How To Choose The Best DSLR Camera For Travel
No matter how you intend to pursue photography, whether as a profession, for travel, or just a hobby, one thing that, you will need is a competent camera. Exotic locales, smiling faces, or a random street scene would be best preserved in time through a lens and an excellent camera. In today’s world, almost everyone can take decent photos with a smartphone. However, if you would like to take your photography to the next level, you need a Mirrorless Camera or the Best DSLR Camera today.
This article is about finding the Best Digital SLR Camera for your style of photography and why it might be better for you than other types of camera. As somebody who's owned several camera systems, from film SLRs from Canon and Nikon through Mirrorless systems, we can give you insights that will help you in your decision making. If you're more interested in Mirrorless systems, read my epic guide on "How to Choose the Best Mirrorless Camera."
What's a DSLR Camera?
Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras use the same tried and tested design of 35mm SLR film cameras of yesteryears. There is a mirror (reflex) inside the camera body the reflects the light coming through lens into a prism so it can reach the viewfinder that allows you to see the image. When you take your shot (press the shutter), this mirror flips up, and camera shutter opens and lets the light into the sensor and records the image.
Because of the other mechanisms in place, DSLR cameras are going to heavier than Mirrorless Cameras. However, since Mirrorless Cameras use electronic viewfinders to preview the image, it will suck through batteries much faster than a DSLR camera, prompting you to carry more batteries or extra batter grips adding to the overall weight of your gear.
Why Choose DSLR Camera Over Mirrorless?
Let's list the reasons why you would choose or stay with a DSLR camera system over the upstart, the Mirrorless Camera.
Lens and Accessories
Since DSLRs have been around longer and can use old SLR lenses from the camera's manufacturer, it has more to choose from. If you don't know, it's optics that define the quality of the images, less so than the camera sensor. If you want plenty of lens to choose from and accessories that go with it, DSLR cameras are the obvious choice.
Mirrorless has only been around for a few years and very slow to catch up. This will probably change and equalize in the future, but for now, DSLRs has the advantage.
Mirrorless Cameras rely on Electronic View Finder (EVF) to operate the viewfinder. EVF will drain the battery faster than a DSLR camera where an Optical View Finder (mirror) is in place to show you the image. As mentioned, since you will have to carry more batteries, this may even negate the weight advantage of a Mirrorless Camera.
No EVF Lag
Electronic View Finders sometimes suffers from lag. As of writing, the current Mirrorless implementations of EVF isn't as responsive as OVF. This especially true with cheaper, less refined Mirrorless cameras. With OVF, you see the image as good as real-time with no lag.
Continuous Autofocus and Object Tracking
The current batch of Mirrorless cameras isn't as refined (yet) with contrast detection focus system. DSLR cameras use phase detection focus to track subjects. Some mirrorless cameras are starting to roll out with hybrid combination phase and contrast detection focus so its just a matter of time when this field is evened out. But for now, DSLRs has the advantage.
No Red Dot Patterns
If you shoot with the sun in the frame at tiny apertures, the light rays bounce between the sensor and rear lens element that create a weird red grid pattern. This is due to the short flange distance between the sensor and the lens on Mirrorless cameras. This is an inherent design flaw that DSLR cameras don't have to deal with this issue since there is a mirror between the lens and the sensor.
Optical Viewfinder (OVF)
The biggest strength of the DSLR is the OVF, which is incidentally, considered to be a weakness as far as Mirrorless is concerned. The EVF in Mirrorless cameras made today have a very strong contrast. It doesn't look natural like what you see in an OVF. There are too many blacks and whites and very little in between.
Why a DSLR Camera May Not be for You
While Digital SLRs is grand, it's not the only system in the camera market. Some options already stand to be better in other facets. Let's review them here.
Weight and Bulk
Digital SLRs is heavier and bulkier due to the extra mechanisms and a reflex mirror to operate the OVF and thus making it bulkier and heavier than Mirrorless cameras. For travel, this could mean heavier bags and less space to carry other things.
If you plan you shoot video, or if that's your primary purpose for having a camera, then a Mirrorless camera is more suited for the task. A DSLR camera can't use phase detection when its mirror is up, and those lead to the blurry look while the camera is trying to focus.
Since a DSLR camera has to lift the mirror to take the image, it will be slower in taking multiple images in succession. A Mirrorless camera simply has to open up its shutter to take images. There are plenty of High-end DSLRs that can shoot very fast and are still being used by sports photographers; however, Mirrorless has the advantage of this feature.
In the end, you make the judgment whether you should go Mirrorless or with. If you're a beginner photographer, we suggest you go with a Digital SLR. Learn how it works and then learn how to use in manual mode. we think most people jump too soon to a fully automated system without learning the basics.
DSLRs have been around a long time and can even use older full manual focus lens - this is a great way to learn all about DOF, diffraction, ect., This is my greatest argument for a DSLR camera system, and I'm glad you've found this guide so we can steer you in the right direction. However, if you have the funds, why not try both?
What to Look for in a DSLR Camera?
People have become accustomed to measuring a camera's quality based on its megapixels, but a good travel DSLR camera has to have more than just that.
Sensor Size: Full Frame vs. APS-C
Full frame is simply the size of the camera's sensor measured to mimic the legacy 35mm film of the past. APS-C is the cropped version of 35mm which is equivalent to the size of the super 35 motion film format. Without going into details of science, the bigger the sensor, the better the noise, ISO, and quality of the image. However, a bigger sensor also means a heavier camera. This is taken into account when picking the cameras on this list.
Some cameras are very expensive, and some cameras are very cheap. But cheap usually means fewer features, lesser quality images, and usually built with cheap materials and isn't as robust. This is all taken into account with all the cameras listed here. We weigh the pros and cons and give you the best options without breaking the bank. Cheap doesn't necessarily "lesser quality," and we've found those cameras to present to you here.
Lens and Accessories
Canon and Nikon have a huge and extensive lens and accessories selection. They've been making lenses for decades and have amassed a huge collection. However, Canon and Nikon is not the only game in town. Pentax and Sony are also starting to catch up. Check up on their respective websites for their collection. You may not need such an exhaustive selection of lenses. We've also included worthy competitors on this list.
Since you're packing the camera for travel, you should consider this as well. Adding, tripods, some lenses, and other accessories can make your bag or luggage bulky and heavy. Don't worry, and we've presented the best travel DSLRs below.
Now that you know what to look for, the next inevitable question will be: What is The Best DSLR Camera?
We have compiled a list of the best DSLR cameras that you can find in the market at the most reasonable price possible. But before moving forward with the list, there are some acronyms that you will come across a lot while reading the features of these cameras. It might be helpful if we define those words in advance.
ISO range/number: This helps to measure the sensitivity of any camera's image sensor. A high ISO number is better as it means that your camera is extremely sensitive to light, and this will allow it to capture pictures even in the dark.
FPS: Frames Per Second. It's how fast a camera can shoot "a frame" per second. You can capture fast action and moving subjects better with more FPS.
MP: Megapixels. This is the raw count of how much "resolution" a camera can capture. The higher this number is, the better the quality (for the most part).
Full Frame: This is the size of the sensor itself. Full frame just means the size of the sensor is the same (or close) size to 35 mm film. The bigger the sensor, the more it's capable of producing a high-quality image.
APS-C: Advanced Photo System type-C is the size of the sensor made to approximate the size of the classic super-35 film format.
Now, let’s go through the list and decide which one of these cameras suits you best.