Top 5 Digital Camera For Travel 2009 (Update Post)

This is an update to the Top 5 digital camera for travel post published 2 months short of a year ago. Exactly. Within a year, the top 5 camera for travel need to be reviewed and updated. No surprise at all. New models are coming out every half a year for compact cameras while we can expect new DSLR model to launch every year. The rapid technology advancement has urged the manufacturers to upgrade their line of products. (or it’s just a gimmick of those market leaders? I don’t know) 🙁

Anyway, to update our fellow travel enthusiats, I have to check it out. Disappointingly, apart from latest technologies, new products are now more expensive. This is because the Japanese Yen and USD currency fluctuations. 🙁 Not a good news for us who are having limited budget for travel! But then again, in order to capture the important memories of our precious travel moment, good cameras with reasonably price are needed, if not required.

I’ve looked around in the market, asked around people who are using them, try personally and reads reviews and shortlisted these 5 cameras which I reckon are the Top 5 digital cameras for travel at the moment. Prices shown are indicative in Ringgit Malaysia (use my included currency convertor at my side bar for other currencies). This updated top 5 has found 4 totally new products which are…

  1. Olympus PEN EP1Olympus Pen E-P1(Price: RM2,799.00) PEN is the true digital camera for travel. PEN means you can carry it around like a pen. It has the body size of compact cameras and the image sensor size of DSLR. Though the sensor is not as big as those being used in Nikon’s and Canon’s, at least its 1/2 frame size is as big as those Olympus E-series DSLR and the crop factor of 2 is much better than 5.5 of compact cameras. What really need for travel are something light to carry along everywhere as well as able to capture high quality pictures for best memories. Other than that is not important any more. However it still have all other advantages of compact’s as well as the flexibility of DSLR. 12MP, exchangeable lenses, Live View, video etc; Except that it has no optical viewfinder unless, you fit an additional viewfinder at the same hot shoes for external flash which I think is meaningless. What you still want to complain? One only I can think of: You have to pay the price of a combo set of 1 compact camera plus 1 DSLR, for 1 Olympus PEN;
  2. Canon G10powershotg10(Price: RM2,068.00) Right next to PEN is something bigger and heavier, slightly. The Canon G10 is also a true digital camera for travel. It has also a relatively compact body size and a relatively sizable image sensor with 14.7MP. It is slightly bulkier than PEN but with an optical viewfinder. The feel in the palm is great and solid. Hot shoe for external flash is avaiable which makes it more versatile and capable to capture high quality travel photos. Though it can’t zoom as far as the FZ38 below, 5x optical zoom from its widest angle of 28mm is good enough for travel photography, if not exceptional. All in all, Canon G10 is a classy pro-compact camera that could produce typical Canon’s great vivid coloured photos and also a stylish piece of toy on hand;
  3. Panasonic Lumix FZ35 (FZ38 in Europe)Lumix-fz38(Price: RM1,499.00) I’m too familiar with this camera. FZ35 is an upgrade version of the popular FZ28 which I’ve owned for almost a year. For Lumix FZ28, you can read here: Review of Panasonic Lumix FZ28. The changes are mainly internally and some tweaks here and there to make the already near to perfect Lumix more impeccable. Instead of 10MP of FZ28, FZ35 features a 12MP image sensor of the same size. There are a pair of stereo mic located on top of the pop up flash to improve the poor audio reception of FZ28. AVCHD Lite is the improved video recording format for HD video which could save some MB’s of your memory card. Also a new dedicated switch for direct access to video recording mode is provided. On top of that, Panasonic has also improved their unbeatable Optical Image Stabiliser to POWER O.I.S. Other than that, 18x zoom range, lense and other features are the same with FZ28 which has made it a great tool with exceptional versatile for all type of photos. For its competitive pricing in the market, Panasonic Lumix FZ35 has again won my heart to recommend it as one of the best camera for travel photography. Still, I don’t understand why Panasonic never bother to put in a bigger sized image sensor… 🙁 ;
  4. Sony Alpha A300KSony A300(Price: RM1,999.00) This is the first Sony camera that I recommend here. Reasons why are very simple. It is a full size DSLR with full DSLR features and DSLR sized 10MP image sensor (1.5x crop factor) but with a price of below RM2k! It’s the latest model from Sony but cheaper than a Canon G10! A combination of Konica-Minolta expertise and Sony’s technology has made this A300 a great camera for the money. It is a good step up option for those compact camera users currently who want to capture high quality photos of their travel. Of course there are much better and much expensive DSLR out there, we are here to recommend cameras that is suitable for budget travelers who wish to spend their limited monies for best travel photos they can capture while remaining reasonably light for easy carrying. With a suitabel waist belt camera bag for DSLR, Sony Alph 300 can be carried everywhere you travel, easily. Its capability to compose via Live View is most welcome for Compact camera users. Remember this. No matter what price, a DSLR can always produce better quality photos than a compact camera, due to its bigger sensor size!
  5. Nikon D60(Price: RM1,900.00) It’s a last year model. Why am I still recommend it here? Hmm… Because I’m still using it and still love it very much!! :)With its current price of below RM2k, it’s the most valuable camera I can think of. Reasonably light to carry along travel with my Lowepro Cirrus waist belt bag, Nikon D60 can still produce some amazing photos for your travel. Its 10MP sensor is just enough for all details you wish to capture in your travel photos! What else do you need?

For more information, click on the image for their respective product page. For best price, click this Amazon link to check the latest and please get it from Amazon if you like this blog and wish to support it, a penny. 🙂 Otherwise, subscribe to Travel Feeder’s RSS feeds for more free updates on travel related stories and gadgets! – Travel Feeder.

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