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Old Jan 9, 2006, 2:44 PM   #1
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Hi!

I don't have much knowledgde about digital camera's, so I thought it would be a good idea to ask you for advice.

I'm going to Australia for four months (I live in the Netherlands). You'll understand I want to take as much picutes as possible to impress family and friends with my little adventure.

I'm looking for a good digital camera, but I have no clue about what would be a good camera for this purpose.

My first question is battery life. A battery pack seams to be a good option, but you need at least two of them and there has to be a power source to recharge them.
'Normal' batteries are also an option, but this seems expensive to me. The big plus of batteries is that you can buy them everywhere. I prefer battery packs, but I don't know or this is a good idea for a traveller (of course I still want to use the camera when I'm back home for normal purposes).

The second question is optical zoom. 3x zoom seems to be the standard for a compact camera. Is this enough for normal photography? Or do you recommend a camera with more zoom? And the resolution of the images? 6 megapixels? or more?

I saw the Olympus Stylus 600/800, which is an 'all-weather' camera. Is this a good idea? Are there more cameras like these two?

I hope you can help me!
Thanks,

Atje
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Old Jan 9, 2006, 4:19 PM   #2
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http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/fz5.html

Hi,

Well, to get you started, you might want to look at this one. Crisp photos, image stabilization, 12X optical zoom and very compact, thus easy to travel with.

Suggestions would include an extra battery pack and a larger memory card, 1GB at least.

Have fun making your choice, there are many good cameras in the 5MP range that take excellent pictures. This is just one of them. Read the review, go out and look at one, hold it, look at it, and ask a lot of questions.

This camera came out early in 2005 and can be found on sale I imagine.


Best of luck and happy trecking down under.

Dan







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Old Jan 9, 2006, 5:06 PM   #3
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I think what you are looking for is too broard. You said you want a good travel camera, you will likely get ten different recommendations from 10 people.

Can you narrow down what your specific needs are?

1. Size => ultracompact to fit in small pocket, compact, or dSLR style where you need a separate camera bag?

2. zoom => for indoor 3x is plenty and for outdoor, landscape is fine as well. You may need more zoom for close up if you go to shows or concerts.

3. do you need good low-light performance, if not, you have many more choices.

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Old Jan 9, 2006, 5:38 PM   #4
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You sound like you will be in the wilderness away from an electrical outlet for long periods. Your best bet for that would probably be to get a camera that takes AA batteries. Get a charger if it doesn't come with one and spare NiMH batteries. They take a lot more pictures than alkalines and are more economic in the long run. Spares are cheap and the chargers usually come with 4 batteries. So you start out with a spare set if the camera takes only 2. Spare aftermarket lithium batteries are pretty cheap over here if the camera you want takes them. Electronics have gotten to the point where a proprietary lithium battery will take hundreds of shots with most cameras. Imaging Resource always includes good battery tests in their reviews. Get something with good battery life in any case. I don't think you will need a battery pack unless you have gobs of storage for the images.

Your biggest problem will be storage if you aren't planning to take a laptop or data storage device. With many cameras you can drop a notch in JPG quality without a very noticeable hit in the images. I would shoot at full resolution though in case you get a shot you want blown up for your wall. Delete bad or redundant photos as you go to make more room. A 2 Gig card will hold lots of pictures.

A 5Mp camera will make a decent A3 or 11 X 14 if you don't have to crop. More pixels give better large prints and give you more leeway for cropping. But more pixels take more room on your memory card.

If the camera you get doesn't have wide angle capability, practice taking panoramas with the camera held vertically. You can get the same 4:3 ratio image with a 38mm lens that you could get with a 28mm and have more pixels. It doesn't work for situations with crowds because you can end up with the same people in different places or have problems stitching through someone moving. It also doesn't work for water with large waves because you can see the stitch where the waves don't line up. But it works for probably 90% of scenery and with a little practice you can grab a pano almost as fast as a single shot. Most cameras fix all of the shooting parameters with the first shot if you use continuous mode where you just hold the shutter down. Burst is too fast on most cameras, but continuous works fine and having all of the shots with the same exposure and WB makes stitching easier.

If you want something you can slip into a pocket you are generally limited in zoom. The Nikon S4 is tiny with a 10X zoom, but the reviewers weren't crazy about it. The biggest limitation to me would be that it has no optical viewfinder and the LCD is hard to see in sunlight. Another small camera without a viewfinder is the Panasonic LZ2 with a 6X zoom and image stabilization. The FZ5 suggested is probably your best bet if it isn't too large for you. You can't slip it into your pocket, but it is a nice camera otherwise and reasonably priced. Optical stabilization is a very desirable feature in a long zoom camera. It is also very handy in limited light at wide angle.

If I had a friend traveling who wanted a tiny camera I would recommend they look at the new Sony T9. It is stabilized and has better than average high ISO capability to boot. It would be a versatile camera if you don't need over 3X zoom and don't require manual controls. It doesn't have an optical viewfinder but the LCD is above average in resolution, quality and the ability to see it in both bright and dim light. It gets around 240 shots on a charge, which is pretty good unless you will be away from an outlet for very long periods.

Waterproof is nice if you will be out in the rain and can't protect the camera. A plastic bag usually works though unless you want to shoot in the rain.

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Old Jan 10, 2006, 1:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies.

The FZ5 looks like a nice camera, but I prefer an ultra-compact one. The LZ2 which slipe mentions looks like a nice little device. It uses batteries (and 200 pics with a pair of AA batteries is more than ok) , has a 6x optical zoom and it small.

Within a day or two I'll go to town to look for some camera's, keeping the LZ2 in mind. I'll keep you in touch!
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Old Jan 10, 2006, 6:31 PM   #6
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when are you travelling? Looks like the upgrade to this product range is released in March. Hence you will soon get better deals or the new camera may be much better. Just a thought.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/pa...z3-lz5_pr.html
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Old Jan 11, 2006, 3:47 AM   #7
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Hi Atje

For the 4 months you will be here in Australia do not worry about storage of your shots as all along the coast from Perth-Cairns via Adelaide,Melbourne,Sydney and Brisbane there are hundreds of stores that will burn your shots to CD/DVD and I can't imagine where you would be going that will not have electricity when you overnight to recharge your battery.

Even here in Townsville (pop: 120,000) there would be 10-15 places where you could get disc's burnt.

Hope this helps

Regards from Tropical North Queensland.

PS:If your aircraft comes via Hong Kong or Singaporethere are great camera shops at bothairports.



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Old Jan 11, 2006, 7:45 AM   #8
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March is too late, my flight is in february. So waiting for the new versions is not an option.

Wirraway, thanks for your advice. I fly via Singapore, but I can only get out of the airplane on my way home. So I have to buy my camera here or in Sydney, but I prefer to buy it here.

I saw the PANASONIC Lumix DMC-LX1. It's a whole different price class ($600, I wanted something around $400), but it seems a great camera and a good investment to me. Is this camera worth the investment? 8.4mp sounds great, just as the idea of 16:9 photos.

Other nice camerasare the Nikon Coolpix L1 and the Sony DSC-T9. How do these compare to the other camera's mentioned in this thread? Are the panasonic camera's better because of their image stabilisation?
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Old Jan 11, 2006, 8:05 AM   #9
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Your plane will have to refuel in Singapore which will take a least an hour, very rarely they would not disembark the Pax as the aircraft is usually cleaned as well, also a crew change, the airside you would go to has camera shops as well as bars and other duty free, maybe Amsterdam airport also has duty free camera shops, ring your airline and check about Singapore.

Regarding camera choice take a look at the Fuji F11/F10 which is within your budget, great for low light shots as well, when you have finished your trip ebay it here in Australia and pick up the latest and greatest in Singapore in May/June on the way home, good luck with your purchase.



Cheers

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Old Jan 11, 2006, 9:28 AM   #10
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Atje wrote:
Quote:
The LZ2 which slipe mentions looks like a nice little device. It uses batteries (and 200 pics with a pair of AA batteries is more than ok) , has a 6x optical zoom and it small.
Ricoh Caplio R3 is one of the rare compacts compacts with good wide angle and longer zoom. (28-200mm)
But apparently because of size constrains there's some compromises in it.
http://www.trustedreviews.com/article.aspx?art=2050

Also Ricoh has just released other model (which is apparently meant as cheaper alternative) with little shorter (150mm) tele end.
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0601/06011001ricohr30.asp

Australia should have some nice landscapes so with better wide angle there's less stitching.



fishguy wrote:
If that's compact I'm the King of Finland!
Ultracompacts are those very small and slim cameras fitting to small pocket, then there's compacts which fit easily to ordinary sized pocket. Now this one is already so big that it would fit only to bigger pocket, to top of that it has protruding lens.


slipe wrote:
Quote:
Most cameras fix all of the shooting parameters with the first shot if you use continuous mode where you just hold the shutter down.* Burst is too fast on most cameras, but continuous works fine and having all of the shots with the same exposure and WB makes stitching easier.
If you mean using continuous mode and keeping shutter pressed while panning it would require very good timing (unless camera's vision of continuos mode is one shot every couple second) or then fast shutter time to prevent blurring which would be big disadvantage in worse lightning than normal daylight.
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