How to Pick the Perfect Camera for Travel Videos

| | Video

If you’ve finally decided to make the leap into travel videos, welcome! We’ve been eagerly watching the massive boom in travel videos over the past few years, and are excited to see where it goes next.

As you get started, you may wonder what type of camera you need to shoot the great video you’re seeing all over the internet and on TV. While many of the programs and clips you’re watching are shot with professional technology, it is possible to shoot and produce great travel video without dropping thousands of dollars.

Here are some considerations to help you start thinking about choosing the perfect camera for your travel videos.

What Kind of Camera Do You Want to Use?

Yes, camcorders still exist.

Traditional Camcorder

This is the most traditional option, the type of camera that you would normally think of when you think of filming video. Camcorders were more popular a few years ago than they are now, but there’s still an emoji of a camcorder, in case you can’t remember what they look like: ?

TBS Recommends: Canon Vixia R800

Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera (DSLR)

While this type of camera is traditionally used for still photography, advancements in digital photography allow for most DSLRs today to be used to film video. DSLRs are by far one of the most popular ‘visual media’ tools you can choose for your travels.

TBS Recommends: Sony Alpha A6000


Most people use a point-and-shoot camera for basic photography – you won’t often see a professional shooting photos or video on a point-and-shoot camera. That said, you can shoot video on these cameras, and they usually offer a low price point to get you started.

TBS Recommends: Sony DSCW800 or Apple iPhone 6S

Everybody recognizes GoPro, and for good reason!

GoPro or Action Camera

In the last few years, action cameras like GoPro have become very popular. At its core, a sport camera typically has a small sensor and a wide angle lens. These cameras are usually built to have water and impact resistance. They’re good for adventure travel videos since they can take a beating and still produce good footage.

TBS Recommends: GoPro Hero 5 Black

Specialty Cameras

Other specialty cameras can also be used for shooting travel videos. The most popular in the past few years have been drones and 360-video cameras. With advancements in technology, the sky is the limit for using these specialty cameras to create unique video footage.

TBS Recommends: DJI Phantom P3-STANDARD Quadcopter Drone

Smartphones are a great option, as far as point-and-shoot cameras go.

What Kinds of Cameras are Most Popular?

These days, most videographers either shoot with a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera.

While a DSLR has a lot of versatility with lenses and settings, it usually comes with a few drawbacks: higher price point, heavier weight, and more equipment.

A point-and-shoot camera – including something like your smartphone – won’t have the same capabilities as a DSLR camera for video. It will however weigh less, cost less, and can still have great quality in the right conditions.

The other types of cameras can provide benefits, but it really depends on your travel video goals as to whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs.

What camera should you choose? That really depends on you, the types of videos you want to shoot, and your comfort level with each.

You choose the setting, the story, and the camera!

Considerations in Choosing the Perfect Camera for Travel Videos

When selecting a camera, first consider a sensor size.

The sensor is the part of your camera that receives information. Basically, the larger the sensor, the better the image. Although that’s a simplified explanation that could be made more complicated, for a beginner’s purposes, the sensor size is the most important factor for image quality.

Select a camera that plays to your strengths. A vlogger might choose a light camera with a cropped sensor, knowing most of their videos will be watched online. Meanwhile, a destination videographer might choose a full-frame sensor that will allow production of the highest quality videos.

Consider your comfort level with the camera.

No doubt you already have a comfort level with a particular type of camera. Even if you once used a more traditional camcorder, you can now adapt that to fit your style of filming. What’s important is that you use a camera that you enjoy, and that is easily transfers footage.

In today’s video world, it is possible to produce great travel videos on almost any camera with a decent sensor. Between shooting good raw footage and using post-production software to edit and produce your video, you should not feel that a major investment in a whole new type of technology is necessary.

Lastly, consider where and what type of video content will be viewed.

Bear in mind that the majority of travel video will be watched on a small screen like a smartphone. While you might have the greatest image quality in the world, your audience may never see it in all its glory. That’s okay – as long as you consider these variables up front, you can make the right investment for you, your videos, and your audience.

Whatever you choose, bear in mind that a larger sensor equates to a more substantial investment. Not only does a larger sensor size need a larger body to house it, but it will also need larger lenses to fill it. All of this means more money up front, but could potentially yield more money down the road. Terms like HD and megapixel can often be misleading. Sensor size is the primary indicator of camera quality.

At the end of the day, it entirely depends on what type of videographer you want to be – and what types of videos you want to produce.

Want to learn more about travel videography?

Invest in the Videography for Travel Bloggers course. You’ll receive access 30 lessons covering everything from choosing your camera to scripting and green screens.