Point-and-shoot digital camera suggestions?

As the subject implies, I am looking for a new digital camera. I want a lower-end, inexpensive one (under or around $100 would be ideal) with two main requirements:

– It needs to have effective image stabilization, because I have carpal tunnel syndrome and my hands subtly shake when trying to hold the camera still, enough to make 80 percent of the pictures I take with the camera I have now blurry and useless (and, as an unpleasant bonus, blurry and useless in a way that only shows up when the pictures are viewed full size at home, not when viewed on the screen on the back of the camera, so that I often think I have decent pictures, only to find out that I don’t when it is too late to try and get better ones.)

– It needs to be able to take good quality pictures in an interior room with no windows and fluorescent lighting.

I thank you in advance for your help, Dopers. :slight_smile:

The canon a3100 IS is probably your best bet in that price range.
Image stabilization can only do so much if you’re really struggling, but you can up the iso and the like to help.

If holding the camera steady is really such a problem, then perhaps you should invest in a tripod or monopod. There’s only so much that image stabilisation can do, especially if you are going to take pictures indoors.

I just got one of these tripods. It’s pretty cool, will attach to anything, and holds the camera still.

There’s really no compact camera on the market that will do this reliably, especially if you are relying in Image Stabilization. You’ll have to use the flash on any compact in this situation, and they have limited range.

The best small cameras for low light (which is what you described) are the Canon S95, Canon G12, and Panasonic LX5; none of which are cheap, certainly not close to $100. At that price point the best you can IMO would be the Canon SD1300 although it may be a bit small to hold if shake is a problem. The Canon A3100 is another fine choice.

Another very happy user of the Canon SD1300 (well, it’s predecessor the SD800).

In fact, I may pick up an SD1300 at that price since it’s essentially the last ultracompact camera with an optical viewfinder, like my trusty SD800. I don’t know if one like that will ever be made again, as optical viewfinders are going the way of the dodo bird.

I have the SD1000. It’s a great little camera and I think the indoor pictures look quite good, as long as you use the correct setting. (It has several different options for different kinds of indoor lighting, best used without the flash.) Not sure about the steady hands issue, but it’s easy to up the ISO to get a faster shutter speed. A quick perusal of my flickr shows that nearly all of my pictures were taken outside, but here’s one inside. It was taken at night, so all the light is from artificial sources.

The problem with indoor lighting and shooting without a flash means that you have to use a long shutter speed. With hand shake (or a moving subject) that simply won’t work. Image stabilization won’t be enough to keep the image steady and it does nothing for a subject that is moving.

There are techniques for shooting in low light, but most require a steady hand. Pushing the ISO higher is your best bet which means going into one of the manual modes and accepting higher noise (as in your shot). There are modes in the camera for night shooting but they just do the same thing. It’ll be OK for small prints or web display, but you’ll end up with lots of unusable shots.

In this case, you’re going to end up needing the flash. IMO, the bottom line is that it’s not the camera that is important here, but learning how to use any of the cameras you end up buying. There are techniques of bracing yourself against a wall or door frame. Actually, something that might help a lot would be to get a camera (like the SD1300) with an optical viewfinder and use that, bracing your hand and the camera against your eye. That will help steady things a lot over holding the camera in front of you and using the LCD.

Oops, it was the SD1200 that last had an optical viewfinder, and you can’t find any of those for sale easily. Sorry about that, the SD1300 doesn’t have that feature.

However the Canon A1200 does have an optical viewfinder and is about the same price. That might be an option. I’d prefer the A3100 but the A1200 isn’t a bad option.

I get similar results (I have a Sony DSC something or other), and I have basically concluded that I need to upgrade to a camera with a larger sensor and a faster lens. Unfortunately they are in the $300 - $400 range, so I haven’t done it yet. In the meantime, I use the flash a lot more (even though I hate how it looks), and I brace the camera when I can. I also noticed that sometimes I would leave the camera in an inappropriate setting, so I got into the habit of checking the setting all the time. All these things seem to help a bit (the percentage of crappy pictures has gone down a little), but I don’t think any camera at the $100 price point is going to improve your experience any more.

I finally bought the Canon S95 that I was lusting after. Hard to believe how versatile this little thing is. It’s an excellent product, but the price is pushing up against the $400 mark.