Best small and image quality travel camera

Messages
61
Name
richard
Edit My Images
Yes
Hi,

Having a tough time upgrading my camera, my needs seem to be quite niche.

I currently have a Panosonic Lumix GM1. It's perfect, small and concise. However, I feel like the shots could do with a better quality image.

As such, my only need to upgrade is chasing that pin sharp image.

I appreciate I will have to get a slightly larger camera (and sensor) to get that.

The problem is, every review looks into video too and is very vlog centric. To be honest, I won't touch the video function so that doesn't really apply.

The dream would be a Leica Q2, but funds don't allow, so looking at ~£1k budget and it needs to be small form and produce top quality photos.

Currently looking at:

Canon EOS M6 MK2
Sony A7-C (definitely too expensive and maybe too big)
Sony A6600 (is it better than the Canon for image quality though? 24mb vs 32mb)

Any others?

Thanks
Apologies if i am missing the point but not quite understanding what the problem is with IQ of your GM1

OK you are looking for a pin sharp image and a budget of 1k.

Does that mean that with your GM1 near base ISO your images are actually soft ? or you are lacking resolution in terms of pixels?

If the former- what lens / lenses are you using ? You could try a pan 1.7/20 - either version if you are not using it already Very very sharp but slow AF and cheap.

EDIT - sorry - just seen that you have got one so presumably not giving the pin sharp IQ you want ?

If the latter then loads of good ideas suggested above - the only thing I would add within your budget for a very small form factor is a used rx100 - early version 24-70 EFL and no evf ( since you are not using one now ). I know it’s a 1 inch ( and the larger sensors are obviously “better” as you push iso but it’s a superb zeiss lens.
I don’t own one but I have a Nikon 1 J5 which has more or less the same Sony sensor and it is very very nice.
Can’t remember if anyone’s suggested a GR ?
 
Last edited:
Messages
26,366
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
Wow thanks for all the replies, looking through it looks like I probably wasn't totally clear.

Even though I suggested Q2, a fixed lens just won't cut it I don't think. I have a pancake (20mm f/1.7) for the GM1 and I rarely use it, it's tiny but unnecessary baggage and changing lens while walking around isn't for me. I want the option to change lens, just in case but 95% of the time will always have a 1 lens bag. As such a small amount of zoom would be required as that's always my go-to over prime. The kits lens with the GM1 was sufficient for that (12-32mm f/3.5-5.6).



Yes on zoom, but will 16MP be good enough quality compared to M6 mk2 (32.5MP) and Sony a7C (24MP)? These 2 seem the only ones in the running and the Sony is way out of budget really.

Yes, A7C. I feel like I require a zoom, and that's when the lends get chunky.

GX9 looks good.

Think you've summed it up. Reading these replies and doing further research A7C is probably perfect but I think it might be too big/heavy. Ultimately the quality of image is the most important. Focal length isn't a big zoom just a normal kit, GM1 kit lens was 12-32mm which was enough zoom for me. Anything else I'd get a separate lens, but I haven't felt the need to.

A6600 is looking good, that lens is definitely too big.

This is why I'm thinking A7C.

Will take a look, seems to be a lot of Fuji that could be good, how do you decide!
The Sony A7c can come with a very compact 28-60mm variable aperture zoom. That might be worth a look. I'm more of a prime fan so although I can see how the zoom can be attractive I'd probably still go for a compact prime, 35mm f2.8, 28mm f2, Voigtlaner 35mm f1.4. That sort of set up is possibly over budget though.

I have a Panasonic GX9 and also a GX80. These are nice cameras and there are some nice compact primes and even zooms such as the tiny and capable from wide open 14-42mm G Vario. The kit is all available on the used market too and at tempting prices. Looked at in isolation this kit is capable of good image quality but it can't match even my first generation Sony A7 if you go pixel peeping and looking for differences.

Good luck choosing.
 
OP
S
Messages
24
Name
Tom
Edit My Images
No
So, what have you decide on? :)
I haven't yet. I really like the A7C. But it's not only over budget, it's probably too big. But IQ is so important, maybe bulk is part and parcel.

Zoom lens and improved IQ over M4/3 and remaining pocketable is a struggle. There aren't all that many pancake style zoom lenses around. Many of the suggestions on here would be a downgrade in image quality.

Canon did their G5X and similar models which I really rate but I assume discontinued now.

In Fuji world, the XE3 and XE4 with the 15-45 zoom lens might be a good option.

Or slightly curve ball, find a good GM5 and keep using the 12-32?
Exactly, this is the issue! I'm sure it's doable though.

G5X looks ok, but it's 6 years old. Surely we can do better than that.

XE4 looks beautiful, right up my street, all good, the only thing is, it just doesn't look as good IQ as the Sonys (A6600 & A7C) using https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison/
 
Messages
1,571
Name
Jonathan
Edit My Images
Yes
Once you are able to, I woudl suggest you go and try some of the options in store.
I was originally set on a Sony RX100 as a small and light travel camera - but when I actually picked one up, it immediately felt too small - and after trying a few alternatives I settled on a Sony A6000, which for me was small enough to fit in a coat pocket (with the 16-50 lens powered off), to use 1 handed if I wanted a 'quick snap' (or was somewhere where I wanted to keep one hand holding onto something for stability!), but large enough to use 2 handed when I had the time to take more care with a shot.
 
Messages
26,366
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
I haven't yet. I really like the A7C. But it's not only over budget, it's probably too big. But IQ is so important, maybe bulk is part and parcel.
The GM1 is tiny and although it can give pretty good image quality it is quite limited too in some ways.

The A7c is small for a quality camera but could make for a not so small camera and lens package if you put a honking great full frame lens on it. Put a smaller lens on it and it'll be hard to beat when looking at size and quality ratios. You get what you pay for though and it and its lenses aren't cheap.

Here are the Panasonic GX80, Sony A7C, Sony A6000 and Leica Q2. As you can see the A7C isn't exactly a behemoth next to the Q2 or the MFT or APS-C alternatives.

1-Untitled-1.jpg

2-Untitled-1.jpg


I don't think you'll get a significant move up from the GM1 at GM1 size. A 1" compact could be an option, something like the Panasonic TZ100 or Sony RX100. Another idea could be the expensive but nice Sony RX1.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1
Edit My Images
No
As mentioned a couple of replies up, the Sony RX1 despite its age is still probably the best of its kind, especially for what used ones can be bought for now.
 
Messages
3,029
Name
Dunc
Edit My Images
No
I have a FUJI X20 for a 'walk around' camera. It was only on the market for a short while, but it is gem that should have had a longer production life. It has a a 28-112 (equivalent to 35mm lens). You can view the rear screen or use the very good zoom optical finder. Agreed it only has a 12m pixel sensor but I can make an A3 print from that whatever aperture the lens is set at. And who wants to go over that?

The later X30 or the earlier X10, both only on the market for a short periods are slightly different, but just as good. I would recommend them to anyone. They are rare, but if you see one snap it up, they are well worth the money. Expect to pay around £220 for the X20.
I'd agree with that. The X100 or XF10 are not really ideal travel cameras. You need a least a moderate zoom when travelling. The X10/20/30 series make great travel cameras. Those who've tried them all tend wax lyrical about the X10 image quality and rendition and they're right. I sold the X30 in favour of the X10. If you can find a good one, grab it.
 
Messages
1,625
Name
Dan
Edit My Images
Yes
What’s your desired output? Large screen, phone screen, print? I ended up with the iPhone 11. For my output means - the phone itself for slideshowing, or yearbooks with collage multiimages - it’s more than good enough. Ultra discreet, totally anonymous, multifunction when travelling [apps, maps, web] etc. With apps like Focos for computational depth of field and Snapseed for editing, I travel with one device. Occasionally I’d love a Leica or RX1R... but on a phone screen or a 3” image in print it was a personal revelation to realise I didn’t actually need IQ as my ultimate aim, and that 'computational bokeh vs fast lenses' etc was difficult to distinguish at such small output sizes. As Tijuanataxi mentioned, I can see why it killed compacts.

If output isn’t the critical step, and your goal is more the art of taking photos for pleasure, I’d look at a Fuji X100, with that lovely manual control. Lovely sharp pics too, for what it’s worth. Or the Tz100 offers compact reach if you use the camera to see the hidden details etc. I've seen some incredible night shots from the Sony RX100. These days, a compact has to have an edge that a smartphone doesn’t - weatherproofing, fast glass, big reach etc. If IQ is your absolute requirement - even for its own sake and not for any other reason in print or otherwise - then RX1R or A7 with, say, the 28/2 or Samyang 35/2.8 come in under budget.
 
Last edited:
Top