Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $300
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 4, 2010 Updated: November 10, 2010
Overview

When speed plus high-powered zoom is what you want from your point and shoot camera, consider my pick for Best In Class for photos of kids, pets and other wildlife, the Casio EXILIM EX-FH100. Combining a fast shutter speed for still images and high speed video recording with an image stabilized 10x zoom lens, you won’t miss a shot whether you’re experiencing life in faraway places or capturing the action of a favorite player on your neighborhood ball fields.

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My Best In Class Pick
Casio EXILIM EX-FH100

Built like a sleek sports car, the Casio EX-FH100 is compact, stylish and packed with the best technology digital photography has to offer. All at a price that makes it a top pick.

Starting with a wide angle of 24mm, the FH100 zooms out to a far-reaching 10x to give you the range and flexibility you desire while maintaining the compactness of a point and shoot camera. Add a super sensitive imaging sensor, the back illuminated CMOS with sensor shift stabilization, and you can expect to get the shot you set out to get in almost any lighting situation.

Shoot with confidence that your images will have the highlights under control while the lowlights are visible too. Thanks to High Speed Lighting control, when you snap the shutter, the camera will take three high speed shots at bright, normal and dim settings and combines them into one perfectly exposed photo, minimizing the damage badly lit areas can cause and rendering a well-balanced image you’ll be proud to display.

For split second action shots you don’t want to miss, the FH100 shoots at 40fps in high speed burst mode. When the action heats up, simply track your subject while the shutter snaps split second images, then edit the sequence for the shots you want to print and share.

For high speed video, the FH100 offers recording speeds at up to 1000fps, perfect for playing back to analyze your kids golf swing, tennis serve or for capturing that swooping eagle as it grabs a trout right out of the water. And thanks to the convenient ergonomic design, you can activate this feature with a quick flick of your thumb. Located right next to the LCD screen, the switch is sturdy enough to avoid accidental activation but handy enough to use spontaneously.

Another amazing thing about FH100 and the features mentioned above, is the High-Speed Burst Shooting Best Shot / High-Speed Movie Best Shot modes that take care of the work while you pay attention to the action. Simplifying your picture taking experience while ensuring you get the flexibility you want with the features you demand is what makes this Casio a must have for any serious photographer.

Comparison with Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR

Pretty close in a lot of ways, the FH100 is more of a photographers camera in that it allows the user the freedom of aperture and shutter priority plus RAW formatting. The FH100 also has 24mm wide angle compared to the 27mm of the F80EXR.

Comparison with Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5

Built more solidly than the HX5, the FH100 also features aperture and shutter priority along with the RAW format. However, if GPS and a compass are features you think will come in handy, the HX5 might be the better choice. There is also the compatability of other Sony products like attaching your camera straight to your Bravia t.v. for instant playback.

Pros
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    Very fast
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    Lots of zoom and wide angle
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    Raw formatting
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    Aperture priority
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    Shutter priority
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    Best Shot technology
  • +
    High Speed video
Cons
  • -
    Slow to start up
Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $300
Where to buy
Casio EXILIM EX-FH100
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.3 - 0.5s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Casio EXILIM EX-FH100
2
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR
3
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5
Customer Rating
Price $799.99 $169.99 $299.75
Camera Format Compact Compact Compact
Easy to Use Yes Yes Yes
Colors Black Black, Pink, Red, Silver Black
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Effective Sensor Resolution
10.1 megapixels 12.0 megapixels 10.2 megapixels
HD Video Available Yes Yes Yes
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Max ISO Setting 3200 1600 3200
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Viewfinder Available
No No No
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LCD Screen Size
3.0 in. 3.0 in. 3.0 in.
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
2
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR

Designed to go where larger DSLR’s can’t go, and with lots of zoom and the high quality you expect from today’s crop of compact digital cameras, the F80EXR was designed with some excellent features that set it apart from other point and shoot cameras.

