The best cameras for travel

Right before we went on our honeymoon, Julie and I had the same conversation we have every time we travel. The old, “are we bringing our cameras or not” discussion is as old as photography itself. You see, we drag our camera gear around every day because it’s what we do for a living and sometimes the last thing you want to do is work on vacation. Our cameras are big, heavy, expensive and a pain in the butt to lug around the Italian countryside. Luckily there has been a leap forward in digital technology in the last couple of years and no there are compact cameras that are not only easy to bring along on a trip, but the image quality rivals that of the big boys. So when you are serious about your vacation photos but don’t want to have to rent a mule to carry your gear, there are some great options. Here are five great options for compact travel cameras:

The Olympus TG 3 

This little guy is the perfect travel camera for the adventurer who wants great photos without having to worry about the camera too much. It isn’t as high a quality image as some of the others on this list because of it’s smaller sensor, but what it lacks in quality it makes up for in features and convenience. It’s shockproof, freezeproof and can go underwater up to 50 feet with no extra equipment needed. On top of that, full HD 1080p video, WiFi and an interval meter so you can make time-lapse videos of those beautiful Tuscan sunsets.

Price: About $350

Check it out here for more info

The Canon G 1X

Right in the mid price range for this list sits the feature-packed Canon G1X. This little beauty is perfect for a traveler looking to take some serious pictures. With available manual controls it puts the image in complete control of the photographer and even at it’s compact size it creates images as sharp and clear as some of the much more expensive DSLR cameras. Including HD video, a 6-way image stabilizer and an extra, optical viewfinder (for those of us who hate to shoot using the LCD) this is a great travel camera for a professional or serious photography enthusiast.

Price: About $699

Check it out here for more info

The Sony Alpha a6000

This bad boy is a perfect combination of compact size and incredible quality images. It uses interchangeable lenses that can give the photographer some really great, pro-level control. The casual user can stick with the 16-50mm kit lens that comes with it and do just fine. It’s great for wide landscapes and buildings as well as casual snapshots with your travel buddies. The pumped up 24 megapixel sensor will ensure that you can make big, gorgeous prints of your images with stunning color and clarity when you get back from your trip.

Price: About $700 with the 16-50m lens

The Panasonic Lumix DMC GX7

This beauty is the perfect walking around camera for the traveler who loves to capture life as it happens. With its ultra-fast auto focus and no shutter lag, it is the best option for the photojournalist in us all. The Lumix has great features including a touch screen LCD that can adjust up to 90 degrees for getting just the right view as well as full HD video and WiFi.

Price: About $800 with kit lens

Check it out here for more info

Last but not least, sometimes the best camera for the job is your phone. An old photography saying goes “The best camera is the one you have with you”, and in that spirit I can’t deny that the quality of some of the top camera phones in 2014 is stunning. The consensus of several top tech blogs is that the new iPhone 6+ is tough to beat.

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus 

Not only does it contain your calendar, contacts, to-do lists, movies, music and everything else, but the iPhone 6 plus has arguably the best all-around camera phone on the market. With all new features including image stabilization, the camera in the 6 plus takes great images even in low light and too-bright conditions. Using a cellular-connected camera ensures you can upload and backup all your images to Facebook, iCloud and Dropbox as you take them so storage and memory cards can be a non-issue. The 8 megapixel sensor allows for great prints and the incorporation of 3rd party apps gives you endless options for editing on the fly without importing to a computer. This wouldn’t be my first choice for a camera while traveling but for your average traveler it’s more than enough to get some great images while seeing the world. Keep in mind that these devices are extremely popular and having them out constantly while not paying attention to your surroundings can attract the attention of pickpockets and thieves.

Not an Apple person? 

Whatever camera you choose to bring on your next holiday, don’t forget that the image comes from the maker and not from the machine. Find a camera that you like with the features you are looking for and learn to use it in a way that maximizes what it can do. If you use your camera in automatic mode all the time you might not be getting the best from it.

If you have a traveler’s spirit and want to learn how to take great images with any camera, join us for a retreat in Tuscany where we drink wine, practice Yoga and learn how to make our cameras see the world how we imagine.

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