To a very great extent, the cameras I take away with me depends on the holiday, the destination and what I’m going to be doing. Travelling with friends this year and a wife who requires my undivided attention for most of the time, I judged it not too sensible to take along any of the big guns ie. something too bulky that would need more of my time in order to produce something considerably better than I could potentially achieve on a high end compact. Also, as we shared a single main suitcase in order to travel light as we had a lot to cram into the rental vehicle with four of us, I was banned from taking along a tripod. And so it was that I went without my trusty Nikon D750 DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) and without a tripod for those nice long dawn and dusk exposures. I opted for my favourite compact, my Nikon P7800. I like this for a number of reasons. The fully rotating flip screen, the ability to shoot in a RAW format giving me much more post production control in photos containing tricky lighting conditions, and the internal viewfinder for when it’s sunny. The downside of this particular camera is its narrow focal range (5x zoom). It’s neither very wide angle nor telephoto with an equivalent of 180mm as the longest focal length however, as I wasn’t shooting wildlife from a distance, this wasn’t an issue although in towns, a wider angle would have been more useful for capturing buildings than the equivalent 28mm the P7800 affords. Why is it you can never have everything in one camera?
I do like to do at least one really early morning start while I’m away. This involves getting up at between 3.00am and 4.00am, arriving back in time for my wife to ask if I slept well (silly question) I guess, a croissant and a cup of coffee. Arising at this unearthly hour, I do get to see things I would never see later on as I watch towns come to life, fishermen landing their early catches and streets that are empty of thousands of tourists. I watch the light change from a cold dark blue to a warm early morning sun. The downside is I can’t stay awake in the afternoon or evening so I can get a little boring later in the day. The wife’s elbows not so gently nudging me awake again soon puts paid to any idea of catching up on lost sleep. I must admit on our recent rip to Croatia, it was at this early hour of the day that I most missed my bigger camera and tripod. There is nothing quite like the quality of early morning light but in order to capture the best results, night shots and early mornings are best taken using a low sensitivity (100 ISO) and mounting the camera on a tripod with a shutter release using a long exposure. Having said that, my little P7800 coped admirably well with all shots being taken hand held. The in-body post production of the program modes is pretty reasonable and can produce quite respectable results.
If you’re as crazy as me and you want to join the hours of the ‘Living Dead’, then I would always recommend either a more advanced DSLR or higher end compact camera capable of manual modes, the ability to shoot in a RAW format to push out detail where required, and the use of a lightweight tripod.
If you’d like to see a few of the pictures taken on my compact in Croatia this year, click here