Bringing your camera while traveling is a great way to capture moments in the present.
While some might argue that lugging around cameras, smartphones and gadgets actually brings one out of the present, others say cameras are essential to treasuring the moment.
Indeed, there are moments that can be captured by one's memory, but there are others best preserved in digital form.
Lets not debate the pros and cons of "being in the moment" vs. "capturing the moment". Suffice to say that at some point a regular camera will fall short of your needs, especially for those of the more adventurous mould.
The action camera was invented to meet all the needs of the adventurous traveler. It is basically a tiny video camera built to capture outdoor activities from unique angles using a variety of mounts and housings. GoPro Hero 4, Sony Action Cam Mini and Garmin Virb Elite are some of the favoured models. In the main, these cameras are a documentary tool for extreme athletes - but they are also perfect for tourists.
So, do you really need one? Here are several attributes that might persuade you to answer in the affirmative.
Durable and weatherproof
Having an action camera means you won't have to worry about the weather. Even in rain, action cameras are designed to withstand rugged environments.
Some action cameras are also waterproof, meaning you can bring them with you while swimming in the pool or snorkeling and diving at sea. They require underwater cases, but the in most instances the case comes with the purchase of the camera.
If you compare this to buying an underwater case for a DSLR, action cameras are cheaper, or at least comparably priced.
Most action camera have a lens angle of 120 to 170 degrees, which provides a wider view that maximizes stability.
Unlike a regular camera designed to be used in a static position, action cameras are designed to be used in motion, allowing picture-takers to capture a wider view without needing to create extra distance from the subject.
There are wide-angle lenses for smartphones, DSLRs and prosumer cameras. However, these are impractical on the go and tend to be expensive.
One thing to consider is that like almost all wide-angle lenses, a "parallax effect" will occur when snapping photos. There are, however, software programs and apps that can edit out the effect for those who find it irksome.
Small and wearable
Every action camera has its own proprietary mount that can also accommodate standard one-fourth to 20 tripods.
The great thing about action-camera mounts is their versatility to meet an array of needs. In addition, they are small enough to take pictures and videos discreetly.
For taking videos while walking, cycling, hiking, or even riding a boat, action cameras provide the most hassle-free option. Using chest, body, or wrist straps creates even more freedom of motion to snap photos in motion.
Easy to connect and share
Both regular cameras and DSLR cameras use an SD Card or Compact Flash (CF) for memory. And to access the pictures requires a PC, laptop, or higher-end camera with built-in WiFi. For most action cameras, WiFi can be controlled from smartphones or tablets.
Even for those action cameras that lack WiFi, most use microSD cards, as do smartphones or tablets. This makes content-sharing extremely convenient. Dashboard camera
For those renting a car, motorcycle, or bicycle when traveling, it's always a good idea to use an action camera as a dashboard camera. Besides capturing great footage, a dashboard camera can help you get you out of a sticky spot if the rental agency claims you damaged the car or bike.