Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $600
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
January 17, 2012 Updated: January 25, 2012
Overview

If low light shooting is what you’re looking for in a point and shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot G12 is my Best In Class choice for capturing great portraits and intimate evening images either at home or far, far away. Built to make your picture-taking a smooth and easy experience, the G12 has a high-sensitivity 10mp CCD sensor and Digic 4 processing for quick response shooting and a 2.8” PureColor II VA LCD swivel screen that adds creativity when framing your important shots.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot G12

Drawing on their vast experience as a maker of quality cameras designed for the photo enthusiast, Canon has created a new PowerShot model, the G12, that promises to deliver beautiful images in a variety of lighting situations.

Built with the photographer in mind, the G12 boasts a high-sensitivity 10 MP CCD and Digic 4 processor that combine to create excellent images that you will be proud to display or share with friends. No matter what type of environment you are shooting in, the G12 has a setting to accommodate the challenges you will face. Use the low light mode to capture intimate portraits without flash or, if a beautiful vista has too much contrast, use the high dynamic range mode to enhance the high lights and low shadows into one incredible image that will be suitable for framing.

Enjoy the ease of operation the G12 offers with it’s thoughtful styling and SLR-like control dials that put your creativity as close as your fingertips. For framing your images use either the optical viewfinder or take advantage of the 2.8” PureColor II VA LCD screen that swivels for added versatility when faced with tight shooting angles. Two great features that are often left out of other manufacturers designs.

Expect sharp, clear images with the 28mm wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization. Whether you’re going after wildlife, active athletes or scooting babies, shoot up to 4.2 fps with tracking auto focus and don’t miss a thing. When you’re ready to switch to video for these once-in-a-lifetime moments, the G12 features a 720p HD movie mode at 24 fps (with stereo sound) and an integrated HDMI port with CEC compatibility for fast uploading to a compatible HDTV.

For the serious photographer who wants even more controls when setting out to capture life’s magical moments, there is a hot shoe available for additional flash and the ability to attach filters to the front of the lens. You can even shoot uncompressed RAW images in multi-aspect formats like 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 16:9 and 4:5. You can even wrap the G12 in a waterproof case and take it to the beach for great underwater shots. And if you decide to never leave paradise, transmit your images with an eye-fi compatible memory card.

Comparison with Fujifilm X10

As a big fan of Canon’s Digic 4 processor and lifetime of building great cameras, I recommend the G12. I do like the Fuji X10 for speed though, because of the quick startup you experience with the lens ring that doubles as an on/off switch and 7 fps full resolution shooting.

Comparison with Nikon Coolpix P7100

The P7100 has more zoom than the G12 and a speedier auto focus going for it.

Canon PowerShot G12 is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $600
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot G12
  • Best Price: $418
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Ultimate Accessory Kit For The Canon Powershot G12 digital Camera Includes Extended Replacement NB-7l (1300 mAH) Battery + Ac/Dc Rapid Travel Charger + 50" Pro Tripod + HD Wide Angle Lens + 2X Telephoto + 3pc High Res Filter Kit + Much More
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 14.3MP
  • Size: 4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best-badge
Canon PowerShot G12
2
Fujifilm X10
3
Nikon Coolpix P7100
Customer Rating
Price $418.99 $599.00 $449.00
Camera Format Compact Mid-sized Compact
Colors Black Black Black
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Sensor Size
18.7 x 14.0 mm 8.8 x 6.6 mm 7.4 x 5.6 mm
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) - - -
HD Video Available - - -
Video Sound Available - - -
Video Zoom Available (while recording) - - -
Optical Zoom - - -
Image Stabilization Type - - -
Manual Focus Available - - -
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
- - -
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
- - -
Max Shutter Speed - - -
Max ISO Setting - - -
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Viewfinder Available
- - -
Viewfinder Type - - -
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LCD Screen Size
- - -
Battery Type - - -
2
Fujifilm X10

Built to appeal to both the amateur and enthusiast photographer, the X10 has the tools and the tricks to ensure that you get the best shot under a variety of conditions and situations.

Boasting a large, 12mp EXR CMOS sensor, a bright, high-def 4x F2.0-2.8 manual zoom lens and an assortment of manual and auto modes to enhance your creativity, the X10 will fit comfortably in your hand while responding to your commands. Shoot in JPEG or RAW formats. Or, convert your RAW images with the SilkyPix RAW conversion software that comes with the X10.

For fast action shooting, while in quick start mode simply twist the manual zoom barrel and activate the on/off switch for a 0.8 sec response time and capture those fleeting moments that have been almost impossible to get with other point and shoot cameras. And with 7 fps shooting at full resolution, or 10 fps at reduced resolution, you won’t miss a thing while getting the most optimal images possible. And with a speedy 49-point matrix contrast auto focus, expect the shutter to snap when your eye tells you it should for that moment-in-time capture. Framing your image is a snap too by using either the bright optical zoom viewfinder with a wide viewing angle or, the wide angle, high contrast 2.8” LCD screen.

For a perfect exposure every time, while in either HR (High Resolution), DR (Dynamic Range) or SN (Signal to Noise), the EXR CMOS sensor will select the optimum settings for any lighting situation and deliver your sharpest and clearest images ever. Or simply set the camera to EXR-Auto intelligent scene recognition and let the X10 adjust white balance, ISO and any of 99 variations to make sure it delivers exactly what the scene provided.

For even more creativity, take advantage of some of the other great features of the X10 like 1080p full HD movie recording, motion panorama 360 for seamless 360-degree panoramic shooting and 8 different film simulation modes.

Built solidly with lightweight, die-cast magnesium alloy, the Fujifilm X10 is great camera choice that will last a long time and keep providing you with the images that you set out to capture, under any circumstances.

Fujifilm X10 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $600
Where to buy
Fujifilm X10
  • Best Price: $599
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • EzFoto Adapter Ring + Hood (100% replaces FUFJIFILM LH-X10) + 52mm Pro1-D Super Slim Multi-Coated UV Filter for Fuji Finepix X10
    @ Amazon.com
  • Fujifilm Leather Case X10 for Digital Camera
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • Size: 4.6 x 2.7 x 2.2 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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3
Nikon Coolpix P7100

When getting the shot with power and portability are important, the P7100 should fill the bill nicely.

Built for the creative photographer of any skill level, the P7100 boasts a large 10mp imaging sensor, a 7.1x Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens, Nikon’s EXPEED C2 image processing engine and a bevy of manual controls that allow you to make your own decisions about the camera’s speed and sensitivity.

Add to that fast auto focus and responsive optical image stabilization and you can expect to capture what your eye sees without noticeable lag time. And for extreme low light situations simply set the P7100 to low noise night mode for up to 12,800 ISO. Shoot JPG images at 1.2fps or continuous RAW images for greater flexibility.

Other great features of the P7100 include 720p HD video recording, an optical viewfinder, a 3.0 tilting vari-angle LCD screen and a variety of special/filter effects for added creativity. There’s even a hot shoe that’s compatible with the SB-400, SB-700 and SB-900 speedlights and a wide angle converter for focal lengths as wide as 21mm.

Nikon Coolpix P7100 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $600
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix P7100
  • Best Price: $449
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone for Digital SLR Cameras
    @ Amazon.com
  • WC-E75A Wide-Angle Converter for Nikon Coolpix P7000 Digital Camera (Requires UR-E22 Adapter Ring)
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • Size: 4.6 x 3.0 x 1.9 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
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