Having had a chance to fully test and review dozens of cameras during the year, and having had a chance to informally test and consider several more models, here are some of the best cameras I've seen during 2009, listed in alphabetical order.
If companies like Canon, Nikon, and Olympus are the first to pop into your head when you think about digital camera manufacturers, that's a normal reaction. Those types of companies have been among the leading camera manufacturers for decades, and they remain among the leaders in the migration to digital photography.
However, there's a relative newcomer to digital photography -- General Electric -- that deserves some consideration, too, especially when you're thinking about beginning cameras.
I recently had an opportunity to write a GE A1250 review. The A1250 is one of the latest digital cameras from General Imaging, which is the digital camera division of GE. It's a really nice camera for beginners at a very low price, which gives it a spot on my best 2009 cameras list.
The D5000 DSLR camera from Nikon is a versatile, entry-level DSLR camera. It shoots at 12.3 megapixels of resolution, offers a 2.7-inch LCD that can swivel away from the camera, and provides 720p HD video. The D5000 is pretty easy to use for a DSLR camera, too, which makes it a nice option for those looking to switch from a point and shoot to a DSLR.
The D5000 was named a DIWA Gold Award winner.
As with any DSLR camera, the optical zoom capability of the camera depends on the interchangeable lenses you use. Bottom line: The D5000 is one of my favorite entry-level DSLR cameras, regardless of manufacturer, making it an easy choice as one of the best cameras in 2009.
The DualView TL225 (also called the ST500 outside of the United States) digital camera from Samsung contains dual LCDs. One large 3.5-inch LCD exists in the traditional position on the back panel of the camera. A second, small LCD on the front of the camera, next to the lens, measures 1.5 inches diagonally. This represented a break-through design change in 2009, and the cool look of the DualView TL225 gave this camera a spot on my best cameras in 2009 list.
The LCD on the front can be used as a viewfinder, can display an animation that will keep the attention of children waiting to be photographed, or can display a countdown timer for timed photos. The DualView TL225 is available in orange or purple camera bodies, and it includes 12.2 megapixels of resolution.
If stylish design and great looks are important in your next choice of a digital camera, you'll want to strongly consider Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-T90, which is one of the best looking cameras in 2009.
It has a touch screen LCD, a small size, and a very interesting design. The bright body colors (silver, pink, blue, brown, and black) and slide panel on the front of the DSC-T90 make it a very impressive looking digital camera. The T90 includes 12.1 megapixels of resolution, a 4X optical zoom lens, and a 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD.