Expert Recommendation

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Best Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $750 with Manual Controls
Expert (4 Recommendations and 1 Compliment)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
August 18, 2008 Updated: August 24, 2008
Overview

If you are ready to move from a point & shoot camera to one where you have more controls and options for your travel photos, you can’t go wrong with the 12.2 MP Canon XSi. Loaded with features, many of which are normally found on the more expensive SLRs, this Canon camera will be your faithful companion on your next trip.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (with 18-55mm IS Lens)

As you travel around, you can take comfort in knowing the rugged construction of the XSi’s body, built from stainless steel and polycarbonate, will take the normal bumps and knocks cameras get while traveling.

The EOS Rebel XSi is fast. With a quick start-up time and a burst rate of 3.5 frames per second for up to 53 frames, you will capture those split-second action sequence images at just the right moment, such as a humpback whale’s tail out of the water just before it dives.

One of the best features of the XSi is its Live View. With Live View, you can frame an image in the large 3” LCD screen over the heads of others in front of you while standing in a crowded village square. With a grid superimposed on the LCD screen turned on, it is easy to frame a pleasing image while keeping the subject off-center or when trying to keep the horizon straight.

While hiking in the desert, or in any other dusty situation, you will enjoy the XSi’s Integrated Sensor Cleaning System. With this feature, dust is shaken off of the sensor automatically every time the camera is turned on (or you can use the feature manually also). This keeps white dust spots off of your printed photos.

Comparison with Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)

The Canon XSi has 2 MP more effective sensor resolution allowing you to make larger prints than with the Nikon D60’s 10MP. The XSi has LiveView, which I find myself using more and more while traveling, and the Nikon doesn’t.

Comparison with Pentax K200D (with 18-55mm Lens)

The Canon XSi has 2 MP more effective sensor resolution allowing you to make larger prints than with the Pentax K200D’s 10MP. The XSi has LiveView, which I find myself using more and more while traveling, and the K200D doesn’t.

Pros
  • +
    Strong construction
  • +
    Fast shutter lag time
  • +
    Comfortable controls
Cons
  • -
    Exposed LCD that is easily scratched
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (with 18-55mm IS Lens) is the Best Digital Camera for Travel Photos Under $750 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (with 18-55mm IS Lens)
  • Best Price: $689
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 12.2MP
  • Size: 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4 in.
  • Battery Life: 500 shots
  • Aperture Priority Mode Available: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
Best badge
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (with 18-55mm IS Lens)
2
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)
3
Pentax K200D (with 18-55mm Lens)
Customer Rating
Price $689.00 $949.00
Weight (without batteries) 16.8 oz 16.6 oz 20 oz
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Effective Sensor Resolution
12.2 megapixels 10.2 megapixels 10.2 megapixels
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
29 mm 27 mm 28 mm
Optical Zoom 3.0x 3.0x 3.0x
?
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in. 2.5 in. 2.7 in.
Size (W x H x D) 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4 in. 5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in. 5.2 x 3.7 x 2.9 in.
Image Stabilization Type Optical (lens shift) Optical (lens shift) Sensor Shift
2
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)

This camera has many features found in larger, more expensive SLRs, but in a smaller package. One feature travelers will use over and over again is Active D-Lighting. In high contrast lighting conditions, such as when your subject is in the shade and bright light is all around, important details in both highlights and shadows can be lost. With the D60 set to Matrix metering and the Active D-Lighting turned on, exposure issues are automatically corrected while shooting.

With a fast startup and a fast shutter response, you can capture those sport-action sequence images at 3 frames per second for up to 100 frames. With its long-lasting lithium-ion battery, you can capture up to 500 images on a battery charge - more than enough for a day-trip away from your battery charger back in the hotel.

Comparison with Pentax K200D (with 18-55mm Lens)

The Nikon D60 and Pentax K200D run neck-in-neck as far as features are concerned. Selecting the Nikon ahead of the Pentax came down to the Nikon name and proven Nikkor lenses.

Pros
  • +
    Quiet
  • +
    Sturdy construction
Cons
  • -
    Limited auto-focus lenses selection
  • -
    No Live View
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens) is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $750 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Nikon D60 (with 18-55mm VR Lens)
  • Best Price: $949
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 10.2MP
  • Size: 5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in.
  • Battery Life: 500 shots
  • Aperture Priority Mode Available: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
3
Pentax K200D (with 18-55mm Lens)

As a traveler, you will appreciate the K200D’s weather and dust resistant body. Whether you are shooting in a misty jungle, up on a snowy peak or in the dusty desert, this camera will keep shooting when others would stop. The K200D’s 11-point AF system locks in the exposure and focus even when your subject is off-center. With image stabilization built into the camera body instead of the lenses, you have a wider selection of lenses to choose from to cover all your travel photography situations.

Comparison with Olympus E-520 (with 14-42mm Lens)

The E-520 does not have the dust and weather-resistant body. With traveler’s out in all types of weather, this ends up being a deciding feature over the E-520.

Pros
  • +
    Fast shutter lag time
  • +
    Strong construction
Cons
  • -
    Exposed LCD subject to scratching
  • -
    No Live View
Pentax K200D (with 18-55mm Lens) is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $750 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Pentax K200D (with 18-55mm Lens)
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.1x
  • Resolution: 10.2MP
  • Size: 5.2 x 3.7 x 2.9 in.
  • Battery Life: 550 shots
  • Aperture Priority Mode Available: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com
4
Olympus E-520 (with 14-42mm Lens)

A nice feature found in the E-520 that travelers will enjoy and use frequently is the shadow adjustment feature. With this technology, exposure in shadows is adjusted while maintaining detail in the bright areas. With the E-520, you can shoot under a jungle canopy, on a bright white-sand beach or anywhere where you find extreme contrast between bright and dark areas and be assured your images will be properly exposed.

Olympus E-520 (with 14-42mm Lens) is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Travel Photos Under $750 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Olympus E-520 (with 14-42mm Lens)
Specifications
  • Zoom: 3.0x
  • Resolution: 10.0MP
  • Size: 5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in.
  • Battery Life: 650 shots
  • Aperture Priority Mode Available: Yes
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com

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