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Best Digital Cameras of 2009

Introduction

Here are the top digital cameras of 2009. Chose one as a gift or for yourself. The winners were selected in terms of camera type instead of size, to reflect recent changes to the digital camera market since we now find that ultra-compact cameras are more varied and that compact to medium sized models are increasingly rare.

For each digital camera type, the best overall model available was selected, emphasizing on image quality above all else. Alternate choices are presented when a model in the same category shows a significantly different feature set but does not drastically compromising on image quality. DSLR cameras are divided into sub-categories.

The digital cameras shown below are outstanding models in their respective categories. They are chosen for outstanding image quality, feature set, performance and value relative to cameras in the same category. If none of these models suit your needs, see our buying guide's model pages. If you are not sure which category would suite you better, consult the Choosing Basics section of the buying guide.

Ultra-Compact

Making digital cameras this small requires compromises. Choosing among them means deciding which compromises we can accept. In return, we get a camera which can unobtrusively be taken anywhere and more photo opportunities. The most drastic compromises are found in ultra-compact digital cameras.

Top Pick

Fujifilm Finepix F200 EXR

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts xD memory.Accepts xD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Fuji Finepix F200 EXR combines a wide-angle 5X optical zoom lens, image stabilization, ultra-high ISO and a 12 megapixels SuperCCD EXR sensor which features a revolutionary design.

The image quality of this digital camera is so fantastic that it even outperforms pretty much every fixed lens camera. This one is clearly the low-light and dynamic-range champion in this category and by a wide margin at that.


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What you will like
Fantastic image quality suitable for large prints
Excellent low-light capabilities at high-ISO
Extremely good dynamic range
Very good lens sharpness
Speedy focus, zooming and shutter-lag
Very good LCD visibility
Limited manual controls in an ultra-compact
What you may not like
Interface is twisted and complex feature interactions
No physical aperture, so no control over depth-of-field
Poor average battery life using proprietary battery

Alternate Choice

Canon Powershot S90

10 Megapixels10 MegapixelsStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Canon S90 is an ultra-compact aimed at advanced users. It has full manual controls, an efficient interface with dual control wheels and built-in stabilization.

While a look at the Canon S90's ISO performance is nothing to write about, its savior is a bright F2 wide-angle lens, that gives it a one stop head-start. Still, the Fuji F200 remains quite superior in terms of image quality but it does so with far less efficiency than the S90.


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Alternate Choice

Olympus Stylus Tough-8000

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringWeatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Waterproof - Submersible under water up to a certain depth.Waterproof - Submersible under water up to a certain depth.Accepts xD memory.Accepts xD memory.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 may only be average in terms of image quality but by being the world's most robust camera it can take on any environment.

This model is waterproof up to 10m (30') underwater, is shockproof against 2m (6') drops onto concrete,is freeze proof up to -10C (14F) and is crushproof against 200kg (440 lbs) of weight. There are no other digital cameras like this, in any category.


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Travel-Zoom

Small ultra-zoom digital cameras are plentiful. With sizes varying between ultra-compact and compact, these models pack at least 7X optical zoom and up. Just a few years ago, this was only possible with much larger models. Inevitably the size of the lens determines the compromise between focal-length and optical quality, although sensors are roughly the same now across most fixed-lens cameras from a given company.

Top Pick

Fujifilm Finepix F70 EXR

10 Megapixels10 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

This is the ultra-zoom version of the excellent F200 EXR. It packs a 10 megapixels sensor and a 10X optical zoom lens instead. High ISO and dynamic-range performance are just as great. The longer lens shows a bit of edge-softness and distortion but within reasonable limits.

This time, and because the S90 is not an ultra-zoom, nothing at all compares to this camera in terms of performance for the small ultra-zoom category.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Fantastic image quality suitable for large prints
Excellent low-light capabilities at high-ISO
Extremely good dynamic range
Speedy focus, zooming and shutter-lag
Very good LCD visibility
Limited manual controls in an ultra-compact
What you may not like
Interface is twisted and complex feature interactions
No physical aperture, so no control over depth-of-field
Poor average battery life using proprietary battery

Alternate Choice

Canon Powershot SX200 IS

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Canon SX200 is bigger than the F70 and would fall in the compact category. Its size makes up for features and functionality not found in other small ultra-zooms.

