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Shooting stunning photos of wildlife is all about catching the moment. You may spend hours in the outdoors just waiting for an animal to show up, but when it happens, your patience is definitely rewarded. The best point-and-shoot cameras for wildlife photography are designed to help you achieve optimal results in less than ideal situations. They can capture distant subjects in their natural environment without disturbing them. Plus, they are super speedy, so even unexpected movements can be frozen in time.

Whether you are birdwatching, on a safari, or looking for exotic fish underwater, there is a camera for you. Point-and-shoot cameras are simple to use, requiring little or no technical knowledge of photography while delivering high-quality pictures in a variety of situations. We chose the five best point-and-shoot cameras for wildlife photography for you, so you’ll be able to document your discoveries without worrying about exposure or shutter speeds.

For more of our top photography gear recommendations, check out the Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography.

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Quick Answer - The Best Point and Shoot Cameras for Wildlife Photography

  1. Fujifilm FinePix S1
  2. Nikon Coolpix L820
  3. Canon PowerShot SX740
  4. Nikon Coolpix P1000
  5. Olympus TG-5

Comparison Table - Best Point and Shoot Camera for Wildlife

PictureNameWeightWeather SealedZoomPriceRating
Fujifilm FinePix S11.5 lbs.Yes50x$4.4
Nikon Coolpix L8201.04 lbsNo30x$4.1
Canon PowerShot SX7400.61 lbsNo40x$4.3
Nikon Coolpix P10003.12 lbs.No125x$$$4.5
Olympus TG-50.55 lbs.Yes7x$3.9
PictureNameWeightWeather SealedZoomPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Wildlife Photography Point and Shoot Cameras

Fujifilm FinePix S1

Specs
  • Aperture: f2.8 - 5.6
  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.3 x 3.6 in
  • Focal Length: 24-1200mm
  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.
  • Zoom: 50x
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
Features
  • Weather-resistant Camera Provides Protection Against Rain And Dust
  • Bright 50x Superzoom
  • "One Touch" Wireless Transfer & Remote Control

BEST FOR:  JUNGLE ADVENTURES 

The Fujifilm Finepix S1 is great for the adventurer who isn’t afraid to tackle any sort of terrain. Because this is the world’s first weather-resistant superzoom camera, you can confidently bring it along on any wilderness trek, no matter how rugged. Water and dust are no match for this weather-sealed point and shoot!

Do you need to set up for a shot, but are afraid of frightening the animals if you get too close? The Fujifilm Finepix S1 comes with One Touch wireless communication software, allowing you to connect the camera to your phone through Bluetooth. You can even use the app as a remote control to fire the shutter, while you hide in the bushes hoping that the lion doesn’t spot you!

Nikon Coolpix L820

Specs
  • Aperture: f3.0-5.8
  • Dimensions: 3.31 x 4.33 x 2.99 in
  • Focal Length: 22.5 - 675mm
  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Weight: 1.04 lbs
  • Zoom: 30x
  • Weather Sealed: No
Features
  • Powerful 30x Zoom
  • Ergonomic Design Features A Larger Grip
  • Vibration Reduction Keeps The Shot Steady

BEST FOR: BIRDWATCHING

The Nikon Coolpix L820 is equipped with a 30x zoom NIKKOR lens that allows you to be versatile in your shots. This means that you can go from taking a group shot of your pets to capturing those baby cuckoos that have just hatched high up in the treetops simply by zooming in. The camera also comes with a 16-megapixel low-light image sensor, providing excellent image quality for those night time safari adventures.

Worried about going on a long trip where you won’t have much access to power? The Nikon Coolpix L820 is powered by four AA-size batteries, allowing you to replenish your camera power without having to bring a whole charger with you. Additionally, if you need to capture some fast-moving hummingbirds or a cheetah on the run, this Nikon camera averages a shot-to-shot speed of 1.2 seconds, incredibly fast for a camera that runs on AA batteries.

Canon PowerShot SX740

Specs
  • Aperture: f3.3-6.9
  • Dimensions: 1.6 x 4.3 x 2.5 in
  • Focal Length: 24-960mm
  • Resolution: 20.3MP
  • Weight: 0.61 lbs
  • Zoom: 40x
  • Weather Sealed: No
Features
  • 4K High-Definition Video
  • Impressive 40x Optical Zoom
  • High-speed Continuous Shooting

BEST FOR: THE TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER

Are you likely to travel to obscure locations to get that fantastic nature shot before the sun goes down? The Canon Powershot SX740 HS might be the right camera for you! This camera offers 40x optical zoom and 4K video recording, all in a camera body that’ll fit snugly in the pocket of your cargo pants. The sensor is slightly smaller than some other cameras  (a 20.3 megapixel CMOS chip), but it performs exceptionally well in the bright summer sun and in environments where lighting is not optimal. 

The screen on the SX740 tilts 180 degrees, allowing you to capture images from the most awkward of angles. It can also be tilted all the way forward, making it perfect for those ‘I’m out in the wilderness’ selfies.

