The first decision to make when planning to travel is what type of camera to bring; a big SLR with the nice lens or small and convenient Point and Shoot? or both?
Digital SLR: is the choice of most professionals. SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras allow for control over camera settings and provides flexibility of lens choice. This allows the photographer to decide on the depth of field (range of focus) and how to capture motion (stopped or blurred for creative effect.) Another advantage of using an SLR camera is, as your needs for photographic lens grow or change, you can always add additional lenses to your camera bag. Lens choice and lens quality is a very important factor in the sharpness and appearance of your images, and will warrant a blog post later.
Anyone who has ever carried an SLR camera around all day will tell you that the disadvantage of the SLR camera is the size, weight and bulk. Also, the control that an SLR camera gives you comes with a steeper learning curve than point and shoot cameras. The good news is that once you understand the fundamentals like exposure, focus and lens choice, you can utilize that knowledge with any camera.
My photography students are required to use a Digital SLR camera, but I also encourage them to bring along a point and shoot, if they have one. The reasons for having both will be more clear after I discuss the pros and cons of the point and shoot in the next blog post. Both of these types are available for film and digital, but at this point, I’m going to assume that most people reading this blog are interested in digital photography (although a future post on film is definitely a possibility.)