Photo of Mark Sincevich

Mark Sincevich

Professional Photography Expert

Consumer Cameras

Featured On:

  • AssociatedPress
  • PCMag
Leica, and its partner in the consumer realm, Panasonic, dominate the Best of the Best consumer digital cameras reviewed. These cameras share many of the same features as their best value brethren, but take the best category to the highest level with a combination of high-quality optics, a small sensor size and a good MP (mega-pixel) count. You need to look for consumer digital cameras that have the best optics, (the larger optical zoom the better), the smallest sensor size (measured by the smallest number denominator), and the largest MP count for your budget. Plus, these cameras in the Best of the Best category have additional valuable features for your investment.

All Best of the Best cameras have the enhanced ability to capture images in RAW format for more flexibility than standard JPEG. Many of these cameras have a hot shoe attachment so you can use external flashguns and attach the camera to other light sources. More lighting options will give you the ability to take better quality photographs. The Canon PowerShot G10 has the added ability to accept both wide-angle and tele-photo lenses allowing for even more flexibility and better optics. Keep in mind that if you are selecting a camera with an optical zoom above 6x, you will typically get a larger camera – mostly in the lens area.

The challenge with digital cameras is that sensor sizes vary depending upon the manufacturer and the price point. The cameras in the Best of the Best consumer digital category have slightly smaller sensors, so just because you are looking at two different 12 MP cameras, the sensor size will tell you more about the quality of the images then the camera’s MP count.

If you want to get the Best of the Best Consumer Digital Camera, then you need to purchase the Leica V-Lux 1. Leica is considered the ‘Rolls Royce’ of cameras and this digital model has the added ability of setting the aperture at f/11, which is much higher than any other consumer model listed. This larger range in the depth of field will allow for sharper landscape images throughout the photograph.

Best Consumer Digital Cameras by Mark Sincevich

The Best You Can Get

  • Leica V-Lux 1

    Mark says: This is the Best of the Best consumer digital camera you can buy from a company known worldwide as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of both film and digital cameras. It features ISO 3200, an aperture range to f/11 (good for landscapes) and a shutter speed to 1/2000. It can also take a separate 55mm lens with adapter and has a hot shoe for external flashguns.

    • Optical Zoom 12x
    • Sensor Size: 1/1.8”
    • 10 MP
    • Integrated Image Stabilization
  • Canon PowerShot G10

    Mark says: If you want the smaller size of a consumer digital camera with the interchangeability of lenses that a larger DSLR (digital single lens reflex) gives you, then look no further. This best of the best camera is for you. It reminds me of a range-finder camera in both its small size and high degree of functionality. It also has a hot shoe so you can use external flashguns including those made for Canon’s DSLR line. It also has automatic face detection auto focus, ISO up to 1600 and accepts optional wide-angle and tele-photo lenses.

    • Best for a Range-finder type
    • Optical Zoom 5x
    • Sensor Size 1/1.7”
    • 14.7 MP
    • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Leica D-LUX 4

    Mark says: If you know the quality of the Leica name and want an entry into the Best of the Best category, then the Leica D-LUX 4 has your name on it. You can get this camera in silver or black and it is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket or inside your blazer. You certainly will impress others with owning a Leica consumer digital camera. Also, this camera has a slight smaller sensor that it’s cousin, the D-LUX 4 and has ISO from 80 up to 3200.

    • Optical Zoom 4x
    • Sensor Size 1/1.63”
    • 10 MP
    • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Nikon Coolpix P6000

    Mark says: The Nikon Coolpix P6000 has a 4x optical zoom, a 2.7 inch LCD screen, optical image stabilization and can save in RAW format. It even has ISO sensitivity up to 6400 and comes with a Lithium-ion battery.

    • Optical Zoom 4x
    • Sensor Size 1/1.7”
    • 13.5 MP
    • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

    Mark says: This is nearly the same camera as a digital Leica, but costs hundreds less. If you want Leica-like features (including a Leica lens), but don’t mind the Panasonic name, then this camera is for you. It features ISO 3200, a 3” LCD screen, optical image stabilization a shutter speed to 1/2000 and a hot shoe for an external flash. It also has a 24mm wide-angle Leica lens.

    • Optical Zoom 2.5x
    • Sensor Size 1/1.63”
    • 10 MP
    • Optical Image Stabilization

You will be happy with any of these

  • FujiFilm FinePix F100fd

    Mark says: The FujiFilm FinePix F100fd is the best value camera in this category. It has good optics, a small sensor size and a high MP count. In addition, the F100fd has image stabilization and takes a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. I also like that it has an optical viewfinder.

    • Optical Zoom 5x
    • Sensor Size 1/1.6”
    • 12 MP
    • Dual Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Nikon P60

    Mark says: If you want to spend the least amount of money on a great digital camera, then look no further than Nikon P60. It’s a real value camera and has many features not found on cameras costing more! It accepts AA rechargeable batteries, ISO up to 1600 and Face-priority auto focus.

    • Optical Zoom 5x
    • Sensor Size 1/2.33”
    • 8.1 MP
    • Optical VR Image Stabilization
  • FujiFilm FinePix S2000HD

    Mark says: This camera has the second best optical zoom at 15x! However, what you get in improved optical ability, you sacrifice in a smaller sensor and a somewhat lower MP count. The S2000HD can take rechargeable AA Batteries and has 58MB of built-in memory so you can start snapping away.

    • Optical Zoom 15x
    • Sensor Size 1/2.3”
    • 10 MP
    • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Nikon Coolpix P80

    Mark says: This Nikon has the highest optical zoom period. The size of this camera suggests rechargeable AA batteries, but you will need to use a proprietary Nikon rechargeable one. It has the ability to go up to ISO 6400, D-lighting and Face-priority auto focus. The camera can sustain a phenomenal burst rate of 13.5 fps (frames per second).

    • Optical Zoom 18x
    • Sensor Size 1/2.33”
    • 10.1 MP
    • Vibration Reduction (VR) Image Stabilization
  • Canon PowerShot SD990 IS Digital Elph

    Mark says: This camera is the smallest and most compact in the best value category. If you are most concerned with getting the smallest camera, this is the one to purchase. It is made of Titanium for strength and its anti-corrosive properties. You also get Auto Focus for Face Detection and ISO up to 1600.

    • Optical Zoom 3.7x
    • Sensor Size 1/1.7”
    • 14.7 MP
    • Image Stabilization