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Need camera recommendations...
I posted this to another site but haven't received much in the way of responses, so I'm reposting it here.. I hope you don't mind..

I'm going to be studying abroad in Chile this September (through December) and I'd like to take a camera along with me to document my trip. I don't have a camera right now, so obviously I'll need to get one. Any recommendations you guys can make would be awesome..

Budget.

I've got a lot of money saved up for this trip, some of which I will use for a camera. I wouldn't like to spend more than 300-400 on the camera, but if you really think I should, I may be able to swing something..

Size.

Size isn't particularly important, though because I will be spending some of my time backpacking (Inca Trail) smaller would be better. No large format cameras on this trip.

Features.

The more megapixels, the better. I'll likely be looking at these photos for the rest of my life, showing them to my (potential) children, etc., so image quality is an utmost priority. As far as optical zoom is concerned, I don't need anything too fancy.. the standard 3x-4x will be fine..

Do you care for manual controls?.

They'd be a nice addition, but not worth going out of my price range for..

General Usage.

The primary purpose of this camera will be to document my trip, taking photos of myself, my traveling companions, the people I meet in Chile, my host family, etc.. I'll also be using it to take photos of the scenery, so things like the Andes, Machu Picchu, the Atacama desert, Easter Island, and so on. I won't be using it for professional-looking portraits or high-end macro photography, though I may dabble in both if the camera has appropriate settings..

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?.

Most likely, yes..

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?.

I may, though they will not be common..

Miscellaneous.

Are there particular brands you like or hate?.

I'm open to everything..

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD).

I would love to have image stabilization. I've seen how it improves picture quality and I think it is almost a necessity. The rest, not as important...

Comments (14)

Try this link for a few...May be a review here on a few of them..

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.aspPeter .

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

Enjoy your photography images, even if your wife doesn't ! ;-(http://laurence-photography.com/http://www.pbase.com/peterarbib/Cameras in profile...

Comment #1

Do you mean by 'large format' camera one of those big heavy pro cameras that take rolls of film and need to be put on a tripod? If by 'large format' you mean 35mm sensor then you're still left with the APS-C sensor equipped DSLRs or something from the Olympus 4:3 range..

If you don't want one of these because it might mean carrying additional lenses, then there is the Fuji s100FS which is built like a DSLR but with a very useful non-detachable zoom lens attached. If that's still too big then your best bet will be a Canon G9 compact. Smaller or less-well-specified than that I wouldn't go for a trip of a lifetime..

It will rain on your trip and there will be heat/cold/mud/dust etc. If you go for a DSLR them go for one that is weather-sealed even if it is bigger. (Pentax/Olumpus). You could fit an 18-250mm zoom if you wish to only have the one lens. Nikon do a very good one, and Tamron make one that fits on other cameras, though not Olympus..

Edit: Just seen your price update. If that's the limit then be sure to get a compact with a viewfinder. Canon G9 ideally, sd870 with useful wide angle lens, or one of the Canon A Series..

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

Comment #2

Ok if we're talking dollars - and I assume it's US dollars (if it isn't, we're in trouble) then you are pretty well limited to a compact - but that's no bad thing. You don't want to be lugging heavy bodies and lenses around Chile. If OIS is important (and personally I don't think it is) then I would go for a Panasonic with a Leica lens. I think they are quality cameras. You say 3-4x zoom is sufficient, so something like a DMC-FX35K - nice wide lens, plenty of pixels, easy to use..

Spend some cash on at least one spare battery, a good fitting case, and my personal preference is for at least a couple of memory cards (say 2 or 3 x 2GB) rather than one huge one - spread the eggs around .

Spolky..

Comment #3

John farrar wrote:.

Edit: Just seen your price update. If that's the limit then be sureto get a compact with a viewfinder. Canon G9 ideally, sd870 withuseful wide angle lens, or one of the Canon A Series..

