The Best Travel Cameras
But what’s the best travel camera for capturing these special moments on your journey? There’s no easy answer to this question. Different people will have different requirements and budgets.
My goal with this digital camera buyers guide is to help you narrow down the overwhelming choices that are out there and pick the perfect travel camera for your next trip.
Here’s everything we’re going to cover (click to go to a specific section if you want to skip around):
Table of Contents
Ultimate Travel Camera Review Guide 2019
We’ll get to the juicy stuff in a second (I promise!), but before that, it’s important to understand a few high-level concepts about what makes a camera good for travel.
Important Travel Camera Features
SIZE & WEIGHT – Gone are the days when a bigger camera means a better camera. If you want to travel with your camera, you’ll want something small & lightweight.
MANUAL SETTINGS – Photography professionals want the ability to fully control the settings of their camera so they can dial in the perfect shot in all kinds of different situations.
MEGAPIXELS – Many people assume that more megapixels is better. This isn’t always true if the pixels themselves are small. However more megapixels on a large sensor will give you higher detail, and allow you to “crop” your image without reducing quality.
FAST LENS – Lens aperture is measured in f/numbers, like f/1.4, f/2.8, f/4, etc. The lower the number, the better it will perform in low-light situations.
ZOOM RANGE – A zoom lens lets you get closer to the action, especially for wildlife or people. But the bigger the zoom the bulkier a camera gets. How much zoom you want is a personal preference.
HD/4K VIDEO – Most quality travel cameras will shoot video in HD 1080p. Some even have 4K capabilities — which honestly most people won’t need unless you’re doing professional work.
WIFI/BLUETOOTH: – Some cameras have their own wifi network, allowing you to upload your photos instantly to your computer or smartphone.
INTERCHANGEABLE LENSES – High-end mirrorless and DSLR cameras have interchangeable lenses, allowing you to pick the perfect lens for different situations.
WEATHERPROOFING – Will your travel camera hold up against the elements? Some cameras are better protected from moisture and dust than others.
Understanding Camera Sensors
When choosing the perfect camera for traveling, you need to understand different camera sensors, and how they affect image quality and camera size.
In general, a camera with a large sensor is going to perform better in low light because that large sensor can capture more of it.
With a large sensor, you’ll also get more detail, allowing you to print your images large, or crop them smaller, and not lose any quality.
However, a large camera sensor means the camera itself will be larger as well.
What Kind Of Travel Photography?
When choosing the best travel camera for your needs, you must define what those needs are. Different cameras have strengths and weaknesses depending on what you’re using them for.
Are you looking for portability? Weatherproofing & ruggedness? Professional high-end image quality? Something reasonably priced? Are you going to be shooting more landscapes, wildlife, adventure activities, or people?
You often can’t have it all when it comes to travel cameras.
Keep reading below to learn the pros & cons for each type of camera, and which types of travel photography they work best for.
Travel Camera Comparisons
Best Compact Camera For Travel
Point & shoot cameras have come a long way. As technology has improved, companies have managed to pack these pocket-sized cameras with tons of features. Some shoot 4k video and have manual settings, just like the more expensive ones in this list.
The big difference is the camera sensor is a bit smaller, and they don’t have interchangeable lenses.
In my opinion, a mid-range to high-end point & shoot is the best option for 75% of amateur travel photographers. They combine the perfect mix of being compact, powerful, and budget-friendly.
Sony RX100 V – Compact Travel Camera
Sensor Size: 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
The Sony RX100 V is my favorite small travel camera. It’s what I’d call a “professional” point & shoot. While it is compact enough to fit in my pocket, it has many of the same features as my larger primary mirrorless camera.