2009 SHORT LIST (Top rated cameras listed by name, sensor size in megapixels – mp, and the zoom range of the lens):
Best point and shoot “transitional cameras” (point and shoot cameras that take interchangeable lenses):
Olympus Pen E-P1, 12.3 megapixels, interchangeable lenses
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, 12.1 megapixels, interchangeable lenses
Best point and shoot cameras:
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS, 10 mp, 4x zoom
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS, 9 mp, 10x zoom
Canon PowerShot SX10IS, 10 mp, 20x zoom lens
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd, 12 mp, 5x zoom
Fujifilm FinePix F200 EXR, 12 mp, 4.4x zoom
Panasonic Lumix FZ28, 10.1, 18x zoom
Panasonic Lumix LX3, 10.1, 2.5x zoom
Panasonic Lumix TZ5, 9.1 mp, 10x zoom
Panasonic Lumix ZS1, 10.1 mp, 12x zoom
Panasonic Lumix ZS3, 10.1 mp, 12x zoom
Best underwater point and shoot cameras:
Canon Powershot D10, 12.1 mp, 3x zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1, 12.1 mp, 4.6x zoom
The 2009 SHORT LIST has all of the cameras over the last 12 months that received a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating (the highest) from the DP Review web site.
“Point-and shoot” hardly seems to be a fair term to describe some of today’s all-in-one digital cameras. Other than the fact that all of these cameras have a permanently attached lens, some of them approach SLR (single lens reflex) cameras in look, build, features and quality.
The best advice I can give you is to buy a point-and-shoot camera that receives at least a RECOMMENDED rating from DP Review, and preferable a HIGHLY RECOMENDED rating. Reviews are listed here. The short list above will get you started. You can expand on this list by deciding what kind of Point & Shoot you are interested in: compact, medium sized, or an almost full-sized camera with a long zoom lens that looks like a digital SLR.
Don’t buy a camera just because it is on the list. You need an idea what kind of camera is best suited to your purposes. There is a huge difference between a Digital Elph that you can drop in your shirt pocket, and a do it all camera that is equal to the the size of an SLR with a lens attached. Features vary widely. You may want a camera that does all of the thinking for you, so you just point the camera and push the shutter button. Or you may want to control aperture aperture and shutter speed manually, along with a whole host of image parameters. There is some advice on basic digital camera features here.
Be sure and read a comprehensive review of the camera that interests you before you decide to buy it. In addition to DP Review, there are other excellent camera review sites such as Megapixel.net and Steve’s Digicams. You can find them about 2/3 of the way down the right side column here.
Some of the cameras on last year’s list are still available and at good prices as newere models come out. They might not have all the bells and whistles of the latest models, but they are still excellent cameras. You might find some of these models on the used market. Just be sure and buy from a reputable dealer with a good used camera warranty such as Adorama, B&H Photo, and KEH Camera (listed on the top right side of this page).
2008 LIST (some of these cameras may still be available on the new or used camera market):
Canon PowerShot A720 IS, 8.0 megapixel sensor, 6x zoom lens range
Canon Powershot SD 790 IS, 10 mp, 3x
Canon PowerShot SD 850 IS, 8.0 mp, 4x
Canon Powershot SD 880 IS, 10 mp, 4x
Canon PowerShot SX 110 IS, 8.0 mp, 4x
Canon PowerShot G9, 12.1 mp, 6x
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd, 12 mp, 3x
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd, 12 mp, 5x
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37, 10.1 mp, 4x
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, 10.2, 2.5x
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8, 8.1 mp, 5x
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5, 9.1 mp, 10x
Sony Cyber-Shot DSCW-120, 7.2 mp, 4x
Canon PowerShot A570 IS, 7.1 mp sensor, 4x zoom lens range
Canon PowerShot A640, 10 mp, 4x
Canon PowerShot A710 IS, 7.1 mp, 6x
Fujifilm Finepix F31fd, 6.3 mp, 3x
Fujifilm Finepix S6000fd / S6500fd , 6.3 mp, 10.7x
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8, 7.38 mp, 12x
Canon PowerShot G7, 10 mp sensor, 6x zoom lens range
Canon Powershot S3 IS, 6 mp, 12x
Canon SD 700 IS Digital Elph/Ixus 800, 6 mp, 4x
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd, 6.3 mp, 10.7x
Fujifilm FinePix F30, 6.3 mp, 3x
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50, 10.1 mp, 12x
Sony CyberShot DSC-H5, 7.2 mp, 12x
Sony CyberShot DSC-H2, 6.2 mp, 12x
Sony CyberShot DSC-R1, 10.3 mp, 15x
Where to Buy?
I recommend you support your favorite local camera store, or buy from a reputable online dealer like Amazon.com, Adorama, or B&H Photo.
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