The Panisonic Lumix is one of the best reviews compact camera that can withstand
this kind of trip. Dustproof, waterproof, and shockproof all sound good to us. The
resolution is high as is the aperture and the auto shooting mode is notorious for
producing great pictures of landscapes and colorful subjects. The drawback to this
type of camera is that without an extending lens the zoom is limited to around 5X
in all models available.
Update 10/9/10: In many ways the Lumix has performed wonderfully. When shooting
well lit landscapes the colors tend to be more accurate and vivid than with the Nikon.
It is as if there is a built in polarizing filter. However, in some situations the
camera does not perform. In dimly lit shots the flash is blinding and tends to over
expose light colored objects. Choosing not to use the flash decreases the shutter
speed blurring any moving objects.
Update 11/8/10: Unloading a round of pictures recently we were disappointed to see
a terrible flaw in all of our shots. A dark circle has appeared which is present
in every shot. It is apparent on any picture with a light background. We have cleaned
the lens but this did not solve the problem. It is visible just below the right palm
tree’s foliage in this picture. It is very disappointing to have this essentially
unfixable problem which can ruin almost every picture after only 6 months of use!