Nikon Coolpix P1000

Specs
  • Aperture: f2.8-8
  • Dimensions: 5.76 x 7.14 x 4.68 in
  • Focal Length: 24-3000mm
  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Weight: 3.12 lbs.
  • Zoom: 125x
  • Weather Sealed: No
Features
  • Rock-steady Dual Detect Image Stabilization
  • 4K Ultra High-Definition Video With Stereo Sound
  • Time-lapse And Super Lapse Shooting

BEST FOR: CLOSE (AND NOT SO CLOSE) ENCOUNTERS WITH NATURE

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 is a beast of a point-and-shoot camera, equipped with a whopping 125x optical zoom, allowing you to capture those lion cubs from a VERY safe distance. Even with this impressive zoom size, and a lens that is equipped with a 77mm filter, the camera only weighs just over 3lbs, making it extremely easy to travel with.

Unlike some other point-and-shoot cameras that only give you the ability to shoot in jpeg format, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 gives you the option to also shoot in RAW format, allowing you a bit more leeway when it comes to under- or overexposure.  Even with such a huge zoom range, the image stabilization and sharpness of this camera are not lost.

Olympus TG-5

Specs
  • Aperture: f2-4.9
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.3 x 2.6 in
  • Focal Length: 25-100mm
  • Resolution: 12MP
  • Weight: 0.55 lbs.
  • Zoom: 7x
  • Weather Sealed: Yes
Features
  • Waterproof, Dustproof, Crushproof, Shockproof & Freezeproof
  • Glove-Friendly Controls For When You Are Shooting In Cold Environments
  • Anti-Fog Dual Pane Lens Glass

BEST FOR: THE TRUE ADVENTURE JUNKIE

The Olympus TOUGH TG5 point-and-shoot camera is the perfect choice for those rugged adventurers who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty to get the perfect shot. This camera is waterproof to a depth of 50 feet, freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fareinheit, and is even crush-proof up to 220 lbs. This is a camera you can throw in your backpack and not have to worry about until you’re ready to pull it out and start shooting.

This point and shoot has a decent 4x optical zoom and is equipped with a 12-megapixel sensor that ensures excellent image quality with limited noise. The camera also has a variety of shooting modes for various different situations, including underwater and microscope modes.

If you’re worried that water may get into the batteries or the SD card — there’s no need. The door to the storage compartment is double-locked, ensuring that nothing will be able to breach the seal.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERAS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

FOCAL LENGTH

The focal length is the distance between the lens and the sensor of the camera when the subject is in focus. It is measured in millimeters and determines how wide or narrow the framing perspective will be. Wildlife photographers usually prefer long focal lengths that allow for shooting distant subjects without being intrusive. If you are going on a safari or birdwatching, you will need a lens that has a focal length of at least 100mm.

 

APERTURE

The downside of being able to shoot distant animals is that long lenses often don’t perform well in low light. Telephoto lenses tend to have a lower maximum aperture, meaning that they let less light reach the sensor than shorter or fixed lenses.

While this may not affect your shooting experience in the daytime, as the sun goes down it will affect your photographs considerably. Generally speaking, an aperture of f5 or more will not be of great help in low light conditions, unless you are using a tripod. It’s good to know which aperture to use when photographing wildlife in low light, so do some research before you head out on your next adventure.

 

RESOLUTION

The number of megapixels in a camera indicates the size and the amount of detail in the photograph. A higher number of megapixels means a sharper, larger picture. While most modern point-and-shoot cameras offer more than enough resolution for digital viewing and sharing, it can be useful to invest in some extra megapixels if you plan to crop out specific details of an image or print your photos in large format.

 

SIZE & WEIGHT

Point-and-shoot cameras are both smaller and lighter than bulky DSLRs, but size and weight can vary a lot between different models. Some cameras easily fit in a pocket, while others — especially those with a large lens — occupy significant backpack space. When buying a camera, keep in mind that you’ll likely be carrying it around your neck for hours, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

POINT-AND-SHOOT

An easy-to-use camera that allows for a balanced picture to be taken with the click of a button.

FOCAL LENGTH

The distance between the lens and the image sensor, stated in millimeters, which affects the framing perspective. Short focal lengths produce wider images and are normally used for landscapes. Long focal lengths, on the other hand, allow focussing on distant subjects.

APERTURE

The channel that lets the light reach the sensor through the lens. Wide apertures allow you to shoot clear images even in low light conditions, while narrow apertures may require the use of a tripod to avoid blurry photos.

TELEPHOTO LENS

A long-focus lens designed to photograph small or distant subjects, commonly used in wildlife photography.

AUTOFOCUS

The technology that allows for the camera to automatically focus on a subject as the shutter button is pressed.

FPS (FRAMES PER SECOND)

The highest number of photographs a camera is able to shoot in one second in optimal conditions.

 

 

READ MORE

For more of our top photography gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Cameras for Wildlife Photography | Tripods for Wildlife Photography

15 Wildlife Photography Tips For Beginners | Lenses for Wildlife Photography

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