4 of the Best Cameras for Different Travel Styles

Capture Beautiful Snapshots of Your Adventures

Photography has long been an integral part of the travel experience. Before the internet, travelers sent postcards with beautiful photos of the destination in order to illustrate where they were writing from. Tourism boards and bureaus use photos and videos of their cities or countries in order to entice visitors to travel there.

Landscape photography remains one of the most popular type of photography today, especially as both travel and photography have become more accessible for the masses.

It’s only natural to want to document an experience or a place you’ve never been before, especially when you’ve spent a decent amount of money on it and aren’t able to travel very often. But with an over-saturation of cameras in the marketplace and the variety of experiences you could be having while on vacation, it can be difficult to tell what the best camera for travel is.

Types of Cameras

First of all, it’s important to differentiate between the different types of cameras available today. While ultimately it’s you, the photographer, who is creating and composing an image, knowing what kinds of settings, options and extras a camera offers will help make it an invaluable tool while you travel.

Smartphone

By far the most convenient type of camera these days is the one built into your phone. You don’t have to purchase anything additional in order to take photos, except maybe a small, portable tripod, or mobile lens kit. Most smartphones fit in your pocket, are extremely easy to use and are best for shooting things that are within five to 20 feet.

However, usually there’s not a whole lot of room for exposure adjustment, making most smartphone cameras less than useful in low light situations.

Point and Shoot

Point and shoot cameras used to be the bottom of the barrel when it came to quality, but these days they’ve become serious contenders for travel photography. Many have high quality glass on their lenses and the ability to manipulate ISO, shutter speed and f-stop.

Of course, they’re also known for their automatic settings, making it much simpler to take a good photo without knowing much about photography.

Mirrorless

Mirrorless cameras are best for either amateur photographers who want to transition into professional quality images or professionals who want a smaller, more lightweight camera in their arsenal. Lenses are interchangeable like a DSLR, but are significantly smaller and more lightweight.

Since they’re fully digital, even in their mechanics, they’re also faster and oftentimes more proficient than professional DSLR cameras.

DSLR

DSLRs or Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras are the traditional, bulky-style cameras that are frequently seen on professionals. Their bodies and lenses are typically sold separately and can sometimes be cumbersome and heavy, especially when shooting outdoors and trekking long distances.

However, they’re frequently used for their high resolution and ability for experimentation, as almost all settings are able to be manually adjusted.

Best Camera Models for Different Types of Travel

Best Camera for Adventure Travel: GoPro Hero6 Black

The GoPro brand has become associated with action photography and the GoPro Hero6 Black consistently ranks as the best camera for adventure travel. Submersible for up to 33 feet, you can take it for shallow dives or on snorkeling trips.

You can also expose it to to hot or cold temperatures, provided you use high-quality memory cards like Samsung or Lexar, although battery life does decrease in these situations. No matter if you’re mountain climbing or white water rafting, you can operate the Hero6 hands-free with simple voice commands.

As adventure travelers and extreme sports aficionados are GoPro’s primary consumers, there are a wide variety of accessories such as helmet mounts, hand grips and chest harnesses to make your photography experience easy no matter where you are or what you find yourself doing on the road.

Best Camera for Backpackers: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100

As a backpacker, pack size and weight register as top concerns while traveling. A camera and photo equipment may seem like a luxury you just don’t have the room for. However, the small, lightweight size of Sony’s Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 makes traveling with a quality camera a reality.

For a fraction of the price of a professional DSLR camera, you can take beautiful photos of your hikes and travels with a 20 MP sensor. Street photography is a breeze with the high-speed burst setting, allowing you to shoot at 10 frames per second. The RX-100’s SteadyShot Active Mode also maintains focus on uneven terrain or while walking.

Even if you feel like trying your hand at night sky photography while camping, you can increase the camera’s ISO to 6400, capturing detail in low light scenarios.

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Best Camera for Safaris: Leica V-Lux

For a once and a lifetime travel experience like an African safari, you’ll need a sturdy, reliable camera that won’t let you down. Although it’s in the high end range, Leica has a reputation for producing incredible, museum-worthy images. Without a doubt, the Leica V-Lux compact camera makes the grade and surpasses it with a one inch image sensor and built-in high speed lens.

Due to its huge 25-400mm zoom range, you can photograph far-away wildlife with incredible detail and clarity. Even if you’re in an open safari vehicle or spot a pack of lions running towards their prey, you can freeze the motion lightning fast in the V-Lux’s continuous shooting mode.

If you happen to come upon smaller animals in the bush, you can also place the camera on the ground and easily see your shot with the V-Lux’s swivel monitor and digital viewfinder. Best of all, its video mode will make you feel like you’re making the next Planet Earth documentary as it records in stunning 4K resolution.

Best Camera for Families: Sony Alpha a6000

As a family, there’s a lot more to worry about when traveling than as a couple or solo traveler. You need to keep one eye on the kids as you keep the other eye on the viewfinder. Carrying around a bulky DSLR can get too cumbersome and tiny point and shoots are too easy to lose.

That’s where the Sony Alpha a6000 comes in, a mirrorless camera that will fit in your diaper bag, even with multiple interchangeable lenses. For $600 USD you’ll have a foolproof way to get professional quality images, without knowing very much about f-stops and shutter speeds.

While chasing around your family might normally produce blurry photos, the Alpha a6000’s face detection and tracking will give you sharp images instead. Even the kids can create stunning images no matter what the circumstance with multiple auto mode settings.

Plus, no matter where you go, you can share images to your mobile devices via the camera’s WiFi connectivity, which means Grandma will get to see well-lit travel photos that weren’t taken solely with your cell phone.

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