Travel Tech Series

Travel Tech: Best Compact Cameras for Summer

Posted by Scott Tharler on May 14, 2012 at 12:25:34 PM EDT | Post a Comment
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Summer screams cameras. So as we (north of the Equator, anyway) anxiously await this sun-drenched season, we thought we'd take a look at five of the coolest compact digital cameras to take on the road. Each can do a world of things your old one couldn't—not just in terms of all the automatic scene selection, fun effects, and instant editing, but in how and where you're physically able to take the shots. Whether down low, up high, on land, or in the water, we've got you covered with a wide price range of contemporary cameras to bring along on your next adventures (no matter what the season). And as a bonus, the price ranges here are from just $160 to $430.

1. Coolpix S1200pj

Why We Like It: Although this camera's great at snagging stills and videos, how it shows them sets it apart: Instead of having to crowd around a little 3-inch screen, you can shine your images right on the wall in up to five feet of glory, with a built-in projector! Better yet, it comes with music and graphics you can use to make an impromptu presentation of your favorites. It can connect to your iPod, iPhone, iPad, or computer to project images from those devices, or send them right to a TV or printer. And a remote control ($25, sold separately) can be used to trigger recording stills or videos, or to advance your super slideshow when playing them back with the projector.

How Much: $430

Buy It: Visit NikonUSA.com.

2. Tryx

Why We Like It: You can swing this highly adjustable camera's frame and twist its screen into a wide variety of formations, allowing you to extend your reach, hang it nearby or stand it on its own for self-portraits. It offers two methods for activating the timer: you can slide your finger across the touch screen or a subject in the shot can wave their hand in the air. It's got the widest angle lens of this group. And it takes fun artsy shots and panoramics.

How Much: $250

Buy It: Visit Casio.com

3. MultiView MV800

Why We Like It: This versatile camera lets you angle the screen to capture kids, pets, and other stuff low to the ground (without having to crouch or lie down) or shoot way up high (without having to crane your neck or aim blindly). You can use its built-in posing guide and do in-camera touch-ups for serious portraits, or select a playful frame or stretch your face for sillier pics. It also allows you to work with multiple shots for making wallpaper montages, storyboards, and dual-perspective picture-in-picture shots.

How Much: $280

Buy It: Visit Samsung.com.

4. Cyber-shot DSC-TX20

Why We Like It: It may be small, but it sure ain't dainty. This light, thin camera also happens to be waterproof to 16 feet—great for snorkeling!—as well as dustproof and shockproof. It can help ensure you get the shot you want, by taking bursts of 10 frames per second and using its ability to detect motion, faces, blinks, and smiles. It's also impressive in low-light situations. You can automatically blur the background on close-up shots, just like fancy shutterbugs do with their big, expensive cameras. And you can capture 2D or 3D panoramas in one fluid sweep.

How Much: $330

Buy It: Visit Sony.com.

5. EasyShare Touch M5370

Why We Like It: Although next summer may not see Kodak still in the camera biz, we like this camera's affordability and features enough to include it while we can. As its name implies, it's great for sharing photos: You can tag people and push the Share button so that the next time you connect the camera to your computer it automatically prints certain photos or sends them to your friends via email and/or your favorite social feeds. Its intuitive touch screen interface lets you take pictures, bring up menus, and find additional helpful info. Similar smart features include how it automatically groups pictures for viewing and asks if you want to transfer images from internal memory when inserting a new memory card. Lastly, its coolest editing option lets you make an existing photo either blurry with only certain parts sharp, or black and white with only certain parts colored—just by using your finger right on the screen.

How Much: $160

Buy It: Visit Kodak.com.

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Fodors.com Travel Technology Columnist Scott Tharler is an expert in gadgets, gambling, and travel. He's written four books, plus hundreds of mobile and wireless tips for Sony and PC World. In addition to his daily Discovery News gadget blog, you can find links to other gadget articles, social feeds and lists of his current favorite gadgets at about.me/gadgetfans.

Photo credits:1. 2012 Nikon Inc; 2. Casio America., Inc.; 3. 1995-2012 SAMSUNG; 4. 2012 Sony Electronics Inc.; 5. Eastman Kodak Company

Member Comments (38)  Post a Comment

  • bluestar on May 23, 12 at 11:42 AM

    I'd give the camera a try at several summer outings: festivals & concerts, outdoor parties, nature hikes, city walks, my nephew's wedding ... to name a few places.

  • Menashe on May 21, 12 at 10:14 PM

    Niagara Falls and Toronto!

  • MichaelW_Bklyn on May 19, 12 at 11:15 PM

    South Dakota at the end of June and will most likely go to Eurioe for a couple of weeks at the end of August.

  • khalls on May 18, 12 at 10:49 AM

    Traveling the coast of California.

  • rsidhu on May 18, 12 at 09:55 AM

    I would love an underwater camera!

  • Tim_Neal on May 18, 12 at 04:16 AM

    Maui, here I come!

  • saving4someday on May 18, 12 at 02:31 AM

    I'll be heading to California, NY and Florida and would love a camera my 9yo can easily use.

  • Janelle_Carlson on May 17, 12 at 10:16 PM

    Playa del Carmen!

  • briands on May 17, 12 at 09:07 PM

    Love Nikon cameras and it's nice that it has a projector to make it easier for public viewing of pics

  • Tim_Neal on May 17, 12 at 07:05 PM

    Anywhere warm, with sand and sea!

  • kt785 on May 17, 12 at 01:08 PM

    Singapore

  • maureenpp26 on May 17, 12 at 12:40 AM

    Off to Ecuador and the Galapagos

  • Jm_Eng on May 16, 12 at 11:23 PM

    Santa Cruz!!!

  • kmann on May 16, 12 at 07:27 PM

    NYC

  • analogmonster on May 16, 12 at 06:19 PM

    la jolla. hopefully underwater

  • marjip on May 16, 12 at 06:13 PM

    We'll be celebrating birthdays & holidays so I'll have a multitude of backyards & parks to take photos of a really great family & friends!

  • David_Henry on May 16, 12 at 05:19 PM

    I'll be a photo bug at a state park in Southern Ohio

  • tropicalrita on May 16, 12 at 03:06 PM

    Sea Turtles

  • tropicalrita on May 16, 12 at 03:05 PM

    Jekyll Island, GA

  • Charlene_Birmingham on May 16, 12 at 01:59 PM

    I will be snapping photos at home this summer while I plan my fall trip to Italy!

  • Jeffrey_Hersh on May 16, 12 at 01:57 PM

    Myrtle Beach after the birth of my granddaughter.

  • mirolex on May 16, 12 at 01:55 PM

    Alabama, possibly a weekend in Kansas; UK in the fall!

  • Vickie_Schuett on May 16, 12 at 01:26 PM

    Colorado

  • Shannon_Orton on May 16, 12 at 01:18 PM

    Vegas with my sister! Chicago with my family and the back yard with my doggies.

  • Robin_Hammond on May 16, 12 at 01:09 PM

    Don't have travel booked yet but this camera would be great whether taking pictures at home or abroad! Would love it!

  • Denise_Upton on May 16, 12 at 01:01 PM

    I have several camping trips planned for the summer in Illinois and Wisconsin. I'll be going to Atlanta in August.

  • misshottmess on May 16, 12 at 12:59 PM

    way down south

  • JohnCF99 on May 16, 12 at 12:54 PM

    at the cottage

  • mertone on May 16, 12 at 12:50 PM

    I'll be visiting my sister on the beach in Florida next week. Then I'll be taking pictures all over the Chicago Metropolitan area this summer.

  • C3pon on May 16, 12 at 12:45 PM

    I'll be hiking out west on a few trips - great pictures! I live my Sony DSC-HX9V camera and would also recommend it is placed on the list! I'm an AVID photographer and it is the best I have ever owned :)

  • Jenn_Huff on May 16, 12 at 12:35 PM

    i will snapping pics at disneyland, hunting beach ca, san diego, and petrified forest in arizona

  • Mai432 on May 16, 12 at 12:16 PM

    I am residing and traveling throughout the Adirondacks this summer. I am looking forward to a new camera with zoom for distance shots of nature. Thank you.

  • racegeek on May 16, 12 at 11:05 AM

    I will be headed to Santa Fe, Taos and Albequerque, New Mexico this summer. Very excited, as I have yet to visit NM.

  • palmettoprincess on May 15, 12 at 12:08 PM

    I would love to take a waterproof camera to the beach this year to take photos from tidal pools.

  • schlegal1 on May 15, 12 at 09:32 AM

    It would be great to have the underwater camera for Belize--we just booked a trip there in July and I have been searching for a camera to use while snorkeling.

  • michele_d on May 14, 12 at 11:07 PM

    I'm off for six weeks to explore Scandanavia, Europe and Russia.

  • jill_h on May 14, 12 at 09:43 PM

    Atlanta, GA and Charleston, SC

  • sassy27 on May 14, 12 at 07:46 PM

    I am off to Yosemite and San Francisco this summer and sure could use a new camera.

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