Link It Up: point and shoot digital camera Matt 05 Sep 2006

79 comments Latest by jason

Someone you know wants to get a point and shoot digital camera. What do you recommend? Link it up.

79 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Griff 05 Sep 06

I just recently read on (the site I most value for digital camera reviews) that the Fujifilm Finepix F30 has an extremely sensitive CCD (ISO 3200 at full resolution). While this camera is not the smallest or best looking one out there, I am seriously considering purchasing it due to its ability to take pictures in low light conditions without a flash. I take lots of indoor pictures of my 13 month old baby (Victoria, Tori, or my favorite name Tidbit!) and I prefer natural light over flash, specifically direct flash which causes red eye and a washed out appearance. Since bounce flash isn’t an option for a small point-and-shoot, this seems like a great alternative.

Other cameras I would consider are the Panasonic Lumix (or Leica line, also made by Panasonic, but $$$) as they have image stabilization.

Jay Contonio 05 Sep 06

I second the Panasonic Lumix due to the 16x9 ratio and excellent build quality.

Inge J�rgensen 05 Sep 06

I’ve heard only good things about the Canon Ixus line.

Anonymous Coward 05 Sep 06

Canon PowerShot S80 or the SD700IS, as mentioned above.

Arnor 05 Sep 06

Inge: Don’t believe everything you hear…

Nikon Coolpix P1 and P2, however… Nikon has discontinued them (at least the P2), so that’ll mean the shops will be dumping them in price, as well!

Really an awesome camera!

Matt 05 Sep 06

definitely the Canon SD20. As Garrett mentioned above, great size, value and images for the price. No doubt, the best camera I’ve ever owned.

Matt 05 Sep 06

Ah, Ryan - you were having the same problem I was. Almost posted twice as well. Slow processing for a moment there. ;)

Zach 05 Sep 06

I love my old Canon Power Shot Digital Elph (S400) - can produce amazing images, is really tiny, and best of all feels very solid.

It’s discontinued, but the latest versions of it are supposed to be even better.

Eric Wright 05 Sep 06

Mike Davidson makes the case for the Casio EX-Z750 ( I got one, and it’s far and away the best little camera I’ve ever seen. The controls are well designed, there’s virtually no lag in taking a photo, and it records excellent video too.

justin 05 Sep 06

The built in wide angle lens on the Kodak v570 is simply amazing. Tiny camera, amazing wide angle shots.

zzypt 05 Sep 06

I always thought cameras in phones were a weird idea until I got one. I set out to get a good phone, but as they all had cameras I ended up with one. It turns out it’s great, wherever I go I have a camera, I’ve never taken so many photos as I have since getting my Sony Ericsson S700i. I am about to upgrade and considering a K800i which includes a Cyber-shot�3.2 mega-pixel camera with flash. Actually its more the other way round, a camera that includes a phone. The best bit is it’s free with a phone contract, here in the UK.

Andy Kant 05 Sep 06

I agree with Garrett, the Canon SD200 and the entire SD series are very nice pocket sized cameras. I have a SD200 as well and it is a great “point and shoot” camera as well as extremely portable. Its about the size of a credit card except maybe a half inch think more or less. Great quality photos and video from it too.

Brian Spaid 05 Sep 06

My vote goes to the Canon “SD” series. Got one for my wife for her birthday and she loves it. They’re small, easy to use, and of course take great pics.

Ebrahim 05 Sep 06

Just bought a Nikon CoolPix L1 today � excellent design, features and performance. Highly Recommended!

William 05 Sep 06

I’d go with the Canon SD series, I think they are up to the SD700 or something now. Small size, good optics and nicely laid out controls. One thing I looked for when I replaced my old Nikon digital camera was how good the video looks. The Canon, I’ve got the SD600, takes great short videos, perfect for capturing the antics of small children. I’ve got 7month old twins and the video mode is awsome. I really hate lugging around a video camera when I’m just going to copy the clips to the computer and upload them.

Ben Delaney 05 Sep 06

I heartily second the Panasonic Lumix with Leica lens link above. Great little camera. For point-and-shoot, it’s perfect. It keeps it simple and gets the job done.

Jeremiah 05 Sep 06

I’m a backpacker. A camera has to be able to handle

a) abuse
b) weather

Only one camera has lasted more than I would expect it to.

I have the olympus 710. I’ve dropped it through frozen ice at twelve thousand feet. It still works. Pictures are of a good quality, once you learn the cameras perks. It is hard to beat a 7.1pix weatherproof camera at just over 200 bucks.

