Not all cameras are created equal! If you’re only using your camera phone to take your vacation photos, you’re missing out! Getting a good quality camera will allow you to take more pictures with a lot more detail! Here are some of the best cameras to document your travels!
The Nuts and Bolts Of What To Look For
There are a lot of cameras on the market and they all say they’re the best! Many of them are neck and neck when it comes to competition, so you need to know what features you want in a camera in order to get what you need. Let's go over some of the features that are found on most cameras to help you decide what you want.
DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex. DSLR is the way to go for outdoor photography. The quality is impeccable and you can get different lenses so you can go from extreme close up to very far away. Cameras with DSLR work by using a mirror that allows you to see what the lens sees, and then the mirror flips up and out of the way to allow the light to hit the recording area where it will keep the picture. On other cameras that have point and shoot, the picture isn’t really exactly as you see it through the viewfinder. A DSLR camera delivers a much more accurate photo.
Just as with a TV, more pixels means a clearer picture. A megapixel is equal to one million pixels, so to know exactly how many pixels are going to be in a photo, just multiply the megapixel rating of a camera by one million. If this is sounding like Greek to you, think of it as mosaic tiles. If you make a photo from large tiles, the photo will be choppy with a lot of ridges along any curved line. If you use tiny tiles, the curved lines will be smoother and the picture will be clearer. Think of the pixels as your tiles. The more the better.
Full Frame and APS-C
Deep in your digital camera is a sensor chip that has taken the place of the film from the cameras of long ago. These chips contain light-sensing pixels that capture the light and create the image. The more pixels on the chip, the better the quality of the image. Full frame has the largest sensor there is and it’s the same as what the old 35mm film cameras were. APS-C is the next size down, but it will help to magnify the image more. You’ll see a number such as “1.5X” in relation to the APS-C, which means it magnifies your lens by 1.5. So if you have a 300mm lens, you can actually get up to a 450mm magnification with it. With a full frame you don’t get as much zoom, but you will get a larger frame, which means you can get more into the photo. If zoom is what you’re after, then APS-C is the way to go. But if you like to get more of the area in one shot, full frame is the way to go.
When photographing a moving object, such as a waterfall, animal, or a person skijoring, autofocus performance is very important. If a camera can't auto focus quickly, you will lose quality as the objects in the photo move. This is why you’ll often see photos of small children with blurry hands. If the child moves his or her hands as the photo is being taken and the camera can’t change the focus fast enough to keep up, the image appears blurry. A camera with lots of autofocus points is best. A camera with only a few autofocus points won’t change quickly because it’s focused in just a few areas and may not even see the movement. A camera with a lot of autofocus points sees every movement and can focus different areas of the frame as needed.
With so many features and choices, camera shopping can be overwhelming. We’ve picked out a few of the best. We’ll start with the best that money can buy, and then we'll scale it back to some of the more affordable options. Take a look!
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
This DSLR is a 30.4 megapixel full frame camera and comes equipped with a 24-105 mm lens. It has 61 autofocus points which makes it great for moving objects like those waterfalls of Georgia or moose. This camera also includes an ultrafast burst mode that can take 7 frames per second so you can always get the right shot. It also has dual memory card slots so you’ll never run out of storage for all those beautiful pictures! Currently, the price point on this camera is around $4,600!
Another DSLR that really brings the heat is the Nikon D810! This model is a 36.3 megapixel full frame camera that comes equipped with a 24-120 mm lens. You’ll find 51 autofocus points, a speed of five frames per second, and dual memory card slots. With the Nikon D810 you can film high-definition video and edit your photos right in the camera, all at blazing speed from an upgraded processor! This camera’s price point is currently around $3,300.
Sony Alpha a77 II
Coming in a little cheaper is the Sony Alpha a77 II. This unit is a 24.3 megapixel APS-C camera that comes equipped with a 16-50 mm lens. The zoom is the main reason that this camera is less expensive as it has 79 focal points and can shoot full high-definition movies on the go! Get the photo you want even when the subject is hard to capture since this one will do 12 frames per second which is actually faster than both the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Nikon D810! At around $2K, this one is much more affordable than the other two as well!
If you want to stay under $1,000, the Nikon D7100 is top notch! This is a 24.1 megapixel APS-C camera equipped with an 18-140 mm lens! You’ll find it has 51 focal points, can capture 6 frames per second, and has multiple flash modes for different environments.
Sony Alpha a68
The final camera we want to highlight is another Sony. The Alpha a68 model is a 24.2 megapixel APS-C camera. It can capture up to 8 frames per second and even has an LCD screen that tilts so you can hold the camera in different ways and still see it. With 79 focal points, you’re sure to get a great shot even if you’re snapping your kids skiing down Crystal Mountain!
Even if one of these cameras isn’t for you, you are now at least armed with what to look for. No matter your budget, you will be able to accurately compare cameras in the same price group to make sure you get exactly what you need! Share the photos you take with your new camera on our Facebook or Instagram pages!