Which Compact Camera for ADVering? +GPS? 3D?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by men8ifr, May 21, 2012.

  1. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    I've just killed another camera with another trip to Morocco - this one got sand between the lens parts, I've stripped and cleaned it but I think it's scratched the plastic parts so the motor still cannot push the lens out on switch on/off. I also tried to wet n dry the affected parts but still no luck I think it's truly dead. That was a Samsung PL70 cheap/midrange 14MP point and shoot.

    Previous camera was a Sony Cybershot that I think got too damp in my jacket pocket for too tempo on the last trip and died of moisture ingress into the lens/sensor.

    That's 2 camera's in 3 trips - so I think the next one has to be a tough camera - but which one?

    After the PL70 I'd like a much bigger and higher resolution screen as a lot of photo viewing is done on the camera. Seems like 3" is the max though and TBH there didn't seems a whole bunch of difference 2.7 to 3".

    HD video recording I use plus it would be nice if it could play files on disk from my contour camera (may be asking a bit much there) so it could kind-of act as a viewfinder. Would be good to zoom without muting (like the Samsung did) while filming.

    A panorama facility would be nice - very hard to get decent info on this, for example the Olympus TG-820 has panorama but digging around reveals for the camera to do the stitching it can only take 3 photo's and then lowers the resolution massively - you can stitch individual photos (so could use higher res + more photo's) on a PC but you could do that with any camera so it's pretty useless.

    zoom - 5x was fine - would prefer to keep the camera small than have more zoom.

    Would like good quality photo's in low light - the fuzziness of the samsung really got on my nerves I'd like something significantly better.

    Size/weight - as compact as possible.

    GPS? - can any-one comment how good this is and what do you view the photo's on?

    3D - I'd definately like to try this and have a HD 3DTV to look at the results on, I shoudl try and look for some example 3D photo's from different cameras to look at but not sure if I can just put them on a memory stick to try or if I need the camera itself to send teh signal to the telly.

    I've been looking at the Olympus TG-820, Panasonic TS4 and Sony DSC TX10&20.

    I could also get a slightly lower spec camera like the Olympus TG-310 for £80 compared to the £220 for the TG-820 that way the buying decision is much easier because I'm spending less cash!

    Any thoughts on which Camera - the Olympus ticks most boxes except rubbish in camera panorama's and no GPS, The TS4 has GPS but a low quality screen and I suspect poorer sensor/processor........

    Hmmmmmmmmm
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  2. dcstrom

    dcstrom Long timer

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  3. FreckledAvenger

    FreckledAvenger Trainee Stunt Double

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    I have a Sony TX10 which I used on a long trip last year. It pretty much stayed in a pocket in my jacket or pants the entire time (when not being used). It does not have much of a zoom (100mm is 2x) but the 25mm wide angle lens was nice on a camera this small. Mind you it has a sweep function that automatically stitches a series of photos together by sweeping the camera along which I found very useful. I got some great landscapes plus fitted in shots that a normal camera of this size could not do easily.

    This camera is smaller than others in its class which attracted me also (e.g. my brothers Panasonic TS-3 feels huge in comparison and it is not that big either). The large 3" LCD screen was excellent considering how small the camera is but this is helped by the fact that it is a touch screen so it can minimise other controls to save space ...

    I also used it in the water a fair bit along the Western Australian coast (Ningaloo Reef). I found when snorkelling it fit into my hands quite easily (due to it being flat and very small) so I could use freestyle when swimming through the currents to get out the coral or other wildlife. It is only rated to 5m but I wasn't going to use it for diving so that was not a problem (most cameras in its class only go to around 10-12m anyway). By the way, the touch screen does not work that well in water so change any settings you want before you go in ... :D

    One of the nicest features for me was the fact that it recharges its batteries in camera rather than making you lug a separate charger around (I rode a 250 and was always looking to reduce the load). The salesguy in the shop where I bought it said that people were turned away by the whole "charging in camera" feature and was surprised when I said that was exactly what I wanted. I just would hook it up to my USB charger on the bike every day or two and I was set.

