Different Types Of Digital Camera

posted in: Travel Tips & Gears | 37

Nowadays camera is an integral part of our lives. It is a companion of special occasions, common occasions and even of general occasions. But if you consider a traveler then one is incomplete without a camera in his or her possession. When we travel we come across too many sights and places which we want to capture for our future references or to share with our closed ones. And if you are a travel blogger then pictures are integral part of your blogs to ignite excitement among your readers.

Digital Camera

History of cameras

Film Roll Cameras

There was an era of film camera where we had to use film roll in camera for capturing photo.  We had to store sufficient film rolls beforehand to capture our memories. Further there was chance of roll getting wasted. And also it used to take some time for real picture to get developed from roll. So in that era we were not able to get feedback of our work immediately. And we had to wait for quite sometimes to get the first glimpse of our photographic work. And by that time we were not left with any option to correct it if something was not as per our expectation. I remember how cautiously we used the film roll camera clicks on my Shimla Manali trip with my parents, ages ago, and even from that first trip of my life.

Digital Cameras

Now came the age of digital photography. Now no apprehension of forgetting to keep extra set of film rolls and no fear of wasting roll. We are able to get immediate feedback on our photography skills and also we get opportunities to correct it at the same point of time. So this sounds really amazing and simple. But wait a minute is it really so simple? In a way yes, if we just consider clicking some pictures with our digital camera. And, in another way, no, it’s not that simple. When it comes to choosing a right camera out of ample choices of digital cameras today available in the market. Also it is not an easy task to reach a respectable level of professional photography. Because it requires very detailed and thorough understanding of art, science and technology. And it also needs understanding of controlling various advance features now-a-days a digital camera includes under its hood.

So here, in this post, I will limit the scope to familiarizing ourselves with most popular and most common digital cameras available today in the market and understanding what can suit one based on one’s need. I will dedicate a separate post for understanding these cameras and their features in detail.

Standard Compact Digital Camera

These are considered basic entry model into the digital photography line up. Also known as point and shot camera, these are small, compact and light. Mostly these are fully automatic but few offers some manual control. Lens of this type camera is not replaceable. But these type of camera offer decent optical zoom range (3X plus) and respectable pixel quality (12 megapixel plus). They will also have built in flash to capture picture in dark and a LCD screen on the back.

In addition to the automatic mode, digital compact cameras come equipped with a number of scene modes such as landscape, portrait, sports and panoramic among others. Those scene modes make it easy for the photographer to adapt to different types of picture taking situations without having to worry about changing the camera’s exposure settings. These might also include additional features such as HD video recording, image stabilization and wi-fi connectivity.

Sony DSC W830 Cyber-shot 20.1 MP Point and Shoot Camera with 8x Optical Zoom

These type of camera are based for beginner photographers and also who want to travel light. It is a good option for personal use. Our first camera was this kind of model. You can see the pictures from our initial trips to Ooty, Kodaikanal, Goa and Kerala to get references of the clicks we achieved from such a camera. Although this model shown here and the likes are still much superior. Ours was bought some 10 years back.

Zoom Compact

These are very near to standard compact camera, but includes a more powerful zoom lens. Zoom length can go as high as 20x to 30x. Also, these cameras are generally larger in size than standard compacts and appears more sturdy. Further, other than being automatic, most of these will come with some manual exposure options and usually offer HD video recording.

Nikon Coolpix B700 Digital Camera 

These cameras are good options for personal use and help in capturing distant object pretty well.

Advance Compact Digital Camera

Also known as bridge compact digital cameras or super zoom cameras. These cameras are comparatively larger in size and their design is halfway house between compacts and DSLRs. With their large handgrips and electronic viewfinders, they offer DSLR kind of handling experience. These type of cameras come with very long range zoom lens and fairly wide range of focal length. Also, for some bridge camera zoom lens range might be as high as 50X or longer. Bridge cameras with such long range zoom lens are referred as super zoom camera.

The major difference between basic compact digital camera and advance compact/bridge digital camera is the extent of control a user can have on this. We can control these cameras manually like DSLR, but without the ability to change lens. Which is many time beneficial in terms of avoiding carrying heavy lenses separately.  Some of these cameras also provide option for attachment of external flash.

Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V 20.4MP Digital Camera 

These type of cameras are good option for photographers who want more control over the camera exposure settings and at the same time also looking for a longer zoom range. We can get these control in bridge camera without paying the higher price of DSLR.

DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras)

Currently DSLR cameras are the most advanced and versatile camera available in market. Since its inception it has been the first choice for serious armature and professional photographers. And, reason being the flexibility and control is has to offer to its handler. It also provides automatic mode as an option to work as point & shoot camera but it is the range of manual control which makes DSLR stand out. It has option to configure camera in full manual mode, shutter priority mode, aperture priority mode or program modes. If these terms sound unfamiliar or jargon to you, don’t worry. You can read about these on internet and I will also be writing a separate post on this.

Nikon D5300 24.2MP Digital SLR Camera – A good option for Intermediate level photographers

The most important thing here is that, using a DSLR camera you have more control over the way you take pictures and manage exposure settings. Which will result in amazing picture quality considering various environmental condition in which we are taking pictures.

Another important feature of DSLR camera is ability to replace different lenses to fit different situations. The lenses for DSLR cameras will generally be of a better quality than those found on compact cameras which will result in better image quality. I will be dedicating a separate post on understanding various types of lenses used in DSLR cameras.

Nikon D3400 24.2 MP Digital SLR Camera – A good option for beginners

Another important difference between DSLR cameras and compact cameras is the size of image sensor. Equipped with larger image sensors, DSLR cameras are able to produce better quality images. DSLR cameras are  generally heavier and larger in size compare to any other cameras mentioned here. Also you may end up carrying multiple lenses which will add more weight to you baggage. Also, a decent DSLR cameras cost way more than others. This type of camera is more suitable for serious amateur and professional photographers who are very much into professional level of photography.

Our experience with our DSLR

We have also switched to a DSLR camera. And we used it profusely during our trip to Coorg,  Meghalaya, Kumarakom, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer.  But when it came to plan our trip to Europe, we had to leave the DSLR behind because we already had a lot of luggage. Once again, in this situation the slim digital camera came handy. Also, we need to research a bit on the lens options available for our DSLR, currently we are using the default lens that comes with the camera.

Travel Tripod

Also, no matter which camera you have, it’s equally important to have the best travel tripods with you when you travel. Because they are the perfect instruments to give that much needed stability to your camera while you take your best shot.

A Quick Summary

Hope you enjoyed our list of the best travel cameras to take. Here, we are summarizing it in the table below for your convenience. Go ahead, do your research. Also do a thorough comparison of the features. And then choose which one you like the most as per your travel style. Hope this post helps you decide the best camera for your travel needs and styles.

Camera Type Specific Functionalities Product View & Buying Option
Standard Compact Digital Camera
(also known as point and shot camera)
1. Fully Automatic
2. Decent optical zoom range (3x plus)
3. Respectable pixel quality (12 megapixel plus)
4. Very Compact in size
5. Good option for beginner photographers and also who want to travel light
Zoom Compact Digital Camera 1. Powerful zoom lens can go as high as 20X to 30X or even more
2. Automatic
3. Also comes with some manual exposure options
4. Compact in size
5. Good options for personal use and for capturing distant object pretty well
Advance Compact Digital Camera
(also known as bridge compact digital cameras or super zoom cameras)
1. Design is in between compacts and DSLRs
2. Electronic viewfinders
3. More manual control
4. Comparatively larger in size
5. Good option for photographers who want more control over the camera exposure settings and at the same time also looking for a longer zoom range
(Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras)
1. More flexibility and control to user
2. Configurable to full manual mode, shutter priority mode, aperture priority mode or program modes
3. Electronic view finder
4. Ability to replace different lenses to fit different situations
5. Lens quality is better than those found in compact digital cameras
6. Larger image sensor
7. More suitable for serious amateur and professional photographers who are very much into professional level of photography


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Different Types of Digital Camera for Travelers | Electronic gadgets that are must have for travelers


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37 Responses

  1. sumit

    loved reading the various views that u have summarized , i love reading articles on tech gear 🙂

  2. Katchutravels (@Katchutravels)

    I think this is a good list, but I think if you can edit/update with some modern day equipment like the Go-Pro, Mobile cameras it would give an example of the complete spectrum. The Go-Pro may not help much with zoom, but I think makes for great video and wide angle capture. I think Its an interesting topic to talk about weight of luggage while travelling

    • Neha

      Right..but that would become more like different type of “equipments” with which you can take excellent photographs 🙂 we will get there too

  3. Marjorie G.

    I used to just be contented with my phone as a camera when I travel. Until I’ve met other bloggers and I realized that I’ve been taking crappy photos. Ever since I got myself a mirrorless camera, I’ve become more confident and excited in taking photos of my travels.

