Expert Recommendation

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Best Ultra Compact Digital Camera Overall Under $200
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 4, 2009 Updated: November 6, 2009
Overview

I’ll never understand why camera makers took the optical viewfinder out of their compact cameras, but thankfully, Canon included one in their SD1200 IS. That makes the SD1200 IS my favorite Ultra Compact point and shoot.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

Sleek and stylish, the SD1200 IS fits snuggly in your purse, jacket or jeans pocket. And at a price that fits your budget!

Smart and robust, the SD1200 IS uses the Digic 4 image processor, 10.0mp sensor with image stabilization and 3x zoom to capture still images that are sure to satisfy even the toughest critic, yourself.

Take advantage of the optical viewfinder to compose your subject in any type of condition without the worry of annoying glare or distracting reflections. Then, review your shots on the bright, 2.5” LCD.

Comparison with Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP

Even though these two cameras share a lot of the qualities desired in an Ultra Compact, where the SD1200 IS has a viewfinder to make shooting easy in most situations, the Z33 WP is a waterproof camera, making it easy to shoot in very wet or dirty situations. Otherwise, the SD1200 IS has image stabilization (the Z33 WP does not) and a bit smaller LCD screen (2.5”)

Comparison with Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z280

Coming in at a robust 12.1mp with 4x optical zoom, the EX Z280 is a strong alternative to the SD1200 IS. I only wish it had the viewfinder and a brighter LCD screen. If features like YouTube movie mode, Dynamic photo and e-greetings are important to you, then this camera is worth a look.

Pros
  • +
    Viewfinder
  • +
    Digic 4
  • +
    Image stabilization
Cons
  • -
    2.5 LCD
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS is the Best Ultra Compact Digital Camera Overall Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
  • Best Price: $219
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: No
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
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Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • 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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Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
2
Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP
3
Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z280
Customer Rating
Price $219.00 $149.97
Size (W x H x D) 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.9 in. 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8 in. 3.9 x 2.2 x 0.8 in.
Weight (with batteries) 4.9 oz 4.6 oz 4.7 oz
Colors Pink, Green, Blue, Light Gray, Dark Gray, Orange Black, Green, Pink Silver, Black, Blue
Waterproof No Yes No
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Effective Sensor Resolution
10.0 megapixels 10.0 megapixels 12.1 megapixels
Video Available Yes Yes Yes
Optical Zoom 3.0x 3.0x 4.0x
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes No No
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Face Detection Available
Yes Yes Yes
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Viewfinder Available
Yes No No
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LCD Screen Size
2.5 in. 2.7 in. 2.7 in.
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
2
Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP

If you’re looking for a slim camera to fit into your tackle box or rain slicker that promises to get you the shot you want, including 30 fps video, then Fuji has just the thing.

Packing a 10.0mp imaging sensor, 3x optical zoom and a bright 2.7 LCD into a stylish waterproof body, the Z33 WP is the take-anywhere camera with the fun built in.

Take the Z33 WP to the beach and don’t worry about sand, take it on the boat and don’t worry about splashing, take it to a party and whether you have the Kiwi Green, Hawaiian Blue, Daredevil Black, Liquid Gold or Rock Chick Pink version, don’t worry about drawing a crowd, it’s a sure thing. Dial in the group self timer and the camera will wait for you to set up the shot and get in it before taking the picture.

Comparison with Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z280

Having the ability to shoot underwater and then create unique images from the results would be a lot of fun from each of these Ultra Compact cameras. Unfortunately, you still have to choose between those two excellent features when deciding which one to buy.

Pros
  • +
    Waterproof
  • +
    Blog mode
  • +
    Couple and Group self timer
Cons
  • -
    No viewfinder
Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP is one of the Best Ultra Compact Digital Cameras Overall Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: No
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Good by CNET.com
3
Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z280

When looking for a super slim point and shoot camera with HD video and fun internal features, don’t look any further than the Casio EX Z280.

This stylish 12.1mp camera with 4x zoom and a 2.7” LCD screen uses two CPU’s to power the many features it has, providing you with creative choices at a speed you have come to expect.

Take pictures in the Easy mode if you are just getting started in digital photography, or fire up the Exilim Engine 4.0 to apply such exciting features as the e-greeting function that allows you to create animated graphics you can send to friends, the Dynamic photo mode that allows you to create unique images using a green-screen background to drop in different scenes to your photos, or, convert your High Resolution 720p movie clips to settings that make them YouTube ready.

If creating high quality images you can enlarge and hang on the walls in an Ultra Compact body are what you’re looking for, then the Casio EX Z280 is the top pick for you.

Pros
  • +
    Two CPU's
  • +
    4x zoom
  • +
    HD Video
  • +
    YouTube mode
  • +
    Dynamic photo mode
  • +
    e-greeting function
Cons
  • -
    Weak LCD screen
Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z280 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Digital Cameras Overall Under $200
Where to buy
Casio EXILIM Zoom EX-Z280
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 26mm (35% wider)
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
More
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