To pick out what I think the best cameras come in each one of these categories, I spent a lot of time researching different websites gathering as much information as possible for the best camera in each type. My research includes considering customer opinions on Amazon, Adorama and BH Photo Video, reading professional evaluations from DPreview, Imaging-Source and Steve’s Digicams, and reading various online web forums and message boards. Of course I’ll add my OWN personal opinion in the mix, also. Oh, an instant note… if there’s one thing to remember when shopping for new a camcorder, it’s that megapixels USUALLY DO NOT MATTER. These big camera organizations boast about having the most megapixels, trying to use it as a selling point, when they really don’t matter. Multiple resources online will say the same. Let’s start, shall we?

Best Compact Budget Point-and-Shoot

Canon SD1400IS

Staying under the $200 mark, and from the research I did, this little gem can take one heck of an image, along with HD video, too! That is right, this tiny guy has 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) High Definition video. A thing that is rarely observed in a camera this cheap. From what I learn while researching, this camera requires top quality photos for the price. The only drawback on it I came across online is really a slightly more grainy photo because of the 14MP censor. Besides that, people love it for the ease of use, pocket-able size and fine price-to-feature value. Other features include a large 2.7-inch LCD display screen, optical image stabilization, a broad 28mm equivalent lens (I love wide angle lenses), HDMI productivity, and Smart Automobile. I head a great deal of good things about smart Vehicle. From what Canon says, it’ll “intelligently select between 22 various predefined settings.” Oh, and it comes in HOT PINK! Definitely not that I care… After investigating this class of camera for hours, the general consensus is that Canon can make awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You may be satisfied with any of their budget models, like the SD1400IS. I have yet to find an awful one.

Best Compact Enthusiast Point-and-Shoot

Canon S95

Okay, now in my honest opinion, that is a no-brainer. The prior version, the Canon S90, was a massive 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, RAW mode (my favorite), a broad 28mm equivalent zoom lens and HDMI output. Those are just a few features. The best part, and the part that 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 harmony, and pretty much all of the manual controls. It significantly has everything a surveillance camera enthusiast would wish in a point-and-shoot, and more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Colour yRGB histograms, bracketing, a metal body, and crap a great deal of gimmicks and useless modes. In addition, it has 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, think it is rather lame because all the important features are locked out, such as exposure and white equilibrium. And HDR on a point-and-shoot? What has this planet come to. Just buy this camera. Really. To be honest I didn’t really do much research on other video cameras in its course, because once I knew Canon was making the S95, it was going be considered a hit. Sure you can find other good enthusiast cameras out there, but none which are nearly as awesome as the Canon S95 for exactly the same price and size!

Canon G12? Big and bulky at a cost of around $500.
Panasonic Lumix LX5? Still greater, and still more expensive. Price? Around $450.
I believe I proved my point. Needless to say this is just my opinion. I’m certain others will disagree with me.

Best Entry-Level DSLR

Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 will be another obvious buy if you’re looking to get a Digital SLR. At all around, or under, $700, you obtain one heck of a camcorder (with lens!) that is jam-packed full of features for the price. It is also Nikon’s first of all DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. I want to clarify why I picked it as the best entry-level DSLR. First off, it comes with a excellent kit lens, the 18-55mm AF-S VR, that is known to be a very good all-around kit lens. It’s sharp, has VR (Vibration Decrease) can focus very close – practically macro like – and has Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor which gives it fast, noiseless autofocus. Everything I read has been positive, except for the occasional “bad duplicate.” The images the D3100 pumps out are so near the specialized Nikon D3 and D700 in good light, you could never tell the distinction in a side-by-side comparison! High ISO on the D3100 is excellent, considering it’s not a full-frame camera. I’d say it’s just 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 buddy! The viewfinder in the D3100 is apparent and distraction free. Why by that is it generally does not have as much clutter planning on in the viewfinder. This will make it better to compose shots. Also, it is a small, ultra-compact DSLR weighing in at 505 g (1lb 1.8 oz.) It is a plus to some, a negative to others. For me personally, I could go in any event. Other features include a large rear 3-inch LCD, 11 Autofocus Points, AUTO Distortion Correction, and Nikon’s latest EXPEED 2 image processing engine. There are few (hardly any) 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 zoom lens makers have similar lenses) since the D3100 does not have any motor drive, there’s only 1 manual preset WB memory position, 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, now is the time to buy. And I would recommend the Nikon D3100. Therefore do thousands of others.

Best Semi-Pro DSLR

Nikon D7000

Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D7000, can be one of the better in its class. Having a brand new and amazing User Definable Configurations (U1, U2) right on the setting selector dial, these practical shortcuts enable you to set, retail outlet and change your cameras setting without needing 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 for this feature alone. There are other features I, among others (from what I saw numerous times) love relating to this camera, too, such as for example:

Full 1080p High Definition video
Light in weight, yet still ergonomically comfortable
Best-in-class high ISO photos
Quiet… Very quiet functioning…Shhh…
Ground-breaking 2,016-Segment RGB Meter
Superior weather and dust sealing
Six frames per second continuous shooting around 100 shots
New EXPEED 2 image processing
39 autofocus details with nine cross-type sensors
So as you can view, this camera is a bargain for its price, that is around $1200 (body simply.) My exploration on the D7000 wasn’t as substantial as others in it’s school, 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 video camera. All I could find is that it could only bracket three exposures instead of the 5-9 that various other cameras can do. Folks are raving about the fast autofocus, and incredible metering due to the innovative 2,016-Segment RGB Meter. The Nikon D7000 is already a smash hit at the time of this article. It’s all sold-out. Not surprising to me, since it’s just as good, if not 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 analysis, I was determined to pick either the 5D Mark II or the D700 because the best professional full frame DSLR. One or another. Definitely not both. Well, after those hours of research I did, I failed. My last verdict can be that you can’t go wrong with either of the stunning full frame DSLRs. They both supply breathtaking photos, even at high ISOs. And they both have excellent construction that may last you years upon years. But what are the differences