Recommendations on a small travel camera?

ts47

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I've got a trip planned to Yellowstone with my son in August. I'm thinking about a small camera, something that sits between my Nikon D7500 DSLR and a cell phone. I'm looking for something light that I can take off the beaten path at times when carrying my DSLR and lenses is too much weight to lug around - and still get some decent quality photo memories. Having a good macro feature that would allow for some good bug and fly photos would be nice too in whatever camera I buy.

In no specific order... Sony has a decent Cyber Shot line. Panasonic has a well rated Lumix series. Then there is the Olympus Tough TG-6...

My ideal camera would offer good image quality, a good zoom lens with some reach form wide to up close, a good macro mode, able to shoot in RAW and would be waterproof. All of these, with the exception of waterproof, can be easily had through Sony or Panasonic. Money really isn't part of the equation. None of these cameras are outside of my budget. It boils down to what I can DO with the camera that is really important.

Like I said above... Then there is the Olympus Tough TG-6. It would be a fun camera to own, especially for folks like us that enjoy doing things on the water. From what I've read, image quality would not be quite as good as the others. The zoom range is lacking too. It's likely the zoom range that bothers me the most. It would however allow me to have some fun shooting pics of fish in and out of the water.

I'm having a hard time weighing pros and cons and likely overthinking things a bit. I am really hoping some of you might have some experience with any of these cameras, or can offer thoughts or suggestions that could help me get to a decision. I mean... What would you do - Sacrifice some image quality and zoom range for the fun of a waterproof camera like the TG-6 or go for the pure flexibility with zoom range and the best image quality you can find?

EDIT: I did not include a camera like a GoPro in this and really know nothing about them. If a GoPro should figure into the equation in any way, please feel free to share your thoughts there too.

Thanks in advance for your replies!
 
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quattro

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when I'm leaving the Nikon d850 DLSR behind I reach for this:

Incredible little point and shoot and the Zeiss lens is pretty special.

I like the Olympus thought camera - but with the exception of the waterproof nature are not nearly as versital and the Sony. There is a newer version with a larger zoom - that I haven't tried yet.

When I travel with the DLSR - I typically still bring the Sony - super easy for quick shots at the dinner table - and my wife often grabs it so she's shootign as well.

I've been super impressed with the versatility - portraits, landscapes and wild life.

just my 2 cents.
 

original cormorant

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Well all I can say it that it must be nice to have that kind of money to spend :D
I'd be looking at the bomb proof Olympus TG-6 myself.....and it's waterproof.
The best deals on Olympus Tough are pre-loved on auction sites, and don't ignore TG2,3,4 or 5.

The flaw with all point and shoot "outdoor" cameras is they don't have a separate view finder and in bright sunlight actually seeing whats on the screen can be impossible.
 

iv_wjb

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My Nikon Coolpix AW100 has been my constant companion on my travels throughout the West. It’s a tough, trusty and handy companion.


Instead of a go-pro, I mount it on my vest via a connection device from Peak Design and let her run while I float the river and enjoy the scenery.


It’s not perfect but, I’ve no complaints.
 

clsmith131

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I have the Olympus TG-3. It's been a fun little camera. Good images, even underwater. It is tough, but just a point and shoot. Now that my phone has an 80 mp camera, and is also waterproof to some extent, I don't use it that much. I keep it in my travel fishing bag, so it has chronicles of all my fishing trips. I keep a yellow float tethered to it when on the water. It has good video features, and allows you to take a pull a still from video. The images below were all taken from videos on that camera, during a tarpon trip in Boca Grande.


P4170055.JPGP4170046.JPGP4170042.JPG
 

plecain

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I have a Nikon AW100 and an AW120.
The biggest practical difference is that the AW120 powers up faster. The picture quality is nearly the same.
Everything I've ever posted here has been shot with one of those.
They're tough and work underwater.
 

Acheron

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Another vote for the Olympus tough series. Pretty solid cameras, I've owned several models of them and only one was horrible. Waterproof, drop resistant, worked ice fishing, salt water fishing, dipped underwater for underwater shots, still keeps going. My first one, I beat the crap out of on hikes and fishing trips, it still works today.

I usually just use my phone for local trips, but on bigger trips take the Olympus Tough.
 
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jayr

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A poster here had the Fuji FinePix XP130 and I bought one as well. It was around $120 or so and does pretty well. What I like is it is waterproof to 50 feet as I recall, takes underwater pics. and is bluetooth enabled so I can download wirelessly to my iPad. Don't know if it is still currently available, but I have not had any issues in over a year of use.
 

desmobob

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The darn cell phone (which I have still managed to avoid owning) really put a hurting on the compact digital camera market. There used to be so many great choices for affordable high-quality pocket cameras!

I have had and loved many pocket cameras over the years: the Olympus XA, Olympus Stylus, Yashica T4 Super (my all-time fave), a tiny Zeiss-lens-equipped Sony, a Panasonic Lumix that I can't recall the model name of, etc.

