RSS Twitter YouTube

Best Digital Cameras of 2012

Introduction

Here we present the best digital cameras of 2012. Each winning camera was chosen as the best-in-class in its respective category among models currently available As of November 2012. Some may not be available in all markets yet.. There was a complete shake-up this year with new models winning in every category! Runner ups are chosen only if it offers very similar performance or a distinct advantage.

Categories largely remain the same as last year except that Mirrorless cameras - previously called SLD - were consolidated into a single category because manufacturers produced very compact models despite differences in sensor-sizes. Plus, consumers do not distinguish between them that way either.

Emphasis for selection is on image quality above all else. All models below are chosen for outstanding image quality, feature set and performance relative to cameras in the same category. If you are not sure which category would suite you better, consult the Choosing Basics section of the buying guide.

Choices can transcend boundaries between digital camera types and so, this year, a new section awards the best performing camera for different photography subjects. Winners were chosen for outstanding performance regardless of camera type or price. Consult this list if one type of photography dominates your art.

Ultra-Compact

The ultra-compact is the most portable type of digital camera. It fits in most pant pockets and can be taken unobtrusively anywhere. While it compromises in image quality, ergonomics and features, it delivers more photo opportunities simply because it is rarely left behind.

Best Ultra-Compact 2012

Canon Powershot S110

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsHigh 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 DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 ultra-compact uses a larger-than-usual 12 MP sensor which delivers improved image quality over its modern peers. The Canon S110
Canon Powershot S110
features an ultra-wide-angle 5X optical zoom lens equivalent to 24-120mm with an bright F/2 aperture at the wide end. This lets it gather 2 to 4 times more light than other ultra-compacts and gives it an unrivaled lead in low-light performance.

This digital camera is also the most ergonomic ultra-compact. Its dual control-dials give it efficient access to its full manual-controls. Framing is via a sharp 3" LCD with 460K pixels and yet it manages to squeeze-in built-in WiFi too.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent manual-controls
Bright ultra-wide-angle lens
High ISO capability
Very fast and responsive
Up to 10 FPS burst
Bright and sharp LCD
What you may not like
Lens dims quickly when zooming in
Still has a small sensor
No hand-grip at all
Short battery life

Travel-Zoom

Small ultra-zoom digital cameras are plentiful. With sizes varying between ultra-compact and compact, these models pack at least 8X optical zoom. 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.


Best Travel-Zoom 2012

Fujifilm Finepix F800 EXR

16 Megapixels16 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.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 impressive Fujifilm Finepix F800 EXR
Fujifilm Finepix F800 EXR
and its GPS-enabled WiFi-less version, the reviewed F770 EXR
Fujifilm Finepix F770 EXR
feature a special 16 megapixels CMOS sensor with EXR technology that delivers class-leading dynamic-range and relatively low image-noise.

Its 20X ultra-wide-angle optical zoom lens has built-in stabilization, reaching 500mm in a camera that closes down to a mere 1.5" thick. It sports advanced features with full manual-controls, 1080p HD video capture and 8 FPS continuous drive.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Stellar dynamic-range
Low image noise
Impressive optical performance
Superb stabilization
Very fast autofocus
What you may not like
Complex feature interactions
No physical aperture
Choppy LCD with continuous drive
Video recording delay
Short battery-life

Runner Up

Canon Powershot SX160 IS

16 Megapixels16 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 MeteringRuns on standard AA batteriesRuns on standard AA batteriesAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 Canon Powershot SX160 IS
Canon Powershot SX160 IS
is the powerhouse of travel-zooms. Instead of the CMOS sensor of the F800 EXR, this one uses a 16 MP CCD combined with a shorter 16X wide-angle optical zoom.

