As a student studying abroad, you probably have a lot of requirements to process and stuff to pack, but make sure not to leave a reliable travel camera behind. Of course, you’ll want to have beautiful keepsakes of every memorable place, person, moment, and experience you encounter while traveling.
It’s great to take photos while studying overseas because not only do they make interesting posts on Facebook, Instagram, and your blog, but photos also tell the wonderful stories you’ve witnessed yourself that you can look back on anytime.
So before you embark on your journey, invest in your own travel-friendly camera!
Don’t know where to start and how to choose? Here’s a camera buying guide for student travellers like you:
Camera Buying Guide for Travellers
Types of Camera
Consider the type of camera that’s perfect for your specific needs. You have a variety of options when it comes to camera types.
1. Mirrorless Camera
A mirrorless camera looks like a point and shoot (it’s compact and lightweight) and performs like a DSLR (it can achieve stunning professional-quality photos). Versatile mirrorless cameras deliver clear, sharp images even when you’re shooting at night or in dark areas.
If you fancy a camera like that, try a Sony Alpha A6000 mirrorless digital camera.
Because it’s sleek, light, and easy to use, photography beginners and casual shooters won’t be intimidated or overwhelmed with this camera.
If producing photos with outstanding quality is your priority or you’re looking to upgrade from your smartphone camera or point and shoot, a DSLR camera will be perfect. Vloggers and filmmaking students must get a DSLR with high-quality video recording capabilities.
Since it’ll be your first time to own a DSLR, you must consider only those entry-level cameras that are easy to operate, less sophisticated, and easy on the budget.
I found this book, DSLR for dummies, very useful when I bought my first DSLR.
3. Point and Shoot
Looking for a low-cost travel camera with just the basic features? Go for a point-and-shoot camera. Smaller and lighter than mirrorless and DSLR cameras, a point and shoot can fit in small bags and even pockets, making it a perfect travel buddy for students who are often on the go.
A great camera to consider is the Canon Powershot G9 X that can give the best of both worlds: it’s ultra-slim, lightweight, and less expensive than many DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, yet it can also produce high-quality images.
4. Action Camera
If you love water and sports adventures and you want to capture them on photos, you’ll need an action camera that’s portable, rugged, waterproof, shockproof, and dust-proof.
The newest GoPro Hero 6 is definitely a must-buy if you’re into bungee jumping, skydiving, and surfing during your free time from school.
Essential Camera Features
Here’s a rundown of the camera features that will be useful in documenting your experiences as you study or travel abroad:
1. Manual Mode
Get a camera that allows you to customize and control how you take your photos. Yes, the Auto mode can be helpful because it provides you with a setting that will work well with any shooting situation.
But as you get to know photography better, you’ll learn how to mix and play with features like the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed to achieve the best picture quality.
The ISO is one of the most important settings in a camera, as it controls the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to the light that enters it. Consider getting a camera with a maximum ISO of 1600 because this ISO setting helps produce high-quality photos even when shooting in low-light areas.
I love this photography cheat sheet. It’s perfect for new photographers trying to get the hang of all the photography jargon.
3. Camera Size
Before buying a camera, make sure to try and hold it to check if it fits your grip.
Check if you can reach the buttons properly, if you can hold the camera comfortably, and if looking through the viewfinder feels right.
These are simple tests that can help you find the perfect camera size for you.
4. Weight of the Camera
Make sure to get a camera that will not add weight to your bag, especially if you travel frequently. Lightweight and portable ones like mirrorless cameras, point and shoots, and action cameras are easy to carry anywhere.
If your heart is set on buying a DSLR camera, you’ll be glad to know that small and light DSLRs actually exist.
Some of the lightest cameras on the market now from the well-known brands are:
It is this very reason I got my Canon 100D, one of the smallest DSLR in the market. 😉
It’s just a matter of choosing which one offers the perfect balance of portability and performance.
The ruggedness of the camera is also an important feature when looking for the perfect travel camera. Some cameras feature an aluminum finish, while others have a plastic coating.
There are also cameras with weather-resistant cases that can withstand the rigour of travelling. It’s best to check if the camera you’re considering can withstand harsh weather and accidental drops.
6. Learning Curve
Lastly, choose a camera that is easy to work with and has straightforward controls. Make sure that you review its specs well and understand every feature before you purchase one.
This photography tutorial helped me make sense of all the advanced settings of a professional camera.
As you take off on your journey, your travel camera becomes a reliable tool for documenting everything you’d like to remember in the years to come.
After some time, you might forget the exact details of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but with the photos you’ve snapped, you’ll definitely remember how much fun you’ve had being an overseas student.
You may only experience your international exchange or student abroad once in your lifetime, and these memories will be the ones you remember most fondly of (speaking from experience)!