Travel Camera: I knew I had the right one when…
In each of the first three years I bought a new travel camera. All except the last fell short of my expectations in one way or another.
Happily, my year three camera has made the grade. It’s a Lumix G with a 3/4 body and interchangeable lenses.
Third time lucky.
But, it wasn’t just luck. I analyzed what I disliked about my other cameras, did more research and asked more people who were into photography about which camera to buy. I took the plunge. I bought.
Yet still, buyer’s remorse set in. I was not quite confident that it was the right camera until I met a renowned photographer.
A National Geographic photographer had my travel camera around his neck.
Last spring I was in Girona, Spain where I went to an exhibition called ”The Eyes of Steve McCurry“. McCurry is known for his iconic photo of a young Afgan girl. Thanks to Costa Brava Tourism, I went to this exhibition with another National Geographic photographer, Tino Soriano. Tino, born in Barcelona, is also the recipient of several national and international awards.
As Tino took me through the exhibit I learned a number of photography basics which I have shared in Through the Eyes of National Geographic Photographers: 3 Tips for better photos. I also gained confidence in my camera purchase.
There, around Tino’s neck, was my Lumix G.
I was surprised and thrilled and asked him about the camera. He confirmed that it’s a great amateur camera. Of course, it is not the camera he uses for his professional photographs. It’s his camera for taking what would amount to snapshots to him. I had buyer’s remorse no more. No photographer worth his salt, certainly not one of the calibre of Tino, would use a poor camera for even snapshots.
The Lumix G meets my limited budget and packing space.
At around $500 the Lumix G is modestly priced for the features it offers. It’s also relatively compact. As regular readers know, I am keen on traveling light – everything I pack has to earn its right to be there. Here’s why the Lumix G makes it on my trips despite being larger and heavier than pocket travel cameras I’ve bought. I’m not particularly technical so the features I like are more about usability than technical scores.
- It’s smaller than a DSLR but has similar flexibility. Smaller and lighter than a DSLR, the body of the camera has everything I need now and can adapt to my changing needs over time.
- It has a viewfinder. Travel cameras that fit into your pocket don’t have viewfinders. I consider a viewfinder critical for two reasons: you can focus on your subject even in high light conditions and it is easier to really work on the composition of your photo. Of course, the Lumix G also has a free-angle LDC screen at the back.
- Interchangeable lenses. I can change lenses at will. I can buy new lenses or get a mount converter to use quality lenses from an old SLR camera. I am still using the lens that came with the camera which is adequate but not particularly fast. My next investment will be a new lens.
- Pop up flash and hot shoe: The pop-up flash does a slightly better job than the harsh flash of a pocket camera. The hot shoe allows me to add any flash to my camera which can make a huge difference in the quality of flash shots.
- Features: There is a wide range of features including full manual, “intelligent automatic” and a variety of more creative options to make for interesting photography easy.
- Rechargeable batteries: I don’t like powering through double A batteries.