Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Photography
Reload this Page >

Best camera for travel under $500

Best camera for travel under $500

Old Dec 18, 16, 5:53 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 23
Best camera for travel under $500

Looking for some guidance buying a camera for a few trips we're taking this year, including to Greece. Looking to spend under $500 (so I'm not stressed out if it breaks), and for one that doesn't have much of a learned curve. We have iPhone 7's, so we clearly want one that provides better pictures than those, especially at night time and for far distances.

After reading some articles, a few that stand out and decent options include:
Open to suggestions that aren't listed. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by jcfr22; Dec 18, 16 at 7:53 pm
jcfr22 is offline  
Old Dec 18, 16, 6:33 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 45
Any 'must haves'?
Are you planning low-light photos? Get a large sensor.
How large is too large?
Is there a zoom level you'd like?
Is a DSLR too large? Photo quality drops tremendously, but any $150 PnS will blow away any cell phone camera, BTW.
Do you want manual controls or just pure point-n-shoot?

I started with a SONY PnS and outgrew that to a Canon PnS with a few more features and longer telephoto. Both were about the size of a deck of cards. Then outgrew that and went with a Canon "travel zoom" to help my planespotting hobby at about 2x the size of the others, but still relatively small, pocket-sized.
TheWireCutter
has recommendations for many different types which seem reputable. They explain the "why", not just the "what."
For a general travel camera with low-light or indoor shooting, I'd lean towards the SONY RX100. It has a 1inch sensor which puts it above most other PnS cameras in the price range. The zoom isn't that high, but respectable. High zooms require a platform to shoot from for stability. Camera shake at zoom makes those nearly useless for hand-held shots. Even a monopod at 30x isn't stable enough for a clear shot. Just sayin'.

wifi isn't always useful, BTW. If for taking remote shots, mine is stuck in "auto mode" with ZERO controls besides zoom level. If transferring files, just pull the SDHC and transfer it via a tablet or netbook to save camera battery.

Last edited by dsdwe234sfd23; Dec 18, 16 at 8:15 pm
dsdwe234sfd23 is offline  
Old Dec 18, 16, 8:48 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,476
stretch for the ZS100 if you can... it's hard to beat an allrounder travel camera 1" sensor + 10x zoom (slightly slower lens than the RX100 1" sensor)

budget+quality pick, you should be able to find an RX100 m1 for $300-$500. Again, splurge for the m3 around $700(tilt screen for selfie and EVF is worth it, plus transfering via wifi)

(I'm with dsdwe234sfd23 above... own a RX100 m1 and m4, gave m1 away to someone else when I upgraded to the m4)

have a tiny gorillapod magnetic for any useful tripod shots
paperwastage is online now  
Old Dec 19, 16, 7:14 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: Aeroplan, AAdvantage
Posts: 2,016
I would read http://www.imaging-resource.com/came...ony/rx100-iii/ before picking the RX 100 m3 over the m2. There's no question one of them being the winner if the budget doesn't stretch to the ZS100.
chx1975 is offline  
Old Dec 19, 16, 10:02 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: London
Posts: 169
There is no best camera.
Besides price what are your main requirements?
For low light you have to really go to a m4/3 sensor (minimum) and fast glass.

In terms of image quality and size at that price you can't go wrong with a Sony a5100 (APS-C 24mp sensor) which with the right glass can get you almost pro-level results.

It sells for $548 with the kit 16-50mm lens which is good enough for most users/ shooting scenarios.

You can always upgrade to more specialised / higher quality lenses as and if you get more interested in photography and eventually upgrade the body if you need to in the future.

However it depends on your needs and whether you think there is a chance you might want to buy more lenses in the future.

It won't do 120 fps video or 4K video for example that RX100 mk4 will do but it is cheaper and has a much better sensor than almost anything at that price point. It doesn't have Electronic Viewfinder or pro level buttons etc but that might not necessarily be a bad thing for a beginner.
michalis is offline  
Old Dec 20, 16, 8:35 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,901
Originally Posted by michalis View Post

In terms of image quality and size at that price you can't go wrong with a Sony a5100 (APS-C 24mp sensor) which with the right glass can get you almost pro-level results.

It sells for $548 with the kit 16-50mm lens which is good enough for most users/ shooting scenarios.
How much better is the a5100 over the a5000? Because the a5000 is only $350 with the 16-50mm lens... with a $50 gift card.. so net is only $300.
Need is offline  
Old Dec 20, 16, 8:45 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 461
Sony A6000 with a used Sigma 19mm f/2.8.

An EVF is invaluable as far as I'm concerned.
Fleck is offline  
Old Dec 20, 16, 9:30 am
  #8  
Moderator, Trip Reports
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: 6km East of EPAYE
Programs: UA Silver, AA Platinum, AS & DL GM Marriott TE, Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,343
Below $500 I continue to be a fan of the Samsung Galaxy Camera. Samsung isn't selling them anymore but there are still plenty available - even new ones.

I always carry this camera too, it is fantastic for a point and shoot especially when I am in a situation where having my DSLR isn't convenient.
Madone59 is offline  
Old Dec 21, 16, 4:22 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: London
Posts: 169
Originally Posted by Need View Post
How much better is the a5100 over the a5000? Because the a5000 is only $350 with the 16-50mm lens... with a $50 gift card.. so net is only $300.
The a5100 uses the same sensor as the A6000 while the a5000 has the older generation 20mp sensor with a lot fewer AF points.

Is it worth the extra cash?
For me yes, for someone else maybe no.
Then again the a6000 is worth the extra cash the a6300 is worth the extra over the a6000 and so on.

@Fleck Obviously the a6000 is a better camera as it has more buttons for better control and the EVF which is quite important as you say but if the OP is looking to buy used then there would be a lot of other options to consider as well.

Also the 19mm lens might be sharp and fast, but no OSS makes it not very useful for video (I have the 30mm sigma) and at low light the fact that it doesn't have OSS kind of negates the fast aperture as you can't really shoot handheld at slow shutter speeds and also the as a relatively wide prime is nowhere near as versatile for a casual shooter.
michalis is offline  
Old Jan 18, 18, 9:04 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
stretch for the ZS100 if you can... it's hard to beat an allrounder travel camera 1" sensor + 10x zoom (slightly slower lens than the RX100 1" sensor)

budget+quality pick, you should be able to find an RX100 m1 for $300-$500. Again, splurge for the m3 around $700(tilt screen for selfie and EVF is worth it, plus transfering via wifi)

(I'm with dsdwe234sfd23 above... own a RX100 m1 and m4, gave m1 away to someone else when I upgraded to the m4)

have a tiny gorillapod magnetic for any useful tripod shots

Does Gorillapod (or anyone) make a magnetic mount for small cameras? I have a light weight point and shoot.

I have seen them where the magnets are on the 3 feet but want a version where the magnet replaces
the standard screw on mount.

Any thoughts?
bukzin is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread