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Thread: Anyone bought a 'travel' compact camera lately?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Anyone bought a 'travel' compact camera lately?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am about to buy a compact digital camera to use for holiday/travel.
    I am only interested in 'flat' cameras less than 30mm thick (so genuinely pocket-able)
    It must have X20 optical zoom and cost less than $400.
    Optional manual control is preferred to automatic only. Must have WiFi.

    After a very considerable amount of research on the net I have narrowed it down to:
    Nikon Coolpix S9500. (no manual control)
    Panasonic Lumix TZ40. ( + manual control)
    (not interested in the Sony Cyber-shot WX300 which is a great little camera but too small for me)

    I was all set to buy the Canon Powershot SX280 HS but have been frightened off by the large number of complaints on the net about an inherent program fault in relation to a false 'low battery' warning that shuts the camera down, and the alleged failure (or inconsistency) of the factory 'fix'. Interestingly, none of the many site reviews I read mentioned this.

    I am interested in the experiences of anyone who has recently bought any of these 3 cameras, and in any alternatives that strictly match the requirements mentioned above.
    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Could I suggest the Canon s120? Compact with manual control options that can be allocated to control rings around the lens and on the back.

    Apparently has wifi. Only 5x optical zoom though, but one can always take some steps forward or back as required...

    I have its great grandfather and grandfather, the Canon s90 and s95 respectively. Great compact cameras.

    Sniff
    Last edited by SniffCoffee; 9th March 2014 at 04:29 PM. Reason: typos

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    G'Day Rocky,

    Of the camera's you mention my choice would be the Panasonic Lumix TZ40, loaded with features and the Panasonic Lumix range have an excellent reputation.

    My wife and I both use Nikon DSLR's and lean toward the brand name, however I don't believe the Nikon Coolpix or Canon Powershot range even comes close to the Lumix.

    Good luck with your choice.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    FujiFilm and Olympus also make some very decent compact digital cameras, and are well worth a look...

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Member Burnsy's Avatar
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    Have you looked at gopro units? Can do stills, movies and underwater. Pretty versatile for traveling.

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    Hi Rocky,
    I bought a Panasonic Lumix TZ 40 a year ago and couldn't be happier. Brilliant little camera with super sharp images
    The best price I found in Rockvegas was JB HiFi and they were good to deal with
    I would buy again tomorrow
    Cheers
    Dr Dave

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    The Lumix range are noted for excellent lens's.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Hi Guys, thanks for all the good suggestions.
    Sniff - The camera this is replacing is an older Olympus compact with a X10 zoom. Just couldn't live with less zoom.
    Yelta - I have an affection for Nikon and would have liked to buy the S9500 but the Lumix just seems superior to it.
    When I buy a new DSLR it will be a Nikon.
    Dimal - You are right, the choice in compacts is stupifying. The Fuji F770 EXR was a hot contender but at 36mm just a bit too thick for my pocket and the reviews say image quality is behind the rivals. Makes for a very hard decision however as Harvey N has them on special for $225. which is a real bargain
    DD- JB HiFi has the Lumix for $345. at present and this is looking like the GO as the reviews (incl. yours) seem to say it does everything well.

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    I have had 2 TZ40's over the years, one got stolen in Barcelona in 08, and went straight back out and bought another one loved it as a travel camera.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skippy View Post
    one got stolen in Barcelona in 08,
    Obviously a highly desirable camera and a discerning thief.

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    Bear in mind a 20x optical zoom will need a tripod to be useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    Bear in mind a 20x optical zoom will need a tripod to be useful.
    Not arguing against the use of a tripod if circumstances permit, but I used a Lumix FZ150 handheld at full extension of its 24 times optical zoom to photograph a university rowing competition and the results were very acceptable. I used high shutter speeds and image stabilization was on. I have also used it for photographing birds. There are a wide variety of photographic possibilities for ultra-zoom cameras which don't require a tripod.

    Best wishes, Russell

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    BTW I know it's expensive, but I'd be looking at the FZ200. Constant aperture f2.8 in an ultra-zoom is just amazing.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellm View Post
    BTW I know it's expensive, but I'd be looking at the FZ200.
    It can be purchased for less than $400 at a couple of places... Might be a bit big though

    Mal.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellm View Post
    Not arguing against the use of a tripod if circumstances permit, but I used a Lumix FZ150 handheld at full extension of its 24 times optical zoom to photograph a university rowing competition and the results were very acceptable. I used high shutter speeds and image stabilization was on. I have also used it for photographing birds. There are a wide variety of photographic possibilities for ultra-zoom cameras which don't require a tripod.

    Best wishes, Russell
    Well said Russell, there are many ways to stabilize a long lens, if you don't have steady hands, using any solid object available will help enormously, door frame, car, tree, fence and if you have space a telescopic mono-pod works very well.

    It all comes down to getting to know your camera.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellm View Post
    Not arguing against the use of a tripod if circumstances permit, but I used
    Yep no doubt it's achieveable in certain circumstances without a tripod , especially if you have a surface like a wall etc you can make use of.

    I was more suggesting a bit of expectation management. Many users think they can zoom in indefinitely with a handheld camera and expect perfect pictures.

    In reality this is difficult. Even more so in poor light.

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    Good point! I think the very lightness of these cameras make handholding difficult for the uninitiated.

    Best wishes, Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    Many users think they can zoom in indefinitely with a handheld camera and expect perfect pictures.

    In reality this is difficult. Even more so in poor light.
    Sometimes you can fluke it, especially if you hold the camera gently rather than try to keep it still by holding it in a 'death grip'. I took a pretty decent picture of the towers of the Bolte Bridge, at night, looking straight up, catching birds wheeling about the floodlit towers and appearing as circling streaks of light. My father-in-law scanned it and posted it on an online hobby photography forum he belonged to. A few people commented that it was was a tiny bit blurred, since you could see a slight shadow where the towers moved a tiny bit in the frame during the exposure. But they stopped criticising when he pointed out it was a 20 second exposure, hand held......

  19. #19
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Points about the 'shake' at max zoom noted. Probably wouldn't use max much but good to have, shake notwithstanding.
    It will get on to a tripod if used around home but obviously not for travel.
    I do find a lot of this class of compact are fine in terms of thickness/weight but could be a bit bigger in dimensions so you can get a decent grip on them.
    It is hard to find anywhere to put your fingers that isn't over something - flash/buttons etc.
    My ideal would be something the size of one of the bigger smartphones with all the Lumix features and the big zoom. Not going to happen soon I guess.
    Oh - I bought the Lumix - currently working my way through the 300 page manual on the DVD.
    Disappointed to find that the NFC doesn't work with my ipad.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    G"Day Rocky, so you finally pulled the trigger, my feeling is that you won't regret going with the Lumix., guess time will tell.

    We do of course expect to see a few trial shots posted in the not too distant future

    300 page manual eh! all in English?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    A week around Sydney provided some opportunities to try out the Lumix.
    Strengths: generally good results on full auto. Compensates well for poor light and camera shake.
    Weaknesses: Every camera needs a viewfinder. not much body to grip. 300 page CD manual is crap.
    I am struggling to learn to use it with manual settings as the camera manual simply doesnt mention a whole lot of stuff. (like dealing with backlit subjects)
    These manuals never seem like they are written by people whose first language is English. They are certainly not written for the uninitiated.
    I am very happy with the camera which was comfortably accommodated in my shirt pocket the whole time and wasn't heavy.
    A couple of photos.





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