Globetrotting is made all the more memorable and amazing with an excellent travel camera by your side. Smartphones might be incredibly capable but will only get you so far. It is cameras that’ll bring out the very best of the place you’ve traveled to. The best travel cameras effectively combine excellent image quality, versatility, and portability. Plus, they don’t weigh you down with their size and weight either. The very best cameras for travel are easy to use and capture pictures that do proper justice to your holiday.
It is true that there isn’t a perfect travel camera and choosing the right one depends on a lot of factors. First, you must consider your preferred shooting experience. Then, the kind of traveling you’re going to do comes into play. If you’re going trekking, then perhaps the weight of the camera is important to you. And all this pales in comparison to its picture quality. Choosing a camera might be daunting, but it’s a lot of fun when you use it.
It’s safe to say that a camera is one of the best and coolest travel gadgets you can own. So whether you’re sipping mai tais on a beach or heading out to a safari, cameras capture images the best. Over the years, the number of choices for cameras has exploded into all kinds of exciting directions. So, here’s laying out the 13 best travel cameras in business:
How to choose good travel cameras?
Types of cameras
Cameras can broadly be divided into DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) and mirrorless ones. The former works on the basis of a mirror within the camera. It covers the sensor when you look through the viewfinder. Hence, you essentially see a reflected scene. DSLRs are typically larger in size due to a bevy of moving parts within. Mirrorless cameras have neither a mirror nor moving parts. Plus, the image is a digital copy of the view rather than a live one. So, mirrorless cameras are about half the size of DSLRs. However, both cameras are on par today when it comes to picture quality.
A tiny color dot on your phone/computer display is called as a pixel. A megapixel is around 1 million of these dots. So, when one says that a camera is ‘24 megapixels’ or 24 MP, it amounts to 24 million color dots. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the larger the megapixel resolution, the better the picture. It’s the sensor that is more important. So, combine the MP resolution along with other factors to choose a travel camera that suits you.
It is important to choose cameras that allow for changing lenses. It offers you more choices for exploring different photography styles in the future. Compact cameras usually employ fixed lenses. Cameras that allow changing lenses also allow for upgradation to zoom lenses, wide-angle lenses, etc.
While we’re on lenses, it’s also important to consider how far the camera can zoom in on a subject.
Cameras that allow changing manual settings give you complete control over factors like shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. This allows you to get extremely creative for shooting pictures in low-light conditions.
The weather might very well play spoilsport, no matter where you travel. The best travel cameras that are either waterproof or feature excellent weather sealing. However, do not go in for a fully waterproof one, as you might have to end up compromising.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
If you’re looking for a lightweight camera with excellent image quality and interchangeable lenses, then the OM-D E-M1 Mark III from Olympus is perfect.
This compact mirrorless camera packs more zoom in less amount of space, making it perfect for wildlife photography. A 20-MP sensor captures brilliant photos in most conditions. Furthermore, there’s a handheld mode that boosts the res to 50 MP for stationary objects. However, its best feature is the space-saving, best-in-class stabilization system. It allows you to take some six-second-long handheld shots, which means you don’t have to lug your travel tripod everywhere. With some popular tourist attractions not allowing tripods, it’s a huge plus.
What’s more, the E-M1 Mark III boasts built-in neutral density filters. Thus, long-range exposures, like water body shots such as a beach or a waterfall, come out wonderfully. Plus, the camera also features cinema 4K video, accurate and fast autofocus, boasting an overall good performance.
Who’s it for:
Enthusiasts and serious travel photographers.
- Accurate colors.
- Flip-out screen.
- Compact, weather-proof body.
- Excellent image stabilization
- Video features are not so great as other cameras.
- One might find its low-light capabilities to be slightly subpar.
Panasonic Lumix TZ200/ZS200
Compact, long-zoom cameras are excellent for capturing any kind of subject. One of the best travel cameras in this class is the Panasonic Lumix TZ200/ZS200.
