Carrying a digital camera on your backpacking trip is almost as important as wearing a pair of shoes. You'll be taking it with you wherever you go, and using it to record the incredible things you see and to remember the people you meet. Since you'll most likely be shooting lots of photos, choosing the best travel camera to suit your personal needs is essential.
Choosing the Best Travel Camera
Here are just a few of the things you'll want to think about before getting a travel camera:
- Cost: Cameras can range from quite cheap to extremely expensive. Small point and shoot cameras can be as little as $100, but if you start looking into a camera with more advanced features, a more powerful zoom, or a better lens, prices go way up.
- Size: You'll probably be carrying a mid-sized backpack when you decide to take a backpacking trip around the world. This means that your space is limited, and you can't bring everything you own with you. Small cameras can conveniently fit into a pocket, while larger cameras might need their own separate bag. Decide what size camera you are willing to carry.
- Weight: Along with size, the weight of a camera is another issue to consider. Small things add up, and small cameras are very light, while larger cameras can be very heavy.
- Purpose: What is your purpose for using a digital camera? Will you be taking photos of sight, landmarks and people for your own memory or do you want to take professional quality photos?
The Big Debate: DSLR vs. Point and Shoot
In the long-time quest to find the best travel camera comes the big debate of carrying a bulky DSLR or a small sized Point and Shoot. Each camera has its benefits and drawbacks, so it's best to carefully examine each and decide on a travel camera that works best for you.
- Expensive: often 3x or more expensive than a Point and Shoot.
- Large Size: Big and bulky and the lens is heavy.
- Quality: DSLR's win hands down when in comes to photo quality. If you want to take professional images, you'll need a DSLR. There's no way to beat the quality of a real lens.
- Zoom: With a full sized DSLR camera you'll likely have much better options for zooming in on a subject.
- Video: While point and shoot cameras take decent video, new DSLR's can shoot top of the line quality HD video and might even include an external microphone jack for sound.
Point and Shoot
- Cheap Price: Mid-ranged point and shoot cameras can be purchased for $100 – $200, and add a little more money and you'll have a top of the line point and shoot.
- Size: The small size of a point and shoot camera makes it convenient to carry anywhere, and shoot photos without drawing too much attention to yourself.
- Quality: For many purposes, it will take adequate quality photos, however photos lack depth, color range, and the ability to really focus in on specific subjects.
4 Kinds of Travel Cameras
Canon EOS Rebel T2i
Canon is a well known leader in photography, and manufactures everything from low level point and shoot cameras to extremely high level professional DSLR's. The EOS Rebel T2i is a mid-ranged DSLR camera that is outfitted with plenty of features, but still moderately priced.
The EOS Rebel T2i (which is also known as the 550D) is packed with 18 megapixels, an ISO range of 100-6400, a Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, and a Full HD video recording function. This camera is now selling for just $630 US!
This is the camera that I use on my travels and I couldn't be more happy with it! Photos are crisp and it was right in the price range that suited me.
I got the EOS Rebel T2i with the more powerful 18-135mm lens for $950 US.
All DSLR photographers have their preference of camera choice – and it all comes down to either Nikon or Canon.
Both companies make an extremely good product, and if you are looking for a DSLR, you'll eventually need to choose one or the other.
The Nikon D3100 is a 14.2 megapixel DSLR camera with full manual functions and an easy to use interface.
The best part about it is it costs less than $600, and includes an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens. For the price and quality of photos, the Nikon D3100 makes a great travel camera.
The Canon S95 is at the higher end of Point and Shoot cameras. The 10 megapixel camera comes with some nice features like an f/2.0 lens for shooting photos with low light and a 28mm wide angle lens.
If you are looking to take top quality photos, but don't want to upgrade to a bigger and heavier DSLR, the S95 is a great alternative compromise.
The camera retails for $400 but is often sold closer to $360.
Olympus Stylus Tough 6020
Traveling often involves a mixture of hiking, city walking and beaches. There's always the chance of jumping into a lake, crossing a river, or getting splashed at a water festival.
The Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 is a 14 megapixel camera that is sealed in a strong plastic waterproof housing.
The picture quality is not amazing, but for normal purposes it is adequate.
The camera is sold at the cost of around $180 and you'll never have to worry about getting your camera wet!