Hybrid or Micro System?
Sure, they are much more compact than an SLR, big sensor, great quality...but they lack portability. The interchangeable lens are still big, especially to get a significant zoom range. Plus as per SLR's, they are difficult to use with one hand and good luck finding one that has a flip out screen along with voice recording.
They are much better these days, some have great optical zoom, however they still have smaller sensors, no flip our screen and often lack manual control.
Long Zoom Compact?
They tick some of the boxes but because they're cramming so muh zoom in, it is sacrificed by a smaller image sensor and therefore, poorer image quality.
A `Prosumer` Compact?
Full manual control, larger sensor than a long zoom or compact, they are portable, record quality video, some have flip out screens and a decent zoom range. The category seems right, but hows this, Voice Capture once existed on the majority of camera brands but in recent years, the function has been dropped! Canon, Sony, Panasonic? No or not anymore. Nikon, Fujifilm? Luckily, Yes.
Flip out screens...one of the handiest features of a camera is also ignored by many manufacturers. The famous Canon G series, namely the G12 complete with a flip out screen was replaced by the G15 WITHOUT a flip out screen! Yet this feature is being used in their long zoom camera and SLR's. The G16 has now been announced, sadly the flip out screen is still missing.
Panasonic, Samsung and Fujifilm also serve up their contenders, with fantastic image quality but have decided to go with small zoom ranges and no flip out screens. Sony's new RX100 has been acclaimed by experts as perhaps the best compact ever made. It is very impressive, 1 inch sensor and amazing capabilities. Yet, it is limited to a 3.8x zoom, no flip out screen, no voice memo recording. This can't be an ideal option for travellers!
This left in our opinion, the Nikon P7700 as the best travel camera available. Sure it won't match the quality of an SLR, or even the Sony RX100, but the quality will still be outstanding. Plus it will make a trustworthy travel companion, allowing you to capture the quality shots you want in the first place and record more of your travel experience. Always remember, no matter how good the camera is, it's the actual shot that matters. One year on Nikon has launched an updated version, the Nikon P7800. Very similar to the P7700, the P7800 adds a high resolution electronic viewfinder to the camera. A welcome addition for various conditions such as attempting to track fast moving subjects such as birds. The Nikon P7800 entails: