Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Expert (5 Recommendations and 1 Compliment)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
September 16, 2008 Updated: September 17, 2008
Overview

This easy to use camera was created for family photography. The Optical Image Stabilizer Technology and the high ISO auto settings allow the Canon PowerShot A570 IS to help capture special moments in “not so ideal” photographic conditions.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot A570 IS

As part of Canon’s A-Series line the PowerShot A570 IS is one of the most affordable and best selling options available. It’s amazing how many creative features they packed into this selection. When comparing the PowerShot A570 IS with other cameras in its category it’s clear that it is really worth the price. It offers 7.1 megapixel resolution and although the optical zoom is only 4X it does a fine job collecting the details you’re trying to capture. It’s easy to see your subject in the 2.5-inch LCD which makes getting down to a kid’s level a little bit easier. Where many predecessors have failed in the area of capturing the right picture of children and pets due to slow shutter speed and shutter lag, this camera does the trick with 15-1/2000 sec. This is not the quickest shutter speed out there, but the A570 IS is certainly the best in its class without going to a professional series. One of the most important features a photographer needs to rely on (when getting pictures of active kids who don’t sit still for a shot), is to ensure that you’re getting continuous shooting capability, and you get that feature from this camera. However, when the shutter speed increases the camera needs to allow additional light in the aperture in order to reduce image blur. Even though children typically give you the most opportunity to take pictures outside, there are some occasions that require indoor, low light shots. For example, pictures of a child blowing out birthday candles at the poorly lit kitchen table, or opening presents Christmas morning before the sun starts shining through windows are not the most ideal photographic environments. Both types of situations require a camera that can focus on the face of your subject and illuminate the background. These are the types of conditions you’ll want to consider when making your final selection for a camera that best suits your needs. This Canon does a great job with outside and action shots but it also does a fantastic job in low-light scenarios. The low-light performance is credited to the high ISO 1600 and automatic features that adjust to low-light situations which allow the A570 to deliver a crisp image indoors. However, because the night time pictures from this camera are somewhat average, it should be pointed out that this camera is best suited for situations that do not require a flash. This is in part because there is a bit of a lag time (around 5-10 seconds) after the flash is engaged to recharge. Obviously, if you have to wait 10 seconds between every shot you take when you’re trying to get a picture of an energetic child, there are a lot of great pictures you can potentially miss. However, another nice feature about this Canon is the speedy auto focus which is imperative in photographing young kids. If you have great shutter speed but it takes your camera several seconds to adjust the focus before you can shoot, it’s a moot point. If the camera even allows you to shoot before it is done auto focusing, it will turn out a blurry wasted picture. To ensure the sharpness and discourage blur, Canon uses a DIGIC III processor with incredibly advanced technology that improves the face detection and red eye correction. Also, the Optical Image Stabilizer also allows steady shooting regardless of the setting. This means it compensates for “camera shake” so if you happen to be sliding down a slide or running from one end of the jungle gym to the other to get the right picture, this Canon is forgiving. One of the great features about this camera is that it basically sets itself for you based on the conditions you subject it to. With all of the automatic features and the freedom to set it manually, it couldn’t be much easier to use.

Comparison with Nikon Coolpix L15

The Canon PowerShot A570 IS is superior in shutter speed, shutter lag, and ISO as compared to the Nikon Coolpix L15. As well, the Canon has 4X zoom vs. Nikon’s 3X zoom. The Nikon is slightly less expensive, but for the small difference in price the Canon is more camera for the money. Overall, the Canon is still a better selection if looking for a good-quality camera for active young kids or uncooperative pets.

Comparison with Pentax Optio W30

The Pentax Option W30 is a pretty close comparison and many of the specifications are very similar, with the Canon faring slightly ahead. The flash charges quicker than the Canon, you can expect about a 2 second delay vs the 5-10 with the Canon. However, the Pentax doesn’t allow the user to have any manual control where the Canon PowerShot A570 IS does. Also, although I really enjoyed taking under water pictures with this camera, I must say the auto focus delay is really difficult to work with when you are trying to capture a picture quickly. Lastly, the Pentax is a great deal more expensive for many of the same features as the Canon. I think the price tag reflects the underwater capability and the truth is you may almost never use it for that function.