    I know that the TX10 does not have a GPS or 3D though - I would not mind a GPS feature on the odd occasion where I can not recall where I took that photo but I personally could not care less about the 3D thing. As the TX20 is out you may want to look at that if you don't care about those features (or try pick up a cheap TX10 on run out?).
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  4. North6633

    North6633 Been here awhile

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    I have the TS3 have used for everything from snokeling in Roatan,Honduras to ridng across Vietnam. Takes great pictures and has been has been bounced repeatedly off a a motorcycle tank while hanging from my backpack chest strap and subjects to monsoonal rains hanging from the same place, still works like new. So I cannot beleive the TS4 would not be equally good.

    I am sure the other "tough" cameras have similar qualities. Look at the buttons and how they will work with gloves and your given hand size and use that as a guide also when deciding. I personally think that is the most importnat part. Picture quality is not going to be drastically different between the cameras.

    A couple of negatives I have on the TS3 is the lense is not covered so I have had water droplettes in pictures when I forgetten to wipe it off and that it does not have a standard USB plug in for down loading. Other than that I really like the camera and how it functions. I can take one handed with riding gloves on while riding.

    My 0.02 anyway.
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  5. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    RE the TG-1 I think that's gonna be out of my price range, it looks like £220 for a TG-820 or AW100 but £360 for the TG1. Seems like the TG1 gets a better lens (F2.0) vs F4 for the TG820 and an OLED display which is lower resolution........

    Maybe worth waiting to see if the TG1 pushes the TG-820 prices down though?
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  6. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

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  7. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    Thanks for that I'd already read that review - it's pretty good, problem is everything moves so fast - the Olympus has a new SLR derived CMOS sensor and processor with the 820 now but can't find a review to compare the camera's currently available for image quality.
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  8. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Been here awhile

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    I bought the TS3 partly because of its GPS feature. In the real world, shooting sometimes while riding or at quick stops, the GPS is too slow to acquire an updated position - so it's not much use. Next time I buy a camera I doubt I'd pay extra for GPS, although of course the newer TS4's GPS might be improved. Otherwise the camera is suburb in all respects including "toughness" (I've already wrecked two conventional p&s's).

    Some additional thoughts: it does come with a USB cable for downloading, it does have a scene mode called "panorama assist" (never used by me), it offers a hi-def video mode (which is not readily emailable), and there's a 3D setting.

    Panasonic has in addition to the new TS4 model a lesser model called TS20 - I'd take a close look at that.
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  9. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    Cheers for that, I think some of the GPS camera's have a function where you can leave the GPS on all day then there's no lag when you shoot a photo - but maybe it looses the signal in your pocket so there's still a lag? If it worked that would be OK for full days on the bike just recharge at night.

    Had a look at the TS20 but I'm willing to pay a bit more for a better screen and lens. Still keep coming back to the Olympus TG-820.....
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  10. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Been here awhile

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    Yes, there is a GPS setting for ON, which means it's on all the time. There's also an "airplane" setting where the GPS turns on only when the camera itself is turned on. But even in the ON mode, it's too slow. The location recorded for your quick shot is not correct - it's the last updated position which could be a few hours ago. (Maybe carrying the camera in my pocket does have some bearing on that). I'm not familiar with the Olympus, but one spec which interests me is the "wide" end of the lens range - the wider the better. In my experience, there's no noticeable difference in lens quality or in-camera processing quality among the newer p&s's, and none of the LCDs are better than barely adequate in bright daylight. Mainly it's the combination of non-photographic features that makes one camera more suitable for motorcycling than another, IMO.
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  11. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    Read this thread for a camera which will survive Morocco.The best and probably cheapest way to satisfy all your requirements and still have a dust proof camera, is to bring two cameras: A tough one at hand and a nice one which lives in a waterproof bag.
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  12. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    This is why I was initally thinking of a tough camera - but I don't think I would use two picture camera's -I have a contour for video though. I think whatever I buy will be the only camera aside from the 5mp one on my phone.

    I've been looking at 'travel zoom' compacts in the same price range as the Olympus tough and you seem to get a much better camera with more features/manual control which is tempting to try and get a bit creative - I've never owned anything other than point and shoots so would like to give one a try. I'd have to stick this type of camera in a waterproof bag and hope for the best......

