COMPACT TRAVEL CAMERAS

As I have not been travelling much over the last year or so, my posts on new kit have been few and far between, I do apologize for that and the fact that the ones I have written are mostly about cameras!
Well, there has been a lot of new cameras coming out on the market recently, plus I have gotten to grips with my Fuji HS10 at last, and it does seem to be a great travelling cam if your prepared to learn it's idiosyncrasies and find some good light! (see my HS10 review here)

I thought you might like to know about another breed of travel cam that might suit your purposes better, if the likes of a bridge camera like the HS10 is a little too big for you, or as in my case, act as a handy back-up!

These new point and shoot cams have a compact pocket-able size, 12 or more megapixel sensors, 14-16x lenses, HD video, a host of interesting modes like face detection and panorama, and GPS, something that I personally, have been waiting for for ages!

For most travellers, this is all that they will ever need in a camera, I'm into nature/birdwatching in a big way, so like the extra reach of the 30x lens on the HS10, but apart from that, the extra small form factor of these new P&S cameras is ideal.

























All these cams offer a very versatile package for a point and shoot size camera, huge zoom range for the size, large clear LCD screens (but fixed with no viewfinder) a host of easy to use modes for most situations like sunrise/sunset, snow, beach, action, nightshot, portrait, face detection, panorama and high speed shooting.
Some even have High Resolution and Dynamic Range modes and even shoot in Raw if needed.

HD video seems to be commonplace these days, and all these cameras offer it in one guise or another.

GPS, a great way of linking your photos to the exact spot and orientation they were taken in, using a built in GPS receiver, which in most cases is the small bump on top of each cam.
When engaged, the GPS tags each photo with position data that can be read and added to the likes of Google maps, showing a visual representation of your trip, some can even find where a photo was taken from, giving you the direction and distance on the LCD screen, great for finding your hotel or hostel in a busy city, as long as you remember to take a photo of it to begin with that is, lol!!

As with most GPS related equipment (Satnav, Smartphones etc.) patience and a clear sky is needed for this option to work properly, and it will of course drink juice from the battery, so if there is an option to have it "on" only when the camera is, and not continuous, then select that!

With all camera purchases, please do some research first, a model that seems perfect for one person, might not be for another, so look at the list of features for each, read some reviews and visit some forums like those on Digital Photography Review

I am looking to purchase one of these cameras in the next month or so, as a back-up to my Fujifilm HS10. Not all are available yet, so am waiting for the full reviews to emerge before making my decision.

The reason I carry 2 cameras while travelling, is that I like having my main camera for day to day stuff, hiking, nature, landscape etc.. but in the evenings when out for a meal or drink with fellow travellers, having a large camera round your neck is a bit of a liability, plus the HS10 is less than perfect in low light situations!
A small compact P&S cam that fits in your pocket or sits in a pouch on your belt, is much less obvious to those that would like to part them from us!

Which one will I choose?.......well, the verdict is still out on that one, but I'm leaning towards the Fuji F550 EXR, there are some good pics being shown from other parts of the world that have it already, and it uses the same sensor as the new HS20 EXR, so am naturally interested in how it performs.






I might have even been tempted by the new HS20 EXR, as it does seem to address a few of the HS10's shortcomings, but as I said in an older post, the fact that the EVF (viewfinder) has remained the same, and they still haven't added GPS to it, has ruled it out for now........ maybe in the HS30?



Which ever camera I choose, I will give it a thorough going over for you guys, as I am planning a few short haul trips this year around Europe, and will of course post the results............... in my usual laid back, light hearted and amateurish way! :-)

Happy shooting,
Dave
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