Best digital for travelling?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JK, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. JK

    JK Guest

    I'm going backpacking around Central America for about 6 months, and want
    to buy a digital before I go.

    My main concern is the ability to cope in tough conditions (rain, humidity,
    beaches, being knocked about in rucksack, etc). It should naturally be
    compact.

    I'm also concerned about picture quality and battery life. I'm starting to
    go mad after looking at various reviews!! I was thinking of two quite
    different cameras - Pentax Optio 43WR, and the Canon S60.

    I'm sure the former would cope with conditions, and the latter would
    certainly be up there with regard to picture quality. Does anyone know
    what battery life is like for each, and what about the different memory
    card formats (Pentax is SD/MMC and I think Canon is CF).

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    JK
     
    JK, Aug 3, 2004
    #1
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  2. JK

    Matt Ion Guest

    Well one thing I can mention, as far as storage goes, is that you can now
    get 4GB and 8GB CF cards... one of those should last your entire trip :)
    http://store.digitalfilm.com/index.cfm?category=21&subcategory=1&productid=CFB8GB-40-380&bhcp=1
    for more info (they list the S45 and S50 as being compatible with cards
    >2GB; check the specs on the S60).


    AFAIK, the largest SD/MMC card I've seen is 1GB... which may last the whole
    trip too, depending on the image size/quality you use.

    --
    "Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ
    from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even
    incapable of forming such opinions."
    -- Albert Einstein


    "JK" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns953ADE8367950thisemailaddressisfa@195.92.193.157...
    > I'm going backpacking around Central America for about 6 months, and want
    > to buy a digital before I go.
    >
    > My main concern is the ability to cope in tough conditions (rain,

    humidity,
    > beaches, being knocked about in rucksack, etc). It should naturally be
    > compact.
    >
    > I'm also concerned about picture quality and battery life. I'm starting

    to
    > go mad after looking at various reviews!! I was thinking of two quite
    > different cameras - Pentax Optio 43WR, and the Canon S60.
    >
    > I'm sure the former would cope with conditions, and the latter would
    > certainly be up there with regard to picture quality. Does anyone know
    > what battery life is like for each, and what about the different memory
    > card formats (Pentax is SD/MMC and I think Canon is CF).
    >
    > Any advice would be appreciated.
    >
    > JK
    >
     
    Matt Ion, Aug 3, 2004
    #2
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  3. JK

    Roger Guest

    On 3 Aug 2004 20:51:35 GMT, JK
    <> wrote:

    >I'm going backpacking around Central America for about 6 months, and want
    >to buy a digital before I go.
    >
    >My main concern is the ability to cope in tough conditions (rain, humidity,
    >beaches, being knocked about in rucksack, etc). It should naturally be
    >compact.
    >
    >I'm also concerned about picture quality and battery life. I'm starting to
    >go mad after looking at various reviews!! I was thinking of two quite
    >different cameras - Pentax Optio 43WR, and the Canon S60.
    >
    >I'm sure the former would cope with conditions, and the latter would
    >certainly be up there with regard to picture quality. Does anyone know
    >what battery life is like for each, and what about the different memory
    >card formats (Pentax is SD/MMC and I think Canon is CF).


    I recently purchased a Canon S60, primarily for its compact size and
    28mm wide angle lens equivalent. It is an excellent camera for travel.
    I do have an extra battery for mine - the proper "L" battery as of a
    couple of weeks ago was not easy to find. Be sure and get the s60
    battery and not the s50 battery. The s60 uses a higher capacity
    battery although the previous generation will mechanically and
    electrically interchange - just fewer pictures. The proper battery
    charges in 90 minutes on 110v. I won't have a chance to try it
    elsewhere for a couple of weeks.

    I get about 200 pictures per battery recharge. Initially each charge
    gave me fewer pictures, but it is my first digital and I use the LCD a
    lot. The Canon has a relatively compact under water case made
    especially for the s60 that could double for protection in "hostile"
    environments. I usually travel with a large micro fiber cloth,
    protected in a zip lock bag, and several other heavy duty small zip
    lock freezer bags. I can easily dump my camera into one of these bags
    especially when moving between air-conditioned and non air-conditioned
    spaces. This prevents condensation on the camera and internals.

    I use so any ziplocks for travel that I have my own supply, separate
    from the kitchen supply at home.

    I'm a very avid film photographer and have been shooting pictures for
    over 50 years with all kinds of gear. The Canon s60 is beginning to
    replace my well loved Contax T3 camera for a travel camera. I usually
    carry both. If you can contend with all the storage details of digital
    while traveling, the s60 yields very good images. It has a RAW file
    mode, but these require software to process and convert if you are
    thinking about printing along the way. I have two 256 meg cards that
    will store about 70 images each in a fairly low compression jpg file.
    I've used these images for 8x12 printing. They are way more than
    adequate for 4x6. If you are looking only for snaps, then this much
    storage should take you to a couple of hundred pictures. I'm gradually
    building to 2-Gig in probably 512 MB cards.

    BatteriesPlus supposedly has available a 1000mah battery that will fit
    the Canon S series. I have little knowledge of third party batteries,
    just know these are available now. I don't have one or have an opinion
    on them right now.

    I use a LowePro D-Pods 40 belt case for mine. It is a "wet suit" type
    construction and fits well. It's a pretty minimalist case, but may be
    better suited for suburban safaris rather than you type of trekking.

    Anyway - good luck on your quest and trip.

    Regards,
    Roger

    >
    >Any advice would be appreciated.
    >
    >JK
     
    Roger, Aug 3, 2004
    #3
  4. JK

    Sabineellen Guest

    People often amaze me with the suggestions they make. The 8GB CF you linked to
    has a Price of $5,299.99 after discounts.

    For the OP. I don't know what budget you have, but a working camera is better
    than none. Go for the Pentax 43 WR. Take two if you can, use one, and keep the
    other as a backup and sell it when the trip is over. Failing that, just take
    one.

    As for memory, buy two 512mb cards. Don't go for the 1GB card, they're too
    pricey. Failing that, take two 256mb or even two 128mb. And then take an apacer
    CD burner or a vosonic Hard drive. Or preferably some other alternative that
    uses AA batteries optionally (does anyone know which does?). This way you're
    always ready to shoot while one set of images from a card is being backed up.
    If you're worried about losing your other card then just take one card, and
    keep it in the camera at all times, but if you take two cameras, it's better to
    take two cards.

    The Pentax 43 WR is ideal because it uses AA batteries. Buy a fast charger and
    a few sets of high capacity (2300mah) AA batteries. Don't buy any camera that
    uses proprietary batteries for this trip. Having your AA batteries and charger
    stolen while they're plugged is one thing, having your camera stolen while it's
    charging is another. Also you can just make it with alkaline or photolithium if
    you're out of the way and there's nothing to plug your charger into.

    Don't worry too much about photo quality. They're all adequate enough. The S60
    probably won't survive the conditions that the Pentax 43 WR can go through.


    >Well one thing I can mention, as far as storage goes, is that you can now
    >get 4GB and 8GB CF cards... one of those should last your entire trip :)
    >
    >http://store.digitalfilm.com/index.cfm?category=21&subcategory=1&producti

    d=CFB8GB-40-380&bhcp=1
    >for more info (they list the S45 and S50 as being compatible with cards
    >>2GB; check the specs on the S60).

    >
    >AFAIK, the largest SD/MMC card I've seen is 1GB... which may last the whole
    >trip too, depending on the image size/quality you use.
    >
     
    Sabineellen, Aug 4, 2004
    #4
  5. JK

    Ron G Guest

    Be sure you get a camera that has some waterproofing and, most
    importantly, takes AA batteries. Get a couple of 4 packs of NiMh's and
    the smallest charger you can find that can do international voltage
    (always a good idea because you never know where you'll end up in your
    travels; I have a little Panasonic one purchased at BJ's and it has
    worked quickly and perfectly in my many travels), and bring along a
    couple of packs of LiIons to keep in reserve. They'll give you hundreds
    of shots. I've been messing around with the new CR-V3 rechargeables
    for one of my travel cameras (a little Oly 560) and have been getting
    superb results, though for your kind of trip I would probably stick with
    NiMh's because you might have other devices that could use AA's.

    As for backup, you'll be amazed at how many internet cafes you will run
    across in the larger towns and cities (three years ago we were in Costa
    Rica and saw them everywhere), and I'll bet a lot of them have cd
    burners or zip drives, or can refer you to a place that does. So if you
    don't want to buy a ton of cards or a backup device per se, bring along
    a USB card reader and its software on a small disc and periodically make
    cd's, mailing backups home.

    Be sure to give whatever camera you get a good workout before you go,
    paying particular attention to resolution alternatives that will allow
    you to economize on storage while still getting the results you want.

    Finally, consider bringing along a backup camera that you keep separate
    from your main one just in case something goes wrong or you are the
    victim of a theft. Maybe get a used or inexpensive one that uses similar
    batteries and cards and can be kept in your car or given to a relative
    when you get home. I always have another camera on trips like yours.
    Purchasing a replacement camera in that part of the world could be
    pretty expensive.

    Oh, get on the web before you go and carefully study sites which outline
    safety precautions, and spend some time identifying the locations of
    internet cafes and photography dealers.

    Have a great trip.

    JK wrote:

    >I'm going backpacking around Central America for about 6 months, and want
    >to buy a digital before I go.
    >
    >My main concern is the ability to cope in tough conditions (rain, humidity,
    >beaches, being knocked about in rucksack, etc). It should naturally be
    >compact.
    >
    >I'm also concerned about picture quality and battery life. I'm starting to
    >go mad after looking at various reviews!! I was thinking of two quite
    >different cameras - Pentax Optio 43WR, and the Canon S60.
    >
    >I'm sure the former would cope with conditions, and the latter would
    >certainly be up there with regard to picture quality. Does anyone know
    >what battery life is like for each, and what about the different memory
    >card formats (Pentax is SD/MMC and I think Canon is CF).
    >
    >Any advice would be appreciated.
    >
    >JK
    >
    >
    >
     
    Ron G, Aug 4, 2004
    #5
  6. JK

    Clyde Guest

    JK wrote:

    > I'm going backpacking around Central America for about 6 months, and want
    > to buy a digital before I go.
    >
    > My main concern is the ability to cope in tough conditions (rain, humidity,
    > beaches, being knocked about in rucksack, etc). It should naturally be
    > compact.
    >
    > I'm also concerned about picture quality and battery life. I'm starting to
    > go mad after looking at various reviews!! I was thinking of two quite
    > different cameras - Pentax Optio 43WR, and the Canon S60.
    >
    > I'm sure the former would cope with conditions, and the latter would
    > certainly be up there with regard to picture quality. Does anyone know
    > what battery life is like for each, and what about the different memory
    > card formats (Pentax is SD/MMC and I think Canon is CF).
    >
    > Any advice would be appreciated.
    >
    > JK
    >


    I do some profession wedding photography, but really make my living as a
    bell and clock salesman. For that I bought a Canon SD10. My key criteria
    was size with quality coming close behind.

    I do a lot of crawling up in to church bell towers and anything very big
    at all would get in the way. I also learned in my decades of 35mm use
    that anything that you can't EASILY carry won't get carried. So, it
    better be able to easily pop in a pocket or I'm not going to have it
    with me. Otherwise you'll find that it will be in your luggage when you
    most need it.

    So, my Canon SD10 certainly is small. I can put it in any pocket and
    hardly notice it. I think the thinness is the key size measurement.
    True, this means that the camera doesn't have a zoom lens, but that
    isn't much of a problem for me. I use my legs to zoom. Yeah, I'd love a
    28mm lens rather than the 39mm, but it does work.

    The other issue of something this small is that is uses the SD memory
    cards. That limits you to a realistic 512MB size. That really isn't much
    of a problem, because anything you get will need a download spot. If you
    don't have a computer or access to one, I would recommend one of those
    card readers that will burn CD-R disks. Then you dump the day's shots
    onto disk every night.

    Yes, a camera this small does use proprietary batteries; there is no
    room for AA batteries. The charger isn't very big and does come with
    "international" adapters. I don't know for where though. I do have an
    extra battery, but one will usually get me through a heavy day. It is
    nice having a small battery to carry too.

    Lastly but important, this camera does take very nice 4 MP pictures. It
    only does JPEG, but I haven't had any problem in SuperFine mode. The
    exposures are usually right for daylight. The flash exposures are
    surprisingly good - if you are in range. None of these compact digitals
    have very strong flashes. It's not very noisy at ISO 50, but does get
    worse as it goes up (don't they all). I'm very happy with the results.

    I didn't get it, but Canon does sell a waterproof housing for this
    camera. You can do shallow diving with that. That's probably enough for
    even the Amazon. Of course, this is assuming that you don't need
    waterproofing or water resistance ALL of the time.

