5 Days With IVY - Researching The Best Travel Camera

Ever since IVY began, a passion and a desire to live a life of adventure was infused into the very heartbeat of IVY. If you’ve been around IVY for any period of time, you know that it’s so much more than a longboard company. In fact, we have always attracted people reaching far beyond longboards. Incredible, like minded and wonderful people have continued to look for ways to engage with our brand. This is actually what led to the development of IVY Adventures, but honestly, this is also what drew me to IVY.

I (Alex) am the newest addition to the IVY team, and what initially drew me to IVY was not necessarily the cool and handcrafted longboards (even though I do love them), but it was absolutely the people and the sense of adventure that I felt every time I was around the community that IVY has built. Therefore, I joined the team several months ago, and I am excited to continue to help develop this community that prioritizes people and inspires people to live their adventure! 2018 was a year filled with travel, as at least one of us traveled to California, Colorado, and the British Virgin Islands. Personally, I’ve been able to travel to some insane places over the past 5 years such as Kenya, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Hungary, and this past year, I had the epic opportunity to hike through the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. I have been able to see, visit, and live in some of the most beautiful places and also some of the most broken places in the world.

I see a distinct moment within history to use technology and media as an avenue to paint a clear and honest picture of what is happening around the world, and I hope to paint the picture in such a way that perspectives are shifted, action is taken, and hope is restored.

I never want to be ignorant of the real issues that are in the world, but I also want to truly display the hope that is found within the human spirit. This passion has driven me to make the decision to go back to the Middle East this summer to learn, gain perspective, grow in my understanding, develop relationships, invest in what is already happening, and capture the good and bad to correctly display the hope that is found in the midst of it all.

In all of this, you may be asking: “How does this relate to researching the best travel camera?”

Well, I got my first camera, a Nikon D3400, about 2 years ago from a friend, but I am looking to upgrade before I leave for this summer. I will be traveling a good amount throughout the area to capture what is going on, so I am looking specifically for the best travel camera on the market today. Within the past 5 days, I have been researching travel cameras based on cost, reviews, photo and video capability, size, and finally, the opinions of those who are in the industry and that I trust the most. However, because I will specifically be taking pictures and video during my time, I will lean intentionally away from the standard compact travel cameras. Because of the work that I will be doing, image quality and low-light performance is more important to me than weight, so I am generally drawn towards a mirrorless or DSLR system, but we will see if that intentional bias is misplaced after my research. Who knows, I may be swung in another direction. 

For each day, I broke down the research and focused on specific brands, which helped me narrow down the search and find one or two of my favorite travel cameras for each brand. The first 4 days I looked through specific brands, and on day 5, I summarized my thoughts, and you’ll see what camera I personally hope to buy!

Day 1: Canon

As I began this journey, I started off with my own preconceived ideas, but I truly wanted to dig in to understand the potential cameras that are considered the best travel camera on the market today. I read dozens of blogs from travel influencers, and I read reviews from different camera retailers, but it can still be difficult to fully choose a favorite. Nonetheless, day 1 has to do with Canon.

Canon has been an industry leader in the camera industry for ages, and there are several cameras that interested me during my research such as the Canon M100 mirrorless camera, but the best recommended travel camera that I continued to be directed towards is the EOS 6D Mark II.

The EOS 6D Mark II is a full frame camera with excellent low-light performance from a 26.2MP sensor. It also has a weather sealing, which is a major bonus when traveling, and it has a built-in GPS and WiFi. The body of the camera is also solid, so it could probably take a slight beating, and it also has a decent price of around $1,800. Other compact travel cameras are much cheaper, but this is an average price for a DSLR. Canons have been a favorite on the market for many people, and I have many friends who are respected photographers and prefer to use Canon, but this is only day 1, so let’s continue.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Day 2: GoPro

There are so many different directions that I could go when looking at travel cameras, but I thought that it would be unfair to the travel camera industry to not include GoPro. GoPro has revolutionized what is possible with a camera that can fit into one’s pocket. “The world’s best action camera” (as GoPro claims) is truly a powerful little camera, but in reality, it has been viewed and used as an action video camera instead of a camera used for portraits and/or landscapes. I actually have a GoPro Hero 4, and I will probably take it with me, but I wouldn’t use it as a primary camera.

