Expert Recommendation

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Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $300
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
March 5, 2012 Updated: March 20, 2012
Overview

When traveling light means keeping it simple, the Canon Powershot SX230 HS may be the best item you’ll pack in your suitcase. Pocket-sized yet containing the tools to get you the quality photos you would expect from a bag full of SLR gear, the SX230 HS is my Best In Class pick for an ultra compact point and shoot camera for travel photos.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

For the ultimate in convenience and quality, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is a must-have camera for your next vacation.

As a trusted name in photography, Canon gives you the tools and the technology to explore places near and far with the confidence of coming back with a true and accurate record of your travels.

Built with advanced features, the SX230 HS has a 12.1mp back-illuminated CMOS sensor, the powerful DIGIC 4 processor, a 3.0” PureColor II G LCD screen and a 14x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization. Add to that the newest technology to be included in a Canon PowerShot, GPS functionality.

For an exciting new way to tell your story, imagine using GPS to automatically record the location of each of your shots and, when you get back home, using the map utility software that comes with the camera to track your travels by the time and place you shot them. Suddenly you’re a travel pro showing your friends the way through distant and exotic places. (Careful though, some locations on the planet have restrictions on the use of such electronic devices!)

To make sure you’re getting the perfect exposure, take advantage of the SX230’s advanced Smart AUTO system and let the camera make the optimal setting choices under any kind of situation. With 32 options to choose from you are certain to get the right setting at the right time. Or, if you prefer, take control over all of the settings with the ability to choose aperture, speed, ISO and focus. With full manual control you can experiment and show off your creative side.

When the moment calls for video, the SX230 creates 1920x1080p full HD movies at 24fps with stereo sound and can take advantage of the 14x zoom with manual control during capture. There’s even a dedicated movie button that makes switching back and forth from still to video a snap, allowing you to make split second choices. Another fun feature is the Movie Digest mode. While in this setting, the camera will record a 4 second video before each still shot and can be stitched together to create a small, VGA resolution movie.

Add an underwater casing when your travel plans call for wet and wild activities, from taking the kids to the pool to swimming with the sharks, and make your travel photos and videos a one-of-a-kind visual experience you can share with family and friends for years to come.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10

Even though both cameras offer GPS capabilities and HD video, I still prefer the SX230 HS for the high quality images Canon cameras routinely produce. I’m even willing to give up a little on the zoom (SX230 HS = 14x, ZS10 = 16x)

Comparison with Nikon Coolpix S8200

Although the S8200 is a good camera for travel photos, it lacks many of the features of the SX230 HS. For Nikon fans, it just might be the choice for you.

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $300
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
  • Best Price: $299
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Canon PowerShot SX230HS Digital Camera Battery
    @ Amazon.com
  • Canon WP DC42 - Marine case for Canon Powershot SX220 & SX230 HS
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Size: 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10

For a truly versatile point-and-shoot camera you can take anywhere in a shirt or pants pocket, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 is a great choice.

Built with must-have features like a 16x zoom lens, full HD video, 3D capture, GPS capability, 10fps continuous shooting, a 3.0” touch screen LCD and a 14.1mp imaging sensor all packed into a lightweight body, you are ready for recording and sharing the exciting moments of your travels in ways you never could before.

Expect fast response times from the Venus Engine FHD with high burst speeds of up to 10fps and the ease of operation thanks to the Touch Zoom, Touch Auto Focus and Touch Shutter features of the bright, 3.0” LCD screen.

Upload your favorite images either during your trip or when you get home using the supplied Lumix Image Uploader. You can even put your geotagged images onto online maps for a re-creation of your travels that you made with this excellent camera, making it easy to share them with family and friends.

Panasonic has been creating excellent camera for many years, and with the ZS10 you are getting the most up-to-date technology available with high a quality optical design that ensures you will take your creative talents to the next level.

Comparison with Nikon Coolpix S8200

Featuring new and exciting functions like GPS compatibility and 3D capture, the ZS10 has more tools to ensure you get the results, and more, you’re looking for from a point and shoot camera you can carry easily on trips.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $300
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10
  • Best Price: $220
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Resolution: 14.1MP
  • Size: 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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3
Nikon Coolpix S8200

For a lightweight, ultra compact camera to take along on your travels, the Nikon Coolpix S8200 has just the features to make your trip successful.

Since getting close enough to your subjects can be a challenge, the S8200 has a long, 14x optical Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens that puts you right in the action. If that’s still not close enough, with the 16.1mp CMOS sensor, you get a sharp, crisp image that can be cropped for an even closer viewpoint.

Getting the shot at the right time is important too, and with the S8200 you can expect a quick response when you’re ready to go. From the pocketsize design that makes the camera readily available, to the 5fps exposure time at full resolution, expect to get the shot you want every time.

For video, the S8200 takes Full HD (1080p) movies with stereo sound at the touch of a button. Just press the dedicated button on the back of the camera and switch between stills and movies. In fact, every control on the camera is intuitive and responsive so you don’t have to waste time setting up your shots just to miss them because of hard-to-find settings.

Together with these great features, enjoy the bright, 3.0” ultra-high resolution LCD monitor with Clear Color display that allows you to frame your images and videos and display them with confidence, making your creative picture taking experience the best part of your trip.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $300
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix S8200
  • Best Price: $249
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Resolution: 16.0MP
  • Size: 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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