A travel camera has to be not only capable of capturing quality images but also light in weight, versatile, and hard enough to withstand the occasional nudge or scratch. Among them, point-and-shoot cameras are the smallest and least expensive, although not nearly as capable as high-end mirrorless and professional DSLR cameras.
Depending on what you need it for, a travel camera can meet almost any need, just as long as you’re not a professional photographer. We say this because travel cameras are usually intended to be sturdy and reliable, often at the expense of some pretty interesting features. With this in mind, let us find out what are the ten best travel cameras money can buy.
Best Travel Cameras – Reviews
10Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
The Mark II is a mirrorless camera that offers superior image quality all in a solid package. It weighs just 13.8 ounces meaning that it is easy and light to carry. What’s more, it comprises various features among them an electronic viewfinder, 5-axis image stabilization and an LCD screen (tilting). It also offers a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses which make it an ideal option.
9Ricoh GR II
This is perhaps the best street photography camera out there. It features among others an APS-C image sensor (extra large), decent f/2.8 maximum aperture, with a fixed lens at 28mm. Not only that but it also comes with an inbuilt WiFi technology for good measure. It comes with an exclusive 20.1-megapixel sensor, RAW capability and a fast zoom lens (Carl Zeiss) among other features that enhance its service capacity. It is a discreet and small travel camera with big-time image quality.
This amazing model features numerous provisions that make it a wonderful option including exceptional image quality and color rendition, a 24.3-megapixel sensor and quality image processor. It is also fairly lightweight at above 13 ounces for easy portability. It also features Fujifilm collection of special X-Mount lenses inclusive of decent 18-55mm f/2.8-4 provided in a unique kit. Its only concern is that it is not weather-sealed.
7Sony Alpha a6500
This model pretty much offers you everything you need. It comprises numerous features that include a highly enhanced autofocus system, weather-resistant construct, 4K video, touch-screen functionality for the rear LCD and in-body image stabilization. This model is also among the lightest out there at only 13.1 ounces and is compact for daily use and travel. It features an APS-C 18-megapixel image sensor, a large navigation LCD screen, not to forget 1080p full HD video capacity.
The X-T2 Fujifilm is a stellar mirrorless option that offers you among others weather sealing that safeguards your camera, a high-resolution LCD screen, the capacity to add a standard battery grip not to mention an additional storage slot. Moreover, it also features strong X-Mount lenses and 4K video recording. This model also features quite a few useful features like a flip-out screen boasting touch-screen functionality, enhanced low-light performance, and superior autofocus.
5Sony Alpha a7R II
If you opt for value over money, then the Sony a7R II is the best option. It features a back-illuminated 42.4-megapixel image sensor, 4K video, enhanced low light performance, not to mention inbuilt image stabilization. Moreover, it is packaged in a lightweight provision and offers premium-grade image quality. It also includes an excellent 24-70mm f/2.8 focal range.
4Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
This Lumix FZ1000 Panasonic offers an amazing 1″ sensor of the highest quality along with a tremendous 25-400mm zoom capacity. Despite shooting 4K video, this camera is unfortunately heavy and large at 29.3 ounces. Even so, this is the type of camera that you can take with you almost anywhere. We say this because it enjoys a very sturdy construction that many other cameras in this price range do not have.
3Canon PowerShot G9 X
The Canon G9X PowerShot is a compact and lightweight model for traveling. It features among others a 1″ CMOS sensor, weighs just 7.4 ounces, and has inbuilt WIFI among other features. If you are looking for professional-grade image quality but at a fairly affordable price, the Canon G9 X full-frame option is a good option. It comes with a moderate 20.2 megapixels and 24-105mm f/4L lens versions to choose from depending on your needs. It also offers all the functionality and image quality needed by most typical photographers.
This RX100 Sony camera is a high-end model in every sense of the word, one that features among others 4K video, a fast burst rate of 24frames/second, plus a remarkable 315-point phase detection autofocus. What’s more, it also comes with a fast Carl Zeiss lens plus pop-up electric viewfinder. It is a professional-grade full-frame DSLR option that features a 30.4 megapixels resolution, which is quite impressive, to say the least. It also weighs approximately 9 ounces more compared to the Sony a7R II and offers a wide array of lenses which you can select from.
DSLRs are larger than mirrorless options, but they offer almost similar quality and value. The Nikon D3300 comes with a typical 18-55mm lens and is ideal for still videos and photography courtesy of the DX-format selection of lenses. It has excluded the former optical low pass filter to boost sharpness and includes an exclusive EXPEED 4 image processor that enhances low-light performance and speeds up its functionality. Finally, it comes in a slightly lighter construct.
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What To Look For In A Travel Camera
By definition, travel cameras have to be highly portable and easy to care for. Because of this, some of these cameras may not be the best available in terms of technology and supporting features, but they’re definitely sturdy enough to rely on when you’re on the road. Some factors do have to be taken into account when shopping for one, factors we will try to delve into over the next few minutes so that we will better understand what to look for.
Needless to say, a travel camera has to be first and foremost portable. A compact camera is always to be desired for a tourist because otherwise, you’re going to have difficulties storing it, not to mention how awkward it would be to carry. Although professional cameras are much better at capturing high-definition images, some of these modern travel cameras can be equally good when you’re taking videos or well-lit pictures. In this regard, let us point out that point-and-click cameras are by far the smallest, small enough to fit in your pockets actually. Despite their size, these cameras can be expected to take surprisingly good photographs, just as long as you’re not expecting to capture any professional-grade stills.
Another important attribute for a travel camera is to be capable of performing multiple tasks when needed. Even though you would mostly expect handheld cameras to capture images and the occasional videos, you will find that some of these modern cameras can do a whole lot more. For instance, mirrorless cameras and digital SLRs have interchangeable lens, which means that they allow you to choose any focal length you want depending on what you’re taking photos of. This type of versatility used to be reserved only for professional cameras in the past, whereas nowadays even your average camera can do it, sometimes at half the price.
You might not think much of the need to have a discreet camera but in populated urban areas, this is imperative. The last thing you want to do in a crowded area is to draw attention to the fact that you own an expensive camera, which is why travel cameras are usually designed not to stand out too much. It’s not just the safety element you have to consider but also the way you might look carrying such an obvious example of modern technology in areas where it’s frowned upon to use it, like art galleries, temples, or around other religious effigies. You still want to be able to use your camera, mind you, but perhaps in a way that doesn’t attract unwanted attention to yourself or your camera.
Like we said, a travel camera has to be above everything else sturdy and durable. You don’t want your camera to give up on you at the first sign of a nudge or scratch, nor do you want to spend your vacation going around from shop to shop in a foreign land looking for replacement parts for an easily damaged, sub-par camera. Our advice in this regard is to always go for a reputable brand. Not to say that big brands make sturdier cameras, but in the event that your camera does break, then you can rest assured that you’ll find replacement parts for it in no time. That said, you should perhaps refrain from taking pictures in wet or dusty weather, because this type of climate will always damage a camera, no matter how well-built it might be.
You want a modern camera to be able to capture high-resolution photographs, regardless of how much you paid for it or how its manufacturers advertise it. Whether it’s a professional or travel camera, it simply has to be able to catch what you’re shooting in great detail. Depending on its image sensor, megapixel count, and lens choices, such a camera should allow you to capture close and far objects in detail, preferably with a booming effect. The main reason for having a high-resolution camera is so that you will be able to print out your photos without losing any visual elements in the process.
Last but not least, a modern camera has to be able to capture 1080p videos nowadays, no matter its model, build type, manufacturer, or price tag. With travel cameras, you want to always be able to record distant objects in great detail, especially when you’re trying to capture long-exposure shots. The reason we say this is because even smartphones can take 1080p videos these days, so paying just as much on a camera should at least guarantee the same standard as a bare minimum. That said, you are also likely to find cameras capable of recording 4K videos, albeit at a much heftier price tag than your average camera.