I regularly run Photography Training Courses and often get asked to recommend camera equipment for people looking to buy a present for an enthusiast. You can easily spend a fortune on cameras (don't I know it!), however there is a danger that you pay too much and get one that has more features than you need. This guide covers a range of photography equipment, hopefully something for everyone's budget.
The most common request that I get is for a camera that is easy to use, but that allows the user to jump up from something more basic. I always recommend a DSLR for this. The reason is that you can change lenses and use the camera in a variety of different settings, anywhere between full manual mode and fully automatic.
I have recommended an example of an entry level DSLR from both Canon and Nikon, there are of course more models available, however these are a good start. These DSLR's are easy to use and as your skills grow you can take more and more control of the camera and its settings.
Both cameras come with an 18-55mm lens, which will be suitable for many situations. However, I would also recommend getting a prime lens (one without any zoom) and in particularly a 50mm lens. the 50mm lens is great for portraits and for use in low light, it's lightweight and relatively cheap. I have shown links to the 50mm options for both cameras above.
Photography Training Books
Another popular request that I get for recommendations are for books that teach photography. Tom Ang has a brilliant range of easy to follow, pictorial books, with lots of examples and tips on how to handle many types of photography situations. I have shown two of his best below.
Photographers are on a constant search for the best camera bags. I have shown some ones that I like below, they are from the ranges of Manfrotto (the tripod company) and Think Tank. I have both of them and they not only accommodate your camera, but other items too. The rucksack is particuarly useful on holidays.