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Old 06-11-11, 10:14 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Good Compact Digital Cameras for Touring?

One that looks very good, at about 347 USD, is:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-EC-TL5...7851681&sr=1-1

For just under 200 USD (the price seems to have gone up today), some people seem to think that this camera is a good value:

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerSho...=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

If you have any experiences or recommendations related to compact digital cameras for touring, please feel free to post.

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-11-11 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 06-11-11, 10:22 PM   #2
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I got a Canon 300 ELPH and take it biking all the time. It easily slips into a pocket, or my stem bag with plenty of room to spare.
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Old 06-12-11, 12:04 AM   #3
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If you're a photographer, you'll probably want to avoid any camera that only focuses via an LCD screen. I have a Canon SX200 gathering dust because it's difficult to focus in direct sunlight. When I need a camera that's smaller than my DSLR, I've been using a micro four-thirds Panasonic GF-1. The 20mm pancake lens is fantastic!!! If I wanted a point-and-shoot, I'd be tempted by the Panasonic LX5; it can use the same external viewfinder as the GF-1.
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Old 06-12-11, 05:38 AM   #4
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I've got a buddy who keeps one of these clipped to his beltloop, any time he rides: http://www.pentaximaging.com/digital...stachio_Green/
It takes some beautiful pics and is rugged as heck.
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Old 06-12-11, 05:55 AM   #5
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Camera while touring

It depends what you want to do. Do you want to take pictures or do you just want to have some snap shots of your trip. I am a photographer and currently own about 5 different cameras and 3 bikes. What I suggest to most people is "KISS" Keep It Simple Stupid" not that you are stupid. You don't want something big or complicated. Next thing I suggest is stick with the winners. Canon, Nikon are the biggest players for a reason usually they make good stuff, not that there aren't others. Its about the lens not the megapixels, a bad lens on a 12 MP camera may perform worse then a good lens on an 8 MP camera. Don't get fooled by the megapixel hype. If you really want to do research the site http://www.dpreview.com is quite excellent and has very complete reviews. Finally buy last years model you will save some money and there is typically only slight improvements. Remember its not about the bike and its not about the camera, have fun using both.
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Old 06-12-11, 06:22 AM   #6
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You need to consider the following:

- Zoom range, are you looking for just plain photos of the sights and landscape, in which case minimal zoom is needed or are you looking for wildlife photos too?
- Waterproof cameras are also dustproof and are one less thing to worry about, but rarely include a viewfinder and don't have large zoom range.
- Batteries, they usually take a lithium ion specific to that model but some can use AA batteries which allow more flexibility. I personally prefer using the same batteries in my camera as in my flashlight, GPS, bike lights and marine band radio.
- Some cameras have a viewfinder, some don't, is that important to you or not?
- And all the other stuff that used to be important but is not very important any more like size (all are small now) and weight (all non-SLR cameras are lightweight) and number of megapixels (now all have a lot of pixels).

About seven years ago I bought a high end point and shoot camera that is now very outdated by current standards at only 3 megapixels. I also bought the waterproof scuba housing for it. Although I do not dive it is great for canoeing and kayaking. But, at only 3 megapixels, photos can't be cropped or blown up very much. Also, the sensor needs a lot of light, camera is poor in low light conditions. The pluses were that it has a view finder and uses AA batteries. I probably have shot about 8,000 photos with it.

But I have dropped it a few too many times and now the focus on one side is poor so I tried to replace it last winter. I was unable to find one that met all of my criteria. One of the new criteria I set was a much bigger zoom range for wildlife. By dropping the waterproof criteria, I found that one of the new superzooms was perfect for me. I bought the Pentax X90. This link is a good comparison of a number of different superzoom cameras.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q110superzoomgroup/

I think I have shot about 500 photos with the X90 and love it. Next month I am going to Europe and I will bring my superzoom while I leave my good DSLRs at home.

If you get one that takes a lithium ion battery, you might be able to get a spare battery much cheaper on eBay from a seller in China than elsewhere. My Pentax battery is over $40 if it is labeled Pentax, but I got two for $15 from China that are generic.
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Old 06-12-11, 11:57 AM   #7
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Thanks for the interesting replies.

Two new superzooms, the Sony HX100:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Cyber-Sho...7900281&sr=1-1

and the HS20 from Fuji:

http://www.amazon.com/Fujifilm-FineP...7900347&sr=1-1

---------------
The sealed, waterproof cameras seem as if they might be more durable. They seal out dust as well as moisture, and are able to withstand more shock. But they do not seem to be as capable in other areas (compared with many of the rest of the digital cameras) . Then again, perhaps some of them do just about everything needed. Plus underwater and inclement weather usage.

