Author Topic: Best Camera for touring?  (Read 10401 times)

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Offline ondowntheroad

Best Camera for touring?
« on: March 22, 2009, 05:36:26 pm »
I am considering a new camera for my upcoming tour. I have used a Cannon A560 (7 mega pixels) which is ok but I'd really like sharper pictures with more detail. I'm really not that into photography so spare me all the lingo - I'd just be interested in suggestions of a really good portable point and shoot (digital of course) that would be an improvement over what I have.

Offline whittierider

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 06:11:20 pm »
The number of megapixels is only one of many things to look at if you want good picture quality.  You can see some of the issues addressed at http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Digital_Imaging/Artifacts_01.htm .  I would not go crazy on megapixels though, as that brings about other penalties, like more more noise unless the sensor size is bigger than what you get in a camera that's suitably sized to carry on a bike tour.  To post really clear pictures of say 6x8" on a typical hi-res monitor for a website only requires about half a megapixel.

Offline mucknort

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2009, 11:00:13 pm »
I am considering a new camera for my upcoming tour. I have used a Cannon A560 (7 mega pixels) which is ok but I'd really like sharper pictures with more detail. I'm really not that into photography so spare me all the lingo - I'd just be interested in suggestions of a really good portable point and shoot (digital of course) that would be an improvement over what I have.
What improvements are you looking for? If I was to just suggest one camera, I'd say the Panasonic TZ5. It is relatively small, has a big screen, great Leica lens, big zoom range that starts wide: 28mm to 280mm, solid build.
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-TZ5K-Digital-Optical-Stabilized/dp/B0011Z8CCG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1237776524&sr=1-1

Otherwise, Steve's digicams has a great page that lists what they feel are the "best" digital cameras by class. Go to either the compact or ultra compact groups:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

Offline vkalia

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 12:58:26 am »
If you are not into photography per se, then something like the Canon SX1 ultrazoom would be your best best.  You want something starting at around the 28mm on the wide end and going up to 200mm or on the tele end for general photography.    Those 20x zooms are more of a compromise.

I am biased towards Canon compacts - IMO, they have the best image quality of all the compacts out there (although the Panasonic bodies are excellent with superb optics, they are let down by their noisier sensors when shooting in low light). 

I make a living from my photography and I travel with a Canon G10 when I am not shooting with my DSLR - and I have sold quite a few images with it.  The reason I am not recommending the G10, incidentally, is that to extract the most from it, you need to shoot in RAW mode and that is something which you would not be interested in, given your stated preferences.

HTH,
Vandit

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2009, 11:58:31 am »
Pretty much any point and shoot from a quality manufacturer should work for you.  You point source for image quality is not megapixels, it is the quality of the lens.  Things that you might want to stay away from are digital zoom and zooms with extreme zoom ranges. 

My pet peeve is that none of the point and shoots come with a lens that is very wide.  A 28mm equivalent lens is not a very wide lens.  So it is hard to do an impressive landscape.  I use a Canon A series 6 megapixel camera.  I would like something flatter to better fit my jersey pocket.  My DSLR is just too bulky for me to take along.  The point and shoots are so cheap that you don't feel bad when you lose them or break them.  Their down side, is that most of them or still pretty slow at getting a focus solution.
Danno

Offline DaveB

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 08:58:14 am »
7 megapixels will provide very sharp detailed photographs unless you are making poster size prints. 

I wonder if your problems are with the photographer rather than the camera.  Do you hold the camera steady when you shoot?  Most digital cameras are very small and light and most photographers hold them at arms length to view the LCD screen at the back.  Both these things  make for a very unsteady platform. 

Try mounting your camera on solid tripod and using the self timer to take a few pictures.  That should eliminate camera shake entirely.  Then see if you picture quality improves.  Don't be at all surprised if it does dramatically.  If it still isn't adequate, look for a camera with a better quality lens but more megapixels, by themselves, probably aren't the answer.

