Top 10 compact digital cameras of 2011 (Holiday Gift Guide)

Top 10 compact digital cameras of 2011 (Holiday Gift Guide)

Summary: Check out our list of the top 10 compact digital cameras on the market (as of December 2011).

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TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware
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  • With camera vendors vying to capture every potential buyer with a perfectly suited camera, there's a constant glut of new models hitting the market. At last January's CES 2011 alone, manufacturers trotted out new cameras practically by the dozen, debuting a whopping 60 compact models. With new announcements coming every month throughout the rest of the year, the compact camera market has seen well over 130 new additions this year. The good news is that you're sure to find a perfect camera for absolutely anyone on your holiday shopping list this year. Check out our list of the Top 10 compact digital cameras on the market today (as of December 2011).

    Canon PowerShot S100
    This fall's Canon PowerShot S100 improved upon its wildly popular predecessors with a complete overhaul of the imaging system, though the super-compact body design remains very similar (save for the welcome addition of a small grip, as well as a new silver color option). The S100 sports a wider and longer 5x zoom lens and includes a built-in GPS receiver to enable automatic geotagging. The ability to zoom while shooting video is a nice addition too.

  • The Olympus XZ-1 is the first high-end compact point-and-shoot to be released by Olympus in almost a decade. Though not quite as tiny as Canon's S100, it’s still relatively trim. The bright 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent) has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at the wide angle and f/2.5 at telephoto, and a dedicated low-light mode automatically adjusts ISO sensitivity up to ISO 3200. The camera's high-resolution 610,000-dot, 3-inch OLED display is also a standout.

  • The elder statesman of the group, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 can still hold its own among newer competitors like the S100 and XZ-1.Like the S100, its ultra-wide-angle 24mm equivalent lens has a bright f/2.0 maximum aperture, and delivers impressive image quality in low light with a sensitivity range up to ISO 12,800 (in high-sensitivity mode). Like the XZ-1, the LX5 includes a hot shoe for adding an external flash, and it also accepts an optional electronic viewfinder. Ultimately, though, it's the impressive image quality and better-than-average performance of the LX5 that keeps it in the running despite newer entries with more advanced technology.

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6 comments
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  • RE: Top 10 compact digital cameras of 2011 (Holiday Gift Guide)

    as usual nothing from Casio. they didn't make any new cameras this year?
    oldshack2
  • ? ? ? + ?

    Why are we forced to load a whole page,
    which is 1000 lines of code,
    JUST for the next pictured item???+?
    fm-usa
    • I won't do slideshows

      @fm-usa: fully agree: slide shows provide marginal value-added compared to a photo-and-word story in a page or two. they DO ADD lots of wasted time waiting for downloads, so all I saw was the Canon on the front page, and I guess I didn't get slammed by multiple ads.
      common sense
  • Summary? prices? Comparison chart?

    It's hard to tell what value to place on this gift guide...
    I'll go with...
    VERY LITTLE VALUE
    mal_cooper@...
    • The best way to get what you want is to go to the website of stores,

      such as those for CompUSA and for Target and for Wal-Mart and BestBuy and Costco, where you can evaluate the cameras, side by side, and click to get further details and prices. That's how I decided to purchase a camera yesterday, after browsing for the best prices for a camera with the features which I was seeking. I settled for a camera with 12.5 megapixels with a 30 optical zoom and with 1080p movie recording. Price was $199, but, it's selling for more at most other stores. Comparison shopping online, but, I ordered from the site of a brick-and-mortar store. Best of both worlds. BTW, the auction sites and the other online sites, had higher prices for what I wanted.

      Hint: the store that gave me the best price was the one with the name that means, a way to fasten sheets of paper together.
      adornoe
    • RE: Top 10 compact digital cameras of 2011 (Holiday Gift Guide)

      @mal_cooper@...
      Agree! Most valuable is a side-by-side comparison table of specs, price range, and added features distinguishing each camera.
      fredaa@...