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Camera Suggestions

I'm looking to upgrade my camera for a trip to Scotland next fall. I was hoping to get some recommendations from the experienced folk on here :) I'm a bit torn between a point-and-click vs. DSLR (which I currently have). I would very much like to take HDR photos, and I have a suspicion that water-resistant would be a bonus as well. The one complicating factor, which I suppose also plays into point-and-click or not, is that we'll have 2 active young children (4 1/2 and almost 9 years). Price-wise, well, I'd like to not go over say $600 (and if going DSLR, I do have 2 older lenses I can use), however hit me with your suggestions regardless of price, I might be able to finagle something. I'm an amateur photographer, which might be obvious from me asking this question in the first place...

Thanks in advance!


Posted by
67 posts

I have done the DSLR thing for a long time but for the last 3 European trips I have used a Sony RX100-m4. Fabulous pocketable camera that allows me to take high quality images. Only issue is the lens only goes 24-70 but I have learned to accept the short telephoto. It’s a fast lens, very solid and did I mention it fits in my front pant pocket?

The m4 has reasonably fast AF including one that tracks movement based on subjects eyes. The m5, albeit more expensive, is even faster AF.

Panasonic has the ZS100 (and now the ZS200) which covers 25-250 but with a slower lens and slightly inferior image quality to the Sony.

On water resistant you’ll give up a lot in terms of image quality and AF. I have a waterproof type baggy made for phones and P&S that I use when I’m really worried. But mostly I just rely on pockets. I believe the m5 is splash resistant whatever that means.


Posted by
5818 posts

I have been traveling with a earlier version of a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera. It's considered a point and shoot but has a superzoom 65X non-interchangable lens and useful programs such as sports (predictive focusing).

It's bulker than a more typical point and shoot but has both a viewfinder and an fully articulating screen. I usually use the viewfinder but the articulating screen lets you shoot with camera overhead or at foot level.

More than the 65x zoom, I like the 35 mm equavalent wide angle 21 mm. The image stabalization helps for telephoto.

I use the sport predictive mode for moving images (me moving in trains and cars or subject moving like birds).

Posted by
2487 posts

Recently I bought a Panasonic TZ70 as a compact and lightweight alternative. It has all the usual controls of a DSLR, an impressive zoom and the quality is more than acceptable. The one point of criticism is its smallish viewfinder, compared to what I was used to. It was about EUR 300.

Posted by
1235 posts

Hi, Everyone,

I'm still shooting film with my ancient but dependable Canon AE-1. It's really getting harder to find good film, and processing has just about priced me out of existence. Plus my lead lined film bag gets inspected every time I fly. So I suppose that I may go digital one of these days, and get dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 1990s.

Mike (auchterless)

Posted by
42 posts

Have you considered a mirrorless camera? From what I understand, they usually have the power of a DSLR with the compactness of a point and shoot. I don't personally use a mirrorless, but have considered getting one for travel-related purposes. Some quick googling allowed me to find the Canon M100 Mirrorless for ~$500 at Best Buy.

Best of luck!

Posted by
703 posts

I've gone totally Sony mirrorless, from Nikon DSLR. For years I've had a Sony a6000 (interchangeable lens mirrorless) which is small but mighty in terms of features. There are more recent/advanced/expensive models out now, I think the a6500 is the latest and greatest. But a lot more expensive. The a6500 has among other things in-camera lens stabilization and a fancier sensor. I now also have the bigger/pricier (!!) full frame Sony A7R2 and I love it but I still take my a6000 out shooting especially when I want a lightweight rig to carry around town.

In the price range of $600, you can get the a6000, new, with the 16-50 kit lens, or just the a6000 body alone for about $550. I've seen it bundled with the 16-50 mm and 55-210 mm lenses for about $700, new. I think there may be good deals on used ones (i'd stick with reputable dealers like KEH, B&H Photo, Adorama). EDITED to add: buy at least one extra battery and a plug-in charger, don't need Sony brand, something like Vivitar will be fine. The Sony mirrorless cameras are famous for short battery life, I'm used to it and it's just something I deal with.

What I really like, it that you can use adapters to mount your older lenses - regardless of make - to the a6000. I still own a bunch of old Nikon manual focus lenses. I use inexpensive adapters and mount them on my Sony mirrorless cameras. The camera will meter the exposure just fine in M or A mode, and Sony has a "focus peaking" option that uses color in the LED display so you can fine tune what your lens is focused on. Makes manual focusing, IMO, a breeze.

An advantage of the a6000, IMO, is that the sensor is a lot larger than regular point and shoots (although the Sony RX-100 cameras have a 1" sensor which is better than regular P&S). If you're used to the images from a DSLR, depending on how you tend to edit and what you do with them, you may be disappointed with some point and shoot cameras. Here's a rundown of digital camera sensor sizes.

There are no doubt good deals on other makes of mirrorless cameras, but I'm only familiar with Sony.

