To pick out what I think the best cameras are in each one of these categories, I spent countless hours researching different websites gathering as much information as possible to find the best camera in each group. My research includes considering customer assessments on Amazon, Adorama and BH Picture Video, reading professional reviews from DPreview, Imaging-Resource and Steve’s Digicams, and reading various online web forums and message boards. Of course I’ll add my very own personal opinion in the blend, also. Oh, a quick note… if there’s one thing to remember when shopping for new a surveillance camera, it’s that megapixels USUALLY DO NOT MATTER. These big camera firms boast about getting the most megapixels, trying to use it as a selling point, when they really do not 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) HI-DEF video. Something that is rarely seen in a camera this low-priced. From what I go through while researching, this camera needs top quality photos for the price. The only real drawback on it I came across online is really 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 broad 28mm equivalent lens (I really like wide angle lenses), HDMI end result, and Smart AUTO. I head a lot of good things about smart Vehicle. From what Canon says, it will “intelligently select between 22 several predefined settings.” Oh, and it comes in HOT PINK! Definitely not that I care… After studying this class of camera for hours, the general consensus is that Canon makes awesome compact budget point-and-shoots. You may be satisfied with any 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 usually a no-brainer. The previous version, the Canon S90, was an enormous strike. And the Canon S95 improves upon it. After all come on! For a camera under $400, it has 720p HD training video (with stereo sound!), a super bright f/2.0 lens, RAW mode (the best), a wide 28mm equivalent lens and HDMI output. Those are simply a few features. The very best part, and the part that makes the S95 the best enthusiast point-and-shoot camera, may be the control ring. This thing helps it be a breeze to adjust focus, exposure, ISO, white balance, and pretty much all of the manual controls. It significantly has everything a video camera enthusiast would prefer in a point-and-shoot, and more! Let’s see… AUTO ISO, Shade yRGB histograms, bracketing, a metal body, and crap tons 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 requires three consecutive photos and merges them together for you personally. After that you can edit them later on your personal computer. I, however, think it is rather lame because all the important attributes 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 cameras in its school, because once I knew Canon was producing the S95, it had been going be considered a hit. Sure you can find other good enthusiast cameras out there, but none that are nearly as awesome because the Canon S95 for exactly the same price and size!

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

Best Entry-Level DSLR

Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 is usually another obvious buy if you’re looking to get a Digital SLR. At around, or under, $700, you get one heck of a video camera (with lens!) that is jam-packed filled with features for the price. It is also Nikon’s primary DSLR to feature full 1080p HD video. Let me describe 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 razor-sharp, has VR (Vibration Lowering) can focus very close – nearly macro like – and has Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor gives it fast, calm autofocus. Everything I read was positive, except for the occasional “bad backup.” The images the D3100 pumps out are so near the qualified Nikon D3 and D700 in good light, that you could never tell the difference in a side-by-side comparison! High 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 when it comes to high ISO. In other words, don’t be scared to shoot at ISO 1600. In-fact, ensure it is your good friend! The viewfinder in the D3100 is distinct and distraction free. Why by that is it generally does not have as much clutter moving 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.) That is a plus to some, a negative to others. For me personally, I could go either way. Other features include a large rear 3-inch LCD, 11 Autofocus Points, Vehicle Distortion Correction, and Nikon’s fresh EXPEED 2 image processing motor. There are few (very few) things that the D3100 is lacking, though, compared to higher end cameras; You can only use lenses which 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 one manual preset WB memory place, you don’t get any depth-of-industry preview, and there is no Kelvin White Balance setting. If you are searching for an entry-level Digital SLR, this 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 among the finest in its class. Featuring a completely new and amazing User Definable Adjustments (U1, U2) right on the function selector dial, these helpful shortcuts let you set, retailer and change your video cameras 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 because of this feature alone. There are other features I, among others (from what I saw countless times) love concerning this camera, too, such as for example:

Full 1080p HI-DEF 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 up to 100 shots
New EXPEED 2 image processing
39 autofocus points with nine cross-type sensors
So as you can view, this camera is a bargain for its price, that is around $1200 (body only.) My analysis on the D7000 wasn’t as substantial as others in it’s school, due to the fact it just got released. And folks 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 rather than the 5-9 that various other cameras can do. People are raving about the fast autofocus, and amazing metering due to the innovative 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 if you excuse me, I have to go buy this camera.

Best Full Frame DSLR – TIE

Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D700

After hours of exploration, I was determined to choose either the 5D Tag II or the D700 as the best professional full framework DSLR. One or the other. Not both. Well, after those hrs of research I did, I failed. My ultimate verdict can be that you can’t fail with either of these stunning full framework DSLRs. They both provide breathtaking pictures, even at high ISOs. Plus they both have excellent build quality that will last you years upon a long time. But what are the differences

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