Your lightweight suitcase is packed, your out-of-office message is on, and vacation is calling your name- but what camera are you taking with you?
There have been many recent updates in camera technology, and your choices are many. To help you decide which camera will be the best fit for your upcoming vacation, here’s a quick guide to the advantages and disadvantages of different travel cameras.
You have for basic options for travel cameras:
- Point and shoot ($200)
- DSLR ($550)
- Mirrorless ($500)
- GoPro ($400)
Their actual costs will vary based on what models you get, but in general, that’s about what you can expect to pay.
Some of the factors you’ll want to consider when buying a travel camera are durability, the learning curve, and portability. The GoPro is the most durable camera option, and it can stand up to extreme sports and pretty much whatever you want to put it through. Point and shoots can survive a drop onto a soft surface but will shatter on a hard drop, while DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are extremely fragile. Point and shoots and GoPros are fairly easy to just pick up and use after a couple minutes of practice, and DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have automatic modes to get you started; however, for a really high-quality shot, you’ll need to practice with the various lenses that come with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
Point and shoots, GoPros, and mirrorless cameras are all very portable, as they’re the size of a cell phone or smaller. However, mirrorless cameras come with a variety of interchangeable lenses that you may want to take with you, as do DSLRs. DSLR cameras are also very big and bulky, so they can be difficult to cart around from location to location.
The last two things you’ll need to think about are picture quality and battery life. Point and shoots take high quality images considering how simple they are to use, and you can take about 190-250 stills before you need a charge. Thanks to their large sensors and interchangeable lenses, DSLR and mirrorless cameras provide incredibly high quality images. DSLRs can shoot photos all day without needing a charge, but video drains their battery quickly; mirrorless cameras have an LCD screen on constantly when shooting, which makes their batteries die quickly as well. It’s a little difficult to correctly adjust the exposure and white balance of GoPros, but they work perfectly for time lapses and their battery can take about 2.5 hours of continuous video.
Need it summed up? If you want a cheap-ish, fairly durable camera that takes quality images without you logging hours of practice, a point and shoot or a GoPro is probably your best bet. If you’re willing to invest more time, money, and energy into using a camera on vacation, splurge on a DSLR or mirrorless camera.