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Camera Suggestions

My wife and I are headed to Italy. This is our first adventure like this so I guess that makes me a newbie. I own a great Nixon SLR camera but it is heavy.

I am wondering if any of you experienced types have suggestions of good point-and-shoot and/or
Superzoom cameras?

Posted by
2261 posts

My favorite is my Sony RX100, shoots very well in low light, shoots RAW and/or JPEG, and video. There are also several made by Canon that are excellent. Not sure what "Superzoom" means to you but be aware of actual optical zoom vs digital zoom and the potential fall-off in photo quality that can go with it. Get a new camera well ahead of your trip so you can familiarize yourself with it!

Posted by
518 posts

I haven't purchased a point-and-shoot in a long time, but am partial to Canon for the brand legacy in photography, as opposed to brands that might have more of a legacy in electronics and tech rather than photography. But since you mentioned zoom, do be aware of the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom is the old fashioned zoom that is achieved via lenses. Digital zoom is artificial, meaning the enlarged image you see on screen (and therefore, in print) is achieved by extrapolation/interpolation of pixels to create that enlarged image. The zoom on your iPhone or smartphone is of this latter variety.

Posted by
3941 posts

I had a Fuji superzoom (HS20 - about 35x...I think they're probably on the HS30 or 40 by now. Actually I still have it - haven't been able to give it up yet - it's my insurance in case something happens to my current camera) that I used before getting a mirrorless camera. I quite liked it as it wasn't super heavy but I could do wide angle and have lots of zoom (of course, at full out zoom, hand held was pretty shaky) and a lot of the options you would find on a DSLR.

I used to work in a camera store but it's been a few years so I'm not up to date on the models, but Canon and Nikon had some nice, more compact superzooms...I think Nikon may be the lighter weight/more compact of those two. One thing I liked about the Fuji was that you did the zooming yourself as opposed to the camera button doing it, so it was less of a power drain on the battery.

I went with a mirrorless because I sell my photos online and wanted a better quality/option to print larger. (I have the Canon EOS M - looking back, I'd prob go with a Sony now). I got tired of changing between my 18-55 and the 55-250, so I just invested in the new Tamron 18-200, that way I don't have to lug 2 lenses all day and can still do wide to zoom. Not knowing what lenses you have (or camera body)...maybe an upgrade to an 'all-in-one' lens may do the trick.

Another thing that helped me with the weight of a camera was to get a different neck strap so that I could sling it cross wise and it sits more on my hip. I hate the weight on my neck and the camera bouncing on my chest. Joby makes a nice Ultrafit sling strap for men (I have the women's version for my ahem 'curves' and I love it).

Posted by
8597 posts

too many factors to consider, and the options change so quickly. I think Consumer Reports does a pretty good job of sorting things out and making recommendations. I am happy with my Canon SureShot, but its about 5 years old and surely obsolete.

Posted by
635 posts

I enjoy high-quality photo equipment and images, but while traveling I value mobility and freedom even more. For a reasonable compromise I like my Canon S120 point-and-shoot. It does not have as long a zoom as some others, but otherwise does a good job with both stills and 1080p video. I especially like its "hybrid" setting, which records four seconds of 720p video every time a still photo is taken. When edited together, those four-second clips make a nice digest of sights, motion and sounds of the trip.

On my most recent trip to Rome and Munich with my grandson, I brought the S120, and also packed an older, even smaller Samsung WB150 as a backup (plus a tiny GoPro for extreme-wide-angle stills and video). Turns out I needed the backup, as a big dust spot appeared on the S120's sensor in the middle of the frame before our flight even landed in Rome. The first day in Rome, a dust spot showed up on the Samsung as well, but right at the top edge of the frame, so I was able to shoot around it and crop the spot out at home. On the last day of the trip another, more problematic, dust spot showed up on the Samsung's sensor, so the last day's photography was done with an iPhone 6. [sigh]

Results here.

Posted by
171 posts

Love our small Canon G 15. I visited our local camera store and read reviews. It has been the perfect camera for us!

Posted by
5006 posts

When it comes to point and shoot, Canon has been a good all-round camera for traveling. Very good quality at a reasonable price combined with small size. If possible, try to find one that has an old style viewfinder as well as the display screen. In certain sun light situations it is almost impossible to really see the image on the display screen.

Posted by
77 posts

When it comes to international travel, in fact any travel other than by personal auto, I leave my bulky Nikon D300, lenses, carbon fiber tripods and other accessories home and just rely on my iPhone 5s built in camera. I'm only after screen saver and souvenir photos nowadays so the resolution is more than adequate. Sure I miss the other features the Nikon (and any full up SLR) provides but we discovered long ago that we enjoy our trips more when not fussing over how to take the "best" photo. I can concentrate on the scenery rather than the camera settings.

On the other hand, photography is a long term (52 years now) enjoyable hobby for me (I have been published in my younger days) and I can hardly resist the urge to take all my gear to get that "great" shot of a sunset over the Damrock in Amsterdam or the canals of Brugge in the warm early morning light. But in the end it comes down to being able to get adequate shots with my iPhone and traveling much lighter.

One trick to getting good shots with the iPhone is to brace it when taking the picture. You'd be surprised how good your pictures can be by resting the iPhone on a railing, against a pole or building, etc.

Posted by
16003 posts

I have a Canon G15 as well, had a G12 before it, and been happy with both.

Posted by
4554 posts

The Consumer Reports suggestion is a good one, keep in mind differences between quality name brand cameras is gonna be small. I have a Kodak and a Canon and they are both just fine.

