What is the best camera to use when on holidays?
My day job involves video production for commercials and corporate videos, something I’ve been doing for over forty years. From the dim dark ages of huge black and white studio cameras shooting Romper Room, to today using the latest DSLR camera equipment for commercial and corporate production.
About twenty seven years ago, I made the big mistake of taking a huge stills kit (film) on our first family overseas holiday to Fiji, with lot’s of lenses and filters I took some great shots, but spent more time concentrating on scenery, sunsets and settings than I did on loving the serenity … never again! I usually don’t take a video camera on holidays, for the same reason.
Lesson learnt and from then on we’ve had a variety of little point and shoot style cameras that easily fit into a pocket.
There’s heaps of brands out there that take good quality pictures with not a lot of photographic expertise. Canon, Sony and Fuji have good options at reasonable prices.
Today smart phones seem to be the vogue, particularly for those web induced selfies, I use the panorama function on mine a lot. I’ve even seen people using their iPads, great for Skype, surfing the net, checking info on parks and using a good map app etc, but I think it’s size does prohibit throwing it in a pocket and ease of use … you can decide.
A couple of years ago my wife and I spent a month in Europe, a tiny bit of work and a huge bit of pleasure. On this trip I took a Canon 7D DSLR that shoots video (the work bit) and stills (the pleasure bit), I also took a nifty tripod that packed up nice and small, I’m not a fan of wobble cam.
So … what is the best camera?
Short answer, there isn’t a best camera, much like the question of the best tent, camper or caravan to buy, only you can determine what suits your needs.
If you like the all auto option and are short on space, use your smart phone.
If you want a small, dedicated happy snapper, get a compact digital camera. There are also some compact style cameras that have better zoom functions, often called bridge digital cameras.
For those that want to play a bit more, get a DSLR, not as small or portable as the others, but they give you the option of interchangeable lenses (I wouldn’t be with out my trusty wide angle), most of these cameras also have good quality video options.
Oh and while I’m on video, don’t forget the popular little GoPro, not only do they shoot great wide angle, action HD video, they also take stills and can be set for time-lapse, sorry that’s the job coming out of me again.
Decide what sort of dollars you want to spend, where you are going, what you’ll be doing, how much room you’ll have, then get the camera to suit.
If you are travelling overseas and are considering duty free, I reckon you would be better off getting some advise and purchasing from a reputable camera store here (always some good specials on offer), this gives you time to practice and not miss that one important frozen moment of time.
Tips … Here’s some basic tips for taking a good holiday snap
Get the light right.
Don’t take a shot when a person is in shade and the background is very bright.
Overcast conditions are good, less heavy shadows on faces.
Allow for room in front of the face, if the person is looking left or right.
Don’t have to much empty space above the head (head room).
Unless you are framing a special background, try to be at the subject’s height.
With a person looking straight at camera, an on camera flash isn’t the greatest, avoid red eye, try natural light.
Head and shoulders is a good frame so if your camera doesn’t have a zoom get closer to the subject to get the best framing.
Avoid using an electronic zoom … the quality deteriorates.
Ask your subject not to talk and keep looking at camera, if this doesn’t work try to capture some natural shots, not posed.
Don’t go too wide with your lens for portraits, 50mm is a good lens size.
Have fun and happy snapping!