Advice for Picking the Right Vacation Camera

Use These Tips to Select the Best Type of Camera for Your Trip

If you're going to be shooting near water or even underwater on your vacation, a waterproof camera, such as the XP170 from Fujifilm pictured here is a good choice. Fujifilm

Regardless of the kind of vacation a person has planned, one thing is constant: Nearly everyone wants to shoot photos while on vacation.

However if you're rock climbing in Wyoming, you may want a different type of camera than if you're sightseeing in Washington, D.C. If you have a few different cameras available for your next vacation, consider these tips for finding the perfect camera for your specific type of vacation.

  • Hiking. Your choice will depend on how much equipment you want to carry. A small, point-and-shoot camera that will fit in a pocket might be perfect for your hiking vacation. "Tough" cameras are good for hiking, too, and there are some thin models available with large zoom lenses that would fit in a pocket. With a bigger camera, secure it in a backpack or a sturdy camera bag. Although you could wear a neck strap with your larger camera, it might bounce around a lot as your hiking, which would be uncomfortable.
  • Outdoor adventure. Whether you're zip-lining or rock-climbing, you probably aren't going to want to lug a DSLR camera and its interchangeable lenses with you. Consider a camera that's easy to operate one-handed, if you're planning to shoot photos while involved in an activity. A "tough" camera that can survive a slight fall might be a good idea as well, if you're a little clumsy.
  • Sightseeing. This type of vacation usually involves a lot of walking and riding -- pretty safe environments for cameras. You should be able to use a high-end, large zoom camera, because you can carry it comfortably in a camera bag. Just be sure to keep a close eye on it to keep thieves at bay. Additionally, select a camera with a long battery life or keep a second battery available, as sightseeing trips often take all day, preventing you from recharging the battery at your hotel room as needed.
  • Swimming and water parks. Water and cameras don't mix -- unless you have a purchased waterproof camera -- so you might not want to expose expensive camera equipment on this type of vacation. If you want to bring an expensive camera to a water park or the lake, purchase a waterproof camera bag and use a sealable plastic bag to further protect the camera when it’s not in use.
  • Theme parks. You may want to carry a small camera in your pocket at a theme park, just to make it easier for you to participate in the rides. Larger cameras can be a hassle at theme parks, as you'll often have to leave it behind -- either in a locker or with the ride operator -- when you're on a ride. However, if you don't mind the hassle, having a versatile lens with a DSLR camera can be advantageous at a theme park, where you’ll shoot a variety of close-up and photos over a distance.
  • Underwater diving. If you plan to shoot underwater photos, you could buy a point-and-shoot camera that's waterproof. However, such cameras tend to greatly limit the water depth and length of time in which they can be used. If you want more versatility, spend a little more on a DSLR camera that can be encased in a specific underwater housing unit, which should provide very good underwater protection for your camera.