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 01:56:49 pm »
I am considering a new camera for my upcoming tour. I have used a Cannon A560 (7 mega pixels) which is ok but I'd really like sharper pictures with more detail. I'm really not that into photography so spare me all the lingo - I'd just be interested in suggestions of a really good portable point and shoot (digital of course) that would be an improvement over what I have.
What improvements are you looking for? If I was to just suggest one camera, I'd say the Panasonic TZ5. It is relatively small, has a big screen, great Leica lens, big zoom range that starts wide: 28mm to 280mm, solid build.
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-TZ5K-Digital-Optical-Stabilized/dp/B0011Z8CCG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1237776524&sr=1-1

Otherwise, Steve's digicams has a great page that lists what they feel are the "best" digital cameras by class. Go to either the compact or ultra compact groups:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

This website is really helpful, thanks!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline geegee

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2009, 12:02:03 am »
I bought an Olympus Stylus 850 SW specifically four bike touring because it can take a fair amount of abuse. It's waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof. The 8 megapixels is adequate, and the newer models go up to 12. The large screen is good for reviewing pictures and is bright enough that you'll overlook the lack of an optical viewfinder. I've had mine for a year and a half now, and I also take it on kayak tours. No problems so far.

http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1365

other models:
http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_digital_sw.asp


Offline DaveB

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2009, 12:45:28 pm »
The 8 megapixels is adequate, and the newer models go up to 12.
How fast we get spoiled.  It wasn't very long ago that professional level DSLR's didn't have 8 megapixels. I recall seeing a digital back for Hassleblad's that had 11 megapixels, was limited to an ISO of 50 and cost like a new car.  Now point-and-shoots have more. 

Unless you are making photo billboards, the huge megapixel count is irrelevant. 

Offline sedges

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 10:08:11 am »
If you are planning to camp a lot and may go for long stretches without a place to recharge batteries you should consider a camera the uses standard AA batteries.  It is easy to have several sets to recharge when you do have the opportunity.  You can also buy some alkalines in a pinch

Offline whittierider

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2009, 03:05:22 pm »
Quote
If you are planning to camp a lot and may go for long stretches without a place to recharge batteries you should consider a camera the uses standard AA batteries.
Ah yes, I forgot about that.  Very important.  I also don't want to own something whose specially shaped rechargeable battery may not be available in a few years when the original no longer holds a charge.

Offline cyclebum

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2009, 01:14:10 am »
I have an 560 and agree the images are a tad on the soft side. My daughter's very old 2 meg Canon made sharper, snappier pics but had a much better lens and cost nearly $500 in 2000.

I think the key is trying to find a point and shoot with an exceptional lens. The Leica on the referenced Panasonic has the reputation. Maybe they didn't compromise too much to put it on this cam. I'd order one off the net and compare the image with the Canon. If no better, send it back.

For the price, $106 at Amazon, the 560 is a good buy and travels well. I've had success with the Nikon Coolpix line also. But neither quite measure up to my daughter's old Canon for pic quality.


Offline jsieber

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2009, 11:45:48 am »
One thing to consider when you are comparing image quality between different cameras is the conditions that the photos are taken in. Many of the current point and shoot cameras can produce amazing images in the right conditions, usually lots of light and not too much drastic contrast, but when the conditions get difficult image quality can really degrade fast. Just something to keep in mind when comparing photos from one camera to the other.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2009, 11:20:12 pm »
I am considering a new camera for my upcoming tour. I have used a Cannon A560 (7 mega pixels) which is ok but I'd really like sharper pictures with more detail. I'm really not that into photography so spare me all the lingo - I'd just be interested in suggestions of a really good portable point and shoot (digital of course) that would be an improvement over what I have.

Then you cannot appreciate the information you've received so far. Rather like asking for "a recommendation for a touring bike but spare me the bike lingo."

"Sharper" pictures and "more" detail are wasted if you're going to email little jpegs from the road. You don't need 7mp. You only need about 1.5 but it's impossible to find a good low density camera these days. But it's the glass, not the mp of the sensor, that determines most performance characteristics. You don't want to pay for glass you can't appreciate but if you want glass: Panasonic and Leica.

Buy a camera based on how easily it works in full-auto, not your objective opinion of the image quality, since you don't really know or care how the thing works. Try to find a unit that has few options, few menus, and few modes.
Can you operate the buttons wearing bike gloves? Can you upload or offload the card while traveling at, say, a public library or coffee shop? Will it survive the rain, a drop, or a dip? Can you afford to lose it, have it stolen, or break it without getting all weirded out?
Make sure you purchase at least one spare battery, a good protective case, and a lanyard because you want to have it strapped to your hand or your bike or you will drop it and I've seen horrible wrecks caused by dopes trying to catch a camera.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline ricardodavis

Re: Best Camera for touring?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2009, 04:41:30 pm »