Expert Recommendation

.
Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $400
Expert (88 Recommendations and 32 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
August 17, 2008 Updated: August 18, 2008
Overview

With outstanding image quality, from a sharp lens and 8th generation Super CCD Sensor, a wide-angle lens for capturing landscapes, good zoom range, and a well-built compact body, the Fujifilm F100fd is the best in class compact digital camera for travel photos.

Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd

For the last few years, Fuji F series cameras equipped with super CCD sensors have become synonymous with good image quality. This camera is one of the latest additions to this series. It packs a high resolution 8th generation super CCD sensor and a 5x zoom lens in a sturdy body. The images retain corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the zoom range and image quality is good with rich colors and lots of detail.

The camera comes with many useful features like wide dynamic range for correcting problems with high contrast images (e.g . typical sunny outdoor scenes have wider brightness range than what conventional cameras can capture. The feature helps avoid blown out highlights while retaining shadow details in such situations).

Although the resolution has been doubled (previous generation F31fd had 6MPs), it still manages to strike good balance between noise and fine details at higher ISOs. (Essential for making effective use of “wide dynamic range” feature, else shadows would be too noisy and lacking in detail.). It also offers many preset scene modes for novice users (e.g. Portrait Enhancer, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Museum, Party, Flower, Text, etc.) The camera has received good reviews from leading camera reviewing sites.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500

The Fujifilm FinePix F100fd has better image quality (sharper and less noisy images). However if one wants more manual controls (e.g. Aperture/Shutter Priority modes) then the Panasonic Lunix DMC-FX500 is the better choice.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot SD870 IS

The Fujifilm F100fd has greater zoom range, a higher resolution sensor, and better corner-to-corner sharpness in images.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Good lens (sharp)
  • +
    High resolution
  • +
    Good zoom range for travel
  • +
    Well built
Cons
  • -
    Lacks Aperture/Shutter Priority modes
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd is the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd
  • Best Price: $299
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 12.0MP
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 230 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500
3
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS
Customer Rating
Price $299.95 $279.00 $445.00
Size (W x H x D) 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 3.7 x 2.3 x 1.0 in.
?
Effective Sensor Resolution
12.0 megapixels 10.1 megapixels 8.0 megapixels
?
Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.6 - 0.8 sec 0.6 sec 0.4 - 0.7 sec
Power to First Shot Time 3.5 sec 1.5 sec 0.9 sec
Max Video Resolution 640 x 480 pixels 1280 x 720 pixels 640 x 480 pixels
Max Video Frame Rate (max resolution) 30 frames/sec 30 frames/sec 30 frames/sec
?
Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 mm 25 mm 28 mm
?
Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
140 mm 125 mm 105 mm
Optical Zoom 5.0x 5.0x 3.8x
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Image Stabilization Type Optical (sensor shift) Optical (lens shift) Optical
Auto Focus Assist Light Available Yes Yes Yes
?
Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/3.3 f/2.8 f/2.8
?
Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/5.1 f/5.9 f/5.8
Aperture Priority Mode Available No Yes No
Viewfinder Type - - -
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Battery Life 230 shots 280 shots 270 shots
Image Quality
Low light (High ISO) Performance Good Above average Good
Lens Quality (Corner to corner sharpness) Good Above average Average
Fine details & colors Good Above average Above average
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500

Panasonic has been the first digital camera manufacturer to introduce optical image stabilization in all of its cameras. Its FX series offers high-end compact digital cameras with wide angle lenses. The FX500 is equipped with a wide-angle 5x zoom lens. The rich feature set includes Face Detection and Intelligent AUTO mode (it automatically sets the appropriate scene mode according to the picture you are about to take). The image quality is good. Panasonic’s association with the leading lens manufacturer Leica has helped them produce cameras with good quality lenses and the FX500 is one such product.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot SD870 IS

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 has a wider angle view, a better lens (corner-to-corner sharpness), and a greater zoom range.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Well bullt body
  • +
    Useful features (Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and full manual modes & noise reduction control)
  • +
    Good zoom range for travel
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500
  • Best Price: $279
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 280 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS

Canon is the pioneer of digital camera revolution and is the market leader. The Canon SD870IS is the successor (with more resolution & omission of an optical viewfinder) of the highly successful Canon SD800IS. The camera produces images with minimal processing artifacts, rich colors and lot of details in auto mode. It received a “Recommended” rating at DPREVIEW, one of the most popular camera reviewing sites. It’s a good camera to use when traveling.

Comparison with Sony Cybershot DSC-W170

The Canon PowerShot SD870 IS has better colors, performance, and low light performance.

Pros
  • +
    Canon brand
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Good performance
  • +
    Well built
  • +
    Cheap
Cons
  • -
    Poor corner sharpness in images
  • -
    Less zoom range (3.8x)
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.8x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.3 x 1.0 in.
  • Battery Life: 270 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Excellent by CNET.com
4
Sony Cybershot DSC-W170

Sony is one of the leading manufacturer of compact cameras. This is their higher-end model in the W series of cameras, which come with optical viewfinders. The camera has lot of things going for it with 5x wide-angle zoom, good build quality and good resolution. However the camera produces images with a slight blurring in the corners and applies high noise reduction, especially at higher ISOs (i.e. low light image quality is not that good.).

Pros
  • +
    Good zoom range
  • +
    Well built body
  • +
    Optical viewfinder
Cons
  • -
    Poor corner sharpness in images
  • -
    Excessive noise reduction at high ISOs
Sony Cybershot DSC-W170 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-W170
  • Best Price: $488
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 370 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com

How It Works

You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best digital camera for you.

Advertisement

best hdtv Looking for an HDTV? BestInClass.com also provides expert recommendations for the best HDTV for you.