The TZ200/SZ200 sports an extremely versatile 15x zoom in addition to a 20 MP sensor and produces excellent images. Together, they cover a 24mm wide-angle view up to a long-range setting. A convenient inbuilt electronic viewfinder allows for composing images in bright light as well. What’s more, it has the options of 4K video mode and raw shooting as well. It even features the nifty 4K photo mode from Panasonic that allows burst shots. Moreover, a macro mode allows you to focus on subjects as near as 3cm away.
Clearly, the Panasonic TZ200/ZS200 is excellent for those who want versatility and quality sans the hassle of changing lenses. While it’s a bit on the pricier side, it’s still the best option out there.
Who’s it for:
- 4K video capture.
- Inbuilt electronic viewfinder.
- Good balance of size and zoom.
- Excellent zoom for a pocket camera.
- Sharpness lessens at full zoom.
- 4K video recording sees a 1.5x crop.
Canon G5X Mark II
One of the best cameras for travel in the compact-lightweight category is the Canon G5X Mark II. This excellent all-rounder compact camera combines an impressive range of features into a competitively-priced package.
The G5X Mark II features a flexible 24-120mm zoom lens coupled with a high-performing one-inch sensor. When it comes to video, the camera offers uncropped 4K video recording at 30p. A small pop-up electronic viewfinder works well with the tilting LCD screen, especially in bright light. In terms of picture quality, the G5X Mark II produces excellent JPEGs with eye-pleasing colors. The lens works better at longer focal lengths and ensures fabulous all-around image quality.
Given its feature set, the Canon G5X Mark II is reasonably priced. Its adaptability and performance make it a stand out among the other cameras in the same price range.
Who’s it for:
Engaging/intermediate level photographers.
- 30p/4K video recording.
- Popup electronic viewfinder.
- Good zoom range and a fast lens.
- Limited battery life.
- Limited 10x zoom lens.
If you’re a Nikon enthusiast with a not-so-stretchable budget, then the diminutive, hobbyist-friendly Nikon Z50 is an enticing option. Armed with a comfy button layout, the Z50 works well as a ‘first’ travel camera.
The Nikon Z50 employs an APS-C sensor as opposed to a full-frame one, that makes for an affordable, compact-bodied camera. A 3.2-inch flip-friendly screen is great for snapping some nice holiday selfies. The camera boasts a 20.9 MP sensor complemented by an Expeed 6 engine that helps shoot 4k videos. A hybrid autofocusing system, much like its superior Nikon Z6, delivers edge-to-edge sharpness. Furthermore, despite having smaller sensors and lower resolutions than its superior brethren, the Nikon Z50 produces good images. What’s more, the automatic white balance works well with a variety of lighting conditions as well.
So, if you’re already a fan of Nikon and want a first ‘proper’ camera, the Nikon Z50 will not disappoint.
Who’s it for:
Fairly intermediate-level camera users.
- Impressive screen and viewfinder.
- Good value for money.
- Great handling.
- Limited range of lens.
- Tilt screen cannot be used with tripod.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
If budget isn’t an issue for you, then nothing should stop you from investing in the RX100 VII from Sony. This pocket powerhouse of a long-zoom camera does and has just about everything right.
The RX100 VII features a 24-200mm equivalent lens that is perfect for all sorts of shooting situations. That, coupled with a highly flexible zoom lens allows for shooting both landscapes as well as close-up shots excellently. A pop-up viewfinder and a large one-inch sensor are ideal for composing pictures in bright light. However, the standout feature is the autofocus, which is one of the best amongst compact cameras. An easy-to-use Wi-Fi system that can directly send pictures to your smartphone.
To top it off, the camera’s video specifications are also high-grade. What’s more, there’s also Real-time Eye Autofocus, Real-time Tracking, and a new microphone socket which will appeal to travel vloggers.
Who’s it for:
- High-quality electronic viewfinder.
- Mindbogglingly good performance.
- Great range of features.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is easily one of the best travel cameras of the affordable, mirrorless kind. Furthermore, this pleasing-looking camera promises gorgeous shots of your vacation.
