Best Digital Cameras 2012

Best Digital Cameras 2012

With so many options to choose from, deciding which is the best digital camera from the existing lot is a daunting task. In a bid to do the same, we reviewed some of the much-hyped digital cameras on the block, and came across a few impressive options.
Other than the features and your budget, the reason why you want to buy a digital camera also plays a crucial role in determining which camera is ideal for you. A point and shoot camera is more than enough if you intend to pursue photography as a hobby, but if you plan to make a career out of it, a digital SLR is a must. While that is one tip which features in every single list of photography tips that you are likely to come across, one also has to note that several new digital cameras have been introduced over the last few years; and some of these have given birth to a whole new category in itself. Not surprisingly, the practice of categorizing the existing models into two groups, point and shoot cameras and SLRs, has now become a thing of yesteryears.

Alongside basic point and shoot models, we now have advanced point and shoot cameras for those who seek that 'SLR experience' - without having to face the trouble of carrying a bulky DSLR along. Even the DSLRs are now grouped into two prominent categories - the entry-level DSLRs and the professional DSLRs. A professional DSLR comes with a whole lot of advanced features, and costs around $3,000 or more. Yet another category, is that of the compact cameras equipped with an interchangeable lens mount. Interestingly, all these categories come with overlapping features, and hence we have no option, but to take all of them into consideration when compiling a list of best digital cameras of 2012.

Best Point and Shoot Camera - Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR
  • Size and Weight: 4.1×2.5×1.3 inches, 215g
  • Resolution: 16 Megapixel
  • Zoom: 15× Optical Zoom/5× Digital Zoom
  • Viewfinder: No
  • LCD Screen: 3.0-inch TFT color LCD
  • Sensitivity: Auto/Equivalent to ISO 100/200/400/800/1600/3200/6400/12800
  • Image Sensor: 1/2-inch EXR CMOS (with primary color filter.)
  • Continuous Shooting: 8 frames per second
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) Memory Card
  • Batteries: NP-50 Li-ion rechargeable battery (300 shots per charge)
  • Shooting Modes: Auto, Program, shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual mode.
  • Price: $219.00
Other Noteworthy Models: Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78, Canon PowerShot SD940 IS, Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V

Best Point and Shoot Camera (Advanced) - Canon PowerShot G1 X
  • Size and Weight: 4.60×3.17×2.55 inches, 492g
  • Resolution: 14.3 Megapixels
  • Zoom (Optical/Digital): 4× Optical Zoom/4× Digital Zoom
  • Viewfinder: Real-image zoom viewfinder
  • LCD Screen: 3.0-inch TFT color LCD (Vari-angle type with wide-viewing angle)
  • ISO: Auto, ISO 100/125/160/200/250/320/400/500/640/800/1000/1250/1600/2000/2500/3200/4000/5000/6400/8000/10000/12800 (When in P mode)
  • Image Sensor: 1.5-inch CMOS type
  • Continuous Shooting: Approx. 4.5 shots/sec. (in High-speed Burst HQ mode)
  • Storage: SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
  • Batteries: Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack NB-10L (Approx. 250 shots per charge/LCD On)
  • Shooting Modes: Smart Auto, Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Scene, Creative Filter, Movie
  • Price: $799.99
Other Noteworthy Models: Canon PowerShot SX20 IS, Nikon CoolPix P90, Canon Powershot G1 X, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V and Olympus SP-590UZ

Best Interchangeable-Lens Camera - Sony Alpha NEX-7
  • Size and Weight: 2.75×4.75×1.7 inches, 291g
  • Resolution: 24.3 Megapixels
  • Viewfinder: Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
    • Magnification: 1.09×
    • Frame Coverage: 100%
  • LCD Screen: 3.0-inch TFT Xtra Fine LCD
  • ISO: Auto (ISO 100-16000), Selectable (ISO 100 to 1600)
  • Image Sensor: APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Continuous Shooting: 10 frames per second
  • Storage: Memory Stick PRO Duo/Pro-HG Duo/PRO-HG HX Duo media SD, SDHC and SDXC Memory Card
  • Batteries: InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 (7.2V) (430 shots per charge)
  • Shooting Mode: iAUTO, Program AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter priority (S), Manual (M), Sweep Panorama (2D), 3D Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Scene Selection
  • Price: $1349.99
Other Noteworthy Models: Nikon 1 V1, Olympus PEN E-PL3, Sony Alpha NEX-F3, Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

Best Entry-level D-SLR - Nikon D5100
  • Size and Weight: 5.0×3.8×3.1 inches, 510g
  • Resolution: 16.2 Megapixels
  • Viewfinder: Eye-level Pentamirror Single-Lens Reflex viewfinder
    • Magnification: 0.78×
    • Frame Coverage: Approx. 95%
  • LCD Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-angle TFT-LCD
  • ISO: ISO 100 - 6400, Hi-0.3, Hi-0.7, Hi-1 (ISO 12,800), Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)
  • Image Sensor: DX-format CMOS sensor
  • Continuous Shooting: 4 frames per second
  • Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Batteries: EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (660 Shots)
  • Shooting Modes: Advanced Scene Modes, Aperture-Priority (A), Auto, Auto (flash off), Manual (M), Programmed Auto with flexible Program (P), Shutter-Priority Auto (S), Special Effects Mode
  • Price: $849.95
Other Noteworthy Models: Canon Rebel T3i, Nikon D3100, Sony SLT-A55, Olympus E-620 and Pentax K-r

Best Professional D-SLR - Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Size and Weight: 6.1×6.2×3.1 inches, 1,390g
  • Resolution: 16.10 megapixels
  • Viewfinder: Pentaprism viewfinder
    • Magnification: 0.76×
    • Frame Coverage: 100%
  • LCD Screen: 3.0-inch Clear View II TFT
  • ISO: Auto (100-12800), 100-12800 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments) ISO can be expanded to L: 50, H1: 25600, H2: 51200, H3 102400
  • Image Sensor: APS-H CMOS sensor
  • Continuous Shooting: Max. Approx. 10fps.
  • Storage: CF Card Type I and II, SD/SDHC Memory Card
  • Batteries: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E4 (1,500 shots)
  • Shooting Modes: Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual
  • Price Range: $4,000-$5,500
Other Noteworthy Models: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, Nikon D7000, Nikon D3X, Olympus E-5 and Pentax K-5

The drastic fall in the price of digital SLRs of late, has made them much more affordable than what they were around a decade ago. Now you can go for an entry-level digital SLR if you intend to pursue photography as a serious hobby without worrying much about the investment factor. All in all, it is the intended use that is the key in buying a camera suitable for you, and once you have figured that out, half the task is done.
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