February 27, 2012 3:04 pm Published by 11 Comments

Fuji Finepix s4000


 Last week I discussed the three types of digital cameras that are currently on the market, these are the DSLRs, point-and-shoots, and EVILs.  In this blog post, I am going to give you a few actual cameras that may help the novice nature photographer to get started. 

For this type photography, nothing is as important as image quality.  Landscape photographers want to make prints with great detail.  Wildlife and bird photographers want to see crisp clean details in the fur or feathers of their subject and yet have the capability to stop the action when necessary. Of course, the $1,800 DSLR will give you all of this plus more.  Nevertheless, many DSLR-toting pros have an advanced point-and-shoot camera tucked away in their pocket “for emergencies.”  They are willing to take advantage of the small size and lighter weight of these cameras because they have manual controls for setting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. The ISO is the light sensitivity of the image sensor. This is the same as the old film ASA ratings such as 100, 200, or 400.  This moves them one step up from the regular point-and-shoot.

There are hundreds of great digital point-and-shoot cameras in the $130 to $189 range.  Go on Amazon and take a look what they have available.  Stick to the name brands, as they ARE the best in this price range.  Below I revenue four in the $200 to $350 price range that can and do meet all the requirements that most nature photographers feel are important.

1.   Fujifilm FinePix s4000 – – 14 mega pixels with 30x super wide angle optical zoom lens.   It has a 3-inch LCD and electronic viewfinder and a dual image stabilization system.  The zoom has a 24mm to 720mm range.  It has a number of other great features including smile and blink detection and HD movie capture.    Cost – $225. To $250.

2.    Nikon Coolpix L120 – – 14.1 mega pixels with 21x wide-angle Nikkor glass optical zoom lens.  It has a 3-inch LCD viewfinder, five ways VR image stabilization system.  The zoom has a 25mm to 525mm range. Includes one-touch HD movie recording.  It has many in-camera editing features usually found only in much more expensive models.  It gets about 330 still images from the four AA batteries used in the camera.        Cost – $200 to $ 225.

  1. 3.    Casio Exilim Ex-ZR100 – –12 mega pixels with 12.5 optical zoom lens.   A full array of manual controls for advanced or advancing users.  Full automatic shooting options for the novice.   From my point of view, one of the greatest strengths of this camera is the 450 shoots per charge of its rechargeable battery.  It has a 3-inch LCD viewfinder.  It has over 33 special features that can be seen on the internet by entering the camera name.      Cost -$ 330 to $350

    Casacio Exilim ex-zr100




4.    Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR – – 16 mega pixels with 15x with wide angle optical zoom lens.  It has a 3-inch LCD viewfinder.   This camera is a manual, semi-manual and automatic shooting camera all rolled into one.  It can also have a GPS feature for just $20. What is neat is that this powerhouse of a camera neatly slips into your pocket whenever you are in the field.   The F550s arsenal includes full HD video with sound and auto focus, slow motion, multiple bracketing modes, film simulation options, user selectable dynamic range and about 10 other special features. The zoom has a range from 24mm to 360mm. The image stabilization has a 4-in-one type system that takes and merges four shots into one within the camera.  Panorama shooting is built into features of this camera. Again, you can get the full details about the F550 on the internet.       Cost – $ 350 to$ 385.

Fujifilm Finepix f550 EXR




     Final advice – – explore these four and a few more before you buy.  No camera is perfect, and with the way the major manufacturers are going, a new and better one will be out tomorrow. The best advice I can give is to get a decent digital and come on out to the park and get shooting.  

 Hey, why not send me a few of your best photos and let me know what type camera you are using!


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  • Rebecca McGrew says:

    Very helpful. Thank you. Really helps to narrow down the field of endless choices.

  • Angela Peter says:

    I was searching for this, now will buy one soon.
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    • Luis says:

      I bought this creama 8 months ago along with the 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm all f2.8, 50mm ( f1.4 ) and a 105mm f2.8 macro as I wanted a high res creama for the work that I do which is portraits, landscapes and macro work. The results from this set up are amazing. It cost me a lot of money but am beginning to get that investment back. The creama performs admirably at 1600 ISO when coupled with the 50mm wide open at f1.4 in low light conditions. Happy shooting lads and lasses.

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