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Choosing the Best Travel Camera for 2012

Updated on June 4, 2012

The Best Travel Cameras Can Go Anywhere

When you're on vacation, you want a camera that is lightweight, compact and able to capture great photos of your adventure. But wouldn't it be cool if that camera were also waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof, shockproof and capable of shooting HD video so you could take photos while snorkeling, mountain climbing, or just lying around on a sandy beach? And to make it even better, what if that camera included a GPS system to automatically geo tag your photos with the exact location you took the shot? Do such cameras exist? Yes, they do. Here's why the new rugged compact cameras are the best travel cameras.

Capture Great Photos and Videos with These Rugged Models

If your idea of a waterproof camera is one of those cheap throwaway film models, think again. Some of today's most advanced point-and-shoot compact cameras are waterproof, shockproof and packed full of features.

Three of the best models are the Nikon Coolpix AW100, Panasonic Lumix DMS-TS4 and the Canon PowerShot D20. All of these cameras feature four-way protection (waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freezeproof), as well as exceptional photo quality. They also come equipped with a built-in GPS system that can automatically embed geotags to your photo's meta data. That's one of the main benefits of taking one of these weatherproof cameras on your trip.

But it's not the only one. Size is another important feature in a travel camera, and these models are compact and lightweight. The Nikon is the slimmest, at a mere .9-inch width, and the Panasonic is the shortest, at only 4.07 inches long (compared to 4.4 inches for the Nikon and Canon). Any of them can easily fit into a pocket, purse or bag for easy carrying while you travel from place to place.

You'll also find plenty of great photo features in these models, from wide angle lenses with optical and digital zoom to capture the exact picture you want to multiple scene settings that will ensure perfect exposure whether you're underwater or taking photos of fireworks against a night sky.

Want to take a panorama shot? These cameras can do that, too. Whether you want a sweeping horizontal view of Waikiki Beach or a vertical photo that captures the full height of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, these models can make it happen with built-in technology. The Nikon and Panasonic feature panoramic modes that allow you to sweep the scene horizontally or vertically and the camera will automatically generate a panoramic image. The Canon has Stitch Assist, which will line up and combine several images you take to create a panorama shot.

More great features of these cameras include time lapse mode, multiple frames per second in continuous shooting mode and even 3D images (on the Panasonic).

With some many features and so much versatility, you'll be able to capture great photos every time. No matter what type of images you want to take on your vacation, rugged models are the best travel cameras you can choose.

Panoramic Photo Taken with the Panasonic TS4

What Do You Think is the Best Travel Camera?

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    • truthfornow profile image


      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Nice information about the different cameras. I didn't know about the GPS tracking ~ now, you can never forget where a picture was taken.

    • lisa42 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Sacramento

      Thanks for visiting, Donna. Hope someone gets you just what you want for your birthday. :-)

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 

      6 years ago from USA

      Great comparison on features and benefits. I just happen to be in the market for a new camera before I go on vacation next month so I really appreciated this information. Voted up and shared on Facebook just in case someone wonders what I want for my birthday.


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