We have all experienced it at some time during our travels.  We set up ready to take a photo of a beautiful landscape, an interesting statue or some other subject.  When the dreaded tour bus pulls up, and out hops all these want-a-be travel photographers with their DSLR cameras and even larger lenses.

Now don’t get me wrong, at different times I was one of those hopping of the tour bus with my DSLR.  The question however is does a DSLR make the Best Digital Camera for Photography and in particular travel photography?

Before we answer whether DSLR’s make best digital cameras for travel photography, lets first look at what a DSLR is.

What is a DSLR?

the best dslr camera for travel photographyDSLR – stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex camera.

The digital signifies that the camera uses a digital processor not film to capture the image.

Single lens reflex, means that the camera uses a single lens to provide the image to both the viewfinder and the image processor.  As a result the image you see through the viewfinder will not be significantly different to what is captured by the camera.  This is achieved through the use of mirrors, but that is a discussion for another day.

Why use a DSLR?

Generally speaking the DSLR is the camera of choice for many travel photographers and travel enthusiasts.

Why, because of the professional quality photographs and the manual control of the cameras operation providing a great option for creativity.  Combined with the option to just use the camera in full or semi-automatic modes.

Lets not forget the nearly limitless options that the range of available lenses. Telephoto, macro, wide-angle, prime and the standard zoom. The range of lenses available will provide you with the flexibility and creativity for just about any subject.

Pros of DSLR’s
  • how to take good photos with a dslrAmazing Photo Quality – Not only will a DSLR generally allow you to take a higher quality photo.  You will be able to take quality photos in a wider range of environments (yes I am thinking about that hard to take nighttime shot)
  • Ability to Experiment – Time to get out of the automatic mode, this is where DSLR’s really excel.  From lengthy exposures to show the effects of movement to using the aperture to blur the background to make the subject stand out.
  • Nearly Endless Photo Time – The combination of battery sizes and the fact that they are changeable.  Means you can go days between charges.

However there are some drawbacks with DSLR’s

Cons of DSLR’s
  • Weight and size – Just the body of a DSLR will usually be heavier than any other type of camera.  Add in the lens on the camera, and another lens you are carrying just in case, spare batteries, cables and battery charger.  It all adds the weight and space a DSLR takes up.
  • best digital cameras for travelingTime – having all these creative features is great, but it takes time to get the settings right for the subject your photographing.  With your compact camera on automatic it is a matter of composing the photo, snap your done.  With the DSLR, what is the light level, aperture and shutter settings, iso level, you get the idea, it just takes longer to get everything just right.
  • Looking like a tourist – Depending on where you are travelling, having a DSLR hanging off your neck is a sure sign you are a tourist.  You will then be a target for the local salespeople “Would you like to buy…..”
  • Price – just the body of a DSLR will be more expensive than a compact camera (the higher end models which the professionals use significantly more expensive).  Then you have to add in the cost of the lens.  A lot of lenses will set you back more than the body of the camera.

Do DSLR’s make the Best Digital Camera for Photography?

It really depends on what you are trying to do with your photography and what you plan to do with your photos.

If all you want to do is see something you like, compose the photo and take the shot, a compact camera with a good zoom is probably all you need.  Check out out review here of 5 top compact cameras.

what is the best camera for night photographyIf you want to blur out your background, take a long exposure landscape photo of a stream or freeze the running of the bulls action mid stride.  Then a DSLR is probably the camera for you.

That is not to say that there is not to say there are not other types of cameras which may do what you want, compact zooms or mirrorless cameras.  But these will come with their own limitations and compromises.

What do you plan on doing with your photos, are you looking to just update your family and friends through social media.  A camera phone may do the job quite well for you.

Are you looking to print out large prints to hang on the wall, then a DSLR with a large sensor will do a better job for you.

In the end it is about what you want to get out of your photography.  If you want to get creative with your photography, and want to manual control the camera’s functions then a DSLR is for you.

Do you have a DSLR? Are you looking to buy one in the near future? Let us know all about it in the comments below.

Happy Photography



About Brendan

Brendan established MyTravelPhotoTips.com to help holidaymakers with their travel photography. The site offers expert information, tips, tools and recommendations.

Always with a camera close at hand, Brendan enjoys sharing his personal experiences and what he has found over the years to make himself a better photographer.