Advice Needed: Compact Digital Cameras

I am shopping for a compact digital camera. Can you help?

I have a great full-size camera and gear for when I want to lug around a camera bag. I need a small camera for use when I’m out and about with Little Miss.

The camera should:

  1. Be small and sturdy enough to carry in the back pocket of my jeans every day.
  2. Be decent at focusing on a toddler who is sitting, but not remaining still for the shot.
  3. Be lots of other things, but the first two issues are the most important.

I bought a camera a few days ago and am deciding whether I can live with its various deficiencies or if I should return it to the store. Its size is great—almost fitting into an Altoids tin. With modification, I can actually use the Altoids tin as a camera case.

However, the images are often fuzzy and indoor flash shots are dark. I might overcome those issues by tweaking the camera settings.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about which camera is working for you.

P.S. Ugly baby photos will hopefully be posted tomorrow. I’m waiting to hear back from the winners. Oh darn. That means you didn’t win. That’s one less thing you have to explain to your kid 10 years from now!


5 Responses to “Advice Needed: Compact Digital Cameras”

  1. Kevin says:

    It going to be tough explaining to my son that he wasnt the most ugly kid in the contest.

    The more difficult part to explain is why I submitted him in the first place.

    March 15th, 2006 at 7:32 am

  2. NickV says:

    Pentax Optio S6
    * Actually fits in an Altoids case without modification. Though, we’ve lined it with paper to prevent metal-on-metal scratching.
    * Has a ‘Pet’ mode where it focuses on the thing in the picture that is moving. I’m assuming it’d work just as well for a baby.

    March 15th, 2006 at 11:01 am

  3. H.A. Page says:

    The one I carry in my pocket or purse constantly: PowerShot SD20 Digital Elph, Canon. Can’t go wrong w/ that one. Also have another one for more powerful shots but the Canon Elph is too convenient.
    Hattie at MotherPie

    March 20th, 2006 at 2:45 pm

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have the Sony W50 ( and I love it! I had a Canon powershot, liked the photo quality, but found it’s autofocus was just too darn slow for a moving child…we missed too many good shots. I tried every Canon ultra-small on the market with similar results. The sony is very small, thin, large screen, and is very fast in high light and mid-light situations. It’s the best I’ve found in low-light, which is pretty darn good, though not perfect and a little slow, but what can you expect. There are red-eye issues (it’s too slow with red-eye turned on) but those are a 5-second fix with any photo software now, and are generally an issue with all the ultra-small critters. Best of all, battery life is beyond phenomenal. I go about 400+ shots in between battery charges, and charging is fast. I think it’s been replaced by now with a slightly newer version, so you’ll have to check that one. There’s a great review site here:

    June 20th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

  5. Elliott Kim - 21st Century Dad says:

    I know I’m a little late to the comment party here. Have you found a camera yet?

    I find it so hard to use my compact digital camera after getting a DSLR. Our diaper bag is big enough to accommodate a Nikon D80 and a flash unit, and my Little Miss doesn’t go anywhere without the diaper bag anyway.

    I had some good luck with Panasonic’s Lumix series. Most have sturdy metal bodies. Some are slim enough to put into your back pocket. They seem to be pretty user-friendly with easy access to the controls you use most. When you pre-focus with a half-press of the shutter, lag is minimal.

    February 3rd, 2008 at 1:22 am