TOP 10 Cameras



Sony Cyber-shot W570 Another great deal of a camera is the Sony Cyber-shot W570. It was priced at $180 when it was first released at CES 2011, but by now the list price has dropped to $130, and you’ll find it for even less on the street. Unlike the somewhat bulky Canon A1200, the ultracompact W570 doesn’t look like a budget shooter. It has classic Sony styling and comes in four body color options including purple and pink. Image quality is pretty good, if not as fine as the A1200.  That’s not such a surprise considering the W570 crams 16 megapixels on a same-size (read: tiny) sensor vs. the A1200’s 12 megapixels. It has a wider and longer zoom lens (25-125mm equivalent, f/2.6-6.3), though, and offers 12 scene modes as well as 720p HD video recording.

Olympus XZ-1 The first high-end compact point-and-shoot to be released by Olympus in almost a decade, the Olympus XZ-1 was a standout out among the CES crowd early this year. Though it’s not quite as tiny as Canon’s S100 and S95, it’s still relatively trim. Low-light shooting is a priority with the XZ-1: The bright 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent) has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at the wide angle and f/2.5 at telephoto, and a dedicated low-light mode automatically adjusts ISO sensitivity up to ISO 3200. There’s also an Autofocus Illuminator to assist with focusing in dark environments. The XZ-1’s high-resolution 610,000-dot, 3-inch OLED display, also stands out from the crowd, enabling deeper blacks and higher contrast ratios than more typical TFT screens. A control ring around lens works much like the one Canon originally introduced in the S90 (and still has on the S100). Combined with the wheel controller on the back of the camera, the control ring lets you easily access all manual settings on the fly

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Released in August 2010, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 can still hold its own among newer competitors like the S100 and XZ-1. Plus, being the oldest camera on this list, it can be found at greater discounts. Like the S100, its ultra-wide-angle 24mm equivalent lens has a bright f/2.0 maximum aperture, and delivers impressive image quality in low light with a sensitivity range up to ISO 12,800 (in high-sensitivity mode). Like the XZ-1, the LX5 includes a hot shoe for adding an external flash, and it also accepts an optional electronic viewfinder. Ultimately, though, it’s the impressive image quality and better-than-average performance of the LX5 that keeps it in the running despite newer entries with more advanced technology.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V :The HX9V is an outstanding travel compact, albeit one with a somewhat premium price tag. It’s easy to use, feels great in the hand and delivers fantastic image quality – especially when used in Sony’s proprietary Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto shooting modes. The omission of Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority shooting modes along with the ability to record lossless Raw files is all a bit of a let-down given the price, but otherwise there is very little to moan about and plenty to like. Sony’s Sweep Panorama technology is the best there is for in-camera ultra wideangle imaging, while the HX9V’s HD movie capabilities are also class leading. However, there’s still no getting away from that £300 price tag. It’s undoubtedly a lot of money for a compact camera, so be sure to shop around before parting with any money.
 
Nikon D7000: The D7000 is a fantastic step up camera for those who have outgrown entry level digital SLRs or for those who want to upgrade from older mid-range models, with the advantage this time around of a bang up-to-date feature set for the Nikon range; the obvious advantages of Full HD video and optional extras such as GPS making it a true tool for the multimedia age. It’s also a sensible option for those amateur enthusiasts who land the odd paid job now and again, but who wouldn’t want (or necessarily need) all the extras, nor expense, of an actual pro DSLR. Inevitably in a review of this length we can only touch on our own personal highlights, and suffice to say, lack of angle adjustable LCD aside, there is plenty of scope to get as much out of this camera as creative imagination will allow.

Fujifilm FinePix X100 After a huge build-up and much buzz and ballyhoo, the Fujifilm FinePix X100 started shipping in March of this year. Not only is it a thing of rare beauty — out-styling all but possibly Leica cameras in its retro appeal — but it’s also a photo enthusiast’s dream with a full-SLR-sized sensor (APS-C) and innovative features such as its hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Of course for that kind of coin you can get yourself a more flexible interchangeable lens compact (ILC) camera, but if money is no object, the X100 may be the camera of the year

Canon PowerShot G12 The Canon PowerShot G12 is a camera that provides the build quality and manual controls of a mid-range DSLR yet remains just about pocketable. It doesn’t offer the fast lenses and more compact bodies of some rival high-end compacts but counters this with even great manual controls, the option to add lens accessories like filters and a greater zoom range. For our money, we would take the faster alternatives though.

Nikon D7000:The D7000 is a fantastic step up camera for those who have outgrown entry level digital SLRs or for those who want to upgrade from older mid-range models, with the advantage this time around of a bang up-to-date feature set for the Nikon range; the obvious advantages of Full HD video and optional extras such as GPS making it a true tool for the multimedia age. It’s also a sensible option for those amateur enthusiasts who land the odd paid job now and again, but who wouldn’t want (or necessarily need) all the extras, nor expense, of an actual pro DSLR. Inevitably in a review of this length we can only touch on our own personal highlights, and suffice to say, lack of angle adjustable LCD aside, there is plenty of scope to get as much out of this camera as creative imagination will allow.

Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, you can pick up the Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS, a significantly better ultracompact that will probably set you back only another $60 or so (despite the $230 list price). Canon added backside illuminated CMOS sensors to all the new models in its Elph line, which has improved overall performance and value.  As with most Canon point-and-shoots, the image quality of the 300 HS is good for its class. It sports an impressively wide 24-120mm equivalent, f/2.7-5.9 5x zoom lens and shoots full 1080p HD video at 24fps as well as super-slow-motion video. Plus, it’s smart Auto system makes it a no-brainer to shoot with.

Sony Cyber-shot W570 Another great deal of a camera is the Sony Cyber-shot W570. It was priced at $180 when it was first released at CES 2011, but by now the list price has dropped to $130, and you’ll find it for even less on the street. Unlike the somewhat bulky Canon A1200, the ultracompact W570 doesn’t look like a budget shooter. It has classic Sony styling and comes in four body color options including purple and pink. Image quality is pretty good, if not as fine as the A1200.  That’s not such a surprise considering the W570 crams 16 megapixels on a same-size (read: tiny) sensor vs. the A1200’s 12 megapixels. It has a wider and longer zoom lens (25-125mm equivalent, f/2.6-6.3), though, and offers 12 scene modes as well as 720p HD video recording.