I have not written in this blog for a while and I am sorry for the long, dry period.
Since it has been a long time since my last blog about photographic equipment, I decided to tackle the subject again. It is a good idea because there have been many new cameras come into the market place.
Because this web site has a travel photography focus, I want to begin with cameras for travel or vacation photography.
Cameras for travel/vacation photography
The least expensive cameras still offer some good choices.
Let's start with Canon. Their powershot ELPH 350 or 360 models are small (pocket-sized) and have the smallest sensor that goes into digital cameras. However, these two models offer 12X optical zoom and easy operation. Photo quality is good, but not great. You will need to use frlash in low light.
Fujifilm model XQ2. This camera is small (pocket-sized) with a fast 4X zoom lens. The reason to look at this camera is that the lens lets a lot of light get into the camera. Even though it has the smallest sensor size, photo quality is a bit better than the Canon above. There will be more situations where you can get good photos without using flash.
Nikon Coolpix S9900. Again, this model has the small sensor, but it offers an incredible 30X optical zoom on a camera that you can easily take with you (it is pocket-sized, for jackets/purses) even though it might not fit your shirt pocket. In this price range, none of the cameras have a viewfinder. You probably can make this camera work for you, but you will need to use flash when in low light situations. I like this camera to a point, but I think Nikon has tried to put too much in this model. Trying to get sharp photos at the highest zoom is very difficult. You must hold the camera steady and that can be hard to do without a viewfinder. If you stay within the 1 to 15X zoom range, you may be happy with this model.
Olympus SZ-15. This camera is much like the others in this group. It has the small sensor, 24X zoom and is small enough to be considered a pocket camera. Photo quality is good (comparable to the Canon models) so long as you are careful to hold the camera steady at the long end of the zoom range. This camera has a sophisticated operating system and is fun to use. The problem with this model is the user manual. It can be difficult to read and understand.
Panasonic Lumix ZS40. This camera has much in common with the other models in this group (small sensor, pocket-sized, ease of use). However, it rises above the others as it has a viewfinder and a lens designed by the Leica company. I find this camera even easier to get good photos with because the viewfinder allows you to see what you are shooting even in the hardest lighting conditions. It also allows you to hold the camera up to your eye, making it much easier to hold the camera steady. The 30X zoom range on this camera is actually useable! Photo quality may not be great, but it is better than the other cameras in this group.
Samsung WB350F. This camera has the small sensor and a 21X zoom lens. Photo quality is good and you can transfer your photos via WiFi. The lens is fast enough to use in a wide range of lighting conditions. I like this model a lot, if it had a viewfinder it would be an outstanding camera. As it is it's pretty good.
Sony WX 350 or WX 500 models. Both of these cameras use the small sensor and have a 20X zoom lens. They do not have a viewfinder. Photo quality is good, but not great. These will fit in a shirt pocket.
The best over-all camera in this group is the Panasonic ZS40.
The next step down would be the Samsung and the Olympus models. You might want to consider the Sony WX500 as well.
The Sony HX90V uses the small sensor, has a 30X zoom and no viewfinder. Despite that, the Zeiss lens is of good quality and the photos from this camera are better than those from the WX 500.
The Panasonic Lumix LF1 has a bit larger sensor, a viewfinder, and a Leica 7X zoom lens. The resulting photos are better than good - approaching great! This is still a small pocket-sized camera. Highly recommended.
Samsung NX mini is a small camera with a large sensor. It has a 3X zoom lens, but the photo quality is excellent (approaching great). It does not, however, have a viewfinder. That is disappointing.
Olympus offers a camera in this price range with interchangeable lenses. The PEN E-PL7 is a smallish camera with a large sensor and several lenses that will fit on the camera. Additional lens will add to the cost. Unfortunately, this camera does not have a viewfinder. Photo quality is very good.
The Nikon P340 is a nice-sized camera (not pocket sized) that has a slightly larger sensor and a 5X zoom lens with a viewfinder. Photo quality is very good.
The Canon G16 is comparable to the Nikon P340 with a viewfinder, and a 5X zoom lens. Photo quality is also very good.
The best overall camera in this group is the Panasonic LF1. Either the Nikon P340 or the Canon G16 would be my next choice.
My next blog will continue with more expensive cameras.