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Thread: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

  1. #1

    Default Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Hey all at Clubsnap!

    I'm looking for a camera to suit my needs. I'm quite interested in photography, but never had the chance to buy a digicam previously. I'll be going backpacking in a few months' time, and would like to have a good compact camera to capture the sights along the way.

    In particular, I'm looking for something that's good with night shots, and can get the vibrancy of the scenery. Also, a good amount of zoom will be good (at least 4-6X?), and wide angle too (28mm?) since I'll be going to the outdoors, e.g. the Scottish highlands and the Norwegian fjords. As for cost, ideally below S$500.

    I was looking at the Panasonic Lumix LZ7, which offers 6x optical zoom. But I've heard about it being noisy at higher ISOs, so I'm not sure if I'll get that. Canon's A720 IS was another alternative, but it's about S$499. The A570 IS is alright too at S$369, except for the 4x zoom which I'm afraid may disappoint.

    I'm mostly a point-and-shoot kinda guy, although I would love it if my camera could grow with my interests. I don't mind buying add-on lenses, e.g. WC-DC52N for the A570. The A720 has a wide-angle lens too but I think you need an additional adapter too. But I really don't think I should blow 500 bucks on my first cam.. but yet I don't want to miss out on possible great shots on my once-in-a-lifetime trip!

    Cannot decide at all! Would love to hear some of you pros' suggestions!

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    regarding gd night shots, most compacts arent really gd since noise levels are high when using high ISO settings.

    it's gd to maybe bring along a small and lightweight tripod for night shots and while keeping ISO as low as possible. can use it to take grp photos with ur family/frens too.
    EOS 6D | GH4 | LX100 | HERO4

  3. #3

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by sken85 View Post
    In particular, I'm looking for something that's good with night shots, and can get the vibrancy of the scenery. Also, a good amount of zoom will be good (at least 4-6X?), and wide angle too (28mm?) since I'll be going to the outdoors, e.g. the Scottish highlands and the Norwegian fjords. As for cost, ideally below S$500.
    Another person who wants to have it all at a budget price...

    If there was a cam that could fulfill all that, it would be all over the place.

    Seriously, you'll need to compromise on features, or up your budget and get a DSLR.
    Alpha

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Ricoh Caplio R7 or R8(just released) fits all your requirements.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by aireth View Post
    Ricoh Caplio R7 or R8(just released) fits all your requirements.
    You've used it? tested it? Seen the ISO noise? Already know it will cost less than SGD 500? Nope. I doubt it matches all his requirements,
    Alpha

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    to threadstarter..

    depending on the places you are going (not sure as i've not been there myself).. and how long you will be staying outdoors.. you might want to factor in batteries too.. lithium batteries are EXPENSIVE if you need to buy several of them (i.e. if the location does not provide power to charge).. maybe you can look at cameras that offer AA batteries as power source?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    You've used it? tested it? Seen the ISO noise? Already know it will cost less than SGD 500? Nope. I doubt it matches all his requirements,
    Using the R6 and I'm happy with it. 7X zoom, check. 28mm wide, check. Less than 500, bought the R6 when new at 400+, R7 is also less than $500 now so check. R8 just announced on DCresourse and DPreview so I wun know if there's any price increase though it has increase its sensor size. Noise level is satisfactory for a pocket camera that i can stuff into my jeans pocket comfortably. Its even slimmer than the 2 cameras he mentioned. And the size have not really changed for the later 2 release.

    So I can safely say that it satisfy all his listed requirements for a COMPACT P&S camera.
    Last edited by aireth; 21st February 2008 at 11:52 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by aireth View Post
    So I can safely say that it satisfy all his listed requirements for a COMPACT P&S camera.
    I doubt the night photography capability is as good as a Fuji or even the newer canon/sony cams. We'll need to wait for it to be available here before we can get the pricing and full performance. So for now I'll take it as an "untested/unproven" cam and work with recommending existing cameras.
    Alpha

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    You've used it? tested it? Seen the ISO noise? Already know it will cost less than SGD 500? Nope. I doubt it matches all his requirements,
    I believe what you have said applies to you as well, especially the "I doubt it matches all his requirements" part. Perhaps you should try it first before making such statements.

    Aireth at least has backed his statement from his own personal experience. Can you?
    My mind is between quarks and quasars

  10. #10

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by irahaz76 View Post
    I believe what you have said applies to you as well, especially the "I doubt it matches all his requirements" part. Perhaps you should try it first before making such statements.

