22/11/2011 12:07 GMT | Updated 29/11/2011 09:50 GMT

Six Cracking Christmas Cameras

Gold, frankincense and DSLRs were what the three wise men brought one carpenter's wife's son a few years back*.

Since those olden times, a camera has made a perfect Christmas gift. It's the gift of art, science, technology and sharing all rolled into one expensive little rectangle**.

From the heavy duty almost-pro to the lightweight almost-disposable, we've raked the camera stores (both digital and physical) for the ideal cameras for Christmas 2011.

At the fun, low-cost end of the scale, the Diana F+ lomography camera, £77, is ideal. It now comes in a range of beautiful colours, and the fiddly nature of shooting lomo-style develops both the scientific and the artful mind. You really can wile away the Christmas hours, and burn through the money it costs for film, perfecting the art of lomography. It's a lot of fun.

At the pro-ish enthusiast level, nothing beats the Fuji FinePix X100, £895, or the Nikon D7000, £900.

Both are capable of shooting serious events well. They have astounding adaptability - the D7000 can take a full professional flash set up. The F100 is for lovers of old 35mm film cameras, and rewards your time and effort with exceptional results.

Versatile and excellent for the money are the new Nikon V1, £730, and J1, £450, mirror-less system cameras and the Panasonic Lumix G3, £490.

The new Nikons are a whole new way of shooting. Both accommodate different lenses, and you'll need a separate flash for the V1. We tested these on a shoot at Occupy London, and the V1 captured shots well in low light.

For point and shoot joy without the fuss, the Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR is great value at around £228 and has everything someone just getting into photography needs.

*may not be true.

** often not rectangular at all.