At least in the focal lengths used in the studio test shots, the real life image quality of all these cameras with the same sized sensor is so similar that I would pick one over the other for other features, not image quality.
I always read ho-hum reviews on these $400-600 DSLR super zoom lens so is one better off, just buying one of the better super zoom point and shoots in the same price range?
MrTaikitso: Mid 1990s, I was given a Logitech Pixtura for a project (made by Kodak, and similar to the Apple digital camera). Whilst in vacation in Yosemite with my mother, I took 144 photos, the max it could hold. On the last day, to free up memory to take a few more shots, I selected DELETE, but because the camera had no display (other than a frame counter), there was no prompt, so I had no idea I had selected the wrong option. I erased all 144 photos, including some once in a life time shots, such as a chipmunk that hopped right up to me. I got a close up of his lovely face. Distraught, back at the motel I spent ages on the phone to Logitech support, to find out if there was a way to recover the files, hoping that like a computer, only the header data is altered. (I had hoped that by hooking it up to my laptop, I could recover them.) Alas, it was not possible. I was devastated. Today, this sort of thing is almost impossible thanks to clear on screen prompts, instant cloud backups etc.
My vote would be a Nikon CP900 in 1998. It was the first "real" consumer digicam in my opinion, offering a full meg of resolution and semi-affordable at $1000. I loved the swivel lens as well I got mine for $950 but $250 more for a 48 meg compact flash.