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Camera Advice RTW Trip

Travel Forums Travel Photography Camera Advice RTW Trip

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1. Posted by AcrossTheGlobe (Budding Member, 27 posts) 21 Nov '11 11:33

Hello again! I plan on taking a bunch of great photos as I travel along and need some help from you experienced photography gurus. My trip will be that of a bag packer style with lots of hiking, staying at hostels / couch surfing, etc. So obviously I'm not taking pictures for National Geographic or anything, but seeing everything that I am going to see I still intend to take a lot of high quality pictures to bring back with me!

Looking for advice on brands, models, protective cases, accessories / chips or just anything else you guys might feel is important based on your own experience. I've been told that keeping the camera smaller is important, so I am definitely going to try and follow through with that measure. Also while I'm thinking about it - I am going to be taking some sort of smartphone with me. Do any of these newer age digitals have a way to connect with smartphone type devices so that I can upload pictures right through the phone and the like? I'm pretty tech savvy but have been busy this last year or so and have lost touch a bit with the world that is tech.

Look forward to the advice guys. Thanks!

Chris

P.S. If there are already good existing threads on this subject, feel free to send me there!

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4275 posts) 22 Nov '11 14:22

Taking good photographs (I'm not even going to start on "great" photographs) is a skill. Like any other skill, it requires a lot of effort before you're consistently good at it. (After eight years odf travelling and 50,000 photos, I'm personally no further than "consistently adequate" in my photography, with occasional bouts of "mostly decent", and maybe 5% of "good" photos - of course, that 5% is the vast majority of such photos as I show to other people.)

A camera can be helpful with that good photographs, but can never do the work by itself; and an experienced photographer can take worthwhile shots with effectively any camera, particularly if he has time to get familiar with the limitations of that camera.

All of which is to say: Don't put too much importance in the camera, and if you're serious about wanting to take good photos, be prepared to take a lot of them, and to actively review them and learn about what does and doesn't work.

With those prelimenaries out of the way: For snapshots, a cheapie compact camera will do, but you need to be a seriously skilled photographer with superhuman skill at anticipating future events to really get much out of such cameras. There's always a delay between clicking the button and the photo being taken, and this delay will cause you to miss many shots. Additionally, low-light performance is abysmal, and there's many situations where you simply cannot take a worthwhile photo with such cameras, purely because of technical limitations (most notably the really really tiny sensor size). These are the reasons many people tend to end up travelling around with bulky DSLR cameras after all; the tradeoff between weight/bulk and quality is simply worth it. Look into a Nikon D5000 or Canon 500D: They're not that heavy or bulky, and although you wouldn't bring them with you to a party, they'll give you significant photographic control, and allow you to grow with the camera. Alternatively, you could look into the new "in between" lines of mirrorless cameras trying to combine the best of both worlds. From what I've seen so far, they're not really there yet, but something like the Nikon J1 might be worth investigating.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1934 posts) 22 Nov '11 20:38

I love my new little Panasonic FH20 - simple to use (manual and auto), compact and great results. Does not compare to a DSLR, but this P&S works very very well when I travel.

4. Posted by bex76 (Moderator, 3533 posts) 23 Nov '11 00:14

I would recommend the Canon G11 - it offers more than than the average point and shoot compact but without the bulk of an SLR.

5. Posted by AcrossTheGlobe (Budding Member, 27 posts) 25 Nov '11 19:43

@Sander: No worries. I'm naturally tech savvy as it is. I've used many a digital camera before - they just weren't mine. To me taking several pictures and various angles / settings and reviewing them to make necessary future changes was just something of common sense. I understand these things all come differently to depending on the person.

My trip will be so long in duration that it will simply be too much hassle to be handling a larger camera + all the necessary lenses and accessories needed to complete their typical trials. If my trip were much shorter, the choice would be easy - but at 1 year and possible +, that is simply too much to lug around for a trip that isn't focused 90 - 100% on photography. The mirrorless cameras looking interesting, but in my research I'd just go SLR if I was going that fine of a route.

