DigitalCameraReview.com
Digital Camera Buyer's Guide: Ultracompacts
by Andy Stanton -  10/22/2008
ULTRACOMPACTS | Compacts | Ultrazooms | DSLRs


These small, slim, and lightweight cameras easily fit in a pocket or a purse, often come in a variety of colors, and are very popular, especially among young people. Like cell phones and other small portable electronics, most ultracompacts use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Ultracompacts are great gifts for those who like to have their camera with them in case they have the urge for a sudden snapshot.

Under $200

Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS

Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS


Canon is the largest producer of digital cameras and the SD1100 IS is a good example why. It's small but good looking with a classic rectangular shape. It has 8.0 megapixels, a 3x optical zoom, face detection, and optical image stabilization that counteracts blur from shaky hands. The SD1100's features also include an excellent 2.5 inch LCD screen and an optical viewfinder (good to have on bright, sunny days), which is rare among ultracompact cameras. Its picture quality is excellent, especially outdoors.

OUR REVIEW | USER OPINIONS | WHERE TO BUY
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3


Although this is the lowest priced camera in Panasonic's FS series (and its price is much lower now than when it was introduced in January 2008), its overall quality is very high. It has an 8 megapixel sensor, a fairly wide 33mm lens on its 3x optical zoom, face detection, optical image stabilization, and an Intelligent Scene Selector which senses the appropriate shooting environment and picks the correct scene mode. It has a bright, sharp 2.5 inch LCD screen and takes good pictures indoors and out.

OUR REVIEW | USER OPINIONS | WHERE TO BUY

$200-$300

Fujifilm FinePix F100fd

Fujifilm FinePix F100fd


The 12 megapixel F100fd has an advanced version of Fuji's SuperCCD sensor, which makes it possible for the camera to take photos in dim lighting conditions without a flash that look better than those produced by any other ultracompact camera. The F100fd has a 5x optical zoom with a wide-angle 28mm lens, optical image stabilization and a "dual shot" mode in which the camera will take two consecutive shots, one with and one without the flash. The F100fd takes bright, sharp, well-exposed photos.

OUR REVIEW | USER OPINIONS | WHERE TO BUY
Olympus Stylus 1030 SW

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW


This 10 megapixel camera has 3x optical zoom, is a quick performer, and takes good quality pictures outdoors, but lacks optical image stabilization and does not do well in low light without a flash. However, it has a feature that no other ultracompact camera can match: extremely rugged construction. The 1030 SW can survive a 6.6 foot drop, is waterproof to 33 feet, is cold-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and can survive pressure of up to 220 pounds, making it a great gift for someone who enjoys outdoor sports.

OUR REVIEW | USER OPINIONS | WHERE TO BUY
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150


The W150 is a good representative of the classy Sony "W" series that has been around for several years. This eight megapixel camera has a fairly wide-angle 30 mm lens, a 5x optical zoom, a high quality 2.7 inch LCD and an optical viewfinder. It's packed with features, including optical image stabilization, face detection, smile shutter (automatically clicks the shutter when the person smiles), scene modes and many playback tools including Happy Face Retouch, which ensures that the face in your photo will be have a smile (whether or not it actually did). It has a high quality Carl Zeiss lens and takes sharp, colorful pictures.

OUR REVIEW | USER OPINIONS | WHERE TO BUY

Over $300

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS


This recently released camera has 14.7 megapixels, giving it one of the highest resolution sensors on the market. It has a 3.6x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, face detection, motion detection (which increases shutter speed to decrease blur), and an optical viewfinder. It has excellent ergonomics and is a speedy performer. It also permits manual control over aperture and shutter speed, a rarity among ultracompacts. While the SD990 IS has not been extensively reviewed, due to its newness, early reviewers have been very impressed with its picture quality, especially under good lighting conditions.

WEB REVIEWS | USER OPINIONS | WHERE TO BUY