Expert Recommendation

.
Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Child Photos Under $400
Expert (9 Recommendations)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 24, 2007 Updated: December 5, 2007
Overview

When comparing superzoom digicams, the Olympus 550 UZ is as much fun for adults as PBS’ “Zoom” TV show was for kids. This full-featured camera raises the bar for long-reaching lenses into the stratosphere with a remarkable 18x magnification that can go places other superzooms can’t. What makes it a good travel camera, though, is its wide-angle capabilities (a plus when snapping family photos in front of landmarks), full complement of scene modes (for hassle-free photography), high ISO capabilities (for available-light, low-light, and nighttime photography, and optional accessories (like an underwater housing). Whether you’re snorkeling, sightseeing or hiking, the 550 UZ has you covered.

Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Olympus SP-550UZ

Olympus SP-550UZ. The old adage “location, location, location” could be changed in this case to “range, range, range.” Although the Panasonic and Fuji offer appealing choices, for the widest possible range of travel snapshots, that 18x zoom is unmatchable. To put things in perspective, you can expect to pay $6-7,000 for a comparably equipped DSLR with a 500mm prime lens, which would only be useful for extreme long-range shots, besides being heavier than an anchor. The 550UZ gives you the reach without breaking your back or your wallet. With this much ambition in a camera, you can expect some quirks from the 550UZ, but while it may take a while to fully realize its awesome potential, in the meantime, think of how much fun you’ll have zooming in on that waiter’s fez in Fez from across the medina.

Olympus SP-550UZ is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Child 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
  • Size: 4.6 x 3.1 x 3.1 in.
  • Battery Life: 560 shots
  • 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

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Olympus SP-550UZ
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
3
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
Customer Rating
Price $548.88
Size (W x H x D) 4.6 x 3.1 x 3.1 in. 5.5 x 3.4 x 5.6 in. 5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in.
?
Effective Sensor Resolution
7.1 megapixels 10.1 megapixels 6.3 megapixels
?
Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
1.1 - 1.5 sec 0.4 - 0.5 sec 0.5 - 0.6 sec
Max Shooting Speed (burst) 15 frames/sec 2.3 frames/sec 2.3 frames/sec
?
Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 mm 35 mm 28 mm
Optical Zoom 18.0x 12.0x 10.7x
Digital Zoom 5.6x 2.0x 2.0x
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Image Stabilization Type Optical and Digital Optical Digital
Max Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec 1/2000 sec 1/4000 sec
Max ISO Setting 5000 3200 3200
?
Face Detection Available
No No Yes
?
Viewfinder Available
Yes Yes Yes
Viewfinder Type Electronic Electronic Electronic
?
LCD Screen Size
2.5 in. 2.0 in. 2.5 in.
LCD Screen Resolution 230000 pixels 207000 pixels 235000 pixels
Storage Media xD-Picture Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card xD-Picture Card
Sensor Raw Format Available Yes Yes Yes
Battery Type AA-size (x4) Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable AA-size (x4)
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50

This elite Lumix-branded offering from Panasonic throws in a bunch of appealing features. Its 10.1 megapixels make it a class leader among superzooms. A Leica lens with a relatively fast aperture (2.8-3.7) which zooms out 12x, from 35mm normal perspective to 420mm super-telephoto, keeps things sharp and versatile. A Mega O.I.S. optical stabilizer makes blur-free telephoto and low-light shots possible. Tons of in-camera adjustments, from Manual, Aperture, and Shutter-priority modes to sepia-tone and B&W options to three types of metering. For even better lighting control, there’s a hotshoe connector for an external flash, and an electronic view finder (EVF) – an especially nice feature to have in bright sunlight, when the 2.5” LCD screen can get washed out. The FZ-50 can record in video and is rated for 380 shots per Li-Ion battery charge, though your mileage may vary.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Child Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
Specifications
  • Zoom: 12.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.5s
  • Size: 5.5 x 3.4 x 5.6 in.
  • Battery Life: 360 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

The FinePix S6000fd carries on Fuji’s tradition of delivering affordable, feature-rich cameras. Its body looks like a mini-DSLR, with a knurled grip in front, a rotating shooting dial on top, and a switch to toggle between AF modes on the side. With a powerful, 10.7x zoom, the S6000fd can quickly go from wide-angle to extreme telephoto, and a Super Macro mode allows for close-ups from as near as 0.4” away. A 2.2 FPS burst also nears DSLR speeds, and Picture Stabilization makes the most of the camera’s ISO 3200 setting. Dual-Shooting mode takes some of the guesswork out of that eternal question, “to flash or not to flash” by capturing with- and without-flash images side by side. Face Detection can identify up to 10 people in a shot, a great feature to have for group photos. Other features include an electronic viewfinder and a 2.5” LCD monitor. While the S6000fd has “only” 6 megapixels, it does feature Fuji’s proprietary Super CCD technology which offers a vibrant, more film-like rendering of colors.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Child Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.7x
  • Resolution: 6.3MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 0.6s
  • 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

How It Works

You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best digital camera for you.

Advertisement

best hdtv Looking for an HDTV? BestInClass.com also provides expert recommendations for the best HDTV for you.