Best digital camera 2011 nominees in association with Jessops

The digital camera continues to make our photographic lives a doddle. Year on year the technology improves, gets cheaper and more compact. 2011 was no exception with plentiful powerful snappers flooding onto shop shelves. Not an easy task picking out the best but it with the Pocket-lint Awards looming on the horizon like a grumpy technology packed ogre, it had to be done. 

Following a gruelling set of nominations things have finally gotten themselves whittled down to a top five. But we still need your vote, which you can do here. In the meantime why not take a peek at the below to grab the low down on the contenders. 

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Type
Compact
Price
From £850
Released
March 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

We didn't really see this one coming. A Leica-styled fixed lens compact from Fujifilm with a 23mm lens piece of glass on the front of it. Sounds like a recipe for a poor mans alternative, but not so. The Fujifilm performed admirably, turning out high quality stills and providing an enjoyable shooting experience to boot.

The ingenious reverse-Gallilean electrical and optical viewfinder took the best of using a rangefinder and combined it with modern day technology. The result was, despite a slightly slow AF, a camera that was a doddle to use. Image quality was also very very good, doing away with some of our concerns over the fixed F/2.0 lens. 

On top of the great shooting package, you also get one of the best looking compacts currently available. It manages to pack enough controls and switches to provide a modern shoot while looking as retro as possible. A definite contender for the best in this year's cameras. 

Sony Alpha SLT-A77

Type
SLT
Price
From £1400
Released
September 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

The Alpha A77 was all about taking the best that Sony learned from its SLR experiences and packing them into an SLT. It features an electronic OLED viewfinder, huge 24.3-megapixel sensor and super speed 12fps burst mode shooting. On top of that was proper 1080p movie recording and a totally weather-sealed body. 

The camera is also priced pretty competitively, meaning it could face up nicely against some of the other competition from the likes of Nikon and Canon. Crucially the performance the A77 delivered insured that the SLT was placed firmly on the photographic map, but is it good enough to get your vote.

Canon PowerShot S100

Type
Compact
Price
From £429
Released
Dec 2011
PL review score
4 stars

The compact camera can still pack a fair punch, or in the case of the S100 a kick in the teeth from a donkey. It impressed us on just about every photographic front. Featuring highly customisable controls and a huge zoom, it was quite a package.

Not normal in a compact was the inclusion of a speedy F/2.0 lens, allowing good low light performance. On top of that the camera includes a built-in GPS unit for geotagging shots and proper 1080p video. We thought this camera to be the best high end compact money could buy and it's small wonder that its predecessors have been here before. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride? Your call.

Sony NEX-5N

Type
CSC
Price
From £589
Released
Sep 2011
PL review score
4 stars

Don't let the NEX-5N's slightly bizarre looks fool you. It's a serious performer. Image quality in particular shines on the 5N, as does the 1080p movie mode, which is amongst some of the best we've seen on a system like this.

Sure the menu layout is slightly jumbled and the controls and build style might not be for everyone. But the image is paramount in photography and it's this where the NEX-5N shines. Sixteen megapixels of mirrorless interchangeable lens camera goodness, the NEX-5N was the snapper that the NEX-5 should have been. It's also extremely shiny which makes it a must for fans of bling gadgetry. 

Olympus Pen E-P3

Type
CSC
Price
From £799
Released
June 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

Another one from the retro camera camp, the Pen E-P3 incorporated all the styling of Olympus's uber trendy classic Pen cameras, but with cutting edge compact technology. The result was a super fast autofocussing, OLED touchscreen-packing photographic beast.

The camera features a 12-megapixel sensor capable of turning out sharp and contrasty images, as well as high quality video. Built-in art filters allow you to add a retro twist to shots in camera, a particular favourite amongst those after the film shooting days of the original Pen. 

It isn't cheap, but as CSC cameras go, it's one of our favourites, grabbing itself a nine out of ten in review but is that enough to bring it the Pocket-lint Best Camera 2011 award? 



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