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11. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 7y

And then do a similar photo comparison indoors, and you will know immediately.
DSLRs have much larger sensors, which means that every photo cell on that sensor is much larger (they're absolutely tiny in compact cameras, and are crammed in like there's no tomorrow), and doesn't need its light sensitivity to be cranked up to ridiculous heights. That in turn means that you get a much smoother and noise-free result even under difficult circumstances. Compact cameras are basically worthless at ISO 400 sensitivity and above (either the noise gets too bad, or much more common, the software running in-camera is worse and totally destroys all detail in the photo in an effort to keep noise under control), while the current generation of DSLRs think nothing of it to take photos at ISO 800 or 1600 and will give very acceptable results even at the most basic entry level.
Another area where DSLRs absolutely excel is in their speed of operation, as well as in the speed and accuracy of the focusing system. If you're on a ferry somewhere in French Polynesia and suddenly a pod of dolphins comes leap out of the water next to you, you basically have zero chance to record the moment in a useful way with you compact camera: you press the shutter, and then it takes a full second for the photo to be taken. If you're tracking a bird in flight, or want to focus accurately on a small detail in a busy scene, a compact camera is just worthless junk.
I also love my DSLR for the much wider range of control options it gives without me needing to take my eye away from the lens. I can change iso, white balance, focusing settings, etc, etc all on touch. Sure, it takes a lot of use of a camera before you'll know what setting to change when, but when you do, it changes the game. On most compact cameras, you'd need to go laboriously dig through five levels of menus in order to change most such settings (if you can do it at all), and the moment for which you'd wanted to change them will have long since gone by the time you do.

Anyway, that all is pretty much beside the point for the original question.
webber91: That Fuji Finepix S8000fd is a decent camera with very impressive zoom which you'll find reasonably useful because of the camera's image stabilization, however, it especially suffers from several of the limitations which I mentioned above, namely the focus system having a lot of trouble finding what to focus on when you're zoomed in all the way, or when there's not all that much light (like indoors). Battery life isn't very good (another common problem with compact cameras), it's not very useful in low light, and the photos produced by the camera have an "over-processed" look about them. (Note, I don't have personal experience with this camera, so I'm just selecting the most important positive and negative points from the dpreview.com conclusion about this camera. Read the entire article there if you want to learn more about this all.)

If you buy this camera, I don't think you'd regret it, but you will sooner or later run into its limitations.

The alternative I'd recommend you to look at would be the Nikon D40, which is the smallest, cheapest and 'easiest' entry-level DSLR around. It should be only a couple of dozen pounds more expensive (look around), is slightly larger, but not so much that that should be a reason not to get it (126 x 94 x 64 mm versus 111 x 78 x 79 mm), and has basically the same weight. If you get it with the near-standard 18-55 + 55-200 VR lenses (every single camera store should be able to sell you a good-priced package with that lens combination), or perhaps a (more expensive, but more useful since you won't need to change lenses) 18-200 "superzoom", you have basically the same zoom capabilities as on the Fuji (slightly less zoom, but giving much better results, so that's a tradeoff I'd personally take in a heartbeat), combined with all the benefits of having a DSLR.

Of course, as with anything, you get out what you put into it. If that's going to be just "snapping pictures" then you probably would be better off with the Fuji. But if you're willing to experiment and learn and grow with the camera, then the Nikon is a camera which will last you much longer, growing with you, and where you can opt to upgrade either the lenses or the camera body, without invalidating the money you put into the other part.

(Full disclosure: I'm on my second Nikon DSLR, the D200 (upgraded to this from a D70), and as such am much more familiar with Nikon cameras than with the alternatives from other brands. I think there's no discussion though that Canon's most basic entry-level DSLR, the 1000D, is quite a bit more expensive than the D40, and thus makes far less sense as an alternative to the Fuji from the original question. (Plus of course, if you're going up in entry-level camera quality, then this should properly be a comparison between the Nikon D90 and the Canon 450D anyway.))

[ Edit: Edited on 10-May-2009, at 11:14 by Sander ]

12. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Done the indoor comparison thing. No difference at all - and a saving of 90%.

13. Posted by boulderman (Respected Member 418 posts) 7y

Redpaddy, your off the radar for posts in 30 days!

The other guy is now "inactive"?

Anyway, I had a Panasonic camcorder (brand new smallest one for $600 for 8 months abroad. Then I used a few years old Finepix. I LOVE Finepix. Only 2mp but it has a resolution = to twice that cos their processors are so good.

