Digital travel camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John Doe, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Hi all,

    I am looking for the perfect digital travel camera, which may or may not
    exist:). I am taking my dream trip in a few months, and would like to take a
    lot of pictures. I have not used a digital before, but I do have almost 5
    months to practice. I know everyone has their favorite, but any and all
    opinions will be appreciated. The features I would like are - Good image
    quality for printing at least 8x10 prints, decent optical zoom (the higher the
    better), ease of use, the ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123, etc),
    something that is not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the price
    below $600. A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out there
    that comes close. I have searched Google, and read a lot of reviews, but would
    like to have some actual user opinions.

    TIA,

    Todd
    John Doe, Jan 29, 2004
    #1
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  2. John Doe

    SeaShel Guest

    John Doe wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I am looking for the perfect digital travel camera, which may or may
    > not exist:). I am taking my dream trip in a few months, and would
    > like to take a lot of pictures. I have not used a digital before, but
    > I do have almost 5 months to practice. I know everyone has their
    > favorite, but any and all opinions will be appreciated. The features
    > I would like are - Good image quality for printing at least 8x10
    > prints, decent optical zoom (the higher the better), ease of use, the
    > ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123, etc), something that is
    > not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the price below $600.
    > A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out there
    > that comes close. I have searched Google, and read a lot of reviews,
    > but would like to have some actual user opinions.
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Todd


    My setup is simple and streamlined. I have two young children and must
    budget the time for photography, so I wanted to carry around a lot of
    potential in a small space for the unexpected opportunity of "the perfect
    shot" presents itself:

    Canon S-50 ($399 at Best Buy)
    1GB Compact Flash II ($280 B&H)
    extra battery ($20?)
    Vanguard VS-41 Flexible Mini Tripod ($<10)
    Lowepro Rezo (stretchy fabric) case ($15)

    Total cost: $724, but you can go with less memory.

    Some might say the Canon A-80 is just about as good as the S-50, and it has
    a pull-out/swivel LCD screen. If you have more than a week to research,
    Canon is announcing somewhere around 10 new models between now and early
    February.

    Lots of other users' reviews at www.dpreview.com, www.epinions.com, etc.

    ....keep on Googlin'...

    :)


    --
    Michelle
    (SeaShel)

    free the fish to reply
    SeaShel, Jan 29, 2004
    #2
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  3. John Doe

    Helen Rapozo Guest

    "John Doe" <> wrote:
    >
    > I am looking for the perfect digital travel camera, which may or may not
    > exist:). I am taking my dream trip in a few months, and would like to take

    a
    > lot of pictures. I have not used a digital before, but I do have almost 5
    > months to practice. I know everyone has their favorite, but any and all
    > opinions will be appreciated. The features I would like are - Good image
    > quality for printing at least 8x10 prints, decent optical zoom (the higher

    the
    > better), ease of use, the ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123,

    etc),
    > something that is not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the

    price
    > below $600. A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out

    there
    > that comes close. I have searched Google, and read a lot of reviews, but

    would
    > like to have some actual user opinions.


    A few factors to consider:

    1) The length of your trip? The longer it is the more storage you need to
    bring with you.
    2) Are you planning on bring a laptop as well? It's more stuff to lug
    around but to be honest given the choice between lugging around a laptop or
    bring along 5 to 10 64Mbyte CompactFlash cards, I rather lug around the
    CompactFlash cards.
    3) Are you planning on taking action shots, or just shots of things not in
    motion?
    4) Indoor and/or Outdoor shots? Use of flash for indoor?


    An iffy camera that is still available (at least at CompUSA) based on actual
    experince except for using it on traveling, would be the SiPix SC-3300
    camera. It runs for $149, 3 MPixel camera with 3X Digital Zoom, takes up to
    128Mbyte CompactFlash card (128Mbyte card is around $49, a 64Mbyte card is
    around $29-39), can take video, single shot mode or can take 4 shots at a
    time and uses 2 AA batteries. On the bad side, the video has no sound, it
    takes at least 4 seconds to cycle for the next single shot, if you use the
    LCD screen it drains the battery pretty fast, worse if you use the flash.
    If you manage to fill up a 128Mbyte card in a day with images more than
    likey you will need to change the batteries too (but at least it will just
    be 2 of them).
    Helen Rapozo, Jan 29, 2004
    #3
  4. John Doe

    Guest

    (John Doe) wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > I am looking for the perfect digital travel camera, which may or may not
    > exist:). I am taking my dream trip in a few months, and would like to take a
    > lot of pictures. I have not used a digital before, but I do have almost 5
    > months to practice. I know everyone has their favorite, but any and all
    > opinions will be appreciated. The features I would like are - Good image
    > quality for printing at least 8x10 prints, decent optical zoom (the higher the
    > better), ease of use, the ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123, etc),
    > something that is not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the price
    > below $600. A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out there
    > that comes close. I have searched Google, and read a lot of reviews, but would
    > like to have some actual user opinions.
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Todd


    FOVEON best travel camera ever and has a great carrying case

    Are you married Todd?
    , Jan 29, 2004
    #4
  5. John Doe

    A Robson Guest

    "SeaShel" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > My setup is simple and streamlined. I have two young children and

    must
    > budget the time for photography, so I wanted to carry around a lot

    of
    > potential in a small space for the unexpected opportunity of "the

    perfect
    > shot" presents itself:
    >
    > Canon S-50 ($399 at Best Buy)
    > 1GB Compact Flash II ($280 B&H)
    > extra battery ($20?)
    > Vanguard VS-41 Flexible Mini Tripod ($<10)
    > Lowepro Rezo (stretchy fabric) case ($15)
    > --
    > Michelle
    > (SeaShel)
    >

    I'll second that, I've had a Canon S30 (S50 predecessor) for two
    years, and it's a perfect compromise of quality, features and size.
    It's got a very robust metal body which I can testify is strong as it
    has been dropped several times on rocks, concrete, gravel, you name
    it, and still takes pictures as sharp and well exposed as the day I
    bought it. It travelled with me for three and a half weeks all round
    America last year during which time I took 6000 photos with it, with
    very few wasted pictures.

    I'd have no hesitation in recommending an S45 or S50.
    A Robson, Jan 29, 2004
    #5
  6. John,

    the previous contributions surely give you some valuable tips already.

    However, I take issue with your specification 'perfect digital travel camera'.
    There is nothing like perfection to be had.
    At a given time you may get an optimum if you are very clear about your wishes and
    your criteria for balancing contradictory specifications, e.g. low weight - shaky
    pictures, small lenses/small aperture ('slow lens').

    If you could
    - specify more clearly what features you value more highly than others and
    - specify max. values, e.g. weight, dimensions etc
    then I am sure that the people contributing to this type of question could give
    you even better service.

    Guenter
    Guenter Fieblinger, Jan 29, 2004
    #6
  7. Although, as another poster has stated, there is no such thing as the
    "perfect digital travel camera"--it depends on your needs and the
    tradeoffs that are best for you--there are many cameras that would be
    hightly suitable. The reviews at www.dpreview.com are the most
    thorough and impartial source of information on the various cameras,
    but they can't tell you what particular combination of features would
    best suit YOU. I'm most familiar with the cameras made by Canon;
    I've owned and S30, and currently own an S400 and a Digital Rebel (aka
    300D) and several lenses. Some photos I took with the S30 in France
    and Italy can be viewed here:
    http://www.pbase.com/phile/france_and_italy2002&page=1. In
    considering a camera for travel, the first decision I would make is
    about the size of the camera I'd be comfortable with. It's not so
    much the weight or bulk of the camera--although these, too, are
    issues--but whether you mind being seen as a prototypical
    camera-toting tourist. The great advantage of the S400 is that you
    can easily put it in your pocket or a very small belt case (which
    makes it look like it could be a cell phone) and take it out as
    needed. The review at dpreview.com shows that the performance of the
    S400 is very close to that of the much larger G5, and certainly good
    enough for 8x10 prints. I traded the S30 for the S400 mostly because
    of its smaller size. If you can't put the camera in your pocket, you
    have to resign yourself to looking like a "guy with a camera." If
    that's not a problem for you, the G5, S50, or the A80 are good
    choices. I wouldn't care if the camera takes a proprietary Li Ion
    battery rather than AAs; just make sure you have a spare.

    Bob
    Robert Deutsch, Jan 29, 2004
    #7
  8. John Doe

    Roger Guest

    Todd,

    Travel and cameras can be a challenging combination. I do a
    lot of travel with a group of people that meets monthly
    internationality for business and we often extend the trips for our
    once-a-year holidays. There exist all manner of cameras and equipment
    within this group and we have repeated opportunities to discuss the
    options and review the results. For the casual photographer, the
    Canon S400 and predecessors wins hands down. They rate high as a
    compromise between convenience and quality. Much of the other
    equipment doesn't meet your small size criteria.
    One of the most uniform comments that you hear in this group
    (with evidence to match) is that long zooms are "worthless". They
    enhance camera shake, are difficult to use in any but the brightest
    lighting conditions and require tripods to use seriously. This is
    supported by my 30 years of serious photography.
    I consider myself an avid and serious amateur. Many of my
    international trips have been supported by cameras without zoom lenses
    however one of my favorite film combinations includes a couple of
    fixed focal length lenses or a 35-70mm f2.8 zoom lens on a SLR. These
    are not safari trips and wild animals are not my forte. But I do have
    lots of very acceptable and framed 10x15" prints (from film) on my
    walls from these limited lens choices.
    If you do much of your photography in-doors or during
    dawn/dusk periods the flash on many of the slow-lens high-zoom-ratio
    digital cameras is not adequate. There are also many museum situations
    where flashes are not permitted.
    For a digital selection in a travel camera, IMO a great choice
    would be a 3-5MP camera with a fast and low zoom-ratio lens for your
    requirements. Something like the Canon G3 (often touted over the G5
    for low noise capability), the Sony DCS-V1 or the many other nice
    cameras available.
    My favorite (compact) travel camera (in film) is a Contax T3
    film camera with a fixed 35mm f2.8 mild wide angle lens. The lens
    quality is excellent. I can get by without an external flash with
    ISO400 film. It's small, convenient and has many manual override
    options that make careful photography possible. This qualifies as a
    small camera with a fast lens of high quality and produces excellent
    pictures. With a small tripod I can challenge my "pro" SLR equipment.
    I'm still looking for a digital that can get me close the
    results that I can get with this "cigarette sized" camera. So far, the
    Canon S400 or the Sony DSC-V1 are high on my list.
    My wife uses a Nikon Coolpix 950 2MP camera side-by-side with
    me on our trips and has taken thousands of very acceptable travel
    snaps. The camera functions well in nearly all situations. The 2MP is
    not enough for larger sized prints.
    A small tripod is a must for these light weight cameras. It
    will also help you to extend your picture taking into the early or
    late day hours. Night photographs do a lot to enhance the travel
    portfolio. A small tripod held against the side of a post or building
    makes a firm platform to use the self timer to expose the photo for a
    no-shake picture. A manual exposure override often helps to control
    the result, however the instant feedback of the digital will aid in
    the experimentation.
    My other travel kit is a Nikon F5 with a 35mm-70mm f2.8 zoom
    or a 24mm-85mm f3.5-4.5 zoom or 24/35/50/85 mm fixed focal length fast
    lenses with a SB80dx and a full sized carbon fiber tripod in my
    suitcase. It's not very compact but I do get some good travel "snaps"
    :) as well as a sore shoulder.

    Regards,
    Roger

    On 29 Jan 2004 00:44:52 GMT, (John Doe) wrote:

    >Hi all,
    >
    >I am looking for the perfect digital travel camera, which may or may not
    >exist:). I am taking my dream trip in a few months, and would like to take a
    >lot of pictures. I have not used a digital before, but I do have almost 5
    >months to practice. I know everyone has their favorite, but any and all
    >opinions will be appreciated. The features I would like are - Good image
    >quality for printing at least 8x10 prints, decent optical zoom (the higher the
    >better), ease of use, the ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123, etc),
    >something that is not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the price
    >below $600. A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out there
    >that comes close. I have searched Google, and read a lot of reviews, but would
    >like to have some actual user opinions.
    >
    >TIA,
    >
    >Todd
    Roger, Jan 29, 2004
    #8
  9. (John Doe) wrote in message news:<>...

    > I know everyone has their favorite, but any and all
    > opinions will be appreciated. The features I would like are - Good image
    > quality for printing at least 8x10 prints, decent optical zoom (the higher the
    > better), ease of use, the ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123, etc),
    > something that is not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the price
    > below $600. A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out there
    > that comes close.


    I'm more or less in the same situation, planning a two-week vacation
    and looking for a camera to take, with more or less the same criteria.
    The ones I'm considering are the Pentax Optio 555 (which seems to fit
    all of your criteria except for AA batteries, but the battery life
    appears to be excellent), the Canon S50 (which has a shorter zoom, and
    doesn't use AA's, but does take CF type 2), and the Canon A80 (which
    has a short zoom, but uses AA's). There's also the Canon G5, but it
    may be a little bigger than you want, particularly if you're looking
    for something that you can wear on your belt. I'm still undecided,
    but am leaning toward the Pentax.

    Bill
    william d. kasimer, Jan 29, 2004
    #9
  10. Roger,

    I enjoyed reading your posting and learned alot.

    Guenter
    Guenter Fieblinger, Jan 29, 2004
    #10
  11. What about a little Minolta XT? The flash is pretty lame, but good for
    people shots up close--like fill flash outside with nice scene in
    background. It takes SD memory--256mb cards are about $70.00 or so and hold
    170 highest quality, largest size shots (fine mode at 2048x1536--good for
    8x10). Or it will hold close to 275 in standard mode, or up to about 3000
    shots in economy, 640x480 size! It also can save an email size shot right
    on the card so your all set to send a shot (like 50k size) when you sync to
    your computer. Movies with sound (320x240 or 160x120limited in length to
    your battery capacity and size of card--digital voice recorder also (note to
    self!). Smaller than a pack of cigs and you can get an underwater case for
    it and go snorkelling down to 95 feet if you can hold your breath that long!
    3.2 mp camera with a 3x zoom (or is it 4x?), no lens protruding--inovative
    periscope telephoto lens. Off to taking a picture in 1.1 seconds! Then
    back to off in about 2 seconds. Very tiny--shirt pocket or wear as a locket
    around your neck, belt case available from Tamrac, or make a small velvet
    pouch for your pocket. Cord and charger are small too and can charge spare
    battery separate from camera, or simply set the camera in the charger. USB
    to cord for computer or TV supplied. I have yet to use a battery and card
    on day's outing, but I am going to try tomorrow. If the camera is not
    convenient to carry, and fast to deploy, you won't take or get the shot. I
    have mine with me all the time. Bike riding, skiing, dirt bike riding,
    work, shopping, parties, weddings, and vacations!
    --
    Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD
    "Helen Rapozo" <> wrote in message
    news:bv9uos$m0a$...
    > "John Doe" <> wrote:
    > >
    > > I am looking for the perfect digital travel camera, which may or may not
    > > exist:). I am taking my dream trip in a few months, and would like to

    take
    > a
    > > lot of pictures. I have not used a digital before, but I do have almost

    5
    > > months to practice. I know everyone has their favorite, but any and all
    > > opinions will be appreciated. The features I would like are - Good image
    > > quality for printing at least 8x10 prints, decent optical zoom (the

    higher
    > the
    > > better), ease of use, the ability to use normal batteries (AA, CR123,

    > etc),
    > > something that is not to terribly bulky, and I would like to keep the

    > price
    > > below $600. A lot to ask for, I know, but there must be at least one out

    > there
    > > that comes close. I have searched Google, and read a lot of reviews, but

    > would
    > > like to have some actual user opinions.

    >
    > A few factors to consider:
    >
    > 1) The length of your trip? The longer it is the more storage you need to
    > bring with you.
    > 2) Are you planning on bring a laptop as well? It's more stuff to lug
    > around but to be honest given the choice between lugging around a laptop

    or
    > bring along 5 to 10 64Mbyte CompactFlash cards, I rather lug around the
    > CompactFlash cards.
    > 3) Are you planning on taking action shots, or just shots of things not in
    > motion?
    > 4) Indoor and/or Outdoor shots? Use of flash for indoor?
    >
    >
    > An iffy camera that is still available (at least at CompUSA) based on

    actual
    > experince except for using it on traveling, would be the SiPix SC-3300
    > camera. It runs for $149, 3 MPixel camera with 3X Digital Zoom, takes up

    to
    > 128Mbyte CompactFlash card (128Mbyte card is around $49, a 64Mbyte card is
    > around $29-39), can take video, single shot mode or can take 4 shots at a
    > time and uses 2 AA batteries. On the bad side, the video has no sound, it
    > takes at least 4 seconds to cycle for the next single shot, if you use the
    > LCD screen it drains the battery pretty fast, worse if you use the flash.
    > If you manage to fill up a 128Mbyte card in a day with images more than
    > likey you will need to change the batteries too (but at least it will just
    > be 2 of them).
    >
    >
    Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD, Jan 30, 2004
    #11
  12. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    I would like to thank everyone who has responded, both here and to my regular
    email address. Your very detailed and helpful answers to my questions have
    given me a lot to consider.

    Thanks again,

    Todd
    John Doe, Jan 31, 2004
    #12
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