I’ve finally done it. Thanks to everyone’s help on Facebook and my previous post about my new photography project, I’ve finally splashed out and invested in a new camera.

I opted for the Nikon D3100. After a lot of research I realized that Canon and Nikon are pretty much equals and most people stick to the brand that they were initially introduced to. I went with the D3100 because it seemed to be the best camera in my price range.

Since Jessop’s camera store has closed down, it makes it really difficult to find impartial advice from people who genuinely know what they’re talking about. I found that my fellow travel bloggers were the best source of help and advice so I’d like to thank everyone for their help.

To make it a little easier for anyone else who is looking to buy their first DSLR camera, I asked some of my favourite travel bloggers who take awesome photos what cameras they use and why they like them. Here’s what I found:

 

Erin – Never Ending Voyage

Never ending voyage

I use a Canon 400d and Tamron 18-200mm lens. It’s about 6 years old now but I chose it because it was one of the smaller and more affordable DSLRs. The lens gives me a huge range of options in one package although it is a little heavy.

For editing I use Lightroom which really improved my photos after I started using it, and is simple and quick to use (the lynda.com tutorial video series was a great way to get started). I also a Canon s95 as a backup, for video, and when I can’t be bothered to lug the DSLR around. It’s a fantastic compact camera which I love for low light and food photography.

 

Nicole – Bitten by the Travel Bug

nicole

I was a Canon girl but after having my camera stolen in Las Vegas I bought a Nikon D7000 as a spur of the moment purchase. I hated it for months because it was “different” but I’m slowly learning to love it as I learn how to use it.
In my kit I travel with a Tokina 11-16 F2.8 wide angle lens, Nikon 35mm prime lens, and a Tameron 28-300mm F/3.5, though I use the prime lens the most.

I also travel with an Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 with 40-150mm and 14-42mm lenses for when I want something a little less bulky and my iPhone won’t do.

 

Lauren – Never Ending Footsteps

Lauren

I use a Canon 550D. I think this is a great camera for photography beginners who want to upgrade from a point & shoot to a basic DSLR. I like that it’s lightweight, easy to use and hasn’t broken even though I’ve dropped it several (hundred) times. I managed to buy the body with a kit lens for under £400 on Amazon so it’s pretty affordable too!

 

Dylan – The Travelling Editor

dylan

Compact yet resourceful, my trusty Nikon D5000 is what I’ve carried around on my travels for the past couple of years. It may be reasonably aged – this model was released back in 2009 – but the 12.3-megapixel captures magnificent imagery providing its handler knows how to work it. And it’s this particular camera that spurred me into learning manual photography and becoming a better photographer through constant experimentation.

The pitfalls: its once pioneering HD video-recording capabilities are utterly eclipsed by newer models, whose results render those produced by my camera seem like works of antiquity. Also, as a cheaper model of Nikon’s ranges, many non-Nikon lenses fail to auto-focus unless equipped with an in-built motor.

Still, the D5000 is sticking around in my inventory – after travelling together in over ten countries, the sentimental value leaves it almost like an extension of my arm.

Neil – Backpacks and Bunkbeds

Firstly this this camera is a massive step up in quality from my old point and shoot.  The options available and the image quality are far superior to what I was working with before.  The Sony Nex F3 is a micro 4/3 mirror-less camera and what I like to think of as a mini DSLR.  Small enough to fit in my pocket, the sensor within my camera is actually the same size as many DSLRs so as mentioned the image quality is brilliant.
I like the look of the camera and love the fact that it has a range of different filters built in along with an awesome panoramic sweep function whereby if I pan the camera left to right, it will stitch up to 26 images together automatically to make an epic panoramic image.  When reading reviews it became apparent that a lot of users didn’t like the menu setup and preferred use dials when changing things like the shutter speed, but honestly that doesn’t both me, I can customer set specific buttons to allow quick access to key functions such as shutter speed and aperture.  I love my new camera!

Chris Stevens – Backpacker Banter

BB

I’ve got a canon 7d with a 10-22mm lens 17-55mm lens and 50-500mm lens. I use the big zoom for surf photography but the 17-55 f2.8 is my main one as its so versatile. I ended up choosing the 7d due to needing more focus points and fps and it also does hd movie which is a bonus! I studied photography at Uni and need a high spec body but you can get away with a heaps cheaper one…spend the money on lenses instead.

 

 

Kirsten Alana – Aviators and a Camera

kirsten alana

I literally only use my iPhone 4S. I no longer have another camera at all. My favorite apps are Filterstorm, Afterlight, Instagram, Hipstamatic, ProHDR.

I love that it’s simple, unobtrusive, doesn’t involve me carrying a lot of equipment and people are constantly surprised just now much I can do with it!

