So you find yourself more and more falling in love with this travel and adventure thing eh? I know how you feel, it’s pretty addictive! You say say you want to start capturing more memories from these trips, well that makes sense, and actually, you should be doing that already! But with all the endless options out there, how do you settle on the perfect camera for you?
Honestly, there is no hard and fast rules or science here, it really boils down to what you want to do, where you are willing to compromise, and how much cash you are willing to spend. There are no shortage of options, So I will dive right into the few different types of cameras, and give and example of each. Prepare to be wowed!
Price Range: $50-$600
These cameras are probably where most of you will feel the most comfortable, or at the very least, you will be most familiar with these types of cameras. Point-and-shoot cameras are typically pretty compact, and can be stowed away easily. Now with that said, point-and-shoot cameras come in a variety of shapes and sizes and range in price from around $100 bucks all the way up to damn near a thousand dollars, perhaps even more.
The target goal with point-and-shoot camera is to offer the end user the quickest and easiest way to take a picture without any nonsense to worry about. That’s not to say some point and shoot cameras don’t offer you some manual control, but usually the focus is a streamlined and automated experience. If your focus is more on capturing memories rather than composing artistic photos, then perhaps a point-and-shoot would suit you well.
Here is a good example of a point-and-shoot camera: Panasonic Lumix ZS20
Price Range: $300-$1200
Mirrorless cameras are kinda the new kids on the block. These cameras have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their compact size and versatility. These cameras take their name from the lack of a mirror which is commonplace in the Digital SLR world. The lack of a mirror allows for a more compact size camera, but takes away the ability to have an optical viewfinder like with a DSLR. For this reason, most mirrorless cameras rely on the LCD screen or a digital viewfinder for composing shots. With many mirrorless systems, you are able to swap out lenses just like you would on a digital SLR. Many travel photographers and other professional photographers have begun to experiment with the flexibility of this new and exciting format.
Many of these cameras, such as the Olympus Pen E-PL1 offer the compact size of a point-and-shoot, but still offer many of the features found in DSLR.
Price Range: $550-$6000+
DSLR, or digital single lens reflex, is the type of camera most often made synonymous with professional photographers. These cameras offer a lot of choices as far as features, lenses and accessories go. Modeled after the professional 35 millimeter film cameras of years gone by, DSLR cameras use a swing away mirror to allow the photographer to see directly through the lens allowing for accurate compositions. When the shutter is triggered, the mirror swings away, exposing the sensor to light and creating your image.
DSLR technology has come a long way in the past few years, and the development of live view technology has made video possible on DSLR cameras. Due to the various lenses available for most DSLR cameras, they are often a great choice for those travelers who intend to shoot lots of high quality video but also want to shoot photos as well. The other types of cameras do offer this flexibility as well, but as of right now the quality of the video on a DSLR camera is unmatched in my opinion.
Most travelers who travel primarily for the sake of taking photos for artistic or professional reasons use this type of camera. Most professionals or serious amateurs are drawn to DSLR cameras because their image sensor is usually much bigger than the other types. This allows for less digital noise when shooting in low light or higher ISO(sensitivity to light) and overall better image quality.
If you were looking to dive into this facet of photography on a budget, I personally would recommend something like the Canon T4I. It is affordable (relatively speaking) and is capable of shooting great photos and video. In addition to what I just mention, this camera opens up the entire line of EF and EF-S lenses giving you endless possibilities.
Wearable/Action Sports Camera
Price Range: $199-$399
If you are in any way interested or involved in action sports or the outdoors, then you probably have heard of GoPro. Over the past few years, they have practically set the standard for what a wearable camera should be. Waterproof, shockproof, easy to mount anywhere and still provide quality images are all important aspects of these types of cameras.
Most wearable cameras offer still photography, multi-shot burst, video, and some even offer a built in time lapse mode. These cameras are great for those of us whose travels may take us to less than forgiving environments, or those of us who like to live on the edge. Though these cameras can be used as a stand alone camera, the lack of a lcd screen makes it a bit tough to frame up shots, and I suggest using this type of camera as supplement to other types.
Help!!! What Should I Do?
As I mentioned earlier, the type of camera you chose is going to be a combination of your intentions, budget, and personal taste. Consider and compromise with these factors and that should point you in the right direction, but if you still find yourself lost, or just want to bounce some ideas off me, feel free to leave a comment, or email (Patrick At adventuretravelbuzz.com) and i’ll be glad to help you out. Good luck and happy travels!