Ever had something that felt as much a part of you as your own hand? That’s been me and a camera since I got my first compact instamatic (yes, with actual film) to use on our trip around Australia when I was a kid.
So when my current model (a 4 year old Fuji that I absolutely adored) bit the dust, I was thrown into the kind of bitter sweet turmoil that I can only equate to finishing a really good book. On one hand, you’re grieving the loss. But then you realise that loss means you now have the chance to get something new. Maybe something better!
But what to get?!
TRAVEL CAMERA OPTIONS
Everyone’s aware that technology changes at light speed, and cameras are no different. Today there are more options than ever and man, can they be confusing! Here’s what I discovered:
The latest offerings from Samsung and Apple pack quite a punch in the camera stakes and can easily rival some of the traditional cameras currently in the market. Their biggest selling points are size and versatility. Multi-functioning and multi-featured, these are a fantastic option for travelling if only because you will always have it on you. Image quality isn’t bad either, especially if your usage is limited to social media.
With prices from $150 up to the thousands, there’s a compact camera to suit everyone. These are a classic “point and shoot” option for when you want to record the moment without fiddling around with settings. Most come with some form of zoom but picture quality can be a bit lacking. Again, fantastic if you’re only going to be sharing online or printing on a smaller scale.
My favourite: Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Digital Camera This little beauty is high on my “want” list. It’s a toddler-proof camera that takes fantastic shots underwater. And it shoots in raw so I get to pretend I’m a real photographer. CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS HERE
Superzoom / Bridge Camera
Technically still considered a “compact” these babies are fantastic for the amateur enthusiast who wants creative control, better quality images, but a smaller more convenient camera for traveling. They look like a DSLR (good for street cred) but have a huge zoom range (think wide-angle to mega zoom) without having to change lenses. They have a smaller sensor than a DSLR so the quality won’t be professional standard, but they do pretty well with what they’ve got and some even give you the option of shooting in raw.
My favourite: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 I used a Fuji X-S1 for years and loved it, but since they’re no longer making those, my next pick would be this Panasonic Lumix – check out that zoom! CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS HERE
The new style of DSLR, mirrorless cameras range in price and quality from beginner enthusiast to professional. They have interchangeable lenses so you can build your kit to suit your specialty. Because they’re built differently they tend to be smaller and lighter than a traditional DSLR, so are perfect for travelling. Check the stats carefully – some don’t come with a built-in viewfinder (they only have the screen) or pop-up flash. Options for weatherproof models.
The traditional option for enthusiasts and professionals alike, again with models to suit both ends and everything in between. You can pick an entry-level kit up cheaper than a mirrorless but they are larger and heavier by default. Interchangeable lenses and full size sensors give great quality images, but mean the lenses are also bigger and heavier.
My favourite: Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Back in the day of non-digital SLRs I was strictly a Nikon girl, but this entry-level Canon is easy to use and feels really great in the hand. CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS HERE
SO WHAT DID I CHOOSE?
It was a close call between replacing my bridge camera with the Lumix version of the same, but at the end of the day the Olympus Mirrorless had some particular features that I think will give me some good play for my Alaska trip in September.
Firstly, it’s dust & splash proof – a must when you spend a lot of time on the beach like we do (and handy to have with kids around!). It’s also capable of working in cold temperatures so should be able to cope with the conditions on glacier-hike days without flinching. One of my absolute bucket list photos to get is the Northern Lights, which I’m hoping I’ll be lucky enough to see on our upcoming trip. The EM-5 II has a nifty multiple exposure mode which is geared specifically towards capturing tricky night shots (check out the tutorial here). Plus it has super fast auto focus and I just love it’s vintage style!
I’m not a huge fan of lugging around heaps of gear – or swapping lenses for that matter, but the Olympus came with an “adventure kit” lens with a good range of zoom that I think will cover most situations. I’m looking at investing in one of their “pro” portrait lenses as well, but that will have to wait until the credit card is feeling a bit healthier again!
GOT THE CAMERA BUT DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE IT?
I recently discovered the amazing teachers over at CreativeLive – they have courses on everything from the absolute basics to individual camera guides and more targeted training like how to start out in Photoshop. Check Out CreativeLive’s FREE On-Air Classes HERE and be sure to check in regularly as they change them up every month. My favourite is their Travel Photography Toolkit – it’s taught me so much already and I’m looking forward to learning more. After all, that magic shot may only come around once and I want to be able to make the most of it!
So that’s me… What’s your go-to travel camera? What do you love/hate about it? Let me know in the comments below!
Anita | Burgess Travellers