The qualities that make for a superlative travel camera are all those that make for a superlative camera in general.
Travelers will also appreciate the 5D Mark II’s high weatherized body, its self cleaning sensor and the micro adjustments it automatically makes when you switch lenses.
If money is no object—or if you happen to have a spare $25,000 and are looking to buy Spot Cool Stuff a camera—then we suggest the ultra high definition 50MP Hasselblad H3D II.
The E620 might be small in size but Olympus has packed a large array of features including in-body image stabilization, supersonic dust cleaning (a very under appreciated feature of a travel camera, we think) and a 100% accurate LCD screen that can swivel out and has live view functionality. No other camera category on this post was as difficult to decide upon as was the Best Value All-Around Travel SLR Camera With Video. We are fans of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i but we don’t quite trust its plasticky case and somewhat-less-than-solid build quality to stand up to the stress of travel in the long run. The Nikon 5000 is a superb value; in ideally lit conditions it takes photos every bit as good as our category winner (the Nikon D90). We’re also enamoured with the Pentax K-7 and the excellent photo and video quality it produces.
So it is the Nikon D90 the comes through that crowded field of excellent video-shooting value SLRs by virtue of having the fewest faults.
Amazing photo quality, especially in low light situations and especially considering the D90′s relatively low cost. Perhaps no other point-and-shoot camera packs as a big a zoom in such a small body as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3. Of course, a quality zoom doesn’t mean anything unless a camera is capable of taking quality photographs.
The most distinctive—and coolest—feature of the S90 is the control ring in the front of the camera. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 is able to stand out so from other cameras because it uses a Micro Four Thirds system.
Currently the major drawback of this relatively new technology is the price—the GH1 costs around $1,200+.
In a previous post we compared our two favorite waterproof ultra-compact digital cameras: the Canon PowerShot D10 and the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000.
Twitter: wandering_jThat’s a very thorough post covering just about every photographer! SPOTCOOLSTUFF Travel reviews unusual hotels and restaurants, great attractions, cool travel gear, places with amazing views and all manner of travel destinations with a WOW! If you are considering which camera to buy for your travels, you’ve come to the right place!
And trust me, with my love of photography as well as all my years traveling, I’ve spent time muddling through all these different cameras and I want to pass along all the pros and cons of each to consider before you purchase. So by the end of this article, you’ll have a very clear picture of what is most important to you in terms of a camera and what you need out of it.
Every one us has different wants and needs when it comes to picking out best camera for travel. SENSOR SIZE – While mega pixels do matter, true image quality boils down to sensor size, so will this be adequate for my needs? LOW LIGHT – How does the camera do in low light situations, especially at night when it’s best not to use flash? WIFI AND GPS – Can it upload my photos right to the internet so I can share them on my computer or smartphone? Now, looking through these all important camera criteria and attributes, which are most important to you? AF – Stands for Autofocus and essentially has the ability of your camera to intelligently adjust the focus for you which can dramatically help in making your photos crisp and clear in terms of image quality. FPS – Stands for Frame Per Second and simply means how many images a camera is able to capture continuously at any given time.
When it comes to traveling, compact cameras seem to be a camera of choice for most travelers. The main problem though for anyone considering one is the multitude of options out there in the compact camera world. On the flip side, the main reason a lot of travelers don’t opt for the compact camera is its limiting ability to capture certain types of photos and to have peak photo quality. Plus, the joy of travel photography is improved by a camera that’s small, light and has a longer battery life. If you are serious about your travel photography, and especially if you have an eye on selling or publishing your photos, this camera is our for you.
The powerful Digic IV processor and full frame sensor handles 21 MP images at lightening speed and with vibrant colors. Additionally, the 5D Mark II also has an exceptionally long battery life (officially rated at 900 still image though while shooting in manual modes we’ve taken more than 1,400 images on a single charge!). For a smaller camera of the sort you can put into a more traditional camera bag we love the $6,000+ Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and think the $5,000+ Nikon D3S is outrageously good too. Olympus produces the most intuitive, easy-to-use SLR cameras on the market, making the E620 a great option for people who’ve never used an SLR before. The E620′s battery life is only slightly-above average for an SLR—if you anticipate needing to go a long time between charges we highly suggest picking up an Olympus battery grip. However, the 5000 video quality is rather poor—Spot Cool Stuff would rather get an Evolt E620, which is smaller and more photographically versatile than the Nikon 5000, and then add a Flip Mino pocket camcorder or a video-taking high-value ultra-compact point-and-shoot (like the excellent and inexpensive Canon SD1200IS, for example). The K-7 lost out to the D90 partly because we like the variety of Nikon-compatible lenses more (admittedly, this may be because we’re more familiar with Nikon products) but mostly because the K7- costs around $250 more than the D90.