 

 

Nisa Maier – Cookie Sound

nisaI got my fist camera when I was only 7 years old (a Canon of course). My mother has been a great influence in this field, because she has also travelled all her life and always tries to capture her experiences on camera. She was certainly the one who teased out my passion photography, but I think I really fell in love with it, when I got my first photos developed and I was able to experiences these moments all over again. Travelling back in time naturally isn’t possible, but looking at my photos feels just like it, and this I what I love about the power of photography.

Right now I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and three different lenses, depending on what I’m shooting; a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. I’m more than happy with both the body & lenses (actually, I’m a bit in love with the new 5D Mark III), but sometimes I wish that I could just travel with one single device. My camera gear, including all additional gadgets, weighs about 15 kilos and this can get a bit bulky in certain situations. Still, I feel naked without it so I just accept this minor issue and rather travel light with everything else.

Let us know what camera you use and what it is about it that you love in the comments below.

31 Responses

  1. Ellie Aldridge

    Really useful article! I have (and love) a Cannon 450d, but need to take the plunge and invest in at least another lens for it… Glad I’m not the only iPhone fan, too. Camera+ is great for simple filters.
    Ellie Aldridge recently posted..Lemon, gin and ProseccoMy Profile

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  2. Arjen - On My Way To Freedomland

    I photograph for quite a while now and at the moment I own a Nikon D3100. It is affordable and the quality is good. It is not as heavy as the more expensive cameras so easier to use and carry around. And in the end, it is more about the quality of the lenses and the skills of the photographer. There is not a big difference between Nikon and Canon. They both have good cameras but I am just used to Nikon.
    Arjen – On My Way To Freedomland recently posted..The 7-Day Menu: Day 5My Profile

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  3. itsoknoproblem.com

    Agree with Lauren. Canon 550D is affordable and good for beginners. I’ve bought only body and found an old soviet lens from “Industar”. Like my photographer friend said: “Foremost, you need to learn how to use it with manual focus and get a proper lens then.”
    Now we use Canon 600D-kit and i found another lens with auto-focus, but still glass-lens gives way better quality of pics.

    Reply
  4. Clare

    I recently upgraded my camera, but it’s still only a point and shoot (Canon IXUS) – I do love it for the tiny size and ease of use. I just don’t think I could justify the expense of a DSLR at the moment. But maybe that will change if my skills improve enough! I am also not too keen on carrying something round with me that’s too big or heavy so I’ll stick to what I’ve got for now, but we’ll see what happens as time goes on…

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  5. Rachel

    My last RTW was with a tiny Canon Ixus. Perfectly teeny. I’ve since got well into the photography thing and after a small, old DSLR I’ve now got a bigger and heavier Canon 5d II. I love it and can’t travel without it now, the quality is just incredible compared to my old cameras. I’ve done some small, short trips with it but I’m not looking forward to its weight when we RTW later this year! I’m planning to go only with carry-on, so I’ll have to compromise with clothing!

    Reply
  6. Arianwen

    Nikon seems to be winning out there over Canon. I really got to like my Canon SX30IS in South America. It’s very easy to use and survived a lot of bashes and heavy rain too.
    Arianwen recently posted..Christ’s redeeming featuresMy Profile

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    • TheTravelHack

      Thanks Nicole and thanks for sharing the camera you use. It’s so hard when you’re trying to decide what camera to buy because they’re so expensive and it isn’t until you’ve been using it for a few weeks that you know if you like it or not. I’m still trying to figure out how to use my new toy!

      Reply
  7. Turner's Turnouts

    I find that a combination of my Canon Rebel and android works great! The Rebel can be clunky but I love the range of focusing available. Also, I’m totally into Social Media so I’d pretty much die without my android and instagram! ;) Very helpful post. I greatly enjoyed it!

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I’m the same. I love my DSLR but lots of my favourite photos were taken on my iPhone. I love all the apps you can download and how it’s so quick and easy to edit pictures.

      Reply
  8. Ant

    Any camera will do for blogging. I don’t believe it’s about the equipment, it’s about the situation you’re in, the time of day – light available and your ability to spot a moment worth capturing.

    If there is one thing I have found that really improves my photography, it is limiting myself. Limitless Digital means you take too many shots. Using film cameras I find I have to think about the shots much more because film is limited. I now only travel with a 2gb card when I use digital and although my photos are still rubbish, they are way better than they used to be!

