Good Camera for travelling round the world
Replies: 54 - Last Post: Oct 5, 2012 6:55 PM Last Post By: dnto
Aug 19, 2012 8:19 AM
Good Camera for travelling round the worldI am going on a RTW trip in October and need a decent digital camera that is lightweight but takes pictures quickly and of a decent quality. I don't have a budget I just want the best one. I don't know anything about cameras really and the lingo on the websites confuses me! I really need some tips on which ones are going to be best to suit me! Help please!
Aug 19, 2012 2:02 PM
I don't have a budget I just want the best one
Youy can spend many £1000's on a camera and as much on lenses.
It still won't necessarily be 'the best one' - though.
Try checking out reviews and seeing what the gurus have to say.
Even if you bought something for £10,000, they'll still find something they don't like about it - though.
If you just want something that takes great pics and vids, look on-line at a few famous makes.
Then go and check them out.
Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax all do D-SLR's and compacts.
Just look at what's on offer and seek 'em all out.
I use this as a compact right now....
I adore it - but it ain't for everyone.
Hope you find the right one for you.
Best of luck with everything.
Aug 19, 2012 3:57 PM
Aug 19, 2012 8:40 PM
3You have a few categories:
1. Basic Compact Camera - these have a small zoom, small sensor, small size and weight. E.g. Canon Ixus125hs.
2. Basic Compact Camera with Big Zoom - these deliver similar picture quality to the higher-end basic compact cameras (e.g. ixus 125hs), but with much bigger zooms. The "compact" models (e.g. Panasonic TZ30, Canon sx260hs) go up to 20x zoom. If you are willing to carry something a bit bigger and heavier, you can get what they call a "superzoom", e.g. Nikon P510, Canon SX40, Panasonic FZ200. Out of those, I would only bother with the Panasonic FZ200 when it finally comes out (only announced a week or three ago).
3. Advanced Compact Camera - generally the type of camera that an SLR user would get as their smaller camera. Will be about the same price or more than a compact with big zoom, but will usually only have a small zoom (3-7x). For that money, instead of getting a big zoom, you get a big sensor, which will give you much better quality, especially for low light. You will generally also get manual controls, like an SLR has, so if you know how to set a camera, you can get better shots than Auto mode will give you. But don't worry - even on auto mode you'll get much better shots than a more basic camera will give you. E.g. Canon S100 (smallest in this category), Canon G1x, Fuji X10, Panasonic LX7. If you want the smallest - get the S100, if you want the best of these, wait for the LX7 to come out.
4. "Mirrorless" or "Compact System Cameras" - These are in between compact cameras and SLR cameras in size at least, and to some extent in quality and price. They have a sensor usually about the same size or a little smaller than an SLR, so they can deliver the same sort of quality as a similarly priced SLR, but in a smaller package. You can also change your lenses like you can on an SLR, which is an advantage, although some people disagree. The smaller of these are things like the Panasonic GX1 or Olympus E-P3. My personal choice would be the Olympus OM-D w/ 12-50mm lens. This is a great combination for travelling. It has THE WORLDS FASTEST AUTOFOCUS (that's the fastest of *any camera, ever made*), shoots 9 shots per second on burst mode, is small and compact but still has an inbuilt viewfinder (for outdoor shots where the screen has too much reflection), flip out screen, and it's weatherproof so you can use it in the rain, snow, etc.
5. Digital SLR Cameras - These are the traditional camera of the professional, but they aren't just for professionals. At the lowest end, they will still be better than a compact camera, even if the compact camera has 20 megapixels and the SLR has just 10. The SLR will still be better (assuming we are comparing current models here). The big downside of SLRs is their size, weight and price. Due to the nature of them, no SLR can be tiny, as it has to accommodate the mirror/pentaprism mechanism to give you the OPTICAL viewfinder and phase-detect AF system, and along with that bigger size comes the bigger weight as well. Price wise, you have to spend over about $1000 at least to make an SLR worthwhile for travelling, since you can get the same sort of quality in a Mirrorless camera below that price.
The benefits are numerous though, particularly above that $1000 price range. Even though one or two mirrorless cameras (Olympus OM-D, Nikon 1 series) will have faster autofocus, an SLR will still be faster than everything else. And certain SLRs are particularly good at this. And even comparing to a mirrorless camera, an SLR camera will still be better at TRACKING a moving subject and keeping focus on it.
