Advice on New Camera for Travel
I'm leaving for Asia for the next two years and am looking to get a new digital camera before I leave. I am really looking for something more compact that I can take with me where ever I go to take pictures of both people and scenery/landscapes..

So, I'm basically thinking that a p&s would be fine for me, but I don't know which to choose. The few that I have been looking at are the Canon PowerShot SD950 IS, Pentax Optio A40, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX500. Would one of those be best? Or, am I looking at the wrong ones?.


Comments (10)

Those use dedicated rechargable batteries. Some folks would prefer AA batts for extended travel. Here are links to more threads on camera selection for travel -.



Kelly Cook..

Comment #1

I've travelled quite a bit with both compact and DSLR cameras and I found there were a few things I thought about when making a decision..

1. What is your budget - prepare to spend a bit more to get a camera with good features and good quality images..

2. Don't get too carried away with pixels on a compact - those small sensors will do fine with 6-7mp unless you want to cover a wall with your photo..

3. Get a decent zoom - at least 10x. Travelling presents you with all sorts of opportunites and an optical zoom beats a digital zoom everytime for image quality.4. Image stabilisation of some description - you'll need it for the zoom.

5. Look at the brand of lens - e.g. some Pany's have a leica lens which is good, but others (I think their 6x but don't quote me) has a generic lens, not so good..

6. Think about how much you actually want to be carrying around with you - I'm not talking about recharging equipment, but the size of the camera bag you want to take out with you each day. Do you want it to be able to fit in your pocket on a night out?.

7. how does the autofocus respond at the long end of the zoom - some of the longer zoom cameras really struggle with auto focus when fully zoomed.8. how does the autofocus respond in lower lighting conditions.

9. think about the sorts of photos you like to take and then try and see how the camera would respond in that situation - eg. close ups, low light, night shots, sports. Of course, that depends on the store you go into to test it out - if they're in the middle of a shopping centre, low light could be difficult to duplicate..

These are just my own considerations and obviously not everyone will agree on their validity or importance..

The biggest tip I would give you is to do some kind of photography course to get to know your camera and it's abilities and limitations BEFORE you go anywhere. There are all sorts you can go even with a compact camera that will open up a whole new world..

Have fabulous trip! Don't ever leave your camera behind - that's usually when the best opportunities present themselves!.

Cheers Olivia'If you don't know where you are going, any road will lead you there.'..

Comment #2

Monmswm wrote:.

I'm leaving for Asia for the next two years and am looking to get anew digital camera before I leave. I am really looking for somethingmore compact that I can take with me where ever I go to take picturesof both people and scenery/landscapes.So, I'm basically thinking that a p&s would be fine for me, but Idon't know which to choose..

Right. An ultra-compact would be great convenience..

The few that I have been looking at arethe Canon PowerShot SD950 IS, Pentax Optio A40, and the PanasonicLumix DMC-FX500. Would one of those be best? Or, am I looking atthe wrong ones?.

The best ones. FX500 is my choice for A/S/M modes, NR control and wide angle lens. An extra battery is essential. However you may like to Consider SX100IS for it's zoom range, controls and ability to use AA batteries. Nikon L series (e.g. L15) also use AA batt while keeping size pocket friendly.Best Wishes, Ajay for your time...

Comment #3

I don't know anything about the Panasonic FX500 or the other cameras you listed. However, I have used two other Panasonics that I think you should consider:.

1. The Panasonic TZ5 (I have it's predecessor, the TZ3) is a great travel camera with a Leica 28-280mm zoom. It's not a ultracompact camera but it nicely fits in a small pouch on my belt. I hardly notice it's there. It takes very good pictures, is easy to operate, but does not have special controls for shutter/aperture..

2. The Panasonic FZ18 (I bought one for a family member. They love it.) is larger than the TZ5. The FZ18 looks like a small DSLR, but weighs less than a pound. It has an incredible 28-504mm Leica zoom lens. It has simple automatic mode but also has many advanced functions that one finds on much larger and more expensive DSLRs..

