Getting Started: Buying a Camera
Digital cameras are almost perfect for travelling. A good digital camera, especially a digital SLR will offer you great quality, lots of storage, the ability to email photographs as you travel, make backups of all your photos that you can post on CD-ROMs quickly and cheaply and much more. Digital storage media is now cheap, comes in good capacities and is more resistant to heat and x-rays than film. Ensure that the camera you choose has a rechargeable battery and consider getting a spare.
So how do you choose which camera is right for you?
The key to getting the right camera is doing a bit of research, and fortunately one of the best places to do this is on the Internet. One of the most comprehensive sites is PhotographyReview.com. Make sure you read several reviews. If you are considering digital, and I suggest if you don't want a film-based SLR that you do, then have a look at Digital Photography Review, a site with some amazingly detailed run-downs on digital cameras. Whichever format you decide on please buy a good brand. There is a reason that Canon and Nikon are popular - they make great gear. Olympus, Sony and others are also good.
Lenses are a critical component, and good quality lens will ensure your photographs have better color, less flare and more crispness. Photodo.com has a technical review of hundreds of lenses. A common mistake is to spend most of your budget on an SLR camera body and skimp with cheap lenses. Don't! The optics are the place that make the real difference, so budget them in. A professional quality 2nd-hand lens in good condition is far better than most brand-new standard lenses.
Think of the features you need now, but also try and find a camera that will grow with you. Once you have made a short list go to a shop and handle the gear. Sometimes a camera will look great on paper or the internet but feel horrible, be too big, too small or just plain ugly in real life.
Once you have found camera that suits your needs and budget search the net for the best price. Most camera shops will be able to drop their prices and may be able to match online prices. Often all you need to do is ask.