When it comes to capturing those memories and moments while we’re seeing the world around us, a travel camera will make or break the efficiency, quality and overall convenience (it isn’t always easy lugging a camera around during our traveling adventures) of our trips. As we continue our search into digital cameras, we’ve decided to narrow down our camera picks for those models that are ideal for travel. We chose about 10 of them to cover different price-points, functionality, and overall size and shape to give you options. But first, what type of camera should you be looking for?
Which type of camera should I buy for travel?
Our first focus prior to selecting the best travel camera is to sift through the various different types of cameras out in the market today. As we’ve seen in many types of use-specific buying guides on cameras, you’ll see the popular DSLR camera recommendations; however, for today and when it comes specifically for travel, we actually recommend against them (we do list one towards the end just in case). The main reason is due to their size. Don’t get us wrong — if you’re fine with the bulkier size of DSLRs and are keen to their capabilities and are willing to hang them around your neck or hold by hand during your traveling, be our guest! However, for some straight-forward advice, we suggest you buy a point-and-shoot camera.
Point-and-shoots on the other hand are a type of camera that provides some amazing versatility, most fit in your pocket due to their small size (people also call them “compact cameras”), and come with some super powerful features and functionality. For another one of our favorite camera types for travel, we also have quite a few mirrorless cameras in our list since they’re a lot smaller than DSLR cameras and provide the same (or arguably better) quality, with just a slightly higher price-tag — the lack of mirror in its internal build allows for a smaller size, however increases the price due to the advanced makeup.
Lastly, aside from the “type” of camera you’ll be looking for, keep in mind certain features you’d like in your pick as the best camera for travel. We’ll highlight what sets these travel cameras apart from others, but keep your eye out on some key features these cameras have that may peak your interest. Some questions we’d ask you if we were reading this alongside include, “do you want video? (better yet, 4K video resolution?)”, “is zoom important to you? (some have a few zooms, others with a whopping 30x optical)”, “do you need waterproof or any other type of environmental protection? (perhaps you’re traveling to the beach or lake?)”, “how about Wi-Fi connectivity to your smart phone for easy sharing and uploading?”, and more. Some of these qualities will hike up the price, but it may be worth it depending on your style and needs.
The best travel cameras
Canon Powershot G9X
To start off our list and get us going into the picks, let’s check out one of our favorite point-and-shoots at the moment. Designed by Canon with both precision and high performance, the Powershot G9X is highly regarded as one of the best travel cameras in the market. This is a 20.2 Megapixel camera that comes with a great deal of enhanced features that will encapsulate every detail of your vacation. Featuring a 1.0-inch High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor, a f/2.0-4.9 lens, and also an enhanced DIGIC 6 Image Processor, it is reasonable to assert that this is one of the best travel cameras for its price with specs that resemble a DSLR.
The 3x optical zoom lenses isn’t necessarily the “biggest”; however, it impressively creates an image or recording (yes, 1080p video in this one) that allows for long distances to appear significantly closer that they actually are. If you are a traveler who prefers to pack light and have concerns about the inconvenience of lugging your camera around everywhere you go, it should be noted that the G9X is a relatively compact and light camera that will be a stress-free addition to your travel bag. If documenting your vacations best moments is a priority to you, it’s easy to recognize the benefits of selecting the Canon Powershot G9X as the best camera for travel right now.
Nikon CoolPix A9000
Sleek and reliable, the CoolPix A9000 presented by Nikon is a fantastic beginner camera for travelers everywhere. Here we have a travel camera fully equipped with inspiring features that not only let us capture our moments with a higher resolution, but also allow us to take control of our shots. Simplistic in its design, the A9000 comes with accessible features such as the PSAM mode dial conveniently located on the surface for easy navigation when you’re on-the-fly. The PSAM impressively facilitates versatility in your photographic setting, specifically designed with the ability to create a higher quality recording even in the event that you are stuck with an awkward camera angle.
With all of this said, what really makes this camera one of the best travel cameras on the market is its 5-Axis Hybrid Vibration Reduction. Image stabilization can often be overlooked and underappreciated, but in our opinion the Nikon CoolPix A9000 has the magic touch when it comes to removing sensitivity and creating superior content. The entire Coolpix line is famous at this point, which is why we feel it’s second on our list of the best cameras for travel.
