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Thread: Help chose camera for travelling

  1. #1

    Help chose camera for travelling

    Hi,

    I had a Panasonic TZ10 until it was stolen.
    I need to buy a new camera for my travels.
    I was 100% satisfied with the performance of my camera on light, but on dark
    I think it made quite stupid decisions, forcing me to manually trial-and-error settings.

    I photograph usually buildings, castles, interior of temples (which is usually dark).
    Sometimes I do photograph in macro.
    What I do NOT photograph, is people, either portraits or parties, groups etc.

    What I would need from my camera
    * I think of a good compact or a hybird mirrorless with exchangeable lens.
    * I am neither a photographer nor an artist. I do not have a lab. I only want it for travelling. I also have no technical knowledge of photography of any kind, just experience from trial and error on manual settings.
    * To display on the LCD the real photo I will take with current settings, not need to half-press button to see. This is extremely important. I first saw it on Sony RX100 (but it is quite expensive, 600euro, with only 3.6x zoom)
    * The ease of choosing desired exposure time on EACH photo, not to store and drive through menus each time (just like Sony RX100 again)
    * If it is possible, can exposure time be reduced at nightshots? If for example I get a larger sensor size, will it take the photo faster at night? It is virtually impossible to keep my hand still for 2 or 4 seconds. I don't use tripods.
    * I would wish focus would be much faster than my old camera. Also if it powers up fast it is desirable.
    * Long zoom is very appreciated, but not so much that the camera would be huge. 10x would be a minimum.
    * Pocket size is appreciated, weight below 300g is desired. This is not strict however.
    * I view my photos only in my monitor, I *never* print them. As it seems, we won't go beyond 8MP monitors in this decade, so anything 10-12MP is an overkill for me. Actually I do not wish the image size to grow too much. I don't store at max quality, but I would be reluctant to use anything from the native sensor resolution, I don't want any blurring due to interpolation.
    * Any redundant electronic noise is a deal-breaker. I do not want my camera to make silly sounds emulating old film cameras, as if I am a kid to get exited hearing beeps-beeps. My Panasonic was perfect for that, all sounds were mutable, but other cameras cannot mute the beep after the half-press of the button.
    * I'd like "more part" of the environment to fit to my camera without needing to go back and back, as when I photo buildings, I am limited by the road width. Is this called angle-of-view? I think larger sensors would help since there would be less frame cropping, but are there cameras of reasonable size?
    * I am quite skeptical about dSLRs. I am afraid of the cost of the lenses and the size of the camera.
    * I do not wish very wide images, where dimensions are distorted, straight lines look curves and near objects seem huge.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2

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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Hi Galanom. Welcome to CinC. If you were happy with the Panasonic why not just get the latest TZ model. The TZ3 was my first digital camera and I still use it when I just want a pocket camera. I believe the LX models have a larger sensor and are designed for lower light but you will loose some of the zoom range. You could look at the superzooms but these are almost the size of a small DSLR . You may want to check out dpreview.com for the latest offerings. You'll at least be able to camera some options side by side and the posted reviews are quite comprehensive.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Hi Galanom, you mention that 600euro is too expensive. What price range are you comfortable with?

    You might want to go to a camera store and handle several cameras in your price range. Ask the sales folks your questions about the ones you are most comfortable with then post back here with any additional questions about the ones you like best.

    Welcome to CiC by the way!

  4. #4

    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Galanom, you mention that 600euro is too expensive. What price range are you comfortable with?

    You might want to go to a camera store and handle several cameras in your price range. Ask the sales folks your questions about the ones you are most comfortable with then post back here with any additional questions about the ones you like best.

    Welcome to CiC by the way!
    Thank you people for your welcomes.
    The only thing I liked with my Panasonic was photo quality at light.
    It made horrible decisions on low light, I had to go manual.
    And manual settings were awfully placed, and above all, preview in LCD was NOT actual photo.
    I had to half-press shoot button in order to preview my photo.
    The angle of view I think is not satisfactory.
    Also GPS was kind of miserable btw.

