Expert Recommendation

Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $200
By vrf
Expert (4 Recommendations and 2 Compliments)
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September 16, 2008

Photographers sometimes jokingly say that the best camera on the market is the one that you have with you when great pictures happen. Featuring a compact, pocket-able design, as well as image stabilization and vibrant picture quality, Canon’s new PowerShot A1000 IS earns my recommendation for best compact travel camera at the $200 mark.

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Canon PowerShot A1000 IS

Canon PowerShot A1000 IS digicam offers a impressive set of features at an affordable price. The new A-series digicam is also almost 25% smaller than its predecessor, the PowerShot A580, so it easily fits into a trouser pocket or small bag. With its super-compact size, the A1000 IS eliminates your excuses for not carrying a camera.

While smaller, the A1000IS still retains the features that made the A580 a favorite budget camera. At the heart of the A1000 IS is a 4x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 35-140mm, One great new feature that Canon has added is optical image stabilization to help prevent blurred photos. In tests, the IS system works pretty well, minimizing camera shake when slower shutter speeds are needed.

Other features of the A1000 IS: 10 megapixel resolution, a bright 2.5-inch LCD screen, real optical viewfinder, and Canon’s DIGIC III image processing engine The DIGIC III engine features impressive Canon’s Face Detection system, which automatically adjusts the focus and exposure for up to nine faces in a picture. Helpful for you don’t want your travel companion’s face overexposed in indoor pictures.

As for shooting modes, the A1000 IS errs on the beginner side of the spectrum, not offering much in the way of advanced manual controls. In fact, the more advanced “creative” shooting modes of the A580 have been replaced by beginner-friendly shooting modes, including a new “easy” mode that allows point-and-shoot operation. Advanced photographers may be disappointed in the lack of manual controls, but the easy modes do the job well if all you want to do is flip the camera on and click the shutter.

Overall image quality of the A1000 IS is excellent for travel photography. In good outdoor light, the camera takes clear, vibrant pictures. As with most compact cameras, pictures can get noisy (grainy) in dim lighting situations. That said, most low-light captures are still smooth enough for small prints.

Performance wise, the A1000 IS is not a sports camera. Shot-to-shot time is a bit on the slow side, and the flash has a bit longer recycle time. Not huge issues, but enough to make the camera better suited for travel photos than for your child’s soccer game.

The A1000 IS is an easy-to-use, well-made and affordable compact camera that earns my recommendation for best $200 compact travel camera. While it will not appeal to advanced photographers, the ease of use allows you to focus on the enjoyment of travel without worrying about the technical details of your photography.

  • +
    Compact, pocket-able size
  • +
    Clear image quality and resolution in good light
  • +
    Ease of use
  • -
    Sluggish for action photography
  • -
    Photos are grainy in low-light
  • -
    No advanced controls
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.5 x 1.2 in.
  • Battery Life: 450 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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