Note: It is small enough to fit in my wifes jeans… the tight ones. ;)

David Demaree 05 Sep 06

I second (or third or…twenty-fifth?) the positive words about the Canon PowerShot/IXUS SDxx models — I absolutely love my SD500. It’s very solid (it lives at the bottom of a gadget-filled messenger bag and looks almost as pristine as the day I bought it), has a great software UI and feature set, and it feels great in my hands. I also really love the color reproduction on the Canons (especially compared to a Sony I had 3-4 years ago that was always way too orangey).

Ian Leckie 05 Sep 06

I am seriously tempted by the 3” LCD on the Canon SD630, despite its lack of image stabilization.

Jim Gaynor 05 Sep 06

Basic point and shoot? (not a DSLR, not a “prosumer” camera).

Yeah, the Canon line. I have a 410 (purchased after I realized I took more pictures of my son when I had a camera that fit in my pocket), my wife has an SD200. Heck, the SD200 is lighter, smaller, faster, and takes better pictures on auto (but the 410 has more manual options).

Rather than brand, consider some simplicity items:

Memory: These days, you want a camera that uses SD cards. CF is going out, XD and MemoryStick are semi-propietary. You want a format that Wal-Mart carries in case you need a new card while vacationing in Podunk.

Size: If they want a point-and-shoot, then chances are they want convenience. Look for small, because small means pockets and big means lug-it-around. While you’re at it, tho, look for nice LCD - because it’s a pain to use an optical viewfinder on a tiny camera

Download: Give me a standard USB connector (likely a mini USB). No proprietary cable, and dear god don’t use a docking station. Less crud to carry and lose, and easier to replace if it’s lost. While you’re at it, get a USB card reader so you can download while those batteries recharge

Batteries: Used to be I’d say, “get a camera that uses regular batteries, so you can buy more at the drug store in an emergency when your rechargables run down”. That’s harder to get nowadays - especially in the small form factor cameras - but worth considering. At the very least, get a spare charger - one to leave at home all the time, one to travel.

Oopsh! 05 Sep 06

Panasonic launc a Lumix en small format, with 10 Megapixels!!!
This is my next buy

David Anderson 05 Sep 06

I bought the Fuji F11 (a predecessor to the F30 recommended above) for its low-light capability in a reasonably small package (pocketable). I’m pretty happy with it, though I really do miss having a viewfinder. The LCD often isn’t bright enough to be able to really see what you’re doing. Image quality is often excellent, though we do end up with a certain percentage of out-of-focus images. The USB cable and charger are also a bit klunky, and the use of XD as the storage medium is annoying. Overall the best compact digicam our family has owned (a fleet that includes Olympus, Nikon, and various Canons), but there’s room for further improvement. It’s not clear to me how much of an improvement the F30 represents.

matt lyon 05 Sep 06

I second, third, etc, the lumix line recommendation.

They don’t offer as much manual control as I, personally, might like, but every non-photographer in my immediate family has one (this includes the FZ7 and the FX1), and they all love them and can take great pictures with them. They like them so much that, I, personally, am now eyeballing the shipping-this-week FX07 which is ultracompact and sports a lens starting at 28mm equivalent — better for indoor shots.

scott 05 Sep 06

Lots of cameras mentioned …..what are the fastest cameras that write the files ?

i hate my point and shoot as there is no ability to shoot multiple pictures as there is a long save period. is XD the fastest ?


A.Fruit 05 Sep 06

I love my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T30 I got it about a month ago and am extremely pleased with it’s features, ease of use (Menus, Functions, etc.), and size (it’s small.

It boasts a beautiful 3” LCD, has image stabilization, any hey -it’s a sony- what else can I say.

Chris 05 Sep 06

For scanR (scan/copy/fax with your digital camera), effective resolution is the most important attribute. In the compact class, the Sony T-series, such as the DSC-T9 or DSC-T30 blows away everything else.

Mike 05 Sep 06

I just got a Casio 8.1 MP EX-Z750 and absolutely love it’s ease of use and quality shots.

The Best shot mode makes it esy for a duffer like me.

Rick 05 Sep 06

Own a Nikon Coolpix 3200,

Was going to buy a Canon S80 to replace it,

Purchased a Nikon D50 digital SLR instead.

Best decision I ever made (regarding cameras).

If you must stick with a point and click, focus on the CLICK part of it. My biggest complaint is the delay when trying to take a shot. So here is how I suggest you make your final decision.

Go to a local trusted camera store with a friend,

Have the clerk place a few Nikon and Canon point and click cameras in front of you (the models mentioned earlier will do just fine).

Take a few pictures of your friend “moving through the store”… the important part is moving.

