Camera for travelling!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by oli2140, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. oli2140 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hi all,

    In 6 months time, I'll be travelling for a couple of months around Africa, Asia and possibly the Americas and as a result, I am looking at purchasing a DSLR for my travels!

    I'm looking for something that produces good quality photos and performs well in quite rugged environments (obviously I'll be taking care of it but don't want it breaking easily on me!)

    I plan to pair it up with an Eye-Fi SD card so that I can upload photos of my journey as I travel for family to see, so something that is compatible with this would be important.

    As for my budget, it'll probably be up to £850 / $1300 but don't necessarily have to spend this much if it's going to be overkill. I do like taking photos and marvel at high quality shots, however I can imagine that there will be a lot of 'spur of the moment photo taking moments' so a good automatic mode would be nice!

    Any advice would be very helpful!

  2. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    How about a Pentax K-7? It's well within your price-range, and it's fully weather-sealed. Plus, you can get k-mount lenses anywhere for cheap.
  3. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I'm sure you are going to get lots of advice on which DSLR to get and what assortment of lenses to go along with it. So I'll just give you my advice for what it's worth.

    Get a solid DSLR and stick with the kit lens for traveling. Kit lenses are perfectly adequate at getting good shots, they are lightweight, and you won't have to worry about switching lenses while on the go. If you don't like the kit lens, then I suggest replacing it with a single lens that will cover the range of things and ways you will most likely be shooting.

    With the extra money you have left over, get yourself a good but small point-and-shoot. They are perfect for carrying around when you don't want to take out your DSLR, or when you are in situations where it might not be wise to take out a large and expensive-looking camera. Plus, it is easy to shoot photos of yourself with a point-and-shoot. Just hold it at arm's length and snap.

    For years I only traveled with a DSLR, and I got lots of great shots. Last week I went on a short trip to England and decided to only bring a point-and-shoot (Canon S90). I haven't used one in years, and I'm so glad that I brought it with me. For whatever reason, my mindset and my eye changes when I carry a P&S rather than an SLR. As a result, I ended up taking a lot more "tourist" and travelogue type photos: little snapshots and snippets of the things I did and saw. With an SLR, I'm always looking for that artistic "perfect" shot. I get lots of them, but end up not getting all the fun shots.

    Just something to think about. From now on, I'm going to carry both a P&S and a DSLR whenever feasible.
  4. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    Here is a nice Canon starter kit that fits within your budget:

    The 18-135mm lens is overall pretty good for the money (here is a review: and would be a good single carry-around lens for your travels. It is lightweight and gives you a decent zoom range (7.5x). Paired with a T2i (aka EOS 550D) camera body, you would have a very good 18 megapixel DSLR that also happens to take beautiful 1080p and 720p HD video. I've been using the T2i since March and it is a solid camera. It isn't weather sealed but I've gotten light amounts of rain on it plenty of times and it still works fine. I've even accidentally dropped it onto rocky ground while hiking in Arches National Park, and it was still completely fine after brushing it off. It has a very good automatic mode (with auto-ISO) for when you want to quickly get a shot.

    Will you be photographing wildlife in Africa? If so you may want to go with a cheaper DSLR body and do whatever it takes to get a 70-300mm lens. Even 300mm isn't enough reach sometimes, but the lenses with higher focal lengths are much more expensive. B&H has a Rebel T1i (aka Rebel 500D) camera body with an 18-55mm lens, and adding a 70-300mm lens (review: brings the cost up to $1228, still within your budget. An alternate single carry-around lens would be the Tamron 18-270mm (review: You could get the camera body by itself and use this single lens to handle all of your shots, with its amazing 15x zoom range.

    By the time you travel, a 32GB SD card will be very cheap, and will be a perfect size for over 1,000 RAW shots or around 4-5,000 JPEG shots. I personally avoided EyeFi due to the cost and small capacity. After the memory card, you'll need a case, UV filter(s) and a spare battery (and a monopod/tripod if you want to get high quality low light shots), and you are set.
  5. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    The kit lenses it comes with (18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR + 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR) are also weather sealed and they are pretty good quality as well (the best IQ of the kit lenses out there). This must be the cheapest fully weather resistant combo.
  6. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    I forgot to mention that you'll need a travel adapter kit for the different style electrical outlets you'll encounter. Most battery chargers nowadays handle the varying voltages (100-240V) and cycle types (50/60 Hz) but they only come with one type of plug. Thankfully most let you swap out the plug type easily, so you just have to find the adapters to make it work in the places you'll be visiting.
  7. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Always nice to meet a fellow Pentaxian. We're a rare breed these days.
  8. oli2140 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2008
    Thanks everyone for all the advice so far, it has been very helpful!
    bsamcash, I definitely like the way the Pentax K-7 seems to be a bit more robust, I'll make sure I look into this one as I've been happy with the Pentax point and shoots in the past.

    Spice weasel, I agree with you about having a point and shoot camera as well, I already have a Sony Cybershot which most of the time has been a pleasure to use, I'll definitely bring this with me too!