    I loved so much the settings placement of Sony RX100, every click changed a setting, no menus at all.
    And changes were visible immediately, no need to half-press shoot button.
    Also it had orientation sensors which informed me if I hold the camera properly!! It was the first time I saw something like that.

    The only thing I didn't like was it's 3.6x zoom. Apparently it's bigger sensor did not allow to apply a longer zoom lens at this size? idk.

    600 euros was something I could give, if I get an all-around satisfying camera. I did not know that a compact could be such expensive.

    I am actually unsure what would be the best sensor size for me. I thought size would be the obvious trade-off but I've seen small cameras with large sensors, like Sony Alpha NEX-6.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Here something you should read.
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm
    Don't get hung up about sensor size, bigger is not always better.
    There is two types of sensor, CCD (charged-coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). In all case get a camera with the CMOS sensor more so if your going to be working with low lights. There is tons of small compact cameras on the market now that works well in low light and will give you control over it if that's what you want. As someone said if you have a camera store near you, that would be the best place to start shopping.

  6. #6
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Hi Galanom,

    I’ll try to give you some things to consider based on your initial comments.

    You are looking for a travel camera and are most interested in shooting architecture in low light conditions such as inside buildings and night photography. This would tell me that fast shutter speeds could be traded for greater Depth of Field particularly when coupled with higher ISO settings needed for interior shooting without artificial light.

    You liked the Sony RX100 better than the Panasonic TZ10.

    *Sometimes I do photograph in macro.

    There may be several options here. Travel cameras tend to be lighter, smaller, easier to learn and use but typically do not have interchangeable lenses so instead of a dedicated macro lens or extension tube set, a close-up lens should work fairly well for you and still be in a reasonable price range for the entire kit.

    * I think of a good compact or a hybird mirrorless with exchangeable lens.
    * I am neither a photographer nor an artist. I do not have a lab. I only want it for travelling. I also have no technical knowledge of photography of any kind, just experience from trial and error on manual settings.

    Today’s cameras can configure the camera settings in Auto for a wide range of circumstances for the ‘non-photographer’ and at the same time have the manual settings for when you want to use them. As shutter speed is not a concern, you may find that shooting in Aperture Priority with Auto ISO will allow you to control the Depth of Field and let the camera choose the best shutter speed for a good exposure and the best ISO for the lighting conditions. This is also a good way to make note of the best starting settings and then switch to full manual mode if you want to experiment.

    * To display on the LCD the real photo I will take with current settings, not need to half-press button to see. This is extremely important. I first saw it on Sony RX100 (but it is quite expensive, 600euro, with only 3.6x zoom)

    Most compacts and mirrorless cameras have a decent LCD screen. When the compact also has a viewfinder (which I find easier to use in normal light) they usually also have an option to display on either the LCD or in the viewfinder.

    * The ease of choosing desired exposure time on EACH photo, not to store and drive through menus each time (just like Sony RX100 again).

    For the Aperture Priority feature, the proper exposure time is calculated for you so you don’t need to use menus for that. The majority of my photography is done in Aperture Priority for this reason.

    * If it is possible, can exposure time be reduced at night shots? If for example I get a larger sensor size, will it take the photo faster at night? It is virtually impossible to keep my hand still for 2 or 4 seconds. I don't use tripods.

    There is no relationship between sensor size and shutter speed. Although you can sometimes steady a camera by resting it on a railing or leaning up against a vertical surface such as a doorway, shots that take longer than 1/15 second or so really need a tripod of some sort. It is almost impossible to get an in-focus night shot without a tripod. However, there are some travel tripods, such as the Joby GorillaPod that I use that can fit in your pocket. Its flexible legs can even wrap around a railing or pole. In other words, although you need a tripod for night shots, it doesn’t need to be the typical full size device to accomplish the goal.

    * I would wish focus would be much faster than my old camera. Also if it powers up fast it is desirable.

    Once you have narrowed your list of priorities to a few choices, this will be a good comparison to make between them.

    * Long zoom is very appreciated, but not so much that the camera would be huge. 10x would be a minimum.

    A 10x minimum zoom will rule out a lot of cameras.

    * Pocket size is appreciated, weight below 300g is desired. This is not strict however.

    I have the Canon SX40 with a 35X zoom at 600g that is just as small as many compact cameras but like most cameras that can do at least 10X it will not fit in a typical shirt pocket.

    * I view my photos only in my monitor, I *never* print them. As it seems, we won't go beyond 8MP monitors in this decade, so anything 10-12MP is an overkill for me. Actually I do not wish the image size to grow too much. I don't store at max quality, but I would be reluctant to use anything from the native sensor resolution, I don't want any blurring due to interpolation.

    As most cameras will have a sensor larger than this, think of the extra detail provided by the larger MPs as an opportunity to crop (zoom in on) the image when needed and still get a decent picture.

    * Any redundant electronic noise is a deal-breaker. I do not want my camera to make silly sounds emulating old film cameras, as if I am a kid to get exited hearing beeps-beeps. My Panasonic was perfect for that, all sounds were mutable, but other cameras cannot mute the beep after the half-press of the button.
    * I'd like "more part" of the environment to fit to my camera without needing to go back and back, as when I photo buildings, I am limited by the road width. Is this called angle-of-view? I think larger sensors would help since there would be less frame cropping, but are there cameras of reasonable size?

    There is no relationship between sensor size and the ability to shoot a wider angle of view. You need a wide angle lens for this. So you will want to consider either multiple lenses (wide-angle, normal, and telephoto), or a compact/bridge camera that covers the entire range from wide-angle to 10X plus telephoto.

    * I am quite skeptical about dSLRs. I am afraid of the cost of the lenses and the size of the camera.

    This higher price for multiple components includes the mirrorless cameras, if you need wide-angle, normal, and telephoto, plus one more for dedicated Macro shooting. Also, as soon as you need multiple lenses the combination of camera and lenses is definately not pocket able.

    * I do not wish very wide images, where dimensions are distorted, straight lines look curves and near objects seem huge.

    Fish-eye lenses are super wide-angle.

    It looks like your first decision will be camera size and weight based on whether having a pocket able camera is more important than a 10X plus zoom. Many compact cameras are pocket able but to get 10x zoom you’ll need to look at the typical bridge camera.

    I would start with a search on the web based on your highest priority feature, such as 10X zoom and definitely stop by a camera shop with your list of needs and wants. See what feels comfortable in your hands.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by FrankMi; 22nd October 2012 at 01:33 PM.

  7. #7
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Quote Originally Posted by Melkus View Post
    Here something you should read.
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm
    Don't get hung up about sensor size, bigger is not always better.
    There is two types of sensor, CCD (charged-coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). In all case get a camera with the CMOS sensor more so if your going to be working with low lights. There is tons of small compact cameras on the market now that works well in low light and will give you control over it if that's what you want. As someone said if you have a camera store near you, that would be the best place to start shopping.
    Paul - while I agree a larger sensor is not always better, I would say that tends to be true for larger format cameras rather than compacts. In compacts the small sensor tends to be a limitation on quality, and the largest these get are APS-C sized, so I would give the oppositie advice here. In compacts, bigger is better.

    As for CCD sensors, while these do have drawbacks, mostly related to cost and high power consumption, they had excellent low light performance. Very few cameras still use this technology, so this is a moot point. The only camera that is still on the market that I can think of that has a CCD sensor is the Leica M9.

  8. #8
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Paul - while I agree a larger sensor is not always better, I would say that tends to be true for larger format cameras rather than compacts. In compacts the small sensor tends to be a limitation on quality, and the largest these get are APS-C sized, so I would give the oppositie advice here. In compacts, bigger is better.

    As for CCD sensors, while these do have drawbacks, mostly related to cost and high power consumption, they had excellent low light performance. Very few cameras still use this technology, so this is a moot point. The only camera that is still on the market that I can think of that has a CCD sensor is the Leica M9.
    I stand corrected on the CCD vs CMOS this is what happens when your only working with one cup coffee in you and it's 7am

    CMOS imagers offer superior integration, power dissipation and system size at the expense of image quality (particularly in low light) and flexibility. They are the technology of choice for high-volume, spaceconstrained applications where image
    quality requirements are low. This makes them a natural fit for security cameras, PC videoconferencing, wireless handheld device videoconferencing, bar-code scanners, fax machines, consumer scanners, toys, biometrics and some automotive invehicle uses.

