Among camera makers, Panasonic has grabbed the top spot from Canon, which fell to second place. Canon actually did slightly better this year, its users reporting fewer out-of-the-box issues or otherwise significant problems. But Panasonic rose to the top by excelling in all five reliability categories.
Both manufacturers are significantly ahead of the rest of the camera pack. The next eight challengers are in a dead heat for third place with middling scores overall. (We got too few responses to rate camera makers' support operations.)
Karen Farino bought her Panasonic DMC-ZS3 two years ago, and she likes the point-and-shoot camera's large zoom lens and numerous scene settings. "It makes it easy, like when I'm at football games," says Farino, an administrator at an accounting firm in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. "It's easy to flip to the sports setting and take some pictures."
Kodak continues to disappoint. Readers are dissatisfied with the reliability of the iconic manufacturer's cameras, and report a higher-than-average number of serious and out-of-the-box issues. In our survey's comments section, many respondents griped about short battery life of Kodak's cameras.
There's some good news, though. Last year Kodak received an above-average grade for ease of use, and in thissurvey it did so again--perhaps an indication that the company is turning things around. Vivitar, which wasn't included in last year's survey because of insufficient data, joined Kodak in the cellar this year--readers haven't much good to say about the reliability and ease-of-use of this manufacturer's cameras.
After reading this article, you may want to jump to PCWorld's Facebook page, where readers can add their own stories of product reliability and vendor service.
And see the chart below for a full summary of our survey's results on cameras, by brand. For more on the measures used in the chart and the survey methodology, see "The Tech Brands You Can Trust ."