Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera Overall Under $350
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
May 20, 2010 Updated: May 24, 2010
Overview

For a stylish, slim and sturdy super-zoom camera that you will want to have with you on vacation or at the game, you won’t find a better choice than the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS. With Smart Auto and Scene Detection technology, Manual controls and HD video, the SX210 IS is leading the way in today’s point and shoot market.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot SX210 IS

If you were to take everything you want in a point and shoot camera and cram it into a stylish metal body that fits nicely in your pocket, you would probably end up with Canon’s PowerShot SX210 IS.

Built sturdy enough to handle most shooting environments, the SX210 IS boasts a 14.1mp imaging sensor with a 14x zoom lens that starts at a wide 28mm and goes out to a 329mm equivalent to make sure you’re able to manage a variety of scene situations. And to help with the settings for all of those scene situations, the SX210 IS has Smart Auto with Scene Detection Technology that enables you to get the perfect exposure without a lot of fussing around with settings.

Of course, some people like to fuss around with settings, but rarely does a point and shoot offer you that option. With the SX210 IS, there is a Manual, AV, TV and P setting within easy reach for quick adjustments according to your artistic designs. Located just below the exposure button, the control dial has a wide range of choices to suit your style.

And to ensure you get the right shot at the right exposure, without compromising in low light situations, Canon’s optical image stabilizer (IS) and motion detector technology monitors camera shake, brightness and subject movement before adjusting the shutter speed and ISO.

Making high quality HD Videos has been made simpler too! With a dedicated video capture button easily accessed on the back of the camera, you can activate the HD Video in a flash without all the fumbling through menus. Expect perfect video exposure too with Smart Auto Technology. And move in on the action by activating the 14x zoom while recording.

And don’t forget to have fun. Show off your images with the 3.0” PureColor II G LCD with enhanced strength and visibility and wide viewing angle. There is also a Fish-eye and Miniature Effect feature to give your shots a little different look. Add an SDXC media card and never miss a shot or an extra second of video.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS

With 10x extra zoom capability and a pop-up flash, the SX210 IS is worth the extra money that separates these two cameras. Otherwise, the SD1400 IS has the same 14.1mp sensor and also comes in a slim, colorful, metal body that fits comfortably in your pants pocket.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot A3100 IS

At a lower price, the A3100 IS gives you a 12.1mp imaging sensor but with the Digic III processor rather than the Digic IV you get with the SX210 IS. You also have VGA video and no HDMI connection. Still, the A3100 IS has a lot of the great features of the more expensive models, just not as much zoom or video. The A3100 IS even moved into the rechargeable battery category, a first for a PowerShot A series model.

Pros
  • +
    HD Video with zoom
  • +
    Also uses SDXC memory cards for additional storage
  • +
    Manual or Pop-up flash
  • +
    Digic 4 processor
Cons
  • -
    SDXC media cards are expensive
Canon PowerShot SX210 IS is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera Overall Under $350
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SX210 IS
  • Best Price: $269
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • SanDisk 64GB Ultra 15MB/s SDXC Memory Card (SDSDRH-064G-P36, Retail Packaging)
    $211.20 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 14.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 28mm (25% wider)
  • Resolution: 14.1MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Canon PowerShot SX210 IS
2
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS
3
Canon PowerShot A3100 IS
Customer Rating
Price $269.00 $194.95 $228.98
Weight (with batteries) 7.6 oz 4.7 oz 5.5 oz
Colors Black, Gold, Purple Black, Silver, Orange, Pink Silver, Red, Blue
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Sensor Size
6.0 x 4.5 mm 6.0 x 4.5 mm 6.0 x 4.5 mm
Max Shooting Speed (burst) 0.8 frames/sec 0.8 frames/sec 0.8 frames/sec
HD Video Available Yes Yes No
Optical Zoom 14.0x 4.0x 4.0x
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Smile Detection Available Yes Yes No
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Face Detection Available
Yes Yes Yes
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Viewfinder Available
No No No
?
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in. 2.7 in. 2.7 in.
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
2
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS

When you get caught winking at this camera, your friends will think you’re just in love with the chic styling of it’s ultra-slim, lightweight design. But in fact, you may be activating the wink self-timer so you can be in the shot too!

And who could blame you, with a 14.1mp imaging sensor, a 28mm wide-angle 4x zoom lens with optical Image Stabilizer and Smart Auto with Scene Detection and i-Contrast, the SD1400 IS is sure to deliver the perfect exposure every time. And with 22 different shooting modes, you won’t have to worry about exposure settings indoors or out in the bright sunlight.

You can also shoot HD Video at 720p resolution and view it on the high resolution 2.7” PureColor II G LCD screen or play it back on HDTV thanks to its integrated HDMI connectivity. The SD1400 IS is also compatible with the SDXC media card for extended play capabilities.

Add the optional lightweight underwater case and take the SD1400 IS to the beach. Easily capture awesome underwater scenes and upload them to YouTube in seconds with the supplied CameraWindow software application.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot A3100 IS

Sporting a larger sensor, HD video and more styles to choose from. The SD1400 IS makes it an easy choice over the A3100 IS. And with more scene modes to choose from and a dedicated video button right on the control panel, it’s worth the extra money to have it all.

Pros
  • +
    Digic 4 processor
  • +
    HDMI Connection
  • +
    Smart Shutter
  • +
    Smart Flash
  • +
    Fully Manual
Cons
  • -
    No Optical Viewfinder
  • -
    SDXC media cards are expensive
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras Overall Under $350
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS
  • Best Price: $194
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Canon WP-DC37 Waterproof Case for Canon SD1400IS Digital Camera
    $165.45 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 28mm (25% wider)
  • Resolution: 14.1MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
3
Canon PowerShot A3100 IS

For photographers on a budget or simply looking for a backup camera that will fit in your pants pocket, the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS is a welcome choice thanks to Canon’s knowledge and expertise.

They must have been in a sharing mood when they built this one. Powered by a Digic III processor, the A3100 IS features a 12.1mp sensor, a 4x zoom with Optical Image Stabilization and a 2.7” LCD screen. In building the A3200 IS with the Smart Auto feature and iContrast technology, Canon isn’t necessarily giving away the store, but these features are available in their higher priced models as well. HD video seems to be the only thing lacking here, although the A3100 IS does shoot VGA quality video with a YouTube upload application.

Considering you get Canon’s Smart Auto, Smart Flash Exposure, and Face Detection technology, plus 18 pre-set scene modes, all packed into this pocketable point and shoot camera, what better place to save some money while still getting high quality images.

And for the first time, a PowerShot A series model comes with a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack and charger.

Pros
  • +
    Lithium-ion battery
  • +
    Canon quality
Cons
  • -
    No optical viewfinder
  • -
    VGA only video
Canon PowerShot A3100 IS is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras Overall Under $350
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A3100 IS
  • Best Price: $228
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: No
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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