Our only complaint about the D90 is the slow auto focus when the camera is in live view mode. This camera is only 1.29 inches (3.27cm) thick, fits easily in your palm, and yet has a 12x optical zoom! If you are an SLR photographer who gets frustrated when using point-and-shoot cameras, or if you’ve been using a starter camera and are ready to move up, or, heck, if you just want the consumer ultra-compact camera that takes the best still photographs, the S90 is your runaway choice.
The S90 is currently selling for around $400, which is more than most ultra-compacts though a price that Spot Cool Stuff thinks is more than worth it. In our review we argued that the Tough-8000 is the better of the two cameras if ease-of-use is a primary concern or if you are looking for a waterproof ultra-compact to bring along on your trip along with an SLR. We expect it to be a solid choice too but at the time of writing have not had a chance to test it yet. Great for the more advanced photo enthusiast or pro looking for an always-available camera. They both fit the bill (depending, of course on how much you want to spend – $6999 for the M9). Not only will we explore what’s important in a camera but also the features and benefits within each of the top rated cameras in all 3 categories. We will cover which cameras are top rated in each price category as well as how they rank amongst their competition, plain and simple.
We take different trips for different reasons, choose different locations, carry different sized packs, and prefer to shoot different things. Could it make it a full day and night or longer if I’m out on a safari or camping trip? As we know that ‘digital zoom’ is just a simulation of optical zoom and not important, how strong is the optical zoom on the camera I’m thinking to buy? So if you wanted to shoot someone kicking a ball, frame by frame, you would want as high an FPS number as possible.
It allows you to take high-contrast scenes but also keeping shadow and highlighting details. A megapixel is simply one million pixels and is basically used to rate the amount of resolution for a digital camera. Not only is the handy when you have no one around to take the photo holding the camera but is also great because it eliminates any movement of the camera when taking a photo which is especially helpful in long exposures.
As you all know, when you start out pre-packing for your trip, the size and weight of your backpack or luggage is of crucial concern.
Plus, with the advanced technology that is continually coming out, the lenses and sensors of compact cameras is continually improving every year. Namely because you can easily keep it hidden and on you instead of carrying around a much larger, more expensive camera that has a brand name that the world’s thieves may recognize. In short, the mere fact there is an inability to change lenses will be a deciding factor for many travel photography enthusiasts. Here are the top three cameras as rated in each price category, from under $250 up to $800 USD. They are the main choice for the majority of travel photographers, travel enthusiasts and travel bloggers.
Without a doubt, the most serious drawback is the size and weight of the camera itself along with all its additional lenses and equipment such as an external flash (needed on some models), lens caps and filters, etc.
The popularity of these cameras has been catching on lately however, they are still relatively new to the industry and as a result, they can be higher priced than both a compact and a DSLR depending on models you are choosing from. Another huge advantage when considering that you can get comparable image quality with substantially less weight which can be crucial when traveling. Again, this is of crucial concern when thinking about the camera you bring along when traveling.
This is great because for those serious photographers out there that want interchangeable lenses to have more variety, now you won’t be weighed down and have a lot more room in your pack.
For the avid traveler, this can all be a huge advantage since none of us every have that much room to spare in our backpack and could very well shave anywhere from 1-4 lbs worth of equipment!
