As smartphones continue to increase in memory capacity and photo/video quality, it is become tougher to find a dedicated camera to match them for price and quality. Join me on my journey to find the best point and shoot camera under $300 for travel. Let's go!
What Is Your Primary Goal With Your Travel Photography?
Each of us travels for a different reason and may choose to capture a certain moment in a different way from the next person. Take me, for example. As a lover of animals and candid shots, the camera I am looking for would have to have very fast exposure, hence allowing me to freeze movement or refuse blur.
On the other hand, nature photographers may prefer cameras that cater to a slower exposure. This would open up the door to nighttime photography. Portrait photography is also becoming more and more apparent, which would require a camera with a smaller aperture.
While working on a budget, you will want to find out exactly what you want and looking for cameras that provide that. Cameras, especially digital ones, are not as expensive as they once were, but you still want to make sure to get one perfect for your purpose!
This is a great little guide to exposure and aperture.
Do you find yourself caught in the rain unprepared from time to time? Do you trek a bunch and find yourself waist deep in a river chasing the perfect photo? If so, it is probably a good idea to let waterproofing be one of your criteria for picking your camera!
Obviously, there are many different levels of waterproofing, from water resistance to waterproofing to a certain depth. Each will allow you to take more and more adventurous photos and will obviously cost more as the camera is more protected.
Furthermore, a lot of these waterproof camera are also dust and dirt-proof, giving you a peace of mind when you're so desperately trying to photograph the dragonfly you had been chasing for hours!
If there is a camera that you are eyeing that is not waterproof, maybe this D.I.Y guide can help!
Many people take the zoom lens on a camera for granted these days, seeing as most choose to use a smartphone. This, however, could be the difference between making the shot you want and one you have to settle for.
When talking about zoom, it is important to note that we are mostly talking about digital cameras. DSLR and SLR cameras usually have lenses you can purchase for different levels of zoom. Those cameras are generally out of the preferred price range here, so let's stick to digital cameras for now.
In digital cameras, there are two types of zoom to look out for - digital and optical zoom. Optical zoom is the act of the lenses focusing and bringing the image closer, while digital zoom is the act of taking a picture, then digitally zooming into said picture.
With that being said, you can find digital cameras that claim to give you up to 300 times digital zoom! That may sound great on paper, but remember that zooming into a still image kills the quality and is something that can be done with even the simplest of editing software.
Optical zoom should be your only focus here. This, of course, refers to the capability of the lens when it comes to zooming in and staying in focus. This piece goes into far more detail about the ins and outs of zoom!
For The Fast-moving, High-energy Monster In You.
Action cameras have suddenly popped into the spotlight over the last few years. With its waterproof, hands-free, and image stabilising approach, these cameras are not to be scoffed at.
Most of the action cameras in the market today are being used almost solely for capturing high movement videos. Many of them, however, also have quite competitive image resolution built into them, which would be useful as you're hanging off a cliff edge and want to capture the moment.
There are many things to consider when choosing one of these cameras, however. Battery life, connectivity, weight, field of view, and memory are but some of the things you will need to seriously consider. Before you rush out and get yourself one of these action cameras, read here to find out a little more!
Busting Some Common Myths About Cameras
Other than Zoom, which is pretty much self-explanatory (other than digital against optical, which can be misleading), there are a few other things to clear up before we start shopping. Resolution is a common misconception - the higher, the better. Technically, of course, this is true, and that a higher megapixel count would allow you to take better photographs.
For a regular point-and-shoot travel photographer like me, however, 8-20 megapixels is more than enough. This will not only allow you to print photos of most sizes in optimum quality, but it also frees up two things - one, room in your memory space as size increases with resolution, and two, room in your budget for some cooler features.
The Fit is also very important. You want a camera that you feel good holding so you will be more willing to take it out and shoot more photos with, right? Exactly! Don't get too hung up on finding the 'best' or most popular camera, find the one that is right for YOU.
Now that we're past that, let's talk about the five best cameras I found while shopping around recently!
Personally, I will have to go for Panasonic's "Lumix DMC-FZ70".
Both Canon cameras felt good in my hands, despite being of entirely different builds. Unfortunately, I really enjoy photographs in low light, especially of sunsets. As such, being a relative newbie to the hobby, even the "SX500 IS"s manual settings would not be of much use to me.
As a complete sucker for a deal, I was seriously considering Sony's "CyberShot DSC-W570". Unfortunately, in the end I could not sacrifice form, despite its relatively great function. I want a camera that would last.
Finally, the GoPro is a magnificent piece of machinery which needed to be talked about. Personally, however, it is not my go-to as I am a photographer first and foremost, and the "Hero3+" was made for Action Videography, something I do not take part in very much.
With its crazy zoom, wonderful precision, and ease of use, it is easy to see why Panasonic's "Lumix DMC-FZ70" is the camera I will be purchasing!
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Hopefully, this piece helped you. Travel Safe!