Art and Photography

Choosing which camera to take on a trip

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[OP]
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Apr 10, 2012
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Choosing which camera to take on a trip

So I've been stuck contemplating which camera I should take with me on my month long trip. I really don't want to purchase a new camera and I have a few options at my disposal which would be sufficient in my view.

So a little bit about me: I'm a hobbyist photographer. I love taking photos and have a decent eye for spotting nice opportunities, but I'm not trying to compete for a National Geographic award anytime soon.

Trip conundrum: I'm travelling for over a month and will be spending the majority of it in S.E. Asia. The big handicap: I'm travelling ultra light (carry-on only; for several reasons).

Trouble choosing between these:

- Canon T1i (I have the lens kit (18-55mm), the staple 50mm, and a Tamron 55-200mm. I also have a speedlite flash. If I take this, would probably end up taking all the goodies too.
- Canon SX700hs. This is a travel zoom lens that my parents happen to own and I can take along.
- [don't shoot me, but] Only my smartphone, the Galaxy S7. Yes, it's blasphemy to throw this in, but it takes adequate pictures and is definitely the lightest.

I've already committed to taking my GoPro Hero 3+ Black. This barely weighs anything and is necessary in any wet weather and adventure travelling.

So I'm stuck choosing whether I should take my dated DSLR, the ultra-zoom-but-small-sensor SX700, or just stick with my smartphone.
I have no problem taking the SX700 along with my smartphone, but outside of the great optical zoom, I don't know how much the image quality improvement justifies the added weight.

That being said, I don't know if I've done enough comparison between any of the cameras so I would appreciate it if anyone could shed some light on which camera I should take with me.

Is the image quality on the SX700 going to blow the S7 out of the water?
Is the SX700 a lot worst than my T1i in terms of image quality?

Would appreciate any thoughts.
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May 5, 2010
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If I were in your shoes and cannot buy new equipment, I'll just bring the Galaxy S7, a big battery bank and the SX700hs for the zoom since it's small enough. I have the Samsung S6 and I got to say, with the quality of image we're getting out of smartphone, no wonder more and more people don't buy cameras anymore.
Since you'll be traveling for a month, maybe one in a life time opportunity at those places, if you don't have the capability to zoom in, you might hate yourself for that. I prefer to have an average picture then no picture at all.

To your questions, I don't think the SX700 will be better than the S7 and the S7 shouldn't be that much worst than the T1i since it has a quite old sensor.

Also, a tiny tripod for smartphone might be handy since Samsung S7 has pro mode which let you set the iso, aperture and shutter speed. You can take some great landscape with that on tripod.
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If you consider yourself a hobbyist and this is a big memorable trip, I would get a new or used updated camera.

If it's going to break the bank, maybe grab an extra one or two batteries for the T1i, spare memory cards.

The T1i will still take better pictures than your S7.
[OP]
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Jun 29th, 2017 12:00 am
If you consider yourself a hobbyist and this is a big memorable trip, I would get a new or used updated camera.

If it's going to break the bank, maybe grab an extra one or two batteries for the T1i, spare memory cards.

The T1i will still take better pictures than your S7.
If you had to recommend a semi new camera what would you recommend? Mirrorless (e.g., A5100) , DSLR (t5i) or a high quality compact (rx100/g9x)?
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shahram0 wrote:
Jun 29th, 2017 9:49 am
If you had to recommend a semi new camera what would you recommend? Mirrorless (e.g., A5100) , DSLR (t5i) or a high quality compact (rx100/g9x)?
What do you enjoy shooting?
[OP]
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Jun 29th, 2017 11:08 am
What do you enjoy shooting?
Landscapes/architecture mostly, with some portraits thrown in (usually forcibly by those I travel with).
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For a typical trip just bring the T1i + kit lens + 50mm. Leave the telezoom and flash at home. Vacation photos are typically just typically landscape/wide shots to take in the sights. The flash and zoom are just going to take up space/weight. the 50mm f/1.8 can be used for low light conditions.
[OP]
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I've been looking at some more affordable options with a bigger sensor. Would image quality on an S120 be noticeably better than the Galaxy S7? Or even a Nikon 1 J2-J4?
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I couldn't imagine taking a dated DSLR like the T1i on a trip where I need to travel light. Just. Not. Worth. The. Trouble.

The Nikon 1 would actually be good quality wise (sensor is the same quality as other compacts with 1" sensors), but it's throwing money into a system which is basically worthless afterwards. Unless somebody is dumping their whole kit (body + assortment of lenses) onto the used market for pennies, I would not invest any money into it.

