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Beginner photographer looking for a camera for travel and nature (mountains, fjords)
Hi all!.

I'm looking for a camera to suit my needs. I'm quite interested in photography, but never had the chance to buy a digicam previously. I'll be going backpacking in a few months' time, and would like to have a good camera to capture the sights along the way..

In particular, I'm looking for something that's good with night shots, and can get the vibrancy of the scenery. Also, a good amount of zoom will be good, since I'll be going to the outdoors, e.g. the Scottish highlands and the Norwegian fjords. As for cost, ideally below US$200, though I'll pay up to US$250 for a better one..

I was looking at the Panasonic Lumix LZ7, which offers 6x optical zoom. I've heard a bit about it being very noisy, so is that a valid concern? Canon's A720 was another alternative, but it's about 33% more costly where I'm from. The A570 is alright too, except for the 4x zoom which I'm afraid may disappoint..

Would love to hear any other recommendations you guys may have!..

Comments (12)

If you're planning on visiting the Fjords (they're huge!) you'll almost certainly benefit from a camera with a lens that offers a wide angle of 28mm equivalent. 35mm is usually insufficent for landscapes. Your budget limits you for cameras with a viewfinder (always so much easier to use in bright light), so maybe the Pansonic Tz3 is what you'd enjoy. You could also see if you could still get a little Canon Powershot Sd800IS - that's very neat, has 28mm lens and has a viewfinder too..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #1

Frennek wrote:.

Hi all!.

I'm looking for a camera to suit my needs. I'm quite interested inphotography, but never had the chance to buy a digicam previously.I'll be going backpacking in a few months' time, and would like tohave a good camera to capture the sights along the way..

Hi,So the first question is "have you experience of film?"....

In particular, I'm looking for something that's good with nightshots, and can get the vibrancy of the scenery. Also, a good amountof zoom will be good, since I'll be going to the outdoors, e.g. theScottish highlands and the Norwegian fjords. As for cost, ideallybelow US$200, though I'll pay up to US$250 for a better one..

Hmmm, I don't know the answer to this as you have asked for a good amount of zoom and I'd say that, for a travel camera, _enough_ zoom is what you want as zoom add to the weight, size and cost if a good quality one is needed..

Better to get a good quality lens (these might be once in a life-time pictures) but not more than needed. The classic film outfit was a prime lens of 35 mm and a portrait lens of 85 or 90 mm. These days - of course - a zoom covering 35 to 85 would do the trick but people prefer more wide angle and so perhaps 28 to 85 would be nice. My view is that 28 introduces distortion and so somewhere between 28 and 35 as a wide angle is OK..

Even so, starting at 28 or 30 and getting a x3 or x3 zoom will do the trick. Get one with a fast lens if possible..

I was looking at the Panasonic Lumix LZ7, which offers 6x opticalzoom. I've heard a bit about it being very noisy, so is that a validconcern? Canon's A720 was another alternative, but it's about 33%more costly where I'm from. The A570 is alright too, except for the4x zoom which I'm afraid may disappoint..

Noise comes along and raises it's ugly head as the "natural" sensitivity of the CCD is amplified and the noise gets boosted. Usually a tiny amount is there but not noticed. If you/we are looking at a tourists' camera then summer use means you can shoot away at ISO 80 or 100 and get superb pictures without noise. Even 200 ISO but I'm old fashioned and think 100 for summer, 200 autumn and spring and 400 (perhaps) in winter..

Being lazy, I've not looked these cameras up in the database but I'd urge you to get one with an optical view-finder. Cameras that rely on a screen at the back for a view-finder act like mirrors in sunlight and so you see your face in them when you ought to be composing the shot of lifetime. OK, someone will point out that they only give 95% or so of the true view but that's better in practice than the shaving mirror version..

BTW, you'll find Canon often do cameras that meet this spec. (especially about the view-finder). But I do like the Panasonic/Leica ones....

I think, btw, that you are right to look at a compact as they can be carried in your pocket, even during a night's drinking. And people don't seem to mind little cameras being used to take pictures in pubs and so on..

BTW (3), if you go to the north of Scotland, go to Ullapool and get on a boat trip to the Summer Isles. On the way out and back you'll see the mountains from sea level. Go in the late afternoon as the sun will then be in the right position for perfection..

Regards, David..

Comment #2

Frennek wrote:.

Hi all!.

I'm looking for a camera to suit my needs. I'm quite interested inphotography, but never had the chance to buy a digicam previously.I'll be going backpacking in a few months' time, and would like tohave a good camera to capture the sights along the way..

As you are an enthusiast, consider cameras which offer manual modes like A/S priority..

In particular, I'm looking for something that's good with nightshots, and can get the vibrancy of the scenery. Also, a good amountof zoom will be good, since I'll be going to the outdoors, e.g. theScottish highlands and the Norwegian fjords. As for cost, ideallybelow US$200, though I'll pay up to US$250 for a better one..

At that price, Canon A720, or SX100IS..

I was looking at the Panasonic Lumix LZ7, which offers 6x opticalzoom. I've heard a bit about it being very noisy, so is that a validconcern? Canon's A720 was another alternative, but it's about 33%more costly where I'm from. The A570 is alright too, except for the4x zoom which I'm afraid may disappoint..

