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Camera or no Camera..........?

OK - do I bring my digital camera to Italy (a Nikon 3200) - not a huge camera, but bigger than a compact digital camera - or only take pictures on my phone (iphone 6s) where often they are blurry/not high quality?

Travelling with a 13 yo, 10yo and 9yo - who have never been and would definitely like to capture the moments - but as I look at my "carry-on" size luggage and backpack - the camera in it's case will take up a ton of space...... Thoughts??

Leaving tomorrow!

Posted by
8070 posts

Don't bring the camera case; where the camera around your neck when you carry it on. Or put the camera case in someone else's bag.

Posted by
7050 posts

Take the camera (despite the weight), it's worthless sitting at home.

Posted by
6788 posts

I bring two cameras (one a DSLR with two lenses), plus a phone and iPad.
I make up for it by leaving most clothes at home.
I justify the weight and bulk of my camera gear because photos are the best souvenirs and one of the primary reasons I travel.

Take the camera (leave the cannoli).

Posted by
8661 posts

It takes too long to get a phone ready to take a shot, if you're trying to capture the moment.

Posted by
1450 posts

Yup, bring the camera.
I "assume" that 10 and 9 yr old are not carrying a day bag when you are out on the town....
To get everything to Italy. You might suddenly have to upsize the back pack one of the kid's has for the plane

Posted by
503 posts

From the camera you listed, I assume you enjoy photography - if so, I think it's worth taking. So, how to manage with just a carryon and backpack?
Here's what I do: I use a Briggs and Riley carry on suitcase and an eagle creek briefcase which is my "personal item". Clothes, etc., etc. in the Briggs and Riley as well as my ebags "day bag" which folds flat.. In the Eagle creek I have a small camera bag insert - which holds my camera (a Panasonic g85 - my travel rig), two lenses, strap, charger, etc. I can get the insert, ipad, kindle, ear phones, liquids bag, and small wallet and bag with lip balm, bandaids, meds,, etc., etc. in the eagle creek. For daytime, I put the insert into my daybag and use it as my camera bag. Works great and is easy to carry every day!!!

Posted by
375 posts

I slim down my photo gear as much as possible. One year, just my prime lens. I had a stuff sack and put my Nikon in that and then in my purse. Last year I bought a canon gx camera that really slipped in my purse. And I really enjoyed that lightness but still the ability to shoot aperture mode (and others). That’s now my go to camera for Europe trips. And my Nikon when packing light is not an issue. But take it. If you have a passion for photography and travel.

Posted by
1194 posts

If you are a photography geek then take the camera.

BTW, you might want to check out the iPhone photography school to find out all the secrets of iPhone photography. It’s more powerful than you think. I found I could take photos as nice or nicer than several DSLR folks just because my phone was out and ready. The iPhone’s huge weakness is with long distance and macro photos.

Posted by
2768 posts

Camera. Some people with some phones can get good pictures but your description of “blurry and not high quality” says it all.

I have the same camera and keep an 18-140 lens attached. It fits in a purse along with the minimal daybag stuff I bring. I don’t have it in a case - just in the purse. Cases are too bulky but the camera itself isn’t. You can get a thin camera sleeve if you want it protected without a big case. Totally worth it for the pictures.

The purse is my personal item, then I have a carry on bag for clothes and other stuff. See my other thread - you don’t need a ton of stuff in a day bag.

Posted by
4601 posts

Bring the camera particularly if you like detail shots with zoom. I did downsize to a Canon 30x pocket camera (like the Lumix mentioned above). Missed the viewfinder, but loved the lack of weight, and i age quality. There will be ceiling details you just cannot get from phone camera. Use that for daily instagram shots for family at home, and your camera for the coffee table book you can make once you return.
Speaking of ceilings, consider small binoculars for each or to share. Loads of details to pick up in ceilings, roof tops, or dimly lit art.

Posted by
119 posts

I bring my DSLR (Nikon 7100) because I love taking photographs! I do not bring the case, but I put the camera in a soft fabric lunch bag with the camera charger & the SD cards in a little zipper bag. After the flight I put the camera in a gallon sized zip-lock bag which goes in my Baggalini travel purse.

