Simon Joinson, in his article at DPReview.com, dissects the issue of high ISO settings in digital compact cameras which could help a baffled consumer to separate the grain from the chaff when manufacturers claim that their tiny little compacts can shoot with light sensitivity settings above ISO 800.
He introduces us to some background information about sensor sizes and ISO settings as they relate to noise, and how manufacturers are trying to respond to the problem of low light by noise reduction and pixel binning.
The long and short of it is that compact cameras are just incapable of producing acceptable photos at high ISO (800-3200) settings, given their sensor size, no matter what the marketing hype says. Simon, however, singles out the Fuji FinePixF30 and its face-detecting sibling the F31fd as having done a good job in high ISO and low light situations, but they are not perfect.
If youâ€™re just taking snapshots the compacts may be fine; but if you want to print big and create serious photos and this talk of ISO has got you thinking, go get a DSLR.