This camera's unique mix of features includes full-manual controls and HD video recording. Image quality is far from class-leading but then again, one has to compromise somewhere.


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Ultra-Zoom

Large cameras are very capable. In addition to a complete feature-set, these cameras can be equipped with outstanding optics and ergonomically-designed bodies. Compared to DSLR cameras, large cameras provide WYSIWYG live-preview with relatively fast auto focus and are not prone to sensor dust. Their only true limitation is having a fixed lens.

Fuji's SuperCCD EXR is really the winner this year as they now have 3 EXR models, with image quality beyond any competitors. Without new sensors, the only way other can compensate is to use brighter lenses as in the compact category.

Top Pick

Fujifilm Finepix S200 EXR

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Electronic View FinderElectronic View FinderStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Fuji S200 EXR now displaces its precursor as the most sophisticated camera every built, at least according to Fuji. Even though they always drop the old acronyms from new models, the S200 in fact has extra dynamic range (EXR), film simulation (FS), face-detection (FD), pro-focus and pro-lighting modes, all technologies that Fuji pioneered. Its lens gives it a 30-465mm 14X optical zoom range, giving it an impressive but not class leading range.

The S200 EXR has most features found on DSLRs, except it cannot swap lenses. Full manual-controls, manual focusing, bracketing, custom white-balance, high-ISO and a hot-shoe are all there.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Extremely good dynamic range
Superb image sharpness
Flexible color rendition and good white-balance
Mechanically linked 14X optical ultra-zoom
DSLR-style ergonomics
What you may not like
Above average purple fringing
Preview not always accurate and tiny viewfinder
Slow to wake-up after auto-off
Not as wide-angle as competitors or S100 FS

Alternate Choice

Fujifilm Finepix S100FS

11 Megapixels11 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Electronic View FinderElectronic View FinderStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveVGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts xD memory.Accepts xD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The image quality from the Fuji Finepix S100FS is superb. Combining a high-sensitivity 11 megapixels sensor and a mechanical 14.3X stabilized optical zoom lens into a DSLR-sized ultra-zoom, this camera simulates various Fuji films and captures up to 400% more dynamic range. While not on par with modern DSLRs, this camera is a serious challenger considering its 28-400 F2.8-5.3 lens. Under most situations, the biggest advantage of a DSLR over the Fuji S100FS is speed.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Superior dynamic range, expandable to 400%
Superb image sharpness
Flexible color rendition and good white-balance
Wide-angle mechanically linked ultra-zoom
DSLR-style ergonomics
Limited manual controls in an ultra-compact
What you may not like
Above average purple fringing
Preview not always accurate and tiny viewfinder
Slow to wake-up after auto-off
Short battery-life

Entry-Level DSLR

DSLR cameras top image quality, speed of operation and versatility. As such, all DSLR cameras are great photographic tools. While you cannot go wrong with any DSLR, some are better than others. Moving from a fixed-lens type of camera, results from a DSLR cannot fail to impress. The most important differences between DSLR cameras are features and lens choices. Note that all DSLR cameras have full manual controls, custom white balance, various metering modes, high-ISO, continuous drive and a flash hot-shoe.

Top Pick

Pentax K-x

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous Drive720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Runs on standard AA batteriesRuns on standard AA batteriesAccepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

This entry-level DSLR pushes the limits among its class with 4.7 FPS continuous shooting and a top 1/6000 shutter-speed. It does miss the older K200D's weather-sealing but keeps use of AA batteries and adds 720p HD video recording. It also has the largest viewfinder among its peers.

A new CMOS sensor design gives the Pentax K-x an ISO range up to 12800, although the last two stops are quite noisy, it does match its peers in the ISO 100-3200 range.


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What you will like
Excellent ISO performance with a wide range
Class leading shutter speed and continuous drive
Well-rounded feature set including stabilization
Excellent ergonomics and simplicity
Use of convenient AA batteries for extra portability
Excellent value for its image quality and feature set
What you may not like
Small selection of lenses compared to Canon and Nikon

Advanced DSLR

The Advanced DSLR category tied this year again because of the compromises available from manufacturers. In this category there is the Canon EOS 7D, Nikon D300S, Olympus E-3 and Pentax K-7. Of these, the K-7 is the richest in terms of features and while it does show class-leading performance in many areas, both Canon and Nikon kept their lead in terms of speed, drive and continuous auto focus, making those better choices for fast action. On the other hand, the K-7 has unique features such as automatic horizon correction and the highest weather resistance of any DSLR.

