Photo: On the road to Pindaya.

Cameras and travel photography forum

SLR Camera- Should i take?

Posted by loup86 on 11/8/2009 at 01:59

Hi everyone!

So im going travelling in September and will be travelling in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos as part of a RTW Trip. Ive got a Canon SLR which i bought a few years ago and really wanted to take. Just a bit worried about safety - as in is it safe to have it out or will it catch peoples attention? Ive got a much older digital camera which i could take aswell but its only 5 mega pixel which is why i was thinking of taking the SLR.

Any help on whether it is a good idea to take an SLR camera would be great! Thanks


#1 loup86 has been a member since 10/8/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by SBE on 11/8/2009 at 04:15

I'd say take it if you're at all interested in photography. One of the reasons I want to go back to Laos this year is because I had a really crap cheap camera last time. It's really frustrating to have great subject matter (which you will) and lousy image quality!

I wouldn't worry about security, SE Asia is very safe as long as you take elementary precautions.

#2 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,053
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Posted by BruceMoon on 11/8/2009 at 05:20


If the SLR is film, don't take: too much hassle with storing exposed film. If it's digital, take it if that's what you prefer. For every 10 tourists, you'll see maybe 3 or 4 with a great big SLR slung around their neck.

I've been down the SLR track. The trusty old canon is still in the aluminium case I used. I now have a digital. I've used from 3mp up, the issue for me is that once the pic gets to 5MP, I don't need any more as I'm never going to blow up to huge sizes. In fact, for me anything more than 5MP is a waste of storage resources. I look for distance. I tried 10X, but too shaky (even with image stabilisation), so have opted for a 6X. It does me well.

I note you're also pondering over laptop/ipod. I get the feeling you might be trying to cover all bases, and end up carrying a huge weightload with you everywhere. I suggest this as I've learnt how really good it is to be as light as possible (on this topic, go read this and my comment at #4). I so often come across people who have packed for every possibility complaining about the 'load'. Anyway, just a thought.


#3 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by Tilapia on 12/8/2009 at 00:28

Hi Louise,

As SBE said, if you are serious about your photography, then definitely bring it along. I've done a few big trips around SE Asia (Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, for the most part) with my SLR, 3 lenses, loads of film, tripod and mini-tripod in tow and never had any trouble or felt that security was an issue.

On a very recent trip to Europe I took my SLR and my P&S. I left my wide angle lens on my camera most of the time, and used the P&S for regular shots. I would switch lenses now and then from wide angle to 300mm for distance shots. If you have multiple lenses and plan on changing them often, then I strongly recommend that you take along a sensor cleaning kit. I didn't on a trip to Cambodia and ended up spending a lot of time in PS trying to get rid of the spots that resulted from dust on the sensor. PP is a very dusty city. Or, it was.

One of the drawbacks of taking an SLR is that it is bulkier and heavier, and sometimes (to me, anyway) hauling it out to take yet another photo can seem like a bit of a chore compared to the ease and speed of using a P&S. But the pay-off comes when you get home and see your photos ... you're glad you made the effort.

For that time of the year rain is going to be a serious issue. Make sure you've got a good, waterproof case for your equipment.

#4 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by fivesilver on 12/8/2009 at 12:27

Posted from within Vietnam.

How important is your photography - rather than simply travel souvenir pics - to you? I struggled over taking a very good non-DSLR (some are so good now that I hesitate to refer to them as "point and shoot"), but finally went with the DSLR. The detail and quality of the pictures is definitely superior, and bear in mind that you may never again have the opportunity to visit/photograph these places.

I also sell some of my photos or have them published (with or without accompanying articles), and many publications will not accept less than SLR-quality.

Having said all that, the weight factor can become a nuisance over time. I have an old back injury, and over the course of a day, there can be a noticeable difference between having 300g around your neck or over a kilogram.

Many non-DSLRs now also take spectacular shots (whisper it, but sometimes editors are simply being anal about demanding SLR pics that are only going to be published as an inset a few inches wide), and for most people will be more than adequate. Having used DSLRs almost exclusively for work/play over the past few years, I tend to look at minor imperfections that any reasonable soul would ignore.

#5 fivesilver has been a member since 3/8/2008. Posts: 39

Posted by sdl68 on 15/8/2009 at 22:10

I am traveling in November and am planning what gear to take. Ive decided against a full tripod and laptop and flash but I am taking a dslr and three lenses adding up to about 6lbs. I am stuffing it into a reporter shoulder bag rather than a backpack due to the heat and humidity. I realize that this may limit some of the "fun" since I will not want to part with my bag too often but consider it worth the effort since I enjoy photography and not sure I will ever get the chance to travel to these particular exotic locations again. A big part of my trip will be photography..if your plan is only for holiday snaps during daylight hours and not needing the flexibility and quality than only a dslr will offer..I probably wouldn't bother.
Insurance is pretty cheap for your kit...mine costs $7 for every 1000 worth of gear/ year and covers you against theft while travel would just need a police report.

#6 sdl68 has been a member since 16/7/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by loup86 on 16/8/2009 at 04:26

thanks for all the comments! its been a great help to hear what other people have done. ive decided to take the SLR as ill regret it if i have rubbish pictures at the end! Thanks again!

#7 loup86 has been a member since 10/8/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by justjess on 20/8/2009 at 02:06

sdl68, what kind of camera insurance did you purchase for your trip? I plan on brining my digital SLR/lenses with me on a 3 month backpacking trip in September. I have a pacsafe camera bag, but would like to further insure my equipment. Any recommendations?

#8 justjess has been a member since 6/8/2009. Posts: 8

Posted by BruceMoon on 20/8/2009 at 08:50


Whenever I have taken out travel insurance, I've had the option to nominate items to be specifically covered (beyond the policy limitations). These 'ad ons' come at a cost. And, some otherwise lower priced policy options soon become expensive with 'add ons', while seemingly more expensive policy options don't go up much in price with the 'add ons'.

So, my suggestion to you is shop around the net for the cost of a policy that deals with what YOU want.


#9 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by loup86 on 20/8/2009 at 15:19

thats handy to know about the insurance as i want to make sure my digital SLR and IPOD are covered! Thanks

#10 loup86 has been a member since 10/8/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by sdl68 on 29/8/2009 at 07:53

JustJess....I purchased travel and health insurance for my trip but that did not really cover my camera gear(it had a limit of 500 dollars for electronics) My gear is insured through my homeowners insurance. Its and extra cost item and its usually called an all perils rider or floater. Regular home insurance covers your personal stuff from theft but the difference is that a rider will cover your gear (provided they have an itemized list) while your away from your home and from accidental damage. You can also get one if you have renters insurance. Almost all major insurance companies have this...mine is with AXA insurance.

#11 sdl68 has been a member since 16/7/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by BruceMoon on 29/8/2009 at 08:07


I note you are relying on 'extra's' to your home and contents insurance. I asked my firm about that. They told me only in Australia, and only when in my personal care. So, if I left it in a motel, no way.

I hope you've got a better deal.


#12 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

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