I am notoriously bad with technology. particularly expensive technology. My last two cameras were met with violent and tragic ends. One was dropped off the side of boat, the other simply dropped, sat on, rained on and otherwise abused until it simply up and died. After the death of my last camera I vowed I would never again spend a fortune on a camera that I was going to end up abusing and then losing. Thus began my quest for a decent 300 dollar travel camera.
Although the biggest limitation is the price tag, I'd like a camera that...
- Is durable. I travel rough and hard. I try to take good care of my cameras but it doesnt' usually work out that way. Thus I need a camera that is good and tough.
- Takes quality photos. No use bringing a camera if all you can see is fuzzy shapes. I want to be able to remember the places I've seen in full and glorious color.
- Is easy to use. I'm not that photo savvy. I'm learning, but I'd still like a camera that an average user can figure out fairly easily.
- Lightweight. I want to something small and light I can carry with on treks and nights out.
So can a camera fulfill all of these expectations, for under 300 dollars? Well I'm about to find out. I've done some research, and here are the best travel cameras I've found for 300 dollars or less.
Panasonic Lumix ZS20
Features: Full HD Video Recording with stereo microphone, 24 mm Ultra Wide Angle lens with 20x optical zoom, 24 mg built in memory.
This camera is the perfect little point and shoot camera. Reviewers stated it works great in full lighting, but low-light is just ok. It has great zoom for its small size and although it's fairly easy to use, there is a learning curve on the touch screen.
Pentax Optio WG-1 Rugged Waterprooft Digital Camera
Features: Waterproof up to 33ft, shockproof design can withstand falls up to 5 ft, crushproof, coldproof and dustproof. 14 megapixel resolution, wide angle 5x optical zoom lens. Wide screen video.
This camera is the essence of durability. It is something I could feel okay about taking climbing, rafting even snorkeling! Users said it was easy to use and took fantastic daytime and underwater pictures (although the night time ones occasionally turned out blurry). It takes amazing close shots and average distance ones. Overall great camera for rugged travel.
Canon Powershot S100
Features: 12.1 megapixels, HD video with stereo sound, 24mm wide angle lens with 20x digital and optical zoom.
A nice easy to use camera that takes quality pictures it has a slim design for easy portability and a fast shutter speed to get those quick shots. It has a fast zoom, but tends to focus slowly, especially on night time shots.
Olympus Stylus Tough-6020
Features: 14 megapixel high resolution, 5x optical zoom, extra wide viewing angle and anti-glare technology for bright sunlight, waterproof up to 16ft, shock absorbing technology up to 5ft.
Another great camera for rough use. This Olympus has a sleeker design than the Pentax, although it is only usable in shallower depths. Reviewers state this camera has exceptional battery life and recharges quickly, which is great for when you're always on the go. It has a slow start up time and shutter lag which can easily be remedied by adjusting the settings.
Canon Powershot SX230
Features: 12.1 megapixels, 14x stabilized optical zoom, 28mm wide-angle lens, HD video with stereo sound.
This camera has a lot of features of many DSLR's but without the bulk and hefty price tag. The camera menus are easy to navigate, the zoom is quick and the pictures are crystal clear. This little guy even has gps! The only downside users stated was the low battery life, though this can be extended by turning off the gps feature.