The SX160 features full manual-controls including manual and macro focusing down to 1cm from the lens. Its body is more ergonomic and easier to use while being powered by readily available AA batteries. Unlike the Fuji, it has a physical aperture and wider range of shutter-speeds, particularly at high-ISO, making it more versatile.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent manual-controls
Superb macro capability
Simple user interface
Runs on standard batteries
What you may not like
Limited dynamic-range
Limited low-light sensitivity
Comparatively slow
Video limited to 720p
Not so compact

 

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.

Only two high-end ultra-zooms were introduced in 2012, this year's winner and the Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
, taking opposite approaches: a larger sensor for the Fuji and a constant aperture lens for the Panasonic.

Best Ultra-Zoom 2012

Fujifilm X-S1

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.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 MeteringWeatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 Fujifilm X-S1
Fujifilm X-S1
is an advanced ultra-zoom and the only weather-sealed model ever made. It is equipped with an ultra-wide-angle 26X optical zoom with a fantastic mechanical zoom which is infinitely precise, very fast and completely quiet.

This ultra-zoom is very feature-rich with full manual-controls, including a fly-by-wire focus, digital level, high-speed drive, 1080p HD video capture and Fuji's EXR technology which delivers stellar dynamic-range and relatively low image noise.

The X-S1 is fast and responsive with great image quality for its class. It is durably built and ergonomic. It includes an ultra-sharp 1.4 MP EVF, large 3" LCD and hot-shoe.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Mechanical ultra-wide to super telephoto lens
Stellar dynamic range
Low image noise
Good image sharpness
Excellent built quality
DSLR-style ergonomics
What you may not like
Poor white-balance in artificial light
Weak Eye-Start sensor
Poor preview coverage
Limited shutter-speeds above base ISO

Premium Compact

Premium compacts are digital cameras with an extensive feature set in a relatively compact body. They rarely fit in a pocket but neither do other cameras with the same feature set. Sensor-size has been getting bigger among premium compacts, delivering very good image quality.

The similar price of premium compacts and mirrorless digital cameras is causing some dilemma. Mirrorless cameras are clearly more versatile yet that brings the hassle of changing lenses and sensor dust, which not everyone is willing to deal with. On the hand, premium compacts deliver an all-in-one camera with outstanding image quality.


Best Premium Compact 2012

Canon Powershot G1 X

14 Megapixels14 MegapixelsHigh 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.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 Powershot G1 X
Canon Powershot G1 X
is uses a large 1.5" CMOS sensor with 14 megapixels which delivers usable results until ISO 6400. That is paired with a versatile 28-120mm equivalent optical zoom lens with image stabilization.

The G1 X has plenty of external controls to access it large feature-set, a 3" rotating LCD, optical tunnel viewfinder and hot-she for external lighting.

This premium camera has very good ergonomic, is rather intuitive to use and feels very sturdy. The main downside is slow overall performance, particularly autofocus.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Class-leading image noise
Excellent sharpness
Good colors with tweak
Built-in 3-stop ND-Filter
Intuitive interface
Durable build quality
What you may not like
Slow autofocus system
Some over-exposure
Poor white-balance in low-light
Slow shot-to-shot speed
Short battery-life
Poor optical viewfinder

Runner Up

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

20 Megapixels20 MegapixelsHigh 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.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Memory Stick Duo memory.Accepts Memory Stick Duo 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 Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100
is barely larger than an ultra-compact, yet it fits a 20 megapixels 1" CMOS sensor, similar in size to some mirrorless cameras. Its bright 3.6X wide-angle optical zoom lens retracts in the camera to make it 1½" slim when powered off.

The RX100 boasts full manual-controls, including manual-focus, and dual control-dials plus a mode-dial to efficiently access its features.

Even with its high megapixels count, it can shoot continuous at 10 FPS and capture full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS. Framing is done via an ultra-sharp 1.2 megapixels 3" LCD.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Very compact
High resolution
Good sharpness
Fast and responsive
Advanced video features
What you may not like
Lens dims down to F/4.9 at telephoto
Limited dynamic-range
Front control-dial rotates freely
Battery charges in-camera
Below average battery-life

Mirrorless

Mirrorless digital cameras are designed to bring the versatility of interchangeable lenses to a small form-factor while delivering high image quality. The latest generation of mirrorless cameras succeeded rather well, even matching the image quality some modern DSLRs. They have also taken great strides in improving speed which initially lagged considerably behind.


