Looking at Compact Travel Cameras

Discussion in 'Photography' started by jasn, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    My wife and I are planning some nice hiking trips this Winter (Phoenix) and Spring (Azores). Having finally gotten around to printing a bunch of smartphone photos (Galaxy S8) from our 2-week England visit last year I am convinced I would be happier with results from a dedicated, compact, travel camera. No DSLR for me.

    Scouring the camera review sites and Amazon I've pretty much convinced myself on the Panasonic Lumix ZS200. It has a 1" MOS sensor; pocket size factor; ridiculous optical zoom range of 24-360mm; decent EVF; built-in (fill-in) flash; 4K video and...a not-the-best F-stop range of 3.3-64. :(

    I've looked very hard at the latest, competing Sony RX100 VII, but the $500 price difference is out of line. Other competitors didn't seem to stack up as well either.

    I was comfortable with my choice until...I came across an old thread that CJ suggested a Four Thirds Sensor Panasonic Lumix LX100 compact travel camera. Much less on the zoom, a tad bigger/heavier, but a much faster F1.7-2.4 lens. All stop...need to look into this as well.

    Any thoughts out there...?
     
  2. Phil Rose

    Phil Rose Active Member

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    I had the original RX100 and now have the RX100-VI. The original was excellent and the MkVI is even better with the viewfinder and longer lens.

    I got the MkVI for my wife when we went to Africa while I took my larger cameras. She got some really great shots and I’ve taken it on several hiking trips. I love the pop up view finder the most since it’s very hard to see the display for composing a shot in direct sunlight. The controls are all there but not as accessible as those of a full sized camera. That said, I tend to shoot in A priority and I can access the aperture from the dial around the lens easily. I don’t tend to shoot telephoto much but, having the reach of the lens is nice in a pinch. If you don’t need the reach the MkV may be a better fit since it has 24-70 (equivalent) f1.8-2.8 lens and a built in ND filter which is useful for video (which I seldom shoot).

    Output from the camera is VERY good. I use Lightroom which supports RAW and lens profiles for the camera and gives you a lot of latitude with what you can do. I’ve noticed that the AWB tends to be a bit on the cool side but can easily be modified with the temperature slider or, by selecting a different balance in-camera.

    Extremely capable camera with excellent output that fits in your pocket. That said, most any modern camera will satisfy so, you can’t go wrong.
     
  3. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Thx Phil. I'm not all that sold on the extra Tele length of the ZS200, but other features are pretty deep. In the past I would have been. I'm thinking over time I may be happier with a faster lens and a tilting screen?

    What camera do you mean when saying MkVI?
     
  4. Phil Rose

    Phil Rose Active Member

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    MkVI = RX100-VI

    Take a look at the RX100-V. It’s quite a bit less expensive than the RX100-VII which you may find more appealing.

    Also, a good resource for reviews is DPreview.com
     
  5. John Celardo

    John Celardo Bronze Member Donor

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    Jim, I have a Lumix DMC-FZ200 that I've carried on all of our trips. It's much bigger than the ZS200, but it has a viewfinder, which I need with my shakes. It's a great camera. The ZS200 should be even better, and it's compact. I'ts a bit pricey though.
     
  6. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Thanks John. Yes, the ZS200 is in the top tier for a compact travel camera but still way below the prices that Sony is asking for their similar models. I'm prepared to invest upfront to get the latest features and delay (inevitable) obsolescence for a bit longer. I like your camera format as well, having owned much earlier Panni super zoom several years ago. I am looking for an even smaller form factor that will give me more reasons to carry it along, keep it in my hands as I travel and come home with more pictures.

    In my typical fashion I've been drinking from the interweb firehose looking at reviews, comparisons and forum feedback. @Phil Rose is correct, DPreview.com is a great resource. The forums are chock full of users debating over what matters most (and least) and whose preferred camera achieves their goals. Fortunately, I know enough about photography to follow along. My concerns about the slower lens on the ZS200 (F3.3 vs F2.8 for others in the 1" sensor category) are somewhat reduced, enough so that I anticipate not having buyers remorse over the potential loss of some future low-light shots if I do choose the ZS200. Again, I read about and saw great shots online that show the 1/2 stop difference to be not so pronounced.

    As I initially said my intended usage will be outdoor travelling and hikes. For landscapes the top compact travel cameras all seem very closely matched performance-wise. Handling and operating features are playing a heavy role in my choice as well to improve the experience and encourage more photos.
     
  7. John Celardo

    John Celardo Bronze Member Donor

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    I didn't look at the Sony from your link. Twelve hundred bucks, YIKES! I've had my Lumix for almost 5 years, and it was a little over $300 back then. It's been trouble-free, and gives me very sharp images. The ZS200 has a viewfinder, which is nice, but I'll stick with mine for a while.
     
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  8. Phil Rose

    Phil Rose Active Member

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    Like John, my 2007 12MP camera takes wonderful pictures. I’ve gotten some really good pictures from my old iPhone 5S. Just buy a waterproof LUMIX and call it good! Great little cameras and cheap. All the stuff that you seem to be worrying about is marketing. Just get something and take pictures!!! ENJOY!!!
     
  9. Mike B

    Mike B Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    I have a Sony DSC HX90V and like it a lot. I think the Lumix is even better. I'm never going to have a big camera either at home or with me. These little super zooms do an excellent job and fit in a pocket. For me this is the line. If it won't fit in my pocket it's too big.
     
  10. Phil Rose

    Phil Rose Active Member

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  11. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Thx @Phil Rose. Will give it a read this weekend.
     
  12. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Ahem... I continued to read about this camera format, how I intend to use it for travel (mostly wide landscapes and indoors) and recalling my past experience of actually not relying on a superzoom. I came >< close to buying the the Sony RX100-MkVII, but instead opted for the newest model Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II. Just came in today and I'm looking forward to spending time with it.

    Thanks for the feedback y'all...
    3578685934.jpg
     
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  13. Carl V

    Carl V Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Hmmm, interesting. Go out this weekend and shot with it! Report back. Many of us live vicariously thru your experiences. Then of course where do you really intend to use this in the near future?
     
  14. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Thx @Carl V. I'm off to hike in AZ again next month and the Azores in May. Results on an England trip last year using only my smartphone left me wanting for a bit more control. I'm hoping this new camera will offer that without having to carry a full-sized rig.

    I'll give this little guy a go this weekend if the weather cooperates and post a shot or two.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020

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