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Old Sep 4, 2007, 10:32 PM   #1
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I've spoken to a couple of people about a camera specifically while I'm traveling and they've suggested that I get a camera with good wide angle lens. How can I determine if a camera has "good wide angle lens"? What specification should I be looking for?

Do you have any other suggestions for a camera suitable for travel?

I'm looking to spend anywhere from $200-$400, maybe even a little more if that's what it costs to get what I'm looking for.

I've also thought about a waterproof case because I intend on going on some extreme trips that include not necessairly underwater activities but activities like whitewater rafting and kayaking. I briefly browsed through the ones available on Amazon.com and they seem to cost somewhere in the $100 range. Is it worth the investment?

Appreciate your help.
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Old Sep 4, 2007, 10:41 PM   #2
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Easton wrote:
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I've spoken to a couple of people about a camera specifically while I'm traveling and they've suggested that I get a camera with good wide angle lens. How can I determine if a camera has "good wide angle lens"? What specification should I be looking for?
Most digital cameras have zoom lenses whose shortest focal length gives a view equivalent to that of a 35mm lens on a 35mm film camera, or an angle of view of about 62 degrees. Many people find that this just isn't enough, especially for indoor shots, landscapes, and large group photos.

Some digital cameras have lenses that can provide a view of up to 74 degrees, or equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm film camera.

Conversely, cameras that provide a wider view often don't provide much mangnification when you want to take a photo of something far away.

If you think you might want a wider view, you should be looking for a digicam with the shortest focal length equivalent to 28mm instead of 35mm.
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 12:42 PM   #3
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From among Steve's 'The Best Cameras', these cameras have wide angle lenses wider than 35mm equivalent:

10-12X Optical "Super" Zoom
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd


There are others, no doubt, but only the FujiFilm S6000 appears on Steve's Best list.
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 2:50 PM   #4
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Easton wrote:
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I've spoken to a couple of people about a camera specifically while I'm traveling and they've suggested that I get a camera with good wide angle lens. How can I determine if a camera has "good wide angle lens"? What specification should I be looking for?

Do you have any other suggestions for a camera suitable for travel?

I'm looking to spend anywhere from $200-$400, maybe even a little more if that's what it costs to get what I'm looking for.

I've also thought about a waterproof case because I intend on going on some extreme trips that include not necessairly underwater activities but activities like whitewater rafting and kayaking. I briefly browsed through the ones available on Amazon.com and they seem to cost somewhere in the $100 range. Is it worth the investment?

Appreciate your help.
At the top of your pricelimit, the Canon SD800is would be a good choice, with it's 28-105 lens. The Panasonic LX2, with about the same range is another good option, and also offers RAW capture, but will cost a little more. Panasonic has also just put out the FX100, atiny camera with great specs and a 28mm lens. It or the SD800is would be your two smallest choices.The Panasonic TZ3 has a 28-280mm zoom but, while a point & shoot, you need to put a little post processing into the files to get the best results. If you are not into that type stuff, I wouldn't get the TZ3....I've already seen too many complaints about it for that very reason. I have one and like it, but we'll leave that story there.

28mm is definitely a better option than 35mm in terms of coverage. Depending on where you travel, even 28mm can be restricting and I hate doing stitched shots...I'd much rather shoot something I can later print on standard paper and actually be able to see the detail.
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 7:56 PM   #5
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Let me raise a contrary voice to those you have heard so far. I think that, fora fixed-lens camera, the reach is massively more important than the wide angle end -- especially for a travel camera. You will often want to pull in details, like the gargoyles on Notre Dame. You will often want to catch the locals going about their business without thinking about you taking their picture. Reach is what you need for both of these. Let me give you another example. The attached image was taken from the Albayzin in Grenada. The shot that I was interested in is inside the red box. This image was taken at 36mm equivalent.
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 8:02 PM   #6
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Now, the attached image is the one that I wanted to take. It was from the same spot, using 432mm equivalent. The point is that reach is always important. The remaining question is why all these SLR folks insist that you need at least 24mm wide angle, and fixed lens folks neither have nor miss that. The reason is this: SLRs have a 16:9 aspect ratio and fixed lens cameras have a 4:3 aspect ratio. The plain fact is that you can't frame a decent wide-angle shot in 4:3. You almost always end up with too much sky for the landscape or something similar. The letterbox that SLR folks are used to shooting in cries out for a wide angle lens to get the shot they see. Fixed lens cameras with their squarer images need to stitch together a panorama to make a decent letter box. So don't worry about not having enough wide angle if you get a fixed lens camera (unless it has a 16:9 aspect ratio) -- worry about getting enough reach.


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Old Sep 5, 2007, 8:43 PM   #7
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Appreciate everyone's thoughtful advice.

It's gonna be a tough choice to make with so many cameras to choose from.
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 9:04 PM   #8
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I think TCav made a pretty good suggestion in the S6000...it has a lens range of 28-300mm, so you can have both wide angle, and telephoto capabilities. As far as the white water rafting, go for the waterproof case.

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Old Sep 5, 2007, 10:06 PM   #9
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rinniethehun wrote:
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I think TCav made a pretty good suggestion in the S6000...
I didn't actually recommend the S6000. I was just going throught the list of Steve's Best to find ones that went wider than 35mm (equivalent) and was disappointed to see that the S6000 was the only one. Perhaps Steve hasn't updated the list in a while, or maybe the digicams that go that wide have something else going on that Steve doesn't like which keeps them off the list.

I'm not actually a P&S kind of guy. I will leave it to someone else to go through all Steve's reviews.
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 10:36 AM   #10
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I have no idea how the reviews will work out, but the new Panasonic FZ18 will give you both the wide angle and long reach. As will the Fuji S8000. The Panasonic will likely have the better electronic viewfinder and possibly a better lens. The Fuji will probably have better in-camera noise reduction. I would wait for some good reviews and for the prices to come down.

DSLRs are 3:2. 16:9 is a HDTV format available in some current non-DSLR cameras. Many people get their prints in a 3:2 format even with photos taken with a 4:3 camera.

If you hold a 4:3 camera vertically (portrait) and grab three panorama shots you can stitch a 38mm (eq) lens to around 27mm in a 4:3 format. Wider if you print 3:2. It works out to be a good alternative for most situations if you don't have to fiddle with the camera. You also get more pixels if you want to make a large print. Waves don't line up and crowds can be problematic, but it works great for most scenery.

Prices seem to have gone up on the S6000 since it was discontinued. I think everyone saw what happened with the F31 and have decided to sell their remaining cameras at a premium. Seems they were a hundred bucks less just a month or so ago.

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