An Idiot’s Guide to Choosing a Camera!

I may not be the next…well, I don’t even really know any famous photographers (shameful!), but I do know the importance of having at least a half decent camera with you if you’re going travelling or on holiday. I find it’s the little details of your trip you need to record; small moments, people in the street, signs on buildings etc, things that will other wise be forgotten if not photographed.

Adorable little girls playing in the street in Vietnam
Adorable little girls playing in the street in Vietnam

I am rubbish with keeping up to date with technology, but Steve and I did some research recently into cameras for our backpacking adventure to South East Asia, so thought I’d share some of our legwork with you all and put together a few tips on the cameras we looked into. Hope it’s useful…

If you’re trading in the polar vortex for a vacation, you’ll need to take pictures that you can look at later to shake off the chill of winter.  But what kind of camera should you take with you? While cell phones these days take high quality images, using an actual camera makes a world of difference in image quality. However, there are many options out there, and you should know the benefits different cameras can offer you before making a decision on which camera to take on your vacation.

You have four main options to choose from:

·         Point and shoot ($200)

·         DSLR ($550)

·         Mirrorless ($500)

·         GoPro ($400)

Each type of camera has different advantages and disadvantages. For example, point and shoots can handle a drop on a soft surface, but they’ll shatter on a hard surface. Mirrorless and DSLR cameras are very fragile, while GoPros are nearly indestructible and known for their use in extreme sports.

On the river bank of the Mekong Delta

Point and shoots are also as easy as their name suggests. Mirrorless and DSLR cameras have automatic modes that you can use as a crutch in the beginning, but you’ll need to teach yourself some of the finer techniques to get the most out of your camera. GoPros are simple to pick up and use within a few minutes.

Also, consider how on-the-go you’ll be during your vacation. Point and shoots don’t require any extra equipment, and they take up as much space as your cell phone. DSLR and mirrorless cameras include extra lenses that you might want to take with you, and DSLRs are also pretty big and heavy (mirrorless cameras are also as small as your cell phone). GoPros are incredibly small, with no extra equipment to cart around.

The sky and river from our balcony in Chiang Mai during Loi Krathong
The sky and river from our balcony in Chiang Mai during Loi Krathong

Finally, think about the image quality you want and the battery life you need. Point and shoots take pretty great images, and their batteries last for 190-250 still images before needing a charge. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have big sensors and interchangeable lenses, which improves their image quality greatly; DSLRs can shoot stills all day but video will drain your battery quickly, while mirrorless cameras’ batteries die quickly. It’s a little tricky to get exposure and white balance right with GoPros, but they’re great for time lapses and take 2.5 hours of continuous video.

In general, if you want a low maintenance, easy camera to capture solid images, you’ll be fine with a point and shoot or GoPro. Willing to get more involved? Spring for a DSLR or mirrorless camera to get the images that will really wow your friends and family.



This article was provided by Choco-Lush Blog

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About Ella

Becky, Steve or the other two useless ones (shhh they won't read this) form part of the Openstories team, a collaborative travel blog that we use to dump our ideas, plans and experiences onto the worldwide web. We're honored that you're hear reading this, and we'd love to hear from you. Thanks for dropping by!