All were wonderful, but eventually failed or succumbed to accidents, like when the T4 Super fell out of the vest I put on the roof of my buddy's Blazer while I got out of my waders. It later came off the roof and onto the road at 55MPH. I'll never forget turning around and watching it cartwheel down the road, with its entrails (roll of film) stringing out of its carcass.

I have currently settled on a Fuji FinePix XP130. It has a great feature set for the price and is ideal for a fisherman due to its waterproof feature. Photo quality is OK and it has been a solid performer for the last year or two.
 

ts47

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when I'm leaving the Nikon d850 DLSR behind I reach for this:

Incredible little point and shoot and the Zeiss lens is pretty special.

I like the Olympus thought camera - but with the exception of the waterproof nature are not nearly as versital and the Sony. There is a newer version with a larger zoom - that I haven't tried yet.

When I travel with the DLSR - I typically still bring the Sony - super easy for quick shots at the dinner table - and my wife often grabs it so she's shootign as well.

I've been super impressed with the versatility - portraits, landscapes and wild life.

just my 2 cents.
I like that D850! I've pondered going full frame for a long time. The D7500 is what got in the way of that. It's not your camera. The output is pretty good though. The fact that I own multiple DX series lenses ranging from 10mm to didn't help either.

I am familiar with the RX100 series (and BHPhoto) and owned one at some point. It somehow managed to disappear. I'm not sure what to say beyond that - except that I hope it turns up again at some point. It was a great little camera! That 200mm zoom on the newer version looks more interesting and more versatile for my purposes.

Do you have any experience with the Lumix ZS200? It has a Leica lens that goes from 24mm-360mm. Reviews on this camera seem good as well.
 
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ts47

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Well all I can say it that it must be nice to have that kind of money to spend :D
I'd be looking at the bomb proof Olympus TG-6 myself.....and it's waterproof.
I know... right!? What a fun camera this would be to own. I just don't want to get to a place like Yellowstone and feel under-gunned, so to speak.
 

ts47

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The best deals on Olympus Tough are pre-loved on auction sites, and don't ignore TG2,3,4 or 5.

The flaw with all point and shoot "outdoor" cameras is they don't have a separate view finder and in bright sunlight actually seeing whats on the screen can be impossible.
Yes. It never hurts to look for a deal. Good thought. (y) I agree with your viewfinder comment. That's what the D7500 is for though.
 

ts47

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My Nikon Coolpix AW100 has been my constant companion on my travels throughout the West. It’s a tough, trusty and handy companion.


Instead of a go-pro, I mount it on my vest via a connection device from Peak Design and let her run while I float the river and enjoy the scenery.


It’s not perfect but, I’ve no complaints.
I like my Nikons but think I would prefer the Tough series in this one case. Can you tell me more about that connection device? Is it really secure? And how exactly to you get the camera lens facing forward rather than pointing down on those float trips?
 

ts47

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Another vote for the Olympus tough series. Pretty solid cameras, I've owned several models of them and only one was horrible. Waterproof, drop resistant, worked ice fishing, salt water fishing, dipped underwater for underwater shots, still keeps going. My first one, I beat the crap out of on hikes and fishing trips, it still works today.

I usually just use my phone for local trips, but on bigger trips take the Olympus Tough.
Can you give me any feel on how good the macro feature is on the TG-6? Would it take a really sharp and clear photo of something like a fly you just tied?
 

Acheron

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I have the TG-5. Haven't upgraded because I tend to use my phone most days. Even for taking pics of flies, I just take a pic and use the phone app to crop the pic and make it better. My Samsumg S10 and S20 both have taken excellent close ups...but I would not call them macro shots.

If you'd like I can take a macro pic using my TG-5 and share it. I'm a total camera noob fyi, so if I can make it look good then anyone can... for sure :)
 

ts47

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I think when it comes to waterproof cameras, all the reviews seem to suggest the TG-6 is at the top of it's class.

I enjoy taking photos. I own Adobe Lightroom, shoot in raw, and, while I can't compare my equipment with Quattro above, own at least $5k worth of camera equipment. I will actually take the time to analyze my photos and process them through Lightroom. Cameras are a hobby for me like fly fishing is for the rest of us.

I think the TG-6, if the quality of the photos it takes measure up, would be a really fun camera to own. Aside from my question on image quality, the one drawback might be the shorter lens - 25mm-100mm. When I mention image quality, it refers to the output of the TG-6 over something like the Sony RX100 or Panasonic Lumix ZS200. The Sony has a great lens that goes 24mm-200mm - the Lumix 24-360.
 

hatidua

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I'd suggest a camera that has a lens that is equivalent to at least as wide as 24mm on the wide end. And, don't ignore the interface, some are intuitive, some are not.

For my purposes, camera selection boils down to two separate "wishes" -

A) I either wish I wasn't lugging around a pack stuffed with 30 pounds of photo gear on a remote trail.
-or-
B) I can be back home after a trip looking at the images on screen at 100% and sure wish I'd carried that pack stuffed with 30 pounds of photo gear.

TINSTAAFL (there is no such thing as a free lunch)
 
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