Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel, Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Expert (88 Recommendations and 32 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
December 20, 2007
Overview

Equipped with a 6x super-zoom lens and fast image capture times, the Canon A720 IS will freeze action at the press of a button, and you won’t miss the winner’s moment of glory at the finish line. With its good low light performance, you can keep on freezing the natural expressions of babies without startling them with a flash. It comes with useful image stabilzation and face-detection feature to help in taking sharp photos of family gatherings. While traveling, you will not be left stranded with discharged batteries, as it can use AA alkaline batteries too.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot A720 IS

All these cameras have an Auto Mode with lots of Scene Modes for novice users.

The Nikon P50, Canon A720 & A570 are better choices over the Panasonic DMC-LZ7 because of their optical viewfinders (helpful for real-time subject tracking), good high ISO performance (retain enough details for mid-sized prints), manual mode & good battery life.

Nikon P50 is the only compact camera currently with wide-angle lens (good for family gatherings, landscapes, travel), optical viewfinder (good for tracking kids/pets, action) and use of AA batteries (useful feature to have while traveling). However it has less zoom range and optical image-stabilization feature is missing. Still good option for travel, family and kids/pets photos in this price range.

While costing more, the Canon A720 IS provides more value over the Canon A570 IS with its higher zoom (6x), more resolution and better performance. Surprisingly, it has a brighter lens (wider maximum aperture at tele-end of zoom) than the Canon A570 IS, while packing in more zoom. For the price, it is bang for the bucks and is great camera overall.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS is my Top Pick.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel, Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A720 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 6.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 1.2s
  • Burst Speed: 1.4 fps
  • Max ISO: 1600
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.7 in.
  • Battery Life: 400 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Canon PowerShot A720 IS
2
Canon PowerShot A570 IS
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7
Customer Rating
Price $400.00 $379.00
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Effective Sensor Resolution
8.0 megapixels 7.1 megapixels 7.2 megapixels
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.10 sec 0.08 sec 0.005 sec
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Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.5 sec 0.6 sec 0.5 sec
Power to First Shot Time 1.4 sec 1.5 sec -
Continuous Shooting Speed (single shot mode) - - 0.6 frames/sec
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.4 frames/sec 1.3 frames/sec 4.6 frames/sec
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
35 mm 35 mm 37 mm
Optical Zoom 6.0x 4.0x 6.0x
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Manual Focus Available Yes Yes No
Auto Focus Assist Light Available Yes Yes Yes
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/2.8 f/2.6 f/2.8
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/4.8 f/5.5 f/4.5
Max ISO Setting 1600 1600 3200
Aperture Priority Mode Available Yes Yes No
Shutter Priority Mode Available Yes Yes No
Viewfinder Type Optical Optical - (Only rear LCD)
Battery Type AA-size (x2) AA-size (x2) AA-size (x2)
Battery Life 400 shots 400 shots 250 shots
High ISO Performance Good Good Average
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Canon PowerShot A570 IS

This is the most affordable camera with an image stabilization feature in the Canon lineup. The Canon PowerShot A570 IS has a 7 megapixel sensor resolution, 4x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 35-140mm on a 35mm camera), and has good high ISO performance. It also has an optical viewfinder, full manual modes and runs on two AA Batteries. It can support wide-angle and tele-photo conversion lenses, which are available separately as accessories. It has a face detection feature.

Canon PowerShot A570 IS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A570 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 0.7s
  • Burst Speed: 1.3 fps
  • Max ISO: 1600
  • Size: 3.5 x 2.5 x 1.7 in.
  • Battery Life: 400 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7

The Lumix DMC-LZ7 is the latest big zoom budget offering (1.3” thick) from Panasonic. This camera has a 7 megapixel resolution sensor and a 6x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 37-222mm on a 35mm camera). The camera has an Image Stabilization feature and is powered by 2 AA Batteries.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7
Specifications
  • Zoom: 6.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 sec
  • Burst Speed: 4.6 fps
  • Max ISO: 3200
  • Size: 3.9 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
  • Battery Life: 250 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (1 review)
4
Nikon Coolpix P50

This is the budget offering from Nikon in their P series (P stands for performance) lineup. The camera comes with 8.1 megapixepl resolution sensor, optical viewfinder, 3.6x zoom lens with wide-angle (equivalent to 28-102mm on a 35mm camera). The camera comes with electronic image-stabilization feature (software processing to eliminate blur due to camera shake, however less effective than optical image-stabilization) and one manual mode (no Aperture/Shutter priority modes however). The camera also have other useful features e.g. D-Lighting (camera brightens up shadows in high contrast scenes while still retaining highlight details), Face-Detection and 52MB of on-board memory.

Nikon Coolpix P50 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix P50
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.6x
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.7 sec
  • Burst Speed: 1.0 fps
  • Max ISO: 2000
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.8 in.
  • Battery Life: 330 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
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Website Reviews (1 review)

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