Definitely appreciate the post and your advice. First one I've seen leaning more towards still sticking with an SLR. Good to get some variety.

@Daawgon: Will check out that Panasonic model. Thanks!

@bex76: Will check out the G11. I see that it shows up ranked in my Dec. 2011 issue of Consumer Reports. Do you have any experience with the S95 or S100 Canon PowerShot models?

Thanks again guys.

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4275 posts) 26 Nov '11 03:36

Quoting AcrossTheGlobe

My trip will be so long in duration that it will simply be too much hassle to be handling a larger camera + all the necessary lenses and accessories needed to complete their typical trials. If my trip were much shorter, the choice would be easy - but at 1 year and possible +, that is simply too much to lug around for a trip that isn't focused 90 - 100% on photography.

I get what you're saying, but allow me to once more inject my personal experience to try and convince you otherwise (and after that I'll shut up). :)

When I first started travelling, it was on a trip that ended up lasting 2 years and 2 months. After 9 months I switched from the compact camera I started out with (which I'd outgrown at a very rapid pace - not knowing anything about photography when I started out, and painfully and frequently bumping into its limitations after ~5 months) to a DSLR, and I really never regretted that. You don't need all the accessories. I travelled with just two lenses (of which I used one 90% of the time), used the default on-camera flash, didn't use any fancy filters, and did without a tripod. (And that's still my current setup, though the camera body and two lenses have one by one changed to more professional ones.) All those extra accessories can certainly increase the versatility of a DSLR; but it's incremental - useful (as in, noticeable in the image output) in maybe 10% of the situations you encounter. While the step up from a compact camera to a DSLR is useful in 80% of the situations you encounter.
As for lenses, you can make do with just a single 18-200 (or similar) travel superzoom lens; they're incredibly versatile, and actually deliver quite decent quality; certainly several steps up from the superzoom lenses found on a compact camera. So, small body DSLR, 'big' lens - put it all in a triangular top-loading camera bag, which will easily fit in your daypack when you're not using it. Total weight: ~1300 gram (600 gram for the camera, 550 gram for the lens, and I'm assuming ~150 gram for the camera bag). Outside dimensions of the camera bag that it'll fit in: 18.5 x 16 x 22.5 cm (but actually less than that since it's triangular).

If despite this you still want to go for a compact camera :) take a look at this dpreview group test of travel zooms.

7. Posted by AcrossTheGlobe (Budding Member, 27 posts) 26 Nov '11 12:27

@Sander: Hey I don't want you to shut up. I find the advice you are still giving me to be very important in my quest for a solid travel camera. I felt I had a good lead with a thread I've been running on another board, but I realize you bring very good information to the table as well. It gets to be a lot to try and piece together - high quality cameras are obviously not simple purchases. Here is other big thread where I've been working with advice from people: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2131788 It would be good to see your response as to what they've said. Perhaps because I stated that keeping the size of the camera small was important to me caused most of the contributors to my threads to rule out SLR-like models.

Just trying to make a good final decision based on the feedback from the boards and a few major analytical camera websites (like the one you recommended at the end of your last post). The Consumer Reports issue I picked up the other day for Dec. 2011 is pretty good as well.

What do you think?

8. Posted by fraluchi (Full Member, 124 posts) 26 Nov '11 12:43

Quoting AcrossTheGlobe

Just trying to make a good final decision based on the feedback from the boards and a few major analytical camera websites

>
With a bit of know-how on photography, when traveling light weight was essential, I have been able to take good pictures and videos with a Sony Cybershot DSC-W360 (14.1 mega pixels) and a 4 GB chip.
Do some Google search and compare experiences.

9. Posted by AcrossTheGlobe (Budding Member, 27 posts) 27 Nov '11 13:52

@fraluchi: Will check out that Sony CyberShot. Thanks for the tip.

10. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1934 posts) 28 Nov '11 11:27

I had a Sony Cybershot previously, and found the manual to be very poorly organized. The camera itself was fine, but if you can't find the information you need in a short amount of time, what good is it. I think I'm sticking with the Panasonic quality for the long haul.