It’s time for a new camera.

At the moment, I have the above Canon PowerShot S5 IS and I’ve generally been a big fan of this camera over the 2.5 years that I’ve owned it. However, it’s once near-perfect photo quality has started to show some blurriness, the rotating LCD screen keeps on shutting off and the larger-than-compact size is quite awkward to use, making it nearly impossible to take quick photos.

I once believed that the larger the camera, the better and so I opted for this Canon assuming that I would one day move up to an actual DSLR. However, I’ve now realized that I don’t want a DSLR and I have no interest in carrying around larger pieces of equipment. And since all of the features on my current camera (plus much, much more) can now be found in a smaller, more compact camera, that seems like the best route for me to take.

I’ve already done a good amount of research and of course, my perfect camera simply doesn’t exist. With that said, the leading candidate seems to be the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7, a camera that seems to offer very strong performance and quality – not necessarily excellent quality, but much better than average – while offering the features I find most important.

Apart from being able to take high-quality photos, two must-haves for me are a longer-than-average zoom (at least 10x optical zoom) and the capability to capture excellent HD videos. Ever since the night I met the Taliban, when I didn’t have a video-capable camera with me, I’ve vowed to always have one by my side in case such a thing were to ever happen again.

I’ve thought about buying both a compact camera just for photos and one of those small hand-held video-cameras. But if I could squeeze all of my needs into one, then I’d certainly prefer that over carrying around (and worrying about) two separate devices.

So I’d love to hear any recommendations you may have and any help would be much appreciated!

Is there anything I’m forgetting to think about when it comes to finding the ‘perfect’ travel camera? Do you have a favorite camera that might be exactly what I’m looking for?