Expert Recommendation

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Best Ultra Compact Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $400
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 5, 2009 Updated: November 9, 2009
Overview

When you want to capture the action quickly and in style, just reach into your pocket and pull out the Sony DSC-WX1. Designed to respond at 10fps to capture motion and light, the DSC-WX1 is just the answer to your Ultra Compact shooting needs.

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My Best In Class Pick
Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1

When shooting action, speed rules. That’s why the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1 is my Best in Class pick for Ultra Compact digital camera for shooting action.

At 10fps, you are sure to get the shot every time. Size up your subject in the Pet mode or Anti Motion Blur mode and freeze the action like you never could before. No more blurred images of the family pet or, worse yet, disappearing subjects as the shutter fails to fire on time. With a shutter speed of 1/1600 sec., the WX1 responds to your command.

Built with Sony’s latest Exmor R CMOS sensor and a high quality f/2.4 Sony ‘G lens’ with 5x optical zoom and 24mm wide angle, you can expect to get the shot in all types of lighting situations.

Dynamic Range Optimization and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization also team up to ensure your action shots are properly exposed and sharp.

Switch to HD Video at 720p and 30fps and view the action on the bright 2.7” Clear Photo LCD screen.

Either way, still or motion, the Sony WX1 is an Ultra Compact camera that shows up ready for action.

Comparison with Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V8

For a camera that will capture the action quickly and easily, and with anti motion blur mode, clearly, the WX1 stands out against the EX-V8. The WX1 also has a wider angle and higher ISO. But, If your needs lean more towards video or underwater action, the EX-V8 offers an improvement over the WX1. The EX-V8 also has more zoom (7x vs. 5x).

Comparison with Pentax Optio W80

The biggest difference between these two cameras is the ruggedness of the W80. Built to take a beating above or underwater, in the rain or during a windstorm, if heading into these environments is your style, go with the W80.

Pros
  • +
    High ISO
  • +
    10 fps
  • +
    Bright, clear LCD
Cons
  • -
    5x zoom
  • -
    Uses the harder to find, and costlier, memory stick duo memory card
Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1 is the Best Ultra Compact Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 10.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.3 - 0.6s
  • Burst Speed: 10.0 fps
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Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Excellent by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1
2
Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-V8
3
Pentax Optio W80
Customer Rating
Price $366.60 $149.99 $399.99
Size (W x H x D) 3.6 x 2.0 x 0.8 in. 3.8 x 2.4 x 1.0 in. 3.9 x 2.2 x 1.0 in.
Weight (with batteries) 5.2 oz 6.3 oz 5.3 oz
Waterproof No No Yes
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 0.6 frames/sec 0.6 frames/sec 1.4 frames/sec
Video Available Yes Yes Yes
HD Video Available Yes No Yes
Optical Zoom 5.0x 7.0x 5.0x
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes No
?
Face Detection Available
Yes Yes Yes
?
Viewfinder Available
No No No
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Max ISO Setting 3200 800 6400
Colors Black Black, Silver Red, Blue, Gray
Max Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
?
LCD Screen Size
2.7 in. 2.5 in. 2.5 in.
2
Casio EXILIM Hi-ZOOM EX-V8

The Casio Exilim Hi-Zoom EX-V8 is a slim, stylish Ultra Compact digital camera that has been designed to capture your action shots in both still and movie mode.

Employing four blur reduction technologies, you can expect those shots of the kids, pets or even bigfoot sightings to be in focus and clear enough for you to show off in print, email or posted on YouTube (Use the YouTube™ Capture Mode, which enables users to shoot and save movies at the optimum size and quality, for sharing your movies with family and friends.)

Zoom in on the action with the quiet 7X optical internal zoom lens with it’s CCD-shift image stabilization mechanism and shoot up to 1600 ISO in the high sensitivity mode, making sure you don’t lose the shot just because the light is disappearing.

And don’t worry about the camera settings when you jump from subject to subject, with 34 Best Shot modes and 11 movie Best Shot modes, the camera does the thinking for you while you focus on the action.

The Casio EX-V8 is a great action camera that comes in four stylish colors, gray, black, blue, pink. And if the action takes you out on, or under, the water, pick up an underwater case and expand your possibilities.

Comparison with Pentax Optio W80

Even though you can purchase an underwater case for the EX-V8, the W80 may be the camera for the active individual who needs that feature. But if slim and stylish is what you want in a great camera, the EX-V8 is the one for you.

Pros
  • +
    7x zoom
  • +
    Best shot modes
  • +
    YouTube capture mode
  • +
    High sensitivity
  • +
    Great video
Cons
  • -
    38mm wide only
Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-V8 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-V8
  • Best Price: $149
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Underwater Case for the Following Casio Exilim Digital Cameras: EX-M1, EX-M2, EX-M20, EX-S1, EX-S2, EX-S3, EX-S20, EX-V7, EX-V8
    $29.95 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 7.0x
  • Resolution: 8.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 - 0.4s
  • Burst Speed: 0.6 fps
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3
Pentax Optio W80

Shockproof and Waterproof are not features you usually see in an Ultra Compact digital camera, but if you are the type of adventurer who is always” going in “, this is the camera for you.

The 8.0mp Pentax Optio W80, with its 5x optical zoom and bright 2.5 LCD ( with anti-reflective coating ), will go to the heights and depths of wherever you’re going. In fact, when you get there, it may be the only companion that’s able to keep up. Built with shock-absorbent material and a JIS Class 8 waterproof rating, the W80 is a rugged contender for your favorite action camera.

And to make sure you capture the action without the annoying blur lesser cameras give you, the W80 uses triple anti-shake protection. Pixel Track SR mode reduces blur at the pixel level while the High-Sensitivity SR mode will raise the ISO all the way to 6400 so the shutter speed can remain at a high enough level to stop the action for clear, exciting images.

And finally, when shooting high-definition movie clips at 16:9 TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second, Movie SR mode minimizes camera shake so you can move in on the action without having to carry one of those crazy hollywood steadycam contraptions.

Pros
  • +
    Waterproof
  • +
    Shockproof
Cons
  • -
    5x zoom
Pentax Optio W80 is one of the Best Ultra Compact Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $400
Where to buy
Pentax Optio W80
Specifications
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.3 - 0.8s
  • Burst Speed: 3.3 fps
More
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