Nikon DL 18-50 - MSRP $850 - as a current Nikon shooter (and former Nikon DSLR shooter) I'm actually quite excited about this camera. Although Nikon are a bit late to the game in introducing larger sensors in compact cameras, they seemingly have a great offering here. The DL 18-50 (uninspiring name btw) hasn't been released yet so I'm a bit hesitant to pull the trigger before some extensive reviews are out there. Or better yet, I get my own hands on it!
Pros: good zoom range without being ridiculous, wide aperture throughout focal length, 20.8 MP backlit sensor, image stabilization, good ISO performance, compact size, touch/tilt screen
Cons: new camera with limited reviews, Nikon smart phone app gets bad reviews, no flash or viewfinder
(quick note - to make matters even slightly more confusing I'm adding the Nikon DL 24-85 for consideration due to its macro capability, specs otherwise are the same as the DL 18-50 though of course not quite as wide)
Fuji X70 - MSRP $700 - as a current Fuji owner the immediate familiarity with this or the X100T make both cameras leading contenders. I absolutely love the images my X-T1 produces with that classic Fuji look and both cameras will produce great results with the X-Trans sensors. The compact size of the X70 makes it very attractive indeed. Though similar to the Nikons above, it is a new release as of February 2016 so not many reviews out there just yet. However I'll be renting one next week to see what I think.
Pros: compact size, budget friendly, same 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans sensor as more expensive Fuji options, touch/tilt screen, 18.5mm lens (28mm equiv) is great for landscapes, actual aperture/shutter/EV dials, digital crop feature to increase reach of lens (unsure of quality though), hybrid autofocus
Cons: no image stabilization, no built in ND filter, no optical viewfinder, 2nd smallest resolution size of the five, max aperture of f/2.8 not the widest but overall good
Fuji X100T - MSRP $1,300 - honestly this is probably the leading contender right now, though the price tag is higher than I was hoping to spend for a walk around/travel camera. The X100T has many features I'm looking for and yet it isn't the equivalent of my X-T1 nor is it 'too much' as the XPRO-2 would be for my weekly travel needs. With the rumored Fuji X-T2 also coming out in the fall, I shouldn't go overboard for a travel camera either as I'll be picking up the X-T2.
Pros: basically an XT-10 (not quite X-T1) wrapped in a compact body, great ISO range, fast lens with quality Fuji optics, built in ND filter, good resolution, 35mm focal length
Cons: largest camera among the five, no image stabilization, rumored replacement forthcoming in the fall (see below for thoughts), no tilting LCD screen, expensive but currently around $1,000USD
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 - MSRP $800 - this camera has been a favorite among many photographers and offers many great characteristics. My main hesitation in purchasing it is that most likely Panasonic will release a new version this fall. I don't want buyer's remorse later on, especially after a likely price drop after the replacement is announced.
Pros: good image quality, zoom range, 24-75mm, large sensor, good autofocus, good battery life, manual controls, good deals to be had right now
Cons: replacement due fairly soon, reported lens flare issues, no tilting LCD screen, smallest max resolution of the five
Sony DSC-RX100 IV - MSRP $950 - another fan favorite, the Mark IV RX100 has won over many photographers. Its very compact size with respect to image quality is enticing to be sure. Though it lacks the external controls for quick adjustments which is a turn off. And while I don't need a camera to look 'sexy' it lacks the retro look that so many others have launched of late that I am honestly smitten with.
Pros: Zeiss f/1.8-2.8 lens, 20.1 MP 'stacked' sensor, tilting LCD, built in ND filter, responsive, truly pocketable
Cons: lacks the retro look & no external dials for quick adjustments, very particular about SD card type (bad when traveling perhaps if other cards fail), short battery life
Ok, So Now What?
One final option would be to simply purchase the Fuji 18mm f/2.0 pancake lens, slap it on my X-T1 and always have that with me. Though there are a handful of issues with that approach:
- I prefer having a good camera for my wife to shoot with when we travel together. She has captured some amazing images, so having a good camera in her capable hands is always smart.
- I don't want my primary camera to get unnecessary wear & tear each week.
- I'll also bring two cameras when out by myself in case one fails or the other is busy doing a time-lapse for instance.
- Slapping the 18mm on and calling it a day with would defeat the entire purpose of this post ;)
So there you have it! Over the next month or two I'm going to do a handful of rentals, hit the camera store and attempt to find my ultimate travel camera. Though I realize there is probably no such thing, I believe one of these will be a very good fit with few compromises. I'll plan to report back with my choice and will give a full breakdown of its performance.
So what do you think? Am I on the right track? Have you shot or do you own any of these cameras? Did I miss any? Please feel free to comment below on what you think might be your choice for ultimate travel camera.