    CCDs offer superior image quality and flexibility at the expense of system size. They remain the most suitable technology for high-end imaging applications, such as digital photography, broadcast television, high-performance industrial imaging, and most scientific and medical applications. Furthermore, flexibility means users can achieve greater system
    differentiation with CCDs than with CMOS imagers.

    Sustainable cost between the two technologies is approximately equal. This is a major contradiction to the traditional marketing pitch of virtually all of the solely CMOS imager companies.

    As for sensor size, yes maybe a larger sensor would help but what I was trying to say is not to buy into the pixel war thing and there is new technology coming out like the sensor used in the Nikon V1 which they call a 'CX' sensor it's only a 10mp CMOS sensors (13.2mm x 8.8mm) in size. Since I do own a V1 I can say how well it dose even in low light, the only thing holding it back is a fast 1.4 or 1.8 prime lens (Nikon dose have a 50mm 1.8 lens coming out soon)

  9. #9
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Now we are in agreement...

    I really noticed the better low light performance when I switched video cameras. My Panny DVX100A was CCD and had absolutely stunning low light capabilities and really had no noise issues unless I really cranked up the gain, but it was a battery sucking monster. I would easily drain one of the large batteries in a day's worth of shooting, so any trip out into the wilderness that lasted more than 3 or 4 days was a pain. The new Panny AG100 just keeps on going and going and while I carry a spare battery, I've never even gotten close to getting into trouble. On the other hand the 100A was motor driven and tape based, so that would use more power than a solid state machine. The sensor cost issue is not totally straight forward either and it really depends on a lot of factors.

    The downside of the CCD was the bloom artifacts that came from spill from overloaded sensor elements and I also understand that the technology was sensitive to damage from cosmic radiation, although that is not something I ever noticed.

    With regard to the number of MP on a compact camera, I quite agree. More MP are purely a marketing ploy; I will take an 8MP sensor with good resolution any day versus a 14MP sensor that gives me no more clean data, Paying extra for data smeared by the image processor never made any sense to me. The MP count should be appropriate to the sensor size.

  10. #10

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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Quote Originally Posted by galanom View Post
    I need to buy a new camera for my travels.
    I was 100% satisfied with the performance of my camera on light, but on dark...
    Any ideas?
    I wanted a compact / point & click for my wife, for her to use as we toured New Zealand. I looked at the Panasonic TZs but dismissed them after reading that they suffer from considerable noise. My research narrowed the choice down to Canon SX200 vs Sony DSC-HX9V vs Nikon S9100, at which point I started this thread:
    first digital compact after film
    The third reply suggested the Sony suffered with noise too so that left the Canon or the Nikon.

    I took my wife to a local shop, she spent a fair bit of time handling both cameras. In the end decided she liked feel of the Nikon so that was what I bought. She went click happy in NZ. It's a great camera.

    That was about eight months ago so these particular cameras may not be the absolute latest models but they are still available. I don't think you'd go wrong with either.

    Ken

  11. #11
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Ok, this is just me, but it sounds like what you're after is more an "enthusiast compact" P&S than a mirrorless compact interchangeable lens camera. In cost, a NEX or m4/3 camera actually rivals the cost of an SLR. While the initial body/kit may seem to be on the same price level (and particularly if you're shopping new), with an interchangeable lens system camera, you are looking at also purchasing lenses. And a lens can easily cost as much as the body.

    I'd say, if you're willing to trade off reach for low-light capability, look for a compact camera with a sensor that's larger than 1/2.3". The Sony RX100 is the darling of the enthusiast compact set, because it sports a 1"-format sensor (this is pretty much the same sensor that's in the Nikon 1-series cameras, and has a 2.7x crop factor). But to my mind, anything 1/1.7" and larger is going to be better for you than your TZ (which had the 1/2.3"-format sensor, a 5.6x crop factor).

