Top 10 cameras for 2011

By David Pierce |

These are some of the top cameras in the market. For more cameras reviews, visit

General Electric J1470S

The J1470S is only a very basic camera and doesn't do everything, but it takes good photos, has 7x zoom, and is extremely simple to use.

  • Price: $119.99
  • Pros: Simple to use. Good image and video quality. 7x zoom.
  • Cons: Body feels a little cheap. Not much manual control.
  • Ideal for: Taking photos for Facebook
  • Buy it

Canon Powershot Elph 310 HS

The 310 HS doesn't wow with any features or quality, but it is a terrific point-and-shoot for almost every need. It shoots great photos and good video, and even offers 8x zoom.

  • Price: $229.99
  • Pros: Very small. Fast, simple to use. 8x zoom.
  • Cons: Video recording isn't stellar. You'll still need the flash in low light.
  • Ideal for: The everyday photographer
  • Buy it

Casio Exilim EX-H20G

The H20G's GPS lets you tag where you were when you took a photo, and plot your photos on a map when you're done — it even tracks you indoors. The camera's almost a year old, but its GPS is still top-notch, and the rest of its performance is solid too.

  • Price: $249.99
  • Pros: Fantastic GPS performance. Good pictures and video.
  • Cons: It's a hefty camera. GPS is a battery drain.
  • Ideal for: The world traveler
  • Buy it

Pentax Optio WG-1

Cameras are usually delicate beings, but not the WG-1 — this shooter can be thrown in the water or the sand, and takes great pictures and video the whole time. It's a perfect camera for the beach or the pool, or if you've got kids with slippery fingers.

  • Price: $299.95
  • Pros: Can withstand water, sand, dust, and drops. Lights around the lens make close-ups look great.
  • Cons: Expensive. Rugged body is a little hard to operate.
  • Ideal for: The beach bum
  • Buy it

Nikon Coolpix S9100

Nikon packed 18x optical zoom inside the S9100, which means this shooter will get you closer to the action no matter where you're watching from. It's also an excellent video camera, recording 1080p video that will look great on your TV.

  • Price: $329.99
  • Pros: Long, 18x zoom. Great performance in low light. Big, beautiful LCD on back.
  • Cons: Menu is hard to navigate. A little large for a point-and-shoot.
  • Ideal for: Photographing the game from the sidelines (or the stands)
  • Buy it

Canon Powershot S100

If your loved ones want a camera that's simple and fits in their pocket, look no further than the S100. It takes much better photos than most point-and-shoots, especially in poor lighting.

  • Price: $429
  • Pros: Really small. Bigger sensor means better images than most point-and-shoots. Fast.
  • Cons: Expensive for a compact camera. Only 5x zoom.
  • Ideal for: Capturing the party
  • Buy it

Sony NEX-C3

Sony figured out how to put a huge image sensor into the NEX-C3's tiny body, which means you'll get excellent images without having to lug around a DSLR. Plus, it's much more affordable than most DSLRs.

  • Price: $649.99
  • Pros: Small body, but still multiple lens options. Huge, DSLR-sized image sensor.
  • Cons: Not a lot of manual controls. No viewfinder, so you'll need the LCD all the time.
  • Ideal for: Pretending you're a pro, without the price tag
  • Buy it

Olympus PEN E-PM1

The E-PM1 uses the Micro Four Thirds standard, which promises better images from smaller cameras, and it delivers. This shooter takes excellent photos, and has a variety of lenses available to it, so it can be used in almost any situation.

  • Price: $499.99
  • Pros: Great images, in a small body. Lots of lenses available.
  • Cons: Still much larger than a point-and-shoot. Not quite DSLR-quality images or video.
  • Ideal for: Those too serious for a point-and-shoot, but not ready for a DSLR
  • Buy it

Nikon D7000

For the serious amateur, a mid-range DSLR like the D7000 is a perfect fit. It won't break the bank, but it still delivers stunning images and the full range of DSLR controls and performance.

  • Price: $999.99
  • Pros: Lots of manual controls. Fast, and produces excellent images. Huge line of lenses mean there's nothing you can't shoot.
  • Cons: Controls can be confusing for new DSLR users. It's big.
  • Ideal for: A first DSLR
  • Buy it

Canon EOS 5D-Mark II

The 5D is a high-end DSLR, and is as good and fast a camera as you can buy. It shoots gorgeous images and beautiful video, all at blistering speeds while giving you lots of control over every aspect of the operation. This camera is not for the uninitiated, but it's as good as you'll find for less than the price of a car.

  • Price: $2,500
  • Pros: Unparalleled image and video quality. Fast, versatile, and powerful.
  • Cons: Complex to use. Big and bulky.
  • Ideal for: Professionals, and those who'd like to be.
  • Buy it

SOURCE: The Verge. GRAPHIC: Wilson Andrews and Michelle Williams - The Washington Post. Published Nov. 25, 2011.