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Why You Shouldn’t Buy an Expensive Camera for Travel

If you’re constantly disappointed by your travel photos and looking to up your game by purchasing a DSLR or some other high-priced equipment, you should stop first to consider your skill level. If you spend a thousand dollars on a camera and only shoot on automatic mode with the flash on, you’re not getting your money’s worth. DSLRs can create impressive, beautiful images, but only if you know how to use them. Here’s everything you should consider before committing to an expensive camera for travel.

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What to Consider Before Buying an Expensive Camera for Travel

Where Are the Photos Going?

[st_content_ad]These days, our travel memories hardly ever leave the digital world. If the main place you put your photos is on social media, you really don’t need a high-tech camera. At a certain point, megapixels and sensor size stop mattering when your photos are only ever going to be viewed on a small screen.

However, it’s a completely different story if you plan on actually printing out your photos. If you want to make large prints for memory books or decorate your home with your own photographs, a camera with higher-resolution capabilities can help you get the best image possible.

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Have You Ever Used an Expensive Camera Before?

Making the financial plunge into the world of expensive cameras can be pretty scary, especially if you have never actually used one or are unfamiliar with basic camera settings. A good way to start is by playing around with the “pro” settings on your phone or point-and-shoot camera. You can also ask a friend with a DSLR to show you the basics so you can test it out before buying.

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Are You Committed to Learning?

When you buy a camera for travel, you don’t have to read the whole manual, but you should do your research and commit to learning how to use it. There are plenty of online tutorials that can help you get a handle on the camera’s basic functions. If you’re planning on bringing the camera on a trip, take the time to practice using it before you go, so you know what you’re doing when you arrive.

Your Phone Is Actually Pretty Powerful

Mobile photography has come a long way, and you’d be surprised how powerful the camera on your phone really is. New features like Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus can create stunning images with a camera that’s not only ultra-portable, but also the one you’re most likely to always have with you.

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Maybe It’s Not Your Camera

Before you spend a lot of money on a new camera for travel, think about what it is you don’t like about the photos you’re taking now. Is it the depth or the quality, or do you just think they look “unprofessional”? It might be your fault, not your camera’s. If you’re rushing through every photo without thinking about light and composition, your pictures will reflect that.

Consider taking a photography class or photo walking tour to get tips from a professional that you can bring with you on your next trip.

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Jamie Ditaranto is a travel and photography lover and learning to cope with these very expensive passions. Follow her adventures and photography on Instagram @jamieditaranto.

By Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.

Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.

Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."

Travel Motto: "You have to get the hard places out of the way first."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "On short flights, the window. For long flights, the aisle."

Email Jamie at

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