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You are hereHome > Articles > Editor's Choice 2006

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006

The Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006 -
Best Digital Cameras
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006
 
The year 2006 saw no less than 100 new digital camera models introduced, featuring higher resolution and better image processing technology. It is hard today to buy a digital camera that does not give very good image quality. But there's more to what makes a good digital camera than features on paper.
 

Out of these 100+ digital cameras, the editors of Photoxels selected 11 that particularly impressed them in the following three criteria: very good to excellent image quality, low noise, and fast operations.

Besides these three criteria, we also considered how a digital camera really performs in the field, the frustration -- or lack thereof -- in using its many features, and the overall user's experience in being able to "get the shot." Digital cameras, after all, are made to be used and the following Editor's Choice just make photography fun.

So, here they are, in no particular order:

 

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Fujifilm FinePix S6000fdBasically a FinePix F30 with a long zoom lens attached, the Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd sets new standards for cameras in the ultra zoom category.

It delivers very good to excellent image quality with very low noise up to ISO 400; ISO 800 is very usable and in a pinch you can go up to ISO 3200.

It also has superb handling, intuitive controls and the manual Zoom Ring and manual (fly-by-wire) Focus Ring add to the enjoyment of using this camera.

The excellent Fujinon 10.7x lens starts at a decent 28mm wide-angle, a focal length useful for wide landscapes and group shots. Performance is fast with no practical shutter lag. It would have been nice if it also had image stabilization, but this is not a deal breaker.

The Fujifilm S6000fd has practically everything you need to learn and grow in digital photography. It is a photographer's dream camera.

[ Read our Fujifilm S6000fd review | Photo Gallery | Buy ]

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Fujifilm FinePix F30

Category: Beginner Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Fujifilm FinePix F30The Fujifilm FinePix F30 improves on the exceptional low noise capability of the award-winning FinePix F10.

The very low noise obtained from ISO 100-400 is unsurpassed and not currently available from any competitors among the compact digital cameras. This means that the Fujifilm F30 is a better low-light digital camera than any other camera out there (low-light performance matched by other Fujifilm digital cameras also using the same sensor, of course).

The Fujifilm F30 is point-and-shoot easy to use, yet has enhanced manual features including shutter and aperture priority modes. 15 pre-programmed scene modes help automate common picture-taking situations.

With very good to excellent image quality, very low noise, and fast operations, the Fujifilm F30 comes as close to the ideal compact digital camera as ever.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7Here is another long zoom digital camera that we absolutely love. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 has an excellent 12x optical zoom LEICA lens for tremendous reach in a relatively compact form.

Image quality is very good to excellent, with low noise and lots of detail at ISO 80. Performance is fast with no practical shutter lag.

Image stabilization is very useful when using the long zoom, helping to reduce the likelihood of getting blurred pictures due to camera shake.

Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 makes a great all-round family digital camera. Beginner amateur photographers (and the proverbial "soccer moms") will find it easy to use, and more serious amateur photographers will appreciate all the useful and immensely practical features -- all in a well-designed and very compact body.

[ Read our Panasonic FZ7 review | Photo Gallery | Buy ]

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50

Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 comes very close to a DSLR experience with superb handling, DSLR-type controls including two command dials, a manual Zoom Ring and a manual (fly-by-wire) Focus Ring.

It has an excellent 12x optical zoom LEICA lens for tremendous reach.

Image quality is very good to excellent, with low noise and lots of detail at ISO 100. Performance is fast with no practical shutter lag.

Image stabilization is very useful when using the long zoom, helping to reduce the likelihood of getting blurred pictures due to camera shake.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 is without doubt the best of the prosumer/advanced amateur models, coming close to a DSLR-experience and absolutely enjoyable to use in the field.

[ Read our Panasonic FZ50 review | Photo Gallery | Buy ]

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2

Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 is the compact version of the DMC-FZ50, with almost identical feature set but minus the long zoom. Instead it has a 4x optical zoom LEICA lens with a wide-angle starting focal lenth.

Image quality is very good to excellent at ISO 100, with low noise and images retaining most of the details. Performance is fast with no practical shutter lag.

Image stabilization is very useful when using the slow shutter speeds, helping to reduce the likelihood of getting blurred pictures due to camera shake.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 will appeal to advanced amateur photographers desiring a compact take-anywhere digital camera with superb photographic control and excellent image quality at ISO 100.

[ Read our Panasonic LX2 review | Photo Gallery | Buy ]

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR

Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLRThe Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 DSLR is built upon the same optical system used in the Olympus EVOLT E-330.

The same Live MOS sensor allows live view of images on the LCD with 100% frame coverage that allows precise framing, horizontal and vertical levelling, live histogram, flashing highlights, and depth of field preview

The Panasonic L1 features analog controls that provides an unsurpassed enjoyable experience in an elegant body design reminiscent of the 35mm rangefinder cameras.

Image quality up to ISO 400 is excellent with good details in the shadows and highlights. Colours come out with very good depth of tonality.

The Panasonic L1 also features a Dust Reduction System that removes dust from the image sensor every time the camera is turned ON and built-in bounce flash.

 

Olympus EVOLT E-330 DSLR

Category: Serious to Advanced Amateur

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Olympus EVOLT E-330 DSLRThe Olympus EVOLT E-330 DSLR is the first DSLR with a live view LCD. This innovion is made possible using a new Live MOS sensor developed by Panasonic.

The optical system uses mirrors to achieve a flat top look.

Image quality up to ISO 400 is excellent with good details in the shadows and highlights.

The Olympus E-330 seems to be targeting the amateur photographers who want to make the jump from consumer P&S digicams to a DSLR but are not quite sure they want to leave behind live view.

Nikon D200 DSLR

Category: Advanced Amateur - Pro

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Nikon D200 DSLRBased on Nikon's professional D2X digital SLR, the Nikon D200 delivers award-winning professional performance at a relatively affordable price and compact body.

You get superb handling, exceptional performance, a large, bright and clear optical viewfinder, a body sealed against dust and mositure, and excellent image quality with low noise and preserved detail up to ISO 400.

The Nikon D200 is very responsive and gives a feeling of confidence that it can tackle any challenges the photographer may face.

Whether as a backup camera for the professional photographer who already owns a Nikon DSLR and lens system or as an upgrade DSLR for the advanced amateur photographer who could not previously afford (or justify) the high price of a professional-grade digital camera, the Nikon D200 is the affordable professional DSLR of choice.

 

Canon PowerShot SD700 IS

Category: Point-and-Shoot

View the QuickFact Sheet for the Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPHThe Canon PowerShot SD700 IS is compact and fashionably elegant, with a "Perpetual Curve" design that will draw approving stares.

Image quality is very good to excellent, with low noise at ISO 80 and images retaining most of the details.

The Canon SD700 IS reflects the stylish design and ease-of-use characteristic of the Digital ELPH Series.

The addition of optical image stabilizer technology makes it a perfect take-anywhere ultra compact digital camera.

 

There are certainly many more deserving digital cameras, but these were the ones we had a chance to review and were particularly impressed with.

The Editors

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