Is It Worth Buying a Camera for Travel? Sony Alpha a5000 Review

I'm no professional but I do have a love of awesome travel photos and like to have good quality pictures of the places I've been. After the disappointment of looking through my first travel photos of Europe and finding only a handful that were good enough to print I decided a travel camera upgrade was required. I also wanted to test if I would actually bother to carry it around with me or would just use my phone.

Camera vs Phone for Travel Photography

Phones these days have incredible abilities for photography and there are definitely arguments for travelling only with a camera phone. You take it with you everywhere anyway, it's smaller and easier than a camera and often the photo quality is decent. 

But we didn't want to carry phones that were worth a lot of money as we use them daily, drop them often and didn't want to risk having them stolen and losing our phone and camera at the same time. 

We also wanted higher quality photos for the blog and for the potential to print out when/if we ever have a house. It's also a great opportunity to teach ourselves the basics of photography and practice our skills all around the world. 



Choosing a Camera for Travel

My first digital travel camera soon proved worthwhile but, after a couple of years, phone cameras again surpassed my digital number and it was time to make some serious decisions. Our camera criteria was simple: It needed to be easy to use, as neither of us know a lot about photography. It needed to be relatively small and light so we could comfortably carry it with us for a day. And lastly, we didn't want to break the bank. Enter the Sony Alpha 5000! After trawling through reviews, technology blogs and asking friends about the best travel cameras we were recommended this one and decided to take the plunge.

This is a Compact System Camera (CSC) which, in short, means you can get similar quality pictures as with a DSLR but the camera itself is much smaller and simpler to use. Read here for a detailed break down of the differences and how they influence the photos.

Key Features

-20.1 MP

-Micro USB charger

-Comes with a 16-50mm lens (other lenses available) 

-Allows you to store RAW image files which enable more advanced editing (not important for us right now.)

-Flip up screen for selfie mode.

-Light and compact.

-ISO 100-16000

-Good battery life


-Price (we paid €360 in 2016)

We ordered an awesome retro leather case which is great for carrying it around during the day. You simply open the front flap and you can use the camera without removing the case. Plus it looks really funky and is no different to carrying a small handbag. 


Here are some of the pictures we took with the Sony Alpha a5000 zero experience and very little adjusting or editing.

For more recent examples check out our Instagram



*Update 2018*

We still travel with the Sony Alpha 5000 and still believe it is the ideal travel camera. Our only major concern is the lack of a viewfinder. If we were purchasing again now we would go for the next model up - the Sony Alpha a6000 or even the latest model - the Sony a7R III which is supposed to be the creme de la creme of CSC travel cameras although comes with an appropriately large price tag.