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That’s like trying to answer the question “How long is a string?” There’s no good answer, and without some good selection criteria you’ll quickly get overwhelmed in the selection process. Amazon.com’s Camera, Photo & Video Store has literally thousands of choices for gear and accessories.
So how do you narrow down the possible choices to pick the best camera for you? The answer depends on multiple factors, all of which we’ll explore in this article. If you want to know our top recommendations for beginning travel photographers you can go to the end of this post.
Beginning travel photographers will want to evaluate a few key criteria when choosing the best camera for their needs. Some factors to consider:
Travel photographers can spend anywhere from $100 to $7,500 or more for a camera and a full set of gear to go with it. For all camera types except point-and-shoot cameras, lenses are optional and cost extra. You’ll have to factor this into your purchasing decision…don’t spend all your money on just the body! Here are a few other things you’ll need to budget for when selecting a travel photography camera:
Once you have an idea of your budget, you can evaluate the different types of camera systems available. This is quite possibly the most important decision of all, as it will inform other choices you need to make when acquiring your camera gear. The list below won’t provide you with the pros and cons of every camera on the market today – that list would be far too extensive. However, knowing what types of camera bodies or systems are available will help you select the best camera for beginning travel photographers.
Back when all travel photography was done on film, the list of features available was very limited. Since the advent of digital cameras, the list of available features has grown rapidly to meet market demand. The following list shows some of the most popular features you may want to look for in your next travel photography camera:
I vividly remember a trip we took to Iceland several years ago. I really wanted to explore the island and so I brought five (yes…FIVE) cameras with me, in addition to lenses, tripods, etc. I brought back some great images, but I also brought back an awful backache!
These days, I’m a huge fan of traveling light and carrying my luggage on anywhere I can. I have both a full-frame camera system as well as a mirrorless camera. If I’m trying to pack as light as possible, I’ll choose the mirrorless system. If it’s feasible for me to carry on a heavier bag and check the rest of my luggage, I’ll go with the full-frame camera.
I know several people who have switched from full-frame to mirrorless systems because they don’t like carrying around all the extra weight. This becomes especially important when you’re hiking, or for photographers with back problems.
Photographers who are physically handicapped may need to consider the weight of a camera and a lens when doing travel photography as well.
See…I told you the range of choices was dizzying! In 20+ years of amateur travel photography, I’ve used all the different camera systems mentioned above. For those starting out, we recommend the following type of gear for travel photography:
Depending on the exact camera system, manufacturer and model you’re buying, you are looking at somewhere between $1,000 to $3,000 for new equipment. Don’t buy everything all at once – just start with a camera body and an all-purpose lens, and add the rest as you grow in your love of travel photography.
Got questions about picking the best camera for beginning travel photographers? Leave me a comment in the notes below!
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