How have you found carrying a DSLR or Bridge camera around

Travel Forums Travel Photography How have you found carrying a DSLR or Bridge camera around

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1. Posted by xyz. (Budding Member 42 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I want to buy another camera for my travels. I have been looking at DSLR's and Bridge cameras and i'm currently swaying to a Bridge camera. I already have a P&S.

The choice of DSLR would be the Canon 550D, and bridge would be a few from the Nikon P510, Lumix FZ150 and a few more. My biggest worry is having to carry it around and leaving it in hostels. I've never been traveling before but im going Australia and staying in hostels at first, then hopefully buying a camper or a car. So leaving it in hostels whilst out worries me.

What have your experiences been carrying a DSLR or bridge camera around and leaving it? I don't mind carrying it around because if i do get a vehicle it won't be a problem. I understand that even a point and shoot could just as easily be stolen but it won't be as expensive!


2. Posted by oliverparish (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I lugged my 60D around Malawi and Zambia in July had no problems with theft, and the photo quality was well worth it. Just get travel insurance that covers it, and a good bag for it and you'll be alright. The 550D is a lot lighter than the 60D, too, so that should help.

A bridge camera is even lighter, and less expensive, but often doesn't give as much of a zoom range, or as great image quality. Also, the 550D should be pretty cheap now, seeing as the 650D just came out.

Australia's pretty good for theft so you should be alright on that point, not sure about in a hostel, though. Some hostels have a safe, or at least an office that they should let you leave it in if you're not using it.

Hope this is helpful, good luck deciding. :)

3. Posted by derZeck (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I carry a Nikon D7000 with a Tamron 18-270mm with me on all our travels with not problems. My wife actually sold her Nikon P510 and bought a D5100

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5. Posted by Neil1983 (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y Star this if you like it! - looks great

6. Posted by KellieBarnes (Travel Guru 813 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting xyz.

My biggest worry is having to carry it around and leaving it in hostels.

This seems fundamental to the very reasons one takes a camera!

Logistically speaking, you can always choose a camera that works with your travel style: if you like quick snapshots, take a slim point and shoot you can slip into your pocket; if you want a little more control without the bulk, take a bridge or mirrorless camera that will fit into your day pack/handbag; if you want full camera and lens control, take a DSLR in a camera backpack with a day pack section.

Personally, I always travel with my DSLR and lenses in a Lowepro backpack. The bottom section has full compartment padding for a camera with accessories and the top part can carry all the usual travel gear: guides, water bottle, cover-up, etc. It doesn't look like a typical camera backpack so I'm comfortable carrying it with me without drawing attention to carrying expensive gear. I would never leave my backpack in a hostel but it's not a problem to take with me every day as it is both a day and camera pack.

Hope this helps!

7. Posted by Chris Lafosse (Budding Member 7 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

i hitchhiked around europe and the states for a year, and had a DSLR on me the whole time. it stayed strapped to my hip in a compact bag, almost the entire time.

it was quite a burden but well worth it.

as i went around i found myself taking a lot of scenery photography, and for this another photographer taught me about HDR (high dynamic range) photography, which involves taking 3 photos of your scene, on different exposure levels, then combining them together using software (eg photomatix).

iv uploaded a couple of examples here:

as you go about your travels you are sooner or later, bound to come accross a sunset of viewpoint of magnificant beauty, of which the light is so dynamic, colourful and contrasting that a standard single exposure will not be able to capture, as digital cameras especialy, have a much lower dynamic range than the human eye.

the 550D, and most other cameras at that level, have a function called bracketing, where after taking the first photo, the camera will instantly take more photos, under and over exposed.

If you are really into your photography, there is some 3rd party software for Cannon DSLR’s called ‘magic lantern’ which will turn your $600 camera into a $6,000 camera.
The software, (wich you install at your own risk) will give your DSLR many of the functions that very high end broadcasting cameras can do:
-zebra stripes
-focus pulling
-30 minute exposure
-HDR video
-time laps
-custom crop marks

and hundreds more features I have yet to have explored after using it for a year.

overall though, i would advice that the choice to take a DSLR comes down to a ratio factor.

{how much of your trip will consist of photography / the burden of carrying it about}

serious photography, id say yes. for snaps, i would compromise.

8. Posted by xyz. (Budding Member 42 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Thankyou to everyone that replied, some very useful info from each of you. Chris, i might have to try that 'photomatix'

As for the ratio you mentioned, i suppose i just want more very decent snap shots rather than serious photography as my trip is just about seeing the country and meeting people. As much as i would love a DSLR i go in about 2 weeks and have never even used a DSLR. In which case i will probably never even get round to using most of the features on the DSLR and have it on auto every single time.

I still have no idea what camera to get - DLSR or bridge.

The only thing that puts me off the bridge camera is that the sensor is the same size as a P&S camera, which i already have... however, my P&S is a couple of years old so should still have a better image quality.

Decisions decisions :(

9. Posted by oliverparish (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Well sensor size isn't the most important factor in image quality, lens quality is really important, too, and the fact that bridge cameras and dSLRs have interchangeable lenses makes a difference as well: you can upgrade to a better lens at any time; if your lens breaks you don't need to buy a whole new camera; you can get adapters so you can use bigger/better/older/different brand lenses.

10. Posted by derZeck (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Bridge camera tend to be not so good in low light, that is the problem we were having. The largest aperture we could achieve was f/4 and it got very grainy with higher ISO that caused very slow shutter times. It also was very slow to focus, and often focused on the wrong subject and she often missed shots. Since going to her D5100, she has yet to complain about the larger size and loves the quality and usability of the DSLR.