How To Choose The Perfect Travel Camera For Everyday Traveller. DSLR or MFT?

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How To Choose The Perfect Travel Camera For Everyday Traveller. DSLR or MFT?

How To Choose The Perfect Travel Camera For Everyday Traveller. DSLR or MFT?

Looking for a versatile camera that has the ability to switch lens and take good pictures? After trying out some of the best cameras in the market and owning a few systems of camera, I have given myself a few criteria when it comes to choosing a camera for travel or on days I have to be lugging my bag with me all day.

  • Lightweight & Compact – You can own the best camera in the world. But if it is not in your bag when you need it, it is as good as not having one. I also do not want to hurt my back from carrying heavy equipment around all day.
  • Extensive Lens Collection – To me lenses are even more important than a camera body, the right lens for the right scenario will highly increase your success in getting that perfect shot to tell the story.
  • Quick Dials & Buttons – Sometimes you only have few seconds to capture that perfect moment, the accessibility to change camera setting becomes crucial.

    Quick Dials & Buttons

    Quick Dials & Buttons

  • WiFi Enabled – This is critical as I do edit & post my pictures on-the-go via my smartphone. I also love to use WiFi remote on my smartphone to take portfolio style selfies.
  • Quick & Accurate Focusing – The last thing you want on your camera is focusing on the wrong subject.
  • Image Quality – I know I will not be printing my photos to poster size as I mainly use it for the web. And I hardly crop my photos as I prefer to frame them perfectly when I shoot. So I do not require super high resolution sensors. It is good to have a powerful sensor, but as long it does not add on to the weight of the camera which is a vital point for my choice of camera.

As an example to this article, I got the Panasonic LUMIX GX8 Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera system which shows how all these criteria can be met and yet offers quality images that I use to document my travel. You may use the above criteria to hunt for your next camera.

 

Lightweight & Compact

As much as I love my Canon EOS 6D full frame DSLR camera, I hate that it is so heavy and it always strained my back when I lugged it around with three to four lenses after a couple of hours. I now only use Canon 6D for special projects and events where I am expecting low-light condition as I need the superior sensor on the full frame DSLR to get the job done.

Just check out the weight difference, you will know why I choose Panasonic LUMIX GX8 over Canon 6D for my leisure travel trips.

How To Choose The Perfect Travel Camera. DSLR or MFT?

Weight of Canon EOS 6D with 70-200mm f2.8 lens

How To Choose The Perfect Travel Camera. DSLR or MFT?

Weight of Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 35-100mm f2.8, 42.5mm f1.2, 20mm f1.7, 8mm fisheye, 7-14mm ultra wide and 14-42mm lenses

MFT VS DSLR. 2.41kg VS 2.89kg. Six lenses VS One lens. It is not just the body of MFT are light, the lenses are much lighter, compact & cheaper when you compare it with its DSLR equivalent. Example 35-100mm f2.8 in MFT is equivalent to 70-200mm f2.8 in DSLR. I am sold to MFT system almost instantly.

For these reasons, I am willing to compromise on the image quality for a camera system that will most of the time be in my backpack with a full set of lenses to get the best shot wherever I go.

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 review

Captured Himalayan Mountains on the plane using Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 35-100mm f2.8 lens

Here is a perfect example for a good compact & lightweight camera system. Because I had my backpack with camera and lenses snagged under my seat on the plane, I could quickly get the correct lens and fit it to the camera body to snap the breathtaking view of Himalayan mountain range when we flew passed it from Kathmandu to New Delhi.

 

Extensive Lens Collection

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 review

Lenses are the key to perfect shots

I am not a one lens kind of guy. I love to bring an assortment of lenses along with me when I travel. Especially prime lenses. It will be long-winded if I were to explain each of the lenses, so just look at the lens below and the shots I had achieved with them. Different lens for different needs.

*Disclaimer: All pictures in this article have been processed with Photoshop.

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 42.5mm f1.2 lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 42.5mm f1.2 lens

42.5mm f1.2 (The Ultimate Portrait Lens)

Characteristic of this lens

  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Very shallow depth of field
  • Great at isolating subject from cluttered background
  • Wonderful lens for beauty & portrait shots
Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 42.5mm f1.2 lens Review

Lady praying at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal – taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 42.5mm f1.2 lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 42.5mm f1.2 lens Review

Portrait shot of Malaysian blogger Bangsar Babe at Phuket with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 42.5mm f1.2 lens

 

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

7-14mm (Ultra Wide Lens)

Characteristic of this lens

  • Angular distortion on both ends of the frame
  • Super wide to capture subjects in its 114 degrees angle of view
  • Capture dramatic landscape photos with this lens
  • Create “extra long legs” when taking portrait from down up
Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

Kids playing at Kathmandu Durbar Square taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

The Butcher Club Burger Bar taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

 

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 35-100mm f2.8 lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 35-100mm f2.8 lens

35-100mm f2.8 (Telephoto Lens)

Characteristic of this lens

  • Beautiful bokeh when fully zoomed
  • Can create shallow depth of field when fully zoomed
  • Capturing you subjects from a far distance
  • Stealth photography from a distance so your subject will not notice you capturing them
Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 35-100mm f2.8 lens

My trip to Nepal taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 35-100mm f2.8 lens

 

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 8mm fisheye lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 8mm fisheye lens

8mm (Fisheye Lens)

Characteristic of this lens

  • Curvy distortion around the frame
  • Perfect for blind shot because you simply capture everything in 180 degrees angle of view
  • Best result when post process to eliminate distortion via Photoshop or Mobile Apps
  • Ideal when you have a short distance between subjects and yet want to capture as many of the subjects or background in one frame
Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 8mm fisheye lens

Boudhanath Stupa taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 8mm fisheye lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 8mm fisheye lens

Huge group shot made easy… with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 8mm fisheye lens

 

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 20mm f1.7 lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 20mm f1.7 lens

20mm f1.7 (Streetphotography Lens)

Characteristic of this lens

  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Shallow depth of field
  • Great for low light photography
  • Wonderful for streetphotography & portrait shots
Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 20mm f1.7 lens

Wishing… in Nepal with Eunice Olsen taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 20mm f1.7 lens

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 20mm f1.7 lens

A casual staged shot at Miss Tam Chiak‘s wedding taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 20mm f1.7 lens

 

WiFi Enabled

I felt that in this era, WiFi file transfer and WiFi remote control are basic features for a digital camera. We now live in a social media active world that we need to constantly update our friends & families on social media. WiFi file transfer also makes photo sharing easier and instant with your travel companion.

WiFi remote control using an app makes it easy to take stylized shot even when travelling alone. All you need is a tripod and a smartphone, you can take a series of images that everyone will assume were taken by a companion or photographer.

Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

A selfie with the pigeons at Patan Durbar Square taken with Panasonic LUMIX GX8 with 7-14mm lens

 

So with the above examples, I hope you have a better understanding in choosing the right travel camera. You may own the best camera & lenses, but if they do not fit your shooting style and are never in your bag, you may have just bought a white elephant.

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  1. Pingback: How I Became My Own "Instagram Husband" At Shikoku, Japan

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