Panasonic Lumix ZS100
The Lumix ZS100 is one camera on our list that comes at a justifiably steeper price. The camera itself is uniquely equipped with a 1 inch 20 Megapixel sensor that permits the camera to deliver superior content with additional luminous features and fewer image artifacts. The 4K Ultra HD video recording feature is what will ultimately make or break this pick for you. It also comes with Wi-Fi capabilities for uploading on the go, so this is a camera that is perfect for travelers who are interested in sharing their moments at lightning speed (quickly swap them onto your phone to share on Insta or FB). Ever have a problem mounting your camera in a stable fashion? Fear no more, as the ZS100 features a lense-mounted control ring that increases the stability and control of your camera so you will never have to deal with a rugged surface.
For those of you who value documenting your trips, or even those who simply prefer a bit of selfie-stick fun, one thing that the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 will guarantee is a high-resolution recording that will make you seem like a professional. It’s for those who wanted a step up from most other travel cameras out there right now.
This is the camera we personally use at the moment. Entering the world of mirrorless digital cameras, one of the most important questions to consider is how simplistic and accessible do I need my camera to be? Having created one of the best travel cameras for the money if you wanted something higher-end and of the mirrorless build, Sony’s a6000 makes life a whole lot easier and entirely takes the stress out of your recording. Generally speaking, purchasing a mirrorless digital camera creates an expectation that your camera is going to come in a smaller size, the a6000 is no exception. Even though this is a smaller camera (it fits in our jean pocket!), it is impressively equipped with a large view monitor as well as image playback features, enabling the a6000 to be ready for utilization at the press of a button.
Although it is offered with a relatively mundane color selection, such as black, silver and white, this is a mirrorless camera that does not fall short in its high-performance delivery. If your primary usage is for travel, the BIONZ X image processor combined with its APS HD CMOS sensor will help generate stabilizing images, and an increased facial recognition. The biggest feature for us however is the insane autofocus mechanism in this one — it’s literally within milliseconds. In conclusion, if you’re a photo enthusiast who is eager to capture memorable shots on your next excursion, Sony’s a6000 is by far one of the best.
GoPro HERO Session
Here’s a different spin to a travel camera as we near the midway point of our guide. Let’s talk action cameras for a second. Even though we didn’t list this in our preferred type of camera section prior to listing our picks, hear us out first. Everyday GoPro’s are increasingly changing the world, and more specifically, the way we record our experiences. The HERO Session is a compact, straightforward GoPro camera that captures a high-performance video or photograph with its high-resolution 1440 pixels. Simply attach your Hero Sessions to its USB cable, charge it, and mount or strap it in various ways for your next cinematic adventure. Historically, GoPros have been used for various events, including snowboarding, hiking, or just having fun on vacation (ever seen somebody with a strap on their head with that little camera as they go on their travel adventures?).
With that being said, the Hero Session is incredibly durable and conveniently waterproof, making this one of the best GoPro cameras for travel. Courtesy of GoPro you can additionally add a plus subscription to your Hero Sessions, adding the option to share and edit your photos and videos no matter where you are in the world. Constantly revolutionizing and innovating, the action camera industry is changing the way vacationers document their travel time, and the GoPro HERO Session is a perfect example of why.
When it comes to maximizing clarity in your recordings, the X-T10 is one of the best cameras for traveling available if the high-end budget was a factor for you. Newly equipped with an impressive Autofocus feature, this camera uses a high-resolution sensor that enhances unfiltered light and brings clarity to every possible image. In addition to dials located on the top surface of the camera that make it user-friendly and incredibly simple to use, the X-T10 comes with a brand-new sensor development technology. Even more impressively, this travel camera has an outstanding ability to track at wide angles and high-speed, making movements within a recording a non-issue for coherence.
In addition, with over eight different image colors to choose from, vacationers can add their own personalized touch with each shot. Despite the camera’s capacity and slightly larger size, the Fujifilm X-T10 is equipped with a durable design that is lightweight and easy to travel with, this camera is simply the optimal choice for photographers with profound taste and some extra cash to spare. Nat Geo also included their X-T2, a slightly less expensive model, in their picks of travel cameras.