    I thought about getting a DSLR but I don’t like to carry a heavy equipment. Also, I am not really a professional photographer so maybe I’d just save it in the future, should I ever decide to go serious about photography.

    • Neha

      Have got to agree. We have a DSLR too and we intend to leave it behind on many of the trips because of the bulkiness that it adds to the overall luggage. We have not tried mirrorless yet, have got to try it

  4. finaciofotografia

    Hi, your article is really helpful, I am photographer and always used a dslr untill last 2016, after that I changed for Mirrorless (you have to add in your post) that is a smaller camera but with huge quality, its easier to travel because doesn’t weight so much. I am in love with my fuji xt20!!

    • Neha

      Great to know that. We will definitely check this one out and add to our post. Thanks for your inputs!

  5. you.theworld.wandering

    What a really great comprehensive post! I have a DLSR camera and an advanced compact mirrorless digital camera. Both have their pros and cons. I like the lightness of the ACDC but i do love my Canon 7D. Great tips and info – well done!

    • Neha

      Thank you. I guess that is a smart thing to do. Based on the situation you can decide which camera to use

  6. Alaine

    I just got a new camera recently but it’s got lots of functions I still don’t really know how to use it properly. But the lens I got is mostly for taking closeup shots (hello foodporn!)

  7. Gina Bear

    Great post! It’s so cool to see your progression of cameras because when I first started travel blogging, I used a simple point and shoot camera. As my passion grew, I went through various different kinds of cameras to the point I’m probably going to upgrade my lens and DSLR body.

    • Neha

      Totally what we are also doing Gina!! And I guess it makes sense to start with the basics and gradually increase the complexity, just like we do with anything else in life

  8. Stefanie B.

    I hope your response to Soraya will come true very soon! (“Compact DSLRs will be arriving and we will have this problem solved.”) I would love to have the quality of a DSLR, but I like to pack as light as possible, so it’s hard. Now I have one of the variations of the Sony Cybershot, and it has been great.

    • Neha

      Great to know that. Finally you have something for you that you like and its lightweight as well

  9. Nathalie Salcedo

    it is true that as bloggers, photos play a big part on our pages 😀 I love how you discern everything, will surely consider this.

  10. Weekend Haven

    Yay, I’m looking for a new travel camera so this is so helpful. thanks!

  11. Soraya Nicholls

    I usually use a DSLR camera and it has been amazing the past few years. It’s totally improved the quality of my photo taking. However recently I’ve been finding that it’s getting quite bulky to travel around with. I would love to look at those more compact digital cameras that have a quality like the DSLR. Hopefully one day!

    • Neha

      Yes, I agree with you Soraya, I guess we all have that opinion about our DSLRs as of now. So, I guess in near future, compact DSLRs will be arriving and we will have this problem solved 🙂

  12. Jin Chu

    It’s amazing how fast the digital camera world keeps evolving at such a rapid pace! I’m a Canon user, but all these cameras you’ve listed and compared are all great buys as well!

    • Neha

      You are try Jin, this is one place where all the time new models are coming up. And they are getting better day by day

  13. Kathrine

    This post is really helpful for someone looking to find a camera suitable for their needs! The comparison chart is very nice!

  14. Ruth

    I used a zoom compact camera for about three years and got a lot of good photos from it. I was able to capture things you would not be able to capture with another camera. This year, I upgraded to a mirror lens camera and I am in love with the results. I use the other camera too. I am still learning about my new camera. I have had a DSLR in the past but cannot deal with the bulkiness.

  15. Melai

    I was a Nikon user previously but carrying around a DSLR while traveling was a tad heavy, I changed to a mirrorless camera, Sony. I love it! It functions like a DSLR but small and handy to bring anywhere. 🙂

  16. ianandmar

    wow this is a looot of info! thanks writing an article like this. super helpful especially for beginners in photography like me.

  17. Frances

    What an indepth piece! I went for a bridge camera as I love the control and lightweight for travelling!

  18. Sylvia from Outdoors Wonders

    Nice! I just got the D3400 and it’s awesome!. However, i am afraid i will still have to use my point and shoot at times, along with my action camera, for safety reasons! When a woman shows up alone in certain places with a DSLR, it might attract the wrong kind of people, sadly something i have to bear in mind. Hence why am in no rush getting a GoPro! Found a great alternative (Apeman) in the meantime!

    • Neha

      Hmmm..sad but makes sense. I can see your point. I hope as the world evolves, it becomes easier and these kind of issues become non existant

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