DPInterface Exclusive:
Best Cameras for the World Cup 2006 (Football)
Updated June 1st, 2006

With the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany starting on June 9th, there's plenty of things that are gonna happen - including watching TV all day and night, preparing trucks full of potato chips and barrels of rum (don't ask), etc.

Some lucky people will be or probably already are in Germany to watch the matches live and in-person. Whether you're watching live or on TV, here are my picks of the best digital cameras for shooting at football events this summer. For professionals, there's always the Canon EOS 1D Mark II N with your white EF 600 mm f4 L IS USM lens or Nikon D2X with your fancy 300 mm f2.8 G ED-IF AF-S VR lens. For consumers with more realistic budgets or are not weightlifting champions, there's always the list of my top picks. So let's start now:

 

Best budget digital camera
Panasonic Lumix LZ5

Features 6 megapixels, 6x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. Also comes with a large (but low resolution) 2.5 inch LCD for composing shots. The LZ5 has okay image quality and extremely fast autofocus for a fixed lens camera. The Lumix LZ5 retails for around $200 which is a good deal.
 

Best point-and-shoot digital camera
Panasonic Lumix TZ1

The TZ1 has 5 megapixels with 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilization. The folded optics enable big zoom in this compact but high ISO image quality leaves something to be desired. Also has high speed AF. The only other thing is this camera has no manual controls.
 

sony-t30

Best pocketable digital camera
Sony Cyber-shot T30 (Read review)

This small little camera has several big features, including 7 megapixels, a huge 3 inch LCD, excellent battery life, ISO 1000 and optical image stabilization. It produces some fairly good photos too. Watch out for the slow 3x zoom lens, no manual controls and limited continuous shooting though.
 

Best mid-sized digital camera
Canon PowerShot A700 (Read review)

Don't let the ugly looks fool you - the A700 has 6 megapixels, 6x optical zoom, a 2.5 inch LCD and a full range of manual controls and accessories. Action shots will be a mixed bag - On one hand, there's the fast lens with ISO 800 but on the other, there's no optical image stabilization. At least it retails for around $300!
 

Best ultra-zoom digital camera
Sony Cyber-shot H5 (Read review)

The H5 is as close as you can get (for now) for a good ultra-zoom. The H5 has a 12x optically stabilized zoom lens, a huge 3 inch LCD, ISO 1000, movie mode with zoom and good image quality. Just use aperture priority, though, with f2.8 or f3.7 as the shutter priority/full manual modes are limited to 1/1000 sec.
 

The overall best camera for football/telephoto action shots for summer 2006 is probably the Sony Cyber-shot H5. Don't take my word for it though - there are many other good cameras out there (these are the closest you can get to the "best") that you may like. If you need help, post in the forums. Finally, enjoy watching your football matches (and enjoy your new camera).

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