Is the delay in the camera too long?

Did you get the shot of your friend stealing the camera bag?

Fred 05 Sep 06

Funny how we all go ahead and recommend the one we happen to have. I’ll do the same - my Panasonic Lumix FZ7 is easy to use and takes good pictures even after I dropped it down some hard steps.

So, my thanks to whoever stood up for sturdiness whenever it was challenged in the design phase. I promise to be more careful in future.

SteveH 05 Sep 06

For the best looking camera, you gotta look at either the Fuji Finepix Z3 (metallic blue for a lad, pink for a girl), or the Sony DSC-T30. Feature wise, these are both adequate for the general user, but for more technical minded photographers, you will probably wanna look at something else.

Mez 05 Sep 06

Nikon D70. Point and shoot ease or full on custom settings etc.

You can’t really beat the picture quality from a good DSLR, and you get bored of the everything-in-focus-but-not-perfectly-sharp pocket cameras.

I’d have probably tried the Lumix if money no object, but the D70 is what I’ve used and it’s grand.

tina 05 Sep 06

again, the lumix.

i got mine on ebay (lumix FX8) so that i could get the pink color. it fits in my pocket, takes great pictures and always gets noticed for the really big screen.

oh, and did i mention that it’s pink!

Jough Dempsey 05 Sep 06

Fred wrote:

“Funny how we all go ahead and recommend the one we happen to have.”

I’ve owned some cameras (and other devices) that I wouldn’t recommend, but the Panasonic TZ1 is the best point-and-shoot camera I’ve ever used. I’ve also tried some of the other Lumix models and they are also good. There are some smaller and cheaper models than the TZ1, but they don’t have the big zoom, so I went with that one. I find that it helps to get shots that other P&S cameras can’t get at all, and for depth of field shots (where the subject is in focus but the background is fuzzy) it’s necessary to have a long lens.

Add to that GREAT video capabilities at higher-res than most compact cameras and it serves me well. Why would I recommend something else that I myself don’t use?

I had a little Minolta Xt camera that didn’t take very good photos, and was impossible to take non-blurry photos in anything but bright sunlight. Some of the small cameras now (like the TZ1) have optical image stabilization which is now mandatory for any camera I’d buy or recommend. The TZ1 fits the bill for me, however, the FX01 and a bunch of others are also very good.

I was really impressed with everything but colour saturation from a little Sony cybershot that would easily fit in a shirt pocket. I chose not to get the Sony because of the limited zoom and use of expensive and proprietrary memory stick media. I understand Sony now makes some cameras that use SD cards, so maybe they’re a viable option now too.

I find it helps to make a list of features you NEED and features you WANT and make sure that your short-list of cameras fills all of the first list (if possible) and as many of the second as it can. No camera is perfect, so you have to decide if the cons of any particular model are things you can live with (slight sensor noise at 100% with the Lumix line, which is fine if you’re mostly shooting for the web as I am, or are willing to do some post-processing with Noise Ninja).

stephen 05 Sep 06

i currently have a canon sd550 and would highly recommend it or any current digi-elph. i think it would be very hard to beat the portability:quality ratio they provide.

thomas 05 Sep 06

I have the Canon SD200 (Ixus or Digital Elph depending on which continent), and highly recommend it for point and shoot.

Get a small camera. If you get a big one, you won’t have it with you and no pictures will be taken.

The SD200 is small and have decent optics, with 3x zoom. You can take macros (close ups) of flowers and butterflies.

When you choose a camera, pay attention to focusing speed. The SD200 has the same processor as their prosumer SLR cameras, so it’s very quick to focus.

# You don’t need a gazillion megapixels.
Don’t you hate people that send 3000x3000 pixel photos in emails? (yes, you Windows users! :D). For digital viewing, you will end up cropping pictures anyway, in which some people say it’s good to have many megapixels.
That’s true to some extent, but small cameras have small lenses, so the cropped pic isn’t that great. Instead, fill the frame with the subject.

# Don’t get cameras that take rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. This will make your camera big. Small cameras have special batteries. Just accept it.

# get a flickr account and spread the joy!

Chuck Cheeze 05 Sep 06

The ultimate GETTING REAL point and shoot: Nikon S6. While they didn’t eliminate all the unnecessary features, they did eliminate all the confusing controls. A few simple buttons and a jog wheel make operation sooooo easy. I picked it up in Costco and within 30 seconds had igured out how to do all the common operations. Nice large LCD shows you exactly what you are getting, and the thinny goodness works great for pockets. Oh yeah- and it has wifi so its more of a point-shoot-transfer groove.

