Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Child and Action Photos Under $750
Expert (6 Recommendations and 7 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
November 4, 2007 Updated: November 28, 2007
Overview

The Nikon D40 has opened the door to amateur and intermediate photographers who are interested in being able to capture images in a variety of shooting environments. Whether it’s children or pets, sporting events or other types of fast moving subjects, the D40 delivers professional looking results within a consumer budget. The D40 is a DSLR (or digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, and with the kit you get 2 interchangeable lenses that have ranges of 18-55mm and 55-200mm to start with. This takes care of all of the range needed for shooting up close or from a distance. The Nikon lens optics are superb and allow for low aperture settings that make proper light transfer, and more importantly, sports photography possible. Fast shutter speeds, high ISO settings, and simple camera operation allow for exceptionally low noise and high quality picture results. For shooting young children or pets, there is no lag time whatsoever, so that crucial moments can be captured with the utmost clarity. The D40 offers complete automatic modes, manual modes, as well as well as scene modes, making it the most versatile camera in its price range.

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My Best In Class Pick
Nikon D40 (with 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses)

Here’s why to go with the Nikon D40:

The Nikon D40 is clearly the best value for the dollar. The camera offers a 3200 ISO setting. This is a huge advantage for indoor sports photography situations such as shooting inside a gymnasium. The highest setting on the XTI is 1600 ISO. The D40’s battery gets 470 shots per charge. That’s 100 more shots than the XTI’s battery at 370 shots. The less often you have to change out a battery at a sporting event, the better. For children and pets, the D40’s in camera red eye fix and other built in editing features allow for perfect final image results.

Let’s take a look at the categories where the XTI has the advantage:

  1. 1 sec faster in prefocused shutter lag and .5 sec faster fps. These slight margins are nothing to lose sleep over. Also, you would also be surprised at how negligible the difference between 6 and 10 megapixels on a DSLR sized sensor really is. There really isn’t anything that you can do with the XTI that you can’t do with the D40. Plus, the D40 2 lens kit provides the additional telephoto lens range necessary for taking sports photos from a distance. This 2 lens kit sells for less than what the XTI sells for with just an 18-55mm lens. This is 11.1X optical zoom with the D40 for less money than the XTI with only 3X optical zoom.

Since The Panasonic DMC-FZ50 has a 12X optical zoom, why would this not be the best choice?

The FZ50 does offer great features at a very affordable price and the added advantage of having everything it needs built in. The problem here is that the overall startup time and shutter lag time are not able to compete with that of the D40 or the XTI. It’s just a step behind in almost every aspect, not to mention that its much smaller sized sensor introduces higher levels of noise (especially at the 1600 and 3200 ISO settings). The FZ50 also has the lowest battery rating of the 3 models.

The Nikon D40 gets my vote and is all around is one of the best “bang for the buck” scenarios in the entire digital camera industry.

Nikon D40 (with 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses) is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Child and Action Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Nikon D40 (with 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses)
Specifications
  • Zoom: 11.1x
  • Resolution: 6.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.3 sec
  • Burst Speed: 2.5 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (6 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
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Nikon D40 (with 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses)
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
3
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (with 18-55mm Lens)
Customer Rating
Price $729.99
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Sensor Size
23.7 x 15.6 mm 7.2 x 5.3 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm
Max Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels 3888 x 2592 pixels
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.10 sec 0.02 sec 0.11 sec
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Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.3 sec 0.4 - 0.5 sec 0.2 sec
Power to First Shot Time 0.4 sec 1.4 sec 0.4 sec
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 2.5 frames/sec 1.8 frames/sec 3.0 frames/sec
Max ISO Setting 3200 3200 1600
Battery Life 470 shots 360 shots 370 shots
Optical Zoom 11.1x 12.0x 3.0x
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 picks up right where the FZ30 left off a couple of years ago. Now with 10.1 megapixels and a powerful 12X optical zoom with Leica optics, this model is a strong candidate for taking fast action photos. While the FZ50 is classified as a point and shoot camera, it has gone with the popular look and feel of an SLR that has made the Lumix line famous. In many ways, the FZ50 goes places that most compact cameras and DSLRs cannot go. The camera is completely self contained, so other than the memory card, there are no other accessories needed to operate it. Also having a choice between a viewfinder and a flip out high resolution 2.0” LCD is very convenient. Changing zoom settings up front manually on the lens itself allows for much faster and precise zoom control than pushing a button on the body. The O.I.S or optical image stabilization built into the Lumix line is one of the best in the business, and having a live preview(a feature you won’t normally find in a DSLR) allows you to see the stabilizer in action. While the image stabilizer won’t help you in sports action, it is extremely useful in low light applications and many other instances. As far as speed and shutter lag, the camera offers 1fps and 2fps maximum, depending upon which mode the camera is in. The max shutter speed is 1/2000 of a second (not at all apertures) with a maximum ISO 1600. It uses a rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery that gets approximately 360 shots.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Child and Action Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
Specifications
  • Zoom: 12.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.4 - 0.5s
  • Burst Speed: 2.3 fps
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (with 18-55mm Lens)

The Canon Rebel XTI gets right to the point when it comes to offering features essential to picture taking involving young children, sports, fast moving action or just about anything. The camera’s 10.1 megapixel CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) Sensor and onboard DIGIC II processor combine forces to make way for precision 9-point autofocus, 3 fps shooting and shutter speeds up to 1/4000 to capture immaculate picture quality with accurate color representation. The 2.5” LCD display allows simple playback and menu navigation. The kit comes with an 18-55mm lens which is just one of the many Canon EF lenses that are available for the XTI body. With the added potential of lens changing, dust has an opportunity to accumulate inside of the body, and eventually end up on the sensor. The built-in self cleaning sensor unit uses ultrasonic vibrations to prevent any of this dust or debris from settling on the sensor and creating unwanted spots on the image itself. The camera opperates with a lithium-ion battery and gets about 370 shots.

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (with 18-55mm Lens) is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Child and Action Photos Under $750
Where to buy
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi (with 18-55mm Lens)
  • Best Price: $729
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.2 sec
  • Burst Speed: 3.0 fps
  • Easy to Use: No
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (6 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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