    Also I think that I would really like to only take one camera lens if I can get away with it, the Tamron lens jabbott suggested looks awesome and would be perfect during safari in Africa. I think whatever camera I choose I'll be sure to purchase a similar or that particular lens. (I'm assuming it can be used at the only lens, even for shots much closer nearby?)
  9. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    The Tamron 18-270mm lens is available for Canon and Nikon, so if you prefer Nikon you could always go that route. Just keep in mind that the lens is tied to a brand (so you can't use the Tamron 18-270mm lens made for Canon on a Nikon SLR body, and vice versa). They are running a rebate now so the lens is $549 here in the states at Adorama and B&H.

    Its minimum focus distance is about half a meter across the entire zoom range, so as long as the object you are photographing is beyond that distance, it will be able to focus properly.
  10. F-six macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2008
    Just finished a three months motorcycle trip through the USA. I support the idea of bringing a point and shoot camera. I have a nice Olympus Mju, that fits into one the pockets of my motorcycle jacket.

    As far as a DSLR: I would go for one step up from a consumer camera. I bought a Canon 40d on Ebay for around $500. It's a very solid camera. One nice feature you will need during your travel is that it's capable of over 6 frames per second. I used this while whale watching and taking pictures of a flight of birds.

    Don't buy the compact flash cards too big. I've used 16 gig cards and they will take forever to show on the screen of my Asus netbook (also a nice small travelcompanion). I ended up buying smaller cards.
  11. thomahawk macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    Osaka, Japan
    For traveling I've found lugging my DSLR around tends to be a nuisance. I get stares from suspicious people, hinders my quick movements around things, and other things.

    Therefore I've picked up a Point and Shoot for not-so-serious trips - a Sony Cybershot TX-5 (It goes underwater too!).

    But if you want the power of an DSLR but the compactness of a point and shoot. I'd suggest getting a Canon G9, G10, or G11. Pretty good bang for the buck and a very versatile camera.
  12. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    I'll echo what others have stated and that if you should put serious thought into getting a nice point and shoot. They have excellent sensors and are capable of taking great photos (that's what they're designed to do - easily take good photos). Especially if you're going to Africa because you might look like a walking target with a DSLR and a few lenses. If you do want to step it up, the G9/10/11 and one other canon point and shoot allow full RAW and manual controls.

    However, if you're new to photography, just get a point and shoot and learn the basics. My P+S canon is very rugged. Case in point, on one trip I took with my 950IS my water bottle had exploded and the camera was literally sitting in my bag soaking with water. I turned it on thinking all my photos were destroyed and the sensor shot. It turned on immediately and had NO problems (heck, I used it yesterday which is > 2 years now since that incident) and it is still performing like a champ. I've also dropped it, taken it to the beach, taken in the ocean (not underwater though), etc... No problems. These P+S's are designed to be indestructible nowadays.
  13. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Nice travel lens for sure, though the after rebate price can be had by many local dealers as well... And one gets to try it out, and at least for my shop a liberal return policy if you feel that you got a bad sample...

    But I will also chime in on looking at the Olympus m4/3's system with what I think is a good solid camera with the Olympus EP-L1. At current US pricing one can get the L1 with the smaller kit lens and the new 14-150 for under $1300... Without the bulk and weight of a DSLR. Yes, if you want a viewfinder it will add the price...

    But will say that for size and weight the m4/3's and the emerging mirrorless interchangeable compacts (MILC) cameras are going to come on strong over the next year or so.

    My first m4/3's kit of the EP-1 with three lenses that covered a field of view from 18mm through 300mm in 35mm terms. And it weighed under 5 pounds and fit in a Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home bag!
  14. stivenmichelus macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2010
    I using Canon SD700 IS camera for my journey, well I am not a photographer but I like to catch the some natural photography, It is a my hobby.Its a shirt-pocket-sized.
  15. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    You might also consider carrying a compact that you can abuse a bit, like the Panasonic TS1 or TS2. It's nice to be able to have a camera that can scoff at dirt, sand, water, and, to a limited degree, gravity.
  16. TheNewDude macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2010
    Sony has a pair of new Micro 4 3rds cameras that just came out. Both are well in your budget. NEX3 and NEX5. I would give them a try at a store. They are lightweight, compact, come with replaceable lenses and take very good pictures. They are VERY easy to use. Made for "new" photographers who know nothing about photography.

    They are also EXTREMELY fast and have great panoramic functions.

    I highly recommend that you go into a camera store and play around with those two cameras before you make your decision.

    If you want a conventional Nikon/Canon DSLR, then I'd recommend the Canon T2i as it's the best value for money.
  17. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I was checking those out too as a sidekick for my DSLR - something to take to clubs. But the reviews claim unreliable autofocus, horrible barrel and pincushion distortion in the lenses, and poor color replication.

    I wouldn't recommend these to anyone who wasn't just looking for the quality of a normal point & shoot that happens to have interchangeable lenses.

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