The holidays are a great time to take pictures — and they're a great time to get a camera for yourself or for a loved one. The latest cameras represent a big step forwards, compared with what was available just a couple of years ago - both in terms of features and image quality.

With more than 50 cameras going through the hands of the DPReview team over the year, we've seen it all (or so we think). Based on our collective knowledge we hope this guide will help you make an informed decision on which camera will fit your needs. 

For each of the categories above we've distilled our knowledge and experience about each camera, and stated what we liked and didn't like for many cameras released this year. You'll also find links to our test scenes to do image quality comparisons, and real-world galleries to give you a sense of how it performs outside the lab.

We'll publish one camera category at a time. Check in over the coming days to see our recommendations in each category. Don't forget to let us know what you ended up buying.