    My $.02,
    Clyde
     
    Clyde, Aug 4, 2004
    #6
  7. JK

    Roger Guest

    JK,

    I previously supported a Canon S60, but I have to agree with the
    others that support the AA batteries. My wife's CoolPix 950 uses AA
    batteries and they are far more convenient where power is an issue.
    You can even buy blister packs of NiMH batteries and chargers in
    grocery stores and pharmacies in many parts of the world. I use my
    camera mostly in urban situations in conjunction with business travel
    and my power requirements are probably much different than yours.

    If I didn't say it before, the advise of a backup is excellent. The
    idea of a second like camera to be sold later is not a bad idea. I
    travel with at least two other film cameras. A quality camera
    (although it may be a Contax T3) and a second Olympus Stylus Epic that
    is foolproof in a strangers hand to take the P&S picture that includes
    myself. It also has the advantage of being weather proof so it gets
    used when I need a downpour picture.

    I know my space, weight and probably security requirements are
    different than yours so the backup idea may be more hassle than it's
    worth.

    Best regards,
    Roger

    On 3 Aug 2004 20:51:35 GMT, JK
    <> wrote:

    >I'm going backpacking around Central America for about 6 months, and want
    >to buy a digital before I go.
    >
    >My main concern is the ability to cope in tough conditions (rain, humidity,
    >beaches, being knocked about in rucksack, etc). It should naturally be
    >compact.
    >
    >I'm also concerned about picture quality and battery life. I'm starting to
    >go mad after looking at various reviews!! I was thinking of two quite
    >different cameras - Pentax Optio 43WR, and the Canon S60.
    >
    >I'm sure the former would cope with conditions, and the latter would
    >certainly be up there with regard to picture quality. Does anyone know
    >what battery life is like for each, and what about the different memory
    >card formats (Pentax is SD/MMC and I think Canon is CF).
    >
    >Any advice would be appreciated.
    >
    >JK
     
    Roger, Aug 4, 2004
    #7
  8. JK

    Sabineellen Guest

    Be sure to look at this http://www.aquapac.net/

    They have a range of waterproof cases for cameras and other devices too.

    You may want to avoid expensive looking cameras. Those may invite theft or even
    violent theft. Last thing you want is someone following you in a strange land
    and then threatening with a knife or a gun. I really do think the Pentax 43 WR,
    while its images may not be the best, may be your best option. They do look
    like little toy cameras with their black case and I don't think they'll tempt
    many in the way a flashy silver camera would. Be sure to remove all stickers
    indicating newness from the camera. If you take another camera with an aquapac
    then be sure it'll be shock-resistant and use AA batteries. Another option
    would be to just use a padded lowepro case.

    The Pentax 43 WR are also are 4mp which is adequate yet economical in terms of
    storage capacity and how many shots you can take. They use AA batteries and SD
    cards which you may want to use for your other devices. What other devices?
    Read on...

    A PDA. Yes, this is one of the useful things you can take for travelling.
    Especially a PalmOS one. You can load dictionaries and phrasebooks for several
    languages, unit conversions apps, weather forecast apps, world clock, alarm
    clock, calculators, ebooks and text guides, expense trackers, digital atlases,
    image viewers, games etc. Tell me if you need advise on this one. You can have
    one that uses SD cards and can be recharged with AA batteries.
     
    Sabineellen, Aug 4, 2004
    #8
  9. You might consider the new Fuji E series of compact digicams. The 5 MP E510
    would be my choice for travelling. It uses two AA batteries, has a wide
    28mm-91mm lens and is quite compact (perhaps a bit smaller than the S60), and
    lighter and cheaper than the S60. It's new so there's not a lot of reviews,
    etc. on it, but it's worth considering. Start here:
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0407/04072801fujifilmfinepixe500e510.asp
    or here:
    http://home.fujifilm.com/products/digital/lineup/e550/index.html


    >I'm going backpacking around Central >America for about 6 months, and want
    >to buy a digital before I go.
     
    John P. McCormack, Aug 4, 2004
    #9
  10. JK

    JK Guest

    Many thanks indeed for all the wonderful advice. It is much appreciated -
    I was becoming a bit overwhelmed going through all the reviews and
    information available on the internet.

    I think I'm going to go for the Pentax 43WR to finally take over from my
    Minolta compact film camera which I've had since a young child!

