A friend of mine asked me the other day what I used for cameras while traveling. This seemed a good topic for conversation, as I would image that everyone does something a little different. To start this I would think that there are probably two types of people taking pictures while traveling. These two camps can be defined as professional photographer, and the rest of us. The main difference between these two camps is equipment (and the willingness to lug it around).
Definitions being established, I can attest that I am firmly in camp two. I own a nice camera. It’s in a laundry basket in the storage unit, I think. Needless to say, I don’t use it a lot. I tend to use a nice DSLR and lens system when I am going somewhere that I am sure I am never going again or if luggage weight/size is not an issue. If I am driving and my bags are behind the seat of the truck, the big camera is a good idea. If I’m doing something that is only going to happen once, like watching the space shuttle lift off from Kennedy, I take the big camera. These are situations where I have made a conscience decision to carry extra weight and go for quality. There are times when quality is important.
The vast majority of the time, photo quality is a position of compromise. A thing where, good enough is good enough. Let’s be realistic about some things. The majority of us do not take vacation photos and enlarge them to 36×48, so heavy pixel density isn’t necessary. My largest enlargements tend to be 11×14. The vast majority of us don’t use our vacation photos for promotional brochures or book covers. I have used many photos for book research, but none for inclusion in finished books. The vast majority of us, me included, post or photos on Facebook, Instagram, in blogs they write, and twitter. I do all of the above except twitter. Then, they get stored in a digital file and left to wait out the ages.
I have spent a long time traveling. When I was young, the military taught me to travel fast and light. It was a lesson that I learned so well, that I still do it to this day. If it doesn’t fit in the ruck or the ruck is too heavy, it gets left behind. This mode of travel limits the amount of electronics that I tend to bring along. I almost NEVER travel with a laptop computer. I don’t carry a tablet or gaming device to pass the time. Weight can be much better utilized. My inclusions, currently, consist of an iPhone, a small digital camera, and a GoPro. I have also added a Bluetooth shutter button for the phone camera. I did this for purely practical reasons. The timer function on my phone takes a burst of between four and five pictures at one time. This chews up storage space on the phone that I can use for more pictures, if I use the Bluetooth button.
At this point in time, I use the GoPro (Hero 5) almost exclusively for underwater footage. This is because I haven’t owned it a long time, and really haven’t come up with a good alternate use for it. I am very comfortable using my phone and my canon digital camera. The canon is your standard pocket sized digital with an 8x zoom. It works well for all the tourist architectural photos and landscapes. And, as stated, fits in my pocket.
I find these three cameras to do everything I want them to do. I rarely run up against a situation when traveling that cannot be handled by one of these three cameras. Now, I admit, cameras are kind of like clothes. EVERYONE has an opinion about what is best. Everyone also has firm views about bad ideas. All I’m saying is these work for me. And, considering there is limited room in the backpack, they work well while requiring little room and adding little weight. Like I said, I travel fast and light.
That’s just my two cents.
For full disclosure, I took this with my older iPhone 4 so my current iPhone 6 could be in the picture. This explains the lack of picture quality. (I know. I can’t tell the difference either. 😬)
Get out there! Take lots of pictures!