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Camera for vacation

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Andrewteee, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Of all the worlds troubles I'm fretting over which camera to take on our summer vacation. Most of my cameras are fixed lens serious compacts - Rich GRD3 and GXR with A12 units and Sigma DP2s/DP1x. These don't have the flexibility of zoom lenses so I would have to take multiple cameras. I also have my Olympus E5 and zooms, but that is far larger and heavier. I'm selling my NEX 3 as we just don't get along.

    So I'm considering another camera for vacation and all around general use beyond. Light and compact are priorities as is IQ within the grounds of the size/weight tradeoffs. M43 seems like it may be the best option - perhaps an EPL2 with kit zoom and 17mm prime for lower light. The GXR S10 is an option although I have an aversion to small sensors. What else should I be considering? My Ricoh GRD3 will go as well regardless just because it is small and wonderful and can do macro. The new Ricoh PX looks interesting as a beater camera for the beach and bays.

    Pictures would be primarily of family, but I will also have excellent opportunities for landscapes. Wildlife (birds and shorebirds primarily) would be a nice to have but a lower priority. The nice thing about M43 is that I could possibly take a light long tele. Flexibility is the key, both in amount of light and picture types.

    One more thing. I'm normally not into video, but since we'll be with family it might be nice to have that capability.

    I could also rent a camera, but that would end up expensive if for more than just a few days. I might be able to just rent lenses though.

    Any advice? Any camera gear you wish you had on vacation and didn't or any gear you had but wish you didn't?
  2. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I might be a lone voice here, but when I'm on vacation it's usually somewhere overseas that I've scrimped and saved both money and work leave for, and is somewhere I may never have the oppurtunity to travel to again. Therefore, my decision comes down to not the smallest, lightest, most convenient camera, but the best camera that I can reasonably carry. If there's room for an SLR and four lenses, then that's what I'll take. Having said that, Micro Four Thirds now starts to make more sense to save some weight and space without sacrificing much if at all.

    Anyway, I'm still at least 18 months away from making the Canon vs m4/3 decision for taking on an extended vacation, and it will be interesting to see how the two systems compare at that point in time.
  3. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Andrew, If it helps mate I did some US cities recently, for a recent work trip, with the DP2s around my neck and the S95 in the back-pocket. I didn't find myself wanting, and I was still super mobile!

    If I was hitting the great outdoors then that might be a different story, then I'd be packing the dSLR.
  4. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Andrew, I am not sure of where you are going or if it is a once-in-a-lifetime place but whatever you get make sure you are completely familiar with it before you go!
    For me any high end compact would do nicely; the E-PL2 kit you mention, on one of the Panny G series.
  5. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks for the input. It is not a "once in a lifetime" trip. Just an every two years summer vacation to spend time both side of the family. Get the kids and grand parents together. Northern Florida and Cape Cod, both sunny outdoorsy places. The challenge with photography gear is that we have young kids and schlepping all our stuff cross country isn't easy. Camera gear has to be carried on the plane along with lots of other stuff. Weight counts. When we are out and about it is not as much of a concern, but still relevant. But quality counts too since no matter where I am I'm still looking for a bit of my own personal picture taking time.

    The DP cameras are a good idea since both locations will be mostly sunny, though both have low light opportunities too. But it's back to that multiple cameras issue - I'd want both DPs.
  6. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX

    I might suggest the Oly XZ-1, Sammy EX-1 or Panny LX5. Smaller sensors yes they are but fast lens, zooms and RAW can take you a long way in one light and compact package,
  7. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks Lili, but I have tried all of those and none worked out. My eye is too critical :frown:
  8. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    If you're prepared to add to your already extensive kit I'd suggest one from the trio S95/LX5/EX1. The LX5 has the best video from memory.
  9. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Ah, I find rather the opposite, while the jpeg Straight OOC are the best I have ever seen from my E-PL1 there are issues. Mottling in shadows, etc which vex me.
    I have not yet tried RAW in m4/3 perhaps I should.
    I do find the RAW files from my XZ-1 to be superlative.
    I also suspect the lens on the XZ to be superior to any one those I have for my m4/3.
    XZ-1 ISO 320
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    As much as I've been moving away from m43 to more specialized cameras with larger and smaller sensors, for travel I'd still go with m43 and if that's true today I think it'll be more true as the years move on and the differences between sensors gets smaller and smaller. In a VERY small and light bag you can take an m43 body of your choice, a superzoom walk around lens (I prefer the Olympus 14-150 to the Pany 14-140 for size and weight, but they're both fine walk around lenses) an ultra wide angle zoom, and a pancake for lower light. You can fit all of this in almost nothing, carry it around all day and barely know its there and get images that will be indistinguishable from a DSLR in good light and more than good enough in low light. If THAT's too much to carry, I'd just take an LX5 or S95 or the new Olympus equivalent and be done with it. Those are pretty nice cameras (same size sensor as your GRD3), are very nice in good light and serviceable in low light, but low light is where you see the difference. Or, if you have a GXR, maybe just take that with the 28 and 50mm prime modules and one of the bigger zooms with the smaller sensors for the walk around setup?