Posted by
277 posts

I got a compact digital camera that fits in my jeans pocket because I didn't like the look of a big camera hanging around my neck. If I had to choose, though, I'd lean towards taking clear pictures. We love to look at our trip photos after we come back.

Posted by
1221 posts

As I read this, the Spousal Unit is framing up a bunch of large prints from last year's Wales trip photos for his annual faculty show. If you ever want to do more than a 4"x6" print you won't regret the proper DSLR.

With him, it's not so much the camera back that takes up a ton of space but which lenses he brings on a trip- select one nice versatile lens that's not too big and i doesn't have to take up a ton of space. The back you have is a good quality that gives a lot of room to play with the data files once you get home and start looking at parts of them on your computer. (I ended up with a D3200 a few years back to keep myself busy when Spousal Unit's taking his shots, and love it even though I suspect I come nowhere close to doing everything I can with it)

Posted by
789 posts

Obviously, the concensus is "bring the camera." I have the iPhone 6s and used it for quite a few photos on our trip to Italy last year, and it gives surprisingly good results in perfect conditions. The HD video is pretty amazing, again in good light. That said, photography is important enough to me that I won't rely on just the phone. It's especially inadequate in any kind of lower-light situations or when trying to capture anything where subjects are in motion. Zooming even a little bit degrades image quality in a hurry. I have an entry-level Nikon DSLR that gives fine results, but I just couldn't bring myself to lug the weight around Europe. So I got the Nikon P530 bridge camera that I've taken on our two trips abroad. While better than the iPhone, it also has its limitations -- it tends to blow out in bright light -- though I've gotten some wonderful photos with it, and the zoom capabilities are tremendous.

I'm settled now on getting one of the large-sensor "pocket" cameras, smaller than the bridge compact I have now, but with superior optics and image quality. Sony is the clear leader in this class, but they are pricey -- up to $1,000 or so. I'd even be willing to pay that, but I'll never buy another Sony product because of a long-ago dispute with the company. Long story, but yeah, I'll hold a grudge for the rest of my life. So I'm looking at one of the similar Panasonic Lumix cameras, in particular the LX100. I've got it in my Amazon cart and just waiting to pull the trigger nearer our next trip.

Here's a recent forum discussion started by steves_8 which made me take a closer look at the LX100.

Posted by
343 posts

I bring my DSLR with only the prime lens and no camera bag. Just the camera. You can get a neoprene case just for the body if you want. I don't. I know, that's bad...but usually the camera is around my neck and I don't want to deal with the case. So when it's in my swiss gear backpack while flying or transiting from one place to another, I usually have it wrapped up in a scarf I'm taking on the trip, anyway. All fairly compact. :)

Posted by
15 posts

I wasn't sure what a Nikon 3200 was, so I Googled it. It is quite a large camera. But you'll regret it if your only means of taking a picture is the phone. I personally don't see how anyone can compose and take a decent picture with a phone, although the phones are getting better - not to mention the fear of dropping it. Remember that once the trip is over, the photos (and a journal, if you maintain one) will be all you've got.

I find that a good compromise between a good DSLR and a camera phone is a high-end compact camera. I have a Nikon Coolpix P7000, which has everything a full-size camera does except for a wide variety of exchangeable lenses. It has dozens of settings and can take pictures in all kinds of lighting situations. You may want to consider getting that type of camera for a future trip.

Posted by
3265 posts


Wendy said > I bring my DSLR with only the prime lens and no camera bag. Just the camera. You can get a neoprene case just for the body if you want.

That's what I do, although this time I brought a small wide angle lens, 10-18mm, along with the 50mm. The jury is still out on this. I've done fine with just the 50. I do have a neoprene cover for transit, but maybe I will take Wendy's suggestion and just wrap it in my pashmina. It is in my underseat bag.

As far as the day bag with the camera, that's something you need to work out and I have no final decision. I've used many with camera, but my winners for Europe are between my travelon backpack and my Kelly Moore.