What is a good camera for traveling?
When choosing a digital camera for travel I often put durability, weather resistance, price, and size above the quality of photos that it takes. I usually go for cameras that can be submerged in water, have a steel casing, run off of a rechargeable lithium battery, are somewhat cheap, and are small enough to fit easily into the breast pocket of a shirt.
I follow this criteria because I very often break cameras of the less durable sort. During one stint of travel in Patagonia in ’02 I broke four cameras. Now, I make sure that my photography gear is suiting for the rigors of weather and the Road.
The camera that I am current using is an Olympus Stylus 850 SW — or at least this is what it says on its outer casing. This camera is shock-proof, water-proof (it even has settings for taking photos underwater), has 8 megapixels, uses a rechargable lithium battery that has a long life, fits well into my shirt or pants pocket, and only costs $150.
A bomb could scarcely destroy this camera — It’s outside is all metal and hard plastic, and it is made to be knocked around. I have been using this camera since the end of December ’08, and it has not faltered yet.
Like most digital cameras, I have found that it takes time to really get to know how to work with it’s settings. It took a little time, but I have long since figured out how to take high quality magazine grade photos with the Olympus Stylus, and can now snap off good photos with a minimum of effort.
I recommend the Olymus Stylus for traveling.
As far as theft is concerned, I follow a couple simple rules: I only operate with cameras that are not very expensive and, more importantly, do not look expensive, and I keep my camera — when not in use — buttoned in the breast pocket of my shirt or vest.
Nearly every traveler — and a large number of people on the planet — now have digital cameras. Cameras are no longer uncommon. You would have to go way out in the middle of nowhere for a simple looking digital camera to be taken as a sign of excessive wealth. I know that by pulling out my little, simple looking camera I am not putting up a sign that entices a thief to pursue a potentially large payday. No, the thieves are going to follow the tourists with the large digital SLR cameras and leave me alone. To prevent against thefts of opportunity — and many thieves seem to steal anything of any value if given the chance — I keep the camera close to me and do not leave it sitting around ANYWHERE unattended. The Olympus Stylus is small enough to comfortably keep with me in almost any situation, as it is easily concealed in a variety of places on my person.
I could not imagine traveling with a large, takes-two-hands-to-hold, high quality digital camera. The bulkiness, expense, frailty, and worry associated with carrying a piece of travel equipment like this is not worth the value of obtaining slightly better quality photographs.
For me, a simple and cheap Olypus Stylus does everything that I need it to do for taking photos for VagabondJourney.com and any other journalism projects that I take on.
I hope this helps.
Buy an Olympus Stylus Camera
More information on travel cameras and travel gear:
Sanyo Xacti and Olympus Stylus camera review
Vagabond Journey Travel Gear
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What is a good camera for traveling?
Hey there, my friend, thank you for the great information and stories. I, too, am departing the states for my first time. I have traveled every which way across the country, riding freight, hitching, touring, you name it. I recently acquired a camera, and noted how good your shots looked. What do you use? Have you had problems with thieves? Also, did you ever have to get a better gear system or did the one on Kamila work well enough? I know you never mentioned changing her gears, I was just surprised you found a good bike with a gear system. Probably helps that you got it in the Republic. Also, has your main income been journalism and photography? Thank you so much for the blog and talk. Safe travels!