Cameras for the Road

A digital camera may be the most important piece of equipment a traveler packs. Choosing the right camera to record and store irreplaceable images and video can be a confusing task. Whether it’s a basic point and shoot or a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera with all the bells and whistles, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming.

Here are a few tips to help sort through the endless details.

Define and prioritize your needs. SIZE, ZOOM, PIXELS, PRICE, and VIDEO all play a part in deciding which camera will best suit the type of traveling you’re doing.

  • SIZE: When portability is key, choose a camera that fits easily into a pocket or backpack. While heavy, bulky set-ups may be great for a professional photo shoot, a lighter camera is more likely to be taken along in situations where convenience and transport are most important. And never forget the mantra for a long term travelers – Travel Light!
  • ZOOM: While on safari in Africa, our main concern was “will the zoom get us close enough?”. Spending hours in the back of a dusty truck wasn’t condusive to the health of an expensive DSLR outfit, so our choice for this adventure was a “megazoom” point and shoot. These combine the best of portability, price, and zoom capabilities.
  • PIXELS: How much is enough? We’ve seen some spectacular shots taken on a 5 megapixel camera…from 1999! Eight megapixels will give excellent prints at 300dpi up to 8×10 inches, while 12 megapixels can produce poster-sized print memories. It’s more the skill of the photographer than number of tiny dots making up the print. For most travelers, the shots will be displayed on blogs and shared with friends, so pixels may be a lower priority.
  • PRICE: A good digital camera can be a long-term investment for the traveler. Because cameras are typically upgraded slightly by pixel, price and zoom size every year, it may be a better budget stretcher to pick-up last year’s model. When a newer model is released, the previous versions (with only minor differences) can often be purchased for significantly less.
  • VIDEO: Should your digital camera double as a video cam? If traveling with minimal equipment is a priority, many of today’s digital cameras have the ability to record video in HD quality with optimal features of fast zoom and portability. If video is a strong focus for your travel, investment in an additional HQ quality video camera will be the path to follow. Today’s video cams are smaller and more feature-oriented than ever before.

Capturing, recording and sharing your travel images is an important part of every traveler’s gear list. Here are the ones we use and some on the “wish list” for upgrade time!

Olympus Stylus Tough 8010
– Lisa has dropped this one more times than we can count. Waterproof and shockproof features are VERY important!



Panasonic Lumix
– The older model of this camera has traveled over 4 continents with us in the past 3 years!


– Megazoom! Wow! This is one we’ve been drooling over… Maybe for Christmas?


Leave a comment below and tell us which digital camera or videocam YOU would recommend to a traveler?

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