Best Mirrorless 2012

Fujifilm X-Pro1

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsElectronic View FinderElectronic View FinderHigh 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 DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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.

Fuji introduced the Fujifilm X-Pro1
Fujifilm X-Pro1
as a premium camera by launching it exclusively with bright prime lenses and giving it a unique X-Trans sensor. This is a 16 MP APS-C CMOS sensor with a unique color-array which requires no anti-alias filter.

The Fuji X-Pro1 manages to exceed the image quality of most cropped-sensor DSLRs and produces sharp images with very low noise and superb colors.

The design of the X-Pro1 favors direct mechanical controls, making it efficient to use. It also includes a unique hybrid viewfinder that switches between EVF and OVF mode, providing two options for eye-level shooting.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Excellent sharpness
Great color accuracy
Excellent EVF mode
Plenty of direct controls
Superb build quality
What you may not like
Slow autofocus
Slow shot-to-shot speed
Quite a few usability issues
Limited selection of lenses

COMING SOON The Fujifilm X-E1
Fujifilm X-E1
did not make it on time but shares its sensor with the X-Pro1 and improves on key areas. This includes a 30% smaller and lighter body, plus a higher resolution 2.4 megapixels 0.5" EVF, a faster autofocus system and, amazingly, a $700 USD lower price.


Runner Up

Olympus OM-D E-M5

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsElectronic View FinderElectronic View FinderHigh 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.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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.Live-View: Lets DSLR cameras use the rear LCD as an EVF.Live-View: Lets DSLR cameras use the rear LCD as an EVF.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 Olympus OM-D E-M5
Olympus OM-D E-M5
delivers the highest image quality of any Micro Four-Thirds camera to date. While it lags behind top APS-C DSLRs, it focuses extremely quickly, matching entry-level to mid-range DSLRs.

With Olympus being one of the mirrorless pioneers, the OM-D E-M5 benefits from a mature system and the most extensive mirrorless lens lineup. There are very compact and amazingly sharp premium lenses to choose from.

As the flagship Olympus mirrorless, the OM-D E-M5 includes a built-in 1.4 MP EVF and 5-axis stabilization system. It can also shoot continuously at 9 FPS while keeping up closely on its EVF or tilting 3" LCD.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent image quality
Very reliable metering
Superb built-in stabilization
Fast contrast-detect AF
Exceptional speed of operation
Unique Live-Bulb mode
Sturdy weatherproof construction
What you may not like
Poor color accuracy
Modal Exposure-Compensation
Cramped controls
Low battery-life

Entry DSLR

Entry-Level DSLR cameras use the same large sensor as advanced models to give equally impressive image quality while remaining much faster than the majority of digital cameras, including mirrorless models. These cameras are often choice models for high image quality at a low cost, particularly for shooting moving subjects.


Best Entry-Level DSLR 2012

Pentax K-30

16 Megapixels16 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.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 DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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.Runs on standard AA batteriesRuns on standard AA batteriesAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 Pentax K-30
Pentax K-30
is a 16 megapixels APS-C DSLR which produces images of exceptional quality. While being the size and price of an entry-level model, the K-30 provides more professional features than its peers. This includes a 100% coverage viewfinder, a weather-sealed body which is freezeproof to -10C (14F), dual control-dials, built-in Shake Reduction and Automatic Horizon Correction.

Having the 100% coverage viewfinder and horizon correction improves photography by freeing the photographers from worries. The dual control-dials allow to operate the camera more efficiently while the weatherproof construction lets the K-30 be used in adverse weather With the use of a weather-sealed lens..

