Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $400
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 13, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

For fast action, there is simply no better camera in this class than Fujifilm’s S6000fd. With its unique SuperCCD sensor design, the S6000fd can freeze action in both daylight and low-light, a capability no other camera possesses. It may not have the longest zoom or the fastest continuous shooting mode, but the S6000fd can’t be beat where it counts most - the ability to freeze fast-action subjects.

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My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

Ultimately, fast action photography comes down to one thing - freezing the action. For this reason alone, the Fuji S6000fd is the best camera for the job; its amazing high ISO ability allows it to freeze action and shoot in low-light situations where no other camera can. While other cameras like the Canon S3 or Sony H9 actually have longer zooms and faster continuous shooting modes that are better suited for fast-action, all of this is for naught if the photos all turn out blurry because the shutter speed is simply not fast enough.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 10.7x
  • Resolution: 6.3MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 0.6s
  • Burst Speed: 2.3 fps
  • 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
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
3
Sony Cybershot DSC-H9
Customer Rating
Price $549.99 $1299.00
Size (W x H x D) 5.2 x 3.8 x 5.0 in. 4.5 x 3.1 x 3.0 in. 4.3 x 3.3 x 3.4 in.
Weight (without batteries) 21.0 oz 14.3 oz 14.4 oz
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 2.2fps for three, 0.6fps unlimited 2.2 fps, unlimited 2fps, unlimited
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 mm 36 mm 31 mm
Storage Media xD-Picture Card SD Memory Card Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
Battery Type AA-size (x4) AA-size (x4) Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Battery Life 400 shots 550 shots 280 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO800 ISO400 ISO400
Autofocus Rating Average Average Average
Fast Action Rating Superb Good Good
2
Canon PowerShot S3 IS

The Canon S3 is an older model in Canon’s S-series of ultrazoom cameras, which does nearly everything the newer S5 does at a much cheaper price. The S3’s headline feature is its large 36-432mm (12x) zoom lens, which allows you to zoom in close for fast action shots.

Using a conventional image sensor, the S3 has average high ISO, allowing it to freeze motion in daylight situations, although the images may be slightly noisy, but making it just about impossible to capture fast action in any kind of low-light.

The S3 can take photos continuously at 2.2 frames per second for an unlimited number of photos - a great advantage that will allow you to capture entire series of photos, picking out the best ones or the moments of peak action afterwards, and greatly increasing the number of “keepers”. Like all non-SLR cameras, the S3 uses a “contrast detection” autofocus system, which can just about keep up with fast subjects in daylight, but simply won’t work for low-light situations.

Overall, the S3 is a solid camera which has all the features we’re looking for, except perhaps better high ISO.

Canon PowerShot S3 IS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 12.0x
  • Resolution: 6.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.5s
  • Burst Speed: 2.3 fps
  • 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
3
Sony Cybershot DSC-H9

The Sony H9 is Sony’s top-of-the-line ultrazoom camera, which packs in a huge 31-465mm (15x) zoom lens, allowing you to zoom in for close-up shots of fast action.

The H9 has average high ISO performance which can freeze fast action in daylight (possibly with some slight noise), but isn’t capable of producing anything but unusably noisy or blurry photos in low-light situations.

The H9 can take photos continuously at 2 frames per second for an unlimited number of pictures - extremely good for a consumer camera, and allowing the H9 to capture a whole series of photos and increase your keeper rate - a useful feature for consumer cameras that otherwise struggle with things like consistently focusing. As with all non-SLR cameras, the autofocus system of the H9 employs the slow “contrast detection” method, which can focus on fast action in daylight situations, but is simply not good enough to keep up with fast action subjects in low light.

Like the Canon S3, the H9 is a very solid camera with all the features we’re looking for, except perhaps better high ISO.

Sony Cybershot DSC-H9 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-H9
  • Best Price: $1299
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 15.0x
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 1.0s
  • Burst Speed: 2.0 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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