Do you bring a camera on your travels? The common answer is “Yes”. Of course there are many people who travel without a camera, who just go on a trip to party with the boys, on a shopping trip with the girls (or the other way around for that matter), but the majority of travellers bring a camera. Especially those most likely to read this article, as you will already have some interest in travelling, beyond just getting from A to B and back to A again. Nowadays you can choose from a wide variety of cameras, but the main categories are camera phones, compact cameras, DSLRs and video cameras. What you choose is entirely up to you and usually guided by what you intend to use the pictures for. On one end you have those just wanting to share experiences with friends, uploading them directly from their camera phone to Instagram, Flickr or the like. On the other hand you have photography enthusiasts with expensive DSLR cameras, getting up before dawn, spending hours to get the right shot and hours processing it when they get home. We are probably somewhere in between, along with most travellers.
When we go on a trip we usually pack two cameras, one compact and one DSLR. The DSLR for when we walk around sightseeing and to get good shots of the most interesting buildings, monuments and so forth of the places we visit. The compact camera is for the evening dinners, shopping trips etc when it is a little impractical going around with a big camera around the neck. But we still want to be prepared if an interesting scene comes up. For those of you out there wondering which camera to buy, we will give a closer description of our cameras. It is not ment as advertising, the camera model/maker in itself is not the point. We just aim to give the reader more details on what to look for when buying a camera.
Our compact camera: Samsung WB650
Key features: 12.1 Megapixel, 15x zoom (28-60mm) Schneider-Kreuznach lens, GPS for GeoTagging pictures, 3in AMOLED screen, 720p HD video with stereo sound.
It is great for travelling, and has not without reason been described as a ‘travel camera’. Features that especially make it good for travellers is the GeoTagging option, which with GPS embeds your exact position when shooting, into the picture file. Ideal for Flickr and other places where you can pin your photos to a map. Or just for remembering where you took the photo. Also, the zoom is great, with 15x optical zoom you can really get close to your subject without compromising quality. Ideal for shooting animals or architectural details. If you’re just looking for a point-and-shoot camera, but still want some quality and options, this is a great choice. (Photos of the camera can be seen below).
Our DSLR camera: Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i)
Key features: 18 Megapixel, 3in Clear View LCD screen, 3.7 frames per second, 1080p HD video, 9-point AF system.
This camera is bigger and more expensive than our compact, but if your passionate about photography, there’s no way around getting a DSLR camera. The EOS 550D is a great all-round camera, it better than the entry-level models, but still not among the most expensive models. When it first came out it got best rate on several tests and reviews. What is great with DSLRs is that you can choose the lens yourself and adapt to whatever it is that you are shooting in that particular situation. Our DSLR was bundled with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens. The combination works very well and is sufficient for capturing great photos wherever you travel. To get right up close with our subject, we also have a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens. For those unfamiliar with lenses, a simplified explanation is that the higher number of mm, the more you can zoom and hence get closer to what you’re photographing. The “IS” in the name of the lens stands for “Image Stabilizer”. That’s a function that reduces camera shake and makes sharper photos. Our lenses are rather inexpensive compared to the total population of lenses on the market, but their more than good enough for the average travel photo enthusiast. (Photos of the camera can be seen below).
To sum up, it’s not important which model or producer you choose, the most important thing is that you find a camera that suits your needs. If you buy a camera that is to cheap, you risk getting poorer picture quality than expected and if you buy too expensive equipment you risk that your photography skills hinders you in getting full value for your camera. To match your budget and your level of knowledge about the art of photography, spend some time reading reviews, talking to people in your local photo shop and listen to what others have experienced. Our cameras are both a couple of years old, but does the job splendidly. So if you would like to save a few bucks, go for last years models. Most probably they will fit your needs, but the prices have been marked down when this years models came on the market. Whatever camera you choose, have fun with it!