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Which Camera for Travelling...?

Travel Forums Travel Photography Which Camera for Travelling...?

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1. Posted by Paddy79 (Budding Member 7 posts) 7y

Hi All

Apologies if this seems like a recurring question but I can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for on any forum...!

I'm going travelling (backpacking) for a year in August and am looking to buy a camera to take with me in addition to my P&S (Casio Exilim Z55).

My question is, is it worth me investing in a DLSR (and if I do, it'll be the Canon 450d) or settle for a bridge camera (Panasonic LZ28) or not bother at all? My Exilim takes video (albeit not great quality).

I enjoy photography a lot and am looking for a camera that will allow me to produce higher quality photos than my current P&S... but given that I'm backpacking, I don't want to be weighed down by loads of equipment.

This leads to my second question, if I go with a DSLR, I am not prepared to take tripods, multiple lenses etc. For me it's 1 general purpose lens otherwise it's too much hassle for a DSLR beginner who's backpacking! As you'd expect, I'd be taking photos of landscapes, people, action shots and pretty much whatever I come across in a year around the world! So what lens should I take with me, is the 18-55mm sufficient or should i invest in the 18-200mm bearing in mind I'm travelling.

The security aspect doesn't bother me, I'm sure there are plenty of travellers with DSLRs and one just has to be sensible. Of course, in the evenings and in awkward places, I'll have my P&S on hand.

Thanks for any advice you can give


2. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 7y

Hiya, I've been using a 5mp P&S for years & have found the size, weight & security risk fine for my travel needs. I'd only recommend taking extra memory sticks & a rechargeable battery. It really depends on what you want to do with your photo's...

3. Posted by Paddy79 (Budding Member 7 posts) 7y

I've managed to dig through the threads and find some relevant discussions that'll help me make a decision so no worries about not replying to this.

Thanks for replying Joffre!

4. Posted by s96024 (Full Member 106 posts) 7y

I have bought that dslr (450d), and am looking at probably getting the same lens. Personally I will be taking it and would rather go without something else than not take it. Make up your own mind, if you think you would regret it, take it. If you can live with just using your p&s don't. I'm sure redpaddy will be along soon to tell you the dslr is the devil in disguise.

[ Edit: Edited on 29-May-2009, at 09:27 by s96024 ]

5. Posted by SighMan (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Well, in case you come back to this, or someone else does, and since I'm already typing this, here's my thoughts.

The perks of a compact speak for themselves: you already have one, portability, ease of use.

Whilst P&S compacts can give good pictures, it's up to you to decide if you really need the manual control on a SLR. I have a Canon 1000D, love every gram and button on it, and am very much debating if I could carry it around a year of travelling. Lens wise, I would strongly suggest buying the body of the 450D (not the kit that comes with 18-55mm) or even the 1000D (the differences are few). Save that bit of money, buy a Canon 18-200mm. These super-zooms are not optically perfect (on the pixel level) but are more than adequate for travel. Tamron and Sigma do Canon fit 18-200 lenses at much lower cost, they even have a 18-250 and 18-270 plus image stabilisation and are not much bigger. All depends on your budget :) Dare I say it I've even thought of selling all my SLR gear just to fund my travels :O

Hope this helps, feel free to PM.

6. Posted by Paddy79 (Budding Member 7 posts) 7y

Thanks for that Sighman - really helpful.

I've decided to buy the 450d but next dilema is what lens and that's for me to decide based on weight and size as budget is a constraint to an extent but i'm of the reasoning that more money spent now means better returns in the long run... :)

I've handled a 450d with the kit lens on it, but not with a 18-200mm lens so i think that's the next thing to do. If I'm happy to travel around with it then it makes sense to get it. I doubt very much that the quality is worse than the 18-55mm for the equivalent range? Then I have the added zoom also.


7. Posted by SighMan (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Sorry, I wasn't very clear. When I said superzooms aren't optically perfect, I was inherently comparing them to fast prime (fixed focal length) lenses. It will always be a trade off between quality and speed (prime lens) and convenience (zoom lens) but there is no doubt that a zoom lens with as big a range as possible will be the ultimate travel lens. I will echo the 'quality' is probably only noticeable when blowing up huge prints. I have the 18-55 kit lens, 17-85 upgrade, Tamron 28-300, as well as some cracking 30mm and 60mm lenses and can really only tell 'quality' differences when in Photoshop at 100% zoom. Otherwise, if your pictures are for emailing, blogging, or just putting on the net then there's not much to distinguish between them at all. As you said, the 18-200 giving you the extra zoom.

Since you handled the 450D with the 18-55 kit lens, here is a pic comparing the 18-55, 17-85 and the 18-200.

Hope that gives you something to work on. Like I said, if budget is a factor, consider the Tamron and Sigma 18-200 lenses, save yourself valuable money - keep it for beers and BBQ on the beach somewhere exotic ;)

8. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

The kit lens is the best there is. They are small, light, cheap, easy and fast to use - it why they're so popular! The little bit it doesn't cover you won't really miss - so why pay for and carry a monster that takes up even more room and puts a target on your back? People that buy them don't like moving for a better picture. They see something and they point and shoot. Get it? :) You'd do well to spend the extra pennies on the stuff you really need like batteries, cards.

Just my thoughts - and good luck with it all.

edit - nearly forgot. If you are buying a Canon, don't mess about, get a Canon lens for it - unless you want something exotic that would otherwise cost a fortune. Good luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Jun-2009, at 18:16 by fabyomama ]

9. Posted by Roninphoto (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Hi All,

I am new here so please forgive me if this has been covered. I am in the process of buying a camara for travel photography myself. I was thinking of submitting photos to some magazines and news papers of future travels. What camara would you get?


10. Posted by Paddy79 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Hi Roninphoto

As an update on my situation I invested in the 450d with a single lens (18-200mm) in addition to my P&S and havent regretted a second of carrying both. The setup does exactly what I wanted it to and I've never missed out on a photo that I wanted. If I had just the 18-55mm i wouldn't have had the zoom capability that I've got now.

Saying that if your sole goal is to take photos for newspapers and magazines then IMHO i've seen photos submitted via mobile cameras that have won prizes in local/national papers and all sorts of magazines (not just photography mags).

My original question was regarding any 'hassle' of carrying a dslr not which camera to buy so following that there are plenty of guides available about which camera is the 'best' but that'll always come down to what you need from the camera yourself - each to his/her own and all that...

Finally, the argument (which i fully support) which is often stated on forums says what makes a good photo is a good eye, then a decent lens and then finally a decent camera... good advice i think! :)

Good luck with your adventures