The Perfect Travel Camera for your Next Vacation

January 31, 2016

tourists in a canoe boar in river

Most people who plan a vacation, never forget to take their camera with them. In my opinion, taking pictures when on vacation is one of the things that I wait for the most. I do it because I love photography, but also, because I want to preserve those special memories and share them with people close to me, like my close family and friends.

Phone Camera, Dedicated Camera or Both

Today everyone has a smartphone in his pocket, and, therefore, we have a camera that goes with us everywhere we go. For many people the phone camera is their main camera, and there is not need for a dedicated camera.

That being said, there are many people who won’t be satisfied with the phone camera alone. Some people, like me, want to shoot with a dedicated/conventional digital camera as well.

For me, the main reasons to shoot with a regular digital camera usually are: better low-light performance, more control over the depth of field (I love taking pictures with shallow depth of field, not just in macro shots), having a large optical zoom, ergonomics, shooting through a viewfinder (especially when it’s a bright day outside) and having the option to use ultra wide-angle lenses. This is why I prefer shooting with an Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) than my mobile phone camera, but I also going to use the camera on my phone as well for quick snapshots to share online with my friends on Facebook.

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, I prefer to travel light and prefer not carrying a large camera with me. If my mobile phone had all those features, I wouldn’t carry an ILC, but it isn’t the case.

I trust my mobile phone camera (I have the iPhone 5S) to take high-quality images and videos in good lighting conditions, but my Fujifilm X-A1 low-light performance is just out of this world. I have two fast lenses, one normal and a wide-angle lens. This allows me to shoot unique photos that I wouldn’t able to get with my smartphone camera.

If I had to choose between the two, I would certainly go with the ILC, but because I have both, I’ll take them both with me.
The question is if it’s worth to take your dedicated camera with you? In my opinion, it really depends on where you’re traveling, the cost of the camera (of course you can always buy an insurance in case it is stolen or lost), and how enthusiastic your are taking unique photos that you wouldn’t able to get had you brought only your smartphone with you.
I think that it’s well worth taking your digital camera with you, whether it’s an ILC, DSLR or Superzoom bridge camera. You’ll be able to come home and bring back those memories in a more creative manner and share those beautiful shots with your close ones.

Camera Apps

Yes, the apps. One of the big advantages that a mobile phone offers is the ability to choose among a countless number of camera and image editing apps. There are so many of them that you’ll never be able to experiment of them all. Of course, it’s better to focus on the most popular ones first.

I personally installed four camera apps: 360, ProCamera, Snapseed and Google Photos. A 360 Panorama app is a must have because it allowed you to take a 360-degrees panoramic photo of everything around you. I installed ProCamera app (not a free app, though) because it has manual exposure control settings and it allows me to be more creative and have more control over the final image output. Of course, I have my Facebook, Twitter and Dropbox app which I use to backup and share my photos and videos online.

Most of the dedicated cameras don’t have the ability to install apps. From what I can recall, some of Sony NEX cameras have the option to install apps, but there are only a few of those available. Some digital cameras come with a built-in wireless module, although it’s a nice feature, it’s more intuitive and easy to share your photos taken with your phone. If you plan to buy a travel camera, I think you should seriously consider one with a built-in WiFi antenna because it makes it much easier to transfer images to your phone and share them using your mobile phone Internet connection.

Weather Resistant Camera

If you are traveling in the Winter or to a place with harsh weather conditions, it’s important that you make sure that your gear is well suited for these weather conditions. It’s recommended to take a camera or a phone that has some degree of water and dust resistance. If you travel to Antarctica for example, you should make sure your camera or phone can withstand the very low temperatures.

For example, The Sony Xperia Z5 has an IP68 rating, which means that it has total dust ingress protection (number “6”), and it’s suitable for permanent submersion in clear water up to 1 meter (number “8”). Samsung Galaxy S6 Active also has an IP68 rating, Galaxy S6 has an IP67 rating, Kyocera Brigadier is also IP68 compliant and the Cat S50 has IP67 rating and it’s also shockproof.

So if you plan to take a camera or a phone with you to a place where the weather conditions are quite harsh, make sure your phone can withstand it.

Ultrazoom Cameras

I think that superzoom/ultrazoom dedicated cameras are a great type of cameras to take to your next vacation, especially those with the very big zoom (>40x). Those cameras are quite compact and have a ridiculously long zoom that allows you to get closer to far away subjects without moving an inch, and believe me when I’m saying to you, that you’ll come home with very unique photos that other travelers won’t be able to get. You’ll impress your friends and family with really cool looking and unique snapshots and videos.


So before you finalize all your arrangements, make sure you get the right gear, so you can enjoy shooting and sharing your photos while your traveling and also enjoy your creative shots when you come back home. Enjoy your trip and happy shooting!