Have you heard of the best travel camera? I don’t think it is easy to find one.
Do a Google search you will be amazed how many cameras for travel are recommended. A blog written by Lexy Savvides lists several things to consider:

  • Compacts
  • Superzooms
  • Batteries
  • GPS
  • Warranty
  • Accessories

These are seemingly simple questions but no easy answers.  As Bill Bryson, quoted in a blog,  once said, “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” Travel is often leading to entering a place almost unknown and meeting people highly unexpected. If you want to take nice images, you must well prepared your camera and gears in advance. Please find my thoughts below.

COMPACTS.  Sizes and weight do matter, depending on how long your travel is. If you think of the cabin baggage restrictions of most airliners, you can bring nothing heavier than a compact. Then a DSLR with a standard zoom is a luxury, strictly speaking. So the mirrorless camera is getting its importance due to its smaller body and quality in the image sensor. But still, a compact camera is well fit in your pocket and ready to capture the decisive moment. Personally I think the Nikon Coolpixel A and the Ricoh GR are truly amazing compacts with excellent image quality.  Their 28 mm focal length is too limited in travel. The Sony RX100 is the champion.

SUPERZOOMS. No one will deny the convenience of superzooms, especially in scenarios such as safari you do not want to risk your life to shoot the animals in close range. But I do not think I will consider any of superzoom cameras because the sizes of the image sensors are too small, unless you have no intention of making a large print. Don’t forget even the latest Sony Cyber-shot DSC HV50V featuring a zoom of  24-700 mm focal length equivalent has only a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor. Why not choose the Canon 100D package? It is a very light and decent DSLR which may reduce some weights in your travel bag.

BATTERIES. For many years, I insisted bringing a spare battery. However, I strongly recommend getting the original, instead of from a third party manufacturer although the latter sometimes does save some significant amount of money. I have never heard of any unlucky experience of using these batteries, but I always worry about the fact that using these batteries will void the warranty.

GPS. I have a mixed feeling of geotagging the locations on my images. Do I over-worry my privacy? Perhaps. But it is interesting to see where people take the photographs. It is also essential to how we can make use of images to reveal more truths.

WARRANTY. The warranty is closely related to the quality of service. However, if your camera fails to work during your travel, I don’t think you can find the service unless you are in big cities. More important is whether it is a worldwide warranty. Most of the cameras accept limited warranty such as repairs can only be done in your own country. I always bring two cameras just in case one of them does not work all of a sudden. If you have lenses to share among the two cameras that will be excellent.

ACCESSORIES. My advice is not to buy too much accessories unless you are really use your camera every day. The life cycle of a camera model is so short that I would not consider any of those non-essential items such as wide-angle lens adaptors or handgrip. Please spend the money on a decent tripod or monopod, or a software application (such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom) that can help you manipulate or process your images better.

OTHERS. For a long trip, a backup device is almost inevitable. Although it is not an issue to get a storage card with large volume, I cannot imagine you can risk losing all your images in one incident. I have looked for a good backup device until I find the Hyperdrive Colorspace.

In the meantime, the Google Map for my travel has been updated. You can see the updated version here:

View Iceland travel in a larger map
I have been trying hard to include a boat trip in the West Iceland but unsuccessful. Hope I can find a solution some time later.

Finally, the best travel camera to me is the one I use every day: the Leica M9.

Featured image: The hanging dry leaves. Canon EF 70-300 mm, DO, IS, ISO100, f/5.6, 1/100 sec

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