Expert Recommendation

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Best Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $600
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 21, 2009 Updated: October 22, 2009
Overview

Taking the best attributes of the D60’s predecessor, the D40x, and adding a Vibration Reduction kit lens was exactly what Nikon needed to do to make this the perfect DSLR for shooting action.

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My Best In Class Pick
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)

For high quality actions shots, you need a responsive camera that will follow your commands when the key shot is there. Whether shooting action with a DSLR or a Point and Shoot, look for fast shutter speeds, high ISO and a responsive processor.

The D60 sports a 10MP CCD Sensor, up to 3200 ISO and 3 FPS continuous shooting.

If you’ve ever been to an indoor staged performance or sporting event, you know how funky the lighting can get. Crank the ISO up to 3200, tweak the exposure compensation (±5 EV in increments of 1/3), steady the camera with a monopod or rest it on the seat in front of you, and you got your shot! Lot’s of ‘em in continuous shooting mode.

And if you find yourself in the cheap seats, adding a Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR will bring you right into the action without sacrificing a thing.

One thing I really like about Nikons DSLR’s is their easy-to-navigate menu. With the simple press of a thumb you can make split-second changes to your settings and get back to the action quickly.

And weighing in at only one pound, with a body style that fits neatly in your hand, The D60 can be taken anywhere and not leave you feeling burdened.

I recommend this camera because of Nikon’s user-friendly approach to owning and operating a DSLR at a budget conscious price.

Fast response and high quality images in a solid, light weight package, what more do you want?

And don’t forget to take along an extra battery, you don’t want to find yourself at the height of the action with a battery that’s ready to hit the showers.

Comparison with Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS (with 18-55mm IS Lens)

Although I am a big fan of Canon’s line of DSLR’s, I’m not to fond of their kit lenses. If it’s possible to purchase body only, you would do well to shop for lenses seperately.

These two cameras share a lot of the same attributes, so it’s hard to make much of a distinction. In Nikon’s favor, the D60 has the newer Expeed processor where Canon’s XS has the older Digic 3 processor.

I also like the ease of menu functions with Nikon’s DSLR’s.

For focus assist, the D60 has a white light lamp on the front of the camera that is not as obtrusive or hard to operate as having to pop up the flash on the XS.

When Canon was designing the EOS Digital Rebel XS, they made sure that it would not be confused with the D60.

Adding such details as a low pass filter vibration at power on to shake off any dust that may have collected during it’s down time, a live view function that will help you see exactly what the sensor will see and a rear control layout that employs the same hand you are shooting with and displays your settings on the 2.5” LCD screen.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

Whether you are looking for a DSLR that will grow with you, or a point and shoot with the same attributes as a DSLR, these two cameras share a lot of the same qualities.

Small and lightweight with a lot of ISO power and fast shutter speeds for lowlight action shots, these cameras perform at the highest ratings.

Pros
  • +
    Lightweight
  • +
    High ISO
  • +
    Interchangeable lenses
  • +
    AF assist
Cons
  • -
    3-area autofocus system
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens) is the Best Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $600
Where to buy
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)
  • Best Price: $949
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Zoom Nikkor Lens
    $216.95 @ Amazon.com
  • Nikon EN-EL9 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery for Nikon D40 and D40x Digital SLR Cameras
    $21.95 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 10.2MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.3 sec
  • Burst Speed: 3.0 fps
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)
2
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS (with 18-55mm IS Lens)
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
Customer Rating
Price $949.00 $448.99 $667.00
Weight (with batteries) 18.4 oz 17.6 oz 14.7 oz
Body Material Plastic Plastic Plastic
?
Sensor Type
CCD CMOS CCD
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 3.0 frames/sec 3.0 frames/sec 2.5 frames/sec
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes Yes
Max ISO Setting 3200 1600 6400
Aperture Priority Mode Available Yes Yes Yes
Shutter Priority Mode Available Yes Yes Yes
Full Manual Exposure Mode Available Yes Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV
?
LCD Screen Size
2.5 in. 2.5 in. 2.7 in.
Video Available No No Yes
Colors Black Black, Silver Black, Silver
2
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS (with 18-55mm IS Lens)

If you’ve ever shot photos with a Canon EOS rebel, you know what high quality images these cameras are capable of.

As soon as you size up the action through the viewfinder and depress the soft touch electromagnetic release (shutter), the 10.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC III Image Processor goes to work creating beautiful digital images that capture not only the action, but the high and low tones throughout the viewing area. And at 3.0 FPS, you will always capture the action you couldn’t get with a point and shoot.

With the EOS Digital Rebel XS, Canon has created a DSLR that will go head-to-head against any competitor and come out on top. Just ask anyone who has ever operated a Canon EOS, they are a dedicated group who stand behind their favorite and keep coming back.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

Although Canon has all the great features you want in a camera for capturing action: fast speed and a high quality sensor, as well as a hot shoe for external flash and the ability to swap lenses, Panasonics FZ28 keeps up with it’s 18x Leica lens and an ISO of 6400.

And if shooting movie clips is important to you, you will have to upgrade in the EOS Rebel line to match the FZ28.

Pros
  • +
    7 - point autofocus system
  • +
    Live View
  • +
    Dust reduction
Cons
  • -
    AF assist
  • -
    Only 1600 ISO max.
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS (with 18-55mm IS Lens) is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $600
Where to buy
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS (with 18-55mm IS Lens)
  • Best Price: $448
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Li-ion Rechargable Battery Pack for Canon Camera EOS 450D REBEL XSI LP-E5 LPE5 EOS REBEL XS EOS 1000D
    $2.39 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • Burst Speed: 3.0 fps
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28

Having the ability to manually focus, manually adjust the white balance and shoot RAW images, you’d think the FZ28 dreamt of being a DSLR as a kid.

Too often, when the action heats up, point and shoot users have had to put away their cameras as their DSLR counterparts kept on shooting. This won’t be the case with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28. As if 18x zoom and 2.5 FPS wasn’t enough, now Panasonic has added an automatic tracking function allowing you to lock focus, automatically tracking the subject so you can worry about other things, like beating out the SLR users for the perfect shot.

If you find yourself having to raise the camera over your head, or the heads of others in your way, simply switch the viewfinder to the 2.7-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution, giving you 100% coverage.

When planning to take this camera for the day, be sure to pack an extra battery because if action is what you want, and you like to shoot video too, you will use up the battery before you’re done. And we all know the best action usually happens towards the end of the day.

Pros
  • +
    Movie clips
  • +
    Leica lens
  • +
    Lens thread for filters
Cons
  • -
    Smaller sensor size
  • -
    No hot shoe
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Action Photos Under $600
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
Recommended with
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7, DMC-FZ8, DMC-FZ28 - Replacement Battery (1200 mAh, 5-YR Warranty)
    $5.60 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Zoom: 18.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 - 1.2s
  • Burst Speed: 3.5 fps
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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