Canon cameras perform relatively better at higher ISOs (less offensive noise reduction and better compression). Lenses are good too. So SX100IS, A720, A570. You may also check if S3IS is available. It is outdated now but has nice 12x zoom (& swivel LCD) and might be available cheap.Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #3

How much of a difference does a 28mm lens make compared to a 35mm one? it seems rather difficult to get many 28mm lenses that are also compact enough to bring around for backpacking..

I was looking at the TZ3 too! as for the SD800 IS, the zoom is relatively little, no?..

Comment #4

I'll have to admit, i've not had any experience on film.. i've always been more of a point-and-shoot kinda guy, especially since all I had was my mom's grubby camera..

I understand that wide-angle's better for landscape, but then more zoom sounds good too, unfortunately there aren't many devices that have a good compromise of both! also regarding viewfinders: Panasonic seems to have cut it out off most models...

You're right about my need for a compact camera. lugging one around practically paints a target on my back for muggers! also a larger one doesn't seem as nice in a club/bar..

Noted about Scotland! ..

Comment #5

As mentioned, the A720's one of my shortlisted candidates! will just have to research more to see if I want more zoom or wide angle. tough choice! I don't want to be regretting months down the road after I had the journey of a lifetime!..

Comment #6

Frennek wrote:.

How much of a difference does a 28mm lens make compared to a 35mmone? it seems rather difficult to get many 28mm lenses that are alsocompact enough to bring around for backpacking.>>.

Well yes, that's the problem. Manufacturers know that landscapes need 28mm and the deliberately leave it at 35 max so that you'll eventually get disappointed and buy a DSLR!.

As an example of 35mm not being enough: I remember seeing Olympus ads featuring one of their compacts with 28mm with a picture of Ayres Rock (Uluru, Australia) being cut off at either end as it would be with 35mm from the permitted viewing point. So why not walk back further I thought at the time. And sure enough when I went there myself with a s400 and had to stay within the viewing area ....

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

35mm was NOT enough and I had to combine 2 shots into a panorama..

I was looking at the TZ3 too! as for the SD800 IS, the zoom isrelatively little, no?>>.

You won't be needing a long zoom at night indoors will you? I doubt if it would be stable enough in a club either..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #7

Get a camera that is somewhat impervious to dampness, One that has good body resistance to moisture is the Pentax. And always always cary a shower cap in your camera case. They are not expensice. This goes over the camera when it starts to rain. There are special camera shroudes to protect the body and lens. But a clear plastic bag is a lot cheeper.

These are expensive. I have been as far north in Scotland as you can go and the shower cap helped me bring home some good images and a still working camera. The northern part of Scotland is equal to Lenengrad. You can get Pentax lenses from years back that are good and not that expensive. Granted not all of the features work but there is always a work around.

BS= f/16 at 1/ISO for bright sun setting. Learn to read the light and photography will be more fun...

Comment #8

Hi,.

Do they really have mountains in Leningrad?.

Regards, David..

Comment #9

Frennek wrote:.

I was looking at the TZ3 too!.

The TZ3 (and it's predecessor, the TZ1) have impressively low geometric distortion and chromatic aberrations (see reviews at Popular Photography and Camera Labs). The only things I dislike about my TZ1 are the inability to separate the saturation and sharpness controls (they are tied together in a single "picture adjust" setting on the TZ1, and in the "color mode" setting for the TZ3; I prefer the "natural" setting for saturation, but that also reduces sharpness) and the lack of a user-adjustable contrast setting (its contrast is higher than I'd like, but tastes vary)..

Another type of camera to consider is a shirt-pocketable waterproof model like the Pentax W30. It can't match the TZ3's zoom range, image stabilization, or freedom from distortion and chromatic aberration, but it can ride in a shirt pocket in a downpour without worries and has great flexibility of control over image parameters (my W20 has become my most-used digital camera)...

Comment #10

John farrar wrote:.

Well yes, that's the problem. Manufacturers know that landscapes need28mm and the deliberately leave it at 35 max so that you'lleventually get disappointed and buy a DSLR!.

This is really a matter of personal preference. Some people like taking wide angle shots and some don't..

Clearly the reason why most P&S cameras don't do 28mm is because it adds somewhat to the price and weight of the camera, and it means less zoom at the telephoto end which most consumers seem to get more excited about..

Generally it requires more skill and photographic knowledge to know what to do with 28mm, and and because P&S cameras are generally marketed to less skilled photographers, there's another reason why they usually don't go wider than 35mm. P&S cameras are most commonly used to photograph people, and people don't look very good when photographed at 28mm..

Panasonic, however, has several camera models that do 28mm..

Big Mikehttp://www.bigmikephotoblog.com..

Comment #11

There's another reason why they usually don't go wider than 35mm. P&S cameras are most commonly used to photograph people, and people don't look very good when photographed at 28mm.>>.

That is quite true... most people do not appreciate being photographed to look like "Pinnochio." Nevertheless, the Original Poster mentioned landscapes as one of the intended uses of the camera and, whilst they can be shot at virtually any focal length, a wide angle lens is a good idea for tourist venues especially in cities where photographers cannot distance themselves suffoiciently from the subject matter..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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