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Best Cameras for a Kauai Vacation

Best Cameras for a Kauai Vacation

Kauai is one of the most beautiful places in the world and you will surely want to take plenty of photos on your visit to the Garden Island. One of the best things about taking photos in Kauai is that it’s hard to take a bad photo because Kauai is so photogenic. You will be looking like a National Geographic photographer to your friends on Facebook and Instagram when you share your Kauai photos. So what are the best cameras to use on your Kauai trip? Here are the cameras we use here at

First, and foremost, we use the camera on our iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 has an excellent camera and our 64GB version can hold thousands of photos. We’ve had 3,000 plus photos on the iPhone 6 64GB version with 25GB memory still available. Many of the beautiful photos seen here at were taken with this phone. There’s nothing easier than taking photos with an iPhone, and sharing them instantly too. Really, why would you even need to consider a real camera (camera only) when iPhones make it so easy to take, edit, and share photos? Be sure to have a water repellent protective case for your iPhone in Kauai as there is a lot of moisture and sand. And if taking the iPhone near or on the water it would be a good idea to invest in a waterproof case. Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones also have excellent cameras, and some reviews indicate their cameras are better than the iPhones.

GoPro Photo

Above: Photo of the Kalalau Valley taken with a GoPro Hero 3 camera.

Another camera that gets a lot of use in Kauai is our GoPro Hero 3 Camera. It’s rugged and has a waterproof case. Much of the time we have it mounted to a Smatree SmaPole to capture hiking footage, but we also have a mount on our vehicle dashboard to capture the scenery as we drive around Kauai. The mounts are relatively inexpensive (can be discarded when you turn in your rental car) and can be attached with a peel-off adhesive. There are also specialized mounts for bicycles, motorcycles, surfboards and other recreational equipment. For personal wear, there are several options including a head strap mount, a helmet mount and a chest harness. We do not recommend the chest harness as video is usually jumpy with a lot of heavy breathing for audio. GoPro cameras are perfect for taking in the water, and there are many water-based accessories. Just be sure the camera is securely attached to your body or piece of equipment when in the water. Also be sure you have the waterproof backdoor on the case. Note that the GoPro Floaty Backdoor does not necessarily keep a GoPro camera afloat if attached to other accessories that add weight. One problem that you need to be aware of when using a GoPro in or near the water, or where there is moisture such as rain, is that droplets of water can collect on the housing over the lens and ruin your footage. We usually carry a towel and continually wipe off the lens. Another solution is to apply Rain-X over the lens. We will probably be upgrading to the GoPro Hero 5 when it comes out later in 2016.


When we don’t want to risk the iPhone in or near the water, but want to take better photos and videos than a GoPro, we use the Nikon COOLPIX AW 130 Waterproof Digital Camera. It’s a great camera for the beach, kayaking, hiking and other water-related activities on Kauai. The camera is rugged. Ours has been dropped from approximately six feet onto a wood floor with no problem. It’s a popular camera – we see it all the time in the hands of tourists. If you’re buying a camera for Kauai, we recommend this one.

For our best shots, when the elements or transporting a larger camera are not issues, we use our Canon EOS Rebel. The camera is perfect for capturing the infinite beauty of Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and the Na Pali Coast. What sets this camera apart is the lens which can capture every ray of light and turn your Kauai photos into works of art.

Whether you use any of these cameras, or other cameras, just be sure you have a camera for your trip to Kauai to capture lasting memories of your beautiful visit.

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