It's time you stepped up your camera gaming, ditching your smartphone lens for something with more photographic muscle. If you're just starting out, check out this selection of cameras that are great throwing you (or a friend) into the world of high-end photography.
Buying a bag's worth of lenses is expensive and an all around pain. The Sony RX100 Mark II does many of the amazing things a DSLR kit with three lenses can do in one manageable package. It has a 28-100 f/1.8-4.9mm lens and the one-inch size sensor means image quality above and beyond a smartphone or cheap point-and-shoot. There are newer models in the RX100 series, but they get super expensive. This one is really all you need for great looking pics.
If you love the idea of filling your bag with lenses but don't want to break the bank, the EM10 Mark II is a super small system camera with a host of really great and moderately priced lenses to choose from. It has great controls and is speedy to focus, and the built-in stabilisation will give you more usable shots in low light.
Canons's G5 X is a spiffy-looking choice for something easy to use. It's got well-designed touchscreen controls as well as really nice physical dials. The zoom lens is bright and extends from an equivalent 24-100mm or 4.2x magnification. The built in viewfinder and fully rotating screen are some other perks.
Some people just really want a DSLR. It looks professional and stuff! Well, here is a good one. The Nikon D3300 gets great scores all around for image quality and usability.
This is probably the best camera you can get in such a small package. Not only does it take great photos with its 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 Leica lens, it shoots 4K video and has a built-in electronic viewfinder for more comfortable shooting. It's a pretty complete package, which is why it's on the expensive side, at $US800. It's not as simple to use as the Canon, nor does it have a flip-out screen. But if you're shooting video, it's much better quality.
Bang for your buck is the story of the Sony a6000. Image quality is amazing — the best out of any in this gift guide — and its autofocus is some of the best out there. For only $US650! It's a great camera for people who want to purchase different lenses and shoot in low light. But beware, the good lenses can be costly.