Traveling With Compact Camera or dSLR Camera?

You are an amateur photographer who love backpacking. Do you travel with your digital compact camera or the professional dSLR camera?

Amateur photographers love taking pictures of beautiful portrait and natural landscape as one travel on a shoestring.

It’s a common sight to see traveling photographers carrying a 80-Litre backpack, and another bulky pack of dSLR camera, expensive gears with mini tripod carrying as a front-pack.

Compact camera

Both bags could easily add up to maybe 17kg of carrying weight. Is this too heavy for you?

You may look super cool, like a traveling nomad, a photojournalist, travel adventurist, or even one professional photographer.

Perhaps, one inspired to be the next Steve McCurry who shot the “Afghan Girl” that originally appeared in National Geographic magazine.

So be it a day-hike in the national park, eco-tour in wildlife park, visiting hill tribe villages, a dairy farm visit or walking distantly with high hopes of hitchhiking on the dirt track.

Those are activities most backpackers would love to experience. At the end of the day, one will happily says ” No sweat! We made it!”

Well, it also sounds like any traveler photographer who proudly owns dSLR camera like an inseparable companion touring the world. How could one refuse to leave home without these equipment to capture moments in life?

Your thought maybe…

Firstly, the burdensome weight is safe from having overcharging at the airport luggage check-in service. It is well within the prepaid baggage 20kg. That is practically true for backpackers traveling on shoestring.

Secondly, the existing weight, front and back, is wholesomely balance with near-perfect equilibrium on your body. Weighing down and securing your foothold even at the most adverse condition and natural disaster, like the earth trembling underneath your feet. Suits more for a physics-freak.

Generally, there are good points for one who has the physical strength and endurance. How about a thin fellow who has the agility to move fast, yet no strength for heavy load? Oh, I have not mentioned an extra 2kg of laptops for photo editing and uploading to Facebook album.

Is it worth carrying the additional weight of 7 ~ 10kg, while your back start to hurt painfully on the first day of your trip?

Or do you consider carrying a pocket-size compact camera that might just capable of capturing great photograph.

Like any0ne else who reads this post, I used to be in the same dilemma too. For me, I recommend to bring only the compact camera.

Here are the 10 guidelines that can help you on decide-making of carrying a pocket-size compact camera can be as worthy as your trip deserve to be.

Here it goes:-

  1. Travel lightweight if you don’t like to worry about loosing your expensive equipment. Regrets if getting robbed or breaking in to cabinet lockers can happen anytime.
  2. Be experimental to try out all shots; randomly or intentionally. Compact camera is capable of helping you to compose your shot as good as any dSLR camera, eventually gaining more photography experience.
  3. Identify your purpose in terms of function, weights, and portability. Professional dSLR camera and high-end equipment weigh 7kg. A netbook weighs 2kg, allowing you to surf the resourceful internet and upload nice photos. Compact camera weighs less than 1kg.
  4. Plan for multiple short getaways rather than an extended trip. It help to record places you have surveyed. Like what many have said, “there is always a next trip” more professionally.
  5. Creativity works as brilliant as quality photograph. I agree with dSLR produce better quality images, but the expensive and heavy gears doesn’t make perfect photograph. One has to be artistic to acquire inventiveness.
  6. So you have joined a guided tour group? I see… Do you know scheduled tour bus wouldn’t wait just for you to snap the best shot for sunset. As time is a concern. Maximize your time with quick snapshots from compact camera, instead of leisurely waiting for great photographic moments.
  7. Compromise has to be made somewhere. One cannot have the best of everything. Focus on planning your itinerary. How about a free-and-easy trip, you could have all the time u want.
  8. Take time to meet other traveling photographers and learn from them. Make new friends of same interest or travelers who own dSLR camera. Your hand holding the compact camera wouldn’t diminish their self-esteem as a profession.
  9. Know your skill set of handling all functions in dSLR camera. As amateur photographer, it takes time, experience and effort to pick up the skill completely. Most give up after realizing results are the same as ordinary compact camera. That doesn’t mean compact camera is better.
  10. Apply the last rule “Learn the Hard Way”. There is no restriction, you can bring both digital compact camera and dSLR equipment. “If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ~Albert Schweitzer

I’m sharing my photography based on a digital compact camera, with some photo editing on colors and contrast. There are not from dSLR camera.