Taking a trip to Japan, need a camera and possibly camcorder

Created by TripMasterMunky on March 15, 2012, 7:14 p.m.
  • So I have a 4-5 year old Canon P&S camera right now. Still pretty decent. 4x optical zoom, 6 megapixels, records 480p video. But I wouldn't mind either upgrading this, and/or buying a camcorder in addition.
     
    So let me get the stupid question out of the way first: Do I need a camcorder if I spend like $300-$400 on a P&S camera that can record in 720 or 1080p, and have a big memory card? I know the answer is probably yes, as otherwise camcorders wouldn't exist., but I would like to know why, in my situation particularly.  

    So now that the dumb question is out of it's way, let's go onto specifics. What do I look for in cameras? Megapixels, optical zoom, and recording resolution as a bonus? Anything else I should be aware of? I'm leaning towards Canon or Nikon for companies, no strong particular reason though. I like P&S cameras for the portability. I don't really want to carry a big lens around. If you feel you want to steer me someplace else though, feel free too.
     
    Like I said, I've been pretty satisfied with my current camera. My 2 complaints though are (1) Image stabilization seems to be a bitch sometimes. If the flash is on or there is proper daylight, there is no problem. But when you take the flash off and you're indoors or something, its hard to not get a blurry photo. Is there something I should be doing differently? And will a new camera be any better? (2) Sometimes it looks like certain pictures have like....a bunch of very small dots in them. It only seems to show up sometimes. And like I said, from afar they look fine, but if you zoom in(not past 100%), you see the dots. Again, ideas/tips?

     
    Now as far as camcorders, I've never had a modern one. What do I look for? Companies I should look towards? Again, I want something nice and portable but HD capable. What are the best options for storage media?

     
    Thanks in advance for any replies. First big trip, so it's a good excuse to finally get a camcorder and/or upgrade my camera.

  •  In my opinion the line between a camera and a camcorder is becoming less defined, some cameras (like the Canon Rebel T2i) shoot beautiful videos. So, that wasn't a dumb question at all.  If you're looking for portability I'd go with the  Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V . As I mentioned earlier, the Canon Rebel T2i is also a very versatile camera.
  • @ParanoidFreak:  The Canon T2i is a great camera, and does shoot beautiful video, but sadly it's not in the $300-400 range (although the price will be dropping soon because of the T3i's announcement).
     
    @DrunkenKong: You might want to look at the Panasonic FZ100 or the slightly older (and less expensive) FZ35. Either one could double as both a decent travel camcorder and still camera.  They both offer a very good combination of decent still image quality, and camcorder-like functionality. There are compact cameras with better still image quality (like the Canon G11 or G12), but they typically have poor video functionality.
  • @DrunkenKong: My school bought six of these Canon PowerShot SX130IS that do 720p video and cost $179. The video quality is impressive for the price and photos turn out really well, too. 
      
     It's 12.1 MP and 12x optical zoom. I have used them a bit and they are pretty sweet, and very portable, too. Worth checking out.
  • Are you coming to Tokyo?  If you swing by Akihabara here (district of Tokyo on the Yamanote line, super easy to get to), a lot of times you can get really good deals on camera equipment, if you don't want to go all out before you get here.  Yamada Denki, Bikku Camera, and Yodobashi are huge chains that sometimes have stuff really cheap.  I generally dislike going to Akiba, but it's the place to go if you want camera/electronics stuff. 
     
    If you just want to do some video cataloguing type stuff anyway, you probably don't need the full on camcorder.  You could use it of course, and you'll get better video out of it than you probably would out of a P&S, but for just basic 'this is what I did on my trip video' you can probably get by with a simpler camera.  I recently played with the Nikon Coolpix S9100 and it was a really nice little camera, light and portable with pretty solid image quality.  It's just above $300 in suggested retail, but may be a pretty good fit for what you need.
  • @psylah: You won't want them, CDs cost an arm and a leg here.
  • @Addfwyn said:

    " Are you coming to Tokyo?  If you swing by Akihabara here (district of Tokyo on the Yamanote line, super easy to get to), a lot of times you can get really good deals on camera equipment, if you don't want to go all out before you get here.  Yamada Denki, Bikku Camera, and Yodobashi are huge chains that sometimes have stuff really cheap.  I generally dislike going to Akiba, but it's the place to go if you want camera/electronics stuff.  If you just want to do some video cataloguing type stuff anyway, you probably don't need the full on camcorder.  You could use it of course, and you'll get better video out of it than you probably would out of a P&S, but for just basic 'this is what I did on my trip video' you can probably get by with a simpler camera.  I recently played with the Nikon Coolpix S9100 and it was a really nice little camera, light and portable with pretty solid image quality.  It's just above $300 in suggested retail, but may be a pretty good fit for what you need. "

    Yeah so I've done a lot of research, I'm going to wait until it gets closer to the trip date though, since new models will be out by then too. I'm thinking of going with the Sony HX9V P&S camera though. Basically the upgraded version that ParanoidFreak suggested earlier. It's going to be a new model, so it'll cost like $350, but the main reason I want it is for 1080p@60fps recording. It may seem silly, but I don't really want to buy a camcorder. I'd rather have a great camera (which I assume most out there will do just fine), but also be able to quickly record some HD video if needed as well. The HX9V is 15.9MP with 16x optical zoom. And yeah I'd rather get it before hand than directly in Japan, not a bad idea though!
     
    As far as the trip itself, yeah I plan to spend a couple days in Akihabara for shopping/checking out random cool stuff. I was thinking about Yodobashi Camera, but wasn't sure if it was worth going to an electronics store if I didn't actually need any electronics. Do they have other cool things inside too or is it mainly just for electronics? Any other hot places you'd recommend as a must visit? Perhaps this is meant more for private messages though in order not to be too off topic.
     
     @psylah said:

    " @Addfwyn:  It's difficult otherwise to support bands that don't have the resources to release their music on online shops, or find old originals :( "

    You're right, and you know what? Sometimes, you just gotta download, because that's the only logical thing to do. Not kidding. Otherwise you're spending hundreds on CDs that you'll burn once and then never look at again. I don't get into any Japanese music at all, but I dig korean hip hop a lot. I'll buy the CDs of my absolute favorite artist or two. But other than that, sorry. I can't buy all that. I'm all for supporting the artist, but at a certain point, it just isn't logical when it comes to foreign music. Not to mention that musicians make more money on doing live shows anyway.
     
    So to conclude this post that has already gone on for too long - instead of wasting hundreds of dollars on foreign CDs, just save that money for a trip to Japan instead, see your favorite person/group live, and have way more fun than you would burning CDs at home.

  • @DrunkenKong: Well, the electronics stores are interesting just to pop in, to see how things are kinda laid out.  Some of the big ones are really impressive, cause it's just floor after floor of everything you could possibly want.  For just doing stuff and hanging out, I really like the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro areas (on the west side of Toky) and Shibuya's crossing is worth seeing, especially at night on weekends.  For tech-stuff, akihabara is really the place to go, unless one of the conventions like Tokyo Game Show are going on (which actually takes place in Chiba, not Tokyo).   
     
    Also, I concur on the Korean hiphop, there's some really good stuff out there.  Epik High being one of my favourite bands period, Tablo is amazing.