s new 1800X V60 II cards offer 270/170MB/s read/write speeds at good prices, and for the best performance, check out their V90 UHS-II cards, which deliver read/write speeds of 300/260MB/s.