Best Digital Cameras for Travel
Choose the best digital camera for your next vacation, whether it’s an African safari or a Caribbean diving trip.
out for drinks at a tango hall in Buenos Aires, with your bulky digital SLR
camera back in the hotel room. As the dancers pause in a dramatic embrace, you
reach for your smartphone. But it’s too dim, and by the time the built-in
camera focuses, the moment has passed.
to one of today’s biggest travel photography conundrums. Five-or-more-megapixel
smartphones give us a false sense of being covered, photo-wise. But all too
often, they fall short, and we’re left with blurry, even discolored vacation
photos. The truth is that dedicated digital cameras are just as important as
digital SLR—with its super-fast shutter speeds, big image sensors, and
interchangeable lenses—is no longer the only option for top-notch photos. By
ditching the internal reflective mirror that gives the SLR its
what-you-see-is-what-you-get viewfinder, a new generation of interchangeable
lens cameras provides the same versatility, image quality, and performance at
about two-thirds of the size and weight. You’ll really appreciate the
difference after a day of sightseeing.
Going on an extended
vacation that combines hiking, city tours, midnight walks, and wakeboarding?
The mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is up to the challenge: Panasonic
Lumix DMC-G3, for example, has 11 different lenses, among them, wide-angle,
telephoto, and zoom, that can handle any situation.
If you prefer something
smaller, it’s worth upgrading to the latest generation of pocket-ready
point-and-shoot cameras, which offer many advantages over camera phones. New
features include built-in GPS, which automatically geo-tags images with their
location—allowing you to share and map vacation routes later online via
services such as Google Panoramio. The Pentax Optio WG-1’s built-in GPS can
even tell you which Cayman Islands coral reef you photographed, since it’s
waterproof up to 33 feet.
One advantage you do
get with a smartphone is the ability to instantly share your pictures online.
But some cameras now offer workarounds: the Kodak Playfull has a special
function that lets you tag photos for sharing, then automatically uploads them
the next time you connect to your computer. Similarly, an add-on for the
Olympus PEN E-PL2 will send your pictures wirelessly to your cell phone via
Bluetooth, allowing you to upload on the fly.
Read on to find out
which of the best digital cameras for travel is right for you.