Help me choose a digital camera


Yes on all those counts IMO and experience.

Some of my best pictures I’ve taken as a photog have been with my old 3.5 megapixel camera. I’ve had a couple printed at 8 by 10 and 11 by 14 and you have to get close and look before you detect the relatively low pixel count. Of course, everthing else about the pics were near perfect like the framing, the focus, low movement of the camera, lighting etc etc. A lower pixel count is pretty much a non issue. It does help some if you are really bad at framing pictures to start with and you end up later cropping of a good fraction of the sides.

Digital zoom does come in handy in one way. You can use your camera as a sort of live electronic high powered visual spotting scope. I’ve never pick a camera based on digital zoom, but if I have that feature just because the camera happens to have it I might use it that way.

Before I went on safari in Kenya in late 2008, I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28, now superceded by theFZ38.

I love it. It’s reasonably small and lightweight, but the results are stunning. What you can do with that single built-in lens will cover 99.9% of what you want for a camera to capture your travels. When I was considering it, one salesman tried to sell my up to SLR, but I summed it up to him by saying “My hobby is travel, not photography.”

In subsequent holidays, my choice has been more than proven correct. A few months ago I was touring Mexico, and we were boating up the Sumidoro canyon. As we passed various birdlife and crocodiles, the chap behind me with a full SLR kit kept going “Oh damn… wrong lens… hang on a minute…” and so on, while I was effortlessly flicking between ultra wide angle for the scenery, and 18x zoom for a sleeping crocodile.

I do also have an ultra compact for nights out, parties, and for occasions when I don’t want to carry my “big” camera. But I would so recommend it for travel.

I think the OP needs to give a price range for some good specific input.

max willing to spend ~500

Pockets are loose. :slight_smile:

What about temperatures & durability? I figure that the less moving parts, the less chance for something to break as it gets jumbled about in the backpack or get frozen at night.

Is it only ultracompacts that have no moving parts? Or should this not be a concern?

Right now, based on everyone’s advice. I have the following list of candidates:

Canon Powershot G11
Canon Powershot SX200 IS
Panasonic ZS3
Canon SD 1000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38

Did I miss any?

If it has optical zoom, it has moving parts. Sony had introduced one with internally moving parts but they still moved. There are some really cheap ultracompacts with fixed lenses but I wouldn’t even look at them.