Author Topic: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.  (Read 3757 times)

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Offline Stevenp

Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« on: March 02, 2011, 01:50:57 pm »
I am currently looking at a ton of cameras for my upcoming touring trip. I am looking for a smaller camera that has everything to it without large body and lenses.

I am looking for a small camera with great quality, at least 12MP. Ideally i have a few desires, but I know it may be hard to find all of them. They are:

  • 12MP+
  • waterproof
  • remote control
  • great zoom
  • video

So, I would be interested in hearing your feedback. Thanks!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 02:14:29 pm »
How small are you thinking?  Especially if you are going with a small sensor, I'd rethink the 12MP requirement.  The number of MP is seldom the limiting factor wrt image quality.  In fact too many megapixels causes high noise levels which degrades the picture if the sensor is too small.  With a bigger DSLR with a large sensor you may actually be able to take advantage of 12 megapixels, but it will be heavy.

I'd also skip the waterproof requirement.  Non waterproof cameras can typically work well in most touring conditions with a little care.

Personally If I were buying for a tour today I would be very tempted with the Nikon Coolpix 7000.  I had a chance to handle the one I gave my daughter for her birthday and it is a very impressive camera.

I am also quite satisfied with my Olympus PEN E-PL1 (no remote control though).

While I think both are very well suited to touring.  They do not meet all of your stated requirements.

BTW even a P&S can be a very good choice for most touring photography.

Offline whittierider

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 02:50:38 pm »
dpreview.com seems to be the major source of camera facts and reviews.  Spend a lot of time there.

Note that the megapixel count is one of the least important specifications of a camera, and most cameras have other limitations in the lens and other parts that make them unworthy of their megapixel count.  Blooming, purple fringing, chromatic aberation, or a lens that simply doesn't focus well enough are among the things may make a lousy camera out of one with oodles of megapixels.  staehpj1 has a good point about the noise on high-megapixel-count cameras too, especially with small sensors and low light.  Most of your pictures will get reduced to 0.25 to 0.5 megapixels for websites and blogs and emailing anyway.

You might want to limit the selection to cameras that can use alkaline AA batteries.  Proprietary rechargeable batteries could be a problem, especially since they require carrying the charger and you won't always have access to plug-in power.

I would want something very small, thin, and light that I can comfortably carry in my jersey pocket.  If you can't get to it easily, you won't use it.

bogiesan has a list of recommendation he will probably chime in with.

Offline Stevenp

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 04:52:58 pm »
dpreview.com seems to be the major source of camera facts and reviews.  Spend a lot of time there.
You might want to limit the selection to cameras that can use alkaline AA batteries.  Proprietary rechargeable batteries could be a problem, especially since they require carrying the charger and you won't always have access to plug-in power.

Solar powered rechargers any good?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 04:55:43 pm by Stevenp »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 05:59:23 pm »
On batteries...  I am inclined to buy a camera with a rechargeable lithium battery.  I then buy one or more spares AND a smaller lighter weight aftermarket charger.  The batteries from the camera manufacturer are typically pretty expensive, but I have usually found aftermarket ones for a fraction of the cost.


Offline steelhead

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 09:27:40 pm »
Here's a link that may help you decide http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q209waterproofgroup/
question authority

Offline EnduroDoug

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2011, 07:05:21 pm »
I used to be pretty heavy into SLR photography, but switched a couple years ago to the Canon G-series of "pro-sumer" compact cameras. After a week in Japan with the G10 coming and going everywhere with me, I promptly sold all of my SLR equipment.

The G-series isn't terribly small or compact, but it's still half the size of a DSLR and the image quality and versatility is unlike anything I've seen in a compact. I highly recommend that line of camera.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2011, 08:59:41 pm »
Solar powered rechargers any good?

