Travel Video Training Part 1: Choosing your Camera

by Mitchell on January 1, 2012

Travel videos can be a great way of sharing your travels with the world
(or just your friends and family back home).
They aren’t hard to make, and if done properly (like the video below) can be truly inspiring.

For some things, your point and shoot just isn’t going to cut it.
You need something that’s lightweight, durable, and shoots great video without slowing you down.

We took a look at some of the best wearable (and one handheld) video cameras on the market.

We graded them on a scale of 1/10 (1 being super sucky and 10 being awesome) in the following areas.

Video/Picture Quality:
Ease of Use:

We’ve also included an example video filmed using each camera so you can see what can be achieved using them.

Flip Video Camera

Probably the most well known portable personal camera the Flip Video line of cameras have been getting rave reviews for the past few years.

These look a bit like an i-pod and easily fit into your pocket or purse.
They aren’t as easy to attach to your body but the price and easy of use can’t be beat.

The only drawback in my opinion is the durability and the built in memory which limits you to 120 mins of recording time.

Price: 8/10 (variety of models available with the top of the line one being around $199)
Video/Picture Quality: 6/10
Ease of Use: 9/10 (super easy to use, fast response, great LCD viewfinder)
Durability: 5/10 (very portable due to it’s size but doesn’t handle the elements like a Go Pro)

GoPro Hero

These are the cameras that popularized the personal action sports video camera industry.
In the past few years they’ve seen a massive boost in popularity and you can’t hit your local
ski hill these days without seeing a few of these poking off of peoples helmets.

These cameras are super durable and their fish eye lense makes your videos appear more steady.
You can also mount them almost anywhere (end of a shovel or ski pole) and film yourself flying down the mountain.

One of the biggest drawbacks is that they aren’t super easy to use and it’s hard to tell exactly what you are filming.
There’s no viewfinder so you usually have to trust the fish eye lense or practice correct camera position before-hand.
The sound quality also isn’t that great.

Price: 7/10 ($250)
Video/Picture Quality: 7/10 (not everyone loves the fish eye)
Ease of Use: 6/10 (no viewfinder)
Durability: 9/10 (built like a rock. Use the included water/bullet proof casing and you can take this anywhere)


The Contour line of cameras are starting to rise in popularity (piggybacking on the Go Pro’s success). They feature a nice big lense (minimal fish eye), and LCD viewscreen and are also super durable. The Contour+ even features a built in GPS and allows you to live stream footage from your camera.

Price: 6/10 ($150-$500)
Video/Picture Quality: 8/10 (nice big lense)
Ease of Use: 8/10
Durability: 8/10


A relatively new entry into the wearable camera market comes from Canadian company “Drift Innovations”.
I first saw these guys at a ski and snowboard festival in Whistler and I’ve been keeping an eye on their product line ever since.
It has the best video quality out of the cameras and can shoot in 720 or 1080p.

My favourite feature is the remote control which
you can use to start and stop the camera. This is super useful if your skiing or snowboarding and only want to capture the rad/gnarly/extreme/etc. parts.

Price: 4/10 ($350 for the model we reviewed)
Video/Picture Quality: 9/10 (the best quality)
Ease of Use: 8/10 (remote control 4tw)
Durability: 7/10 (fairly durable, the waterproof casing is an extra accessory that needs to be purchased)

So, there we have a quick look at 4 of the best video cameras for travel.
I personally use (and love) the Drift HD Action Camera..

The remote has been a huge timesaver for me as I can easily capture only the video I want and am not forced to edit out the boring stuff in-between.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 (coming next month) where we go over getting your camera properly set up for capturing your travel footage.

We’ll also go over a few strategies for saving battery on the road and storing your video (once it’s been captured).

See you soon!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen January 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Hey there Mitchell. Love this post. It can make a world of difference when you got the right tools to document travels.

Thought you might like to know: there’s a new book coming out in a few weeks that might just be perfect for all the folks wondering the world and trying to capture their moments. Called “Ready Steady Shoot: Pocket Posh Guide to Great Home Video” – it’s tiny, and perfect for travels. It’s all about technique, and learning to make every shot count. Breaking away from emphasis on tech specs. We’re working on getting our site up and running, but wanted to give you a heads up from now.. We’re @GreatHomeVideo or feel free to eml. Cheers


Mitchell January 11, 2012 at 2:05 am

Thanks Karen! Just sent you a tweet! Looking forward to checking out your book and website!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: