Even though it sometimes seems that cameras are on their way out – forced into antiquity by the outstanding performance of most modern camera smartphones, there are still a lot of good reasons for the every day traveler to bring a solid, dependable point and shoot camera with them on holiday. What price range depends on how serious you want to get about photo quality, but even the lesser expensive point and shoots (under $200) offer some big advantages over your camera phone.
Every photo looks good on a cell phone screen, and for many, if not most, people, that’s more than good enough for what they want to do with their image. Whether it’s facebook, instagram, twitter – all the social media sites (which is where 90% of photos taken on cell phones end up), you’re not going to need a high resolution image to look vibrant, clear and free of blur or color issues.
You can't beat the convenience of a smartphone camera
After all, I totally understand the value and ease of use of a camera phone. For that reason, along with my DSLR camera, I always shoot some photos with my camera phone. It’s just so easy… But, keep in mind that if you’re traveling, battery usage is a key ingredient to managing your time on vacation. If you shoot 200+ photos a day, it’s going to definitely take a toll on your battery. We do keep a portable charger with us on vacation, but even then, risking a dead cell phone battery in the middle of downtown St. Petersburg, Russia, is not something I want to come near doing.
Don't end up like this guy due to a drained cell phone battery...
Nikon DSLR camera
Mouseover the photo below to see the comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
This is Mimi’s camera and it does very well in most situations. You do have the option of shooting in manual, but automatic mode takes some great photos. You also have the option of shooting in RAW. That’s usually left to professional photographers since you’ll need either lightroom or photoshop editing software, so keep it in the normal .jpg mode. We’ll leave photography tips and techniques to a different post. Prices for this camera are good compared to the quality and ease of use. Should be around $400.
Panasonic Lumix ZS50 / TZ70
Panasonic has never been known for anything top of the line, but they are known for being bargain brand, and this is no exception. The good news is that reviews are pretty positive and for a price of under $300, it just might be good enough.
I have this one on the list because it has one feature that sets it apart from the others and I don’t mean the red exterior. It’s waterproof. I’ve never used a waterproof camera and have no intention of doing so anytime soon, but Mimi loves the idea, so we may have to pick one of these up for our next Greek island vacation.
Sony Cyber-shot WX220
Last one on the list, and the cheapest. Video quality will not compare to the 3 above due to it not have 4k, but it does have a good optical zoom and a great price.
So there it is… No matter what you decide to shoot with, just take a lot of photos. You’ll never regret taking too many, but you will regret taking not enough. That is unless you take too many with your cell phones, drain your battery, can’t call to arrange a ride back to the cruise port in St. Petersburg, Russia, miss your ship’s departure time, and end up being held at the Ministery of Internal Affairs for 3 days because the U.S. doesn’t have an embassy in Russia. Then you might regret taking a few too many.