If you are going to spend most of your time in populated areas, you really don't have to worry about recharging your batteries. Just make sure you carry an extra battery so you don't miss any shots..

However, if you are going to spend extended periods of time in remote areas without easy access to electricity, I would NOT suggest the TZ5 because you always have to use the LCD and this uses up battery power relatively quickly. (This is also probably true of the FX500.).

Because the FZ18 has a small Electronic View Finder (EVF), you can switch off the LCD and use only the EVF which conserves battery power. Even with the FZ18, if you take hundreds of pictures and you can't recharge you batteries (including a spare) at least once a week, you probably should only consider cameras that use regular disposable batteries..

Good luck ....

- Simon.


Comment #4

Two years is pretty much the lifetime of a compact camera so perhaps you should check that whatever you do buy can be serviced under the manufacturer's warranty in whichever country you're in..

Whether you're travelling around or staying in one place, the alternative - having to send the camera back to it's country of purchase - could be a real pain!.

Asia's an awfully big place, with a whole range of climate zones, but do you need consider weatherproofing? If nothing else there's the beach and swimming to bear in mind - let alone monsoons etc..


Peter - on the green island of Ischia

Comment #5

I've been budgeting about $250-400 for the new camera, and I'm trying to stay in that range. That said, a camera toward the lower end/bottom of the price range that works really well for my purposes would be great..

I had been wanting a camera that I could take everywhere with me, so I don't really want to go larger than the Panasonic TZ5, which is already a little large. The more slim Panasonic FX500 and the Canon SD950 would fit well in my pocket when I go out at night, but I am willing to go as large the TZ5..

I've been looking at more reviews, and the Pentax doesn't look like it's the best option, while the Canon and the Panasonics look much better for my purposes..

I'm going to be going to China mostly, living in Shenzhen with opportunities to charge the camera frequently, so the ion batteries don't really bother me. Having AA/AAA batteries would be nice, but not necessary..

That said, I am having trouble deciding between the three, and some reviews point to using the FX35/FX50 of Panasonic instead of the 500, but I am leaning more toward the TZ5 or the SD950. Thoughts?..

Comment #6

I have a TZ3, the predecessor to the TZ5. I can't comment on the other cameras you are looking at, but I can say something about the TZ series in general..

1. Definitely get a camera that has a wideangle lens, like the TZ5's 28mm. It's great for landscapes, architecture (inside and outside of buildings). The TZ5's 280mm telephoto is also very useful for getting close to situations in which you don't want to be too obvious as a photographer..

2. I agree you don't need a camera that uses AA batteries. If you get the TZ5 (or any camera that requires you to use the LCD display to take a picture) make sure you carry an extra battery. If you are taking pictures in bright sunlight you'll probably turn on the LCD power boost which uses the battery more rapidly..

3. Your pocket is typically not the best place to carry a camera. A pocket exposes the camera to damage (no padding, possible unprotected accidental falls, etc.) and often lint/dust. I would recommend a small pouch. Once you put the camera in a pouch you'll find that the TZ5 "package" really isn't much bigger than a smaller camera with a smaller pouch. I have a Lowepro Ridge 30.

I carry the pouch on my belt and I hardly notice that it's there. It also would fit into a jacket pocket or a purse (if you're a gal?). With the pouch, it would not fit into most pockets..

4. Get at least 4GB SDHC card and a card reader for each transfer to your computer..

Lastly, have a great time in China! It's a very dynamic and interesting country. It's a great place to take pictures..

Good luck ....

- Simon.


Comment #7

Scphoto wrote:.

4. Get at least 4GB SDHC card and a card reader for each transfer toyour computer..

I meant to type "for easy transfer". Unfortunately my fingers weren't properly communicating with my brain and I wrote "for each transfer"..

Sorry ....



Comment #8

Asia's an awfully big place, with a whole range of climate zones, butdo you need consider weatherproofing? If nothing else there's thebeach and swimming to bear in mind - let alone monsoons etc..

Zip-lock bags work great!..

Comment #9

For the clubbing scene I would get a Sony. But W-series versus T-series is a tough call for this..


Comment #10

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