Built with a 12mp version of it’s award winning EXR imaging sensor with three priority modes that allow you to switch between HR mode (High Resolution for well lit situations), DR mode (Dynamic Range for high contrast situations) and HN mode (High Sensitivity and Low Noise for low light situations), the F80EXR has the smarts to optimize your picture taking with simple, easy to use technology. And if you want to go one step further, select the EXR Auto mode and let the camera decide which Priority mode to use when choosing whichever of the six preset auto modes fit your environment. Either way, expect the perfect exposure every time.

And when you want to capture the long shot, count on Fuji’s famous Fujinon 10x zoom lens (27-270mm) with dual image stabilization and high ISO sensitivity to provide a blur free result even in low light situations. When you want to catch the action while it’s on the move, take advantage of the tracking AF function. Simply follow your subject, even extended to the full 10x, hold the shutter button halfway down until you see what you want and then depress the button fully for great action shots that up until now were nearly impossible to get.

Other features that set the F80EXR apart are the 18 different scene modes like underwater (waterproof case sold seperately) and the pro focus and pro low light modes that take multiple exposures and combine them to make one strong image. And in addition to face recognition for humans, there is a dog and cat recognition feature that allows you to program your pets for future photo sessions and get the best results with consistency.

And to top it all off, the F80EXR comes in a beautiful metal shell with a stylish look and a bright 3.0” LCD screen that orients the image when you turn the camera. For underwater pictures, add the Fujifilm Underwater Housing and take your family vacation photos to another level.

Pros
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    DR mode
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    HR mode
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    HN mode
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    High ISO
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    Optional underwater housing
Cons
  • -
    Short battery life
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $300
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR
  • Best Price: $169
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Fujifilm Underwater Housing for F80EXR
    $159.00 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 - 0.5s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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3
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5

For a lightweight camera that has lots of zoom, HD video and a panorama feature for great landscape shots, the Sony HX5 is the smart choice when recording the moments that will last forever.

Consider all these great features. Built with a 14.1mp Exmor R CMOS Sensor and a 10x premium G Lens that starts at a wide 25mm, Sony’s 3” Clear Photo LCD screen, HDR backlight correction and Optical SteadyShot for both stills and video, plus GPS and a compass, the HX5 is designed to go out wherever you go and come back with quality images you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Tired of getting too much shake in your videos where tripods just won’t work? With the HX5’s Active Mode, you get up to 10x as much correction when you activate this feature with SteadyShot. Walks along the beach or on the boardwalk will be a joy to watch and share when you get back home. How about handheld shots in low light situations? The Exmor R CMOS Sensor offers twice the sensitivity that other sensors can and has an ISO of up to 3200. Not bad for a camera that fits in your pocket.

For shots of those wide open spaces that seem to go on as far as the eye can see, activate the Intelligent Sweep Panorama Mode and don’t miss a thing. While pointing at the vast scenery, sweep the camera while the shutter takes six shots in succession and stitches them together for one gorgeous image. And speaking of intelligent, for simple set up shots that leave you free to focus on other things, use the Intelligent Auto and Intelligent Scene Recognition modes that set the exposures according to what the cameras brain considers the optimum settings for each situation.

When taking shots of friends or family at play or at the game, the HX5 is ready with the power to capture great portraits without interrupting their fun. With high speed shooting (10fps at full resolution) and motion detection, you can expect to get blur free action while taking advantage of the long zoom lens. When your subjects are sitting quietly, activate the face detection mode, anti-blink or the smile shutter function to avoid wasted shots and frazzled nerves.

But when your travels take you far afield, I would pack an extra battery or two to make sure you don’t have to stop shooting before you’re ready. And when you want to get your images off the memory card, having an accessory like the DVDirect DVD recorder will make it easy to transfer images and video straight from your card to DVD without the need of a PC.

Pros
  • +
    Lightweight
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    GPS
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    Compass
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    HDR backlight correction
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    SteadyShot
Cons
  • -
    Battery has short life
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $300
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5
  • Best Price: $299
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Sony VRD-MC6 DVDirect DVD Recorder + Accessory Kit
    @ Amazon.com
  • Sony NP-FG1 InfoLITHIUM Type G Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery Pack for Sony W & H Series Digital Cameras
    $35.30 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.0x
  • Resolution: 10.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.3 sec
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
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