Posted by
703 posts

if you are looking for another option to the sony , then have a look a the canon g7x range. ( large sensor)
these good quality compact cameras can fit into your pocket, at a moments notice so less need to be 'water resistant'
also don't get caught up with the smaller zoom of these cameras. they have better low light capabilities which is very important with indoors, night shots etc. also a view finder is not that necessary ( you don't have one on a phone).
IMO, leave your SLR at home and enjoy the ability to walk around with a small good quality, highly capable camera in you pocket, hidden from view but always at the ready.

Posted by
703 posts

Yes, that Canon line has 1 inch sensors, and that's the minimum size I'd consider using for quality images. I also agree, leave the (D)SLR at home. The a6000 with the kit lens isn't so tiny as to be pocketable, but it's still quite a small and light rig to bring along for a day out or on a long trip, which is why I mentioned it.

The article I linked to above discusses more than camera sensor sizes. And on that same site the author discusses what he considers the best options for travel photography gear. It's not that I consider the article absolute gospel, but IMO it's a good resource as part of your research.

Posted by
764 posts

I'm with Suz; I purchased a Sony A6000 a couple years ago and I'm tickled with it. I purchased the standard package of camera and two lenses (18-55 and the longer zoom lens). I rarely use the telephoto, but it's nice to have. If you're going to take photographs of landscapes, you might want to look into one of the after-market 12mm ultra-wide angle lenses. They're manual focus, but on the A6000 make a light weight, petite package. (in addition to the 18-55mm that came with the camera).

Posted by
1083 posts

For those interested in such things, Sony recently announced the RX100vi. The lens now has much greater zoom (24-200 35mm equiv.), but is slower (f2.8-4.5). Same size sensor (1") but supposedly faster auto focusing. Camera body about 2mm thicker, but width and height the same. Lists at a cool $1,198. Here's a link to Sony's page for this camera for those interested in seeing all the new features.

Posted by
703 posts

I have an earlier version of the RX100, the RX100iii, which only has a 24-70mm zoom.

It's a nice, pocketable camera, I don't really dislike it. But I just never use it, even for travel. "Listing it for sale on eBay" is on my to-do list. My mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are small/light enough that I'd rather carry one of them than the RX100iii, because of the larger sensors in the mirrorless cameras (one is APS-C, the other full frame).

If the new RX-100vi with its fancy new zoom-ability (out to 200mm, that's lovely!), weren't so flipping expensive I might consider it, but that's too much coin for a backup camera, for my budget. (Heck, that's about the price of a Premium Economy RT on the BA nonstop between here and LHR. As to which I'd spend the $$ on - no contest, the tix, lol!)

Posted by
228 posts

I won't try to sway you regarding DSLR vs compact because that will really come down to image quality vs weight vs cost and only you can decide the relative weightings of those factors.

However, if you decide to buy a compact, I would recommend the Panasonic Lumix LX100 (or its current equivalent) because it has features that DSLR users usually crave, which are: largish sensor, fast lens (large maximum aperture) and USEFUL zoom range.

It has a micro 4/3rds sensor - large enough to provide decent IQ and low noise. It has a maximum f/1.7 aperture, helpful in low light but also permits shallow depth of field effect and the zoom range of 24-70mm (full frame equivalent). Note especially that combination of f/1.7 and wide 24mm lens. That's a VERY handy combo for a compact camera and especially so for travel, when you're trying to shoot the interiors of restaurants and cathedrals.

The only negative I have found with the LX100 is its JPEG processor, which produces fairly average results. If you're a DSLR shooter though, I assume you shoot RAW, which the LX100 will happily accommodate.

As a bonus (for some of us) the video quality is absolutely amazing. I am admittedly only an occasional user of video but I was absolutely blown away by the footage from such a tiny camera. For travel, it's hard to beat. I paid AUD650 for a grey import here in Australia.

Personally, I find mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras too close in terms of cost & weight to a DSLR.

Posted by
228 posts

@ Auchterless:

I was happy to hear you are still using your AE1. It took me back almost fifty years!

I first became interested in photography in 1971, aged 15, when I bought a cheap compact film camera called the 'Boots Beirette'. I was taking photos in a museum one day when an old guy approached me and asked if I liked photography. I was of course wary, but polite, and so we talked for a while about photography. As we parted, he gave me his address and suggested I call by with my father one evening, because he had something I might be interested in.

My father agreed to take me that evening. It turned out the fellow had lost his only son a year or so earlier. His son had been interested in movie photography and owned a very nice Bolex H16 camera, plus projector and some accessories. He suggested I take them and use them, or exchange them for a better camera, which I subsequently did. I was cheated by the local camera shop, not knowing much about cameras, who offered me a Russian Zenith 'E'. It was an SLR so I thought it was magical!

That's really what started me off in photography and, after a few years and lots of practice, I realised I needed something better and bought a Canon AE1-P. That camera took me so much further I couldn't believe it. I was soon shooting for British motor sports magazines and newspapers, plus working freelance, moving up through the Canon range - a marque I remain faithful to today.

I have toyed with the idea of buying another AE1, simply for the great memories. One day, I will.