Trevor Filter 05 Sep 06

My new Canon SD700 IS is incredible, and it was worth every penny. Very clean and intuitive interface, full-featured, and takes great shots. Not to mention that it starts up very very quickly and has a huge LCD screen on the back.

Caleb Buxton 05 Sep 06

Cannot emphasize a 3” + lcd screen enough. That is a huge factor in increasing my joy of use with it — it is perfectly capable of making for a good time sharing with friends inpromptu — AND for snapping pictures of maps PRICELESS when traveling.

i use a Cannon SD630 — who needs more than 6mp for point and shoot?

Rick 05 Sep 06

$14.99 and not one bad review.
Philips Digital Camera Keychain

Dave Rau 05 Sep 06

The Canon SD450 is amazing, the size of a credit card and very fast to start, shoot and recharge. Super nice; for most things I’d rather use this than my d70.

pp 05 Sep 06

I’ve just been doing some quick tests on at a few in some shops and I was a bit underwhelmed by the fuji f30 after reading the glowing report on dpreview. The in-camera noise reduction was very heavy and watery and the gui was one of the worst. As I understand, it’s low-light sensitivity is down to in-camera processing (it uses a common sensor). It is small, takes good pictures and is definitely worth checking but it’s not streets ahead of the rest.

For gui the canons are good and I really liked the sd700 except for the very over-delicate mode wheel (the canon a620 is also excellent but bulky - flip screen is great for street photography, candid, hip-shots, overhead and macro). Also well worth a try are ricoh r4 (great macro/wide/zoom), ricoh gr (great fixed 28mm prime lens/raw/hotshoe/bad noise), pentax optio w20 (waterproof/good pictures/small). The pana lx is near ideal (16:9, raw, wide-angle, Leica lens) except for the incredibly bad old-school lens cap which makes it pretty unpocketable.

I guess most people reading this will want to do creative stuff and use photoshop so would benefit hugely from raw format (which has a huge amount of image info which gets subtracted from jpg). If you are playing around with exposure, contrast, curves, saturation etc you will notice a great difference in how far you can go before the image breaks up and degrades. Also worth thinking about is zoom. A decent zoom will handily get you shots you can’t otherwise reach but zoomed pictures are usually best avoided as they flatten/dull the image and need a lot more light (due to magnified handshake and narrow angle). Moderate zoom can be good sometimes (e.g. portraits can be more flattering with a little flattening). Wide-angle is generally far more useful, particularly to get towards that high-contrast almost-3d look.

While it seems like there are too many cameras to choose from, looking for a compact wide-angle with raw leaves you with just the pana lx, ricoh gr and discontinued canon s70 (excellent but slightly bulky). The ricoh gr is a niche product and although it is has a fantastic quality retro body and great lens, it has some drawbacks (expensive, too much noise, fixed wide-angle could well be too limiting for most). So if you want wide with some zoom and raw there is just pana lx new and canon s70 second-hand. If you want very compact and jeans-pocketable, you have to lose raw and I’d check canon sd700, pentax optio w10/w20, fuji f30, pana fx (and possibly olympus stylus/mju if you want tiny with more compromises). I think ricoh r4 is the only one that combines a wide-angle and decent zoom (28-200mm) and seems like a good all-rounder.

brad 06 Sep 06

The thing I’ve learned, after recently “graduating” from a 2.1 megapixel Canon Digital Elph S110 that I bought in 2002 to a 6 megapixel Leica C-Lux 1, is that there really isn’t much difference in photo quality among good point-and-shoot cameras. Yes, the higher resolution of the Leica is evident if I want to print or crop a picture, but other than that it’s hard to see much difference between the two. So I think the decision boils down to size, features, and ease of use. Size is important, because if the camera’s too big you’ll think twice about taking it with you. As for features, I bought the Leica in part because it had fewer of those than many other cameras on the market. It does have image stabilization but so far I haven’t found it very useful. The main reason I bought the Leica (apart from the fact that it’s a Leica, well, really a Panasonic made in Japan but I’m a sucker for the Leica brand) is ease of use. Almost everything you’re likely to use in normal point-and-shoot photography is available through a dial or a button on this camera, rather than through a menu. Nobody likes using menus; I bet 99% of digital camera users are intimidated by them.

Duff OMelia 06 Sep 06

I have been quite happy with this camera.

ken 06 Sep 06

I’m a fan of the Canon A510.

jason 07 Sep 06

Lumix TZ1 is the way to go. Fantastic Leica lens. The 10x zoom is incredible for a pocketsize camera. Image quality is great. Nice interface. Takes 320x240 video with zoom. And it comes in black.