Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $400
Expert (6 Recommendations and 7 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 31, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

ISO settings, maximum shutter speeds, shutter lag, and optical zoom, are key features to compare when selecting the most appropriate digital camera to take photos of sports or fast moving action. The Fujifilm Finepix S8000fd has focused its attention specifically on these features with the intention of providing straightforward operation for the user and, ultimately, high quality picture results. With an unprecedented 18x optical zoom, fast shutter speeds up to 1/2000 sec, instantaneous rapid fire shooting, and high sensitivity ISO, the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is a perfect all in one option for a photographer at any skill level. FujiFilm has long been thought to be ahead of the curve in terms of providing low amounts of noise, even with high ISOs. Add to that high quality precision optics. The end result is the S8000fd, a camera truly in a class of its own.

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My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd

All 3 models here offer great features and value for the money. The big question now is: which one of these products offers the most features and best overall value for the money?

The answer is clear: The Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd.

In having a chance to work with all 3 models and make print samples, I found that all three have very similar functions and modes available. I much preferred the results from the S8000fd and the S5 IS in terms of picture quality and lower noise than the 550uz, especially as more zoom was used. Between the S8000fd and the S5 IS, picture quality is similar, but less shutter lag between shots, more ISO options and more zooming capabilities make the Fujifilm Finepix S8000fd a more versatile camera and a better value for the money. The S8000fd also is a little quicker to the punch and has one of the best lag time ratings I’ve seen from a digital camera. As far as memory, the S5 IS accepts SD media and the 550uz uses XD media. With the S8000fd, you get to take advantage of either because it has SD and XD media slots.

The Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd keeps a safe distance above the rest of the competition and is therefore the top pick.

Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd
  • Best Price: $539
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 18.0x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.9 sec
  • Burst Speed: 1.1 fps
  • 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 S8000fd
2
Canon PowerShot S5 IS
3
Olympus SP-550UZ
Customer Rating
Price $539.95 $649.00 $548.88
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Effective Sensor Resolution
8.2 million pixels 8.0 megapixels 7.1 megapixels
Max Image Resolution 3264 x 2448 3264 x 2448 pixels 3072 x 2304 pixels
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.01 0.08 sec 0.09 sec
Continuous Shooting Speed (single shot mode) 0.5 frames/sec - -
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.3 frames/sec 1.5 frames/sec 1.0 frames/sec
Optical Zoom 18.0x 12.0x 18.0x
Max Shutter Speed 1/2000 1/3200 sec 1/2000 sec
Max ISO Setting 6400 1600 5000
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Viewfinder Available
Yes Yes Yes
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LCD Screen Size
2.5 in 2.5 in. 2.5 in.
Display Mounting Built-in Rotating Built-in
Battery Life 400 shots 450 shots 560 shots
2
Canon PowerShot S5 IS

The new S5 IS has once again moved Canon into the forefront of a digital camera debate. With an 8 megapixel sensor, a 12X optical zoom with image stabilization, and ISOs up to 1600, the S5 IS is a perfect candidate for fast action photography. As is usually the case with Canon digital cameras, the optics are exceptional, making the overall picture quality, color balance, and detail well above average. Noise is not an issue, and is acceptable, even at the maximum ISO. Visually, the sleek body design makes the camera even that much more appealing. The 2.5” Swivel LCD allows the user to shoot at creative angles that are not normally possible with a fixed LCD or a viewfinder. The swivel screen also allows the view finder to be reversed when it’s not in use to prevent it from getting damaged. The camera uses SD media and runs on 4 AA batteries that are good for about 450 shots.

Canon PowerShot S5 IS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot S5 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 12.0x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 sec
  • Burst Speed: 1.5 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Olympus SP-550UZ

Olympus has recently decided to make it a point to not only meet, but exceed consumer expectations in the digital camera market. In doing so, they have introduced us to digital cameras that are water resistant, waterproof, freeze proof, and crushproof. The focus of the Olympus 550uz, is slightly different, yet innovative in its own way. It brings us yet another option for cameras that can be used for sports photography, but this time with a list of features not normally found in a point and shoot camera, and usually not found in this price range. With 7.1 megapixels, an 18X optical zoom with image stabilization, and ISOs up to 5000, there is no job too big for it. The 550uz offers shutter speeds up to 1/2000 sec with a burst mode that allows continuous shooting as fast as 15 fps. It has a 2.5” LCD. For power, it uses 4 AA batteries that can take approximately 560 shots and records onto XD media. Also, for anyone interested in underwater photography, there is even an underwater housing available.

Olympus SP-550UZ is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Olympus SP-550UZ
  • Best Price: $548
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 18.0x
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 1.1 - 1.5s
  • Burst Speed: 1.0 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (6 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Good by CNET.com

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