Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Child Photos Under $750
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 7, 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, which you’ll make use of anytime you’re taking pictures at night or indoors. It’s also the top choice for taking pictures of quick-moving children and pets, because of its best-in-class high ISO ability. 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. While all three cameras are much better than the average camera, the K100D’s huge sensor maintains great quality even at ISO3200 (32x the low-light ability compared to the base ISO100), while the Fuji S6000fd and Fuji F50fd start breaking down at ISO1600 (16x the low-light ability), and most typical cameras break down at ISO400 (only 4x the low-light ability).

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 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. As an added bonus, the K100D, like most SLRs, has nearly no shutter lag, allowing you to take photos instantly and ensuring you don’t miss that particular moment of expression or action.

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 offer much more compact bodies, with a compromise in image quality (especially for low-light photography). If even the S6000fd is too large for your needs, the next best camera is the ultracompact Fujifilm F50fd, which loses the versatile zoom range needed for travel, but is one of the few cameras capable of freezing the motion of subjects like children and pets.

Pentax K100D (Body Only) is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Child Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Pentax K100D (Body Only)
Specifications
  • Resolution: 6.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 sec
  • 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)
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Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
3
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
Customer Rating
Price $278.68
Size (W x H x D) 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.8 in. 5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in. 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
Weight (without batteries) 660g 613g 155g
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Sensor Size
23.5 x 15.7 (369 sq. mm) 7.6 x 5.7mm (43 sq. mm) 7.8 x 5.9mm (46 sq. mm)
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
- 28-300mm 35-105mm (3x)
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/3.5 f/2.8 f/2.8
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/5.6 f/4.9 f/5.1
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LCD Screen Size
2.5 in. 2.5 in. 2.7"
LCD Screen Resolution 210000 pixels 235000 pixels 230000 pixels
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card xD-Picture Card xD Memory Card, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Battery Type AA-size (x4) or CR-V3 (x2) AA-size (x4) Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Life 300 shots 400 shots 250 shots
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes No Yes
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO3200 ISO800 ISO800
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, and works great to take photos of children and pets that usually move around quickly, something that cameras with image stabilization can’t do. 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, and its high ISO ability allows it to capture children and pets, something not many other cameras are capable.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Child Photos Under $750
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
3
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd

The Fujfilm F50fd is the flagship camera in Fuji’s Fxx line, which utilizes Fujifilm’s unique SuperCCD sensor design to deliver amazingly low-noise high ISO images that far exceed any other non-DSLR, non-SuperCCD camera on the market, although the output is not quite as good as the older Fuji S6000fd. The F50fd is an ultracompact camera, fitting into a 22.9 mm, 0.9in frame that can easily fit into any pocket or bag.

The F50fd has a fairly standard 35-105mm (3x) zoom lens - covering a somewhat boring range that doesn’t get wide enough to capture landscapes or big landmarks, and doesn’t quite zoom in close enough for portraits or wildlife or architectural details. The advantage of the Fuji F50fd, though, is its combination of amazing high ISO performance from its SuperCCD sensor, and its inclusion of sensor-shift image stabilization technology, making it the best overall compact camera for moving subjects and low-light photography. The F50fd can take 250 shots on one battery, slightly below average but good enough to last a day of travel for most users.

Fujifilm FinePix F50fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Child Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.6 sec
  • Size: 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 230 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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