Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Child and Action Photos Under $400
Expert (6 Recommendations and 7 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 5, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 is one of the newest additions to the great line of Lumix cameras. The FZ18 is a point and shoot digital camera, meaning that everything that the photographer needs, including the lens is built right into the camera. The FZ18 features Leica optics with an 18x optical zoom. An 8.1 megapixel sensor accompanied by high sensitivity ISO settings, image stabilization, and minimal lag time between shots enable the photographer to effortlessly capture young children or pets with incredible results. High-speed shutter settings, continuous shooting modes and wide aperture settings also make the FZ18 a perfect option for shooting sports photography or any other type of fast moving action. With so much zoom and features galore, The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 has quickly become one of the most glorified digital cameras available for under $400.

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My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

All 3 cameras have identical price tags, allowing us to truly compare apples to apples to apples.

The sony T200 may just be the best pocket sized point and shoot digital camera for under $400, but not necessarily the best camera for sports photography. Its zoom and speed capabilities are lagging behind those of the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 and the Fuji S8000fd. Between the FZ18 and the S8000fd, both models make a great case for shooting sports photography. Both cameras have 8 megapixels and 18X optical zoom. They also both offer ISO ranges up to 6400. Max shutter speeds in both cases go up to 1/2000 sec. Since we are looking for the best camera that can not only take great sports pictures, but also handle capturing young children and pets at precisely the right moments, the FZ18 suddenly takes over. The FZ18 offers nearly double the response time in 3 of the most important categories we are looking at: start up time, shutter lag and continuous shooting. More shooting and less waiting compared to the Sony T200 and Fujifilm Finepix S8000fd makes the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 the “Best in Class”.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Child and Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Specifications
  • Zoom: 18.0x
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.5s
  • Burst Speed: 3.0 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (6 reviews)
  • 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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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
2
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd
3
Sony Cybershot DSC-T200
Customer Rating
Price $999.95 $539.95
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Effective Sensor Resolution
8.1 million pixels 8.2 million pixels 8.1 megapixels
Max Image Resolution 3264 x 2448 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.005 sec 0.01 sec 0.9 sec
Power to First Shot Time 1.5 sec 2.5 sec 1.5 sec
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 3 fps 1.3 fps 2.1 fps
Optical Zoom 18x optical 18x optical 5.0x optical
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/2.8 f/2.8 f/3.5
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/4.2 f/4.5 f/4.4
Max Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec 1/2000 sec 1/1000 sec
Max ISO Setting 6400 6400 3200
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LCD Screen Size
2.5 in 2.5 in 3.5 in.
Storage Media SD XD, SD Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
Battery Type Lithium Ion Rechargeable AA (x4) Batteries Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Battery Life 400 shots 400 shots 250 shots
2
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd

The Fuji FinePix S8000fd truly can do it all. The picture quality is outstanding, with an 8 megapixel sensor, a Fujinon lens (manufactured by Nikon) and an F2.8 aperture allowing for excellent light transfer. The camera offers an 18X optical zoom allows you to bring the action to you whether you’re on the sidelines or on the stands. This is the most optical zoom offered by any camera in this price range. You will never miss a shot with this camera as the lag time is practically non-existent. ISO speeds? Many cameras just offer image stabilization which helps prevent blurred photos caused by subtle motions made by the photographer. But what if the subject itself is moving, as is the case with any sports photography? Unfortunately those subtle motions are increased accordingly as the zoom range on the lens is magnified. That’s where the Dual Image Stabilization mode comes in handy. In addition to correcting the shaking motion made by the photographer, the camera will automatically select the appropriate ISO speed (up to 6400 ISO) to prevent the subject from blurring.

Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Child and 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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3
Sony Cybershot DSC-T200

The Sony T200 provides desirable camera features that make this pocket sized camera suitable for just about any photographic situation. 5X optical zoom using a Carl Zeiss lens, an 8.1 megapixel sensor and lightning fast shutter speeds, make it ideal for shooting fast moving action. For photographing young children, the “smile shutter” function is one Sony’s newest creations. With this setting activated, the camera detects a smiling expression and fires automatically. This is just one of the many modes available on the T200. Remember Sony’s “no shaky thing” advertisement? The Sony Cybershot T200 uses double “anti-blur” which combines image stabilization with high sensitivity up to 3200 ISO. The LCD is a whopping 3.5” and pretty much takes up the entire back of the camera. The touch screen feature allows the simple menu navigation and many advantages like being able to touch the screen in the area of the subject that you want in focus. The T200 also allows a 1080 hi-definition resolution playback with compatible devices

Sony Cybershot DSC-T200 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Child and Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-T200
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 1.2s
  • Burst Speed: 2.2 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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