The Aspiring Photographer
There's lots to like about the Q7 ($500). It fires off five frames per second, records hi-def video, and shoots in Raw, a format that allows for maximum postprocessing. But the Q7's biggest selling point is also its most obvious: it's the smallest interchangeable-lens camera in existence, so they can play pro everywhere they go.
Nikon CoolPix AW110
Start with an element-proof body that can sink 59 feet underwater, survive drops over six feet, and operate down to 14 degrees. Add an impressive array of features, including a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, Wi-Fi compatibility, and 1080p movie mode with stereo sound. The result: the extremely impressive Coolpix AW100 ($350).
Keizus Quadrapod and Clamp
Someone on your list Instagram obsessed? Up their capabilities with the Quadrapod ($40)—a four-legged pod that can hold the thinnest smartphone or tablet. Because it has multiple leg joints, the Quadrapod bends to level out the most uneven surfaces, making on-trail shooting a cinch.
Timbuk2 Informant Sling
The budding photographer in your family with appreciate the incognito Informant Camera Sling ($119). It looks like a streamlined messenger bag from the outside but the inside is complete with padded, camera-specific cubbies large enough for one camera body, up to four lenses, and an iPad. Bonus: a rain sleeve protects it from the elements.
Canon PowerShot N camera
The PowerShot N ($300) is beefed-up hardware for dedicated Instagrammers. It shoots five-frame sequences and can automatically upload one or all of them to Facebook and other -preselected sites via your smartphone's 4G connection. It captures 12.1--megapixel-images, and the ISO cranks up to 6400, high enough for low light.