View Full Version : Best ultracompact P & S under $400?

06-26-2007, 03:00 PM
I am getting a new camera for my birthday but can't decide which one. I currently have a Nikon Coolpix 4300, and Iím tired of missing shots due to the long shutter lag and amount of time for the camera to get in ready mode between shots, blurry photos (e.g. auto focus locks on background rather than person; moving kids), small screen and bulkiness of the camera itself. Iíd like a point and shoot camera to keep in my purse and/or pocket to catch those impromptu moments as well as for ease while traveling. I'd also like the clearest images for $300-400. I'd consider giving up something except size and price for clear images. I will also need to justify to my hubby spending more than $300 (everything I've liked so far is between $300-$400 but he doesn't want to spend that much). Is the image quality on a $300 camera the same as a $400 camera?

budget: $300-400

size: ultracompact

megapixels: 6+ (not really sure how much I need to crop photos and still be able to print an 8x10)

zoom: Standard 3x-4x

image quality: want the best quality for this price and size (basically donít want photos that look blurry or pixilated)

manual exposure modes: doesnít matter

using the camera for: Mostly for pictures of young kids (indoors and out), travel/landscape, get togethers/parties,

big prints: probably nothing larger than 8x10, but like to crop faces of my kids from full length shots and blow up to 5x7 or 8x10

indoor photos or low light photos? Yes

sports and/or action photos? Yes

particular brands? No

particular models: Sony T100, Sony T20, Canon SD850 IS, Canon SD800 IS, Canon SD700IS

special features: Image Stabilization? Face recognition? Vivid color?

Thanks for your help,

David Metsky
06-26-2007, 03:13 PM
No ultracompact is going to give you great sports photos, or super fast focus, or hassle free focus. There are better ones then others, but you may still be somewhat disappointed if you expect perfection.

Still, many are better then your Nikon. Of your list I like the SD700 and SD800. If you need a real wide angle (28mm) go for the 800. To reduce shutter lag on any P&S camera push the shutter down halfway to lock focus before you are ready to take the shot. That may not be possible if kids are running around quickly. The SD700 appears the have the best image quality of the Canon SD-series, but the SD800 is quite good too.

Another possibility would be the Fuji F-30 or F-40. They have much better high ISO performance which would help low light shots. Image Stabilization won't help in those cases when your subject is moving quickly. Those cameras are bit bigger then ultracompact however.