Expert Recommendation

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Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for Action Photos Under $750
Expert (6 Recommendations and 7 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 29, 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 sporting events or other types of fast moving action 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 action 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, make sports photography possible. Fast shutter speeds, high ISO settings, and simple camera operation allow for exceptional low noise and high quality picture results. There is no lag time whatsoever, the photo is taken the instant the shutter button is pushed. 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)

The Nikon D40 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 both share common features in many ways. Yet, they are so different. The D40 is an entry level DSLR, while the FZ50 is a high end point and shoot. As far as similarities, Both cameras have SD media slots and use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. They also have a similar layout and modes.

Comparatively, overall function, quick start up, and reduced lag time all seem to point towards the D50. The FZ50, with 10 megapixels appears to have the D40 beat at 6 megapixels. The truth, though, is that because the D40 has a much larger image sensor, the disparity between 6 and 10 megapixels is much lower than one might think. As a matter of fact, when it comes to noise and ISO, the larger sensor on the D40 handles these artifacts much better than the smaller sized sensor on the FZ50. The end result: much better picture quality from the Nikon D40, even with fewer megapixels.

Both the Nikon D40 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 present great options when it comes to taking fast action photos. The Nikon D40, however, seems to do everything just a little bit better. In terms of value for the dollar, there is no comparison. The D40 just has too much more to offer in almost every category. While the FZ50 might be a better fit for someone looking to spend a little bit less money and looking for the convenience of a built in lens, the overall speed and function of the camera just simply does not measure up with that of the D40. When you factor in that the Nikon D40 offers so many options to add accessories down the road, the advantages of going with the D40 are even clearer.

Nikon D40 (with 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses) is the Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera for 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
Customer Rating
Price
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Sensor Size
23.7 x 15.6 mm 7.2 x 5.3 mm
Shutter Lag Time (pre-focused) 0.10 sec 0.02 sec
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Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.3 sec 0.4 - 0.5 sec
Power to First Shot Time 0.4 sec 1.4 sec
Battery Life 470 shots 360 shots
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 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

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