Filming & Photography Photography

USING A POINT AND SHOOT OVER A DSLR WHEN TRAVELLING

As a photographer my craft is always evolving and adapting due to undertaking new experiences, snapping more pictures and constantly wanting to work harder to outdo my previous shots. I am thankful that my travels around the world take me to new cultures, giving me a large amount of satisfaction when I retire for the night, open up my laptop and go through that days photographs. However, that satisfaction can easily be turned into dismay and frustration if the shots were subpar or even worse – having none.

I will, one day, sit down and write about my camera gear I use, but todays post has been sitting on my mind ever since I wasn’t able to photograph Suva, Fiji during my recent cruise around the South Pacific. This article is about toying between putting down my large and expensive DSLR camera and instead using my cheaper point-and-shoot whilst travelling.

I want to share a quick backstory about my day in Suva, not too long as I am wanting to save the full story for another days blog post.

During our most recent trip to the Suva, Fiji I found myself awkwardly exploring the town with my large DSLR camera either around my neck or sleeping comfortably, unused in my backpack. I will admit that there were moments when I was nervous to take out my camera and click the shutter and other times felt that I could’ve easily captured the moment just as well with my smaller camera.

We arrived back on the boat with only 3 photographs – all which were taken with my smallest and cheapest camera. To me, as a photographer it felt like a failed day, so over dinner I mulled over why and how I could fix it as I attempted to get some food in me. I was able to write down some notes in bed and put together this post about why in the future I may use my small point-and-shoot Sony over my large Canon DSLR.

Comparing DSLR and Point and Shoot weight

It is less confronting

With the large adoption rate of smartphones the need to buy a dedicated camera is becoming less desired, not only by travellers but by everyone. I find that when I am on location with a large camera that has detachable lens I am always in the minority when compared to everyone else whipping out their iPhone to snap a picture.

So, when you are in the minority you look different and when you look different you stand out amongst others. To the locals all they see is a giant camera pointed at them instead of a phone, and at certain times I can feel more confronting than the traveller next to me.

Show picture of holding the DSLR and the Point and Shoot around my neck.

It is cheaper if it gets stolen

 There are a lot of safety precautions you have to worry about when travelling and having a large camera around your neck is just screaming out to get stolen. Luckily we have yet to travel somewhere or headed down a route that has felt unsafe or dangerous. I can report that I am yet to get robbed *knock on wood*.

In the end if I had to choose between the two cameras getting stolen, I think we can all agree it would be the cheaper camera.

It is lighter

After walking around all day in the heat you can get very tired holding your camera out, letting it hang around your neck or even the annoyance of having it in a backpack. Travelling should be about enjoying the location you are at and not primarily about being behind the lens, so once your camera gear becomes a burden you begin to become grumpy and lose interest in the sites you are seeing.

Show a picture of what my two cameras weigh.

Personal preference

In the end it is all down to personal preference. We do get a lot of compliments about my photography on the website which I am always very humbled to hear about. These are primarily taken with my Canon 5D Mark III camera, with the odd on my Sony RX100II. Some expectations do sit at the back of my mind.

I am thankful I have a platform to share my photographs on, hear all your feedback and even write about simple thoughts, such as this one. Knowing me, I will ignore all of my own advice and be exactly where I left off and go back to primarily shooting on my DSLR, I might have to bookmark this on my phone as a reminder.

How do you take photographs when travelling?

Stephen and Jess signoff

READ NEXT: TIPS FOR TAKING BETTER TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHS

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  • I’ve changed through the years. I’m not allowed to carry heavy stuff so a point-and-shoot works well for me now. It just has to be something small, but pretty powerful. I can’t just rely on my smart phones because I still print photos and keep ’em in albums. Yup, I’m old school like that.

  • Hahah so I’m not really the photographer, the better half is, and just yesterday while observing him using his Mark III, photographing this fort we visited, on the way back I got into quite a crazy discussion with him. My point was, why can’t we have a camera that takes professional images and then lets you use a tiny photoshop software to edit and then share online. That’s the next level right? So the husband just stared at me and said, yeah, smartphones or those point and shoots with internet capabilities. Made for people like you, who want a shortcut! Hahahah But I do have a point don’t I? It does get cumbersome! Here’s hoping something’s invented soon!

  • I dunno… I have a hard time with this too. I love the idea of traveling lighter, but then I regret not having nicer photos. We went to the Great Wall of China and I brought a point and shoot, and I now regret not having the nicer photos. But it did allow us to be more mobile and soak in the experience more too. There’s always positives and negatives of both.

  • Bente Vold Klausen

    I really liked this post. I have had all these thoughts from time to time as well. But I am still travelling with my Canon7D. And I love my camera. But I am more and more often also taking photos with my iPhone. May be the future will come up with some great solutions, who knows?

  • Sarah Lynn

    We have decided to bring both of our cameras for our impending trip. My partners DSLR and my new Olympus T-3 point-and shoot. Therefore, I’m unsure of what we prefer, but we’re about to find out 🙂

  • This resonates so much with me! There are times I have taken like 4 cameras on a trip and often they don’t end up getting used! I always take my DSLR, a compact and now the GoPro as well as the phone for the instagram pics! It’s hard as I do hate carrying around so much stuff but the difference in shots I can get with my SLR makes the difference between, as you said, feeling really pleased at the end of the day or disappointed. I tend to just take my compact out at night in my pocket and leave the bag at home (unless we go out doing some nightime photography in which case the travel tripod comes along too!). During the day I usually have the SLR and I give Paul the compact. It can still take some decent shots as composition is composition, but I like being able to be more creative with the SLR!

  • I have this struggle every time I am someplace new! Lugging out the huge DSLR makes you look absolutely conspicuous and 100% tourist. I have been on trips where I didn’t take it out once. I often opt for the more low-key cheap camera, just so that I can be incognito. Or even better yet, the iPhone, because are you looking at your phone or snapping a picture? No one knows! 😉

  • Alli Blair

    I lugged my DSLR with me throughout SE Asia! Generally though I like to have both depending on the kind of activity I’ll be getting up to that day! If it’s something in the water, I’ll bring my waterproof point and shoot and if I’m meandering around for the day I’ll bring out the big guns. What’s the point of owning a super nice camera if you can’t take amazing photos with it 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • I’ve been debating on getting a DSLR or not. I’ve always liked the quality of the photo’s that I see with the DSLR’s but now with better point and clicks, plus photo editing.. it’s hard to make the jump. Glad to see other great photographers utilizing both. 😀

  • George

    Consider the middle ground. Fuji X-T1 is small and unobtrusive, and combined with the X series lenses, the IQ is awesome. Even at high ISO’s. Downside is it’s relatively expensive.

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