Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $200
Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 21, 2007 Updated: December 21, 2007
Overview

The Panasonic FX30 is a stylish ultracompact camera, embodying many of the ideal features of a travel camera into a budget price. Its image stabilization system is great for taking pictures of static scenes when in low-light, and its 28mm wide-angle lens is perfect for landscapes, landmarks, and interiors encountered on travel.

The one area where the FX30 fall short is in its ability to freeze and capture fast action, especially in low-light. If you’re planning to take lots of photos of moving subjects, the Fujifilm F40 (mentioned below), may be the better camera for you at this price point.

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My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30

As you slash your budget further and further, every camera has to make compromises, and in the sub-$200 range we have three cameras which somewhat fit our needs, but none is a perfect match for all the features we’re searching for in a low-light travel camera.

If you’re planning on taking photos of moving subjects in low-light, the F40fd is definitely the best camera, since it can use its high-ISO ability to freeze subject motion, something the other two IS-enabled cameras can’t.

On the other hand, for static subjects, the FX30 has a lens-shift image stabilization system, which works just as well as a higher ISO for subjects that aren’t moving (buildings, landscapes, city landmarks). In addition to this, the FX30 also packs in a versatile zoom range with a 28mm wide-angle lens, the only camera with a wide-angle at this price point.

The final recommendation will depend on what you plan to shoot more of on your travel - things that move, and things that don’t. If you’re planning to shoot moving subjects like people, the F40fd is the way to go, but if you plan on shooting lots of inanimate things like landscapes and buildings, the 28mm lens and IS of the FX30 make it the best choice.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30 is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.6x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 7.2MP
  • Max ISO: 3200
  • Size: 3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 280 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (1 review)

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX30
2
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd
3
Canon PowerShot A570 IS
Customer Rating
Price $399.66 $379.00
Size (W x H x D) 3.7 x 2.0 x 0.9 in. 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 3.5 x 2.5 x 1.7 in.
Weight (without batteries) 4.7 oz 5.4 oz 6.1 oz
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 - 100 mm (3.6x) 36-108mm (3x) 35 - 140 mm (4x)
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes No Yes
Storage Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card xD-Picture Card, SD Memory Card SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Litihium Ion Rechargeable AA-size (x2)
Battery Life 280 shots 300 shots 400 shots
Max Usable ISO (subjective) ISO200 ISO800 ISO400
2
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd

The Fuji F40fd is the budget model of Fuji’s F-x0 series of ultracompact point and shoots. While its compact size makes it easy to carry along on travel, the F40fd has a rather limited 36-108mm 3x zoom range and lacks the wide-angle lens that is useful for landscape and landmark pictures in travel photography.

The F40fd’s strong point, however, is low-light photography. Thanks to its SuperCCD sensor, a unique sensor design developed by Fujifilm, the F40fd can produce amazing high-ISO photos in low-light, reducing camera shake blur and motion blur without creating excessive graininess or noise which ruins high-ISO pictures on most other cameras. The F40fd does not have image stabilization, however.

The F40fd battery lasts about 300 shots (CIPA standard), which should be good enough for a day of shooting for most travelers.

Fujifilm FinePix F40fd is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Fujifilm FinePix F40fd
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Resolution: 8.3MP
  • Max ISO: 2000
  • Size: 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 300 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Canon PowerShot A570 IS

The Canon A570IS is one of the budget models in Canon’s A series, but despite its budget label and cheap price, the A570 packs a lot of features. Using a conventional CCD sensor, the A570IS’s high-ISO ability is fairly typical, but thanks to a lens-shift image stabilization (IS) system, the A570IS is a better than average low-light performer. While IS won’t be able to freeze subject motion blur, it works great to reduce blur on pictures of static scenes like buildings and landscapes in low-light.

The A570IS packs a 35-140mm (4x) zoom lens. Although it lacks the wide-angle that’s useful for pictures of scenery or landmarks, the longer telephoto length allows for better portraits and some more ability to zoom in on fine detail.

The A570IS runs on AA batteries, which last 400 shots (CIPA standard), which should be good enough for a day if not more, of travel.

Canon PowerShot A570 IS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Travel and Low Light Photos Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A570 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • Max ISO: 1600
  • Size: 3.5 x 2.5 x 1.7 in.
  • Battery Life: 400 shots
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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