Expert Recommendation

.
Best Digital Camera for Low Light Photos Under $200
Expert (88 Recommendations and 32 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 23, 2008
Overview

It’s surprising that even after stuffing so many pixels on its tiny sensor, the Fuji F50fd has still managed to retain the low light performer crown in this category. An excellent lens, unique super CCD sensor design and better image processing delivered class-leading high ISO performance. Featuring useful Aperture/Shutter Priority modes and tons of useful features for shooting in low light, the Fuji F50fd is the best-in-class compact camera that offers terrific value for your money.

Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd

For the last few years, Fuji F series cameras, equipped with super CCD sensors, have become synonymous with good image quality in low light. This camera is one of the latest additions to this series. It packs a high resolution 7th generation super CCD sensor and a 3x zoom lens in a sturdy body.

Although the resolution has been doubled, its detrimental effect (smaller pixels produce more noise) on low light (i.e high ISO) performance has been mitigated somewhat by improved processing and a slight increase in sensor size. Consequently, along with its high quality optics, it just manages to retain its crown as value-for-money low light performer.

The Fuji F50fd offers many features that are useful for low light shooting:

  • Dual-stabilization mode To freeze moving subjects it automatically raises the ISO setting. It also uses mechanical image stabilization to mitigate the effects of camera shake.
  • i-flash It tries to strike a balance between flash output and high ISO that results in a good image with natural tones and without a “washed-out”; effect.
  • Dual shot mode It quickly shoots two images in rapid succession – one with the flash and one without – and saves both.
  • Face detection 2.0, featuring Automatic Red Eye Removal The camera is able to identify faces at much more extreme camera angles than before and correcting focus, exposure, and white balance automatically. It removes red-eye too.

The images retain corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the zoom range and image quality is good with rich colors and lots of detail. The Fuji F50fd is snappy performer too.

The camera also has useful Aperture/Shutter Priority modes for more experienced users.

(The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd is a more recent and more expensive minor upgrade that has a few extras features such as a larger 3.0” LCD screen, upgraded Face Detection and Auto- Scene Recognition mode.)

Comparison with Canon PowerShot A1000 IS

The Fuji F50fd has slightly better low light performance (tad more fine details, lower noise), higher resolution, sharper lens, and the availability of Aperture/Shutter priority modes.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot A590 IS

The Fuji F50fd has better low light performance (more fine details, lower noise), much higher resolution, sharper lens, and smaller size.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    High resolution
  • +
    Sharp lens (best in class)
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Good high ISO performance (best in class)
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    No optical viewfinder
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd is the Best Digital Camera for Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • Max ISO: 6400
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
2
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS
3
Canon PowerShot A590 IS
Customer Rating
Price $278.68 $292.99 $369.00
Size (W x H x D) 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 3.8 x 2.5 x 1.2 in. 3.7 x 2.5 x 1.6 in.
?
Sensor Size
8.0 x 6.0 mm 6.0 x 4.5 mm 5.8 x 4.3 mm
?
Effective Sensor Resolution
12.0 megapixels 10.0 megapixels 8.0 megapixels
?
Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.6 sec 0.5 - 0.7 sec 0.5 - 0.7 sec
Power to First Shot Time 2.8 sec 1.5 sec 1.8 sec
?
Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
35 mm 35 mm 35 mm
Optical Zoom 3.0x 4.0x 4.0x
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light Available Yes Yes Yes
?
Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/2.8 f/2.7 f/2.6
?
Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/5.1 f/5.6 f/5.5
Max ISO Setting 6400 (1600 at full resolution) 3200 1600
?
Viewfinder Available
No Yes Yes
Flash Recycling Time 3.1 sec 3.0 sec 5.2 sec
Battery Life 230 shots 450 shots 450 shots
Body Material Metal and Plastic Plastic Plastic
Image Quality
Corner to corner sharpness very good very good very good
Low light (high ISO) performance good above average above average
2
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS

Canon has consistently matched rivals at increasing resolution while not compromising as much on low light image quality. The Canon A1000 IS is one of the latest in the value-for-money A series compacts. The camera is slimmer than its predecessor (Canon A580) and adds image stabilization to the 4x zoom lens.

It has an optical viewfinder too which comes in handy if the subjects are moving (especially in low light situations).

Other useful features are:

  • Face detection Adjusts exposure based on faces in the scene and removes red-eye automatically.
  • Motion detection technology Combining inputs from Face Detection Technology, the optical Image Stabilizer, changes in scene brightness and changes from frame to frame, it raises ISO to freeze the action.
  • ISO3200 mode.

Camera’s acclaimed DIGIC III processor tries to control noise at higher ISOs in low light situations resulting in images which are grainy but retain fine details.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot A590 IS

The Canon A1000 IS is slimmer and has an ISO3200 option, higher resolution, a faster flash recycle, a wide viewing angle LCD. However, if one wants Aperture/Shutter priority modes, the Canon PowerShot A590IS is the better option.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Optical viewfinder
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    ISO3200 option
Cons
  • -
    High noise at ISO1600
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
  • Max ISO: 3200
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Canon PowerShot A590 IS

This is another successful A series model from Canon. The camera offers full Manual & Aperture/Shutter priority modes which are rare at such a low price point. It has an optical viewfinder too which comes in handy if the subjects are moving (especially in low light situations). It also has an optical viewfinder. Other useful features for low light photos:

  • Face detection
  • Motion detection technology
  • DIGIC III processor Low light Image quality is good.
Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Optical viewfinder
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Aperture/Shutter priority modes
  • +
    Cheap
Cons
  • -
    High noise at ISO1600
  • -
    Slow flash recycle
  • -
    Bulky
Canon PowerShot A590 IS is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A590 IS
  • Best Price: $369
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • Max ISO: 1600
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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.