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 for the best camera in each classification. My research includes considering customer critiques on Amazon, Adorama and BH Photo Video, reading professional evaluations from DPreview, Imaging-Learning resource and Steve’s Digicams, and reading several online web forums and message boards. Of course I’ll add my OWN personal opinion in the blend, also. Oh, a quick note… if there’s a very important factor 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 use it as a selling point, when they really don’t matter. Multiple resources on the internet 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 a picture, alongside HD video, too! That is right, this tiny guy has 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) High Definition video. Something that is rarely observed in a camera this affordable. From what I read while researching, this camera calls for good quality photos for the price. The only real drawback on it I came across online is a slightly more grainy photo as a result of 14MP censor. Other than that, people think it’s great for the simplicity, pocket-able size and fine price-to-feature value. Other features add 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 AUTO. I head a lot of good things about smart Automobile. From what Canon says, it’ll “intelligently select between 22 various predefined settings.” Oh, also it comes in HOT PINK! Not really that I care… After investigating this class of camera all night, the overall consensus is that Canon would make awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You may be satisfied with some 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 own honest opinion, it is a no-brainer. The prior version, the Canon S90, was an enormous hit. And the Canon S95 improves upon it. I mean come on! For a camera under $400, it has 720p HD video tutorial (with stereo sound!), a brilliant bright f/2.0 lens, RAW mode (my favorite), a broad 28mm equivalent lens and HDMI output. Those are just a few features. The 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 regulate focus, exposure, ISO, white equilibrium, and pretty much all of the manual controls. It really has everything a camcorder enthusiast would would like in a point-and-shoot, and more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Color yRGB histograms, bracketing, a steel 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 pictures and merges them together for you personally. After that you can edit them later on your personal computer. I, however, find it rather lame because all of the important capabilities are locked out, such as for example exposure and white balance. And HDR on a point-and-shoot? What has this planet come to. Just buy this camera. Really. In all honesty I didn’t really do much research on other video cameras in its school, because once I knew Canon was generating 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 cost of around $500.
Panasonic Lumix LX5? Still larger, and still more costly. Price? Around $450.
I believe 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 are looking to get a Digital SLR. At close to, or under, $700, you obtain one heck of a surveillance camera (with lens!) that’s jam-packed filled with features for the price. It is also Nikon’s first DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. Let me make clear why I picked it as 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 Decrease) can focus very close – practically macro like – and contains Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor 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 in close proximity the specialized Nikon D3 and D700 in good light, that you could never tell the difference in a side-by-side comparison! Superior ISO on the D3100 is excellent, considering it’s not a full-frame camera. I would say it’s just as good Nikon D300s I own with regard to high ISO. Quite simply, don’t be scared to shoot at ISO 1600. In-fact, ensure it is your good friend! The viewfinder in the D3100 is very clear and distraction free. What I mean by that is it doesn’t have as much clutter planning on in the viewfinder. This will make it better to compose shots. Also, it’s a small, ultra-light-weight DSLR weighing in at 505 g (1lb 1.8 oz.) This is a plus to some, a poor to others. For me personally, 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 motor. There are few (very few) items that the D3100 is lacking, though, in comparison 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 does not have any motor drive, there’s only 1 manual preset WB memory situation, you do not get any depth-of-field preview, and there is absolutely no Kelvin White Balance setting. If you are searching for an entry-level Digital SLR, now 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. Featuring a completely new and amazing User Definable Options (U1, U2) directly on the mode selector dial, these convenient shortcuts permit you to set, shop and change your cams setting without needing 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. There are other features I, among others (from what I saw different 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-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 things with nine cross-type sensors
So as you can observe, this camera is a bargain for its price, that 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 folks are having a hard time finding it; it’s always sold out! I have yet to learn ANYTHING bad on the camcorder. 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 about the fast autofocus, and awesome 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 to me, since it’s equally as good, if not better than the Nikon D300s which is $300-$400 more. Now in the event that 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 study, I was determined to pick either the 5D Tag II or the D700 as the best professional full body DSLR. One or another. Not both. Well, after those hrs of research I did, I failed. My last verdict is that you can’t go wrong with either of these stunning full framework DSLRs. They both supply breathtaking pictures, even at high ISOs. Plus they both have excellent construction that may last you years upon years. But what are the differences