The Top Rated Point-And-Shoot Cameras Of 2011

Canon PowerShot S95 Digital Camera ($338)

Canon PowerShot S95 Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot S95 Digital Camera

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4 out of 5 stars, Excellent; highest marks for features and image quality
  • Digital Camera Review: Editor’s Choice; 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon: Top Rated, average 4.4 out of 5 stars based on 259 customer reviews
  • Consumer Reports: Their highest rated point and shoot camera

The Canon Powershot S95 tops the list of best point and shoot digital cameras on most camera review sites. With a full set of features and manual controls along with a hefty price tag, this camera is for those who want something more advanced, though it will certainly deliver excellent images from its’ extensive variety of auto modes. It shoots in RAW and JPEG and features a 3.8x optical zoom with optical image stabilizer, plus a 28mm wide-angle lens. Battery life is 200 shots.

The Canon Powershot S95 is available on Amazon.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 ($199)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly with very good zoom and stabilizer
  • Very good battery life
  • Captures consistently good images and video

Cons:

  • Not for those who want to go beyond auto mode
  • Can’t zoom while shooting video

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 3.5 out of 5 stars, very good
  • Consumer Reports: 55 out of 100, “very good image and video quality, quick response time”
  • Amazon: average 4.1 out of 5 stars, based on 203 customer reviews

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 is an entry level point and shoot camera with a basic set of features for those with simplicity in mind. Though it may not be loaded down with features, it’s ultra-compact and has a versatile, straightforward design that performs well with the features it does have such as an 8x optical zoom, 14.1 megapixels, and 28 mm wide angle lens. The optical stabilization used in all the Lumix models is one of the most highest rated features. The battery life boasts 300 shots.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH20 is available on Amazon.

Nikon Coolpix S8100 ($299)

Nikon Coolpix S8100

Nikon Coolpix S8100

Pros:

  • Long optical zoom for its size and class
  • Fast performance
  • Advanced features including full HD video
  • Versatile for both low light and outdoor

Cons:

  • Poor battery life (220 shots)
  • Minimal manual controls
  • Best at ISO 200, otherwise there is softness in the images

Top Review Sources:

  • Consumer Reports: 65 out of 100, Recommended
  • Digital Camera HQ: A-, Recommended, “Great bang for the buck”
  • Amazon: Average 4 out of 5 stars, based on 193 customer reviews

The standout features on the Nikon Coolpix S8100 is the 10x wide angle optical zoom and its’ backlit CMOS sensor for optimal low light and speedy performance. Best for those who require a camera that can adapt between between indoor and outdoor without losing too much quality from either, this point and shoot megazoom is well designed and easy to use though not for those looking for manual mode. Consumer Reports liked the large LCD, ability to reduce camera shake, and the stereo audio capture during video recording.

The Nikon Coolpix S8100 is available on Amazon. Also available in black and gold.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 ($349)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5

Pros:

  • Lots of options for manual control
  • Excellent photo and video quality in any setting
  • Fastest point and shoot
  • Hot shoe for external flashes and digital accessory port

Cons:

  • Somewhat bulky for pocket
  • Weak JPEG compression

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4 out of 5 stars, Excellent, “Excellent raw photo quality”
  • PCMag: 3.5 out of 5, Good, “One of the best compact cameras you can buy”
  • Amazon: Average 4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 186 customer reviews

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is the fastest point and shoot camera and is as close as you can get to the features of an SLR camera in a compact design. Though some don’t like the extra bulk compared to its’ slimmer competitors, it does still fit in a pocket and many prefer the larger size with easy to use controls. It shoots excellent low light images and video quality is similar to a camcorder. This point and shoot would be an excellent choice for those wanting to dip their toe into using manual controls without the expense of an SLR.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 is for sale on Amazon. Also available in white.

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