Q: I am preparing for a backpack trip to Europe, and I am looking buying a digital camera and camera equipment for the trip. I have a budget of about $5,000, and I would like to shoot a variety of photos, both during the trip and afterward. I wouldn't mind having a few different lenses. Any ideas? ---L.
First, congratulations on the large camera budget! You obviously have a lot of options for spending that amount of money when buying a digital camera ... maybe too many options, which is why you're asking for help! Here are some ideas about what to look for when buying a digital camera.
You didn't mention your level of photography expertise, but I'd have to guess you have some familiarity with DSLR cameras, based on your budget and the mention of having a few different interchangeable lenses. Obviously, you can purchase a very nice DSLR camera and a few lenses while still remaining well under your $5,000 budget. As long as you stick to major camera manufacturers, you should be able to find a very nice model.
Because of your large camera budget for buying a digital camera, you're going to have a lot of choices in camera models. So, rather than give you a list of cameras that you may want to buy, I'm going to focus on some other pieces of advice, where your large camera budget gives you some flexibility.
If you're truly backpacking everywhere, the weight of your camera and its accessories should be a primary consideration. Consider a light camera body, and if you can pick two lenses with a lot of flexibility, rather than four lenses that are more specialized, you will be happier because you'll be carrying less weight.
Spend plenty of money on extra batteries and extra memory cards. If you're traveling, you never quite know when you'll have a chance to find an electrical outlet to recharge the camera or to download the photos to clear a memory card. Be sure you have the correct electrical equipment for the area of the world in which you'll be traveling, too.
Consider purchasing an advanced point and shoot camera to go along with the DSLR camera you'll buy. Then, when you don't feel like carrying all of your DSLR equipment, you can carry the smaller and lighter point and shoot camera. In addition, there will be some situations where a point and shoot might work better than a bulky DSLR.
Along those lines, consider the environments in which you'll be shooting. If the temperatures will be extreme, or if there will be wet weather, make sure to select a point and shoot that can handle harsh conditions, such as the Olympus Stylus Tough-8000. Also, make sure you have bags and cases that will protect your DSLR camera equipment from water.
Finally, be sure to protect your camera equipment with some photography travel tips. Traveling with a camera creates some unique situations that you need to think about ahead of time to protect yourself and your photography investment.
Find more answers to common camera questions on the camera FAQ page.