July 22nd, 2012, 03:14 PM
Top Compact Vacation Camera 2012
I have a few people asking me about what might be the best compact vacation camera now (summer 2012) available in the U.S. I suppose, for the purposes of the people in mind, compact can mean pocketable or something that can be easily and comfortably carried around the neck or on a shoulder. No heavy lifting; minimal bulk.
I'm pretty sure these people are talking about fixed-lens cameras, because convenience is high on their list of priorities. But so is versatility and general image quality, so that might be negotiable. I might also toss in the importance of operating performance as in speed of zoom and auto-focus, shutter delay, etc.
Despite these being vacation cameras, things like GPS and wi-fi are less important. A nice, healthy zoom range would be nice, but ultra-long telephoto (600mm and beyond) is not necessary. While it may not be possible, it would be nice if the camera(s) I recommend had some kind of viewfinder - or at least a rear LCD that really and truly did well in bright sunlight.
Most of us understand the compromises involved with cameras in the so-called travel-zoom class. There are several reasonable choces there. But perhaps I need to think a bit more out of the box before giving my friends and colleagues final recommendations.
I could easily point them in the direction of a small micro-four thirds camera. But I'm not sure they'd be satisfied with the zoom range of the kit lens and might not want to change lenses while on a trip, or pay for something like an Oly 14-150 on top of the camera purchase. But that might still be an option. As an aside, I wonder aloud if anyone on these forums has actually used an Oly 14-150 on a Panasonic body, something like the G3, and what kind of results they got without IBIS or lens-based OIS.
I can't help but think the answer would be quite different a year or two down the road as more cameras feature the new one-inch sensors. But what about right now? What do the Best and Brightest of Serious Compacts recommend? I'm keeping an open mind.
Panasonic G5 and GX1; Lumix 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix 45-150mm f/4-5.6, Lumix 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Lumix 14mm f/2.5, Lumix 20mm f/1.7
Olympus E-PM2; Zuiko 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R, Zuiko 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6, Zuiko 40-150 f/4.0-5.6 R, Zuiko 15mm body-cap lens, Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, Zuiko 45mm f/1.8
Pentax Q; 01 prime, 02 and 06 zooms
July 22nd, 2012, 03:28 PM
there's a TON great options if a 3x-4x zoom is acceptable. Actually they're really all good. But to me, the little pocket rocket 10x zooms that travelers seem to favor I think are all pretty rubbish if you get them into anything but full sun. If people require a longer zoom range, I would talk them into buying a bigger all-in-one camera like the Fuji X-S1, and if that is too heavy, I'd recommend the Panasonic FZ200. I really think people would be better off with a shorter zoom and higher IQ.
July 22nd, 2012, 04:01 PM
G1X (sensor + lens)
July 22nd, 2012, 04:17 PM
I would recommend the Samsung EX1 because it has become so cheap and is among the best in the compact category. If more reach is wanted the Ricoh CX5 has awesome deals because the new model is out. (Speaking of prices in Germany, maybe it is similar in the US)
July 22nd, 2012, 04:31 PM
I wouldnt recommend anything, these days, which doesn't have a viewfinder (or the option for adding one). All that VF needs to be able to do at minimum is allow framing of a shot in bright sunlight, with some kind of indication that focus has been attained. With this in mind I'd probably be going for the Canon G1X or Fuji X-10. In the case of the Canon, you'd probably use the rear screen 99% of the time, but you have the option of a really really basic VF for those hideously bright days... the Fuji, I dunno... if it were me, I'd probably use the VF most of the time.
Gear: Mostly the Fuji X100, Ricoh GRD III and Olympus XZ-1
July 22nd, 2012, 05:12 PM
I'm glad someone started this thread. My sister asked me to recommend a "professional" camera for family pictures. Now, she does not have the same definition of "professional" as we do. She has never had, even a "good" camera, but knows that she is not getting the results that we are with our K20s, E-620s, or even E-ps. I want to give her some direction, in a fixed lens, quality camera for family gatherings and the occasional wedding, etc. We are from a large extended family. She is hoping to get something less than $500.00.
July 23rd, 2012, 01:31 AM
I recommend an Olympus XZ1, a tripod and a copy of "Understanding exposure" nowadays.
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" ~ Voltaire
July 23rd, 2012, 08:39 AM
I second the above with the proviso of price. In the Fuji line they might find the HS25/300EXR quite usable;manual zoom for more control, really quite excellent BSI sensor. All for under 400$.
Originally Posted by Luke
Kim Letkman rather liked the HS25.
His had no lens droop at full zoom. His X-S1 did.
Nothing Special: HS25 Review – Part 1 – The Arrival
July 23rd, 2012, 09:13 AM
Good vacation camera is the RX100 for most folks. Very small. Nicely built. Easy controls for a casual shooter. Fast AF. Much better IQ than most compacts (better than all compacts in that size range). Good zoom range. Bright lens. Lots of tricks (art filters, sweep pano).
I don't see anything even close for casual vacation shooters.
July 23rd, 2012, 03:30 PM
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