I’ve said this many times, when asked what digicams I would recommend, I always say Fuji’s. There is really not much point to have a camera that looks sexy but it turns shitty pics. Of course if you’re not ever gonna shoot indoor or at places with very limited available light (like bars/clubs/lounges), then yeah, pretty much any modern digicams would work.
Now, Amazon is not gonna be happy that they’re kindda recommending something like the inexpensive F20 over $500 models from Canon or Sony or Nikon with some fancy image stabilization technologies… 🙂
Many decent compacts can produce almost SLR-like quality at their lowest ISO, but whatever the marketing departments of the camera manufacturers may like you to think, there is no way you can get acceptable results from a small sensor compact at high ISO settings – some struggle even at ISO 400. The only exceptions are the Fujifilm FinePix F30 and F31fd, which use a combination of large pixels (lower megapixel count), clever sensor design and clever noise reduction to produce decent results at ISO 800 and usable results at ISO 1600 (the ISO 3200 mode is, however, a step too far).
For ‘serious’ photographic purposes your options for high ISO photography with a compact camera are very limited. You’ll get perfectly acceptable results using the lowest ISO and a tripod, but if you want to produce decent enlargements (in some cases anything from 6×4 inches up) you’ll find the high ISO modes are of very limited use.
Of course the manufacturers would argue that compact cameras are not ‘serious’ photographic tools, and for the ‘average’ consumer – the typical ‘point and shoot’ user – the loss of resolution and detail is not as important as getting the shot, recording the moment. This is true, but as our studio tests show in some cases the output isn’t even as good as a decent camera phone, and would, we suspect, be disappointing to even the least discerning snap shooter.
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