Plus, a camera must be well built and, preferably, weatherized to withstand frequent travel. In low light situations shots with the 5D Mark II are virtually noise-free (the ISO can be bumped up to a whopping 25600!). Spot Cool Stuff’s only significant complaint is that the 5D has no built in flash (though a flash can be easily added). Onto that you’ll either need to add a worthy Canon lens or buy the body along with lens kit. However, the K-7 is a little smaller, a little lighter, has best-in-class dust mitigating technology and—perhaps most important—has the most rugged and best weatherized body of any SLR currently on the market for under $2,000. That is, the lens glass is able to zoom all the way from the equivalent from a wide angle 25mm to a telephoto 300mm. The DMC-ZS3 shoots at 60 frames-per-second (as opposed to the 30 or 24 fps of most cameras) and let’s you use the optical zoom during filming. For all photographers, the large zoom combined with great video and small size makes the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 a worthy travel companion. The engineers of the S90 wisely resisted the marketing urge to have the camera shoot at larger than 10 megapixels. Using a mirror makes sense for a film camera because that is the only way to reflect an image to a viewfinder as well as to the film. In the GH1 you also get an excellent camcorder that takes HD-quality video at 60 frames-per-second and allows optical zooming and continuous autofocus while doing so.

And truth be told, no one traveler will have the same needs when it comes to picking the best camera to travel with. By the end, you’ll feel refreshed and confident in knowing what’s important, what to look for and will be able to identify the best camera choice for you and your travels. The fact is, each and every camera has its pros and cons and that includes the price someone is willing to pay.
There will be a lot of variance between camera equipment for those that just want to capture unique people they meet on their travels and all the moments in between instead of the diehard travel photographer looking to capture a panoramic view of the northern lights on a starry night in the middle of Iceland. Is it bothersome to carry around for 8 hours while on a trek, tour or walk through the city? Your pupil opens and closes variably based on the amount of light outside or inside a room. Therefore, the higher the ISO number, the more it will allow you to shoot in low light environments. So that being a factor, I thought that having an extremely small and lightweight camera would do well alongside me. This way you can get high quality pictures in an extremely small device thus saving plenty of room in your pack. In most countries this won’t matter but it is something to consider while traveling in others.
For the professional photographers out there, many of which travel quite frequently, you need to have interchangeable lenses.
The main reason being is the professional photo quality and options for creativity and options available using a camera such as this. Plus, some cameras have features especially geared towards travelers such as self cleaning sensors and optional GPS devices that will record the exact location on the planet a particular photograph was taken. Even the HD video picture quality outstanding though for a comparable quality of audio an external mic is required. Still, we think the 5D Mark II gives you a lot of camera per dollar and is worthy of its price. That is a remarkably impressive engineering feat for any camera this compact to pull off, much less one that costs a mere $240-ish. The ring can also be used to set the ISO, zoom, white balance and exposure—all while composing your photograph. Since we figure more people fall into the later group we decided to feature the D10 in this post.
I have a Nikon CoolPix now and love the quality I get on my pics but hate that I can’t adjust the focus manually. Ask yourself these questions because just realize that no camera will be the best of all worlds BUT once you identify what in fact is important to you, you WILL find that one camera that suits you BEST! They can also take some amazing photos and many even have great low light ability for evening shots.
I wanted it to have a great optical zoom of course and a long battery life but I also wanted something that would fit in my pocket (including jeans)!
And of course the other advantage is being able to keep it on you at all times such as in your pocket or purse. Without them, you will find yourself limited in what you are able to shoot both professionally and creatively.
They may have a bag that is simply dedicated to all their photography gear however to the average traveler, space and weight is always of concern so many may not opt for the larger DSLR camera option. Photos weren’t just a way to capture memories anymore, but taking the photos became something we loved to do. See our full review of these two waterproof cameras for more details on which camera is the better choice for your circumstances. That way you are more apt to take it out, even on nights and you are less apt to never miss a shot fumbling for lenses or lens covers as you would with a larger camera. If this bothers you, then you need to consider whether a compact is the right choice for you.
You can carry a telephoto lens, macro lens and wide-angle lens along with a standard zoom and pretty much be set for your trip no matter where you go and offering you the most flexibility and creativity to take just about any photos you choose with the highest of quality. Perhaps the largest drawback for traveling photographers is the relatively short battery life—when Spot Cool Stuff travels with the Canon PowerShot S90 IS we always bring an extra battery ($12). Most of the DSLR’s out there today also take great video if you plan to do much of that too.
While you can in fact get a decent DSLR under $500-600, for those travelers on a budget, anything over $300 may be out of their price point. While compacts offer this, the DSLR will often be more ‘movie like’ in image quality which is something that may be important to you. In my opinion, easier to travel with.Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark IIWe decided on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera with a 12-40mm pro lens. But there are so many amazing mirrorless cameras out at the moment, that I think it just depends on what features and price you are looking for.

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