To pick out what I believe the best cameras come in each one of these categories, I spent a lot of time researching different websites gathering just as much information getting started in photography as possible to find the best camera in each group. My research includes considering customer assessments on Amazon, Adorama and BH Photograph Video, reading professional evaluations from DPreview, Imaging-Source and Steve’s Digicams, and reading several online web forums and discussion boards. Of course I’ll add my very own personal opinion in the combine, also. Oh, an instant note… if there’s a very important factor to remember when searching for new a video camera, it’s that megapixels USUALLY DO NOT MATTER. These big camera firms boast about getting the most megapixels, trying to utilize it as a selling point, if they really do not matter. Multiple resources online will say exactly the same. Let’s start, shall we?
Best Compact Budget Point-and-Shoot
Staying beneath the $200 mark, and from the research I did, this little gem may take one heck of a picture, along with HD video, too! That is right, this tiny guy has 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) HI-DEF video. A thing that is rarely seen in a camera this low-priced. From what I read while researching, this camera takes good quality photos for the price. The only drawback on it I found online is a slightly more grainy photo as a result of 14MP censor. Other than that, people think itâs great for the ease of use, pocket-able size and good price-to-feature value. Other features include a large 2.7-inch LCD display, optical image stabilization, a wide 28mm equivalent lens (I really like wide angle lenses), HDMI outcome, and Smart Car. I head a lot of good things about smart AUTO. From what Canon says, it’ll “intelligently select between 22 diverse predefined settings.” Oh, and it comes in HOT PINK! Not necessarily that I care… After investigating this class of camera for hours, the overall consensus is that Canon tends to make awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You may be satisfied with any 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, this can be a no-brainer. The previous version, the Canon S90, was a massive strike. And the Canon S95 improves upon it. After all come on! For a camera under $400, it has 720p HD video clip (with stereo sound!), a super bright f/2.0 lens, RAW 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 that makes the S95 the best enthusiast point-and-shoot camera, is the control ring. This thing makes it a breeze to adjust focus, exposure, ISO, white balance, and pretty much all the manual controls. It very seriously has everything a cameras enthusiast would prefer in a point-and-shoot, and more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Color yRGB histograms, bracketing, a metal body, and crap tons of gimmicks and useless modes. In addition, it comes with an HDR mode. I’d never utilize it, but I guess it works pretty good. It requires three consecutive photos and merges them together for you. You can then edit them later on your personal computer. I, however, think it is rather lame because all of the important features are locked out, such as exposure and white harmony. And HDR on a point-and-shoot? What has this entire world come to. Just buy this camera. Very seriously. To be honest I didn’t really do much research on other video cameras in its course, because once I realized Canon was producing the S95, it was going be considered a hit. Sure there are other good enthusiast cameras on the market, but none which are nearly as awesome as the Canon S95 for exactly the same price and size!
Canon G12? Huge and bulky at a price of around $500.
Panasonic Lumix LX5? Still greater, and still more expensive. Price? Around $450.
I believe I proved my point. Of course this is just my opinion. I’m positive others will disagree with me.
Best Entry-Level DSLR
The Nikon D3100 will be another obvious buy if you are looking to get an electronic SLR. At all over, or under, $700, you obtain one heck of a cameras (with lens!) that’s jam-packed full of features for the price. It is also Nikon’s primary DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. I want to describe why I picked it as the best entry-level DSLR. To begin with, it comes with a excellent kit lens, the 18-55mm AF-S VR, that is known to be an excellent all-around kit lens. It’s sharp, has VR (Vibration Decrease) can focus very close – almost macro like – and contains Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor gives it fast, quiet autofocus. Everything I read was basically positive, except for the occasional “bad duplicate.” The images the D3100 pumps out are so close the expert Nikon D3 and D700 in good light, that you could never tell the distinction in a side-by-side comparison! Superior ISO on the D3100 is great, considering it isn’t a full-frame camera. I’d say it’s equally as good Nikon D300s I own with regards to high ISO. Quite simply, don’t be afraid to shoot at ISO 1600. In-fact, make it your good friend! The viewfinder in the D3100 is apparent and distraction free. What I mean by that is it doesn’t have as much clutter moving on in the viewfinder. This can make it simpler to compose shots. Also, it is a small, ultra-light in weight DSLR weighing in at 505 g (1lb 1.8 oz.) This can be a plus to some, a negative to others. For me personally, I could go either way. Other features include a large rear 3-inch LCD, 11 Autofocus Points, AUTO Distortion Correction, and Nikon’s fresh EXPEED 2 image processing motor. There are few (very few) items that the D3100 is missing, though, compared to higher end cameras; You can only use lenses that have a built in motor such as Nikon’s AF-S lenses (other lens makers have similar lenses) since the D3100 does not have any motor drive, there’s only 1 manual preset WB memory situation, you don’t get any depth-of-discipline preview, and there is absolutely no Kelvin White Balance setting. If you’re searching for an entry-level Digital SLR, this is the time to buy. And I would recommend the Nikon D3100. Therefore do thousands of others.
Best Semi-Pro DSLR
Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D7000, is also one of the better in its class. Having a brand new and amazing User Definable Options (U1, U2) right on the function selector dial, these helpful shortcuts let you set, retail store and change your video cameras setting without needing to go deep in to the menu system! I’m envious. I want my D300S to possess this. Actually, I’m considering getting the D7000 for this feature alone. There are other features I, among others (from what I saw countless times) love concerning this camera, too, such as:
Full 1080p HI-DEF video
Light in weight, but still ergonomically comfortable
Best-in-class high ISO photos
Quiet… Very quiet operation…Shhh…
Ground-busting 2,016-Segment RGB Meter
Superior weather and dust sealing
Six fps continuous shooting around 100 shots
New EXPEED 2 image processing
39 autofocus details with nine cross-type sensors
So as you can see, this camera is really a bargain for its price, that is around $1200 (body just.) My exploration on the D7000 wasn’t as in depth as others in it’s class, because of the fact 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 possibly could find is that it could only bracket three exposures rather than the 5-9 that various other cameras can do. People are raving concerning the fast autofocus, and amazing metering due to the brand-new 2,016-Segment RGB Meter. The Nikon D7000 is already a smash hit during this article. It’s all sold-out. Not surprising to me, since it’s just as good, if not much better than the Nikon D300s that is $300-$400 more. Now if you excuse me, I must go buy this camera.
Best Full Frame DSLR – TIE
Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D700
After hours of study, I was determined to pick either the 5D Tag II or the D700 as the best professional full body DSLR. One or another. Definitely not both. Well, after those hours of research I did, I failed. My ultimate verdict is certainly that you can’t go wrong with either of these stunning full framework DSLRs. They both supply breathtaking photographs, even at high ISOs. And they both have excellent build quality which will last you years upon a long time. But what are the differences