Which ultra compact camera for vacation?
Hi all!.

Im some kind of a noob with all this camera-stuff. Januaray till April I am travelling to Thailand and Malaysia for trekking, diving and relaxing. For that purpose I need a good digital camera for about $400-500..

I have looked at Canon EOS-400D but that is way over the budget and it is too unhandy when you should "backpack". Though I am fascinating of the picture quality of the camera. It is just amazing..

My girlfriend has a Sony T10 which is nice small and also takes good picture (in my opinion) and another friend has a Sony W80, which also seems nice..

My needs for the camera is that it should be very small / be handy, take good pictures and it should be possible to buy a waterproof house for it when I am going for diving..

Some candidates I have looked at is the Sony W200 or another Sony from the T-serie..

Do you have some suggestions what to buy?.

Thanks a lot..

RegardsKevin from Denmark..

Comments (11)

For travel a wide angle ( 28mm equivalent) is rather impotant, a long tele woudl be nice....

I would look at:.

Ricoh R7 ( or the older R3/r4/r6 but not r5)This is the smallest camera around with a 28-200 travel zoom, it has is as wel...

Panasonics tz2 or tz3.

For more control and wideangle ( but less zoom and more money)Ricoh GX100.

If you don't care for 28mm:Canon a720IS ( or 710is)Canon a650Canon G9 or G7.



Comment #1

Look at the Oly 770 sw. It's shock proof from 5 ft. Its waterproof to 33ft and it will take picutes that are as good as any other ultra compact..

MaddogOlympus E-500, Olympus E-510..

Comment #2

Canon SD870IS. Or another Canon SD model. Canon makes waterproof housings for them...

Comment #3

Thanks for the answers. The Ricoh R7 looks interesting. I didnt consider that it could be nice with a good travel zoom. I have read a review about the R7 where it gets the score "highly recommended" but I think the sample pictures look a bit noisy, when you look at the pictures in full size compared to fx. Canon Ixus 950IS. What do you think about this "noise" in R7 and what do you think about Ixus 950 if you dont mind that it doesnt have travel zoom..

The Panasonic TZ3 and Canon G9 etc are all too big.Im planning to visit a shop today where they have all the recommended cameras...

Comment #4

What do youthink about this "noise" in R7 and what do you think about Ixus 950if you dont mind that it doesnt have travel zoom..

You forgot an extremly important and subjective point: ergonomics..

Go in a shop and try the camera in your hand. E.g. I liked the ixus 850 on paper, but I just could not stand the way it handled. But only YOU can decide what feels right in your hands..


Ricoh is know for it's light handed approach to noise reduction, others go more for an aquarell smear out effect (esp. Panasonics), it comes down to a question of taste..

How are you goind to use the pictures ? Prints? screen? compare it on this level as well, as 100% viewing can become quite misleading..

Ricohs have a slightly cold whitebalance (e.g. strongish blue, where Canon is a bit on the redish side), again a question of taste ( and monitor and printer settings)..

The ixus 950 .. it has a bigger sensor than the ixus 8**, but loses the advantage of this by cramming in more pixels... Personally I woudl not spend more money on a 9** over a 8** ixus. Some of the 8** come with a 28mm equivalent, which is tempting: you can alway crop, but never add area of the picture never recorded....

I think you can not go wring with either of the choices, better invest you time in taking pictures then contemplating choices....

Good luck.


Comment #5

Yeah, no doubt that no matter which of the cameras I buy, I would most likelybe satisfied, but when you spend money it would be nice to have the most value for the money .

My dad has an old ixus 50 and that takes satisfiying pictures and I think the technology has evolved to the better since that camera what bought..

The pictures from my coming vacation I would sure print but no bigger than 15x10cm and else I would just look at the pictures on my monitor...

Comment #6

I have just encountered another problem, which is that it doesnt seems that anyone produces marine cases for the Ricoh R7. Those made for the earlier models seems only to be waterproof for max 10m..

In Thailand I have signed up for a liveaboard trip for 4-5 days. It is possible to rent a camera for diving for $25 per day, but when the trip is over it could be nice to take more pictures when I am going for diving on my own..

So it seems to be a choice between nice zoom but no diving pictures vs. reduced zoom but diving pictures are possible...

Comment #7

So it seems to be a choice between nice zoom but no diving picturesvs. reduced zoom but diving pictures are possible..

Ahhhhhh, the photographer's dilemma. Unfortunately, you pretty much hit it on the head. If you want to dive deep, you're going to be restricted to a camera that has an established housing (SD series) or something like the Olympus 790. If you want the zoom, it's Ricoh R7 time. If it's any consolation, you are far from the first person who has been caught by this kind of thing......

Comment #8

Well, I dropped by a shop where they supposed to have the Ricoh and the other recommended cameras, but they did only have the Panasonic TZ3 and Ixus. I had removed the TZ3 from my list of interest cause of it's size, but when I saw it in reality it didnt felt big. The man definitely recommended me the TZ3 and said that I could not get a better camera for that price (probably the usually sale-talk). I went home and made some more research about the TZ3 and really like the sample pictures and the bonus is, that it is also possible to get a marine case for it, though it is quite expensive..

What would you say if I go with a TZ3?.

How many pictures would you think I could store on a 2gb mem card? abot 400-500?.

And the last thing, would you advice me to buy the marine case via the Internet when I am still home in Denmark and take it with me to the East, or should I count on it being cheaper and buy it when I am in Thailand or Malaysia?..

Comment #9

Just a thought, if you're going to be diving, you may run into situations in which your camera will have to perform under some difficult low-light conditions. Therefore you may want to consider a compact camera that performs "well" in low-light..

FujiFilm FinePix F20/F30/F31fd are probably the best compact P&S cameras for low-light performance, followed by the F40fd. They all have FujiFilm-branded underwater housings (sold seperately)..

But before you choose a camera to use, you may want to go to your nearest electronics store to try them out first before finalizing your decision. The F30/F31fd are very hard to find now (either brand new or refurbished) since they were very popular models and have been discontinued, but you're lucky you can find one on ebay or other retail websites for a REASONABLE price. I've still seen a couple sellers sell the F20 brand new online (like Amazon Marketplace) for around ~$160. And the F40fd is still pretty widely available for ~$187..

EDIT: I also almost forgot that if you're diving and plan to be down there for a while, you may want a camera with LONG BATTERY LIFE as well. IMO, the F30/F31fd has the BEST battery life I've seen from a compact P&S camera. It's not uncommon to go 600+ shots before having to recharge. Someone in the FujiFilm forum got 1500+ shots (many without flash) before having to recharge!.


Comment #10

I would second Chokaay's advise about the fuji F series cameras. I have an F10 and used it snorkeling last year. The camera's low light capability made it ideal for diving/snorkeling IMO. I took all my photos at 400 to 800 iso, no flash and felt like I got some good shots..

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

The F20/30/30fd/40 would likely perform better than my F10, and the underwater housings that Fuji sells are very nice..

Good luck!..

Comment #11

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