    If you don't have much cash, then a used or refurbished Canon S95 or Olympus XZ-1 might be worth looking at. Maybe a new S100, or Panasonic LX-5. If you have a lot more cash, then maybe a Fuji X10 or XF1 (2/3" format sensor, 3.93x crop), Sony RX100 (2.7x crop), or Canon G1X (slightly larger than a four-thirds sensor, 2x crop).

    Among these enthusiast compacts, they'll have controls that you like including full manual mode, liveview, the ability to turn off the sound, and decent low-light performance with iso settings in the 800 and 1600 range. And the max. aperture on the lens might go as wide as f/1.8. They'll also probably let you shoot RAW, and may even sport a flash hotshoe or a flip-out LCD screen.

    For the wide-angle (and not having to run backwards), look at the specs of the lens. You probably want one with a 24mm or smaller "film equivalent" on the low end of the zoom range.
    Last edited by inkista; 22nd October 2012 at 09:43 PM. Reason: adding XZ-1 into the list.

  12. #12

    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Galanom,
    You are looking for a travel camera and are most interested in shooting architecture in low light conditions such as inside buildings and night photography.
    Not only, but THIS is where I see most cameras fail at. Indeed after playing with shutter speed and ISO I could get much better pictures. Some went yellowish however, idk why.

    Architecture at daytime seems to be done good by any camera I've tried, always according to my demands.

    This would tell me that fast shutter speeds could be traded for greater Depth of Field particularly when coupled with higher ISO settings needed for interior shooting without artificial light.
    I haven't quite understood what depth of field is. Also what do you mean to trade shutter speed? Is there a chance to ever need something more than 1/800?

    You liked the Sony RX100 better than the Panasonic TZ10.
    Not just liked better, it was AWESOME.
    Everything minor or major annoyance which was a pain in the ass with Panasonic, it is fixed with Sony RX100.
    Above all, the real time appearance of actual photo that will be recorder, adjusted for shutter speed, ISO, etc.
    In contrast, Panasonic doesn't do that, even the latest TZ30. It is just a camcorder when I have not pressed shoot.
    A major pro of Sony over the latest TZ30 is that is has a clickable wheel. This way, you have in your finger, with a single click, adjustment of shutter speed and ISO and and thos f/parameters which I have no idea what they are or how they work. In striking contrast, Panasonic (all models) are nightmare. You have to navigate through pull down menus to chose a parameter. This is so incredible annoyance!!
    Since I am not experienced, I have to do trial and error, so this is of the most importance.

    Oh and Panasonic wheel, both in TZ10 and especially at my older TZ7 run-off in my pocket to a different position. What a stupid design flaw! How did they do not see it?

    All in all, Sony RX100 is the best, by far, camera I've ever seen.
    Just the 3.6x zoom is so small.
    If I fail to find a good replacement, I will buy it.


    Today’s cameras can configure the camera settings in Auto for a wide range of circumstances for the ‘non-photographer’ and at the same time have the manual settings for when you want to use them. As shutter speed is not a concern, you may find that shooting in Aperture Priority with Auto ISO will allow you to control the Depth of Field and let the camera choose the best shutter speed for a good exposure and the best ISO for the lighting conditions. This is also a good way to make note of the best starting settings and then switch to full manual mode if you want to experiment.
    If you could give me an advice on a illustrated book I can find in Amazon that shows all that I'd be grateful.

    For the Aperture Priority feature, the proper exposure time is calculated for you so you don’t need to use menus for that. The majority of my photography is done in Aperture Priority for this reason.
    I photo at "M" mode. Idk what it means.
    I hate auto modes (iA or A) because make terrible decisions on low light. Also they hide many really useful options, like JPEG quality (I want it at the standard, not high), some Macro modes, i think one mode even hid the option to kill the flash - I mostly shoot without flash. Flash gives much brighter colors but photo is unrealistic, and at some surfaces it appears to be "burned".

    However, there are some travel tripods, such as the Joby GorillaPod that I use that can fit in your pocket.
    That is actually a great idea!
    I think that blurring is apparent after 1/4".

    I have the Canon SX40 with a 35X zoom at 600g that is just as small as many compact cameras but like most cameras that can do at least 10X it will not fit in a typical shirt pocket.
    It is not the weight, it is the volume that matters to me. I usually wear a waist bag to carry my camera, and it could not fit a full dSLR, and I also do not want to draw attention of the people.

