Canon, Nikon Top User Surveys

Nikon D7000
The Nikon D7000 gets very high marks in user satisfaction

The big names in the photography business are there for a reason and that reason is because they have consistently produced some of the best cameras in the history of photography. All the same, the question I get a surprising number of times is, “What is the best camera on the market?” That’s not a question anyone can answer. Best in what terms? Best for studio work? Best in a combat zone? Best family camera? Best value for the money? Best for a professional? Best for a beginner? There are different answers for all of those questions and sometimes a different answer between one person and the next.

A quick look around at 10 camera web sites will yield 10 different rankings with a bit of overlap. With so much variation in the rankings, how do you figure out which camera is right for you?

A survey by PC World does present some broad conclusions. An aggregate of other rankings, including here at  Snapsort, does outline some interesting trends.

Canon and Nikon Are The Big Kids On The Block

The data taken together supports the perhaps obvious conclusion that Canon and Nikon are the big two, though the reasons for their popularity are quite different and challengers are evolving. Canon cameras are rated as being more reliable, with Nikon coming in 5th in the reliability survey, behind Canon, GE, Panasonic and Casio. Seriously, if you’re losing to Casio in reliability, maybe you need take a hard look at your QA/QC methodology.

Nikon ranks number one when it comes to owner satisfaction with their camera features, just edging out Canon for the number one spot. Yet Casio and Panasonic both score high marks and end up in the top five in both categories.

With their domination of the video market, it’s likely Canon will stay on top. Nikon was slow to react to the DSLR video trend and Canon carved out a nearly exclusive domain in the video space. Nikon has since improved their support for features like 24p, but with so many wedded to Canon glass and shaping their work flow around Canon, making headway into the video market is going to be slow going for any of the challengers. If Nikon has an edge to elbow into the video market it’s their lenses.

One thing to keep in mind is that one of the reasons it may be so hard to pick a “best” camera is that there are so many good contenders out there these days.  If you have the talent, you can take almost any camera and take fantastic photos.  Truly it’s little things that will make the biggest difference.

As you can see there are no easy answers when it comes to choosing a camera. Take your time, compare a lot of models, ask a lot of questions, and focus on the features most important to you.

Casio Exilim EX-ZR15

Casio EX ZR18
Casio EXILIM EX ZR18 feels the need for speed - by Casio

Casio decided to field a speed demon in its new Exilim EX-ZR15 camera. Some of the specs will raise eyebrows.

From turning it on until it’s ready to shoot, Casio says 0.99 seconds, about the time it takes to lift it into shooting position. To go along with that the auto focus system only needs 0.13 seconds to get a lock and the time between shots is 0.29 seconds.

If you need a point-and-shoot camera that’s fast, it’s going to be hard to beat those specs.

The sporty little speedster packs a 9.7-megapixel 1/2.3 in CMOS sensor (reported as 14-megapixel in some sources) behind a 7x optical zoom. Nothing in the initial specs about image stabilization, one hopes for at least some stabilization for the price point.

As with most point-and-shoots it’s short on manual controls but has some interesting software gadgets that include a depth of field setting that shoots multiple pictures and meshes them together to produce a bokeh-like effect.

It’s also got in-camera software HDR for photos and video as well as a 360 degree panorama mode.

Surprisingly the video is full HD at 30 fps and has a built-in flash.

All that in a camera that weighs in at just 176 grams with the battery and data card installed. Not bad specs if a tad ambitious on the pricing. Casio says look for availability later this month in Japan with prices starting in the $500 range.


Create slow motion movies of high speed action

A growing number of cameras now record high speed video, allowing you to capture fast action and slow it down, for example hummingbirds flying, matches being lit, etc. By recording the video at a high frame rate, say 240fps, it can then be slowed down to the standard 30fps and look smooth and natural!

Check out all the cameras that record high speed video at Snapsort.

Casio Pro EX-F1

The Casio Pro EX-F1 is a popular camera for high speed videos up to an incredible 1,200 FPS. The EX-F1 also features 40fps continuous still image shooting, 12x zoom, a large 1/1.7″ sensor, and full 1080p video. More recent cameras from Casio that shoot high speed video include the EX-FH25 super-zoom shooting up to 1,000 fps and the compact EX-FC150 also up to 1,000 fps.

Hummingbirds in slow motion at 300fps shot using the Casio EX-F1

Skateboarders in slo-mo at 300fps, 600fps and 1,200 fps shot using the Casio EX-F1

Casio Pro EX-F1

The Fujifilm HS10 is another popular camera for high speed videos up to 1,000 FPS. The HS-10 has some incredible features including an industry leading 30x zoom, and doesn’t sacrifice wide-angle either with its 24mm wide-angle lens, also industry leading. The HS10 shoots RAW, captures full 1080p videos, and has a wide f/2.8 aperture at 24mm.

Lighting a match shot at 480fps using the Fujifilm HS-10

Birds hopping about shot at 240fps using the Fujifilm HS-10