The other benefits include quality (particularly low light performance), and lens selection. You don't need to spend much more than $1000 to get a camera that has better low light performance than any Mirrorless camera (not including the Fuji X-Pro 1 Mirrorless camera, since that's over $2,000 and with no zoom lenses yet, so not ideal for the average joe traveller in any case). As far as lens selection (and in fact, general accessory selection), SLRs have been using the same system since before digital, so you have a lot of history and expandability there. Canon has been using their EF mount since the 80's, and Nikon for another 20 years before that, back in the days of manual focus, so you will have a much bigger selection of lenses, both new and second hand. This also means you have more "Niche" lenses, for specific purposes, such as Macro lenses, portrait lenses, Fast Aperture Zoom lenses, Tilt Shift Lenses, Fish Eye lenses and super-wide-angle lenses.
Even if you don't want to spend over $1000 or so, there is one reason to get an SLR - by buying into an SLR system now, you'll have to put up with a bit of a bigger heavier camera for the moment, but you will open yourself up to all those options of expandability in the future. You will have a bigger upgrade path if you do want to become more serious/professional. With Mirrorless cameras, the choice isn't there, even if you wanted to. You may also find a particular lens that you want (e.g. an affordable wide angle) isn't available for ANY mirrorless system.
My recommendation for an entry level SLR would be something like the Nikon D3100. Yes there is a D3200 out with a whopping 24 MP, but it's crap. The D3100 is must more realistic and better value for money. At the price level above that, the Canon 650D is hard to beat. Above that, both the Nikon D7000 and the Canon 7D are about the same price (Here in Australia at least), and both have their advantages. The 7D is faster but the D7000 is better in low light and has two card slots, so you can use one as a backup, so I think the D7000 would be better for travelling.
Above that you have the 5D/D800 level, which there will be intense arguing over. If you are considering purchasing at this level you would probably want to know enough to make this decision on your own without using my advise. Personally, I chose the Canon.
Aug 20, 2012 6:54 AM
Aug 20, 2012 7:02 AM
Aug 20, 2012 5:22 PM
6@battybilly: In that category there is only really 1 with higher zoom (the Nikon P7100). As I mentioned, at the same price you could get a camera with a much bigger zoom, or you could get a camera like the G12/S100 which have a smaller zoom but MUCH better quality shots.
Most travellers seem to be best suited to one of those two types of camera.
If you are going to be doing a lot of distant stuff, then get a big zoom camera, since you will be happier with mediocre quality photos that are close enough, rather than awesome quality photos where your subject is a tiny spec in the distance.
If you will be mostly shooting closer scenes and landscapes (where you zoom all the way out rather than zooming in), then definitely get a big-sensor camera such as the G12 or Panasonic LX5, etc.
I think that although many people think they need a massive zoom, 5x is more than enough for most people. A camera like the G12 with 5 times zoom will be able to cover everything from landscapes, to city scapes, to artwork/people/shops/etc on the other side of the room/street/etc. It's only if you want to zoom up to that tiny little gargoyle 30 metres up the side of a church that you need a 20x zoom (and other similarly small subjects from a similar distance). A camera like the G12, and in particular the new LX7 when it comes out, will give you much better shots in low light, so you will be able to do better street scenes, indoors, dinners, etc.
I'd say overall a camera like the G12/LX7/S100/Fuji X10, etc. would be the better overall choice for a traveller.
Aug 21, 2012 12:39 AM
7The past years I bashed the road with 3 types of cameras - because 1 didn't cover the situations i found myself in.
For day 2 day point & shoot I use the camera in my cellphone. I have it with me most of the time and was useful in situations to copy written info, capture sudden street scenes or just shoot odd stuff found in shops etc. It's a Nokia N95 8Gb smartphone, not very flashy, just does the job. Most important to me is fast response time with reasonable pics and not "wanted" by the rest of the population.
