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Whatever you do get one with a good lense that gives plenty of optical zoom from fairly wide angle. Digital zoom is useless, has to be optical zoom. That way you will get the highest quality photos, and can frame them in high res. If you use digital zoom picture quality deteriorates dramatically. Once you have your picture computer software can size it to whatever you want.
I just had a look at the A520 and it looks like a usefull tool, and I fully agree on the optical zoom (see below).
Reading through your reply, Patrick, I realised that I missed a few crucial bits out in my 'specification'.
First of all, I have a Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 with 4 Megapixls and a nice 12x Optical zoom, quick AF and little shutter lag. Now, I like all this, BUT...it's a trifle large for the quick out of the pocket access jobbies. After using my trusted Nikon EM for almost 20 years, I decided to to be modern and start learning about digital, and bought the Dimage because it seemed capable in most situations, apart from it's not the full wack proper camera and it's not small enough for most social occasions...blasted halfway horse (is that a mule?) really!
In addition (or perhabs replacement?) to the Dimage I like something more compact, for the carry it in the pocket, easy access high quality snaps. The new camera should also be very good at low light (especially since I have to focus the Dimage manually when it gets a bit dark!) with a decent 800 ISO performance. Again, next to no shutter lag is important to me, as I like to get a picture of the head of moving objects, and not the tail. 3x plus optical zoom is a must, but I am willing to think about this if the resolution is good enough to use a retrospective digital zoom. I could never bring myslf to 'crop' a picture at the point of taking it...can't really see the point!
I guess being this demanding on something small will push the price...
I had a look at one of the new Fuji Finepix (forgot which one, sodding booze!) and it looked great up to the point that I would need to carry the special charger (or additional special battery) and buy extra chips...bit of a waste i thought...
KNowing me, I will keep piling on details as this goes...what a sod I can be for shifting goalpost! ...or is it jumpers in my case?
I use a RICOH Caplio R2.. about a year old, some are still around.
5 mega pixels, 4.8 optical zoom 28mm wide angle - 135mm end zoom
This camera has video, SD card etc, uses a good long term battery that will take approx 600+ photos with maybe 30% using flash over two weeks before going flat ish..
The camera also has AA battery options as well, that is take out the rechargable big battery and slip in 2 x AA batterys to keep going.
Very quick start up etc, i have mine in a small bag hanging over the handle bar cross bar, just pull out and shoot, takes a few knocks etc.
I like the option of several power sources, as well as the normal cables for TV use etc..
I'm also looking for digital cameras at the moment, and i saw the new Olympus MJU 720 SW which is shock proof and water proof to 3m. Seems like a fairly rugged camera, which takes reasonable photos. A good website is "cameras dot co dot uk" , they have good, non-biased reviews and tests of many new cameras.
I think you need 2 for moto trips - a good pocket shoot-on-the-fly camera and then a decent walking around camera. The nice SLRs are great, but they're bulky, heavy, expensive...and then there's the glass that goes along with them.
I have a Canon S2 that takes some nice pics, my walking around camera. The newer S3 is better. IS, decent pixels, great zoom range, some manual control, etc...
The small and slim Pentax Optios are popular, being waterproof is a big plus.
I feel compelled to thank you all for your contributions.... I have to admit that, as always with these things, you gave me a lot of room for thought, but in the end I ordered something today which even I did not put in the thread...
A Pentas Optio M20.
Now, I have the incling that this thread is usefull for a lot of people...we all look for the perfect gadget on our travels...your contributions kind of proofe the point.
So I would like to urge you to keep it going for future searchers!
Reasons for ordering the Pentax?
Fast focusing, ability to select the ISO, AF tracking of moving objects, reasonable shutter lag, fast processing of snap, did I mention SMALL, AA batteries, battery life, SD cards (important to me, but considering you can pick up a Gig for less than £20...is it important?), 4x optical, cheap (relatively), good reviews, non that I compared in the shops (Nikon L2, Canon, Samsung, Ricoh,...) compared for a similar price (and in many cases disredarding the price)....
I guess I might actually scrap the Dimade Z3 and find a DSLR to replace it. There are some intresting Pentaxes in this area as well........
I shall come back to this to let you guys know what it is like in the field....
As I said, keep it going, there is a lot of camera experience around, lets go public (ncluding the nasties...)
Cheers for the unheeded advice,
PS: Glynn, I guess advice does not only apply to motorbikes...
I think you are better off with a Canon A camera. A540, A630 or their new A710 are good. The A710 has a 6x optical zoom. Thats hard to beat.
Unlike almost all other compacts, Canon A series cameras also have an optional adapter thingy for them that allows you to use 46mm (from memory) filters. Get a circular polariser and a 81B warming filter. These are essential for taking proper photos rather than just "snapshots". Add a small mini tripod and you will have all you need to take excellent travel / bike photos.
What I also like about Canon is they use optical image stabilisers (I am not aware of any other brand that uses optical stabilisers) ... these are a lot better than digital image stabilisers and make it easier to take decent pictures from a moving bike.
See link below for plenty of photos, and while many were taken on Digital or film SLRs, at least a third of them are from compact Nikons or Canons
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