The Best Features for the Ideal Travel Camera
Getting the right camera for your travel needs is crucial. You don’t want to face a Goldilocks scenario – buying a camera so large you don’t want to take it out, or so rudimentary that it only captures grainy images that don’t do justice to the scenes before you.
Here are some of the best features you want to look out for in a nifty travel camera:
Unless you’re an intense photography enthusiast – or a pro – you’re not going to want to lug around a heavy camera bag complete with a sturdy DSLR body, several lenses, a tripod and more.
The truth is, if you find your camera too heavy, you’re going to look for excuses to leave it at the hotel and venture out with the old mobile phone camera instead. So a lightweight camera is key for those days you plan to be on your feet for hours on end.
Thankfully, innovative technology is leading to improvements in camera weight without sacrificing a sizeable sensor and quality images. These days, you can find plenty of compact cameras and mirrorless cameras that pack a punch without dragging you down.
Portability goes hand-in-hand with the lightweight design. A lightweight camera will typical feature a more slim-lined design as opposed to the chunkiness of a DSLR.
Point-and-shoot cameras offer the most obvious options for portability. These days you can buy them so petite, they’ll fit right in your pocket almost without creating a bulge.
Compact system cameras also optimise on their portability. One of the most remarkable interchangeable lens cameras on the market – the Panasonic Lumix GF7 – is so streamlined it gives compact cameras a run for their money. Whereas some DSLRs weigh in at about 500 grams, this camera is just 266 grams and measures a measly 106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3 mm. It is just about small enough to fit into a large pocket and can easily sit inside a small day bag.
In travel, you’re going to come across all types of scenarios, from low-light scenes to dawn vistas, fast-paced action to still portraits. That makes versatility an important feature in a travel camera.
You want your camera to have a quality sensor that can pick up all the minute details. A DSLR offers the best features, with higher ISO offerings and a range of high quality camera lenses (from telephoto lenses to wide angle) to suit various scenarios. The compact system camera is also becoming a viable competitor in the versatility category.
If you want to keep to the more manageable point-and-shoot camera, look for something with a wide zoom range so you can capture wide angle scenes of the New York City skyline as well as the close ups of lions on your safari hunt.
Bumps and bruises are a natural part of travel – for your camera as well as your body! Whether you’re down at the beach or hiking through remote mountains, your camera will be exposed to water, dust, sand, and plenty of shocks.
The natural choice for the more adventurous traveller is the tough and sturdy action camera range. The GoPro is an obvious example, but there are a range of action cameras out there designed specifically for those fast-paced, daring activities such as surfing, cycling, scuba diving, or parachuting.
You can find a range of tough compact camera models designed with a special waterproof, shockproof and dustproof casing. Among this range are the flagship Olympus TG-4 and the freeze-proof Nikon Coolpix AW130 (you know it’s a rugged camera when it offers a camouflage design).
Durable cameras generally have sealed joints that enable them to handle rough elements, but make sure you’re not sacrificing durability for quality images – careful handling and storage are just as important, if not more so, than a bubble-wrapped camera.
Sharing photos of your trips has always been a post-holiday tradition. But today, we’re used to sharing our experiences in real-time through social media and emails.
Having built-in WiFi in a camera cuts out the middleman – the computer and card reader. You can take your photos and upload online, immediately and all on the one device.
Other connectivity features in cameras today include GPS capabilities to pinpoint where your pictures were taken, and wireless control, which you can combine with remote controls and other features so you can secure that ultimate selfie in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Finally, the absolute NUMBER ONE feature your travel camera should have is the ability to produce quality photographs. Because at the end of the day, what’s the point in buying a camera if you’re only going to get unsatisfying results?
DSLRs are top of the range here, there’s no arguing with that. With their huge sensors, they will capture sharp, clear images at all ISO ranges. You can enjoy reduced graininess in those low-light scenarios you’ll undoubtedly experience, such as on that home stay in a remote, electricity-free village in Papua New Guinea.
But you can find also other, more lightweight alternatives with high resolution results. The Panasonic G series offer a small size but superb image quality. Plus you can access a range of micro four thirds lenses for it from common brands such as Olympus and Leica.
The Sony Alpha A7 sits at the higher end of the travel camera range. This interchangeable lens camera is portable and light with WiFi capabilities. It’s slightly bulkier than other mirrorless cameras, but the full-framed DSLR-worthy sensor makes it a good trade off.
Looking for the ideal travel camera for your next trip? Feel free to drop us a line if you need more advice before you commit to that perfect camera. Alternatively, browse our full product range today to find just what you’re looking for.