Last month, ImpressWatch of Japan released the voting results for the best cameras of 2009. The voting was done separately for two categories, namely, the interchangeable-lens cameras and the compact cameras.
The votes were casted by the Japanese readers. That is to say, the results reflect which cameras are more popular in Japan only. But since Japan is the sole biggest camera maker and trend leader of the market, the voting results offer reference to the general direction the camera technology is going.
Valid votes totalled 9,502 votes, representing a 21.4% increase over the same in 2008.
For the compact camera category, Canon PowerShot S90 is the winner, followed by GR DIGITAL III. Canon also secured a 4th place with its PowerShot G11. Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR is 5th, winning in its better performance in higher sensitivity (which has been outdone now). Cyber-shot DSC-WX1, an interesting camera with nice night IQ performance by way of its back-illuminated high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, got the 7th highest vote.
The voting results clearly show that in the compact camera market, better high ISO IQ (thus a 1.7" sensor) coupled with portability matter the most to users. Luxury cameras, even with a bigger sensor, do not necessarily suit the users' tastes.
So the APS-C-sensor Sigma DP2 and Leica X1 are lower down the top ten billboard. But it should be noted that Leica gets to the top ten position for the first time. That is to say, there is a certain number of users who are prepared to pay a dearer price. Well, it should also be noted that this voting was for the most desirable cameras, not the best selling ones.
At the top eighth position is the Nikon COOLPIX S1000pj, which incorporates a projector function (I really wonder what the Nikon designers were thinking). The CX2 ranks 9th. I have the CX1 and I think it outperforms the P&S produced at the same period. I have not used the CX2, but the added telephoto range and the scene modes certainly make it more desirable.
Unless a more advanced imaging technology is introduced to the sensors, we are going to see the P&S and serious compacts have their sensors beefed up to 10 megapixels top, which the market rumour has it that the camera makers have proven this as the best balance between pixel counts and IQ for small sensors.
As for the interchangeable-lens cameras, the MFT is the winner. And the Japanese has been known for being open to new technologies. So the GXR, just released around last Christmas, is on the 7th place closely behind the D3S!
The distribution of votes for this category: