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  1. #1
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    Good camera for a tour

    I'm getting my packing list ready, and I'm deciding if I should either get a point-and-shoot (to fit inside my Ortlieb outside pocket), or take my DSLR with me. Taking the DSLR would result in better pictures than a standard P&S, but I'd be worried about dust/water contamination, not to mention the bulk. I'm sure there are high quality, compact P&S's out there, but I'm not really aware of the current market. I'm hoping to spend around $250 (no problem going used). Anyone have any recommendations for a good quality P&S?

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I am very happy with my Nikon Coolpix S550. The only drawback was clumpy grainy pictures when at high ISO settings. I used the DSLR for the TA and the Coolpix for the SantaFe Trail and have to say that for me the Coolpix was the better choice.

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    This is a very personal decision. For most of us, any $250 digital camera would be just fine. For the few with an especially keen interest in photography, you may want to carry the DSLR.

    For a P&S, I insist on one with a viewfinder, as it is hard to see the screen in bright sunlight, and the screen chews up valuable battery life. Everything else (megapixels, zoom power, etc.) is negotiable and personal.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    If you're going to ride, then get a small waterproof point and shoot, and make do with whatever photos you get out of it (which will likely be just fine).

    If you're going for the purpose of taking pictures, then take the DSLR, lenses, tripod, whatever, and deal with the bulk and weight.

    If you buy a new camera, try it out plenty before you go.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  5. #5
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Canon Poweshot SD1100 IS

    Great quality in a small package. Rugged and easy to use;

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  6. #6
    Crazyguyonabike
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    In the compact zoom class, I like the Panasonic DMC TZ5 (they may have a new model coming out, probably the TZ7). This is small and has good zoom, and seems to take pretty decent pictures. Like all the compacts, the tiny sensor means more noise, particularly at higher ISO, but that's the price you pay for the ultra-compact these days.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonictz5/

    If you want better quality pics and faster lens at the expense of less zoom, then the Panasonic DMC LX3 seems to be garnering a bit of an enthusiastic following:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmclx3/

    The Canon G10 also gets some good reviews - they all seem to have their little quirks, but it's something to compare:

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08091702canon_g10.asp

    Of course there are lots of others, but these are some of the ones that captured my attention when I was looking around recently. I don't own any yet (I still have my old Canon G3), but it's fun to look!

    Neil

    p.s. Another interesting thread here comparing the LX3 to the G10:
    Good touring camera...LX3 vs G10
    And a thread on crazyguyonabike discussing this some more:
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum...read_id=123185
    Last edited by NeilGunton; 07-29-09 at 07:36 PM. Reason: p.s.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Quemal's Avatar
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    I have a Sanyo 10.0 Megapixels. Less and $100.00 at Walmart. 4gig memory card, $12.00 at Office Depot. Very easy to use, less than 10oz. with case. Fits into my trunk bag.
    1982 Univega Gran Turismo
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  8. #8
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS15
    12 MEGAPixels
    great lens, ELPH sized, fabulous pics and easy to use
    I got it via Amazon for under 175 bucks

    image from outside Port Wing Wi on the Bike NOrthwoods BIke tour


  9. #9
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    I have an older Canon powershot S500 and am tired of the inability to charge its special battery in many places. Now I'm looking for AA cameras.
    Has anyone heard about the GE X3?
    I'm waiting for its release in the US. It was supposed to be April but now sometime around November.
    Specs are impressive and it's priced reasonable, but I'm no camera pro.
    Not sure if it's a good one or not.
    Last edited by MNBikeguy; 07-29-09 at 08:24 PM. Reason: corrected link
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    - Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketshipready View Post
    Taking the DSLR would result in better pictures than a standard P&S, but I'd be worried about dust/water contamination, not to mention the bulk.
    I wouldn't worry too much about dust contamination. I hauled 30-50lbs of 35mm SLR gear to Africa on three different occasions and shot in virtually every condition imaginable. I swapped lenses, bodies, and teleconverters back and forth quite a bit, often in dirty, dusty conditions. Of the 6000 or so images, I think I had 2-3 that showed any evidence of contamination inside the camera body. I did take along lens cleaning fluid, tissues, and a blower brush so I could clean the front and rear objectives of the lenses when they got dirty. By and large, contamination wasn't an issue... for me.

    If you don't want to haul the weight of a DSLR, which I can certainly understand, take a look at the Canon PowerShot G9 or Powershot G10. My understanding is that many professional photographers use these as back-up cameras: they have all the advanced image controls you need, shoot in RAW mode, etc. My photographer buddies tell me that the G9 is actually the better of the two. They claim that images from the G10 contain more noise than the G9...

  11. #11
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I'm looking at P&S these days for some video and back-up to my DSLR, 3 lenses and tripod and Panasonic always seems on top. One nice thing is that many of them have a decent wide-angle.

    Many of Canon's use AA batteries.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  12. #12
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    Photography is my other passion after biking. If you dont want to carry a DSLR with you because of the weight, I would go with the Canon G10 hands down.

    Good luck!

  13. #13
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    For a P&S, I insist on one with a viewfinder, as it is hard to see the screen in bright sunlight, and the screen chews up valuable battery life.
    I would suggest not automatically dismissing cameras without a viewfinder. I would have made the same statement not too long ago, but recent advances in screen technology has made the screens much more satisfactory in a wide range of conditions. Similarly battery life is greatly improved in many of the newer cameras.

    On the battery situation... I have found that the lithium batteries in many of the newer P&S cameras have very long life and are very light weight so it is no big deal to carry several. I can carry 4 of them and I don't think it amounts to an ounce. In any case it is much lighter than carrying a charger and is adequate for medium length tours. My daughter carried three extras on a two week trip to Greece and managed to get by without carrying a charger and she took a lot of pictures. The trick for me, being a tightwad, was to figure out that the batteries that Nikon or Canon sell for $30-40 can be found for about $7. At that price having several batteries just isn't a big deal.

    On something like the Trans America I might still carry a charger, but there too after market stuff is worth checking out. Some of the after market chargers are extremely light weight and cheap. I found one for my camera batteries that weighs a fraction of the Nikon one. I am less inclined to leave the batteries in it for a long time but on tour I usually wind up plugging in for an hour or less during a stop any way. I also found a little 2 ounce AC to USB charger and a tiny adapter that lets me charge my iPod Shuffle. The Shuffle holds a enough audio books to last me for a coast to coast tour and charger and all it weighs maybe 3 ounces.

    Sorry if I got a little off topic there

  14. #14
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    One of the things I need to buy before I leave for Africa is a good camera. Currently I am thinking about a Canon SX10 IS and a gorrillapod. My thought process being that in Africa there might be things I want to take pics of but not get too close so a stable 20X optical zoom would come in handy, even thought he camera is a bit bulkier. Hopefully use this for touring too, anything similar anyone would suggest?

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtclifford View Post
    One of the things I need to buy before I leave for Africa is a good camera. Currently I am thinking about a Canon SX10 IS and a gorrillapod. My thought process being that in Africa there might be things I want to take pics of but not get too close so a stable 20X optical zoom would come in handy, even thought he camera is a bit bulkier. Hopefully use this for touring too, anything similar anyone would suggest?
    I was unhappy with the GorillaPod and replaced it with a Pedco UltraPod II and the Pedco UltraPod Tripod. The GorillaPod was kind of clunky in use. The legs were constantly coming apart, and it wasn't all that solid of a base. The UltraPods seem much nicer to me and are lighter and much less expensive.

    Depending on which camera I am carrying and how light I am packing I take one or the other of the UltraPods. My GorillaPod has been retired.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Neil G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketshipready View Post
    Taking the DSLR would result in better pictures than a standard P&S
    To my mind, one of the biggest advantages you get with a DSLR over a P&S is good low-light (high ISO) capability. But on tour, your low-light/indoor photography opportunities are going to be pretty minimal, so that advantage is mostly useless. Under good lighting conditions, most decent P&Ss won't be far from what you'd see out of a DSLR.

    That said, I've taken my DSLR on my last two tours (with a 17-85mm lens), because I'm into overkill and don't mind the weight. For the last two weeks of my latest tour I even lugged a 70-200mm telephoto lens with me to see if I could make good use of that, but I really couldn't. The fairly normal (5x) zoom range of the 17-85mm was usually all I really wanted or needed.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that unless you really love your DSLR, you're probably on the right track looking at P&Ss. Oh, I don't think dust would be any more of a concern on tour than it would be anywhere else though.

    Neil

  17. #17
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I have been searching for a small P&S digital camera lately and finally settled on a Canon A2100. I was really tempted to buy one of the comparable Canon Elph models (eg, SD 1200, SD 870) because of their smaller size, but I wanted more of a zoom lens. The most zoom you can get on any of the Elph models for less than $300 is 4X (or 5X if you want to spend more). The A2100 has a 6X zoom and also takes AA batteries, which would seem to be a real advantage for touring. The A2100 is larger than the Elph models but still very compact. It fits very easily in a small Bento-style bag, but would be a little bulky for a rear jersey pocket. If you want a camera that can easily fit in a jersey pocket and don't mind a 3X zoom, then the Elph models are excellent choices. The Canon pocket digitals consistently get the highest consumer/user ratings on Amazon and other on-line sites, and I think there's a good reason for it. However, you would need to carry a charger and/or spare batteries.

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketshipready View Post
    Taking the DSLR would result in better pictures than a standard P&S, but I'd be worried about dust/water contamination, not to mention the bulk.
    Maybe, but that isn't a sure thing. The P&S cameras have pretty good optics and in addition to saving weight carried may often get the picture where you might miss the shot with the DSLR just because the little P&S was ready and at your fingertips. I know that I am way more likely to take a shot while riding with the P&S than with the DSLR.

    The biggest drawback to my P&S as compared to my DSLR is the image quality at high ISOs and it isn't a huge handicap on tour.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for all the recommendations. I like the idea of a Canon so I can load CHDK on it. I've played around with it before, and I definitely like the options it provides.

    The biggest difference I've seen between P&S's and DSLRs is, of course, the glass. I'd like to get a reasonably fast lens (maybe f/3-ish?) and something that can capture some vibrant colors with minimal post processing. Some of the Canon's definitely have this, so I'll keep looking in that direction. Thanks everyone!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtclifford View Post
    One of the things I need to buy before I leave for Africa is a good camera. Currently I am thinking about a Canon SX10 IS and a gorrillapod. My thought process being that in Africa there might be things I want to take pics of but not get too close so a stable 20X optical zoom would come in handy, even thought he camera is a bit bulkier. Hopefully use this for touring too, anything similar anyone would suggest?
    A 28-560mm zoom? Wow! I'd suggest reading the reviews so you know exactly what you're getting; lenses like that generally involve some compromises. DPReview has a review of super-zoom cameras that might be worth checking out, if only to see who competes with the SX10.

    FWIW, Canon's IS technology is brilliant (at least as implemented on the 300/f4 IS) and when you're on safari in Africa you'll always end up wanting a longer lens. I took a 300/f2.8 and a 2X teleconverter (= 600/f5.6) on my last trip was still wanting a longer lens on more than one occasion. In addition to a camera, you might want to consider bringing binoculars. You can often buy more magnification for less money in a pair of binoculars than in a camera; you might not be able to record the image, but at least you'll be able to see more. I carried a pair of Swift Optics 8x42 binoculars on all three of my Africa trips and was happy to have them.

    Finally, consider ditching the Gorillapod. On most safaris you'll be stuck inside a vehicle and the Gorillapod will be of limited use, I think. Consider bringing a beanbag, maybe something like the Kirk FatBag. Travel with the bag empty, then fill it up when you get to where you'll need it. Rice, beans, corn, and sand are all cheap, readily available, and work well as fillings. When you're ready to travel again, you can dump the contents of the beanbag (or donate to a local if you've gone with a food-based filling) to reduce weight.

  21. #21
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    A 28-560mm zoom? Wow! I'd suggest reading the reviews so you know exactly what you're getting; lenses like that generally involve some compromises. DPReview has a review of super-zoom cameras that might be worth checking out, if only to see who competes with the SX10.

    FWIW, Canon's IS technology is brilliant (at least as implemented on the 300/f4 IS) and when you're on safari in Africa you'll always end up wanting a longer lens. I took a 300/f2.8 and a 2X teleconverter (= 600/f5.6) on my last trip was still wanting a longer lens on more than one occasion. In addition to a camera, you might want to consider bringing binoculars. You can often buy more magnification for less money in a pair of binoculars than in a camera; you might not be able to record the image, but at least you'll be able to see more. I carried a pair of Swift Optics 8x42 binoculars on all three of my Africa trips and was happy to have them.

    Finally, consider ditching the Gorillapod. On most safaris you'll be stuck inside a vehicle and the Gorillapod will be of limited use, I think. Consider bringing a beanbag, maybe something like the Kirk FatBag. Travel with the bag empty, then fill it up when you get to where you'll need it. Rice, beans, corn, and sand are all cheap, readily available, and work well as fillings. When you're ready to travel again, you can dump the contents of the beanbag (or donate to a local if you've gone with a food-based filling) to reduce weight.
    Actually I won't be on safari, I will be living there. 27 months in West Africa with the Peace Corps. I know I will probably always want a better/more expensive camera and decided the SX10 IS (or similar class camera) was the most I could handle being broken/stolen. The rough plan is to do some touring when I get out since I will have an open ended plane ticket home and no obligations to get back to immediately. Thanks for the advice I will definitely check the links out.

  22. #22
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    I have been very happy wwith this camera- Light, compact, and lots of capacity.

  23. #23
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    I bought a Canon Powershot A620 (the 7mp one) which was on special offer at a stupid-low price. The picture quality is good and the optical viewfinder and flip-twist LCD screen make it really versatile. I haven't tried CHDK (open-source replacement firmware) but I have it downloaded somewhere.
    Its a real shame Canon stopped making this line of mid-level cameras. They are not so light or small and the 4xAA are a bit heavy but I can live with this.
    A small tripod is essential for self portraits and low light shots.
    Take a couple of SD cards. You can get them so big they will take all your pics but if one breaks, it takes all your pics with it.

    The other really useful feature to consider is a tough/waterproof one such as Olympus Tough 6000.

  24. #24
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Got the canon SX100IS (black color) late last year, been very happy with the results. Check out the reviews in the link below.
    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ca..._sx100-review/
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by xilios; 07-31-09 at 10:21 AM.

  25. #25
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketshipready View Post
    I'm getting my packing list ready, and I'm deciding if I should either get a point-and-shoot (to fit inside my Ortlieb outside pocket), or take my DSLR with me. Taking the DSLR would result in better pictures than a standard P&S, but I'd be worried about dust/water contamination, not to mention the bulk. I'm sure there are high quality, compact P&S's out there, but I'm not really aware of the current market. I'm hoping to spend around $250 (no problem going used). Anyone have any recommendations for a good quality P&S?
    There are many reviews online. There was one particularly good reviewer from England -- wish I had the website for you. Some of his reviews are on youtube. You might check there.

    Some people really like the Canon SX1, and say that it is the best P&S they have used, after trying many. It's more expensive than you mention, though; and it is not exactly compact. And there are some people who are not fans.

    The Canon SX110 is supposedly an excellent value, and it takes AAs.

    The Canon SX200 is a nice camera. Some people complain about this or that (and I doubt that all of them are legitimate disinterested reviewers); others really like it. The camera and the controls have a good feel, and the size seems right for a compact.

    It has an automatically shuttered lense cap, which some people prefer.

    It doesn't take AAs; but there are solutions if you want more run time between charges.

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