Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Low Light Photos Under $400
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
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October 21, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

The low-light market is cornered by Fujifilm, who dominates this segment with its unique SuperCCD sensor design that yields far better high ISO performance (used to prevent camera shake and motion blur) than any other consumer camera on the market. Of these, the best of the best is Fuji’s S6000fd, a versatile do-it-all ultrazoom camera that delivers the best low-light performance in this class, and packs in general-use features like a 10.7x zoom range and 28mm wide-angle lens that makes it an excellent all-around camera as well.

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My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

The best low-light performer under $400 is undoubtedly the Fuji S6000fd. Despite using an older 6th-generation SuperCCD sensor, the S6000fd produces significantly lower-noise high ISO files than the F40fd and especially the new F50d. While the F50fd has an image stabilization system, this is less useful than high ISO capability since it can not prevent blur from moving subjects, and the benefits are almost completely washed out by the inferior high ISO noise.

In addition to this, the S6000fd is simply a more capable and better-featured camera, with a 28mm wide angle lens and versatile 10.7x zoom range. The only drawback is that the S6000fd is a much larger camera than either of the other contenders - if size is a concern, the Fuji F40fd is a solid ultracompact camera with nearly the same high-ISO low-light abilities, although it lacks the useful zoom range and battery life of the S6000fd.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Low Light Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.7x
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Resolution: 6.3MP
  • Max ISO: 3200
  • 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

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
2
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
3
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd
Customer Rating
Price $278.68
Size (W x H x D) 5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in. 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in
Weight (without batteries) 21.0 oz 5.4 oz 5.4 oz
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28-300 mm (10.7x) 35-105mm (3x) 36-108mm (3x)
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Image Stabilization Available
No Yes No
Storage Media xD-Picture Card xD Picture Card, SD Card xD-Picture Card, SD Card
Battery Type AA-size (x4) Proprietary Li-ion Rechargeable Proprietary Li-ion Rechargeable
Battery Life 400 shots 230 shots 300 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO800 ISO400 ISO800
2
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd

The Fuji F50fd is the flagship camera of Fuji’s F-x0 series of ultracompact, 3x zoom point and shoot cameras utilizing the low-noise SuperCCD sensor. The F50fd utilizes the latest 7th-generation version of the SuperCCD, but because the F50fd packs in so many pixels into a sensor of roughly the same size (12 megapixels, compared to 6 megapixels found on most 6th-generation SuperCCD sensors), each pixel on the F50fd receives less light and as a result the the F50fd’s high ISO performance is considerably worse than Fuji’s other SuperCCD cameras, although still better than the average camera which uses a non-SuperCCD sensor.

To make up for this, the F50fd is the only SuperCCD camera which implements an image stabilization system, helping the camera reduce the effects of camera shake blur. As discussed above, this feature doesn’t help freeze blur caused by moving subjects, however.

The F50fd’s flash is embedded into the camera body, so using flash results in the typical harsh, flat lighting, and should generally be avoided.

Fujifilm FinePix F50fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Low Light Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • Max ISO: 6400
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd

The Fuji F40fd is the budget model of Fuji’s F-x0 series of ultracompact point and shoots. The F40fd utilizes a 6th-generation SuperCCD sensor with 8 megapixels, which results in slightly worse high ISO performance than the 6 megapixel sensor found on the S6000fd, but is still a solid high-ISO performer. The F40fd lacks an image stabilization system, somewhat negating its high ISO low-light capabilities. The F40fd’s flash is embedded into the camera body, so using flash results in the typical harsh, flat lighting, and should generally be avoided.

Fujifilm FinePix F40fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Low Light Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Resolution: 8.3MP
  • Max ISO: 2000
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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