I know have an 8mp Finepix :)

Pictures are awesome :)

Been in mags :)

14. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Quoting Redpaddy

I challenge anyone to take a picture of (say) a tree with a D-SLR, from 500 yards away, then do the same shot from 10 feet - and say which shot was taken with which camera.

You can't !?!?

The easiest way is to set both the DSLR and compact at ISO800, longish exposure, low light, and a tripod.
Then take a look at the JPG's (RAW includes post processing which doesn't give you a fair comparison) close
up on your monitor. You'll see the difference. Depending on the particular conditions and cameras you'll
see different things. But it's clear that a DSLR will give you a cleaner image. But what's "cleaner" anyway ?...

The different camera manufacturers all have slight differences in colour balance and image quality. I don't
know of anyone who can tell you exactly which shot is taken with which camera model. But different
manufacturers look different. That's the digital world, the film world is different and there's differences in
rolls of film, or method of development that a trained eye can detect.

Having said that, I've taken shots in the above test conditions and liked the point and shoot results.
I always hate answering questions about which is the "best" camera for something. There's properties of
each type of technology best suited for each particular thing you want to do with it. My advice is to think about
what you want it to do and then choose the technology.

15. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

I think the point is.... And unlike others, I don't post insults - it's quite obvious here, that we have quite a few years photography experience between us. I just cannot see D-SLR's creating a much better result, considering they're still so incredibly heavy compared to the very last roll film SLR's and digi-compacts - and cost around 10 times more. I've done the comparisons too, for a couple of years now - and penny for penny, the high mpix compacts are still much better value for money, compared to D-SLR's, when you weigh up the tiny bit more that D-SLR's actually have to offer.
Yesterday, I was working over in Northern Ireland and last night I drove up to North Antrim - and took some photos of The Giant's Causeway just before sunset. A Hasselblad would have struggled to get better shots - and probably costs 50 times as much (if not - more) as my Olympus compact.
Next patient please!!

16. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Quoting Redpaddy

I think the point is.... And unlike others, I don't post insults - it's quite obvious here, that we have quite a few years photography experience between us. I just cannot see D-SLR's creating a much better result, considering they're still so incredibly heavy compared to the very last roll film SLR's and digi-compacts - and cost around 10 times more.

Don't worry. I understand your point completely. That's why I pay several hundred dollars more for optical stabilization lenses. It makes the whole kit lighter, faster to setup, and easier to handle. Just don't get stuck on lighter = always better either. There is a quality difference between the types.

DSLR's don't "make" a better image. I just finished looking at a set of car photos an old friend of mine took (with a DSLR and flash/umbrella kit). They suck in my opinion. The problem isn't the kit. It's the fact that he didn't plan the shoot. He took some pictures, but nothing that would make a magazine (which is what he was asked to do). Anyway, I'm not going to tell him what he needs.

I shoot birds and I shoot dancers. You CAN'T shoot either subject with a compact. But honestly, I went through eastern europe and France with a little Canon point and shoot and got some of my best pic's. It's the skill of the photographer that makes the best shots. Each type of technology has it's good points and bad points. Learning to exploit each point is what "makes" a better picture.

17. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Post #16#Q'.... Good Post all round. Dancers and birds, plus if you like fast cars and low flying aircraft - a D-SLR, purely for the "10 frames a second" thing. Otherwise for the price, they just ain't worth the extra dough. I've never said that compacts are better than D-SLR's, as some Posts have pretty much accused me of doing - it's simply that the difference in price for so little more, is verging on scandalous - in my opinion. Plus, I'm sure you'd agree, if you've a 10 mpix compact and D-SLR and the compact was able to do a close-up at 10 frames a second, it would be very difficult to pick out which shot was taken with which camera. Even the manufacturers admit to that.

18. Posted by s96024 (Full Member 106 posts) 7y

All I am going to say is people should do there own reasearch and make their own comparisons to decide what camera they need/want. Don't just assume everything you read in forums is correct.

19. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Sure, people should do their own research - but there is a point here, that when someone asks for a bit of advice, it's nice to tell them what you know from experience and how much money can be saved for other vital bits of holiday kit.

20. Posted by webber91 (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

Hey guys,
You've all been amazing with the replies I've got here, and I wanted to thankyou all for your input.

I have a few friends with SLR's, there incredible camera's and the photo's are crystal clear, but my mini-dv cam seems to be good enough, it just takes up alot of space on my hard drive uploading that's the only problem!

The real question is what's the best way to remember those great places and people? Photo's or video? You can't stick your videos up on your walls and doors but having said that you can't go into the photo and hear their voice or see the sun-setting can you huh!!?? ;)

Who knows, I'm still torn half and half!! :)