Actually, this is a very tricky thing to do. We all interpret 'best' in different ways and what is best for one person may not be the best for another. In fact, if there ever is a product that is 'best' at everything whether that be a TV, camera or a car, then that product will outsell all the others leaving no room for the competition. The very fact that we all buy different TVs, cameras and cars mean that each product have things that appeal to one person and not to another. Let's just concentrate on cameras. There's no such thing as a bad camera on the market today. Any camera that is manufactured by any one of the leading players from the traditional camera and consumer electronics companies will deliver good results. They all probably have far more capabilities than their users and the trick to getting good photographs is not so much what camera you buy but more of how much you understand about photography and using cameras in order to get the best from your equipment. Yes, there will be differences and these will probably show up on the test bench and usually at the extreme ends of the performance envelope. So, what's the best camera then? Well, best for what? Best resolution? best noise characteristics, most features, most compact, cheapest, most versatile, fastest, or any one of a number of other criteria. No one camera will be good at everything and if it was, we probably couldn't afford it. So, while one camera may be better than another in one area, it could be poorer in another. So, we have to define what we mean by 'best'. The same applies to lenses - what's the best lens? Again, best for what? Take just optical performance for a zoom lens - best resolution (but at what focal length?), best edge sharpness (but at what aperture?). Even then, we can take into account other optical characteristics like contrast and bokeh before we ever consider size, weight, practicality, max aperture, image stabilisation, compatibility and, of course, not forgetting price. That's just the lens. What about the application - nature, motorsport, close-up etc.? With so many products on the market and new ones being launched on a regular basis, we are spoilt for choice. This is where the confusion arises. So, how do you determine what's best for you? Start with reading reviews in magazines and on the Web. See what products you like the sound of and whether they meet your needs. By all means, ask others for opinions but remember that if you ask 10 different users you may well get 10 different answers because their needs and buying motivations won't necessarily be aligned with yours. Create a short-list of products and then go the shops to see them. I myself have often been keen on something but have been put off by seeing or testing it in reality. Often you will see other things you hadn't considered and they may be a better fit for you. Finally, if you wish to seek opinion from others about what is 'best', provide sufficient information about how you judge the item to be best and roughly what price bracket you think it should be best in. After all, you have a rough idea in your mind what is best for you - we don't, unless you tell us of course.