    I've been looking at the Canon in this review http://tech2.in.com/features/point-and-shoot/top-travel-zoom-cameras-compared/307422

    It would be useful if any-one could comment on how useful the long zoom is - I suspect it would be very useful but never having had one before I don't know.

    There's also the Fuji 550 EXR which is nearly 1/2 the price of the Olympus tough but would seem to take far better pictures in anything other than perfect conditions.


    Hmmmm
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  13. thetable

    thetable Long timer

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    These are my thoughts on the TS3 as well.

    GPS is finicky, sometimes will locate itself in seconds, other times it could take 10 minutes and a few tries. I've found that the best setting for me was airplane, unless I was shooting every 30 minutes or so, it didn't really seem to help speed up signal acquisition times at all. (Yes, running the latest FW, it helped, but still unacceptable for quick use.) At least in the Airplane mode, I don't get bogus GPS data in my EXIF. I like having the data, but hate waiting for it.

    The weak point is the rear LCD, it scratches without too much work. Dropped the camera off the seat of my KLR (while waiting for sat. acquisition...) onto gravel, left a few scratches on the screen.

    I also appreciated the lens cover on my older Olympus that at least kept some of the errant smudges, fingerprints, and fog off the lens. It's easy enough to wipe off, but it be even easier if I didn't have to! Optics and image quality are leaps and bounds above my old 790sw.
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  14. dlh62c

    dlh62c Long timer

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  15. KLF

    KLF Adventurer

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    I've been in the market for a new camera for some time now. My current one is old Canon that eats AA batteries. Yea, that old. I don't carry it around much, it's too big to fit in comfortably.

    So far the options I've found are:

    Sony TX-20
    Nikon Coolpix AW100
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 / TS4
    Canon PowerShot D20
    Olympus Tough TG-1
    Pentax Optio WG-2
    (some of the model names might differ around the world)

    I was first interested in Panasonic but many reviews say it's waterproofing isn't the best one possible and many Amazon's users are giving it one star for the same reason.

    Nikon AW100, it has GPS and integrated world map, sounds good. However image quality in sample pictures hasn't been that good and coming from me those were pretty bad. It has two attachment points for a strap, so I'd imagine a neck strap might work. Operating the camera with gestures sounds also funny but usable with a bike, gloves on and all.

    Sony TX-20 is still the most interesting one for me. Small and probably very easy to use one-handed on the road (slide cover to power on). No GPS but 3D. Touchscreen won't work underwater or with gloves but maybe with a stylus. Weak point is sand/dust getting under the slide cover.

    Canon D20 looks awful, like a toy camera and big.

    Olympus is quite expensive here and Pentax, that I haven't seen live yet.

    While I have no plans to go actually diving or throw the camera around in sand (if those happen, it's either a faceplant or I've driven into a river and I've got other things to worry...), just having it with me and knowing it will survive if rainstorm hits and camera is in unprotected pocket is enough. That said, I think I'd carry it most in jeans front pocket during summer and jacket pocket otherwise.

    http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/Features/2012-Waterproof-Camera-Showdown.htm
    I've found one site that has these models rated but I'd like some real-life experiences too. Mentally I've been set for Sony TX-20 for a while now. Should I lose my future paycheck for it? :D
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  16. terryckdbf

    terryckdbf Pickles

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  17. KLF

    KLF Adventurer

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    In that review is the older model, TS3. These issues are apparently for new TS4. I first saw the issues mentioned in that review I linked. Then same thing mentioned in more reviews, one youtube shootout had their TS4 shut down during underwater test. Naturally there is many reviews with fully working units.

    I spent good part of last friday at working looking at reviews on all of those cameras, slow day.
    http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/content/Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-TS4-Digital-Camera-Review/comments.htm
    http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Waterproof-Digital-Camera-Optical/product-reviews/B00728ZBAC

    I'm not saying all of those Panasonics are flawed but apparently there is more failures than usually (especially water related) and that kinda turns me down on that particular model. And it sucks because I really planned to get one at first... :p
    #17