    If I just go for a single 512MB card (don't think my budget would stretch
    to two), how easy would it be to transfer files in an internet cafe? Would
    I just need the USB cable, or would I have to take the camera's software
    with me too? I'd like to either burn to CD or upload to the web/email for
    backup purposes.

    Again, thank you everyone,

    JK
     
    JK, Aug 9, 2004
    #10
  11. JK

    Sabineellen Guest

    >
    >Many thanks indeed for all the wonderful advice. It is much appreciated -
    >I was becoming a bit overwhelmed going through all the reviews and
    >information available on the internet.
    >
    >I think I'm going to go for the Pentax 43WR to finally take over from my
    >Minolta compact film camera which I've had since a young child!
    >
    >If I just go for a single 512MB card (don't think my budget would stretch
    >to two), how easy would it be to transfer files in an internet cafe? Would
    >I just need the USB cable, or would I have to take the camera's software
    >with me too? I'd like to either burn to CD or upload to the web/email for
    >backup purposes.
    >
    >Again, thank you everyone,
    >
    >JK


    I think burning to CD would be more realistic than uploading to web/email. I'm
    downloading XP SP2 right now on my broadband connection and eventhough it's
    only half the size of your 512 it's taking its time. I don't think you'll need
    to take the camera software. Just take a portable USB reader for the SD card.
    You'll find these sold for $3 or less and they're quite tiny.
     
    Sabineellen, Aug 9, 2004
    #11
  12. JK

    Nick C Guest

    "Sabineellen" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >
    > >Many thanks indeed for all the wonderful advice. It is much

    appreciated -
    > >I was becoming a bit overwhelmed going through all the reviews and
    > >information available on the internet.
    > >
    > >I think I'm going to go for the Pentax 43WR to finally take over from my
    > >Minolta compact film camera which I've had since a young child!
    > >
    > >If I just go for a single 512MB card (don't think my budget would stretch
    > >to two), how easy would it be to transfer files in an internet cafe?

    Would
    > >I just need the USB cable, or would I have to take the camera's software
    > >with me too? I'd like to either burn to CD or upload to the web/email

    for
    > >backup purposes.
    > >
    > >Again, thank you everyone,
    > >
    > >JK

    >
    > I think burning to CD would be more realistic than uploading to web/email.

    I'm
    > downloading XP SP2 right now on my broadband connection and eventhough

    it's
    > only half the size of your 512 it's taking its time. I don't think you'll

    need
    > to take the camera software. Just take a portable USB reader for the SD

    card.
    > You'll find these sold for $3 or less and they're quite tiny.


    For your info.

    I copied the following post that was in another ng which you might find
    interesting.
    "The real surprise with Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 isn't
    potential compatibility issues, but the mayhem that can occur when SP2
    is downloaded onto a system.

    CRN Test Center engineers evaluated a release candidate two (RC2)
    version of SP2, and upon completion of the install on three out of
    five systems, the machines blue-screened. A message stated that
    "winserv" was missing. The blue screen occurred on both Advanced Micro
    Devices (AMD) and Intel platforms, and all systems were running
    Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 1 installed. Every possible avenue to
    get back into Windows failed."

    nick
     
    Nick C, Aug 10, 2004
    #12
  13. JK

    Sabineellen Guest

    >
    >For your info.
    >
    >I copied the following post that was in another ng which you might find
    >interesting.
    > "The real surprise with Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 isn't
    > potential compatibility issues, but the mayhem that can occur when SP2
    > is downloaded onto a system.
    >
    > CRN Test Center engineers evaluated a release candidate two (RC2)
    > version of SP2, and upon completion of the install on three out of
    > five systems, the machines blue-screened. A message stated that
    > "winserv" was missing. The blue screen occurred on both Advanced Micro
    > Devices (AMD) and Intel platforms, and all systems were running
    > Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 1 installed. Every possible avenue to
    > get back into Windows failed."
    >
    >nick
    >


    Yeah I've seen that a week or two ago but I've not had such problems. Only
    problem I have is with my connection, which is a firewall issue that I had
    before SP2. So far SP2 is good.
     
    Sabineellen, Aug 10, 2004
    #13
  14. JK

    rmartin Guest

    Be sure to look at this http://www.formulabox.it/

    They have a range of waterproof cases for cameras and other devices too.
    I bought one for my camera and it's ok

    rm
     
    rmartin, Aug 13, 2004
    #14
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