From high performance SLRs to compact point-and-shoots, digital cameras come in all shapes and sizesthese days. Which kind is the best for travel? That depends on what type of traveler you are. Here’s a brief guide to digital cameras based on whichever camera quality you seek most:
If you’re backpacking through Europe, you won’t have the room or patience to lug around a digital SLR camera and all its accessories. Instead, you want something that’s portable, yet still capable of takingseriously good snaps. Digital cameras like the Olympus Stylus XZ-2, Canon Powershot G15 and Nikon Coolpix P330 are all solid choices for the traveler on the go.
Scuba diving in the Mediterranean? Surfing off the coast of Maui? If you want snaps from down below the waterline, ‘water resistant’ and even ‘waterproof’ isn’t the adjective you’re looking for. What you need to search for is a quality underwater (sometimes called ‘rugged’) camera. The Panasonic FT4/TS4, Sony Cyber-Shot TX20 and the Olympus TG-1 will all produce sparkling underwater snaps sure to impress your friends back home.
Powerful Zoom (safari-friendly):
Certain travel experiences, like sitting in the nosebleeds of Camp Nou or spotting the ‘Big Five’ from a jeep in the Serengeti, requires a powerful zoom. A camera with anything from a 24x to 42x maximum zoom is recommended. If you have a SLR, you should be able to catch all the distant action with a 100-400mm lens.
Night Vision (club-friendly):
Whether it’s the electric atmosphere of an Ibiza nightclub or the peaceful beauty of Prague’s Old Town after dusk, some of the best moments of a holiday occur at night. If you’re a night owl, there are a number of cameras designed to produce quality night-time snaps. Willing to (really, really) splurge? Go for the Nikon D3X, an impressive machine with ‘Active D-Lighting’ and a maximum ISO 1600. For a more affordable night-friendly camera, the Sony DSC-W570 and the Fujifilm FinePix F80EXR both produce better low-light snaps than their point-and-shoot competitors.