Expert Recommendation

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Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $400 with Wide-angle lens
Expert (88 Recommendations and 32 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
April 25, 2007 Updated: October 22, 2007
Overview

A great camera for general-purpose photography and blur-free shots, the Canon SD800IS offers great image quality, captures panoramic views of landscapes and has good low light performance.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS

All of these cameras are built well and have metal bodies.

The Kodak V705 stands out because of its useful ultra-wide angle zoom lens, but it falters on image quality. The images are highly compressed (each image being compressed to have about half the size when compared to similar images from other 7 megapixel cameras like the Canon PowerShot SD800 IS. This high compression inevitably leads to smearing of some fine details even at low ISO settings. Also the camera zoom jumps abruptly from 23mm to 39mm (one lens has a fixed focal length, while the other starts after a gap).

The Panasonic DMC-FX30 scores higher than the Kodak V705 because of its image stabilization feature, continuous zoom lens and good battery life. However, there is heavy noise reduction at ISO 400 and above, leading to smearing of fine details and watercolor-like artifacts. This has been a problem with previous Panasonic cameras too.

So this leaves us with the Sony DSC-T100 and Canon SD800 IS cameras. Both have good image quality. While the Sony DSC-T100 has more resolution and more zoom, the SD800 IS scores higher because of its wider angle zoom lens (useful for landscapes/beaches/buildings photography, which normally comprises a larger portion of one’s portfolio than close-up shots), and optical viewfinder (which helps preserve battery life in extended outings as one can switch off the LCD screen). The Canon SD800 IS is therefore our Top Pick.

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS is the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $400 with Wide-angle lens
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.8x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 28mm (25% wider)
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • Size: 3.5 x 2.3 x 1.0 in.
  • Battery Life: 270 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
2
Kodak EasyShare V705

This is the ultra-compact camera (0.8” thick) with an ultra-wide angle lens of 23mm. The body also houses another lens with 3x optical zoom (equivalent to 39-117mm on a 35mm camera). The Kodak EasyShare V705 has a 7 megapixel resolution sensor and the battery life is approximately 150 shots/charge.

Kodak EasyShare V705 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $400 with Wide-angle lens
Where to buy
Kodak EasyShare V705
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.1x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 23mm (52% wider)
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • Size: 4.0 x 2.0 x 0.8 in.
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30

In the Panasonic line-up, the DMC-FX30 is their thinnest camera (0.87” thick) with a wide-angle lens. It has a 7 megapixel resolution sensor, 3.6x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 28-100mm on a 35mm camera) with an optical Image Stabilization feature. Battery life is claimed to be 280 shots/charge.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $400 with Wide-angle lens
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.6x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 28mm (25% wider)
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 280 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
4
Sony Cybershot DSC-T100

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100 model is 0.87” thick and has the greatest zoom with a wide-angle lens among the ultra-compacts. The camera has an 8 megapixel resolution sensor and 5x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm camera) with an optical Image Stabilization feature. It also has a Face Detection feature. Battery life is claimed to be 340 shots/charge. The camera received a good review at Digital Trends (an independent camera review site).

Sony Cybershot DSC-T100 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $400 with Wide-angle lens
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-T100
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: No
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • Size: 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 340 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Excellent by CNET.com

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