The best travel camera

What is the best travel camera to take with you on your next adventure? Well, the answer is simple, and you probably have heard it before.

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What is the best travel camera?

What is the best travel camera to take with you on your next adventure? Well, the answer is simple, and you probably have heard it before. It’s the camera you will use.

There is such a wide range of cameras to choose from nowadays. Camera tech in phones are getting really good, point & shoots are evolving, and DSLR’s are getting crispier. I thought today I would share my experiences of what I have traveled with, and what you can find in my hands today.

Traveling with a DSLR

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Pros

  • Picture quality
  • Picture control (with lenses)

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Multiple lenses needed
  • Multiple lenses take up space
  • Bigger memory cards needed
  • Can’t be charged via USB

I love shooting with a DSLR. I like being able to get the max amount of pixels, crispness, and depth-of-field. It’s hard to beat the color quality of the photos too. There are, however, cons.

My DSLR is a Canon 80D now, but when this story took place I was shooting with my brand new Nikon D90. I had used the camera for a couple months and was soon Europe bound for two weeks. On my third day, my camera no longer turned on. I thought perhaps I forgot to plug in the charger all the way and would check it out upon returning to the hostel. I found out that my camera wouldn’t turn on at all, even after a freshly charged battery. I took the camera to a repair store in Prague, where the technician explained through what little English he knew but was so clearly conveyed, my camera was “kaput”. I lugged my Nikon D90 and two lenses throughout the rest of my trip and ended up purchasing a cheap Canon point & shoot so I would at least have photos. It worked out great! When I returned home, my local camera store sent in my Nikon D90 (it was still under warranty) for repairs. When I got it back, they had to replace the entire circuit board inside the camera. I basically had a brand new camera, besides the shell.

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Taken with my Nikon D90, and when I played with processing my photos!
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Taken with my Canon 80D in Iceland.

This experience didn’t shy my away from taking my DSLR to my most recent visit to Iceland, but it did prepare me to exercise caution. I made sure I brought a point & shoot (Sony RX100 iii) that I loved and could rely on in case anything went wrong, or simply out of convenience. I love taking photos of food, but don’t necessarily want to bring my DSLR to a restaurant. This is where the point & shoot comes in handy!

Traveling with a Point & Shoot

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Pros

  • Portable
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • USB to charge

Cons

  • Not comparable to a DSLR
  • Generally not great at night photography

As you can see, the point & shoot list has more pros than cons, however the key difference is quality. I absolutely love traveling with my Sony RX100 iii, and will probably get the Sony RX100 V when the time is right. The quality of photos is really great for the price and form factor, it can take video, and it’s extremely easy to use. I can get great pictures out of this little camera, but I can still see the difference in color/dynamic range that doesn’t compare to a DSLR.

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Taken with Sony RX100 iii

In order to capture the Northern Lights in Iceland, I needed a camera that I could keep the shutter open for a few seconds to take in the light for the Northern Lights to show up! I couldn’t get anything off my P&S for this. On the other hand, my P&S was always in my pocket and always ready to take quality photos.

Traveling with a phone as your camera

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Pros

  • Portable
  • Small
  • Probably always on you
  • USB to charge

Cons

  • Not comparable to a DSLR
  • Generally not great at night photography
  • Battery to drain quick
  • No expandable storage (probably)

I was a bit shocked to see how many people were taking photos with only their phone when I was in Iceland. I mean, it’s probably already in your pocket, you can share with friends/family immediately, and phones these days have really good cameras. For a phone. If you aren’t looking to edit your photos or blow them up larger than 4×6, you might be ok. The only down side is the battery life on phones will certainly require you to carry a backup USB battery pack to keep you snappin’.

In the end…

It really is a preference in this day in age on what camera you should bring on your next trip. You don’t have to have a DSLR to take great photos, but if you like the most control and highest quality possible, it is still the best option for quality. The best camera you can take on a trip is the one you are going to use. If you don’t know how to use a DSLR, or don’t want to dedicate the time to learn it, don’t buy one! Take the camera that you are happiest with and that will suit your needs. This might be the P&S that you don’t have to think about and just snap. It might even be that phone in your pocket because you want to focus on the trip through your eyes and not a lens. It is all up to you, just keep in mind, the camera is there to help you capture moments of your trip!

Happy Travels!

-Anna

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