I agree. For the trip of a lifetime-First choice- Canon G9Second choice- Canon a650Other choices- Canon sd870, Panasonic TZ5..

Comment #4

The "large format" comment was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, though I admit it may not have come off in such a manner. And by large format I was indeed referring to the large-scale, tripod-required cameras, not 35mm..

I was looking at the G9, actually.. it seems like it could be a good fit, though it is a little out of my budget (though, like I said, I can go over if I need to). I've heard the Canon SD950 IS is similar to the G9, just cheaper - what do you think about that?..

Comment #5

Do you have any recommendations for memory cards? Or is that one of those things that doesn't really matter unless I'm doing high-end photography?..

Comment #6

I like CF because they are big (in GB) fast and pretty robust. Saying that, I haven't found a problem with any other type lol ... my new Sony uses MS Pro Duo and that card is fast. I wouldn't choose a camera based purely on the card..

As regards make .. I try to use Sandisk cos I know they are good. Other people will prob tell you different.spolky..

Comment #7

Mattsesar wrote:.

I was looking at the G9, actually.. it seems like it could be a goodfit, though it is a little out of my budget (though, like I said, Ican go over if I need to). I've heard the Canon SD950 IS is similarto the G9, just cheaper - what do you think about that?.

I think the a650 is a closer match than the sd950. Occasionally people refer to the a650 is a "little" G9. It has the same lens and sensor as the g9. The sd950 does not have manual exposure controls. I like the sd950 and just recently bought this for my sister. But if you're going to go with an sd I'd recommend the sd870 because of the wide angle lens..

As far as memory cards I've always used SanDisk Ultra II and I've found them to be very reliable. (I shop at Costco and this is what they carry.)..

Comment #8

Canon 300, 350, 400, 450D I guess would all be contenders..

I own 350 & 400 but have seen brilliant shots with the 300 and these must be dirt cheap now..

For simple, fast effective point and shoot - I used a Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z1, tinyish, light, great glass and fun - also cheap..

Just my personal choice...

Comment #9

Agood condition G6 or G7 can be bought for relatively little.You may also like to look at the Bridge cameras with their superzooms.Enjoy your trip.PJT..

Comment #10

Mattsesar wrote:.

I posted this to another site but haven't received much in the way ofresponses, so I'm reposting it here.. I hope you don't mind..

I'm going to be studying abroad in Chile this September (throughDecember) and I'd like to take a camera along with me to document mytrip. I don't have a camera right now, so obviously I'll need to getone. Any recommendations you guys can make would be awesome..

Budget.

I've got a lot of money saved up for this trip, some of which I willuse for a camera. I wouldn't like to spend more than 300-400 on thecamera, but if you really think I should, I may be able to swingsomething..

Well, for $300-$400 you are talking a P&S (point and shoot) camera..

Size.

Size isn't particularly important, though because I will be spendingsome of my time backpacking (Inca Trail) smaller would be better. Nolarge format cameras on this trip.

Most Point and shoots are from the size of a deck of cards to almost the size of a Large Tums bottle..

Features.

The more megapixels, the better. I'll likely be looking at thesephotos for the rest of my life, showing them to my (potential)children, etc., so image quality is an utmost priority. As far asoptical zoom is concerned, I don't need anything too fancy.. thestandard 3x-4x will be fine. Do you care for manual controls?They'd be a nice addition, but not worth going out of my price rangefor..

Well, any of the basic $200-$300 point and shoots (P&S) will do all of the above and generally do not have manual controls..

General Usage.

The primary purpose of this camera will be to document my trip,taking photos of myself, my traveling companions, the people I meetin Chile, my host family, etc.. I'll also be using it to take photosof the scenery, so things like the Andes, Machu Picchu, the Atacamadesert, Easter Island, and so on. I won't be using it forprofessional-looking portraits or high-end macro photography, though.

I may dabble in both if the camera has appropriate settings.> Will you be >shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? Most likely, yes. Will you be >shooting sports and/or action photos? I may, though they will not be common..

Well, then I think you will have to spend a little more money..

Here's a cheap but 'good' camera. Small and fairly useable images..

Http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/.../digital/m/62773063/st=product/sv=title/.

Little bit better...Nikon...8 megapixel....

Http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/.../digital/m/63316293/st=product/sv=title/.

Fuji Finepix...back to 7.1 megapixel but has 10x zoom.

Http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/.../digital/m/34785292/st=product/sv=title/.

Panasonic Lumix...9 megapixel...10x zoom.....

Http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/.../digital/m/61608606/st=product/sv=title/.

Everything else is gonna be along these lines....BUT.....

Here's a good one and it's close to your budget...it has image stabilization !!.

Http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/.../digital/m/37893051/st=product/sv=title/.

Miscellaneous.

Are there particular brands you like or hate?.

I'm open to everything..

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features?(Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD).

I would love to have image stabilization. I've seen how it improvespicture quality and I think it is almost a necessity. The rest, notas important..

Jay.

'Look kid, I'll give you $5 to shut-up and smile'..

Comment #11

If you buy online check out buydig.com (or Beach Camera, same company). They seem to have the lowest prices and I have found them to be a very reliable company to deal with...

Comment #12

People are always asking for recommendations and advise on purchasing cameras, and for the most part get good advise. BUT because you're going on an important trip, and maybe once in a lifetime?! I would suggest taking some of the recommendations people have made and go to a local camera strore and see how the camera(s) feel in your hands. I don't mean a Best Buy or Circuit City. Most good reputable camera stores will let you take some test shots in the store with the cameras you're looking at. Take a few memory cards with you, try the cameras out, go home down load the images and see what you like. The bottom line is don't make your purchase based upon what people say here in the forum, but rather what you like from testing..

All the features, bells and whistles won't make a differnce if it doesn't feel comfortable and right in your hands..

Yes P/S cameras have made great strides, can take very good images, but what do you want the camera to do? A good point was made about rain, but what about humidity and heat? What about dirt and/or sand? My sister-in-law took the easy way out purchased the cheapest P/S, got to her destination, took about a dozen photos and the zoom function on the camera locked up and she was without a camera for the rest of her trip. I was out of the country at the time, and she made her decisions based upon our local "department store" recommendation. She saved $50.00 in initial camera cost, but the cost in lost photos, ...priceless..

So, I would find something that feels good in my hands, has most of the features that I want and buy that, plus I would consider a back-up for that "just in case"!.

You never know when Murphy is going to raise it's ugly head..

By the way, Canon, Nikon and Fuji all make good cameras. Good Luck...

Comment #13

You can't have all this. You basically want a DSLR with a couple of lenses. You can afford - a compact..

I'd suggest you look at :.

Canon A720 ISPanasonic TZ5Canon S5.

More megapixels are NOT generally better. If you choose like that you'll end up with lousy photos to look at for the rest of your life..

I'd suggest the A720 was the ideal for a backpacker. It pretty much does everything as well as you can in a compact. Zoom is a good range and quality is fine. Get a gorillapod - it's a little, lightweight tripod like thing - it's useful for timed exposures, like night shots and shooting yourself. Note the weight limitation for the gorillapod - another reason I tend to recommend the A720..

TZ5 is you absolutely must have a big zoom ( why ? ). I'm not a great fan of big zooms on compacts. I think using them gets old very quickly..

Canon S5 is you want something a bit bigger to use with a bigger zoom than the A720..

Get two moderately sized memory cards ( like 2Gb each ). Get a discrete belt pouch with a zipper and a couple of small compartments if you get the A720. Get at least four rechargeable NiMh batteries ( 2 in use, 2 spare ), rated for 2500 mAh at least. Get a small charger and travel adapter ( if you don't already have one )..

Spend some time to learn to use whatever you've got If your time is short at least experiment with the scene modes to see what they do ( don't just read - try )..

StephenG.

Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #14

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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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