Smartphone cameras are many things, but consistent is not always one of them. Often producing blurred, low-resolution or out-of-focus shots, cell phones don’t make practical travel cameras when compared to the financial investment of a vacation. Assuming you have time to learn how to use it beforehand, an upcoming trip is a great reason to buy a new camera—and the items currently on the market offer more than ever before. LN asked local professionals to share their digital camera favorites for travelers.

Stephen Weiss

Owner, Creve Coeur Camera

•For the traveler, I recommend a waterproof, droppable camera, such as the Olympus TG2. It is great for throwing in your purse or backpack. It can handle the beach and the kids—it is even great for winter, because it’s freeze-proof.

•Micro-mirrorless cameras are in-between on price and size—but they have phenomenal results, and some have interchangeable lenses. They are smaller and lighter than the traditional DSLR cameras, but they take great low-light pictures and feature a zoomable lens. The Nikon J3 is a good option.

•The highest-quality images come from DSLRs, and there are two-lens outfits starting at an affordable prince point, such as the Nikon D3100. These are full-feature cameras, and, while they are a little more complicated, they have auto-mode for the consumer who isn’t advanced in photography but wants to take an outstanding picture.

Robb Muller

Sales Manager, Schiller’s Camera

•For a petite travel camera, check out the Canon SX280. It features a 20X zoom, which sets it apart from your cell phone, in a pocket-sized camera. It also has Wi-Fi, which allows you to transfer images right to your computer. It’s a 12.1-megapixel camera, but many of these cameras have a CMOS sensor built in, which is very good in low-light shooting; it allows you to record both stills and video in light you normally couldn’t record in.

•The Canon SL1 is the world’s smallest, most compact, lightest, DSLR camera on the market. With a DSLR, you have more focus control, better exposure control and no shutter lag. While they do an incredible job with stills, most compact and DSLR cameras—this one included—on the market also do an equally incredible job at shooting HD video, which makes them the perfect travel companion.

•The 16-megapixel Nikon S800C is unique because it’s a very compact, long-zoom camera with an Android operating system, so it is like a cell phone without the phone. It has a 3.5-inch touch screen and the ability to work with apps and Wi-Fi hotspots; plus, the image quality is far superior to any cell phone on the market.

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