The Study Abroad Blog’s picks for the best digital camera for study abroad
You might remember from my post about mistakes I made while studying abroad that one of my biggest mistakes was buying the wrong camera. I got a cheap camera that took cheap photos, and while I took plenty of great photos during my time abroad, I can only imagine how many more there could’ve been if my camera had more functionality. So no one else makes the same mistake, I decided to do all the research and read all the reviews to find the best digital camera for study abroad and this is what I discovered.
1. Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera – My Favorite
The Nikon D3100, is Nikon’s latest and greatest entry-level offering and its first DSLR that can record full 1080p HD videos. An upgraded version of the popular D3000, it’s built around a 14.2 CMOS sensor (as opposed to the original 10) and a 3 inch LCD viewing screen. In addition to full 1080p movies, it features a high-resolution 14-megapixel CMOS DX sensor, high-quality 3x NIKKOR 18-55mm VR image stabilization zoom lens, and Scene Recognition System which automatically optimizes exposure, autofocus, and white balance. One of the best features, though, has to be the Easy-To-Use Nikon Guide Mode with intuitive controls and on-board assistance. Great for people like me who aren’t yet that into photography, but want to stop taking bad point-and-shoot photos. From someone who’s personally used it, the D3100 is above all other entry-level DSLRs.
2. Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18MP Digital SLR Camera
The flagship of the EOS Rebel line, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i brings professional features into an easy to use, lightweight digital SLR. Featuring an 18.0-megapixel CMOS image sensor and increased light sensitivity for low light photography, it also has an advanced HD Movie mode and Movie Crop function. Advanced Live View, a new wide-area screen, plus features like Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone make it easy to shoot high quality photos and movies in any environment. With a high-resolution 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor to top it off, it’s some of the best photo and video quality in a DSLR for less than $1,000.
3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 Digital Camera
Even with the production of higher-class models recently, the Lumix ZS8 is considered one of Panasonic’s latest and greatest travel-zoom cameras, and it exudes awesomeness. While there’s no denying it’s not on the same level as a DSLR, the ZS8 is still a quality piece of equipment and includes the Top Must Have Features a study abroad student needs in a camera. Its 16x optical zoom is pretty mind-blowing, and with the Optical Image Stabilizer, iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode, Panorama Assist Mode, and 14 megapixels, it suits all of my needs. For those looking to take the next step with their photography, you also have the ability to manually control Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Full Manual modes which is pretty rare in the pocket camera class. Not to mention at just over an inch thick, it easily fits in my pocket. I currently own one, and have nothing but good things to say about it.
4. Canon Powershot A2300
Looking for a point and shoot camera for under $100? With the Canon Powershot A2300, you’re still able to capture all of your study abroad memories without the expensive price tag that come with other digital cameras. It’s 16 MP and 5x wide Optical Zoom lens allows you to blow up and crop your photos with no loss in resolution or quality. You’ll never have to worry about adjusting your settings in different conditions as the Smart AUTO feature automatically selects the best shooting settings for optimal quality, and the new Digital IS greatly reduces blur by recognizing the main subject and applying the best camera shake correction. And just like the ZS8, it also has a 3.0 in. LCD display, and 720p HD video recording. Not bad for less than a $100 bill.
5. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX50
Although the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX50 is lacking both zoom and image sensor size, it’s still a lot of camera for the money. It also tops other point-and-shoot cameras in photo and video quality in large part because of it’s f2.6 25mm wide-angle lens with optical image stabilization, and Sony’s Exmor CMOS sensor and Bionz image processor. My favorite feature is the Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR mode, which allows you to just press the shutter, pan the landscape and let the camera do the rest. It automatically links together each frame to produce a high resolution panoramic image.
6. Olympus PEN E-PL2 12.3 MP Digital Camera
The only interchangeable-lens model on this list, the Olympus PEN E-PL2 is great if you’re looking for better photo quality and/or a more advanced feature set than your current point-and-shoot offers without the extra size and weight of a traditional DSLR. The E-PL2 comes standard with just about everything you’d expect including 12.3-megapixel resolution, 720p HD video recording, In-body Image Stabilization, built-in pop-up flash, and a unique Dust Reduction System. Two if it’s best features are its Art Effect function, which allows you to add different composition effects and filter variations to the picture, and the Live Guide for stills and movies which allows you to preview photo and video effects at the touch of a button.
Keep this in mind: This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so the photos you take should do your travels some justice. Even if you don’t go with one of the cameras above, take your time, do thorough research, and get a camera that is guaranteed to help you save all of your best study abroad memories.
If you have any other questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!