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Old Aug 1, 2006, 7:36 PM   #1
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I am looking for a point and shoot camera under $300.00. I am looking for these features in it:

oSmall size - Doesn't have to be extremely small but medium to small size will be preferred.

o Sharp pictures right out of the camera with good color and contrast.

o Low noise; at least till 400 ISO.

o Anti shake or image stabilization.

o minimum 3x optical zoom but bigger zoom 5x or higher will be even better.
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Old Aug 1, 2006, 7:58 PM   #2
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the one and only camera for you is the CASIO EXILIM Z120

features::

7.2MP
AntiShake
3x zoom
small
2"screen

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Old Aug 2, 2006, 12:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. How is the noise performance and picture quality right out of the camera? It will be used in the low light inside situations quite a bit with and without flash?
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Old Aug 2, 2006, 12:32 PM   #4
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harana-

I own both the Fuji F-30 and the Casio Z-120 cameras. There is much less noise with the F-30 as well as much better low light level shooting performance.

MT
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Old Aug 2, 2006, 4:52 PM   #5
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MT,

Great suggestion! How wide is F30 at the wide end? I just realized that in the indoor pictures I would like to get something wide.
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Old Aug 2, 2006, 5:19 PM   #6
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harana-

The F-30 lens begins at 36mm. The Panasonic FX01 starts at 28mm, but it has a much worse noise signature.

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Old Aug 3, 2006, 6:58 PM   #7
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True image stabilization will be tough to find in that price range. Both the F30 and the Z120 rely on modes which simply boost the ISO in order to use a higher shutter speed. With the strong performance of the F30 at high ISO's, that can be effeective in many cases. But I suspect it would only be of use in the Z120 in good outdoor light.

Also, with both of these, although they can be used as pure point and shoot out of the box, best results for both will require some tweaking. Both of those models allow a good amount of manual adjustment, with aperture and shutter priority modes.

For a truly convenient, small subcompact, pure point and shoot, with IS, look at either the Cannon SD 700 IS or the Sony T30. That requires boosting your budget to the $400+ range, but those are the closest to what I think you're looking for. Neither has quite the high ISO performance of the F30, but the combination of good high ISO performance + true IS will give pretty comparable results. In addition, both are nicer overall designs, and will give excellent results right out of the box.

If you're willing to forego true IS in order to keep the price under $300, you should also really look at the Sony Cybershot W50. For under $250, this really gives you everything you've asked for, and in a tue point and shoot subcompact. It doesn't have true IS, but has a high sensitivity mode which boosts ISO to use quicker shutter speeds. And it has low noise through ISO 400. It also has some interesting add-ons available, such as filters, longer telephoto lenses, and an underwater case. But the wide angle of the zoom starts at 38mm equivalent (and I don't think there's an add on to get wider).

Alternatively, consider the F30. And, if you don't want to use all those manual adjustments, maybe look for the F20 instead, which will be released this month. It's basically a scaled down F30, with less manual controls, and less battery life. But it should be a good budget option.

Finally, if you're on a budget, want the manual controls, and don't mind if the camera is small enough to easily pocket, you also might consider the Cannon A620 or A540 models. Neither has a dedicated high sensitivity mode, so you would have to rely on using the manual controls to acomplish the same thing. You could use shutter priority for example to force a quick enough shutter speed. And both do have gerenerally very good all around automatic modes as well. These are basically good all around general purpose cameras for under $230.

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