They work, but they are heavy, expensive, prone to failure from frequent flexing as they are rolled and unrolled, and slow to charge the AA batteries common in cameras and GPS receivers. They do better with the small batteries in cell phones. Their trickle charge does not fully charge NiMH cells, the most common chemistry in rechargeable AAs.

Some people swear by them, but I prefer a compact mains charger built for NiMH chemistry. With four high-quality rechargeable AAs, I need to reach an outlet only every two - four weeks, depending on how much use the camera gets. When my GPSR is along, it's six AAs and get to an outlet once a week.

Fred

Offline Mattie

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 03:11:30 am »
I have the Panasonic Lumix DMC - FT2 waterproof camera. Now also carry a G2 !

The FT2 is easy to use single handed while riding and takes good quality pictures: the ones on my little website for the Amsterdam trip were all taken with the Lumix FT2. It has a self timer of 10 seconds but no remote control.

Here is a link to my little website to give an idea of the picture quality: www.worldonabike.co.uk

Very pleased with it for normal light picture taking.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 11:44:50 pm »
the question comes up often, you can search for lots of comments and recommendations although specific models changes too rapidly to be meaningful.

Go shoping with your bike gloves and your sunglasses. My comments about bike touring cameras come down to:
1. You must like the software. If you can't talk to the camera, none of its expensive features were worth what you paid.
2. You must be able to use the controls. Can you work the camera with your bike gloves?or  sunglasses?
3. Can you get batteries for it on the road or charge it?
4. Have a safety lanyard. I've seen people go down trying to catch a fumbled camera while riding. Camera and bike and rider all got banged up.
5. Get a protective case.
6. What will you do with the image files? An offloader? If you put an 8G card in the thing and store two months' worth of photos and someone steals your camera your vacation is gone.
7. Waterproof is unnecessary unless you're a diver.
8. 12mp is unnecessary. 90% of your images will be emailed or uploaded as wee jpgs.
9. Don't buy anything you can't afford to lose, break, or have stolen. It's not jewelry, it's just a camera. Good glass is more important than sensor density.
10. Remote? All you need is a self timer.

Want to have a blast on your trip and get take snapshots (maybe not great photographs) and never worry about your camera? Buy a couple of prepaid/disposable film cameras.

david boise ID


 
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Stevenp

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 09:25:56 am »
Go shoping with your bike gloves and your sunglasses. My comments about bike touring cameras come down to:
1. You must like the software. If you can't talk to the camera, none of its expensive features were worth what you paid.
2. You must be able to use the controls. Can you work the camera with your bike gloves?or  sunglasses?
3. Can you get batteries for it on the road or charge it?
4. Have a safety lanyard. I've seen people go down trying to catch a fumbled camera while riding. Camera and bike and rider all got banged up.
5. Get a protective case.
6. What will you do with the image files? An offloader? If you put an 8G card in the thing and store two months' worth of photos and someone steals your camera your vacation is gone.
7. Waterproof is unnecessary unless you're a diver.
8. 12mp is unnecessary. 90% of your images will be emailed or uploaded as wee jpgs.
9. Don't buy anything you can't afford to lose, break, or have stolen. It's not jewelry, it's just a camera. Good glass is more important than sensor density.
10. Remote? All you need is a self timer.

That all makes a lot of sense, although I realize I didn't mention the reason for the photos in the first place. I do hope to get nice photos that I would then design into a book (I am a graphic designer). Also, the reason for the higher MP is for upload onto a site called iStockPhoto.com, which has a high standard. I don't think the Pn'S are up to par with what I am looking for.

Now the question for me is whether I want to add my photography hobby and idea for a book to my trip. I did read the "photography and biking do they mix" thread and so it causes questions for me.

I am finding there are endless questions that need to be answered for cross country trip like this.
My goal is not to get to the other side, but to enjoy everything inbetween, plus there is no time limit for me at this point in my life so that is what makes me think of adding a hobby like photography to the trip. SO many questions!! But I still have 4 months to answer them. :)

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 01:08:52 pm »
The MP issue just makes me gag. 

