Choosing a compact camera for butterflies

Best Compact Camera for Photographing Butterflies

Photographing butterflies is hugely exciting and rewarding. First of all, it involves finding butterflies and often specifically hunting out different species so you can get photos. It can turn into an amazing adventure as you create a list of species you want to get some beautiful images of.

But whether it’s just in your backyard or if you plan to travel far and wide in search for rare butterfly species, we no longer have to spend thousands of dollars on specialist photography equipment to get gorgeous macro style photos of butterflies and other insects.

Butterfly taken with a Canon Powershot point and shoot camera.
Butterfly taken with a Canon Powershot point and shoot camera. Image credit Matthias Hiltner

Today’s compact cameras are capable of producing high quality photos. While they aren’t at the level of DSLR cameras and expensive macro lenses, there are certainly some small compact cameras that will make it possible for you to capture highly detailed, contrast rich photos of butterflies that show their full colors and details – without breaking the bank.

So if you’re in the market for a compact camera for butterfly photography, check out our currently recommended models below, and what makes them good for this specific purpose. In future articles we will talk about more expensive camera systems for photographing butterflies. But if you’re a beginner or simply want a solid camera option without spending big, read on!

This butterfly image was taken with a Nikon Coolpix compact camera
This butterfly image was taken with a Nikon Coolpix compact camera. Image credit Cynthia Colegrove

So what are we looking for in a quality compact or point and shoot camera for taking photos of butterflies?

It needs to have excellent macro capability – that means the camera needs to be able to focus close to the subject. This feature is referred to as the minimum focus distance (MFD).

The camera should be well built and have some or total weather sealing – because we’re taking our camera out into the elements, you never know when it might get wet or be exposed to humidity or other conditions.

Make no mistake – good point and shoot cameras can deliver amazing results when it comes to macro photography. Check out these stunning butterfly examples below, which were taken with a Nikon Coolpix P80. That is an older model Coolpix which is no longer available – the latest Coolpix models have many years of new technological improvements – so it just shows how even an older model camera is capable of wonderful results in the right hands. Thanks to Damiano Pappada on Flickr for these spectacular images.

Farfalla (DSCN2393)

Brown Butterfly (DP2059)

Three of the Best Compact Point and Shoot Cameras for Butterfly Photography

Here are our three top picks for the ultimate compact cameras you can get right now for photographing butterflies and other bugs, as well as flowers up close, without spending a fortune:

1. Olympus Tough TG-5

Olympus Tough TG-5 compact camera for butterfly photography

Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon Coolpix W300 for butterfly photography

Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Canon PowerShot SX730 HS compact camera for butterfly photography

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