Its sensor produces images with low noise, class-leading dynamic-range and natural image colors. This is also one of the fastest models in its class with a top shutter-speed of 1/6000s and 6 FPS drive mode.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent image noise
Exceptional dynamic range
Generally fast and responsive
Built-in Shake Reduction
Automatic Horizon Correction
100% Coverage viewfinder
Weather-sealed and freezeproof
Support for both AA and Lithium-Ion batteries
Excellent ergonomics and controls
What you may not like
Autofocus speed below average
Limited lens lineup compared to other brands
Short battery-life with supplied Lithium-Ion battery
AA Batteries require optional adapter

While no other entry-level DSLR has a comparable feature-set, the Pentax K-30 faces competition from the Pentax K-5
Pentax K-5
which has dropped in price recently. It offers the same feature-set with more controls in a more durable body and even a dual IR-receivers and stereo sound-input.

Advanced DSLR

Today's Advanced DSLRs show exceptional image quality, great speed of operation and a wealth of features. These cameras are designed for efficient operation and can be used for all types of photography without much bulk. Choice of lenses abounds with a growing number specifically designed for cropped-sensor, saving cost and weight compared to comparable full-frame models.

Best Advanced DSLR 2012

Pentax K-5 IIs

16 Megapixels16 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.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 DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), 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 16 megapixels sensor of the Pentax K-5 IIs
Pentax K-5 IIs
takes image-quality to the next level for APS-C DSLRs by removing the usual anti-alias filter and maximizing sharpness.

The Pentax K-5 IIs brings unprecedented level of image quality to cropped-sensor DSLRs, challenging even larger full-frame cameras on many fronts. Plus, its keeps all the fantastic and unique features of the K-5 including built-in stabilization, automatic horizon correction, 100% coverage viewfinder and the best weatherproof protection among ILCs.

This DSLR has an extended ISO range that reaches 51200, plus the most sensitive autofocus system on the market, a dual-axis digital-level, 7 FPS drive and full 1080p HD video recording. The K-5 IIs has the most efficient controls of any current digital camera and excellent ergonomics.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image-noise
Exceptional image sharpness
Class-leading dynamic-range
Built-in Shake Reduction
Automatic Horizon Correction
Ultra-sensitive autofocus system
Quite fast and responsive
Weather-sealed and freezeproof
Class-leading ergonomics and usability
What you may not like
Slow AF compared to other high-end DSLRs
Higher potential for moire artifacts
Noticeable image review delay
Limited lens lineup compared to other brands

Pentax simultaneously release the K-5 II
Pentax K-5 II
which is identical except for its use of an anti-alias filter like all Bayer-based DSLRs other than the K-5 IIs and full-frame Nikon D800E
Nikon D800E
.

Professional DSLR

Professional full-frame DSLRs feature the best image quality and performance for demanding photographers. The trade-offs are always increased cost of both camera and lenses as well as added bulk. These cameras are extremely versatile and with the right lenses, suitable for all types of photography.

Best Professional DSLR 2012

Nikon D4

16 Megapixels16 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 DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Type I memory.Accepts Compact Flash Type I memory.Accepts XQD memory.Accepts XQD 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 Nikon D4
Nikon D4
embodies DSLRs like no other and takes the essential qualities of professional digital cameras to the extreme:

  • Stellar low-light performance with a maximum ISO sensitivity of 204,800!
  • Blazing-fast autofocus that works in low-light.
  • Ultra-fast continuous drive up to 11 FPS.
  • Solid and durable weatherproof construction.
  • Choice of lenses among one of the industry's largest lineups.

This full-frame DSLR is literally and figurative a heavy-weight. Without a doubt, it delivers images of outstanding quality and top-notch performance. Its large body with integrated vertical grip puts a great number of controls at your finger-tips.