Nonetheless, GoPro does still excel in action photography and video, and it can survive through almost any climate, fall, or adventure. It does, however, have a very wide angle lens, so it is not the best for capturing content or action that is far away.

In the end, the GoPro Hero 7, especially, is truly one of the best action cameras on the market today, it is almost indestructible, it shoots in 4K video, and it is fairly inexpensive when compared to other DSLR or mirrorless travel cameras. However, I still don’t think it competes for the best overall travel camera for what I am looking for.

GoPro Hero 7

Day 3: Panasonic

In all honesty, coming into this research, I did not expect Panasonic cameras to be all that important, but in almost every blog post that I read, a Panasonic camera was listed as one of the best travel cameras on the market today.

One camera that continued to be featured on the top of lists over and over again was the Panasonic Lumix TZ200/ZS200. This camera ranges around $700-$800, and it has some surprising features. According to Digital Camera World, “If you’re going travelling, the last thing you want is to be weighed down with kit – but at the same time you’ll want a camera that can capture any kind of subject and get as close as possible to the quality of a ‘proper’ camera. That’s what the best ‘travel’ cameras get right, and the TZ200/SZ200 is right at the top of the tree.” This camera came as a massive surprise, as I really didn't have much knowledge on Panasonic cameras besides the Panasonic Lumix GH5, which is mainly used for video. However, this camera has the option of raw shooting and shooting 4K video, and the 4K photo mode can even generate 8K images. This camera really surprised me, and me it made me really dig in for deeper information, as it seems to be a great camera that fits a lot of the features that I’m looking for. However, tomorrow is day 4.

Day 4: Sony

The previous 3 days have provided great understanding for some amazing cameras and brands, but honestly, day 4 has been the most anticipated day for me. Many of my personal photo and video friends use Sony, and I have heard them talk about Sony cameras for years. As you may know, Sony specialized in mirrorless cameras, and these cameras are a relatively new development within the travel camera industry. These cameras do not have an internal mirror which leads to a much smaller, lighter, and easier to carry camera. However, these cameras also have benefits like a DSLR such as larger sensors, manual controls, and interchangeable lenses. It is the intersection of weight and quality that makes the Sony cameras really stand out.

The most obvious and one of the most popular cameras on the market today is the Sony Alpha A7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera. There is version older that is slightly cheaper and very comparable, but the a7iii is the newest version of this mirrorless camera. However, I would personally lead towards buying one version older simply because of the price. Nonetheless, this camera is truly amazing as it has full frame mirrorless options, in-body image stabilisation, a tilting LCD, and a fast autofocus. As I’ve mentioned previously, this is also the camera that many of my friends continue to talk about as it is much smaller and easier to use than its counterparts and it, and it still offers incredible quality in low-light. The Sony Alpha A7 II is also on Amazon right now for less than $1,000.

Besides the Sony Alpha A7 series, there are also other incredible travel cameras such as the Sony a6300, the Sony a6500, and the Sony a6000 as these cameras are a little smaller and they are great for photo and video. Many actually see the Sony a6000 as the best budget mirrorless travel camera, so if you are on a tighter budget, this is a great option!

Day 5: The Conclusion

I have probably spent way too much time researching, reading blogs, and looking at videos, but honestly, purchasing a new camera is a big deal, and it requires some serious commitment. I am still a college student, which means I really understand how serious of a commitment it is to drop anywhere from $700-$2,000 on a new camera. Plus, I understand that I will most likely keep this new camera for years, so I don’t want to make the wrong decision.

I have honestly been surprised by some of the things that I have found, and there are several cameras such as the Sony a6000 and the  Panasonic Lumix TZ200/ZS200 that really interest me, but there is still one camera that takes it all. I may have come into this research with a slight bias, but this 5 day review has continued to confirm that the next camera I hope to buy is the Sony Alpha A7 II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera! This Sony camera is in my price range, it’s the ideal size and weight for travel, yet the quality that this camera offers competes if not beats any other counterpart on the market today. It is truly the best camera that is perfect for travel without compromising on the quality.

Sony Alpha A7 II

For those of you who lasted through this 5 day review, I hope you learned something and I hope that you are inspired to live your adventure. Let’s use this distinct moment in history to use technology and media as an avenue to paint a clear and honest picture of what is happening around the world.

Thanks for following along,

Alex




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