Posted by
24 posts

Camera nut raising her hand here. I've travelled with both film and digital SLR's, and while I love the photo quality and versatility of multiple lenses, the hassle isn't worth it to me any more. In these days of almost mandatory carry-on bags only travel, I'm not willing to sacrifice precious bag space or schlep excess weight/bulk all over the planet. A couple of years ago I bought a Canon Power Shot SX260 and was pleased with the results, but recently decided I needed to upgrade to a high-performance, high-sensitivity compact digital camera. I did my research and once again, Canon was it; I bought a mirrorless PowerShot G7 with all the bells and whistles (nice digital/optic zoom and a huge CMOS sensor). Photos are my most precious souvenir and it's worth the investment in great equipment! There are great cameras out there at almost any price point. I still recommend versatile and lightweight for any traveler.

Posted by
7061 posts

Do a search on 'point and shoot camera' on this forum. There have been several threads on the subject, you can filter by within the last year or two so you don't have a lot of old ones that may not be relevant.

Myself, I'm partial to my Panasonic Lumix ZS8. There are newer models but I just can't seem to give this one up and spend money on a new one without a guarantee that I'll be as happy with a new one as I am with this one. Takes the best photos I've taken without an SLR. In the 3+ years I have owned it I have taken it in for cleaning once and then once again for a total refurbishing. Totally worth the expense (about 1/3 the cost of a new model). It will have to be totally destroyed before I give up on it. Love it, love it, love it.

Posted by
118 posts

I went thru the same thought process for my RS trip last August. After a lot of looking, I came up with Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Digital Camera. This little camera takes sharp pictures, good quality so you can get them printed for say a 20x27. I was really impressed with it, and its movie quality features too.
Most of the times when we are out touring, it is the wrong times for lightening and too many people to get a descent picture. I was very glad I left my D4 home.

Posted by
725 posts

I agree that the dSLR is too heavy. My Nikon stays home when I travel.

  • I took a Panasonic LX7 to Italy a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Today, I would get the newer LX100, with a 4/3 sensor, instead. The Panasonics are also great for video.

  • I tried a friend's Sony RX100 a while back. It's a great camera, and a lot of people like it, but I find it a bit too small and fiddly for my taste.

  • If I am traveling on a tour where I am not having to schlep my luggage too much, I take my M4/3 kit -- an Olympus EM-5ii and/or EM-10, with a handful of lenses and possibly a very small flash. It gives me much of the capability and flexibility of a dSLR without the bulk.

Posted by
1253 posts

I would recommend the Canon S120. The sensor is slightly larger than the typicical point and shoot.

If you are willing to spend a little bit more money, the Canon G7x has a 1 inch sensor.

Once you get into a mirrorless system like the Canon EOS M, you will be dealing with lenses and caps. IMO, you may as well just get an SLR.

The most important tip is to carry an extra battery. I have have always had good experiences with buying inexpensive batteries on eBay from China.

Posted by
104 posts

Nikon AW100 - small, water proof and HD! Nikon lenses cannon be beat!


Posted by
1068 posts

Several years ago I quit taking an SLR with 2 lenses because of weight and how inconvenient it was to change lenses. I now take 2 cameras which still save me a lot. My "main" camera for a day of sightseeing is a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ1000--shoots raw, has a 28 to 400 optical zoom, sensor the size of some micro 3/4s (but smaller than others), eye view finder, and you can go from full automatic to full manual control. However, when I walk around in a park, go out to dinner, hop off the tour bus or whatever, a Sony DXC-RX 100 is in my pocket. A larger sensor, shoots RAW and has auto to manual controls. Together they eliminate changing lenses and provide a freedom I did not get with an SLR. I have taken just the Sony on some short trips and been happy with the pics, but it doesn't zoom all that much..... to 105 or so. In the distant past I had some pocket-able super zooms but they didn't shoot RAW and had a smaller sensor so really didn't do it for me. Good luck with your choices.

Posted by
1080 posts

This is like asking people what brand of car is the best! I will throw in my two cents, I use a Nikon 9700 compact camera with a built in telephoto lens, it takes exceptional pictures and fits in my pocket easily. When I want to travel really light I take my iPhone 6 plus and the quality of pictures always surprizes me. I would not take a SLR with multiple lens unless you are OCD about your pictures, all the equipment weighs you down and if you don't guard everything constantly it will possibly walk off.

Posted by
2768 posts

I take a Nikon SLR with one lens (an 18-140mm) that I leave on 90% of the time. I bring a 35mm f1.4 for nighttimes, but I rarely use it. I might want to consider leaving it. I used to bring other lenses, but changing and carrying them is a pain. The DSLR and one lens is heavy and takes up room, but I really enjoy photography and don't like the results from other cameras as well.

That said, if I had unlimited money for a new camera I might look into one of the high end mirrorless cameras. Maybe rent one, see if I like it as well. If I did, it would be nice to loose some of the weight. As it is, though, I'm happy to make room for the camera that suits me best.

Posted by
32247 posts


I'm probably in the minority here, but I always travel with both a full size Canon DSLR as well as a small Panasonic super zoom P&S camera. With the DSLR, I've found that I normally use only two Lenses - a 24-105 medium range zoom and a 10-22 wide angle. I've found that the wide angle tends to be on the camera more than the other one. I shoot RAW only.

I use the P&S if I'm going out for dinner or whatever, and don't want to pack a full size camera, and it's also useful for snapshots of food, etc., or sights with minimal "artistic value".

While the DSLR is heavy to travel with, I'm comfortable with it and get good results (subject to interpretation of course) and since I'm now on a pension I can't afford to replace my entire camera and lens system with a more compact model.