Expert Recommendation

.
Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $200
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 22, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

The Panasonic FX30 is a stylish ultracompact camera, embodying many of the ideal features of a travel camera into a budget price. Its image stabilization system is great for taking pictures of static scenes when in low-light, and its 28mm wide-angle lens is perfect for landscapes, landmarks, and interiors encountered on travel.

The one area where the FX30 fall short is in its ability to freeze and capture fast action, especially in low-light. If you’re planning to take lots of photos of moving subjects (like people or animals), the Fujifilm F40 (mentioned below) may be the better camera for you at this price point.

Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30

While all cameras have compromises in the $200 price range, The Panasonic FX30 comes the closest to fulfilling all of our needs. At less than an inch think, it’s certainly portable enough to take just about anywhere, and is the only camera in this price range that includes the extremely useful 28mm wide-angle lens for taking pictures of landscapes and big landmarks. Its low-light performance suffers because of its poor high ISO capability, so if you plan on taking lots of low-light pictures of moving subjects, the FX30 may not be the best choice (the F40fd, which excels at high ISO low-light situations, would be the best choice), although the FX30 is very competent when taking photos of stationary subjects, thanks to its image stabilization system.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 is the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.6x
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 280 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30
2
Sony Cybershot DSC-W80
3
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd
Customer Rating
Price $399.66 $399.95
Size (W x H x D) 3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in. 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in
Weight (without batteries) 4.7 oz 4.4 oz 5.4 oz
?
Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 mm 35-105mm 36-108mm
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes No
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo xD Picture card, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion
Battery Life 280 shots 340 shots 300 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO200 ISO400 ISO800
2
Sony Cybershot DSC-W80

The Sony W80 is a fairly ordinary entry-level camera, and although it doesn’t have any particularly distinguishing features, it’s a good, well-rounded budget camera. The W80 is compact enough to go anywhere at just 0.9” thick, and it has a typical 35-105mm 3x lens - lacking the wide-angle that’s useful for portraits and landscapes, and lacking the versatility of a large zoom range.

The W80 has average high ISO ability, but does have an image stabilization system, making it an above average camera for low-light travel photography of static subjects like landscapes or landmarks, and a better option than the FX30 for active subjects in low-light.

The W80 uses a Sony battery, which lasts 340 shots on each charge (CIPA standard) - good enough for a day and more of shooting.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W80 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-W80
  • Best Price: $399
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • Size: 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 340 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd

The Fuji F40fd is the budget model of Fuji’s F-x0 series of ultracompact point and shoots. While its compact size makes it easy to carry along on travel, the F40fd has a rather limited 36-108mm 3x zoom range and lacks the wide-angle lens that is useful for landscape and landmark pictures in travel photography.

The F40fd’s strong point, however, is low-light photography. Thanks to its SuperCCD sensor, a unique sensor design developed by Fujifilm, the F40fd can produce amazing high-ISO photos in low-light, reducing camera shake blur and motion blur without creating excessive graininess or noise which ruins high-ISO pictures on most other cameras. While the F40fd doesn’t have image stabilization, the ability to use high ISO to freeze motion makes it an exceptional camera for photos of active subjects, especially in low-light.

The F40fd battery lasts about 300 shots (CIPA standard), which should be good enough for a day of shooting for most travelers.

Fujifilm FinePix F40fd is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 8.3MP
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 300 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

How It Works

You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best digital camera for you.

Advertisement

best hdtv Looking for an HDTV? BestInClass.com also provides expert recommendations for the best HDTV for you.