In 2011, manufacturers have far from skimped on ideas. Rather than just the promise of greatness we’ve seen products released to market that embody new concepts and designs: think Fuji’s X100, Pentax’s Q-mount and Sony’s A77 with OLED viewfinder, to name but a handful.

If 2010 saw the rise of the Compact System Camera – a trait that’s set to continue throughout 2012 with Nikon’s announcement of its ‘1′ system further adding to the sector – then 2011 may have been the year of the SLT (Single Lens Translucent) camera. Even if they’re not (yet) outselling DSLRs, Sony’s latest range of cameras have grown in strength and ability and we’ve been mightily impressed with what we’ve seen over the past few months.
Of course we’ve also seen shedloads of accessories, compacts, DSLRs and lenses too – each equally important to different user bases; all of which WDC is committed to covering. And after compiling a list of initial products in each category, we sat down to deliberate over which was best. Much tea drinking, voting, discussion and inevitable re-voting later, here are the results…

Best Consumer Compact


Price: £159


Amid all the hundreds of compact 
cameras that adorn shops’ shelves it can 
be hard to sift the wheat from the chaff. 
Of the dozens of compacts that have passed through our hands here at WDC there have been a number of standout models, but nothing more so than Canon’s IXUS 220 HS.    
The camera’s stainless steel body has a textured finish for grip, is small in size yet big in performance. The 5x optical zoom, optical image stabilisation, 12.1MP sensor and HS system combine to make great images too. All this for a well-priced £159 makes the IXUS 220 our affordable compact of choice.


Sony Cyber-shot WX7
Panasonic Lumix FX77

Best Premium Compact

WINNER: Canon Powershot SX230 HS

Price: £240


Canon’s grip on the compact cameras sector is as strong as ever, with models such as the Powershot SX230 HS able to show rival models a thing or two. Earlier this year our travel superzoom test saw Canon’s 14x zoom marvel beat a selection of other top-tier releases. Great to use, the SX230 HS also surpasses its peers in the image quality department – and for under £250 there are few other compacts that could challenge this Canon’s crown.


Sony Cyber-shot HX9V
Panasonic Lumix TZ20
Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

  1. 1. Best Premium Compact
  2. 2. Gear of the Year 2011: Best Enthusiast & Best Superzoom
  3. 3. Gear of the Year 2011: Best Compact System Camera & Best Consumer DSLR/SLT
  4. 4. Gear of the Year 2011: Best Advanced DSLR/SLT & Best Lens
  5. 5. Gear of the Year 2011: Best Accessory & Innovation
  6. 6. Gear of the Year 2011: Product of the Year
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  • Lydia

    Hank yes long time no see! Thanks for your comments on my blog. I’m glad to see you’ve also found Ken Rockwell’s witbese helpful.You asked about a flash. I chose the SB-400 and love it. Looks like I mistakenly wrote SB-800 in my post! Have to fix that. I previously tried the SB-800 on another camera and found it too big and clunky to use. The SB-400 is perfect for 90% of the shots in which I need a flash.Do save up for the lens. In my opinion, you only need two lenses: the Nikkor 18-200mm and a Tokina 12-24mm or Nikkor equivalent for twice the price.Ken Rockwell also wrote a review on the Tokina. They are the only two lenses I use now and I love them to death.BTW: Troy’s having a lan party tonight. Wish you were in town :)Peace,Brian

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  • rob ellis

    Got my Sony A77 today and freaking LOVE it, its just brilliant, couldnt be any happier 😀