We’ve written extensively about the importance of downsizing, living small, and simplicity in our personal lives. And as might be expected, these ideas carry over into our lives as travelers.
Our prime directive is traveling light, and as in all things, it’s always about priorities. And one of the important things we always pack is a camera.
Photos are an important part of our blog, and we endeavor to make them as interesting and attractive as possible. But when it comes to photographic gear, it’s difficult to find a balance between capability and portability. Small, lightweight point-and-shoot cameras have limited capabilities, and feature-rich DSLRs are big, heavy, and cumbersome to use. Enter the travel zoom camera.
Travel zoom cameras are all about zoom lenses squeezed into compact, lightweight bodies along with a good set of useful features.
And for weight and size conscious nomads, the primary attraction of these cameras is versatility. You can whip one of these babies out of your jeans pocket, and shoot a wide angle shot of the lone prairie one minute …
… and then, zoom in to the face of that skittish prairie dog the next.
And because they’re only slightly larger than compact point-and-shoot cameras, this sounded like the perfect solution. Therefore, after some considerable online research, I finally bit the bullet and bought one a couple of weeks ago. For about $250, I bought a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. It has a 25-500mm optical zoom with a 20X zoom capability. For most people, these numbers are probably mumbo-jumbo, so I’ve taken a few shots to demonstrate the sweet “zoomage.”
In addition to the marvelous zoom, the technology packed into this small package is amazing. For point-and-shoot types, it has full auto, and produces outstanding shots. On the other end of the spectrum, for those who want more control, most of the shooting parameters can be set manually. It also has lots of special effects modes, HD video capabilities, and GPS for geo-tagging photos. In fact, there are so many features for this camera (and its competitors) that the reviews run 6-8 pages.
I’m very happy with my choice, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the camera for you … different strokes and all that. But this website, which reviews the Canon and its competitors, is a good place to start, and should enable you to make a decision best suited to personal needs.
In my opinion, travel zoom cameras are a quantum leap in technology which will make life better and easier for all travelers. Whichever model you chose, they all seem a great value for their size, performance, and capabilities. The only disadvantage that I see for these cameras, is that I can no longer blame my mediocre photos on my crappy gear.
1. Photographing protests at 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City by Jonathan McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons
5. By Chitrapa via Wikimedia Commons