    Aireth at least has backed his statement from his own personal experience. Can you?
    So he has personal experience with the R8? I based my own recommendation form my own experiences. FYI, I've used the GX100 and the R7, and found the ISO noise and JPEG processing artifacts to be very poor compared to Canon and even Sony. What I did like about the R7 was the great edge sharpness in the wide-angle shots though.
    Alpha

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    So he has personal experience with the R8? I based my own recommendation form my own experiences. FYI, I've used the GX100 and the R7, and found the ISO noise and JPEG processing artifacts to be very poor compared to Canon and even Sony. What I did like about the R7 was the great edge sharpness in the wide-angle shots though.
    So any Canon or Sony compact cameras that may suit sken85's goal?
    My mind is between quarks and quasars

  12. #12

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Digital cameras are very much like all earlier cameras. Beginning with the very first camera all have been basically black boxes with a lens to gather the light, a wheel you turned to focus the image, an aperture that determines how bright the light is, and a shutter that determines how long the light enters.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    With the abundance of film and digital cameras available today, choosing a travel camera for the non-photographer can be a daunting task. Everyone has an opinion, including myself. But before you can make an informed decision, you’ll need to decide how and why you’ll be using the camera.

    For example, if you’re hoping that your photos will make it to the cover of a travel magazine or you plan on mounting a fine art exhibition of your work, you can stop reading right here. We won’t be looking at cameras capable of that level of image quality because they don’t meet the basic criteria of a travelers’ camera: compact size, non-interchangeable lens and light weight. You’ll be sacrificing image quality, but everything is compromise for the traveler.

    Unfortunately, those criteria do little to narrow the field. So let’s look at other ways to narrow your choices.

    The first choice would be between a film and digital compact camera. If your travels will be restricted to long stays in populated areas, then a film camera will serve you well. As long as film and processing and the ability to pay for them are available, you can shoot the analog way and have both hard copy (prints) and soft copy (negatives) that will last indefinitely.

    But it’s a digital age, and the lure of being able to take unlimited photos anywhere in the world for free (no film or processing costs) has transitioned most travelers to digital cameras. So this is where we’ll begin, even though the number of choices are still extremely high.

    Let’s get back to how you will be using your digital compact camera. If your main reason for buying it is to document your travels, e-mail images to your friends or upload them to a website, and maybe make 8x10-inch or smaller prints while traveling or when you return home, then a digital camera with 4-5 megapixel resolution is all you need. Bigger (more resolution) isn’t better in this instance. You’ll pay more initially for the greater resolution, you’ll end up with more noise in your photos and less dynamic range (the range of values between highlights and shadows) and the storage card in your camera (and the hard drive in your computer) will hold fewer full-resolution images. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to find new cameras with less than 6 megapixels resolution.

    One other practical application that a digital camera holds over the film type is the ability to transmit images immediately. Not just photographs for imbedding in your emails, but for work-travel purposes. Your camera can serve as an impromptu scanner and fax machine. One usually can’t lug such things around, so an alternative is to take a picture of the document you are suppose to scan or fax and then file it away for safe keeping or forward it on to another destination via your computer’s fax function. (File > Print > Fax option.)

    Digital cameras with 4-5 megapixel resolution are available with zoom lenses ranging from 3X to 12X zoom lenses. Generally, the more compact the camera, the shorter the zoom range. Other than the relatively compact Panasonic Lumix T-series, cameras with 4X or more zoom lenses look and handle more like single lens reflex cameras than compact digital cameras. And forget about digital zoom. That’s the same as cropping your optical zoom image with the attendant sacrifice in image quality.

    More important than zoom range is the range that is covered. Most digital camera zoom lenses begin at the equivalent to a 35-45 mm lens. This is great if you do mostly portraits, close-ups and shooting from a distance. But if you’re interested in shooting landscapes, architecture or more dramatic images, look for a lens with a wideangle equivalent of 28mm or less.

    If you’ve used to composing your photos by looking through the lens or through a viewfinder, you’ll have to adjust your habits with a compact digital. They lack both. In their place is an LCD screen on the back of the camera. With an LCD, bigger and brighter IS better. A three-inch screen is the minimum size these days. Brighter is better because composing photos with these screens is difficult at best in sunlight. Cameras from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic generally have big, bright screens.

    If your photo tastes run more to night scenes and pub interiors than sunlit beaches, then the low-light capability of the camera will be important. Compact digitals perform poorly to miserably in these situations. If this is where your main interest lies, stick with Canon cameras, which are the best in these conditions. Otherwise, expect to be disappointed. And forget about the built-in flash. In most compact digitals, the usable range is less than two meters, it will definitely look like you used a flash and the flash will deplete your batteries that much more quickly.

    Talking about batteries, there are two general classes for these cameras: proprietary batteries and AA batteries. The really compact cameras will generally have a proprietary battery since this allows the manufacturer to design a battery to fit the camera, rather than designing the camera around a battery. But a proprietary battery may require a proprietary charger and attendant adapters, and if the battery refuses to recharge in Nepal, you’d better be packing a spare.

    AA batteries on the other hand are available nearly everywhere. While ordinary (Alkaline) AA batteries won’t last as long as Lithium or rechargeable AAs, you’ll likely be able to find them wherever you may be. Rechargeable AA batteries with a capacity of 2400 mAh (milliamp hours) or more are the best, but you’re back to carrying a recharge. One solution is the Energizer DUO charger that is not much larger than two AA batteries and will recharge AA and AAA NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) from the USB port of your laptop. One less charger to carry. As far as battery life, Canon compacts have been very good in my experience, Panasonic not so good, and Nikon, Olympus somewhere in between.