Except for zoom, a small sensor P&S is just not worth the trouble of carrying too. Carrying a proprietary charger (many of the older cameras had these) makes it extra inconvenient

If this is a once in a lifetime trip, then a compact 1" sensor P&S is going to give you the best bang for size-weight ratio. If not, then go with the phone camera.

The most basic kit I would take on a backpacking vacation would be a RX100 Mk1 + a Sony Action Cam. That's precisely what I took with me on our last major vacation where I wanted to capture a wide assortment of memorable vacation scenery. All can be charged with USB charger. There were times when I wished for more reach (10X), but most of the pictures I could crop enough to be usable for small prints and viewing full screen. All of these new 1" compacts take good 1080p video too, so it would be a good alternative to using the Hero (the lens perspective is normal unlike the fisheye video you get)
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^^
That USB charging feature and using one or two backup power banks gets you through some long days away from power.
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NewsyL wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2017 3:09 am
^^
That USB charging feature and using one or two backup power banks gets you through some long days away from power.
exactly

Being able to charge the device directly with USB is a huge win when travelling. I have an extra short 3” microUSB cord that came with one of my Logitech mice, a power bank (10000mAH). With the bank, I am able to shoot with the RX100 and action cam all day long, topping up the charge if need be

I remember packing for a Hawaiian island hopping trip years ago, with my DSLR with superzoom and prime, pistol style camcorder, and waterproof Point and Shoot.. All required separate battery chargers (with long power cords) where you needed to take the battery out. Along with spare batteries, I required a whole separate bag to carry all that gear. It was just a ton of gear to take. After that, I started on a mission to reduce the gear I would bring, and the RX100 and m43 was the solution for me to reduce gear bulk/weight
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Over 80% of my vacation and family media is in good light outside. Another option is to get a good gimbal to use with your S7 or GoPro. Vids are much livelier memories. Isn't there HFR on S7 too (like iPhone 7)?

Transition short clips, copied from my notes:

1. Pushing ie; going towards the subject - adds emotion/meaning
2. Pulling ie; backing away from the subject - show the environment or that they're isolated
3. Booming ie; going up from the subject's feet in a vertical axis - reveal something new
4. Lateral slide ie; walking sideways slowly (turn follow OFF) - show the space in the horizontal axis
5. Leading or Following ie; walking/running backwards in front of the subject, or walking/running behind the subject - 1st person perspective
6. Orbit ie; going around a subject keeping them framed - shows a 360° background
7. Rotate (opposite of and sometimes faster than orbit) ie; panning in a half circle 180° where you're the centre and you focus outward - reveals a space away from the subject or from a space to the subject
8. Tilting up/down (tilt lock OFF) as it's a rotation vs vertical axis booming ie; like when a person jumps off a structure and you tilt down to show the ground
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leave the bulky dinosaur dslr at home
i travel carry-on only and you're gonna hate the weight really fast
get a premium P&S if you're going to be doing more than selfies, just my personal opinion.

the gimbal for your phone suggestion is also good. Just make sure you have a battery pack and plenty of memory card space. But then again gimbals are quite fragile, so if you aren't babying them (which is too much work for me when travelling), you'll likely end up having to haul around a paperweight for the last week of your trip.
Last edited by twitchyzero on Jul 3rd, 2017 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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shahram0 wrote:
Jun 29th, 2017 11:58 am
Landscapes/architecture mostly, with some portraits thrown in (usually forcibly by those I travel with).
IMO, sell the T1i and the lenses and pick up a RX100 or G9X. These 1 inch compacts are small, easy to use, image quality is stellar and are relatively affordable. Image quality on these is likely comparable or even better than old APS-C sensors like the T1i.

Just the S7 is going to be limiting - no zoom, poor quality low light photos
[OP]
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Apr 10, 2012
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Thank you all for your advice. I decided to pick up a Canon S110. I think the price/quality ratio satisfied me enough to pull the trigger as I just could not justify the RX100's price tag (even used). It's also incredibly light and has 5x zoom which is sufficient. It sucks that it does not do USB charging, but I picked up 2 additional batteries for $12, so I can just charge up on my downtime in a hotel. Again, I appreciate everyone who took the time to inform my decision.

I also decided to take the camera for a spin yesterday and was more than satisfied.

ImageGiant Rubber Duck by S K, on Flickr
Last edited by shahram0 on Jul 4th, 2017 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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