---------------
The high-zoom lenses seem great, in a way. But they sacrifice low-light performance and compactness. On the other side, the Samsung TL500 has a very bright (f1.8 Schneider) lens, and gets many raves for quality and feel. But only 3X.

For someone who doesn't often shoot at 30X or higher, the superzoom lenses may be overkill. Then again, some of us don't shoot at those levels simply because our cameras won't allow for it. So it may be a result of necessity and habit, not real choice. Maybe things would change, and whole new avenues of photography would open up with these wide-range lenses.

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-12-11 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 06-12-11, 01:47 PM   #8
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I'd think one that could run off any AA battery, would be a practical choice.
but I have not bought a new camera in a long time.

... a pentax optio 43 wr
but I had problems, DNF just past warrantee , natch,
I got it fixed, another $100 ...

now there are monitor screens 4x as big.. ,
but this one had a viewfinder to look thru ,
which made sense, for someone not used to holding cameras
at arm's length ..
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Old 06-12-11, 05:12 PM   #9
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I use a Nikon Coolpix with good results. It takes two AA batteries and the zoom is passable. It also fits well in my handlebar bag or jersey pocket. It is easy to use while riding (one handed) as well.
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Old 06-13-11, 04:47 AM   #10
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I have a Fujifilm xp10 that ticks a lot of boxes: it's small, light, waterproof, dustproof, drop-proof (within reason) and freezeproof. I stick it in a belt pouch and take it everywhere on water, land and snow and never worry about breaking it or getting it wet. It has 5x zoom and its image quality is not far behind that of my main camera, a much larger, heavier and more delicate Lumix. The Fuji's lack of a viewfinder is a major drawback, but I manage to do without. I'm a snapshooter, not a photographic artist.
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Old 06-13-11, 06:27 AM   #11
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I don't think there is a bad camera available today, they all take passable photos. I use a compact Canon on tour and for snapshots it is fine. I cant think of any particular brand to avoid. If you get a noname Chinese model it will still take pics but I would go for a known brand.

Beware some Panasonic models which only take expensive Panasonic batteries. They dont work with 3rd party batteries.

I would prefer wider wideangle to more powerful telephoto zoom lens. A panoramic mode with good alignment on-screen is useful for wider shots.
I prefer bigger sensor chips to smaller ones. In a compact camera you dont need to go to a full size (4/3 or APS) but beware the smaller ones that are more affected by noise. Beware that "powerful zoom lens" often means smaller sensor.
Tough, water-resistant and dust proof is nice to have.
Swivel LCD screens make it easier for solo traveller to take self portraits.

I always take a light, plastic, mini tripod, good for low light, panoramics and self portraits.
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Old 06-13-11, 07:13 AM   #12
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Consider last years models the Fuji HS 10 for AA batteries or the Nikon P 100 for lithium batteries both for about $300. Both these cameras have BSI sensors that work in half the light as regular cameras. http://share.ovi.com/album/currentresident.boring
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Old 06-13-11, 07:20 AM   #13
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Instead of carrying my DSLR, I use a Canon S90. The new version is the S95. It has the same sensor as the G12 which is larger than most point and shoot cameras which allows better low light performance with high ISO. There is less noise at higher ISOs than cameras with a smaller sensor. The S90 and S95 has the same controls that a DSLR has, you can shoot in aperture priority, shutter priority, fully manual or auto. The controls for manual are a dial on the top like a DSLR and a ring that is around the lens. The camera lets you shoot in RAW mode as well. I love this camera. It is small and produces a great image. I usually shoot RAW and process on the computer. I have it save a jpeg as well which is good for quick sharing.
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Old 06-13-11, 07:23 AM   #14
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I was looking at a a panasonic ts10 rugged camera for touring and general use... I dropped my last camera in a pint of beer so I wanted something a bit less delicate. The ts10 is nice because it's rather plain on the outside and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. I have a nice SLR and would only consider taking it if I were doing a trip specifically to take nice photos. Charging the battery is always gonna be a bit of a pain but you could make up battery powered charger for those times you can't find power, though from some of the gadget threads it seems finding power isn't terribly difficult.
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Old 06-13-11, 09:42 AM   #15
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Old 06-13-11, 10:22 AM   #16
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The Olympus ZX-1 beats Canon and Nikon's current top offerings by far. Consider also a mirrorless interchangable lense camera.
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Old 06-13-11, 10:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
I use a Nikon Coolpix with good results. It takes two AA batteries and the zoom is passable. It also fits well in my handlebar bag or jersey pocket. It is easy to use while riding (one handed) as well.
I was using that one, but where you put the batteries in, the clip that holds the latch shut broke. The camera isn't that old (6 months) so they wouldn't take it back. I talked to the salesman about it and he said, for the most part, all of those cameras have plastic clips to hold the latch shut.
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