Digital Camera For Cats?

Gnomie Donna writes:

Hi, Chris!

I am writing to you for help! I have been searching the Internet for months and months, looking at a million different reviews, trying to compare, and trying to understand something I don’t really understand that well at all.

Can you help me?

I am desperately trying to find the best digital camera for taking pictures of my cats. I know all the tips about how to take their picture, I just can’t seem to figure out which digital camera to use because there are just too many and it’s so confusing.

I just end up frustrated with a migraine.

All I want is a camera that I can point and shoot. I would prefer if it didn’t have a million different settings — that’s too confusing for me — I don’t totally understand ISO settings and megapixels and all the rest of it. I just want to take a really good picture of my cat.

I would love to take one of those pictures where you zoom right in on the cat’s face and see every little detail — every hair — like you can almost literally feel the softness of it.

Price is sort of an issue — but if I can get one that really gives me the pictures I want, I wouldn’t mind saving up for it. Also, I imagine the pictures I want may require a more expensive camera.

I LOVE taking pictures of my cats — but the cameras I have tried in the past very often do not want to cooperate with me. Of course there’s the ever present ‘red/cat’ eye problem. I know about not having them look straight at you and all that… it’s just sometimes I do want them looking straight at me. And the flash — well, I just love outdoor pictures, but most of the times the pictures I want are indoors. My cats don’t really go outside, and so I need the flash.

Over the years I’ve taken some really great shots of animals, and gotten quite good at it — in fact I think I may have missed my calling — I should have been a pet photographer…

I just need help with the camera.

I know they have the image stabilizer thing now which would help a lot, and they also have cameras that have settings that are supposed to be for ‘pets,’ but most of the reviews I’ve read seem to say that setting is not all that great? I remember reading one person say that the ‘pet eye fix’ made his cat’s eyes black when they are supposed to be green.

Thank you so much for your time!

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • Alan

    Would suggest that you look at the Panasonic TZ3.

    Main features driving this suggestion are the x10 optical zoom and image stabilisation. Zoom allows you to get the close ups that you like without worrying about macro mode, depth of field etc or more importantly being in the cats face to take the picture.

    To get these features in other cameras usually means an inherently far more complex camera.

  • Daniel

    Hi Donna. I’d say that what you need is a digital SLR camera, and not one of the so-called “digi-cams” (or point-and-shoot), since the latter are simply not fast enough to capture the “special” moments (this is due to the long “shutter lag” these cameras have), besides having more noise and less image quality.
    An SLR is more expensive, but not by much these days. The perfect choice would be the Nikon D40, which I believe is the least expensive (I just bought one for around US$400) and has an impressive image quality, with enough megapixels (6.1) and an integrated flash. And you can use it in an Auto mode, in which you don’t need to worry about technicalities :), just aim, set the zoom and shoot!

  • Jerri Rogers

    I recently purchased a Cannon EOS Rebel Digital XTi. It looks complicated, but has the point and shoot capability that is great. I have taken pictures of our black persian that caught all the detail of his flat face. Most other cameras just show it as black. It also takes fantastic pictures of our Blue Poing Himalayan. It is a little costly at around $800, but is worth every penny.

  • kathyleana

    I use a kodak easy share 4mp digital camera,I have lots of cats,it takes that up close see every hair picture with the flash on. I use the close up setting and I turn the flash on if I don’t have really bright lighting, like the new floresent bulbs.The red eye problem I have with distance shots of one of my cats he has blue eyes ,up close usually does’nt have red eye.Try the easy share cameras they aren’t really expensive,they take nice pics.

  • GiM

    Wow, so simple and so complicate.

    To keep it simple:
    – normal pictures does not need more than ~4Mpixels… (un)fortunatly, most common camera will have much more;
    – since cats live also indoors, a flash is usefull;
    – good zoom (only optical) is required to be “close” to your friend but let him “alone”, minimum 6x;
    – since zoom, image stabilisation should be also, optical prefered.

    To keep it short:
    – ~ $200, Kodak Z812IS should be very good. Just keep it to “green” stop (;
    – ~ $400, Panasonic DMC-FZ50 should be even more (

    Both have long range zoom 12x, optical image stabilisation, AA size batteries, SD(HC) card memory, integrated flash… I wanted to buy a Panasonic, but for financial reasons I taked a Kodak. And I discovered have also an integrated soft for panoramic images (2 or 3 landscapes sticked together) of very good quality…

    You also need some recommended accessories: AA rechargeable + charger ($30-50), a SD(HC) to USB reader ($5-10), an SD card (nice with speed X150, about 1 GB = 100-200 photos, $30-50).

    Final package: $300+ to $500+…

    And for photos tips, just use the long range zoom, this one is the most useful feature for small animals! Good luck!