Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel, Child, and Action Photos Under $200
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 6, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

At this price range, there aren’t many cameras that can do it all, and while the Fujfilm S700 isn’t the best camera in any particular category, the S700 has one distinct advantage over most of the other cameras in this price - a long ultrazoom lens, capable of zooming 10x from 38 to 380mm. Because of this versatile and long zoom range, and average performance in most other areas, the S700 is the best this price range offers in a camera that can cover travel, sports, and children/pet portraits, all in one.

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My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix S700

At a price point of $200, there really aren’t many options available - none of the options here come close to excelling in any of our three criteria - travel, fast action, or photos of children and pets. In all honesty, the more realistic thing to do is to drop one of the requirements (probably fast action), and find a camera that does your top one or two priorities best, rather than settling for a $200 camera that tries to do cover all the bases but doesn’t end up delivering good pictures in any situation.

Within this category, however, the best option is the Fujifilm S700. While its high ISO performance (needed to freeze the motion of fast action and pets/children in low-light) is simply average, it is on par with just about every other camera in this price range, and in addition the S700 has the long telephoto range needed for sports and the versatile zoom range useful for travel.

Why not the Kodak Z712, which has an even longer zoom range and the image stabilization missing from the S700? Although it is a well-featured camera on paper, the Z712’s poor high ISO performance severely limits its use in sports and for photos of children and pets in low light situations (indoors or at night), two of the primary uses for this recommendation.

Fujifilm FinePix S700 is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel, Child, and Action Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S700
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.6 - 2.2s
  • Burst Speed: 1.4 fps
  • Size: 4.2 x 3.0 x 3.2 in.
  • Battery Life: 500 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Fujifilm FinePix S700
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Canon PowerShot A720 IS
3
Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS
Customer Rating
Price $400.00 $449.00
Size (W x H x D) 4.2 x 3 x 3.2 in 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.7 in. 4.1 x 2.9 x 2.7 in
Weight (without batteries) 10.8 oz 7.0 oz 10.8 oz
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.2 fps for first three, 0.4 fps after 1.2 fps, unlimited 2.1 fps for first 6
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
38-380mm (10x) 35 - 210 mm (6x) 36-432mm (12x)
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Image Stabilization Available
No Yes Yes
Storage Media xD Picture Card, SD Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Battery Type AA-size (x4) AA-size (x2) Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Life 500 shots 400 shots 275 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO400 ISO400 ISO200
Travel Rating Good Average Good
Children/Pet Portrait Rating Good Good Average
Fast Action Rating Average Poor Poor
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Canon PowerShot A720 IS

The Canon A720IS is a medium-range model in Canon’s highly versatile A-series of cameras. Despite fitting into a 1.6in body, the A720IS packs a hosts of features, such as an image stabilization system, and a large 35-210mm (6x) zoom range that provides the long telephoto range useful for portraits, wildlife, or far-away detail, although it’s missing the useful 28mm wide-angle needed for landscapes or large landmarks, and doesn’t quite have the long 300mm+ reach needed for close-up fast action photos.

The A720IS, with decent high ISO ability and image stabilization, is an above-average camera for low-light photos of static subjects like landscapes or buildings you might encounter on travel, but is fairly average for moving subjects such as children and pets. For high ISO-dependent fast action subjects, the A720IS will produce slightly grainy/noisy images even in daylight situations, and will be nearly unusable indoors or at night.

The A720IS can take photos continuously at 1.2 frames per second for an unlimited number of photos - about average for this class, but not really fast enough to make a difference (In between that 1.2 second, the peak action will have probably elapsed). As with all other consumer cameras, the A720IS’s autofocus system isn’t nearly capable of keeping up with fast-moving subjects in low-light, and is barely able to keep up with fast action even in bright outdoor lighting.

The A720IS lasts about 400 shots per charge, above average for this class and certainly long enough to last at least a couple of days of travel.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Child, and Action Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A720 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 6.0x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 1.2s
  • Burst Speed: 1.4 fps
  • 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
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Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS

The Kodak Z712 IS is an entry-level ultrazoom camera which packs a large 36-432mm zoom lens, making it a versatile camera that can handle many travel situations and can zoom in close for photographs of kid/pet portraits and fast action. Like most all other cameras in this price range, the Z712 lacks the useful 28mm wide angle lens for travel photography, but is otherwise very versatile, especially at this price.

The Kodak Z712IS does have an image stabilization system, which helps for static subjects in low light situations. As with many other Kodak cameras, however, the high ISO performance is very poor, producing heavily filtered images that are devoid of much detail. Because of this, the Z712IS struggles mightily with moving subjects like pets and children in low-light, and won’t be able to produce very crisp fast action images even in daylight situations. You can pretty much forget about using it for fast action at night or indoors.

The Kodak Z712 can take photos continuously at 2.1 fps for six photos - good for a camera in this price range. As with other consumer cameras, the autofocus system on the Z712 isn’t really usable for fast action in low-light, although it’s just capable enough for most daylight fast action situations.

The Kodak Z712 uses a rechargeable Kodak battery, which will allow it to run for 275 shots - about average, and good enough for a day or so of travel.

Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Child, and Action Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS
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