5 Photos that Prove You Don’t Need a DSLR to Take Great Travel Photos

travel photo

When it comes to selecting a camera, you’ve got a few options ranging from a point a shoot style (mostly replaced by phones these days) all the way up to the top DSLR. Many may feel that to get a great shot a DSLR is required, but they can be expensive and bulky and often require you to carry them, and their accessories, in their own bag. 

I’ve found that if my camera doesn’t fit inside my handbag, or can be put inside a small backpack, then I tend not to carry it with me. Conversely, the lack of options on a phone or a simple point and shoot camera leaves me a little underwhelmed, or limited in the kind of shots I can take.

In this case, your options are a mirrorless DSLR, which are much smaller than a traditional DSLR, but with all of the customisability with lenses etc or a bridge camera. Whilst a DSLR offers more flexibility, they can be quite expensive, and perhaps a little overwhelming for someone wanting to take travel snaps. This is where I believe the ‘bridge camera comes into its own.’

Killarney Ireland

Bridge camera

Think of a ‘bridge camera’ as being the bridge between the point and shoot camera (or phone) and a DSLR. It is slightly bigger than a point and shoot camera, but still small enough to fit in a handbag and be easy to grab when the moment presents itself. It can be set to fully automatic mode, so you can just point and shoot, or you have the option to take it off manual and experiment.

With a fixed lens, you don’t need to worry about carrying a tonne of accessories, and its smart intuitive features mean that its microprocessors will compensate for the inability to change lenses by changing the internal settings, to ensure you get a great shot in a diverse range of settings.

Phraya Nakhon Cave

Take your camera off automatic

Just like a DSLR camera, you can choose aperture priority, shutter priority, program or manual mode, which allows you to adjust all of the settings to your desire. This allows you to take fabulous sunset photos, vibrant beach shots and get your image in focus with a blurred background, just like on a DSLR.

Not having to change lenses in order to do this, allows for greater freedom and once you are confident with changing the settings, you will quickly be able to whip out your camera and take that great shot that quite often presents itself in a fleeting moment before disappearing.

Preset modes

If you’re not yet confident with manual modes, then a bridge camera has a plethora of inbuilt functions to take fabulous photos in a range of environments. Options will include the beach, sport, panorama and portrait. This takes the guess work out of setting the camera up manual, but still yields much more professional results than simply shooting using automatic mode.

Be prepared for your photos to have rich colours, custom focus and crisp images when shooting action shots. In addition to shooting in different conditions, most bridge cameras will also have ‘art’ settings, that allow you to shoot in black and white, sepia and can provide creative settings such as miniaturisation or the option of having your whole image in black and white except for one select colour.

Getting the shot

Like a DSLR, you can choose to shoot in RAW mode on a bridge camera, which gives you more editing options once you get back home.

If you have a 3D television, a fun feature on many bridge cameras is the 3D setting, which when viewed on a 3D television, gives you an amazing 3D view of your images. I personally love this for shots with lots of depth, like mountain ranges or ones with strong leading lines.

Unlike a DSLR that needs special tubes and attachments, a bridge camera will easily take macro shots. A macro shot, or an extreme close up, is an excellent way to capture images of flowers, insects or other small creatures up close and in detail. Just flick your camera to the flower mode and you can easily switch between normal and macro modes.

Point and shoot

Whilst you’ll generally get a better photo on a bridge camera than on a point and shoot camera, or a phone, a phone is a great back up.

The photo above was taken on a Samsung Galaxy 6. Newer phones now have many settings that help you take better photos, such as select focus and panorama modes. Their interactive 360 degree photos are also a fun way to relive your experience in more detail.

A phone is a great back up option if you forget your camera, or run out of battery. Often a phone will be easier to pull out in time than a camera, and is much smaller incase you need to take that sneaky shot you may technically not be meant to take.

So, if you think you can only get great travel shots on a DSLR, think again.

hand with phone


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19 thoughts on “5 Photos that Prove You Don’t Need a DSLR to Take Great Travel Photos”

  1. This was really informative for me, as I am preparing to get a camera and I don’t know a whole lot about them other than the fact that I want to be able to take better photos than what I can get on my current cell phone. I haven’t heard of bridge cameras before, but after reading this and seeing your photos, I will definitely be learning more about them!

  2. Fox of Honey and Fox

    We don’t have a fancy cam, but one of our close friends does. We will have to play around with hers and see what we come up with. Also, Honey has the Samsung Galaxy S6 while I have an S5, and boy there is a big difference in quality. I’m going to definitely take a look at the settings on her phone.

  3. yes i agree with you. i also don’t like bulky cameras or the 1 which does not fit in my pocket. there are good slim size cameras available in the market. i mostly use cell phone’s camera.

  4. Sonya Kolodziejska

    That picture of Thailand is outstanding, it has true depth. Honestly, i only use my phone With 2 kids going everywhere with me and i am the only adult, i have enough to carry, so i just snap pictures on my phone.

  5. Jasone Le Nguyen

    I love to take photos. Your post is amazing 🙂 Yes we don´t need a dslr to take a good photo. It is all about what is in front of the camera not the camera 🙂

  6. Some great shots here! We had received a digital camera as a wedding gift almost 10 years ago, but have since abandoned it for our iPhones long ago. We can’t quite get the extreme detail you’re showing here, but it’s good enough for us. One thing we did on vacation last year is get professional photos taken, and we have recently just put those up. The quality is amazing! I might invest into a nicer camera at some point though.

  7. Really informative and helpful for new travellers. Cameras can take up a lot of money. I use a cybershot and it is quite good. And your shots are incredible

  8. I’ve heard people say that it’s all about your photography skills and not about your camera. There are plenty of tricks these days that will help you take better shots even if you don’t own a DSLR. This post is proof!

  9. My goodness these photos are stunning. I love my DSLR, but I also use film as well. This was a great and a very informative read. 🙂

  10. Your photos prove your points! I never would have thought I would be that engaged in photography, but being a blogger has opened my eyes to the world of capturing moments on “film”. These are really good suggestions and really support the idea that a DSLR camera isn’t a requirement at all!

  11. I agree you don’t always need a DSLR with the quality of phone cameras available. Some of them even have adjustable functions somewhat but less than a DSLR.

  12. I love my DSLR but I loathe carrying it around. I’m hoping to upgrade to a phone with better camera quality than the one I currently own. Your photos are absolutely stunning. Especially the cave one. I forgot about bridge cameras. Your post definitely kept me engaged. I LOVE photography even though I’m no pro. I still admire the works of others nonetheless.

  13. I’m so horrible at taking photos it dosen’t matter how good or bad of a camera I have I’ll always end up with something dissapointing. I really have to learn beter photography ….

  14. Oh my..yes, bulky cameras. Ugh! My hubby and I just enjoy taking photos from our phone’s camera (you can check our blog site to see some of our pictures). But this post is great, definitely, you dont need a DSLR. 🙂

  15. This is such an informative post. You have a lot of really great points. I wish I had this post as a resource when I started blogging.

  16. So true!!! I couldn’t agree more. I see so many people with a really expansive camera but they don’t use any of the settings. Start at the start, learn to compose your photos. Thank for this article!

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