Best 4-Star Cameras

Find the Cameras With Outstanding Review Ratings

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Certainly, every photographer -- beginner or advanced -- wants the best possible camera that he or she can afford. At my About Digital Cameras site, that means cameras that have received a 5-star rating in my reviews, and I recently published a list of the best 5-star cameras.

However, I also realize that opinions differ a bit, and my 5-star camera might not receive quite as good of a rating from other photographers. In addition, you might have a specific feature that you want from your camera that isn't found with the 5-star cameras.

So, with that in mind, here are the best 4-star cameras I've reviewed. Each of these cameras has one or two minor drawbacks that left it just shy of the 5-star rating, but these are still great cameras. In addition, they may have that one must-have feature that you need, meaning one of these cameras may be more appealing to you than any of the 5-star reviewed models.

Canon's PowerShot SX710 fixed lens camera provides quite a collection of impressive features for a relatively thin point and shoot model, offering more than 20 megapixels of resolution, a high speed image processor, and wireless connectivity, all in a model that's less than 1.5 inches in thickness.

You may find yourself wanting to use the Canon PowerShot SX710 outdoors -- where it is a strong camera -- quite often thanks to the 30X optical zoom lens Canon included with this model. The great zoom lens and small camera body size of this model make it a nice option for taking with you on a hike or when traveling. Read Review 

 

Canon has attempted to provide some advanced features in its ELPH series of stylish point-and-shoot cameras with the HS (high sensitivity) designation, and the latest in this family, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS, follows along this line of thinking.

The ELPH 330 can shoot at up to 6.2 frames per second in burst mode at a full 12.2MP of resolution. It also should perform well in low light using the HS technology, and the ELPH 330 can shoot at an ISO setting up to 6400.

The ELPH 330, which is available in black, silver, or pink, also has a 10X optical zoom lens, full 1080p HD video recording, and a 3.0-inch LCD screen. Read Review 

 

Although it's touted as an upgrade to last year's Canon Rebel T4i, the new Canon EOS Rebel T5i doesn't appear to offer a significant number of improvements over the T4i. So if you already own the T4i, an upgrade probably isn't worth the investment.

Still, if you didn't purchase the T4i, the now available T5i can provide some nice improvements over older Rebel cameras, making it well worth considering as an upgrade over those older DSLR models.

The Rebel T5i has an 18MP CMOS image sensor, an articulated 3.0-inch LCD, full 1080p HD video, and a burst mode with up to 5 frames per second. Read Review 

 

Fujifilm's third interchangeable lens mirrorless camera -- the X-M1 -- is the most impressive model yet, offering an image sensor that's similar in size to what you'd find in a DSLR camera.

The Fujifilm X-M1 DIL camera has an APS-C sized image sensor that features 16.3MP of resolution.

The X-M1, which measures only 1.5 inches in thickness without a lens attached. includes a 3.0-inch articulated LCD, a start-up time of 0.5 seconds, full 1080p video recording, built-in Wi-Fi, and in-camera RAW processing.

The X-M1 can make use of an Fujifilm XF or XC interchangeable lenses. You can find the X-M1 in three body colors, black, silver, or brown. Read Review  

While the Nikon Coolpix S9700 has a few flaws, this model's strong versatility makes it a great travel camera.

The 30X optical zoom lens will give you the option of shooting photos over a variety of distances, which can be handy when you're traveling, because you won't know how close you can get to landmarks ahead of time. And with the Coolpix S9700 only measuring 1.4 inches in thickness, it should fit easily in a carry-on bag, making it easy to travel by air with this camera as well as fit in a pocket while you're seeing the sights.

Image quality is pretty good with this model, and its autofocus mechanism is able to achieve very sharp photos throughout the 30X optical zoom range. You will notice some image flaws from time to time, so don't expect to make extremely large prints with the Coolpix S9700's photos. Read Review  

Nikon's latest entry into the low end of the DSLR market is the D3300, which Nikon calls an HD-SLR camera. (I'm not exactly sure what makes the D3300 an HD-SLR other than it shoots full HD movies, so I'll just refer to it as a DSLR to avoid confusion.) Simply put, this is a strong still image camera offered at a reasonable price. Nikon has given the D3300 a large image sensor with 24-plus megapixels of resolution, and the image quality with this model is outstanding. Read Review  

The Olympus PEN E-PL3 digital interchangeable lens camera attempts to bring advanced photography options into a camera body more similar to a point and shoot model. Also called the PEN Lite, this model just missed a 5-star ranking in my review, mainly because it has a slightly larger price than the PEN Mini.

The PEN Lite includes a tiltable 3-inch LCD, which is handy for shooting odd-angle photos. It offers 12.3 megapixels of resolution with a CMOS image sensor, and it can shoot at up to five frames per second. The PEN Lite will be available in a variety of body colors, depending on where it's sold in the world, but white, red, silver, and black camera bodies are most common. Read Review  

The latest tough camera from Olympus, the TG-830, provides a nice mix of photographic features and "tough" features.

The TG-830 can be used in up to 33 feet of water depth and can survive a fall from up to 6.6 feet. Olympus also included a built-in GPS unit and an e-compass with this camera.

The TG-830 has 16 megapixels of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens, full 1080p HD video capabilities, and a 3.0-inch LCD. Olympus recently dropped the price on this camera. It's available in blue, red, silver, or black body colors. Read Review 

 

I've long been a fan of the Samsung NX series of mirrorless ILC cameras, as they have a terrific combination of easy-to-use features and outstanding image quality.

The latest model in the NX series, the Samsung NX30, follows along those same lines.

The NX30 includes 20.3MP of resolution, 9 frames per second burst mode, a tiltable electronic viewfinder, a 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD, full HD video recording, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC wireless connectivity. In other words the NX30 has just about every high-end feature and add-on that you'd expect from this innovative manufacturer. Read Review 

Samsung has done a really nice job of late creating thin ultra zoom cameras that give you a variety of great features, including built-in Wi-Fi. The WB250F, is another strong camera along this line.

The WB250F includes an 18X optical zoom lens, a 14MP CMOS image sensor, full 1080p HD video recording, Wi-Fi, and a 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD. You also can download a Remote Viewfinder app to allow your smartphone as a camera display.

Look for the WB250F to be available now in black, white, red, or gun metal gray. Read Review 

If you like thin, small cameras, Sony's WX80 model is going to give you the size you want with some nice photography features.

The WX80 measures only 0.91 inches in thickness, but it offers an impressive 8X optical zoom lens. In addition, the WX80 has a 16.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD, built in Wi-Fi capabilities, and full HD video recording.

You'll find the WX80 in red, black, or white camera bodies. Read Review 

The Sony NEX-5T mirrorless interchangeable lens camera has quite a few advanced features for such a small camera, including NFC and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity.

The NEX-5T includes a 16.1MP APS-C sized image sensor, which is similar to what you'd find in some DSLR style cameras, leading to high-end image quality. You'll also have a 3.0-inch touchscreen articulated LCD, which is a nice feature as the small NEX-5T has no viewfinder.

You'll find the NEX-5T in black, white, or silver camera bodies. Read Review