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 as possible to find the best camera in each type. My research includes looking at customer opinions on Amazon, Adorama and BH Image Video, reading professional reviews from DPreview, Imaging-Source and Steve’s best camera case Digicams, and reading various online web forums and discussion boards. Of course I’ll add my very own personal opinion in the combine, also. Oh, a quick 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 firms boast about having the most megapixels, trying to use it as a selling point, when they really do not matter. Multiple resources on the net will say exactly 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, this little gem can 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. Something that is rarely observed in a camera this cheap. From what I learn while researching, this camera can take good quality photos for the price. The only drawback on it I came across online is a slightly more grainy photo due to the 14MP censor. Besides that, people think it’s great for the simplicity, pocket-able size and excellent price-to-feature value. Other features include a large 2.7-inch LCD screen, optical image stabilization, a wide 28mm equivalent lens (I really like wide angle lenses), HDMI outcome, and Smart Automobile. I head many good things about smart Car. 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 general consensus is that Canon tends to make awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You can be satisfied with some of their budget models, including the SD1400IS. I have yet to get 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 a massive reach. And the Canon S95 improves upon it. I mean come on! For a camera under $400, it has 720p HD video clip (with stereo sound!), a brilliant bright f/2.0 lens, RAW mode (the best), a broad 28mm equivalent lens and HDMI output. Those are simply a few features. The best part, and the part that makes the S95 the very best enthusiast point-and-shoot camera, may be the control ring. This thing makes it a breeze to regulate focus, exposure, ISO, white equilibrium, and pretty much all the manual controls. It very seriously has everything a camcorder enthusiast would prefer in a point-and-shoot, and more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Colour yRGB histograms, bracketing, a metallic body, and crap a great deal of gimmicks and useless modes. In addition, it has an HDR mode. I’d never utilize it, but I guess it works pretty good. It requires three consecutive pictures 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 benefits are locked out, such as for example exposure and white balance. And HDR on a point-and-shoot? What has this universe come to. Just buy this camera. Really. In all honesty I didn’t do much research on other video cameras in its class, because once I understood Canon was generating the S95, it was going be a hit. Sure there are other good enthusiast cameras out there, but none that are nearly as awesome as the Canon S95 for the same price and size!

Canon G12? Huge and bulky at a cost of around $500.
Panasonic Lumix LX5? Still larger, 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 can be another obvious buy if you’re looking to get a Digital SLR. At all over, or under, $700, you obtain one heck of a cameras (with lens!) that is jam-packed filled with features for the price. It’s also Nikon’s first of all DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. I want to explain why I picked it because the best entry-level DSLR. First off, it comes with a very good kit lens, the 18-55mm AF-S VR, that is known to be a very good all-around kit lens. It’s sharpened, has VR (Vibration Reduction) can focus very close – nearly 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 expert Nikon D3 and D700 in good light, that you could never tell the variation in a side-by-side comparison! High ISO on the D3100 is excellent, 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. In other words, don’t be afraid to shoot at ISO 1600. In-fact, make it your friend! The viewfinder in the D3100 is distinct and distraction free. Why by that is it doesn’t have as much clutter going on in the viewfinder. This will make it simpler to compose shots. Also, it’s a small, ultra-light and portable DSLR weighing in at 505 g (1lb 1.8 oz.) This is 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, AUTO Distortion Correction, and Nikon’s innovative EXPEED 2 image processing engine. There are few (very few) items that the D3100 is missing, though, compared to higher end cameras; It is possible to only use lenses that have a built in motor such as Nikon’s AF-S lenses (other zoom lens makers have similar lenses) since the D3100 does not have any motor drive, there’s only 1 manual preset WB memory posture, you do not 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. And so do thousands of others.

Best Semi-Pro DSLR

Nikon D7000

Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D7000, is also the most effective in its class. Having a brand new and amazing User Definable Options (U1, U2) directly on the setting selector dial, these handy shortcuts let you set, retail outlet and change your video cameras setting without needing to go deep in to the menu system! I’m envious. I’d like my D300S to possess this. Actually, I’m considering getting the D7000 for this feature alone. There are other features I, and others (from what I saw many times) love about 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 operation…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, that is around $1200 (body simply.) My research on the D7000 wasn’t as considerable as others in it’s course, due to the fact it just got released. And people are having a hard time finding it; it’s always sold out! I have yet to read ANYTHING bad on the camera. All I could find is that it could only bracket three exposures rather than the 5-9 that some other cameras can do. People are raving concerning the fast autofocus, and incredible metering due to the brand-new 2,016-Segment RGB Meter. The Nikon D7000 has already been a smash hit during this article. It’s all sold-out. Not surprising if you ask me, since it’s just as good, if not 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 analysis, I was determined to choose either the 5D Tag II or the D700 because the best professional full body DSLR. One or the other. Not both. Well, after those hrs of research I did, I failed. My final verdict is usually that you can’t go wrong with either of the stunning full body DSLRs. They both deliver breathtaking images, even at high ISOs. And they both have excellent construction which will last you years upon ages. But which are the differences