Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $750
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 19, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

The Pentax K100D is a Digital SLR that simply packs all of the features you’d want in a travel camera, at a price point that compares with many of the higher end consumer cameras. With both image stabilization technology and incredible high ISO performance, it is by far the best camera in this price range for low-light photography without flash, which you’ll make use of anytime you’re taking pictures at night or indoors. Equipped with a Sigma 18-125 lens, the K100D also covers the essential 27-200mm range most useful for travel photography. If you’re concerned about weight or size, however, this may not be your best option.

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My Best In Class Pick
Pentax K100D (Body Only)

The top pick for a camera in this class is undoubtedly the Pentax K100D. While all of these cameras perform well in good lighting, it is the low-light situations that are the trickiest for most cameras, and it’s here that the K100D excels, featuring both image stabilization technology and best-in-class high ISO image quality (the only camera to do so in this price range). While it doesn’t have the expansive 10x or 15x zoom range as its competitors, with a 18-125mm zoom lens it adequately covers the most essential ~27-200mm range, and cropping is always an option if one wishes to zoom in closer. While it may look intimidating because of its apparent complexity, the K100D has a fully automatic mode where it can be operated just like any other point and shoot camera.

The only issue with the K100D is the size and weight - it’s a much bigger camera than any of the other non-DSLR option, and will probably require a large purse or dedicated camera bag to carry around. If you’d prefer to travel a bit lighter, the Fuji S6000fd and Sony H9 offer much more compact bodies, with a compromise in image quality (especially for low-light photography).

Pentax K100D (Body Only) is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Pentax K100D (Body Only)
Specifications
  • Resolution: 6.1MP
  • Size: 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.8 in.
  • Battery Life: 300 shots
  • Easy to Use: No
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (6 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Pentax K100D (Body Only)
2
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
3
Sony Cybershot DSC-H9
Customer Rating
Price $1299.00
Weight (with batteries) 660g 613g 546g
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Sensor Size
23.5 x 15.7 (369 sq. mm) 7.6 x 5.7mm (43 sq. mm) 5.76 x 4.29mm (25 sq. mm)
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
- 28 mm 31-465mm
Optical Zoom - 10.7x 15.0x
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/3.5 f/2.8 f/2.7
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/5.6 f/4.9 f/4.5
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LCD Screen Size
2.5 in. 2.5 in. 3.0 in.
LCD Screen Resolution 210000 pixels 235000 pixels 230400 pixels
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card xD-Picture Card Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
Battery Type AA-size (x4) or CR-V3 (x2) AA-size (x4) Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Battery Life 300 shots 400 shots 280 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO3200 ISO800 ISO400
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes No Yes
2
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

The Fuji S6000fd is an ultrazoom “bridge”-style camera: a non-SLR, small-sensor camera that nonetheless has the styling and manual controls of an SLR camera. Don’t let that scare you off, however - as with all control-heavy bridge cameras or SLRs, the Fuji S6000fd can be put into automatic mode, where it can be operated point and shoot style just like any automatic camera.

The S6000fd has a useful 28-300mm (10.7x) zoom range, and employs the Fujifilm SuperCCD sensor - a unique Fuji-developed sensor design that yields low-noise, high ISO images that far exceeds any other consumer-level sensor on the market today - ISO1600 output looks like ISO400 output from cameras with conventional sensors (4x better performance). As a result, the Fuji S6000fd is one of the best low-light non-SLR cameras on the market. The S6000fd uses four standard AA batteries (you’ll of course want to get rechargeable AA batteries of your own), which last for 400 shots per charge (CIPA standard) - plenty for a day or more of shooting. While not quite compact, it packs all of the essential features of a travel camera.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.7x
  • Resolution: 6.3MP
  • Size: 5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in.
  • Battery Life: 400 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (6 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Sony Cybershot DSC-H9

The Sony H9 is a medium-sized ultrazoom camera. While it doesn’t have an SLR-type body and manual controls of a “bridge” camera, the H9 still has a high degree of manual control, and fits into a much more compact body (although definitely not ‘pocketable’). Of course, the H9 can be put into a fully automatic mode, making it as easy to operate as any point and shoot camera.

The H9 has a big 31-465mm (15x) zoom range - not quite as wide as some cameras, but a step up from the 35mm or 36mm of most other cameras. The H9 uses a conventional image sensor, so high ISO results won’t be extraordinary, but because of Sony’s slightly more aggressive noise reduction, the out-of-camera pictures will be slightly better than the rest of the pack. However, the H9 makes up for the lack of high ISO performance with its “Super SteadyShot” image stabilization system, which will help greatly with low-light pictures, but as noted above won’t do anything to prevent blur from moving subjects. The H9 uses a Sony battery which lasts 280 shots (CIPA standard) - a bit below average for cameras in this class, but still good enough to last a day of travel for most people. While not the best camera in terms of image quality, the Sony H9 is still above average, and the more compact size makes it a better option for those who don’t want to carry something as big as an SLR or bridge camera.

Sony Cybershot DSC-H9 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-H9
  • Best Price: $1299
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 15.0x
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • Size: 4.3 x 3.3 x 3.4 in.
  • Battery Life: 280 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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