The Nikon D4 is extremely feature rich, including the requisite 100% coverage viewfinder and dual control-dials on both grips for this type of camera, plus full 1080p HD capture with uncompressed HDMI output, a built-in viewfinder shutter and an Ethernet port for remote control and image transfer. It is only lacking a built-in flash and freeze-proof construction.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Superb dynamic-range
Class-leading 11 FPS continuous drive
Fast 51-point autofocus with 3D subject-tracking
Ultra-fast and responsive
Wealth of external controls
Uncompressed full 1080p HD video over HDMI
Extremely solid weather-proof construction
What you may not like
Poor automatic white-balance in artificial light
Second card-slots requires XQD memory
No built-in flash
Quite heavy and bulky

Runner Up

Nikon D800E

36 Megapixels36 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 DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more but less than 4K.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 Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Compact Flash Type I memory.Accepts Compact Flash Type I 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 D800E
Nikon D800E
is the highest-resolution DSLR on the market and it maximizes image sharpness by not having an anti-alias filter like its twin, the Nikon D800
Nikon D800
.

The 36 megapixels full-frame CMOS sensor using in the D800E and D800 competes with Medium-Format digital cameras with similar resolution in most cases and actually better image noise and dynamic-range.

While physically smaller than the D4, the D800E is really a professional DSLR too. Its weather-sealed body includes a 100% coverage viewfinder with built-in shutter, dual control-dials and even a built-in flash.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Class-leading resolution
Excellent image sharpness
Good dynamic-range
Fast 51-point autofocus with 3D subject-tracking
Generally fast and responsive
Solid build quality
Uncompressed full 1080p HD video over HDMI
What you may not like
Poor automatic white-balance in artificial light
Slow 4 FPS maximum speed at 36 MP
Asymmetric card-slots use CF & SDXC
Below average LCD visibility
Demands the highest quality lenses

Best Digital Cameras By Photography Subject

Each class of digital camera fits the needs of certain users. This is one reason buyers often look for a specific type of digital camera. Another reason is the preconceived notion that one type performs a certain way. In fact, that is mostly true but 2012 has blurred these boundaries like never before.

With this in mind, we award cross-category distinctions here for common photography subjects. Here there are in no particular order:


Best Landscape Photography Digital Camera - Nikon D600
Nikon D600

Nikon D600

Nikon launched the D600 as the lowest cost full-frame DSLR. With its 24 megapixels sensor, its resolution fell short of the D800E & D800 twins but this made each pixel bigger. Laws of physics worked in favor of the D600 to give it lower noise and higher dynamic-range than its more expensive siblings.


Best Travel Photography Digital Camera - Pentax K-5 IIs
Pentax K-5 IIs

Travel photography images are taken under a variety of conditions with more constraints than most. The Pentax K-5 IIs is ideal for travel photography since it can produce outstanding images down to very low light thanks to its class-leading high-ISO performance and built-in stabilization that even works with the brightest lenses. It is also similar in size to an entry-level DSLR except with extremely efficient controls. Traveling photographers are more at the mercy of the weather than most and the K-5 family handles it better than any other interchangeable lens camera.

Best Street Photography Digital Camera - Olympus OM-D E-M5
Olympus OM-D E-M5

Street photography requires quick speed, light weight and discretion. A DSLR provides the former but struggles with the latter two. Mirrorless cameras provide the opposite. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 takes exception to this by delivering truly fast autofocus while remaining compact. Both eye-level and hip-level shooting are possible with this mirrorless thanks to an excellent EVF and tiltable LCD.


Best Action Photography Digital Camera - Nikon D4
Nikon D4

Action photography, particularly indoor action photography, is the most demanding of a digital camera. To freeze action, a camera needs a fast shutter-speed which requires a high-ISO for proper exposure when light is not so bright. Just as importantly, it needs to have the subject in focus and fire quickly to capture action at its peak.


