To pick out what I think the best cameras come in each of these categories, I spent countless hours researching different websites gathering just as much information as possible to find the best camera in each group. My research includes looking at customer assessments on Amazon, Adorama and BH Picture Video, reading professional assessments from DPreview, Imaging-Learning resource and Steve’s Digicams, and reading numerous online web forums and discussion boards. Of course I’ll add my very own personal opinion in the mixture, also. Oh, an instant note… if there’s a very important factor to remember when shopping for new a camera, it’s that megapixels DO NOT MATTER. These big camera organizations boast about getting the most megapixels, trying to utilize it as a selling point, if they really do not matter. Multiple resources on the net will say the same. Let’s start, shall we?
Best Compact Budget Point-and-Shoot
Staying under the $200 mark, and from the research I did so, this little gem may take one heck of an image, alongside HD video, too! That is right, this tiny guy has 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) HI-DEF video. Something that is rarely seen in a camera this inexpensive. From what I go through while researching, this camera needs good quality photos for the price. The only real drawback on it I found online is really a slightly more grainy photo as a result of 14MP censor. Besides that, people love it for the ease of use, pocket-able size and good price-to-feature value. Other features add a large 2.7-inch LCD screen, optical image stabilization, a wide 28mm equivalent lens (I love wide angle lenses), HDMI productivity, and Smart AUTO. I head a lot of good things about smart Vehicle. From what Canon says, it’ll “intelligently select between 22 diverse predefined settings.” Oh, and it comes in HOT PINK! Not really that I care… After investigating this class of camera for hours, the overall consensus is that Canon helps make awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You can be satisfied with some of their budget models, including the SD1400IS. I have yet to find an awful one.
Best Compact Enthusiast Point-and-Shoot
Okay, now in my honest opinion, that is a no-brainer. The previous version, the Canon S90, was an enormous hit. And the Canon S95 improves upon it. I mean seriously! For a camera under $400, it has 720p HD videos (with stereo sound!), a brilliant bright f/2.0 lens, Natural mode (the best), a broad 28mm equivalent zoom lens and HDMI output. Those are simply a few features. The very best part, and the part which makes the S95 the best enthusiast point-and-shoot camera, is the control ring. This thing helps it be a breeze to adjust focus, exposure, ISO, white equilibrium, and pretty much all the manual controls. It critically has everything a surveillance camera enthusiast would want in a point-and-shoot, and much more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Coloring yRGB histograms, bracketing, a metallic body, and crap tons of gimmicks and useless modes. It also comes with an HDR mode. I’d never use it, but I guess it works pretty good. It takes three consecutive pictures and merges them together for you. After that you can edit them later on your computer. I, however, find it rather lame because all the important attributes are locked out, such as exposure and white stability. And HDR on a point-and-shoot? What has this world come to. Just buy this camera. Really. To be honest I didn’t really do much research on other cams in its school, because once I understood Canon was producing the S95, it was going be considered a hit. Sure there are other good enthusiast cameras out there, but none that are nearly as awesome because the Canon S95 for the same price and size!
Canon G12? Big and bulky at a price of around $500.
Panasonic Lumix LX5? Still larger, and still more expensive. Price? Around $450.
I believe I proved my point. Of course this is just my estimation. I’m confident others will disagree with me.
Best Entry-Level DSLR
The Nikon D3100 is usually another obvious buy if you are looking to get an electronic SLR. At around, or under, $700, you get one heck of a cameras (with lens!) that’s jam-packed full of features for the price. It is also Nikon’s first DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. Let me describe why I picked it as the best entry-level DSLR. First off, it comes with a very good kit lens, the 18-55mm AF-S VR, which is known to be an excellent all-around kit lens. It’s sharp, has VR (Vibration Reduction) can focus very close – practically macro like – and contains Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor which gives it fast, calm autofocus. Everything I read had been positive, except for the occasional “bad copy.” The images the D3100 pumps out are so close the expert Nikon D3 and D700 in good light, you could never tell the difference in a side-by-side comparison! High ISO on the D3100 is excellent, considering it isn’t a full-frame camera. I would say it’s equally as good Nikon D300s I own with regard to high ISO. Basically, don’t be afraid to shoot at ISO 1600. In-fact, make it your buddy! The viewfinder in the D3100 is apparent and distraction free. Why by that is it doesn’t have as much clutter heading on in the viewfinder. This can make it better to compose shots. Also, it is a small, ultra-light-weight DSLR weighing in at 505 g (1lb 1.8 oz.) This can be a plus to some, a poor to others. For me, I could go in any event. Other features add a large rear 3-inch LCD, 11 Autofocus Points, Vehicle Distortion Correction, and Nikon’s innovative EXPEED 2 image processing motor. There are few (very few) items that the D3100 is lacking, though, compared to higher end cameras; You can only use lenses which have a built in motor such as for example Nikon’s AF-S lenses (other lens makers have similar lenses) because the D3100 has no motor drive, there’s only 1 manual preset WB memory posture, you do not get any depth-of-field preview, and there is no Kelvin White Balance setting. If you’re searching for an entry-level Digital SLR, now is the time to buy. And I recommend the Nikon D3100. Therefore do thousands of others.
Best Semi-Pro DSLR
Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D7000, can be one of the better in its class. Featuring a completely new and amazing User Definable Settings (U1, U2) right on the function selector dial, these useful shortcuts permit you to set, store and change your video cameras setting and never have to go deep into the menu system! I’m envious. I’d like my D300S to possess this. Actually, I’m considering getting the D7000 because of this feature alone. You can find other features I, among others (from what I saw many times) love concerning this camera, too, such as:
Full 1080p High Definition video
Light in weight, but still ergonomically comfortable
Best-in-class high ISO photos
Quiet… Very quiet procedure…Shhh…
Ground-busting 2,016-Segment RGB Meter
Superior weather and dust sealing
Six fps continuous shooting up to 100 shots
New EXPEED 2 image processing
39 autofocus factors with nine cross-type sensors
So as you can see, this camera is a bargain for its price, which is around $1200 (body just.) My analysis on the D7000 wasn’t as intensive as others in it’s course, simply because it just got released. And people are having a hard time finding it; it’s always sold-out! I have yet to learn ANYTHING bad on the surveillance camera. All I could find is that it could only bracket three exposures rather than the 5-9 that various other cameras can do. Folks are raving concerning the fast autofocus, and amazing metering due to the innovative 2,016-Segment RGB Meter. The Nikon D7000 has already been a smash hit at the time of this article. It’s all sold-out. Not surprising if you ask me, since it’s equally as good, if not better than the Nikon D300s which is $300-$400 more. Now if you excuse me, I have to go buy this camera.
Best Full Frame DSLR – TIE
Canon 5D Tag II and Nikon D700
After hours of analysis, I was determined to choose either the 5D Tag II or the D700 as the best professional full body DSLR. One or the other. Not really both. Well, after those time of research I did, I failed. My last verdict is that you can’t fail with either of these stunning full framework DSLRs. They both provide breathtaking images, even at high ISOs. And they both have excellent construction which will last you years upon a long time. But what are the differences