Review: 5 Cameras to consider for a road trip
Through a viewfinder
As we live in the age of Instagram (and its Stories), Snapchat, and Facebook, we become automatically reliant on our nifty everyday partner, a smartphone—even when we travel. But there is something different about using the traditional camera, be it a point-and-shoot or a DSLR or even an instant one—and we don't mean just the specs. If you share our sentiments and have been pondering which camera to choose, this review roundup of the ones we tested out during our #BuroRoadTrip might finally settle your thoughts.
Cai Mei Khoo, Editor-in-Chief: Sony RX100 IV
The Sony RX100 IV camera pretty much got the job done, although, at times during the day, some of the photos seemed a bit overexposed while on Auto. Built as an extra camera for on-the-go professional photographers with a passion, suffice to say that some technical knowledge is still required to capture that perfect image. However, as we spent a lot of time eating during our #BuroRoadTrip, I found the preset functions like the one for Food to work really well—colours were clear and crisp, and details really stood out. This is perhaps thanks to the super fast Anti-Distortion Shutter which is specially designed to capture extremely fast motion without any image distortion. Being one of the first Cyber-shot cameras equipped with the 4K (QFHD 3840x2160) movie recording feature, the video quality is also satisfactory. As with most compact cameras, if not all, the Sony RX100 IV camera comes equipped with Wi-Fi although I had some difficulty in transferring photos onto my iPhone even though the camera showed that my phone was connected. A colleague commented that the camera was slightly heavier than expected but it didn't bother me too much.
Gwen Ong, Deputy Editor: Leica D-Lux
Since the advent of smartphone, my digital camera has not been utilised much, if at all. I like travelling light and the idea of lugging one too many devices around doesn't appeal to me. But I must say, there are times when a smartphone doesn't do justice in capturing the scenery before my eyes. And these are the moments when a camera is still the best tool to get the job done.
During our recent #BuroRoadTrip, I find the Leica D-Lux is a handy one to carry around. It is compact enough with nifty functions for when you're on the go. The D-Lux features easy-to-use modes and a range of filters that makes it an efficient device to capture impressive images with fast shutter response. It doesn't take longer than five seconds to point and shoot. Photos appear good with balanced exposure, while the resolution/details are sharp and focused. I like how the macro focus allows me to shoot up-close from a mere 3cm away. The D-Lux performs well in this setting where the subject is centrally and beautifully captured with a 'bokeh' (or out of focus) effect in the background.
One feature that stood out for me is the built-in electronic viewfinder, which helped greatly when we were outdoors hunting for the best food, art murals and scenic attractions. Under the sun, the D-Lux's 3-inch screen tends to suffer from bright and reflective conditions, and it isn't touchscreen sensitive. All in all, the Leica D-Lux is fast and responsive; perfect for capturing those travel moments to look back at and laugh.
Rachel Au, Lifestyle Writer: Olympus Pen-F
As an owner of an Olympus OM-D, I was ecstatic to try out the Olympus Pen-F as it was really a tough decision to choose between the two when I bought my camera. And after giving it a whirl, I'd have to say I wish I could own the Pen-F as well. With a gorgeous vintage-inspired body, it's not just for the good looks as it delivers equally beautiful shots with vivid colours that require no post-editing and a dreamy depth of field—and this is just in Auto mode. Although this comes as no surprise as it's the model with the highest resolution of all the Olympus cameras (at 20MP with Micro Four Thirds sensor combined with in-body image stabilization).
As mentioned, the Pen-F isn't just a pretty camera. It sticks true to its inspiration. For fans of the vintage effect of old school film, there's a fully customizable in-camera colour control for you to toy with and see the results before you click the shutter. In contrast, it has built-in Wi-Fi and an AF Targeting Pad on its screen so you can touch it to set a focus point as well as to snap—almost like a smartphone. Overall, it was truly a joy to carry around the Pen-F during our #BuroRoadTrip. Every shot was satisfactory, it was easy to use, and (please don't judge), it was a great prop for flatlays too.
Su Fen Tan, Writer: Nikon 1 J5
After the #BuroRoadTrip, I took a slight detour from work for an island getaway in Langkawi. The weather was too devastatingly gloomy for my holiday but it certainly gave the Nikon 1 J5 a challenge; one that it gracefully accepted and succeeded. After all, this was a camera that was made to have faster shutter speeds and enhanced low-light capabilities with High ISO Noise Reduction, which means you can shoot up to ISO 12,800 and still get clear, crisp images with all the fine details of the picture still intact. The Nikon 1 J5 is also a fun-sized camera—it's small and light, perfect for travelling—that makes taking pictures so easy, especially with the built-in Wi-Fi and 180° tilting touch screen. I could instantly transfer the picture perfect photo to my phone (and Instagram it) and almost every angle (and selfie) is possible. Now that makes a perfect travelling partner.
Alyssa Lee, Editorial Assistant: Canon EOS M10
The Canon EOS M10 is an entry level mirrorless, which means it promises DSLR quality and features in the compact body of a point-and-shoot. The 15-45mm kit lens was actually perfect for a roadtrip like ours where capture-worthy moments could quickly flip from sprawling landscapes and wide shots to macro shots of tantalizing meals.
Controls on this device are minimal. Dedicated aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual control options were missing from the top dial and had to be accessed through the menu button making it quite a hassle to switch between modes despite a perfectly responsive touch screen. Although I prefer tinkering with manual controls, shooting on auto delivered pretty well-exposed and clean shots with only slight noticeable vignetting.
For those interested, this camera has a handy flip-up screen that is ideal for perfectly framed selfies or vlogs, and built-in Wi-Fi for seamless transfers between the camera and a smartphone. Is it roadtrip-ready? The answer is a respectable 'yes'.