Travel and photography really go hand in hand. You go on these wonderful vacations to places you may never visit again & with people you rarely see, it only makes sense to capture those moments. But which camera should you carry with you while backpacking through South America? What about to a beach in Mexico? It’s not an easy decision, but the most important thing is to plan ahead.
If you enjoy photography as much as I do, your camera is probably bigger and heavier than you care for it to be. Or you may even have several, and you’re having a hard time deciding which camera to take with you.
Fortunately, there’s probably a camera out there for you that can suits your needs in terms of portability and image quality.
The general rule is this, the bigger the camera, the better quality you’re going to get, but the less portable it’s going to be. For me, my Nikon D700 travels with me almost everywhere. Attach a speedlight and full frame zoom lens, and it feels like I’m carrying a child with me. The image quality / speed & versatility are unmatched so that almost always makes it a no brainer for me to take along. After learning the camera well, I don’t take a lot of time fusing around with taking shots multiple times, and I can really just enjoy my time more. I know most wouldn’t agree.
(Nikon D700 – would you want to lug this beast around?)
There is a huge market for those who want a compact camera that offers very close to high end image quality. Without getting into the nitty gritty of resolution & megapixels, here’s are my reco’s:
One of my favorite compacts is the Canon s100 series. It’s about the size of a men’s wallet, and packs a lot of punch when it comes to features & quality. One thing I think most travel photographers love about it is how wide the built in lens is. Great for landscapes. The lens isn’t interchangeable, so it makes it super portable. Throw it in your pocket or your purse, you’ll barely feel it.
If you find you want different lens options in a compact camera body, there are a lot of players in this realm now as well. The Sony NEX series and the Panasonic GF (no not girlfriend wiseguy) are both great for the middle of the road / serious photo junkie.
(Panasonic Lumix GF)
The last thing in going to give input on are camera phones. The latest cameras on phones like the iPhone5s and Samsung Galaxy S4 are remarkable and would replace a lot of lower to mid tier point & shoots. Panasonic also just released a phone with a 41MP sensor! That’s unbelievable when it comes to cameras built into a phone. If you’re not looking for print work or high end images, maybe your camera phone will do just fine. I’m really impressed with how clear some of images from phones come out nowadays. I also love the ability to instantly share photos from my phone with those back home (suckers!).
(Samsung Galaxy S4)
So in a nutshell, finding the right camera to bring on your trip is going to vary by person. and possibly even by trip by the same person. You have to find what you’re comfortable carrying & figure out what level of image quality you’re ok with.
Hopefully I’ve at least led you in the right direction of which photo path you want to follow.
Remember to charge those batteries too.