Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 26, 2010 Updated: December 13, 2010
Overview

If you’re looking for an inexpensive point and shoot camera with a lot of zoom for yourself or a friend, I recommend the Sony Cybershot DSC-H55 as my Best In Class pick. Packing a large 14.1mp imaging sensor with a 10x image stabilized zoom lens and HD video capabilities, the H55 has the features to make this your shoot from the hip camera.

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My Best In Class Pick
Sony Cybershot DSC-H55

If you’ve ever missed that shot of an antsy kid or the family pet that was a once in a lifetime moment, you will appreciate what Sony has done to make sure you get the shot next time.

Starting with a 10x optical zoom Sony G-Lens, the Sony Cybershot DSC-H55 is lightweight enough to have with you at all times, like when those precious moments occur, and it’s ready to go in a moments notice. Add the H55’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for both still shots and video to make sure you get a steady shot every time and the very helpful easy shooting mode and intelligent scene recognition features to achieve brilliant and properly exposed images every time.

For people pictures you can take advantage of some of Sony’s great features designed to optimize your experience. Choose between face detection, blink detection and smile detection to eliminate a lot of the problems other point and shoot cameras can’t seem to prevent. When going for the family dog romping around in the back yard or ducks taking off at the local pond, use the 10x optical zoom and the speedy intelligent focus for a quick and successful response to the action in front of you.

Built with a powerful 14.1mp Super HAD CCD image sensor and a BIONZ image processor, the H55 has the right technology to quickly and accurately recognize a shooting situation, adjust the settings to accommodate shake, low light and a multitude of other issues that have dogged photographers who don’t want to deal with the expense and the loads of gear of a professional camera.

Some other smart things Sony did when designing the H55 was to allow you to save your videos into an MP4 format for easy compression so they can be transfered to your computer or onto popular video-sharing web sites like Photobucket or YouTube, providing the option to use SD memory cards instead of limiting you to the memory stick cards in case you happen to be switching camera brands, and the sweep panorama mode for creating beautiful images by stitching together multiple images you shot while panning the camera over a wide view.

For a complete camera that fits nicely in you pocket and does incredible things within it’s tiny framework, you can’t go wrong with the Sony H55.

Pros
  • +
    Long zoom
  • +
    Optical steady shot
  • +
    SD card compatible
Cons
  • -
    Flash setting may need some tweaking to get it right
Sony Cybershot DSC-H55 is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-H55
  • Best Price: $184
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Sony 8 GB Memory Stick PRO Duo Flash Memory Card MSMT8G
    @ Amazon.com
  • Kingston 4 GB SDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card SD4/4GB
    $8.99 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 14.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 sec
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Sony Cybershot DSC-H55
2
Fujifilm FinePix JZ300
3
Kodak EasyShare Z950
Customer Rating
Price $184.50 $89.00 $279.00
Camera Format Compact Compact Compact
Weight (with batteries) 7.0 oz 5.8 oz 8.6 oz
Easy to Use Yes Yes Yes
Colors Black, Silver Silver, Black Black
?
Sensor Size
6.0 x 4.5 mm 6.0 x 4.5 mm 6.0 x 4.4 mm
HD Video Available Yes Yes Yes
Video Stereo Sound Available No No No
Optical Zoom 10.0x 10.0x 10.0x
Image Stabilization Type Optical (lens shift) Optical (sensor shift) Optical (lens shift)
Max ISO Setting 3200 1600 1600
Aperture Priority Mode Available No No Yes
Shutter Priority Mode Available No No Yes
Full Manual Exposure Mode Available Yes No Yes
?
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in. 2.7 in. 3.0 in.
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
2
Fujifilm FinePix JZ300

The Fuji FinePix JZ300 makes for a great beginners camera or backup when a stylish, easy to carry point and shoot with lots of zoom is what you’re looking for.

For beginners it offers the simplicity and smarts that people want from a camera that is so easy to pull out of their pocket and capture the quick still or video shot without having a photography degree. For those in need of a backup camera that goes anywhere and nicely compliments their other camera, the JZ300 is the perfect companion.

Sporting a 12mp imaging sensor, a 10x 28mm-280mm lens and dual image stabilization, the JZ300 uses a scene recognition auto function and auto focus tracking to make it easy to capture images near or far in any kind of lighting situation.

Other nice features are blink detection, high (3200) ISO sensitivity, automatic red eye removal and 720p HD image & video capture. Items that you would expect from a more expensive camera nicely packaged in an ergonomically built metal body with a smooth matte finish.

Pros
  • +
    Stylish design
  • +
    Dual image stabilization
  • +
    720p HD video
Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix JZ300
  • Best Price: $89
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Kingston 4 GB SDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card SD4/4GB
    $8.99 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.6s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Kodak EasyShare Z950

For fast reaction time when shooting and 10x zoom capabilities, expect great things when you’re out and about capturing the fun moments of you life with the Kodak EasyShare Z950.

Even with the 10x SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH VARIOGON Optical Zoom Lens with optical stabilization, you may find that you want to crop your pictures of the kids at play or wildlife scenes a little more for a nice enlargement you can hang on the wall. With the Z950 you can do that thanks to the large images you get from its big 12mp imaging sensor.

Expect good things to emerge with either full manual control or by taking advantage of Kodak’s own Smart Capture feature. Smart Capture utilizes three intelligent functions to make sure your exposures are correct every time. There’s Intelligent scene detection, Intelligent capture control and Intelligent image processing and they’re all designed to analyze the scene you’re shooting and deliver images you’ll be happy to share with friends.

When taking video, shoot HD quality at 30 fps with sound and on-camera editing and even print individual shots from your movies. When you find the images or video you absolutely have to share, use the included KODAK EASYSHARE software to easily edit, organize and upload to sites like KODAK Gallery or YouTube.

And if you’re having too much fun and end up filling your memory card, don’t worry because the Z950 has an internal memory capable of holding a huge 32mb of storage.

Pros
  • +
    Fully manual
  • +
    Smart capture
  • +
    Included EasyShare software
  • +
    32mb internal memory
Cons
  • -
    Not much wide angle
Kodak EasyShare Z950 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Kodak EasyShare Z950
  • Best Price: $279
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Kingston 4 GB SDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card SD4/4GB
    $8.99 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 12.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.6 - 0.7s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
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