Top Pick

Nikon D300S

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexLevel: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous Drive720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Compact Flash memory.Accepts Compact Flash memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Nikon D300S is a great and robust digital SLR with every feature short of built in stabilization. Its high-speed drive shoots at 7 FPS and it also records HD video. Its viewfinder is the best in its class with 100% coverage. Add a 3" LCD with 920K pixels, 51-point AF with 3D-tracking and you have an incredibly capable cropped-sensor DSLR.


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What you will like
Lower image noise than most competing DSLRs, at the expense of high-ISO details
100% Coverage Viewfinder
51-Point Auto focus with 3D tracking
Fantastic LCD display
Excellent battery-life
Sealed against dust and moisture
What you may not like
Defaults to somewhat oversaturated colors
Significant softness starting at ISO 1600
Poor white-balance under artificial light

Top Pick

Pentax K-7

15 Megapixels15 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt to keep the horizon level.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous Drive720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The K-7 is part of a new line from Pentax that adds even more features to the K20D, some of them unique to the K-7, in a smaller buy even sturdier body. The K-7 features, well, everything: stabilization, dust reduction, dust alert, movie mode, 100% viewfinder, automatic horizon correction and a weather-sealed body rated to -10C.

Image quality is very good with high retention for details and very little noise-reduction which gives more grainy but more detailed results than most.


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What you will like
Excellent retention of details at all ISO
Built-in stabilization works with all lenses
Automatic horizon correction, corrects up to 2° of tilt
Class leading weather-resistance
Innovative exposure modes, program line
Digital white balance preview
Excellent usability features
What you may not like
Automatic white-balance not so reliable
Continuous auto focus slower than competition
Small selection of lenses compared to Canon and Nikon

Professional DSLR

DSLR cameras top image quality, speed of operation and versatility. As such, all DSLR cameras are great photographic tools. While you cannot go wrong with any DSLR, some are better than others. Moving from a fixed-lens type of camera, results from a DSLR cannot fail to impress. The most important differences between DSLR cameras are features and lens choices. Note that all DSLR cameras have full manual controls, custom white balance, various metering modes, high-ISO, continuous drive and a flash hot-shoe.

Top Pick

Nikon D3

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveManual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Compact Flash memory.Accepts Compact Flash memory.Neocamera hands-on reviewNeocamera hands-on reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The great news is that Nikon announced the D3S a few weeks ago. It may not make it for 2009 but there is no reason it will not perform better than the D3, otherwise Nikon would not have bothered. It claims excellent high-ISO performance with clean results even at 25,600 and maximum ISO of 102,400! It can be preordered from Amazon already. There are some sample crops available at ePhotozine.

The Nikon D3 is the low-light champion. Up to the introduction of the Nikon D3, it was arguable that the best low-light photographs could be achieved using a wide aperture prime lens on a DSLR with built in stabilization. The D3 does better by allowing clean results up to ISO 6400 which is ahead by 3 stops compared to stabilized bodies which renders void their advantages. Not only that, but low light photography at higher shutter-speeds makes it possible to shoot a starry sky without star-trails and without using a star-tracking tripod. Add a 100% coverage viewfinder, a 3" LCD with 920K pixels, 9 FPS continuous shooting and the D3 stakes it spot as the ultimate DSLR.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise, clean images up to ISO 6400 and even usable-but-noisy ISO 25,600
Class-leading continuous drive up to 11 FPS
Fast 51-point auto focus with 3D subject-tracking
Large 100% coverage viewfinder
Ultra-sharp 3" LCD with 920K pixels
Built-in digital level
Great ergonomics and superb build quality
What you may not like
Poor automatic white-balance in artificial light
No built-in flash
Quite heavy

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Updates

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    Nikon D5 XQD Review

    Nikon D5 XQD Review

    Nikon flagship professional DSLR with 20 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor. All-new 153-point Phase-Detect AF sensitive to -4 EV. ISO 50 to unprecedented 3,276,800! 12 FPS Drive for 200 JPEGs or 180 RAW. First Nikon DSLR with 4K Ultra HD video.