    Holding a small, lightweight camera steady can be tricky, and the biggest cause of unsharp photos is camera movement by the photographer. You don’t want to carry a tripod, so look for a camera with image stabilization (IS) in the specifications. Different manufacturers have different implementations of IS, but they all help to minimize camera shake.

    Ever wish you were carrying a notepad to copy down a map or travel schedules? Sure, you can take a photo of them, but when you download your camera card, they’re in your computer, not your camera. Several compact cameras have a small amount of built-in memory, independent of the memory card, where you can store this information and always have it available until you delete or write over it.

    Looking for a rugged, waterproof, shockproof compact camera that you can take hiking, diving and drop on concrete? Olympus makes several. Enjoy taking close-up photos? Many compact digitals have Macro capability. Want to show the folks back home what you’re eating? Some cameras will have a Food setting just for this purpose. Looking for a camera you can slip into a pocket and take anywhere, the look for an ultra-compact model.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by irahaz76 View Post
    So any Canon or Sony compact cameras that may suit sken85's goal?
    Except for the lack of wide-angle, the fuji F31D and the new Canon Ixus cams are good. The Fuji is fantastic for low light, the canon has excellent sharpness and also a good ISO profile. For Sony, the S800 is also a decent cam, but is also lacking on the wide-angle.
    Alpha

  15. #15

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    There is no such compact that fits all at the moment. Each have it's strength and weakness.
    FujiFilm F31FD is the king of low noise compact but don't think you can get it as it is no longer manufactured. But F50fd is not bad either.
    Panasonic has a wide range of Wide angle compact but let down by noise.
    Olympus has a few waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof camera. But features will be very basic and I hate xd card.
    Canon has a number of good all round camera but quite conservative on it's spec.

    So each has their strength and weakness and you will need to choose which can fit most of your requirements.
    Have fun.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    In the end, TS is the one that must decide what he needs and what can be sacrificed. We can only recommend cameras that is closest to what specs he listed and that is what I did.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    If you can afford it, a DSLR wins a PnS everytime. And with compact DSLRs like the Nikon D40, Canon 450D, Pentax K200D and many others, a DSLR is catching up to PnS in terms of size. The DSLR can also expand as you grow into your hobby as well.

    Samuel
    f/8 and be there.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by alternatve View Post
    If you can afford it, a DSLR wins a PnS everytime. And with compact DSLRs like the Nikon D40, Canon 450D, Pentax K200D and many others, a DSLR is catching up to PnS in terms of size. The DSLR can also expand as you grow into your hobby as well.

    Samuel
    but an dSLR is more expensive than PnS. much much more. since u gotta buy lenses, flashes, accessories, etc.

    and they offer much more features and settings. it really depends if u need a dSLR or PnS.
    EOS 6D | GH4 | LX100 | HERO4

  19. #19

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    to all, thank you very much for sharing your input! i am still considering and weighing my options and will update you all accordingly. i'm now focusing my attention on Canon Powershot A570 IS/A720 IS and the Ricoh R series.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Another person who wants to have it all at a budget price...

    If there was a cam that could fulfill all that, it would be all over the place.

    Seriously, you'll need to compromise on features, or up your budget and get a DSLR.
    isn't it human nature to only want nothing but the best? as i've stated, i'm a beginner, and i was hoping for the more experienced shutterbugs to share their ideas since they've been around the block for a while. and if there was such a cam that could fulfill all that (i've mentioned), i wouldn't have wasted time registering and posting, would i?

    Quote Originally Posted by aireth View Post
    Ricoh Caplio R7 or R8(just released) fits all your requirements.
    thanks very much for your suggestion! i've never paid much attention to Ricoh prior to this. however, i've read that the later cameras in the R series are taking steps backwards compared to their predecessors, in particular the R4. but still a compact camera with great specs on paper!

    Quote Originally Posted by ssping83 View Post
    to threadstarter..

    depending on the places you are going (not sure as i've not been there myself).. and how long you will be staying outdoors.. you might want to factor in batteries too.. lithium batteries are EXPENSIVE if you need to buy several of them (i.e. if the location does not provide power to charge).. maybe you can look at cameras that offer AA batteries as power source?
    ssping83, yes, ideally i would like a camera that allows for disposable battery usage. i will be backpacking extensively, so i'm not sure if all the places i go to will have available power sources for me to recharge my battery. the Canon cameras seem to fit the bill, though there's a compromise between size and battery...

  20. #20

    Default Re: Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by sken85 View Post
    ssping83, yes, ideally i would like a camera that allows for disposable battery usage. i will be backpacking extensively, so i'm not sure if all the places i go to will have available power sources for me to recharge my battery. the Canon cameras seem to fit the bill, though there's a compromise between size and battery...
    I actually tried using one of those portable solar chargers on my last trip. It worked quite well! It had a plug that I could put into my charger for the Lithium batts.
    Alpha

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