Expert Recommendation

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Best Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $250
Expert (88 Recommendations and 32 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
December 5, 2008 Updated: December 8, 2008
Overview

Equipped with the latest DIGIC IV image processor and an excellent lens, the Canon PowerShot SD880 IS makes it easier than ever to capture blur-free images of kids and pets indoors without using a flash. The camera is a snappy performer too. Overall it is the best in class budget digital camera. It’s especially nice that it’s slim enough to fit in your pants pocket.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS

This is one of the latest models in Canon’s highly successful SD series of ultra compact cameras. The camera is equipped with a good quality 4x zoom lens.

Although it misses the traditional optical viewfinder (useful for live tracking of subjects), it compensates that somewhat by faster image processing using Canon’s new DIGIC 4 processor. Owing to this processor it manages the neat feat of keeping noise in check at highest of ISOs while retaining enough details for good mid-sized prints (up to 8”x10” size). That all means that more than ever now you can take pleasant looking blur-free indoor shots without a flash of your cute little baby.

The camera has above average shot-to-shot times and the shutter response times are among the best in its class.

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 its Face Detection Technology, the optical Image Stabilizer, changes in scene brightness and changes from frame to frame, it raises ISO to freeze the action.
  • 3” LCD with wide viewing angle
Comparison with Nikon Coolpix S560

The Canon SD880 has better low light performance (finer details), a sharper lens, and slightly better performance.

Comparison with Fujifilm FinePix F60fd

The Canon PowerShot SD880 IS has slightly better low light performance (less noise reduction artifacts) and a versatile zoom range.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Good resolution
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Good high ISO performance (best in class owing to DIGIC IV)
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    Lacks an optical viewfinder
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS is the Best Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $250
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.5s
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 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
Best badge
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS
2
Nikon Coolpix S560
3
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd
Customer Rating
Price $549.00 $229.95
Size (W x H x D) 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.9 in. 3.7 x 2.1 x 0.9 in. 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
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Sensor Size
6.0 x 4.5 mm 6.0 x 4.4 mm 7.8 x 5.8 mm
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Effective Sensor Resolution
10.0 megapixels 10.0 megapixels 12.0 megapixels
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.09 sec 0.06 sec 0.05 sec
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Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.4 sec 0.5 - 0.8 sec 0.5 sec
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.4 frames/sec 0.7 frames/sec 0.5 frames/sec
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 mm 31 mm 35 mm
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Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
112 mm 174 mm 105 mm
Optical Zoom 4.0x 5.6x 3.0x
Auto Focus Assist Light Available Yes Yes Yes
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/2.8 f/3.5 f/2.8
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/5.8 f/5.6 f/5.1
Max ISO Setting 3200 (reduced resolution after ISO1600) 3200 (reduced resolution after ISO1600) 6400 (reduced resolution after ISO3200)
Max Usable ISO (subjective) 1600 1600 800
Shutter Priority Mode Available No No Yes
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Face Detection Available
Yes Yes Yes
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Viewfinder Available
No No No
Image Quality
High ISO performance Best in class very good good
2
Nikon Coolpix S560

Nikon, one of the top DSLR camera makers, is quickly emerging as a serious challenger among leading compact camera manufacturers. The S (S for Style) series of ultra compact cameras is evolving quickly and currently the S560 is the camera with highest zoom range. The camera has 5x zoom lens, which has enough reach to help capture the natural expressions of kids. Equipped with the latest EXPEED image processor, this camera produces images that are relatively noise free even at higher ISOs. Consequently you get more blur-free shots of your kids and pets. The performance too has improved over its predecessors.

Other useful features are:

  • Smile Mode, which automatically takes a picture when the person in focus smiles.
  • In-Camera Red-Eye Fix, which will automatically look for and fix most instances of red eye.
  • Face Priority AF is Nikon’s face-finding technology that quickly finds and focuses on up to five faces in a group portrait.
  • Blink warning will let you know when your subject’s eyes are closed so you can retake your picture.
Comparison with Fujifilm FinePix F60fd

The Nikon Coolpix S560 has a higher zoom range and fewer noise reduction artifacts.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Good high ISO performance
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    Lacks optical viewfinder
  • -
    Performance still not among the best.
Nikon Coolpix S560 is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $250
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix S560
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.6x
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
More
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3
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd

For the last few years, the Fuji F series of 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.

Equipped with high quality optics and improved processing, it produces images with minimal noise; however, at high ISOs the images contain unpleasant looking noise reduction artifacts (akin to a water color painting).

The Fuji F60fd 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 3.0, 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 F60fd is snappy performer too.

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

Comparison with Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS

The Fuji F60fd has less noise at higher ISOs, better resolution, more and corner-to-corner sharpness.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    High resolution
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Good high ISO performance
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    Lacks an optical viewfinder
  • -
    Unpleasant noise reduction artifacts at higher ISOs
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $250
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd
  • Best Price: $229
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 sec
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
4
Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS

This is the best value for money pick from Canon’s highly successful SD series of ultra compact cameras. It has an optical viewfinder, which is a great feature for keeping track of fast moving kids and pets.

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 its Face Detection Technology, the optical Image Stabilizer, changes in scene brightness and changes from frame to frame, it raises ISO to freeze action.

Camera’s acclaimed DIGIC III processor tries to control noise at higher ISOs in low light situations, resulting in images that are grainy but highly detailed. However the noise is overwhelming at ISO1600.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5

The Canon SD100 IS has an optical viewfinder.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Optical viewfinder
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    High noise at ISO1600
Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $250
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.8s
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5

Panasonic cameras are renowned to have relatively better performance (shutter response and focus speed). This is one of the two cameras in the recently launched FS series (easy to use, affordable and stylish). The camera is equipped with a 4x zoom lens and is a snappy performer. The latest image-processing Venus Engine IV produces minimal color bleeding, which was an issue with earlier models. However noise reduction is still a bit too high at higher ISOs, which turns the areas of fine details into a colorful mush a bit more than many of its rivals.

The camera is equipped with useful features like: Intelligent ISO – in this mode the camera can determine if the photo subject is moving and change the ISO setting and shutter speed accordingly, thus giving a blur-free photo.

Face Detection – Detecting up to 15 faces, Panasonic’s Face Detection can even track a face if the subject is moving.

.”Quick AF – The Quick AF (auto focus) system starts focus on the subject by just pointing the camera to the subject, thus minimizing the AF time.

Pros
  • +
    Good performance
  • +
    Rich feature set
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    Too High noise reduction at higher ISOs
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5 is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $250
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
More
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