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Old Mar 26, 2006, 1:10 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I have finally decided to go to Peru this summer (in July) which leaves me 4 months to find the perfect digi cam for the trip. This will be my first "real" photo trip. I went to Mexico last summer and brought a very inexpensive Canon A310, fearing to loose/damage the camera. While it certainly took great pics for the price (in fact, awesome considering the 100 $ Can I paid for it) the toal absence of a zoom and the limited functionnalities were a little frustrating.

I plan on taking many more pictures on this summers trip and would like to buy a good camera. I currently own an old Olympus C700 which unfortunately is just not good enough for the trip (smartmedia size limit, purple fringing, battery life soso).

Considering that I will not have constant access to electricity, I guess that a cam with AA batteries would be better (let me know if I am wrong here).

I am completely torn apart between a compact cam or a bigger one with a massive zoom. Anybody here who travelled a lot who could help with this question ?

If bigger size doesnt really matter (and I plan on religiously carrying that cam with me at all time) then I guess the Canon S2 would be my better choice.

If I want to settle for smaller size factor, I have too many options and would need help with them. I have pretty much narrowed my choices down to :

Canon A520
Canon A610
Canon S80

All in very different price range, but I am willing to pay the price if it is worth it. I will be taking pictures of landscape, nature, architecture (potential macros of big furry spiders if I survive their encounter). I will travel both to the jungle and the higher altitude places (ie Machu Pichu, high in the mountains). I really care about :

-Picture quality (not mega pixel count but more in the color/absence of noise area)
-Presence of a good zoom (sub 4x is not enough)
-Energy efficient (will not have access to electricity often, minimal battery)
-Good video Mode
-

I don't care for extremely fast reaction times (except for focusing), RAW/exif format, super high MPix count, flash, useless funky feature..

What would be your best recommendation ? Should I be looking at other models ?

Thanks a lot,

Math
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 2:51 AM   #2
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Canon Powershot A610, A620 are all good. S2 IS is a bit on the heavy side to be carrying around all day, but its 12X Zoom and Vibrant Colours are exceptional.

Panasonic LZ series of cameras have good long zoom, but their noise levels are higher than average, which can be very annoying.






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Old Mar 26, 2006, 3:40 AM   #3
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Hi, Math.

If I were shopping for a camera for this kind of trip (low light jungle, brightly lit mountains, macro shots, landscape and distant objectsshots + good quality video clips + AA batteries + relatively compact camera) - I would be looking closely at (and in this order):

1) Fuji S5200/5600

2) Canon S2

3) Canon A610

This is just my personal opinion, and the first two cameras may be too bulky for you, but on this kind of trip you really need a good qualityrugged all-around camera to capture all those once-in-a-life-time opportunities, objects and places you are going to see and visit.

Still you will need a lot of storage space, at least two sets of high capacityNiMH batteries + charger, and a lot of ordinary AA batteries (just in case).

Just my $0.02

HTH
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 4:22 AM   #4
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Astralmind wrote:
Quote:
I will be taking pictures of landscape, nature, architecture (potential macros of big furry spiders if I survive their encounter). I will travel both to the jungle and the higher altitude places (ie Machu Pichu, high in the mountains). I really care about :

-Picture quality (not mega pixel count but more in the color/absence of noise area)
-Presence of a good zoom (sub 4x is not enough)
In your case I would definitely add real wide angle to requirements...
Long tele wouldn't be usefull in jungle (short visibility), and in higher altitudes targets are propably mostly big ones like landscapes, mountains and such where wide angle is very useful.
(other option for that is taking multiple narrower shots and combining those into panorama afterwards in computer)


And when it comes to bugs/spiders good tele macro is way more usefull than wide angle macro which requires pushing camera close to target shadowing target easily... and you propably won't like the idea of offering hand for spider to bite.


Considering colours you shouldn't look so much what camera produces at default settings, some cameras use hard "Disneyland" processing as default which increases saturation (and often contrast) quite heavily while in others for similar results you just increase saturation setting.


As for video modes make sure framerate for resolution you want is at least 25fps.


Considering power source AA-batteries are widely available so you can get those easily...
But on the other hand if you're going to be outside "civilization" you can't buy more those when you're running out of power and would have to carry extra batteries along you. And in that Li-Ions are better because of higher energy density per volume&weight.


algold wrote:
Quote:
NiCd batteries...
NiCds have low capacity...
NiMHs have about double capacity.
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 4:40 AM   #5
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E.T wrote:
Quote:
algold wrote:
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NiCd batteries...
NiCds have low capacity...
NiMHs have about double capacity.
You're correct for 100%. Corrected this in my post. Thanks for pointing out my typo.


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Old Mar 26, 2006, 9:51 AM   #6
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Astralmind-

NiMH batteries, for sureand the Canon S-2 as the first choice and the Fuji S-5200 as the second choice.

MT

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Old Mar 26, 2006, 11:43 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your quick replies. The Canon S2 was my original choice as it seems to be compact enough (VS lets say Fuji 5200) and truly is feature packed.

My major concern is about theft. A smaller cam that would fit in a pocket would probably much safer. This really is the only problem I have left. I'll have to take a closer look at the S2 to determine how easy it might be to conceal.

Anybody ever went to Peru (or similar locations) and carried around a bigger cam ? Since I really want to stick with AA batteries, would the A520 size difference really be that big ?


Thanks again.
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 2:40 PM   #8
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Astralmind wrote:
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My major concern is about theft.
Definitely don't use any camera case with a brand name on it, just get some ordinary and cheap looking small bag and cushion it unless you're keeping camera in your pockets.
I think also much would depend on from what kind trip you're going, especially in alone it could be really the best to hide camera as much as possible.
Also I would keep most of moneys and valuable items/documents in some bouch hidden under clothes (like some walla which can be left hanging from neck inside shirt/coat) and keep just little money in pockets when you're buying something in public place.

It's just about thinking how you would act as "in a boots" of that thief selecting most promising targets...



As to what I meant with that wide angle, this was taken at 28mm using 0.8x wide converter meaning ~22.5mm effective focal length:

That 36-38mm "wide" angle of super/ultrazooms is 1/3rd (and over in case of 38mm) narrower and lower...
One Kodak has 24mm wide angle which is about 5% narrower, then there's more cameras with 28mm wide angle which is 1/6th narrower.
Remember zoom is just the ratio of longest and shortest focal length.
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 3:08 PM   #9
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I have traveled 3 different times in Peru. I believe the idea of a non descript bag is the way to go. I carry my S-2 in my purse.

People there have a large amount of the native indian blood in their background, and many are quite poor, so theft is always a possibility.

MT

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Old Mar 26, 2006, 3:29 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tips. I think I'll carry the camera around in a waist pouch (generic low profile). I guess having it in front makes it harder to steal too.

I'll go for the S2 and a couple of NiMh batteries. As for memory cards, I'm still wondering how many/how big should I bring..

I've read so many horror stories about theft in Peru that I was kind of getting paranoid. I guess all I can do is be cautious and only take the camera out when necessary.
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