When taking travel photographs, it’s often not possible to “zoom with your feet.” So you’ll need a camera lens that can do the reaching for you. With its 12x zoom lens, clear picture quality and travel-friendly size, Fujifilm’s Finepix S1000fd earns my recommendation for best $200 travel camera.
My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd
Fujifilm’s S1000fd gives you the flexibility you need to take great travel photographs. With its impressive 12x zoom lens, you can capture both landscapes and distant subjects with very little effort. The lens’ reach also gives a variety of photographic opportunities that would not be possible when traveling with a more compact digicam. The lens allows everything from tightly-framed architectural details and flattering portraiture to sweeping landscapes and sneaky street shots.
Generally speaking, long-reach lenses like the one on the S1000fd mean some compromises in image quality, simply because the lens elements need to be more complex. But the S1000fd lens is a really-well designed piece of glass. The coverage is great, even focusing tightly on subjects as little as an inch away from the front of the lens. The S1000fd also zooms fairly quickly.
Autofocus speed is acceptable, certainly not the fastest on the market, so you’ll not be taking many sports photographs with this camera. But for travel photography and other still subjects, it works very well.
The Finepix S1000fd’s image sensor (the digital equivalent of film) delivers clear pictures in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Fujifilm has a good reputation for building cameras that outperform other cameras in their class for low-light photography. While not SLR-level, the S1000fd does maintain the Finepix reputation for good low-light performance. The S1000fd will more often allow you to avoid the flash in favor of natural lighting. But the S1000fd does struggle in getting the colors perfect in some indoor lighting situations. In those difficult lighting scenarios, it may be worth firing the flash in the camera’s night mode, which does a pretty good job of balancing the flash with the ambient light.
Another helpful feature of the S1000fd is its use of standard AA batteries. This is especially helpful for travel photography. In a pinch, one can just slap in a set of off-the-shelf AAs and be good to go for another 100-200 pictures.
Offering a great feature set for the price, the Finepix S1000fd is the best sub-$200 travel camera currently on the market.
- +Great lens reach
- +Clear image quality
- +Standard AA batteries
- -Slower autofocus
- -Sometimes struggles with difficult lighting
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd
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How to Pick Digital Cameras
- For Travel Photos
- For Photos of Children or Pets
- For Action or Sports Photos
- For Photos in Low Light