For point& shoot and close range photography in messy / abusive situations (engine maintenance etc), i use an ole Sony DSC T1. This small & RIGID pocket camera is amazingly strong!! Never failed on me, and still works though it's used to the thread. When i need more zoom i use a Canon IXUS 860. Though the mechanical zoom lens is pretty vulnerable (as it is for most of these zoom cameras)
For good quality pics I use a Canon EOS D600, recently upgraded to a D650 with touch screen. This is in situations where there's more time to shoot. Downside :: just the sight of the camera "influences" the scene. "Oh oh, here's someone with a camera'.
Aug 21, 2012 4:38 PM
8If I were to carry a new fixed lens P&S it would be the Canon PowerShot G1 X I have used the G series as carry cameras for years (while carrying a bag of dSLR bodies and lens), though I have not used the G1 X it is a big step up from the G12. I have the G11 and have had the G9 and G10. I need the optical (or electronic) view finder I can’t compose with a back screen only P&S especially in bright light.
I am looking at Olympus OM D and lens these days as I have several good lens that I use on my Panny GF 1 and the OM D has an electronic view finder.
Aug 22, 2012 10:33 AM
Aug 22, 2012 6:42 PM
Aug 24, 2012 1:41 PM
11Have Sony Alpha DSLR and Lumix digital compact. Had hand held 1/4 sec f5.6 indoor shots published from the Sony and very pleased with Lumix performance.
Both have steady functions for handheld shots - reason why I bought both cameras so I could maximise the number of shots I take without having to lug a tripod around. Oh, and because I've also had a stroke and need all the steadiness I can muster!!!
Camera function on phones can also be useful. LP did a recent mail shot about this and it was also covered in the Wanderlust magazine travel photography special that was published recently here in the UK.
Aug 27, 2012 9:14 AM
12"I don't have a budget I just want the best one. I don't know anything about cameras really"
I recommend you do some reading and learning at the same time. You can spend $20,000 on a Leica with one prime lens, and your images can be worse than someone with a $200 second hand camera off eBay. Reading up about how cameras work, exposure works etc, plus learning about photography in general: these will likely provide you with a greater improvement in images than more $ on a camera.
As nwdiver does: I too would recommend a Canon G1X, or something similar: a camera with a large sensor (Four-Thirds at least), lightweight compact body that fits in a jacket pocket and with a zoom lens. Everything in one package, no lenses to change. Having controls to use it more manually to control/improve your photography later is a bonus, plus that you can shoot RAW later if you find you want to get more out of it, but it has fully automatic options in the meantime.
With the large sensor, two main benefits are that you have improved low light performance with lower noise high ISO (image is cleaner in dark situations, so you don't lose as much detail in the image) and seconly, you get a shallower depth of field at any given aperture for better subject isolation (i.e. you can make the background go blurred).
Aug 28, 2012 12:50 PM
Aug 29, 2012 1:47 AM
14Hi Brian, yes, there is a relationship - just google "sensor size depth of field". Lots of information out there and can get very technical if you like maths/physics/optics :D That's why lanscapists using view cameras will go to crazy apertures like f/22 which on a DLSR is just a way to kill your image from diffraction, but necessary on such camera to get large DOF. Hmm... f/1.4 on a view camera... epic. I'm not really up on the hard core technicalities but here's an example:
If you have a small point and shoot you'll notice you cannot get subject isolation like on a DSLR, if at all. For example, and this is only a rough example, a point and shoot with say a 1/3" sensor (they're about this order of size) at 50mm (equivalent of 360mm at 35mm!) with an aperture of f/2 gives something similar in terms of DOF to a 35mm full frame DSLR does at f/14.4. This is rough stuff, but if you've used a 35mm camera, you'll know f/14 doesn't give any DOF at 50mm and in fact, you lose sharpness because of diffraction. On the flipside, if you want everything sharp and in focus and you need a large DOF, those small sensors are great!
Also, DOF is affected by focal length. A 35mm full frame camera with a wide lens, say 20mm, will not give you shallow DOF like a 200mm lens will at the same aperture and subject distance. That's one of the reasons (or perhaps benefits) why for landscapes with close foreground subjects you use a wide angle... and for portraits, other than to avoid faces looking distorted, you use more normal/tele lens for subject isolation, hence 50mm, 85mm etc at wide aperture.
I used this to get these figures btw... I'm not into the maths stuff... http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm
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