Have zoom, will travel? Here are our tips to help you buy the best camera to suit your travel style.
For the ultimate in portability while travelling, a compact camera will be the ideal companion, as it will take up hardly any space. Lots of cameras have lengthy zooms in a small package, like the Sony HX20V with a 20x optical zoom. Most compacts on this list also have wide-angle lenses at 28mm or less; ideal for capturing landscapes and group shots.
These cameras are typically bigger than their compact counterparts, with lengthy zooms in an SLR-styled body. They have manual controls and heaps of features, perfect for a photographer who wants to tweak just about everything. Hotshoes and other SLR-like options may also be present.
Rechargeable lithium-ion, one-use AA or rechargeable AA? A camera that uses AA gives flexibility when travelling in remote areas without a power source, but the cameras that use these batteries are generally bulkier. Lithium-ion batteries are more environmentally friendly, but you may end up stuck somewhere without a power point when the battery runs out.
Geotagged images displayed in Picasa. (Credit: CBSi)
Another novel feature that has cropped up in travel-oriented cameras is GPS. These cameras append GPS location information to the EXIF data, allowing you to work out exactly where your photo was taken when sorting through snaps after your holiday. Check out our collection of cameras with GPS tagging built in for more.
The last thing you want to do on your holiday is spend more time in a camera-repair shop than on the beach. Double-check whether your preferred camera is covered by an international warranty, or if there's a service centre in the locations you're staying. Also make sure to put your tech gear on your travel insurance, and make copies of all of your serial numbers and receipts, so if you need to claim them when overseas, you can.
Not only do you need to consider the perfect camera for your needs, you also need the bits and bobs that go with it. Rather than storing all your memories on one card, consider several smaller capacity cards in case of loss or data corruption. Backing up your photos frequently onto a portable hard drive or laptop is also recommended.
While we don't normally recommend lugging around a big tripod on your holiday, there are more portable alternatives, such as the GorillaPod, that cling onto most surfaces and are sturdy enough for a light SLR.
Having the right camera bag protects your gear, too. Photographers wanting an inconspicuous way to tote around an SLR or lots of accessories might want to look at something like the Lowepro Passport Sling, which looks like a regular cross-body bag, but is packed with extra pockets for camera accessories.
From surf to soiree
Fancy a spot of surfing with your swanky dinner party? Perhaps you're heading to the ski chalet via safari? You might want to look at a waterproof, rugged camera that can withstand the elements, or invest in a waterproof case for your existing compact. Check out our list of the best waterproof and tough cameras to see which one is right for you.
As more travel-friendly cameras are reviewed, we'll add them to this list.