Here's the scenario: I need to purchase 3-4 P&S cameras. The total purchase can not exceed $500. These cameras will be used in small/tight caves, primarily by volunteer cavers, to photograph hibernating bats. The cameras should be simple to operate. Shooting distances will be short, under 10' for the most part, larger sites with higher ceilings we use DSLR. Wide angle shooting is of higher importance than zoom capability. Flash performance will be important. 6MP or higher would be preferred.
Obviously, one of the waterproof models that is out there would be ideal but would not allow us to purchase the number of cameras that we need. Quantity is going to take precedence over quality in this case. A compact Pelican case will be used to protect each camera.
The A590IS looks like it might offer what we need, but I'm really out of my element with P&S's. I'd like to hear some opinions, and don't limit yourselves to Canon if there is something else that may work better.
Thanks for your help.