    There is no relationship between sensor size and the ability to shoot a wider angle of view. You need a wide angle lens for this. So you will want to consider either multiple lenses (wide-angle, normal, and telephoto), or a compact/bridge camera that covers the entire range from wide-angle to 10X plus telephoto.
    If the price to pay is to have distorted dimensions (straight lines appear as curved) , it is out of question.
    Ie not that:
    * Fish-eye lenses are super wide-angle.

    It looks like your first decision will be camera size and weight based on whether having a pocket able camera is more important than a 10X plus zoom. Many compact cameras are pocket able but to get 10x zoom you’ll need to look at the typical bridge camera.

    I would start with a search on the web based on your highest priority feature, such as 10X zoom and definitely stop by a camera shop with your list of needs and wants. See what feels comfortable in your hands.
    Actually the most important feature is the good user interface. I definately want the settings wheel of Sony.
    I actually think I found something similar in Canon G-something I saw, but I don't think that it was such good as Sony's.

    I so loved the feature to be able to see real time the effect of your settings, without having to half press shoot button.

    Also the orientation sensors of Sony were great, they help you to hold properly the camera. Especially important to rotated images to xy plane, rather z. Some of my photos appeared as the buildings will slide out. A Tower of Pisa effect. I always shot many times to pick the best. With Sony sensors, it's fixed.

    I don't know a good shop to go to try cameras, I'm new to city, and 99% of the shops in France are about fashion, clothes, fashion, shoes, fashion, perfumes, and, well did I mention fashion?
    Most cameras at Fnac were with dead battery.

    I did see a compact Canon with 50X optical zoom (!!!) and was around 500euros. Don't remember the model, I think it had a HS suffix.
    It had the size of a not so big dSLR, weight acceptable, but I think that the further I zoomed, the more additive noise the image suffered (like the one in analog TV when signal is weak). This did not happen with my Panasonic. Also it may be my impression, but I think that it had some difficulties focusing at great zoom.

    I also saw a mirror-less Sony camera with interchangeable lens with APS-C sensor, it was impressively small, just say 50% bigger than Sony. Lens however were protruding a lot, despite being only 3x. That makes it difficult to carry, unless I detach the lens while carrying. But wouldn't that be bad? I mean don't I expose the attachment mechanism to environmental dust, smoke or finger oil?

    So, to put it straight,
    Is there a camera just like Sony RX100, but with better zoom?

    Hope this helps!
    I does!

  13. #13
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Quote Originally Posted by galanom View Post
    So, to put it straight,
    Is there a camera just like Sony RX100, but with better zoom?


    I does!
    In such a a compact form, no there isn't. The Nikon 1 system sports the same size sensor but it is considerably larger, not pant-pocket size, and doesn't have fast glass (less low light capabilities). There is a lens for that system that covers a 10x zoom range but it's not cheap and personally I'd just go with micro 4/3 at that point (an older Olympus PEN model and 14-150mm zoom, 28-300mm equivalent, would cost around the same or even less).

    One thing to note about the RX100 is the Clear Image Zoom (their form of digital zoom) which will get you out to 200mm (or 7.2x). I've heard good things about it and from the samples I've seen I would be willing to use it in a pinch. I've never had any reason to use digital zoom (I could always do the same thing by cropping afterwards) but the technology is improving and the Sony has a lot of megapixels to begin with. Seeing how you don't want to deal with PP this might be an option for your zoom needs without having to laboriously try to master the technique of cropping and then improving the results with photo editing software.

    Here's an interesting comparison of the Sony RX100 and a Leica M9/lenses which shows how good this Sony really is. It's obviously not going to beat a Leica but it does a lot better than most would imagine.

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1143342/0

  14. #14
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    I was worried about the 1st comment relating to ccd as against cmos. On the other hand cmos has come along a long way.

