The ISA JournalWhy You Should Bring a Digital Camera Abroad

If you are planning on studying abroad, you are also planning on taking thousands of photos of the things you are experiencing: the places, the people, the food—the list goes on. It is hard not to take a photo of every little thing because you don’t want to forget about it or you want to post it on your socials. While snapping quick shots with your iPhone for social media is efficient and good enough, the quality of iPhone photos doesn’t always hold up in the preservation of files, printing of images, or even in storage on your phone.

This is why I believe investing in—or digging out—the good old digital camera is essential for your time abroad. Before I get too far in, I should say that I really don’t think it is necessary to spend an arm and a leg on the Canon G7 X that’s so popular on TikTok right now because many other digital cameras produce the same quality of images and are much more affordable. I brought my mom’s eight-year-old digital camera with me abroad. Having it allowed me to capture higher-quality images of my travels and assisted with the limited storage available on my phone or computer.

Every digital camera is equipped with a lens that is naturally more advanced than your phone camera; it is as simple as that. Usually, their zoom potential and quality is much greater than a smartphone, and the flash creates a much more focused and crisp image. This means the image quality is going to be better in most lighting situations, in rain or snow, or in a dark room versus a well-lit museum. This also means that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture a beautiful image—the camera’s automatic settings with the ranging lens do all the work for you.

On top of this, a digital camera’s lens captures images with more megapixels than a smartphone camera is capable of, allowing you to print and enlarge the camera’s images without ruining the quality of the photograph. Oftentimes, my iPhone photos cannot be printed larger than an 8×10 photograph without looking grainy and low quality, so most of my phone photos never leave my camera roll. The images I took abroad that I will be hanging around my bedroom and college house are the ones I took on my digital camera because they look more high quality and professional.

The type of camera you are going to pick out should cater to what type of content you are looking to collect during your time abroad. Some digital cameras can only take photos, and if they have video capabilities, the quality is not nearly as good as the photos they produce. Some options for photo-focused cameras are the Canon Powershot Elph 100 HS, the Kodak ProPix Fz55, or any of the more basic Nikon Coolpix cameras. If you are seeking a camera that will take both high-quality photos and videos, I suggest investing in the 4K Digital Camera, a Sony Cybershot Rx100, or the Nikon Coolpix P300 camera. All of these range from $75 – $500, so depending on what you want your camera to accomplish will determine how much you want to spend on your pick of a digital camera.

If you or your family already have a digital camera, that is even better. Get to know it, practice with it before leaving for your study abroad, and definitely don’t neglect to add it to your packing list. You will also have to remember to purchase and pack a card reader; you can get them for your computer or phone. You also can’t forget the right charger for your camera’s battery, and I always make sure I bring an extra SD card to ensure that I will have enough storage space for all of the photos and videos I love to take. With those few things, you are sure to produce the most perfect abroad content that will surely have others wishing they were there with you. You can create the most beautiful photos and videos that will remain high quality through all of your sharing and transferring—all with a device that fits in your small purse, belt bag, or front pocket!

If this sounds like something you want your photos to be, invest in a digital camera! Not only will it enhance your experience abroad, but it is also a piece of equipment that you will appreciate having for years to come.

Abby Holbrook is a student at Auburn University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is studying with ISA in Florence, Italy.

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