To pick out what I think the best cameras are in each one of these categories, I spent a lot of time researching different websites gathering just as much information as possible for the best camera in each classification. My research includes looking at customer critiques on Amazon, Adorama and BH Image Video, reading professional evaluations from DPreview, Imaging-Learning resource and Steve’s Digicams, and reading countless online web forums and message boards. Of course I’ll add my very own personal opinion in the mix, also. Oh, a quick note… if there’s one thing to remember when shopping for new a cameras, it’s that megapixels DO NOT MATTER. These big camera firms boast about having the most megapixels, trying to utilize it as a selling point, when they really don’t matter. Multiple resources on the web will say the same. Let’s start, shall we?

Best Compact Budget Point-and-Shoot

Canon SD1400IS

Staying beneath the $200 mark, and from the study I did so, this little gem can take one heck of an image, along with HD video, too! That’s right, this tiny guy has 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) High Definition video. A thing that is rarely observed in a camera this affordable. From what I examine while researching, this camera can take top quality photos for the price. The only real drawback on it I came across online is a slightly more grainy photo due to the 14MP censor. Besides that, people love it for the simplicity, pocket-able size and fine price-to-feature value. Other features include a large 2.7-inch LCD display screen, optical image stabilization, a wide 28mm equivalent lens (I love wide angle lenses), HDMI outcome, and Smart Vehicle. I head many good things about smart Automobile. From what Canon says, it’ll “intelligently select between 22 distinct predefined settings.” Oh, also it comes in HOT PINK! Definitely not that I care… After exploring this class of camera for hours, the overall consensus is that Canon would make awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You will end up satisfied with any of their budget models, including the SD1400IS. I have yet to find an awful one.

Best Compact Enthusiast Point-and-Shoot

Canon S95

Okay, now in my honest opinion, this is the no-brainer. The previous version, the Canon S90, was an enormous hit. And the Canon S95 improves upon it. After all come on! For a camera under $400, it has 720p HD movie (with stereo sound!), a brilliant 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 which makes the S95 the very best enthusiast point-and-shoot camera, is the control ring. This thing helps it be a breeze to adjust focus, exposure, ISO, white balance, and pretty much all the manual controls. It seriously has everything a cameras enthusiast would prefer in a point-and-shoot, and more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Shade yRGB histograms, bracketing, a metal body, and crap a great deal 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 photos and merges them together for you. You can then edit them later on your personal computer. I, however, find it rather lame because all of the important characteristics are locked out, such as for example exposure and white harmony. And HDR on a point-and-shoot? What has this entire world arrived at. Just buy this camera. Significantly. In all honesty I didn’t really do much research on other video cameras in its category, because once I realized Canon was producing the S95, it had been going be considered a hit. Sure there are other good enthusiast cameras out there, but none which are nearly as awesome as the Canon S95 for the same price and size!

Canon G12? Huge and bulky at a price of around $500.
Panasonic Lumix LX5? Still bigger, and still more expensive. Price? Around $450.
I think I proved my point. Needless to say this is just my estimation. I’m positive others will disagree with me.

Best Entry-Level DSLR

Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 is definitely another obvious buy if you’re looking to get an electronic SLR. At near, or under, $700, you get one heck of a camcorder (with lens!) that’s jam-packed full of features for the price. It’s also Nikon’s very first DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. I want to make clear why I picked it because the best entry-level DSLR. To begin with, 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 razor-sharp, has VR (Vibration Lowering) can focus very close – practically macro like – and has Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor which gives it fast, quiet autofocus. Everything I read was positive, except for the occasional “bad copy.” The images the D3100 pumps out are so close up the qualified 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 great, considering it isn’t a full-frame camera. I would say it’s just as good Nikon D300s I own regarding high ISO. Quite simply, don’t be scared 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 generally does not have as much clutter going on in the viewfinder. This can make it easier to compose shots. Also, it’s a small, ultra-light-weight DSLR weighing in at 505 g (1lb 1.8 oz.) This is usually a plus to some, a negative to others. For me, I could go either way. Other features include a large rear 3-inch LCD, 11 Autofocus Points, Car Distortion Correction, and Nikon’s fresh EXPEED 2 image processing engine. There are few (hardly any) items that the D3100 is lacking, though, in comparison to higher end cameras; You can only use lenses that have a built in motor such as for example Nikon’s AF-S lenses (other lens makers have similar lenses) since the D3100 has no motor drive, there’s only one manual preset WB memory posture, you do not get any depth-of-industry 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 recommend the Nikon D3100. Therefore do thousands of others.

Best Semi-Pro DSLR

Nikon D7000

Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D7000, is also one of the greatest in its class. Having a brand new and amazing User Definable Adjustments (U1, U2) directly on the setting selector dial, these very useful shortcuts allow you to set, retail outlet and change your video cameras setting without having to go deep into the menu system! I’m envious. I want my D300S to possess this. Actually, I’m considering obtaining the D7000 for this feature alone. You can find other features I, among others (from what I saw several times) love relating to this camera, too, such as for example:

Full 1080p High Definition video
Light in weight, but still ergonomically comfortable
Best-in-class high ISO photos
Quiet… Very quiet procedure…Shhh…
Ground-breaking 2,016-Segment RGB Meter
Superior weather and dust sealing
Six frames per second continuous shooting up to 100 shots
New EXPEED 2 image processing
39 autofocus factors with nine cross-type sensors
So as you can observe, this camera is really a bargain for its price, which is around $1200 (body only.) My analysis on the D7000 wasn’t as comprehensive as others in it’s school, because of the fact it just got released. And people are having trouble finding it; it’s always sold-out! I have yet to read ANYTHING bad on the cameras. All I could find is that it can only bracket three exposures instead of the 5-9 that some other cameras can do. People are raving concerning the fast autofocus, and amazing metering due to the fresh 2,016-Segment RGB Meter. The Nikon D7000 has already been a smash hit during this article. It’s all sold-out. Not surprising to me, since it’s equally as good, if not much better than the Nikon D300s which is $300-$400 more. Now in the event that you excuse me, I must go buy this camera.

Best Full Frame DSLR – TIE

Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D700

After hours of exploration, I was determined to pick either the 5D Tag II or the D700 because the best professional full framework DSLR. One or another. Definitely not both. Well, after those hrs of research I did, I failed. My last verdict is definitely that you can’t fail with either of the stunning full body DSLRs. They both present breathtaking photos, even at high ISOs. Plus they both have excellent construction that may last you years upon decades. But which are the differences