Pros
  • +
    Image Stabilization Technology
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    High ISO
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    Quick Shutter Speed
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    Improved Face Detection and Red Eye Correction
  • +
    Easy to Use Automatic Features
Cons
  • -
    Restricted Zoom Capacity
  • -
    Delay After Using Flash
Canon PowerShot A570 IS is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot A570 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 4.0x
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 - 0.7s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • 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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Canon PowerShot A570 IS
2
Nikon Coolpix L15
3
Pentax Optio W30
Customer Rating
Price $379.00 $168.49 $195.67
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.08 sec 0.20 sec 0.10 sec
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Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.5 - 0.7 sec 0.9 - 1.0 sec 0.5 sec
Power to First Shot Time 1.5 sec 3.5 sec 2.6 sec
Max Shooting Speed (continuous) 1.3 frames/sec 1.0 frames/sec 1.6 frames/sec
Optical Zoom 4.0x 3.0x 3.0x
Image Stabilization Type Optical (lens shift) Optical (lens shift) -
?
Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes No
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Max Aperture (wide-angle)
f/2.6 f/2.8 f/3.3
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Max Aperture (tele-photo)
f/5.5 f/4.7 f/4.0
Max Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec 1/1500 sec 1/2000 sec
Min ISO Setting 80 64 64
Max ISO Setting 1600 1000 1600
?
Face Detection Available
Yes Yes Yes
Battery Type AA-size (x2) AA-size (x2) Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Battery Life 400 shots 330 shots 210 shots
Easy to Use Yes Yes Yes
2
Nikon Coolpix L15

Just as you’d expect from Nikon’s long reputation, the Coolpix L15 is a comparative camera, even at a lower price. It has higher resolution at 8.0 megapixels, however slightly more limited zoom at 3X optical zoom. It also has a quick shutter speed but where it advances in shutter speed it is lacking in the time it takes to auto focus. Overall it is a good quality camera that is easy to use but it is limited in functions.

Comparison with Pentax Optio W30

Between the Nikon Coolpix L15 and the Pentax Optio W30, they are both good camera selections and again have very comparable features, however the Pentax is slightly superior over the Nikon due to ISO, shutter speed, and shutter lag. The Pentax also has a really convenient rechargeable lithium battery however it is capable of taking fewer pictures before needing a recharge. However, the Nikon will take a clearer crisper image than the Pentax because of the technology the Nikon has to control blur. Lastly, considering the price difference, I think it would depend on the kind of shots one anticipated taking. If you are planning a summer at the pool with the kids and your camera, then maybe the Pentax might be a better selection.

Pros
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    Higher Resolution
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    Easy to Use
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    Comprehensive Range of Flash Modes
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    High ISO
Cons
  • -
    Restricted Zoom
  • -
    Limited Functions
  • -
    Delayed Auto Focus
Nikon Coolpix L15 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Nikon Coolpix L15
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.9 - 1.0s
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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3
Pentax Optio W30

This is definately a camera for action and adventure. This model was one of the first of it’s kind as a waterproof digital camera that can be fully submerged to a depth of ten feet for up to two hours. It’s intention is to be able to take shots in active environments without blur. However, it’s underwater capability is limited, it is not the camera for a scuba diver, more like an afternoon at the pool. It too has a high ISO and crisp clear images when in focus. The flash charges rather quickly, you can expect about a 2 second delay after flash use. However, it also has a very delayed auto focus.

Pros
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    Waterproof
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    High ISO
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    Large Menu of Automatic Scene Options
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    Quick Flash Time Recovery
Cons
  • -
    Delayed Auto Focus
  • -
    Takes Mediocre Low-Light Pictures
  • -
    Restricted Zoom
Pentax Optio W30 is one of the Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Photos of Children or Pets Under $200
Where to buy
Pentax Optio W30
  • Best Price: $195
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 7.1MP
  • AF Shutter Lag: 0.5 sec
  • Easy to Use: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)

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