I still have 2MP, 3.2MP, 6MP, and 12MP cameras.  I have produced stunning 8x10 images from a 2MP camera.  Lately I have been carrying the 3.2MP camera because it has wide angle capability.  Anyone who tells you that you need 12MP to make good images is full of it.  As has been previously stated, it is the qualilty of the lens and not the sensor that matters.

Many years ago, I took a photography class from a noted freelancer in the Detroit area, back in the film era.  He told us that we had to shoot Kodachrome.  Kodachrome does a nice job with skin tones, but I always liked the look of Ektachrome for landscapes.  When we turned in our portfolios at the end, I compliments from him on my work.  He never picked up on the fact that most of it was shot with the coarser grained Extachrome and not the finer grained Kodachrome.

Moral of the story, in case you missed it, is that it is all about the image and not the technology that you used to make the image.   
Danno

Offline Stevenp

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2011, 07:32:16 pm »
The MP aspect of the photo is simply the size of the photo. So, you're right, a larger mp requires much more out of the sensor to capture a great photo as opposed to the lower mp.

Offline whittierider

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2011, 08:24:11 pm »
Quote
I realize I didn't mention the reason for the photos in the first place.  I do hope to get nice photos that I would then design into a book (I am a graphic designer).  Also, the reason for the higher MP is for upload onto a site called iStockPhoto.com, which has a high standard.  I don't think the Pn'S are up to par with what I am looking for.

The problem with many point-and-shoots (if that's what you mean) is not that they lack megapixels, but that their lens quality, electronic noise, blooming, and other factors make them unworthy of anywhere near as many megapixels as they have.  IOW, you could get a sharper, higher-quality picture with fewer MP if the other factors were up to snuff.  It's market-driven though.  The MP count has been hyped so much that that's what manufacurers deliver, cutting corners on more-important factors in order to deliver so many MP at a competitive price.

You also don't need anywhere near 12MP for pictures to put in a nice book.  You could go with a high-quality, big, heavy DSLR and get 24MP or more, but I think carrying it would be a pain, and you'll miss a lot of pictures because you get so tired of getting it out and putting it away, instead of having something you can keep in your jersey pocket.  I have been impressed with our son's Canon PowerShot A2000IS which he bought two years ago.  My wife has an A550 which I bought about a year earlier and was good, but our son's A2000IS is quite a bit better and yet less expensive.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 08:26:43 pm by whittierider »

Offline Mattie

Re: Best compact camera for a Tour? Help me decide.
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2011, 08:59:24 am »

That all makes a lot of sense, although I realize I didn't mention the reason for the photos in the first place. I do hope to get nice photos that I would then design into a book (I am a graphic designer). Also, the reason for the higher MP is for upload onto a site called iStockPhoto.com, which has a high standard. I don't think the Pn'S are up to par with what I am looking for.

Now the question for me is whether I want to add my photography hobby and idea for a book to my trip. I did read the "photography and biking do they mix" thread and so it causes questions for me.

I am finding there are endless questions that need to be answered for cross country trip like this.
My goal is not to get to the other side, but to enjoy everything inbetween, plus there is no time limit for me at this point in my life so that is what makes me think of adding a hobby like photography to the trip. SO many questions!! But I still have 4 months to answer them. :)

I just had a look at their site and the final picture requirements are actually easily met - RGB J Peg at 1600+1200 pixels. The problem is that they suggest taking your original picture with an SLR in RAW format and editing it as a 16 bit Tiff file, and then save it down to a 8 bit J Peg. This makes more sense because if you start editing a 8 bit JPEG you can end up with an over edited image that can be a mess when enlarged.
Perhaps a DSLR that shoots RAW would be a better option ? They are not massively expensive but you loose the "Compact" advantage. Maybe the Cannon G series as mentioned previously would suite your needs ?

Good luck.