Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to continue a conversation from another blog. The blog post that I’ve chosen is all about compact cameras, specifically their utility for travel photography. You can read the post here.
One of the biggest concerns of travel these days is packing light. Whether it is to avoid overweight baggage fees from airlines, or simply because you don’t want to carry around a giant bag while you are visiting sites, compact cameras offer a great solution.
Compact cameras are not the same as point and shoot cameras. They are a sort of marriage between the small body and ease of use that a point and shoot offers, but with more powerful lenses and sensors for an overall improvement in image quality. Some compact cameras have limited options for interchangeable lenses. You might also see them advertised as mirror-less or DSLM cameras. This is because they are lacking the mirror behind the lens which would bounce the image through the viewfinder and into your eye. This is partially what allows them to be so compact, but the compactness also comes from smaller sensors. A general rule of thumb is that the smaller the sensor, the lower the image quality. This means, and I’m sure you can guess, that compact cameras generally have poorer image quality than DLSRs, but this might not be noticeable unless you are in a lower light setting.
These were some of the considerations that I had to think about when I was choosing my own camera. As you know from my previous post, I bought myself a new camera before the holidays. Prior to that, I owned an old point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix camera. It’s probably upwards of 7 years old now and it still takes great pictures, so I am keeping it. I wanted something more powerful for my travel photos because I am not sure if I’ll ever get to visit some of these locations again. I can’t settle for great photos, I want amazing photos.
With that in mind, I started researching. I read numerous online reviews about entry-level DSLRs (I am not intimidated by having more customization) as well as compact cameras. Armed with that knowledge, I then paid a visit to Henry’s. Henry’s is a Canadian photography store which carries the largest selection of cameras and accessories that I have ever seen. And no, I’m not being paid to praise them. I think it’s important that you do a bit of research ahead of time so that you have some idea of what you are looking for, or what you want from your new camera. I’ve now purchased two cameras from them and had great experiences shopping each time. I found the staff to be knowledgeable and not pushy at all. In fact, I find that they tend to hold back and prefer to bring you some cameras after hearing a bit about which ones you think you like and what you want out of them.
With the help of great sales associates, I ended up purchasing a DSLR. I was almost positive that I was going to end up with a compact, and I had decided that would be OK so long as it had good zoom power. In the end, I was cautioned by the associates that I might be disappointed in the image quality, specifically in the evenings. My next choice was the Canon EOS Rebel T5, which is marketed as Canon’s entry level camera. I was surprised when the associate brought me that camera, as well as a slightly smaller one called the EOS Rebel SL1.
The SL1 looks virtually the same as the T5, but it’s smaller. The menus, layout of the buttons, everything is nearly identical. Even though it is smaller and cheaper, it definitely didn’t feel like it was poorer quality. I was able to do some test shots in the store and couldn’t see a difference at all. I highly recommend it for anybody who is in the market for something new.
But now, back to traveling. Am I not concerned that a DSLR will be too big and heavy to carry around? No, check out this picture.
Yup, that my friends is indeed a DSLR, sitting in the palm of someones hand. The one in that photo has what is called the “Portrait” or 40mm lens. This lens is great for portraits naturally, as it is good for creating softened backgrounds. It tends to take photos that are more square in shape, but I was told that it is excellent for landscape photography as well as macro shots.
All in all, I am very happy with this camera and encourage people to check it out. You can often find great packages with extra lenses. For mine, I managed to snag the body, 18-55mm lens, 40mm lens, 250mm lens, 32GB SD card and 4 year warranty for around $1100. #blackfriday in Canada.
Check out some more test photos!