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      That’s such a good idea Ant. I don’t think I could ever limit myself to a 2gb card but it’s a good idea to try and take fewer pictures and really think about each one. I’m terrible for taking hundreds of crap shots ‘just in case’. I never do anything with all these terrible photos so I’d be much better off trying to take fewer, better quality photos. Thanks for sharing :)

      Reply
  9. Mike's Road Trip

    I do a lot of video, so I use a Canon 60d, Canon S10, GoPro and my iPhone. I don’t know how much credence this has, but my sister told me an observation she had…that most Canon users use PC and most Nikon users use Mac. That was true for me until about a year ago when I switched over to Mac.
    Mike’s Road Trip recently posted..Canada Media MarketplaceMy Profile

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    • TheTravelHack

      How weird. I don’t know how true that is but I use Nikon and Mac so maybe it is! I think we should do a survey…

      Reply
  10. Katie

    This was a huge question for me as I was preparing for a 3 week trip to France and Germany last fall. I ended up taking my Canon Rebel (with just a 50mm 1.4 lens) and a Canon s100 (totally a Canon girl — and I use a mac. ;) ). The s100 was small enough to keep in my pocket. Plus, it had a good range (at 24-120) and manual settings. I ended up using it more than my Rebel (which I often left at the hotel because it was just so heavy). However, when I got home and started going through my photos, I wasn’t as happy with the photos from the s100. They weren’t bad quality really, but they lacked the richness of the photos taken with the Rebel. I really regretted not using the Rebel more. At the same time, it was really great having the convenience of a small camera. BUT after being disappointed with the results, I’ve decided that when I’m investing so much time and money into a trip, it’s worth carrying around the larger camera, especially when photography is such an important part of my travels. And now I’ve even upgraded to a larger, heavier camera (a Canon 6D). I’ve only taken it on one trip with me, but so far, I absolutely love the switch to a full-frame camera and I can’t wait to travel more with it. Congrats on your purchase! New camera day is the best day. (sorry for the novel!)
    Katie recently posted..Visit DC: The National CathedralMy Profile

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    • TheTravelHack

      I love a good novel in the comments ;) I couldn’t agree more. I’ve done the same with my iPhone. Sometimes I get sick of carrying around a bulky camera and just take pictures on my phone which look awesome of my little phone screen but as soon as they’re on my computer I can see that the quality is terrible in comparison. You’re right, when you’re investing so much in a holiday, it’s well worth making the effort to take some decent photos.

      Reply
  11. Steve Biggs

    Lots of talk of DLRs when I expected more use of “point and shoots” for ease of carrying, taking quick pics etc. Have broken 2 “point and shoots” due to sand getting in the zoom lens so was contemplating a waterproof camera but 99% of the time you’re not in environments that would warrant one I guess

    Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I used to have a waterproof camera, the Canon something or other, and it was brilliant. Once you’ve tried a DSLR though you realise how much better the quality is and it’s hard to go back. I use a mixture of mu iPhone for ease and a DSLR for photos I know I’ll want to print out or use on my blog.

      Reply
  12. Roma

    Super keen to know what people use to carry their DSLRs, especially those that fly carryon only.

    How can you pack for a weekend away with 2 lenses into a small carryon without using your entire allowance for technology!

    Don’t even get me started on a tripod?!!

    Camera + gear + tablet + phone + chargers for all.
    Roma recently posted..The inebriated recollections of Skydiving 101My Profile

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    • TheTravelHack

      I have a small camera bag that I can usually squeeze into my cabin baggage. The ones that are specifically designed for cameras and have proper compartments for lenses are usually great as they’re pretty compact and well designed. You can even get proper backpacks that have camera compartments which are great if you’ve got lots of other things to carry.
      But I very rarely travel with just cabin baggage and normally pay the extra £20 to check a bag. I think it’s worth paying the little bit extra to make sure you can keep all your tech with you on the plane and so you don’t need to stress about what you can and can’t take with you. If I don’t have checked in luggage, I just pack super light.

      Reply
    • TheTravelHack

      I couldn’t agree more. I’d love to just travel with a little point and shoot. I went to New York recently and took an old Sony NEX3 because I couldn’t be bothered carrying a bulky camera but I instantly regretted it. My pictures were nowhere near as good as they are with my Nikon.

      Reply
  13. Abhishek Behl (Wild Navigator)

    Good article and nice to see a summary of various travel greats and friends with the equipments they use. I have been trying to stay away from spending too much on camera / gadgets / lenses and this year would be going for a good professional DSLR with a good lens for wildlife conservation and tourism photography :-) – Currently I have a Nikon D70 and need to upgrade – Good to connect !!
    Abhishek Behl (Wild Navigator) recently posted..Announcement to make – Wild Navigator moving forward !!My Profile

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  14. Emma (Ladies what...)

    Up until recently I relied on my phone and a little compact camera. When that died a death, I took the plunge and got a DSLR. Instead of a Canon or Nikon, I ended up with a Sony Alpha a37 – and although I’m not really an expert on such things, I really enjoy using it. I’m slowly learning proper photography techniques so that hopefully soon, I won’t have to rely on having it on automatic *all* the time!

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