Expert Recommendation

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Best Digital Camera for Wildlife Photos Under $450
Expert (4 Recommendations)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
September 26, 2008
Overview

The Olympus SP-570 has some really great features that are great for wildlife photography. The 20X optical zoom will bring nature to you without having to step off your porch to get the shot. With Olympus’s dual stabilization system to help keep things sharp and in focus, it’s a great choice for a mid-level price at $449.99.

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My Best In Class Pick
Olympus SP-570UZ

The SP-570 has an interesting feature that is unique to the camera’s price range. This feature is the ability to take 13.5 fps (Frames Per Second). The down side on this one is that you are only taking the pictures at 3.1 MP (Mega-Pixels), which means that if you want the to make the image any larger than a 5x7 image it will become very grainy. Of course you can increase the resolution of the image if you lower the fps that the camera can record. At 5MP, you can record at 7.1 fps which will get you up to an 8x10 for a print size. And at 10MP you can only record at 1.2fps. My suggestion would be the 5MP at the 7.1 fps which will show you decent image quality and great speed. One thing to keep in mind is that unless it’s a bright sunny day you will want to be using a tripod, otherwise your pictures will be out of focus. On top of that, you can only record 30 pictures in a row before the camera needs to stop and record all that information onto your memory card, which may take several seconds.

This camera also has Dual Image Stabilization which combines a high ISO with sensor shift to allow you to capture pictures at great distances or at night with good clarity. This breaks down like this: the camera uses a gyro-scope in the camera to move the CCD to compensate for the movement. At the same time it increases the ISO so that the shutter doesn’t need to stay open for a longer period of time. The down-side to that is if you are using the Rapid Shot mode and lowering the Mega-Pixel and than increasing the ISO, your pictures may become very grainy as a result.

The SP-570 also has over 31 shooting modes. From the fully automatic settings to the manual controls which will allow you to adjust the Shutter Speed and the Aperture rating so that you can control your own depth of field ratings if you did so desire. As a bonus, there are some preset modes which are truly unique, such as the “Cuisine Mode” or “Behind Glass”, making this camera really useful in different settings.

Pros
  • +
    Excellent speeds for capturing action photography
  • +
    20X Optical Zoom
  • +
    31 Shooting Modes
Cons
  • -
    XD memory card and can only accept up to a 2 GB card
Olympus SP-570UZ is the Best Digital Camera for Wildlife Photos Under $450
Where to buy
Olympus SP-570UZ
Specifications
  • Zoom: 20.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
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Website Reviews (1 review)
  • Rated Good by CNET.com
2
Canon PowerShot S5 IS

Another camera to take a look at would be the Canon Powershot SX10. This model has the same 20X optical zoom with Canon’s Image Stabilization technology. It can only do 1.4 fps but it can do it at the full 10 MP quality so it’s just a little bit faster than the Olympus at the same range. The SX10 is currently going for $399.99 which is only fifty dollars cheaper but still an excellent model to take a look at.

Canon PowerShot S5 IS is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Wildlife Photos Under $450
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot S5 IS
Specifications
  • Zoom: 12.0x
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Resolution: 8.0MP
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (5 reviews)
  • Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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