The Best Small Cameras for Short Trips

Now that we’ve talked about great cameras for summer travel, consider the fact that you may also be taking short trips of some sort. In a case like that, you will probably want something light, compact but won’t skimp on image quality. Here’s the run down of some of the best choices currently available.

Sigma DP2

The Sigma DP2 is a camera that recently received a firmware update to speed up the main problem with an otherwise stellar camera—autofocus. According to new reviews, the camera’s autofocus is now noticeably faster. For those of you in the dark about this camera or are wondering why it is potentially so legendary: the Sigma DP2 takes a Foveon image sensor and puts it into a point-and-shoot body complete with a 41mm F2.8 lens.

On top of Sigma’s years of being a lens maker, the Foveon sensor is something really quite spectacular. For starters, it is larger than the Four Thirds sensor of Olympus and Panasonic but slightly smaller than the APS-C sensor in Canon DSLR cameras. It works like this: there are actually three sensors in the camera—one that processes blue, one for red and one for green. When an image is taken, the sensors work together to create the image. The result is perhaps some of the most spectacular images to ever come from a camera in its price range. The colors, vividness, saturation, and level of depth allowed in editing will provide users with some images that will simply floor you.

If you want a nice point-and-shoot to last you a long time, this is the one.

Canon S90

As perhaps the only small sensor camera I’d ever use, the S90 delivers spectacular image quality for the size and also offers a bagful of great features. Though the sensor is just a bit larger than other point-and-shoots, it is large enough to really matter. Complete with an F2.0 lens at its widest focal length (unzoomed) it will let users take great photos in low-light. Coupled with RAW image output and great high ISO output, it can deliver some great images for almost any occasion and is pocketable.

Outstanding features include the wheel ring around the lens as well as the dial on the back of the camera that allows for ease and quick access to settings.

If you’re looking to get a gift for someone, the Canon PowerShot S90 could be the camera.

Panasonic GF-1

This is the camera that I’ve seen/tested and quite honestly consider to be the pinnacle of the Micro Four Thirds category. Pick this camera up with a 20mm F1.7 lens and you’ll have the ultimate compact package with great quality. The GF-1 records 720p HD video, has 12MP, a pop-up flash and also offers users the option of a viewfinder if they so want it.

Considered by many reviewers to be second to none in the Micro Four Thirds line of cameras, it is really a camera loved by its users because of the discreteness coupled with excellent image quality.

Olympus EP-1

At 12MP and with all those art filters, the EP-1 rocked the photo world when it came out by being able to offer DSLR image quality in a camera the size of a point-and-shoot. To date, it is still one of my favorite Micro Four Thirds bodies. With the ability to shoot HD video as well, everyone will have fun with this camera and the sleek, sexy, retro look to it.

For the best lenses for your Micro Four Thirds camera, check out my posting on CCTV lenses.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.