No matter the kind of vacation you’re headed for, the X-T30 is lightweight and won’t add any weight to your luggage. It has a 26-MP backside-illuminated sensor that produces stunning pictures rich in detail and color. The camera even gives users the choice of looking through the adjustable LCD screen or central viewfinder.
To top that, the Fujifilm X-T30 has a tough build, speedy autofocus, 4K video recording, and a high-res electronic viewfinder. If you need even more reasons, there’s also a whole range of excellent lenses available for the Fujifilm X range!
Who’s it for:
Intermediate-level users who want to take more than just excellent vacation shots.
- Great looking camera with excellent build quality.
- Quick auto-focus.
- Value for money.
- Lack of inbuilt stabilization.
GoPro Hero8 Black
If you’re looking for the best action camera money can buy, go in for the GoPro Hero8 Black. GoPro’s latest flagship offering does more than just offer athletes a point-of-view perspective. It has a slew of brand-new ‘mod’ accessories that promise to make it a compelling vlogging tool.
If you seek adventures on your holiday, GoPro Hero8 Black is the perfect companion to capture all thrills. Whether it is kayaking, canoeing, skiing, mountain biking, or watersports, GoPro’s 4K video has you covered. A whole range of shooting modes is sure to capture stunning videos of all your holiday adventures. Add to that an exceptional HyperSmooth stabilization hat mellows even the roughest mountain trail rides and runs.
A flip-up selfie screen, a mini microphone, and LED light, and the ability to capture stills make the GoPro a perfect choice for camera-seekers. Also, the GoPro Hero8 Black is perfect for beach adventures, where regular cameras might fall prey to water and sand.
Who’s it for:
Those who need small cameras to shoot point-of-view videos.
- New inbuilt mount.
- Excellent video stabilization.
- Lightweight and small in size.
- Limited quality of stills.
Olympus Tough TG-6
The ‘rugged’ travel camera genre is dominated by the Tough TG-6, the latest pocket camera from Olympus. This take-anywhere camera fits well in both the hand and the pocket. However, more importantly, the indestructible TG-6 is shockproof, dustproof, crush-proof, and freeze-proof.
The TG-6’s sensor brings out sharp images and nicely balanced colors. Underwater enthusiasts will love the white balance modes that make the color capture better. Apart from this, the camera has a slew of new and useful accessories. There’s an underwater case extending to a depth of 45 meters. The lens boasts a brand-new anti-reflective coating for reducing flares and ghosting. What’s more, there’s also the FCON-T02, a new fisheye adapter, that produces truly circular fisheye images.
If that wasn’t enough, the highly-improved res of the rear LCD panel of the TG-6 is a vast improvement over its much-loved predecessor, the TG-5. This lends extra sharpness to viewing photos underwater, which is a huge plus-point.
Who’s it for:
Expert enthusiasts who need a camera to survive the rough elements.
- Durable design.
- Outfitted with numerous accessories to survive the depths.
- For a small camera, the image quality is excellent.
- Menu system and settings are a bit confusing.
- The costs of accessories add up.
The Nikon Z6 could unarguably be the best all-round camera in the market right now. The nifty camera is the breakout star of Nikon’s mirrorless lineup and makes for a fantastic travel companion.
The extremely portable kit of the Z6 boasts a full-frame sensor that makes clicking pictures easy in various shooting conditions. A huge, full-frame sensor all but guarantees image quality, coupled with a 24-70mm f/4 lens. The camera also possesses a gamut of other noteworthy features including a fabulous electronic viewfinder and a tilting touch-sensitive screen. What’s more, Snapbridge connectivity is a boon for those who want to quickly share their pictures with the whole world.
Avid photographers will particularly love the Z6’s in-body image stabilization that is par excellence. Moreover, a speedy burst rate of 12 fps and a weather-sealed, lightweight body, and you have yourself a winner.
Who’s it for:
- Superb image quality.
- Good price point.
- Great low-light images.
- A wider range of ISO.
- The autofocus isn’t as strong as a DSLR.
Panasonic Lumix G95/90
The Panasonic G90 (95 in the United States) ticks a hell lot of boxes for the best travel cameras out there. Not only does this mid-range mirrorless camera pack quite a punch, but it is also already quite popular amongst travel enthusiasts.
The body of the Panasonic G90 has been redesigned for not only ease of operation but also maximum comfort. The camera is lightweight but durable and possesses thorough weather sealing around every button, dial, and joint. The camera also features the latest, compact 20.3-MP sensor from Panasonic, which makes it ideal for all kinds of travel. Moreover, the electronic viewfinder is equipped with OLED technology, which makes images appear crisp and sharp to boot. The highlight of the G90 is its illustrious video credentials and a wide range of native lenses, which makes it one of the most flexible cameras on this list.
Who’s it for:
Intermediate-level travel vloggers and photographers.
- Excellent 4K video features.
- The latest, powerful 20MP sensor from Panasonic.
- Well-built, compact structure and superb handling.
- The sensor is relatively small.
If you’re a zoom enthusiast, you will love the Nikon 950 and its jaw-dropping 83x superzoom. In fact, its epic, easy-to-use zoom potential is only second to the mega monster that is the Nikon Coolpix P1000.
If you think that the massive optical zoom makes finding the right focal length difficult, it is not so. Fortunately, the P950 is equipped with numerous zoom controls and the zoom ring around the shutter button being the quickest way for zooming in and out. A small and lightweight frame make the P950 perfect for all your travel photography needs. Advanced photographers and videographers will appreciate the addition of the 4K video recording and raw shooting modes. Plus, the camera’s flip-forward hinge makes it a breeze to click selfies, while giving an accurate preview of both contrast and color.
If you’re looking for an all-round camera to capture fantastic pictures of your holidays, the Nikon P950 is more than just a good bet.
Who’s it for:
Intermediate holiday photographers.
- Good quality electronic viewfinder.
- 4K video.
- Good ergonomically designed and built.
- 83x optical zoom.
- Expensive price tag.
One of the best compact cameras for travel is the Fujifilm X100F, the fourth camera from the brand’s well-known X100 series.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the retro-esque Fujifilm X100F is its traditional exposure controls. These include a shutter speed dial atop the camera and a lens aperture ring. The shutter speed dial can be lifted and turned to change the ISO setting, just like retro-style cameras. The X100F features the brand’s new 24-MP APS-C X-Trans sensor, which is 8MP more than the previous model in the lineup. To top it all, the camera even has a unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, which can be switched using a frontal lever. The effectiveness of direct vision viewfinders is evident in the bright, crisp views that the camera produces.
All-in-all, if you’re a retro-look lover looking for a lightweight, overall good camera, then the Fujifilm X100F is your best bet.
Who’s it for:
- Fast auto-focus.
- A delightful hybrid viewfinder.
- Excellent image quality in JPEG and Raw.
- The lens lacks stabilization.
Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II
Four years after the launch of the extremely popular LX100, Panasonic launched the LX100 II which is an evolution of its predecessor. The good-looking point-and-shoot camera is easily one of the nicest looking ones on the market and is also a versatile one at that.
The Lumix Lx100 II boasts a retro, classic styling, and a textured grip that sits very comfortably in your hand. Furthermore, it boasts plenty of muscle to capture any and all kinds of videos and pictures. It features a 17-MP multi-aspect sensor that allows you to switch between 16:9, 3:2. and 4:3 ratios easily to sans changing focal length. Moreover, the camera possesses the nifty Venus Image Engine, which ensures accurate, crisp photographs and lesser noise in low-light conditions.
Apart from the above, the Lumix LX100 II also features a large electronic viewfinder, monochrome options for black-and-white photos, and 4K shooting for videos and photos.
Who’s it for:
Intermediate photographers looking for a great point-and-shoot camera.
- 4K shooting modes for photos and videos.
- Venus Image Engine is great for clicking low-light photos.