Best Social Digital Camera - Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

With so many people using cellular-phones to immortalize social occasions, one could be forgiven to think that photography in typical social settings is demanding. A combination of low light and moving subjects normally calls for a DSLR but carrying one into a social setting is awkward at best. The Sony RX100 strikes the ultimate compromise under these circumstances by fitting a large sensor in a very compact camera.


Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:

Camera Bag

Clear

Your camera bag is empty. To add a camera or lens click on the star next to its name.

Your camera bag is empty.

Add cameras or lenses by clicking on the star next to their name.

Updates

    2017.11.10

  • 2017.11.10

    Best Digital Cameras of 2017

    Best Digital Cameras of 2017

    The Best Cameras of 2017 awarded by Neocamera: Best Travel-Zoom, Best Premium Compact, Best Ultra-Zoom, Best Mirrorless (Beginner, Advanced and Professional) and Best DSLR (Entry, Enthusiast and Professional), now including budget choices.

  • 2017.11.07

  • 2017.11.07

    MindShift Photocross 13 Review

    MindShift Photocross 13 Review

    Review of the Mindshift Photocross 13 Sling Bag.

  • 2017.11.01

  • 2017.11.01

    Fujifilm X-E3 Review

    Fujifilm X-E3 Review

    Unique Fujifilm rangefinder-styled mirrorless. 24 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor with built-in 325-Point Hybrid AF system and X-Processor Pro. 14 FPS Drive with Electronic-Shutter or 8 FPS with Mechanical Shutter. 4K Ultra-HD Video at 30 FPS. Highly compact body with a builtin 2.4 MP 0.39" LCD with Eye-Start Sensor, 0.62X magnification and 100% coverage and 3" Touchscreen 1 MP LCD plus dual control-dials.

  • 2017.10.16

  • 2017.10.16

    Panasonic Lumix GX850 Review

    Panasonic Lumix GX850 Review

    Highly compact mirrorless with 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor capable of 4K Ultra-HD video. Fast 10 FPS drive and 1/16000s-60s hybrid shutter. 4K Output for 30 FPS bursts, Post Focus and built-in Focus Stacking.

  • 2017.10.07

  • 2017.10.07

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review

    Olympus professional Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless with 20 MP sensor, built-in 5-axis Image-Stabilization, 121-Point Phase-Detect and Contrast Detect AF, 60 FPS Drive, 18 FPS with Continuous AF, Ultra-HD and Cinema 4K Video. Large built-in 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 100% Coverage, 0.74X magnification and Eye-Start Sensor in a freezeproof and weatherproof body with dual control-dials.

  • 2017.09.06

  • 2017.09.06

    Fujifilm GFX-50S In-Depth Review

    Fujifilm GFX-50S In-Depth Review

    In-depth review of the Fujifilm GFX-50S Medium Format Mirrorless Digital Camera, a groundbreaking 50 megapixels camera with large 44x33mm sensor and unique modular EVF system. ISO 50-102400 range, 3 FPS drive and 1080p video.

  • 2017.08.23

  • 2017.08.23

    Fujinon GFX Lens Roundup

    Fujinon GFX Lens Roundup

    Roundup of reviews for GFX Medium Format Mirrorless lenses: Fujinon GF 23mm F/4R LM WR, GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR and GF 110mm F/2R LM WR.

  • 2017.08.14

  • 2017.08.14

    Nikon D500 Review

    Nikon D500 Review

    Full-review of the ultimate Nikon flagship APS-C DSLR. The Nikon D500 offers a new 20 MP CMOS sensor with incredible ISO 50-1638400, 10 FPS, 4K Ultra-HD and a 153-Point Phase-Detect AF system sensitive to -4 EV. Built for professionals into a weatherproof body with dual control-dials and large 100% coverage viewfinder with built-in shutter.

  • 2016.12.13

  • 2016.12.13

    DxO ViewPoint 3 Review

    DxO ViewPoint 3 Review

    Review of DxO ViewPoint 3. Perspective, distortion and horizon correction software.

  • 2016.08.25

  • 2016.08.25

    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.