Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $750
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
December 2, 2007 Updated: December 7, 2007
Overview

For a camera that can do it all, look no further than the Canon Rebel XT. Combined with an 18-55 IS and 70-300 telephoto lens, the Rebel XT is an extremely versatile camera that can handle all kinds of shooting situations, from portraits to fast action to any kind of general photography. With its image-stabilized 18-55 IS lens and the best high ISO capability in its class, the Rebel XT excels in low light situations, and can freeze fast action subjects even in dark night-time situations.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (Body Only)

The top pick here goes a little beyond the scope of an “easy to use” camera - while the Canon Rebel XT can certainly be used in automated “point and shoot” mode, a combination of two lenses (18-55 IS and 70-300) means that you’ll have to switch lenses for different uses. This isn’t a hard task at all, but does go slightly out of the scope of a completely automated camera, and isn’t quite as convenient as an all-in-one camera.

If you can handle this task, the Canon Rebel XT, combined with the 18-55 IS and 70-300 lenses, is a very versatile camera that can easily handle any low light, portrait, or fast action situation. With image stabilization on the 18-55 lens and the best high ISO ability of any camera on the market, the Rebel XT excels at low light. With high ISO, fast continuous shooting rate, and huge reach on the 70-300 lens, it’s also one of the best cameras for shooting fast action. The Rebel XT also adequately covers the middle range that’s useful for portraits, and the negligible shutter speed and good high ISO means timing your shots and freezing very active pets or children won’t be a problem.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (Body Only) is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (Body Only)
Specifications
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 sec
  • Burst Speed: 2.9 fps
  • Max ISO: 1600
  • Easy to Use: No
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Excellent by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (Body Only)
2
Pentax K100D (Body Only)
Customer Rating
Price
Size (W x H x D) 5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in. 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.8 in.
Weight (without batteries) 17.0 oz 19.8 oz
Weight (with batteries) 19.0 oz 22.4 oz
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 3fps for 14 pictures 2.8 fps for 5 photos
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
29 - 480 mm (16.5x) 27-300 (11x)
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes
Storage Media CompactFlash Card, MicroDrive SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable AA-size (x4) or CR-V3 (x2)
Battery Life 400 shots 300 shots
Max ISO Setting Superb Good
Autofocus Rating Average Good
Shutter Lag Rating Superb Superb
Low light Rating Superb Good
People/Pet Portraits Superb Superb
Fast Action Rating Good Average
2
Pentax K100D (Body Only)

The Pentax K100D is Pentax’s entry-level digital SLR, and is one of the cheapest and most feature-packed SLRs on the market. As with the Rebel XT, don’t be intimidated by the complexity of the K100D’s manual controls - it can be operated just as easily as any point and shoot camera in automatic mode.

Being an SLR, unlike other cameras the K100D can be equipped with a large variety of lenses that provide a variety of focal lengths, along with other features. The standard “kit lens” is an 18-55mm lens, which equates to a 27-83mm (3x) zoom range. Since we’re looking for a long telephoto range for sports and action, a better option would be to purchase the body by itself, and buy a $350 Sigma 18-200mm lens separately. This setup provides a 27-300mm (11x) zoom range, which will cover nearly every situation you might encounter, from portraits of pets and children to long-range fast action to any kind of general photography.

For low-light situations, the Pentax K100D employs a sensor-shift image stabilization method to reduce blur, and in addition has very good high ISO performance that is perfectly usable even at the highest setting. With a combination of great high ISO and image stabilization system, the K100D is an extremely capable low-light camera, but isn’t quite as good as the Rebel XT, especially when it comes to moving subjects like people, animals, or sports, where image stabilization is useless and only high ISO is important.

The Pentax K100D can shoot continuously at 2.8 frames per second (about average), but can only take up to 5 photos at a time, meaning you get less than 2 seconds of continuous action. This is a bit of a drawback - with only 5 photos at a time you won’t be able to machine-gun photos off, but sports photos certainly don’t require continuous shooting. Though Pentax cameras aren’t usually regarded as good sports cameras because of a lack of fast-focusing lenses, at this price range (with cheaper consumer lenses), the K100D has one of the most reliable and accurate autofocus systems, similar to that found on the higher-end sports cameras from Canon or Nikon.

The Pentax K100D uses four standard AA batteries (you’ll of course want to get rechargeable AA batteries of your own), which last for 300 shots per charge (CIPA standard) - slightly below average and perhaps not enough for a full sports game, depending on the length and how many photos you take.

Pentax K100D (Body Only) is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Child, Action, and Low Light Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Pentax K100D (Body Only)
Specifications
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 6.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 sec
  • Burst Speed: 2.7 fps
  • Max ISO: 3200
  • 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

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