Expert Recommendation

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Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
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August 4, 2008 Updated: August 5, 2008
Overview

A good all-around compact camera, the P60 offers most of the basics you’d need for portraits of kids and pets - moderate 5x zoom, fast shutter lag, and usable high ISO ability.

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My Best In Class Pick
Nikon Coolpix P60

The Nikon P60 is a compact all-around camera that features a moderate 5x zoom. The 36-180mm zoom range just falls a bit short of the traditional 50-200mm portrait range, and close-up opportunities are somewhat limited with only a 36mm wide-angle.

Shutter lag on the P60 is slightly above average, although it still won’t be very easy to react quickly or precisely time your shots. The high-ISO ability is slightly below-average, so while you may be able to freeze your kids’ and pets’ motion in low-light, the result will be very noisy.

The P60 comes in a fairly compact 1.4” thick body, which should fit into nearly any bag or jacket pocket.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot A590 IS

Compared to the A590IS, the P60 covers a larger range, giving you more creative options for different perspectives. The P60’s slightly faster shutter lag will also allow you to snap photos off quicker, although its slightly worse high ISO ability will result in noisier images in low-light situations

Comparison with Fujifilm FinePix J50

Compared to the Fuji J50, the P60 is superior in most performance aspects, producing less blotchy images at high-ISO and having a much faster shutter lag - two attributes that are crucial for taking photos at an instant and freezing the motion of children and pets in low light.

Pros
  • +
    Slightly above average shutter lag
Cons
  • -
    Doesn't quite cover the full 50-200mm portrait range
  • -
    Slightly below average high ISO
Nikon Coolpix P60 is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix P60
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 sec
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Nikon Coolpix P60
2
Canon PowerShot A590 IS
3
Fujifilm FinePix J50
Customer Rating
Price $369.00 $124.95
Size (W x H x D) 3.8 x 2.5 x 1.4 in. 3.7 x 2.6 x 1.6 in 3.8 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
Weight (without batteries) 5.6 oz 6.2 oz 4.9 oz
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
36 mm 35 mm 37 mm
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Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
180 mm 140 mm 185mm
Optical Zoom 5.0x 4.0x 5.0x
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes No
Battery Life 410 shots 500 shots 150 shots
Important Portrait Features
Shutter lag Good Average Poor
High ISO quality Average Average Poor
People/Pet Portrait Rating Good Average Average
2
Canon PowerShot A590 IS

The Canon A590 IS is the budget camera in Canon’s A-series, offering a small 4x zoom that only provides a 35-140mm zoom range, falling well short of the ideal 50-200mm range for portraits. Close-up opportunities are also limited by the 35mm wide-angle.

Shutter lag on the A590 is about average, so you may have some difficulty reacting quickly and precisely timing your shots. The high ISO ability of the A590 is about average, but typical of Canon cameras leaves in a lot of noise in order to retain detail. This results in images that are easier to edit later, but extremely grainy pictures straight out of the camera.

The A590IS comes in a 1.6” body.

Comparison with Fujifilm FinePix J50

The A590IS’s main advantage over the Fuji J50 is performance - the A590’s shutter lag is faster and its high-ISO performance is better. While the J50 has a larger 5x zoom range that offers more versatility, the A590’s shutter lag and high-ISO will let you take the spur-of-the-moment and low-light shots that the J50 will simply miss.

Pros
  • +
    Inexpensive
Cons
  • -
    Doesn't cover the usual 50-200mm portrait range
  • -
    Extremely grainy high-ISO images, unless edited with noise reduction software
Canon PowerShot A590 IS is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A590 IS
  • Best Price: $369
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 0.7s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
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Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Fujifilm FinePix J50

The Fujifilm J50 is an entry-level ultracompact (just 0.9” thick) camera that packs a big (for its size) 5x zoom lens. Covering the 37-185mm range, the J50 falls just short of the typical 50-200mm range but covers it better than most cameras in this class.

Shutter lag on the J50 is a little slow, making it difficult to react quickly or time your photos precisely. The J50’s high-ISO performance is also slightly below average - while you’ll still be able to freeze motion in low-light situations, the images will tend to be noisy and blotchy.

Compared to the Kodak Z1085, the J50 covers about the same range, bur offers a much better high ISO performance, while having a slightly more sluggish shutter lag.

Comparison with Nikon Coolpix S550

The Fuji J50 is a very similar camera to the Nikon S550 - both sport 5x zoom lenses that cover much of the traditional portrait range, but also deliver underwhelming shutter lag and high-ISO performances. The J50 is a slightly better camera, on account of producing slightly less noisy high-ISO images, and being a bit cheaper than the S550.

Pros
  • +
    Inexpensive
Cons
  • -
    Slow shutter lag
  • -
    Doesn't quite cover the 50-200mm portrait range
  • -
    Slightly below average high ISO
Fujifilm FinePix J50 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix J50
  • Best Price: $124
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 8.2MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
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4
Nikon Coolpix S550

The Nikon S550 is a small budget camera - at 4.2 oz, 3.6 inches long, and 0.9 inches thick, it’s smaller than the average ultracompact even. Despite its compactness, the S550 manages to pack in a 36-180mm 5x zoom lens, covering most of the typical 50-200mm portrait range.

Performance-wise, the S550 falls short in the most important categories for children and pet photos. Shutter lag is below average, making it difficult to take photos that require precise timing or immediate reaction. The S550’s high-ISO ability is also below average, producing fairly noisy images in low-light situations when you’re trying to freeze your kids’ and pets’ motion.

Comparison with Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS

Compared to the Kodak Z1085, the S550 is a much more compact camera, while still covering most of the 50-200mm portrait range. While the Kodak offers image stabilization and has a faster shutter lag than the S550, the Kodak’s terrible high ISO performance means it won’t be able to take any usable photos in low-light, where fast-moving kids and pets will create blurry messes.

Pros
  • +
    Slightly smaller than the average ultracompact
Cons
  • -
    Slow shutter lag
  • -
    Noisy high-ISO
Nikon Coolpix S550 is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix S550
  • Best Price: $199
    Amazon See It »
Want More Opinions? See:
5
Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS

The Kodak Z1085 IS is a cheap entry-level compact. Sporting a 5x zoom, the Z1085’s 35-175mm doesn’t fully cover the traditional 50-200mm portrait range, but it’s still better than most budget cameras. The Z1085 fits in a fairly compact 1.5” thick body.

Shutter lag on the Z1085 is about average, so it may still be difficult to fire off photos quickly and precisely. The Z1085’s weakest point is its high ISO, which creates noisy, near-unusable messes in low-light situations if you want to avoid blur from fast-moving children and pets.

Cons
  • -
    Doesn't quite cover the 50-200mm portrait range
  • -
    Terrible high ISO
Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS is one of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.6 sec
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Good by CNET.com

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