    Mirror less was mentioned. These have the same problem as compacts in low light - contrast autofocus. Contrast needs light levels where the sensor can see clearly and fast enough for you to see the image in the screen as well.. I would say that with either type you would be better off with one of Sony's products. They seem to have the edge in that direction. Large range of camera types too. There is the Nex range, several compacts, bridge cameras and a very compact camera with a fast lens and a larger than normal sensor. One catch recently though. To get a camera with a quality sensor it needs to be labeled Exmor. They have started using rather cheap sensors made by a company that was called Micron in their cheaper cameras. The Nex goes by the name of a Compact System Camera. There are several other makes including micro 4/3 from Panasonic and Olympus. I would be dubious about either in low light and taking Olympus as an example an E-P3 auto focus is considerably better than an E-PL1 under lowish light situations. As the sensor is the same this seems to have been done on purpose as are several others features lacking on the E-PL1. The Nex uses an APS sensor of the same size as used in many dslr's so the lenses aren't small. Not too bad though really but larger compared with the camera. The olympus Pen's win easily in respect to over all size with lens and a largish sensor. I wouldn't recommend them though. They can be rather complicated to use fully. The Nex is definitely aimed at people who are used to using a compact. There are other makes of csc as well Nikon for instance. Last time I handled one of their compacts and pointed it into a darker area of shop I was in the AF hunted all over the place and refused to focus. Before going in that direction I would make sure that they don't do that any more. These and some others have rather small sensors and are really compacts with an interchangeable lens.

    All together though I would be inclined to think you would be better of with a dslr. You can be pretty sure that these will focus on something that you can see and if they wont manual focusing is available through the viewfinder. Your wish for 2 to 3 sec exposures hand held isn't realistic. In fact if an exposure of that length is needed I can almost guarantee that a contrast AF system is going to have extreme difficulty focusing on it. I doubt if any of them will actually. For that sort of exposure time the camera needs to be on a tripod or placed on something. As the viewfinder relays the image to your eye lack of light is much less of a problem on dslr's. If there is sufficient light the screen can be used. These camera also have auto scene type modes so in real terms needn't be more complicated to use than a compact. As far as which model moving from a compact I am sure you would be happy with canon's cheapest model with the standard zoom which will cope with all but longer telephoto use. Ok it's bigger than a compact but being mostly plastic it's fairly light. In my view an 1100D would be ideal for you and actually allow you to do what you want to do. The other may not. I'm inclined to say definitely wont actually. Cost in the UK can be about £300 with the lens. A bargain really.

    I'd be interested to hear what you do buy eventually. People often ignore what is basically good advice.

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    Last edited by ajohnw; 24th October 2012 at 02:02 PM.

  15. #15
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Hi Galanom, I've been away for a few days and I see that others have also posted some helpful information. Have you had a chance to handle any of the cameras you are considering as yet? I would be interested in hearing which ones had the best user interface for your needs.

  16. #16
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    I seldom remark on gear that I have not acually used but, if I were going to purchase a non-DSLR travel camera, I would seriously consider the Fuji FinePix HS30EXR. I researched this camera thinking I would purchase one for my wife to use but, found out (very definitely) that she wanted a tiny compact camera which would be about the size of her smart phone. She decided on a Canon Elph beause of its size and because it comes in a pretty color

    There are seveal reasons why I would consider the FinePix HS30EXR:

    1. It has RAW capture capability which is very important to me but, might not be important to other photographers.
    2. It has an eye level viewfinder in addition to the articulating LCD.
    3. It has a hot shoe flash capability

    The FinePix HS30EXR is not as tiny as my wife's Elph but seems to be far more capable. IMO, this would be the best combination between price, size and capability.

  17. #17
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    Re: Help chose camera for travelling

    Galanom - although I am not familiar with every camera on the market, it seems unlikely that the camera that you require actually exists, so you would need to accept some compromises. You have written, "I photograph usually buildings, castles, interior of temples (which is usually dark). Sometimes I do photograph in macro," so perhaps the first area for compromise is the need for a powerful optical zoom. You could then go for the Sony RX100, which you obviously favour. If you were not quite so strict about some other less common features, you might also look at the Panasonic LX7, which has a much faster lens throughout its zoom range (bigger aperture when wide open, for low light photography: f1.4 - f2.3) when compared with most other compacts, including the Sony (f1.8 - f4.9).

    Cheers.
    Philip

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