Let’s face it, since the advent of social media, let alone technology, photography has become almost synonymous with Facebook, blogs and vlogs, and Instagram. In order to gain attention and buzz online, your photos and videos have to be either filtered, unique and unlike any others, or must be taken using a good camera.
Regardless of how you use your content, either for blogging, for social media, or simply for keeping memories, photographs, since their conception, have been a power tool for getting your story across. While your words speak volumes of what you feel, there are cases when captured memories are far more effective and efficient in telling stories. In order for you to capture life’s special moments, it is important that you have a camera you can rely on. Plus, it is a must that you are comfortable using it.
With the variety of options available in the market and with the inclusion of smartphone cameras, DSLR cameras, Point-and-Shoot, and the famous Action cameras, it could be a bit of a challenge deciding which camera to buy. This is a common dilemma that many people, especially those with less background in photography and cameras face. It is easy to get confused when looking at all of the options out there. There are definitely a number of checkmarks you have to consider before getting one. So, I cut out all the guesswork and lay out the ten (10) things you need to consider before choosing a travel camera.
1. Your travel style:
While money can buy any camera, you will still definitely need to consider your travel style. Considering how you travel when choosing a camera will save you energy in the future. If you are the light-traveler type of person, then a compact Point-and-Shoot camera is good for you. A fixed-lens camera will also work wonders for those who just move around cities and busy places.
But if you travel to distant places with unpredictable weather conditions, you have to consider the durability of the camera you want to buy. Portability is a big consideration. If you don’t like the idea of dragging 11 pounds of camera, lens, and accessories, think about the size and weight of the camera and consider buying a decent compact camera or a compact action camera instead.
2. Places you usually travel to:
If you stay around cities to take photos of buildings, cafés, food, bridges, and the streets, then, a smartphone or a handy Point-and-Shoot camera can be your best friend. But if you’re like many outdoorsy people, who can’t just simply bring whatever they want or those who need support when travelling, and those who are always on the road, you will have to be choosy. You will need to pick a camera that you can carry anywhere; something that is light; and something that is preferably shock and water resistant.
These considerations also appeal to those who trek to mountains, travel through forests, or those who traverse rivers. An action camera is a good option. If you are always on the go and you are up for extreme situations such as jumping off cliffs, diving seas, riding water rafts, or anything that entails extreme movement, pick a camera that will be able to withstand different temperatures, water, sand, precipitation, and whatever you can throw at it. Action, higher end DSLR’s, and mirrorless cameras that are made of more durable materials are good options.
3. Subjects you photograph:
While you take time looking for a travel camera, take time to also understand your future subjects, because different cameras are geared and designed to be most effective for different subjects and situations.
For someone who loves adventure when traveling, would love to capture spontaneous memories in festivals, or even candid moments, an easy-to-use camera is a good choice. High end cameras that require changes on the setup is ideal for something that is planned.
4. The market you want to share your photos with:
Another thing you need to consider when selecting a camera is the market segment you want to share those photos with. There are different cameras that appeal to different types of travelers. So, ask your help who do you want to share the photos you take. Is taking travel photographs something, you do for a living or do you just do it for travel or leisure?
If you plan to take photos for a presentation or for a family and friend’s event, there are endless and economical camera options. In this case, you can opt to veer away from the specifications of a higher end DSLR camera. If you are a travel blogger with thousands of followers on social media, you would want to consider a durable camera that takes high quality photos. But with the available presets and filters, a smartphone might do the trick as well.
5. The type of camera you want:
Most of the time, choosing the right camera for you boils down to what you really want. I suggest understanding what you like about the camera you want to have. Some of the things you need to consider are camera aesthetics,
quality, video output options, size and weight, available mode (full auto, manual, semi-manual), with or without built-in flash, self-timer option, weather and water resistance, and camera aspects. Also, don’t forget to consider the battery life and the battery options. Here are the six (6) camera types you can consider:
6. Amount of money you are willing to spend for the camera:
One of the most important things you will have to consider has to be your budget. While it is true that camera prices range from about one hundred dollars to the tens of thousands of dollars, it is significant to be practical when buying If you make money out of taking travel photos, then, by all means get a high-end camera that take high-resolution and excellent quality photos that will surely benefit you.
But if you just simply want to take everyday photos, or a snap of the mountain, the beach, or a tourist spot in places you visit that you want to share with your family and friends, then, find something that fits your budget. Don’t go broke and rob a bank because you got influenced by the sales guy’s eloquent speech. Here are your options:
Lower end: a good mobile phone camera, compact cameras, and compact action cameras
Mid to higher: mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras
7. The accessories you will need:
While it is obvious that the camera itself is going to the biggest factor in terms of cost, you will also have to factor in any additional camera accessories such as memory cards, tripods, spare batteries, filters, and camera bags.
These accessories will amplify the beauty of the photos you take and also help you manage your camera better. The secret to a great and high-resolution photo does not just depend on the type of camera, but also on the type of accessories used to take them. So, depending on the type of camera you want, you may also need to invest in additional lenses.
8. The Lens:
Buying the body of the camera is one thing and considering the type of lens you put into it is another. If you love taking photos of landscapes and architecture, you will need to have a wide-angle lens.
While if you are into portrait or street photography, you need to have a camera that has a prime lens, which will help you capture sharp photos. On the other hand, if you travel far and take photos of wildlife and mountains, you may need to have a zoom lens. Investing in these accessories gives you a better end results.
9. Camera functions and features you need:
With so many brands and camera models to choose from, you have to decide what features and camera functions you will most likely need most of the time. There are cameras whose range of features go beyond those strictly related to travel photography. For instance, some cameras have built in GPS, which can be handy for remembering where you took your photos.
If you need to share the photos online or want to share it with friends real-time, WIFI connectivity can also be a real plus. This feature will let you pull images off from your camera anywhere with Internet connection without the need of a laptop. If vlogging is your thing, then you will have to consider getting a camera with video capabilities.
If you plan to show your grandma the photos you take on her TVs, you will have to look at the available video output. There are cameras that have several outputs so you can view your pictures on a TV, just in case a laptop does not come handy.
10. The effort you put into learning how to use the new camera
Cameras can be complicated pieces of equipment, and effort is required to learn how to use them. There is no point in getting a high end and extremely expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera if you do not have plans to learn how to maximize its functionalities. Considering the effort and patience you are willing to put into learning how to use the camera is key to fully utilizing the features you paid for.
It is true that these cameras take great photos, but they also require skill and training in order to use them effectively. You will need to invest time and effort in learning how to use the lens and the accessories, too. So, the next time you visit the camera shop, take note of how willing you are to learn the ins and outs of the camera settings. If you don’t have much experience with cameras, I strongly suggest reading through the users’ manuals and doing a lot of practice.