There comes a time in every traveller's life, when capturing the beauty and culture of a place on paper becomes as important as experiencing a place first hand. Sometimes a phone or a compact camera is enough, and sometimes it takes more than that to capture the essence of wanderlust.
But as travellers, what we look for in our first DSLR is slightly different than the features a regular photographer needs. So, to help you out in the process, here are 10 things that an aspiring travel photographer should keep in mind before buying his first DSLR.
Pocket friendly = Travel friendly
When buying your first camera, pick something that doesn't require too much of an investment. You will be travelling extensively with this camera, and an expensive piece might feel like more of a burden than a blessing.
A DSLR should make things easy, not harder, for you.
Entry-level DSLRs are usually compact and lightweight, but before you make the purchase ask around and try to get your hands on one to see if it feels right. Higher-end models maybe tempting, but know that you are more inclined to pick and pack a sensible while going on trips. A smartphone is forever fixed in an "auto" mode, but even with some basic knowledge of a DSLR, you will be able to bring a picture to life.
The DSLR should also have decent video quality.
While travelling, it is hard to find a stable spot to click pictures, especially when you are on the road. Video documenting the journey comes in handy then. So, pick a DSLR that is capable of good beginner-level videography as well.
The camera should have a good selection of preset modes.
Travel photography is subject to unreliable natural light and varying subjects. Control these factors with intelligent presets that help you shoot in various conditions, such as a food-mode focussed on food photography, a night-portrait mode, which helps to shoot under incandescent light, and a landscape- and portrait-mode meant for more conventional forms of travel photography.
Definitely pick a DSLR that supports WiFi and NFC.
Almost all photographers now share their images on social media, and WiFi support comes in handy for this. If your DSLR supports WiFi, you will no longer need to carry wires, and will be able to easily send the files to your mobile phone or laptop.
Don't underestimate battery life.
As a traveller who is always on the move, finding a proper charging point is harder than it sounds. Make sure that the battery life of the camera you pick is enough to let you take at least 700 shots in one charge.
A good screen makes a lot of difference.
When you are out in nature, trying to capture objects or elements from a distance, it is harder to isolate your focus to just the few things that you want in the frame. A good screen with a high resolution simplifies this task a great deal, and helps focus in those close-up shots.
Don't make the mistake of underestimating the value of a good autofocus.
Once you start practicing travel photography, you will realise how important autofocus is. In moments where you don't have time to focus manually and need to quickly capture a scene, autofocus is very useful.