Monday, April 5, 2010

Finding a Good Digital Camera for Travel by Christine Peppler

Millions of us use our digital camera most often when we travel. We love to shoot photos of distant landscapes and sights we visit, capture images of loved ones we seldom get to see, and preserve images of the things we discover along the way. Traveling with a digital camera at our side allows us to share experiences with others and reminisce fondly for years to come.

Considering how you will use a camera is critical when choosing one to buy. If you want to take a lot of photos of your kid's football games, getting one that can handle fast action and respond quickly is critical. If you want to use your camera to create extra large prints such as 9 x 10's and larger, you'll want to be sure it has the needed resolution to provide good image quality in these larger sized prints.

A good travel camera will have the features that you want in any camera. A good lens and sensor will assure good image quality. Optical image stabilization can help keep images blur free despite a slightly unsteady hand. Having the shooting modes you'll want to use most often will assure you can get reasonably good shots in most conditions, even if you don't want to bother with manual controls.

There are however, certain features that might make a digital camera better suited to travel. Certainly the size and weight of the camera matters. If you want to be burden free, then smaller is better. While an ultra compact model will easily slip into any pocket, a small camera bag will make any compact point and shoot perfectly acceptable to carry wherever you go.

There are more important features to consider when you're going on the road however. You'll find that a camera with good battery life matters. Of course you'll take along a charger and a spare set of batteries, but if you'll be out all day, you don't want to worry about dead batteries. Some cameras use less battery power than others. Users however, can conserve by using fewer power hungry features like zooming, reviewing your photos, and so forth.

Memory is another thing to consider. The modern digital camera will store images on a memory card. Memory cards that will hold hundreds of images are affordable. You'll want to take spares along. However, before buying a camera for travel, you'll want to be sure how much memory it can accommodate. Some cameras can accept high capacity cards, others won't. Just as with batteries, you don't want to get caught out with no memory card. It's akin to not having film with a film camera. A 14 megapixel camera will eat up memory faster than an 8 megapixel camera, so you'll need to factor this in as well. Each 14 megapixel image simply takes up more space on the memory card than an 8 megapixel image. Sometimes an 8 megapixel camera can therefore make a better travel companion for the average consumer.

Built-in GPS is another feature that is starting to appear in digital cameras. There are a number of SLR cameras with GPS but just a few point and shoot models. The advantage of GPS is that the camera will automatically determine your location and geotag your photos. You won't have the problem of getting home and forgetting where that castle or antelope was located. The GPS recorded that information for you.

More features that may be important for some who travel are things like waterproofing and a rugged housing. If you hike, snowmobile, kayak, and so forth, a more durable camera can be important. Some models are waterproof to a certain depth and can allow you to shoot images while snorkeling and so forth. Many of these rugged models will tolerate freezing temperatures. They often repel sand, dirt, and dust, making them a good choice at the beach. They even continue functioning after an unexpected drop to the ground.

Certainly many digital cameras can meet the needs of a traveler, but some of the features listed above are ones that might make your trip easier.

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