There are several things to consider when buying a Point and Shoot camera for travel. And yes, you need to buy one. Trust me. You may not get any award winning photographs from it (although you can and may), but chosen well, it will help you with your thought process and scene selection, as well as help your marriage! (the above photograph, which falls into my "Snapshot memory" folder, was taken with a Nikon AW130 at about 50mm equivalent).
Here are the things I considered:
- Size – Travelling on some continents on a budget means size is extremely important. The last thing you want to have is a secondary camera taking up space. There are many fantastic options that come in a compact size. Choose wisely – Easyjet in Europe charged me $32 US for a second bag.
- Durability – If you treat a camera well, it will last longer than its sensor is relevant. My wife is a teacher – her class camera rarely lasts longer than a year. Kids are hard on cameras. I have a Point and Shoot that is 5 years old and still works like a charm. If you require extra durability, there are cameras in every name brand that are specifically made to be shockproof, dustproof, weatherproof, etc.
- Special features – This one was critical for me. I learnt how to dive recently, and I wanted something that went underwater. Not all underwater cameras are created equal. The one I owned would not be dive appropriate, only snorkel appropriate. The one I bought was dive appropriate to 30M. It didn’t hurt that the camera is also shockproof, coldproof, and general everything-proof!
- Lens selection – ok, this one caught me by surprise, and I’d love to say I was brilliant and chose it on purpose, but it was a happy accident. My favourite travel lens is my 24-70 F2.8. It is a brilliant lens, and it is the FIRST lens I bring with me, and sometimes the ONLY lens if I am constrained weight wise. When I chose my Point and Shoot, it just so happened that its 35mm equivalent focal lengths were 24-105. What this meant was that if I took a wide shot with my P&S, I could replicate it with my 24-70. It got to the point where I would use the P&S to compose my shots for the big kit before I even set the big boy up. This saved me time and ensured that if I only brought my P&S with me on a short walk or hike, I could always go back and replicate the shot.
In my opinion, bringing a Point and Shoot on your travels is critical. It fulfills the role of Social Media/Snapshot taker, and a well-chosen one becomes a critical part of your kit, especially if you are looking for a specialty item like an underwater camera. And not lugging your big kit around when you go to dinner on the Danube with your wife can be a marriage saver.
Safe and enjoyable travels – more to come!