If you have between £500 and £1000 to spend on a digital camera you are looking at buying a Digital SLR, a Compact System Camera or a highly specialised compact camera.
The cameras on offer in this price bracket are the top level consumer models. Typical improvements over cheaper models include better focusing system, faster burst modes and better build quality.
In this market you may well be looking to split your budget between a camera body, a lens or two and perhaps an accessory such as a flash gun. You also have the option to buy most of the cameras on offer in kit form. This means that as well as a Digital SLR or Compact System Camera body you also get one or two lenses when you buy.
The SLT A37 is an entry level Digital SLR. It can shoot High Definition Movies, has a set of manual exposure controls and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. Key features include Image Stabilisation and a burst mode that can capture images at a maximum speed of 7 frames per second. It also has a Handheld Twilight mode and a HDR mode for bringing out increased levels of detail in photos where there is a lot of contrast.
The D7000 is a mid range Digital SLR. Key features include the ability to capture still images at speeds of up to 6 frames per second for 100 images. The camera can also record Full High Definition movies with a maximum resolution of 1080p. You also have the option of adding a stereo microphone for recording sound. There is a 3 inch LCD screen in addition to the optical viewfinder. For focusing Nikon have equipped the D7000 with 39 Auto Focus points including 9 cross type points.
The EP-3 has a range of manual controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority). It is touch screen operated through a 3 inch OLED screen. Image stabilisation has been built in and the camera is capable of shooting High Definition movies with stereo sound. There is a 35 point Auto Focus system and images can be stored in RAW mode. The E-P3 has a metal finish and is available in white, black and silver.
The Nex C3 has a 3 inch, tilting LCD screen. You can shoot still images at up to 5.5 frames per second. It can capture High Definition movies, 3D sweep panoramas and has a 25 point Auto Focus system. Lowlight shooting is catered for with a Handheld Twilight mode and the Nex C3 comes with tips and hints built into the menu system to help get you started.
The Lumix DMC GH2 has a 3 inch, vari angle, touch controlled LCD screen, a viewfinder and can shoot at up to 5 frames per second. It can capture full High Definition movies with stereo sound. It is also capable of capturing 3D still images. It can capture still images in RAW and has a full set of manual exposure modes.
The E-PL1 has a 2.7 inch LCD screen, an 11 point auto focus mode and can fire off shots at a rate of 3 frames per second in burst mode. You can capture images in RAW and shoot High Definition movies. Olympus have made four different coloured versions available. These are gold, silver, black and red.
The Finepix X100 is a combination of a traditional, almost old time camera and the latest in modern digital camera technology. It certainly offers something very different to the standard digital camera. It is aimed at the enthusiast. Features include manual exposure, an f/2 aperture, High Definition movies and a hybrid electronic / optical viewfinder. It is capable of shooting High Definition movies.
Key features include the ability to shoot at speeds of up to 8 frames per second. This is ideal for fast moving subjects. Focusing options include a 19 point cross type AF system. The AF system is customisable to give you fine control over focusing. The ISO range is 100 – 6400. This is expandable up to 12800.
As well as the extra large number of megapixels available the Nex-7 offers manual exposure controls, full High Definition movies with stereo sound, a 3 inch tilting LCD screen and a viewfinder. It can capture still images at a rate of 10 frames per second and has a magnesium based body. The sweep panorama mode also offers you a 3D shooting option.
As well as having a very high number of megapixels the SLT A77 offers shooting at speeds up to 12 frames per second. It also has GPS tracking. Other features include a 3 inch LCD screen, an electronic viewfinder, image stabilisation, a depth of field preview button and a digital tele converter that can increase the magnification of your lens by up to 2x. A 19 point Auto Focus system is available and the SLT A77 is able to record Full High Definition movies.
The A55V has a great range of features for a mid priced Digital SLR. These include 16 megapixels, shooting at 10 frames per second, Full High Definition movies, GPS tagging, a 3 inch vari angle LCD screen and a sweep panorama mode. The sweep panorama mode has a 3D option. There is also setting to increase the dynamic range of your photos. This brings out extra detail in the lightest and darkest areas of your photos.
This is a mid range Digital SLR, popular with both professional photographers and advanced amateurs. Key features include the ability to capture HD quality movies, a Live View mode and a 51 point Autofocus system. If can capture photos at an impressive rate of 7 frames per second.
The Finepix X-Pro1 has a retro look and feel to it. Inside the camera is packed with a lot of the latest technology. This includes a new type of sensor that is closer in design to how film operates than a typical digital sensor. As you would expect this camera has a range of manual controls as well as a hot shoe for attaching an external flash unit. There is also a 3 inch LCD screen and a hybrid viewfinder that has both optical and electronic settings.
The EOS 60Da is aimed at people with an interest in astrophotography. This is because it is more sensitive to infrared light than a typical DSLR. High speed shooting is catered for by a 5.3 frames per second burst mode. For focusing there is a 9 point autofocus system. All 9 points are cross type sensors. Canon have also included an electronic spirit level. Images can be stored in RAW as well as Jpeg. The use of 63 separate metering zones helps to ensure correct exposure.