I need a personal camera.
December 15, 2011 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a fast point and shoot camera I can use to take pictures of my pets.

Here's the criteria:

1) Needs to be fast enough for me to take pictures of my pets, as well as impromptu pics of family members smiling and such. I was thinking of the Canon s95 after reading another question about this but I read on Amazon that it can sometimes be slow to respond... I tend to take a LOT of pics in a row so I'd like something that also responds pretty quickly.

2) Should perform reasonably well in low-light situations.

3) Needs to have video, preferably of reasonable quality.

4) I'd really like it to take high-quality pictures. I'm getting this to supplement my DSLR so I can take more spontaneous shots, but it's a Canon 20D from '04 so hopefully I haven't been too spoiled in the image quality area. I would like it to at least match the quality of my dslr and I'm hoping the oldness makes that possible.

5) Hoping to pay less than three hundred bucks

6) Zoom doesn't matter. I never use that feature.

7) I'd like it to be compact enough to carry around with me. I don't want to buy one of those point and shoots that's the same size as a dslr.
posted by Autumn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And by 20d I meant 300d, whoops.
posted by Autumn at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2011

Professional photographer Gary Friedman wrote about searching for a point-and-shoot on his blog recently, and responsiveness was one of his main criteria. He settled on the Fujifilm Finepix F500 after trying a few others.
posted by griseus at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind, when you are looking to match DSLR image quality, most of what you perceive as "quality" comes from the large lens that a DSLR uses. The actual body will have an impact on the size of the image, some low light capability, and a few other minor things, but if by quality you are talking about the look and feel of your photo's, than your camera body isn't the determining factor. So, just because your 300D is an older model, that doesn't mean the image quality you are getting out of it isn't right up there with the quality of the newer models.
posted by markblasco at 12:51 PM on December 15, 2011

I really like the Panasonic Lumix series.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:13 PM on December 15, 2011

The Canon S95 works really great for me for this sort of photography. It's tiny, it is as quick a p&s as I've ever used (though not as quick as a DSLR), it's good in low light (less than f2), and it shoots RAW stills (though not as well as a DSLR) and it shoots ok video. The only criterion that it may not hit is price, but with the new S100 model out, you may be able to pick up some deals.

As a step up from that, I'd consider a micro 4/3rds, probably a Panasonic GX-1 with the 20mm lens, but that's ~$1000.
posted by bonehead at 1:31 PM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would suggest that more than lens size, it is sensor size that delivers high quality images. To that end, there are quite a growing number of options that are smaller than a DSLR but still have a DSLR-sized sensor. The one I have been looking at lately (dreaming about?) is the Sony NEX-5N. Here are two reviews (A, B) that talk about the camera...it may be what you are looking for.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 3:17 PM on December 15, 2011

I just spent the better part of two months agonizing over a P&S camera choice, and ended up narrowly choosing the Lumix DMC-GF3X over the NEX-5N.

DPreview's Studio Compare Tool is very useful.
posted by dmd at 3:31 PM on December 15, 2011

Casio cameras are beasts for speed and battery life.
posted by Yowser at 5:07 PM on December 15, 2011

This round-up of high-end p&s was just posted at DPreview. These are all a bit more than your price range, though the value pick Samsung TL500/EX1, is just above the $300 limit.
posted by bonehead at 5:41 AM on December 16, 2011

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