Sony Cyber-Shot HX90V
Designed with the precision of professional quality, the HX90V presented by Sony is one of the smallest digital cameras we’ve seen that is conveniently designed to capture your best holiday moments. Built for high performance in low light situations, this compact camera surprisingly takes on a CMOS image sensor, in addition to an enhanced image processor for a well-rounded camera that has superior image quality. The HX90V is further complimented by its retractable OLED Tru-Finder, and also a whopping 30x optical zoom lens that has been specifically added to capture images of further distances.
Built in Wi-Fi connectivity with iOS and Android phones facilitates an easier way to make your content available quickly without having to hassle with a memory card. This is a technologically advanced camera that will make life a whole lot easier, not to mention a size fitting in most pockets and hand bags. Whether you are hiking Machu Pichu or laying poolside at the hotel resort, the Sony Cyber-Shot HX90V will make for a handy addition to your trip, and is therefore one of the best cameras for travel around for its price.
Canon G7 X Mark II
Because it’s a Canon, the X Mark II comes a little bit steeper on the budget scale then some of the other cameras featured on this list. However, it’s no secret that Canon’s cameras are crafted with an inspiring compact design. Included is a superior performance 1.0-ince 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor in addition to an f/1.8-2.8 lens for a more elaborate image. This is an ideal choice for travelers as it will meet the photographers demands, no matter the environmental lighting setting. Built-in Wi-Fi as well as an in-camera RAW conversion enables you have sharing access for your images at the press of a button.
We can carry on about why Canon’s cameras are top of their class when it comes to digital cameras, but what truly makes the Canon G7 X Mark II one of the best traveler cameras is without a doubt its new DIGIC 7 Image processor. Specifically added for auto focus tracking and image clarity, this feature alone is going rid you of any buyer’s remorse, even at its relatively high price.
Ricoh GR II
As Switchback Travel’s high pick, let’s keep going with a high-end camera. Nearing the end of our best travel camera guide now, this one here is a reasonably priced and simplistic “starter camera” for those of you just beginning their commencement into the travel camera world. The GR II is firstly prepared with Wi-Fi connectivity features to make all of your video’s and photos instantly accessible. The cameras image stabilization lens guarantees the cameras focus and provides a reassuring image quality. Similar to the camera’s predecessor version, the GR II comes with a rather large 16.2 MP-APS-C CMOS sensor, allowing for high-resolution images while still having low noise up to 25600 ISO. What Ricoh guarantees in its GR II is its consistency approach to photography and video recording, providing continuous shooting of up to 4fps as well as autofocus.
With the ability to capture your images in either JPEG or DNG raw images, this is without a doubt one of the best travel cameras offered. It still has videos, but isn’t quite up to speed as the others in this regard, so if you were super concerned with that, we’d go with one of our previous picks. Incredibly accessible and easy to use, the Ricoh GR II still allows you capture those travel moments, not to mention with the power-on you can start-up the device in just up to 1 second if you need to quickly capture a memory that’s starting to form.
Since we’ve neglected DSLR cameras and recommend against them for mostly any traveler out there, we wanted to cap off the list of the best cameras for travelling with at least one DSLR camera just in case it’s something you’re seeking out. Nikon’s D3300 provides a cheaper alternative to capturing your images and recording videos (1080p) while still offering a high performance. The biggest benefit in our opinion by going the DSLR route is the interchangeable lenses — you can swap out the lens with any other Nikon-compatible model to truly customize the look and feel of your memories. The 11 point autofocus system that the camera offers is also a nice highlight, and this one enables the photographer to lock onto the image as soon as they are between the frame, preventing your object from escaping the frame before it has been captured.
The optical view finder impressively gives your recording a whole new look, simply hold down the shutter button and capture your image in 5 frames per second. Even if you are new to DSLR’s, the simplicity of the D3300 offers 6 common scene modes to choose, in addition to a Full Green Auto mode allowing the camera to make the selection for you. This camera comes with every feature required for a great image, but also at a reasonable price, making the Nikon D3300 the last of the bunch to consider. Again, just be aware of this larger size.
So which travel camera are you going with? Let us know in the comments.