    But I'm keeping all of my m43 lenses even though they're not getting a lot of use right now, because I'm pretty convinced that as sensors continue to improve and as there are more and more choices in m43 bodies, that's gonna be the best compromise of size, weight, quality, and features of anything out there. Arguably it already is and its only gonna get better.

  11. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I'm actually leaning towards one of the top-tier P&S zoom, like the XZ-1 or LX5, and then take one Ricoh GXR "back" with the two A12 primes. As a test this past weekend I took along my E5 and 12-60mm lens to the merry go round with the kids. Very performant and very flexible, but big and heavy. I tried to imagine this on vacation and I could not help but think how tiresome it would become. The m4/3 cameras are lighter, but still not pocketable, and I think having at least one pocketable camera will be a good idea. I can then use the GXR when I have a few moments for "serious" photography or need higher ISO performance. I'd rather not allow my photography to be a distraction on the family vacation. A small sensor zoom will easily capture life's moments well enough. I just need to allow it to be and not get fixated on absolute IQ. Hard for me to do since in many ways I'm a perfectionist with a critical eye!

    The LX5 and GXR kit will be light and compact and offer the best sum of tradeoffs. I can throw the LX5 and compact binoculars and notebooks into the backpack and not be burdened yet still be able to take pictures and view wildlife while out with the family.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Grant

    Grant Veteran

    Nov 12, 2010
    Lunenburg Nova Scotia
    I assume by vacation you mean vacation and not a photographic safari.

    Along time ago I was given some really good advice by an excellent photographer about vacations. First he said a vacation is not the time to learn now to use a camera so take one you know how to use. Then he said travel lightly and only be concerned about taking pictures to record you and your wife as it is you vacation. If you want to get really great pictures buy a book from a local photographer as they live there 365 days a year and know when and where to shoot as you will never be able to compete with them.

    I have followed his advice, enjoyed my vacation, have great memories of place we have been to and supported local artist.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Hear Hear!!!!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I already know my Ricoh inside and out and I'm buying the compact zoom this week and will have plenty of time to learn it.

    The local photography book is a great idea, but often their style is not your own. I'm more interested in recording what I see rather than what someone else sees. But I do plan as time permits to browse for local books and art.

    This is pure family vacation, but sometimes Dad needs a few moments away from the family :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Hmm, I know a nice slightly used LX5 with a Leica case that I might consider selling. Do you already have a camera on order?
  16. Lili

    Lili Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    To be brutally honest; my own experience is that one is distracted enough with all the new sights and sounds.
    Have several cameras/lenses, some brand new, lead my to miss shots and fun.
    Now I take one camera, one lens, and my phone.
    Less to keep track of, less stress and more fun.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks BB, good to know. Not quite sure what I want though yet.

    Lili, very sage advice. But I already know these areas pretty well and photography is a way to dig deeper. I came back two years ago with some ideas for my next trip. Photography is a way for me to see and open up to the details of place, to get to know the nuances. Though you are right that less of a focus on gear would help with that goal. I'll ponder it between now and then!
  18. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    I completely understand Lili.

    Right now I have two cameras but I only use one. Well, I do have my little control less Canon Elph from yesteryear...and it's quite handy in bad weather because I'm not worried about the snow falling on it, etc.

    Oops, missed your post Andrew. I have great faith in you. Just promise to show us some of the pictures - wherever you go!
  19. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    We recently returned from our (great) summer vacation on the East Coast, and I finally completed editing and processing of the numerous pictures.

    As planned I took the Olympus XZ-1 as my everyday camera and the Sigma DP2s for detailed shots and work for wide dynamic range B&W. I also had my iPhone. My goal was to travel light and not make photography the point, but still capture great family images and some landscapes.

    I was really happy with the XZ-1 which turned out better than expected. It was always close at hand day and night. I shot RAW+JPG and I processed the pictures in RAW Developer; I did not perform distortion correction. In RAW the images were fantastic. I also shot a number of panoramics using the built-in panoramic function, but the way they are captured creates some odd images at times with people missing half their bodies. I took the VF-2 but never used it just because. I also took the new FL300r flash and did use that. Things I would improve are the start up speed, which immediately shows the image on the LCD, yet the camera still takes a second or two to be responsive. The built-in panoramic function takes a long time to process the files so you are locked out from using the camera for about 30+ seconds. And finally, I still do not understand why Olympus does not allow you to turn off JPG noise reduction!!!

    The Sigma DP2s was expected - capable of outstanding imagery yet finicky. The camera is slow to focus and at times it was off. But it accomplished what I wanted it to do. I'm torn as I keep wanting to sell my DP series cameras yet just cannot come to do it. But I may do that soon.

    Overall, the XZ-1 was my favorite camera. I'm extremely pleased with it and would be perfectly happy taking it as my only camera on travels.

    Here are a few pictures in no particular order...

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    • Like Like x 3
  20. andrewh973

    andrewh973 Regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    NYC metro are
    Andrew, these are perfect!

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