Expert Recommendation

.
Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 5, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

The Canon A720IS is part of Canon’s versatile A-series of cameras - it’s a moderately priced, fairly compact camera that’s reasonably versatile (with a 6x zoom range) and is a solid though not spectacular performer with many shooting situations, with a telephoto range for kid/pet portraits, image stabilization and decent high ISO ability for low-light pictures, and a generally versatile zoom range and size for travel. Like most other cameras in this range, however, the small budget and compact size means compromise, and the A720IS lacks the ability to handle fast action photos, especially in low-light situations.

Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot A720 IS

At a price point of $200 and with the restrictions of a compact size, there are practically no options available that come close to performing in any of our three criteria - travel, fast action, or low light. In all honesty, the more realistic thing to do is to drop one of the requirements (probably fast action), and find a camera that does your top one or two priorities best, rather than settling for a $200 compact that tries to cover all the bases but doesn’t end up delivering good pictures in any situation.

Within this category, however, the least-worst option is the Canon A720IS. Although it lacks the long zoom range needed for fast-action, or the wide-angle useful for travel, it’s still a versatile camera that can handle a variety of situations. Additionally, it’s the only camera with a half-decent high ISO - although the results won’t be pretty, low-light photos of moving subjects (especially fast-action subjects) will at least be usable, which can’t be said for the other choices.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A720 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 6.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 1.2s
  • Burst Speed: 1.4 fps
  • Max ISO: 1600
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.7 in.
  • Battery Life: 400 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Canon PowerShot A720 IS
2
Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V7
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7
Customer Rating
Price $400.00 $288.99
Size (W x H x D) 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.7 in. 3.8 x 2.4 x 1.0 in. 3.9 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
Weight (without batteries) 7.0 oz 5.3 oz 6.5 oz
?
Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
35 - 210 mm (6x) 38 - 266 mm (6x) 37 - 222 mm (6x)
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.2 fps, unlimited 2.1 fps for first 3, 1.3 fps unlimited Unspecified
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Battery Type AA-size (x2) Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable AA-size (x2)
Battery Life 400 shots 240 shots 250 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO400 ISO200 ISO400
Travel Rating Average Average Average
Low-light Rating Average Poor Average
Fast Action Rating Poor Unusable Poor
2
Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V7

The Casio V7 is a budget model in Casio’s new V-series of ultracompact compacts packing a moderate zoom range. At a slim 1 in. depth, the Casio V7 is one of the smallest cameras packing a 7x (38-266mm) zoom range, making it one of the more portable and versatile cameras on the market. While it doesn’t quite have the long 300mm+ range ideal for most sports, or the 28mm wide-angle desired for travel photos of landscapes, landmarks, or building interiors, the V7 covers the midrange useful for for portraits, and in general makes the camera a flexible one for travel use.

While it has a form of image stabilization to help with photos of static subjects, the Casio V7 has poor high ISO ability compared to many other cameras in this class, making it difficult to take low-light photos of moving subjects, and all but impossible to get usable photos of fast-action subjects, except under good daylight situations.

The Casio V7 has a “high speed” mode that allows it to take photos at 2.1 frames per second, although this is limited to only 3 images - somewhat useful for very short, quick bursts. The V7 can take an unlimited number of photos at 1.3fps, which is about average, but ultimately not enough to make a difference for most fast-action subjects. Making use of the same autofocus system as all consumer cameras, the V7’s autofocus system is generally incapable of keeping up with fast action in low-light situations, and is just barely fast enough in bright daylight situations.

The V7 can take 240 pictures on one battery charge - slightly below average, but still able to last a day of travel for most people.

Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V7 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V7
Specifications
  • Zoom: 7.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 sec
  • Burst Speed: 2.1 fps
  • Max ISO: 1600
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.4 x 1.0 in.
  • Battery Life: 240 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Good by CNET.com
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7

The Panasonic LZ7 is a budget compact camera in Panasonic’s lineup. Despite coming in at at only $150, the LZ7 is quite feature-packed, offering both a 37-222mm (6x) zoom and image stabilization system. As with most budget compacts, the LZ7 can’t quite zoom in close enough for fast action, and also lacks the useful 28mm wide-angle for travel photography, but is otherwise a versatile camera that adequately covers the midrange and can deal with a variety of scenes encountered on travel.

The LZ7 includes an image stabilization to help reduce the effects of camera shake in low-light photos of static subjects. Moving subjects, however, depend on high ISO to be able to eliminate motion blur, and here the LZ7 is below average, generally producing noisier and blotchier photos than others. The LZ7 will struggle to take photos of moving subjects, like people, in low-light. For fast-action photos, the LZ7 will produce slightly noisy photos even in daylight situations, and will be virtually unusable in low-light situations.

The LZ7 can continuously take photos for an unlimited duration, although Panasonic doesn’t list an exact rate anywhere - it’s probably safe to assume it won’t be fast enough to give you a real advantage in fast-action photography. The LZ7 utilizes the same type of autofocus system as other consumer cameras, allowing it to track fast action subjects in daylight, but making it all but impossible to take fast action photos in low-light.

The LZ7 can take 250 shots on one charge - just below average, but enough to last a day of travel.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7
Specifications
  • Zoom: 6.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 sec
  • Burst Speed: 4.6 fps
  • Max ISO: 3200
  • Size: 3.9 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
  • Battery Life: 250 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)

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.