Expert Recommendation

.
Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Wildlife Photos Under $500 with Manual Controls
Expert (53 Recommendations and 31 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
March 8, 2012 Updated: March 20, 2012
Best badge
My Best In Class Pick
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

Many important considerations come into play when shooting wildlife outdoors. You’ll need a long lens to capture your subject without endangering yourself. Getting close to wildlife can be exciting and produce great images but it can get pretty dangerous too. Light sensitivity is another feature to look for as well as good image stabilization when on the hunt for trophy photos..

With the Panasonic FZ150K, expect to get those qualities and more. Consider the 25mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with 24x Optical Zoom for those long shots in the field, or the newly advanced Nano Surface Coating technology that reduces flare, a real problem when outdoors and you may have to shoot towards the sunlight.

For those days when the light begins to fade and you still haven’t gotten that key shot, the light sensitive 12.1mp MOS sensor and the speedy Venus Engine can be counted on to keep working as long as you need to get spectacular images. Add to that the Lumix Light Speed AF and 5.5 fps response times, and expect to capture just the moment you see for the most dramatic results. Add an external flash for increased lighting and versatility.

When you’re ready to shoot video, simply press the dedicated button located next to the exposure button for quick switching between movie and still image modes. Capture exciting live action in 1920 x 1080 60p smooth Full-HD video and get great sound quality from the stereo zoom microphone with Wind Cut technology. You can also shoot video and stills simultaneously at a lower resolution or cut still images out of your video, two great features that give you the best of both worlds.

For creative types, the FZ150 has a whole toolbox of artistic effect modes for you to play with. Or choose full manual and take control of each shot to create unique images you’ll be proud to show off on the 3.0” tiltable LCD display. There’s also a 3D effect that can be used to add to the fun of showing off your hard won victories.

Comparison with Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

Even though the SX40 has more zoom and the new DIGIC 5 processor, the FZ150 comes highly rated by users who demand the best from their cameras. The FZ150 also has a larger LCD screen than the SX40.

Comparison with Olympus SP-810UZ

More lightweight than the FZ150 and with more zoom, the SP810 UZ may be right up some photographers alley, but with a viewfinder, faster continuous drive and a hot shoe, I’d still prefer the Panasonic.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Wildlife Photos Under $500 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
  • Best Price: $439
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Panasonic DMW-RSL1 Remote Shutter Release for Panasonic DSLR and FZ50
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Aperture Priority Mode Available: Yes
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
2
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

With a long 35x ultra wide-angle zoom lens and Canon’s new DIGIC 5 image processor, the SX40 HS is a force to be reckoned with when heading out to capture exciting wildlife shots.

Not only does the SX40 HS have one of the longest zoom lenses available, but with new Intelligent IS technology, you get superb tracking AF so you can zoom in and stay with fast moving subjects while taking advantage of the responsive high-speed burst mode which lets you take up to 8 shots in 10.3 seconds.

Playing with that kind of power can be fun for amateur and professional alike. For creative controls that will ensure you get the right exposure each time, there’s smart auto mode with up to 32 different scenes to choose from and an on-screen menu of hints and tips for the beginner. Or, if you’re looking for a camera to compliment your DSLR, there are fully manual controls. Add to that a collection of creative filters for both still and video images and let your muse lead you to wonderful places.

And with the SX40 HS you can take 1080p HD videos at 24fps with stereo sound, full zoom and silent AF and view them on the bright 2.7” vari-angle PureColor II VA LCD screen. For slow motion replay, shoot video in super slow motion mode in VGA resolution at 120fps or QVGA resolution at 240fps and watch them on your big screen TV directly through the cameras HDMI port.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Wildlife Photos Under $500 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
  • Best Price: $371
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • LightLINK Rechargeable Ultra-Bright LED Camera Light for Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150K , DMC-GF3 , DMC-GX1 and More! **Includes Mini Tripod**
    @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
3
Olympus SP-810UZ

No discussion about ultra zoom cameras that are best for wildlife is complete without mentioning the Olympus SP810 UZ.

Currently, sporting the world’s longest optical zoom in a compact camera, the SP810 has a 36x, wide angle lens with auto focus tracking, a 14mp CCD sensor, dual image stabilization and a 3.0” LCD screen.

Add to that HD video and a slew of creative features like 3D stills that will put your talents to the test, all wrapped up in an easy-to-operate, lightweight camera you can carry with you anywhere, this camera is worth checking out

Cons
  • -
    No viewfinder
Olympus SP-810UZ is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Wildlife Photos Under $500 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Olympus SP-810UZ
  • Best Price: $287
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Resolution: 14.0MP
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:

How It Works

You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best digital camera for you.

Advertisement

best hdtv Looking for an HDTV? BestInClass.com also provides expert recommendations for the best HDTV for you.