Travel camera: NEX 18-200 vs TZ60 vs ???

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tduk
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Travel camera: NEX 18-200 vs TZ60 vs ???
4 months ago

Hi,

Apologies if this question has been asked many times before, I wasn't able to turn up anything really relevant in my search (aside from spammy "Snapsort" results) but feel free to direct me elsewhere if it has been answered!

I'd describe myself as a somewhat enthusiastic amateur photographer - I love taking photos and find camera tech really interesting, but living in central London and having no real interest in street photography etc., I don't really find the chance to do it all that much, so I mainly use my camera on holiday or special occasions.

I want to take the best quality images I can and have good scope for retouching them, but at the same time I'm happy to trade off some quality for portability (I previously had an SLR, which I didn't get on with due to the size and weight) and price (as it's not something I'm using every day).

I currently have a NEX-C3 with the 18-55 lens, which I think is a fantastic little camera and takes amazing images - I really enjoy using it and it hits a sweet spot in terms of size and weight, although there are definitely a few things I miss with it being the basic model (e.g. separate AF and AE lock). However, I'm planning a holiday this year to Uganda which will hopefully involve a safari, and so I'm expecting that I'll want more zoom than I currently have if I'm going to take some good photos.

The two options I am weighing up are either the 18-200 zoom lens for the NEX (I don't really get on with changing lenses too often and can imagine wanting to go from wide to zoomed quite frequently); or a portable travel zoom like the Panasonic TZ60, which has the amazing sounding (on paper) 30x zoom, enough "professional" features to be interesting (e.g. RAW, EVF) and also useful travel features like GPS.

Has anyone else weighed up these two options? My concerns are:
- On the one hand, that the image quality of the TZ60 will be underwhelming after what I'm used to with my NEX, and that even in a situation where I want to zoom in quite far, I'd get better results from the NEX + 18-200 + cropping than I would with the TZ60... 
- ...and on the other hand, that the 18-200 will make the NEX more bulky than I'll like, and that I'll miss out on useful travel features like GPS.

Any advice or impressions on either would be very useful - I'm also open to any other suggestions as I don't have much investment in the NEX system (kit lens + the wide angle/fish eye combo), but haven't seen anything e.g. in M4/3 that looks like it would offer much different, either in terms of cost or size or quality, and I have always been pleased with my Sony kit and don't really like the look/feel of other cameras I've seen as much.

Thanks,
Tom

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 (TZ60) Sony Alpha NEX-C3
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