Best Travel Camera: How to Pick the Best Camera for Traveling

Choosing the best travel camera for your journey can be a daunting task, especially with so many camera options available on the market. But don’t worry, in this post we will help you find the best travel camera for your needs.

There are several types of travel cameras available (Point-and-Shoot, High-End Compact Cameras, Mirrorless, DSLR) and each has its benefits. Point & Shoots are the most portable and least expensive, but they also capture lower quality images. High-end cameras are similar to point-and-shoots, but capture high quality images. Mirrorless cameras are best for travel as they offer the compactness of a point-and-shoot but the image sensor of a DSLR. DSLR’s are the heaviest option out of all of them, but they also capture professional quality images.

In the end it really comes down to what type of traveler you are and what features (size, image quality, price, etc.) are important to you. We, for example, are lightweight budget backpackers, so portability and price are very important to us. However, we also have a professional blog to run, so good image quality is equally important. Based on that information we decided to go for the Sony RX100 III, a high-end compact camera that fits into our pants pocket and has a large image sensor.

Once you know what features are important to you, check out our recommendation for the best travel camera for each type.

Best Compact Travel Cameras (Point-and-Shoot)

If price and portability is your main concern, point-and-shoot cameras are your best bet. Nowadays, compact cameras can be had for a very reasonable price and most will fit into your pants pocket or at the very least they won’t weigh down your luggage. Point-and-shoots have come a very long way in the recent years, and take pretty good images. If you are looking for an inexpensive, easy to use camera to document your journey for friends and family, check out our point-and-shoot recommendations below.

 

Lumix_FZ70

Panasonic Lumix FZ70

Sensor: 16.1MP 1/2.3″ BSI MOS
Weight: 19.84 oz.
Features: 60x Optical Zoom, Full HD 1080i Video

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 Digital Camera is a bridge-style point-and-shoot digital camera that features a 16.1 megapixel High Sensitivity BSI MOS sensor and Venus Engine image processor to produce high resolution still imagery and full HD 1080i/p video with notable low-light quality.

Read Reviews

PowerShot_SX700

Canon PowerShot SX700

Sensor: 16.1MP CMOS
Weight: 9.4 oz.
Features: Built-in Wifi, 30x Optical Zoom, 3″ LCD, 1080p HD Video

The Canon Power Shot SX700 HS digital camera features a powerful 30x optical zoom that lets you get right down onto the field to preserve a big play, reach deep into the forest for spectacular wildlife close-ups, and capture majestic architecture just the way you see it.

Read Reviews

Best High-End Compact Travel Cameras

High-end compact cameras are very similar to regular point-and-shoot cameras, but they usually have larger image sensors and come with some other cool features. For example, high-end compact cameras offer a full manual mode next to the auto mode and many allow you to take pictures in RAW format – which allows for better image editing on your computer later. If you don’t want to sacrifice the portability of a point-and-shoot but you need a camera that can capture higher quality images, then you will want to look into purchasing one of the high-end compact cameras below.

 

Sony_RX100M

Sony RX100 III

Sensor: 20.1MP4 BSI-CMOS
Weight: 10.2 oz.
Features: Built-in Wifi, Built-in ND filter, 3″ LCD, ISO 160-12800, captures RAW & JPG

The RX100 III is the camera that we use here on this blog as well. It is by far the most capable compact camera available. With its built-in viewfinder and consistently fast lens, there’s nothing that can provide better image quality in such a small package.

Read Reviews

LUMIX_DMC-LX100

Panasonic Lumix LX100

Sensor size: 16.8MP 4/3″ MOS
Weight: 13.9 oz.
Features: 24-75mm Leica DC lens, 4K Ultra HD video

The Lumix LX100 is a powerhouse of a point-and-shoot featuring a large micro 4/3″ image sensor, 4K videos, a fast Leica f/1.7-2.8 lens, and built-in Wi-Fi.

Read Reviews

PowerShot_G16

Canon Powershot G16

Sensor size: 12.1MP 1/1.7″ CMOS
Weight: 12.5 oz.
Features: Built-in wifi, full manual mode, captures RAW & JPG

The Canon PowerShot G16 Compact Digital Camera, with built-in Wi-Fi, is an advanced point-and-shoot camera featuring a 12.1 megapixel 1/1.7″ high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 image processor to produce high quality still imagery and full HD 1080p video.

Read Reviews

Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are by far the best for travel, allowing you to take very high quality images while still being compact enough to fit into your backpack. This type of camera is perfect for people who still want an interchangeable lens, without the weight of a DSLR. Below, we picked the best mirrorless cameras for travel.

 

Fuji_X-T10

Fuji X-T10

Sensor size: 16MP X-Trans CMOS II
Weight: 13.4 oz.
Features: Water and dust resistant, up to 8 FPS continuous shooting, 3″ tiltable LCD

The Fuji X-T10 is an interchangeable lens digital camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor. It combines a compact and lightweight body with a new AF Zone and Wide/Tracking modes.

Read Reviews

Sony_A7

Sony A7 II

Sensor size: 24MP CMOS
Weight: 20.8 oz.
Features: Fast Hybrid AF and 5 FPS burst, world’s first 5-axis in-body image stabilization in a full-frame camera, ISO 100-25600

The Sony A7 II minimizes blur in every shot with the world’s first in-body 5-axis image stabilization in a full-frame camera. Best of all, it works with your favorite lenses. With 24.3MP resolution, super-fast autofocus and a compact design, you’ll capture breathtaking imagery and video that is more stable than ever.

Read Reviews

Best DSLR Travel Cameras

DSLR cameras offer the best image quality of any type of camera but they are also heavier and more expensive than mirrorless or point-and-shoot cameras. If you need superior image quality and don’t mind the extra weight, check out our favorite DSLR’s below.

 

Canon_Rebel

Canon Rebel SL1

Sensor size: 18MP APS-C CMOS
Weight: 13.1 oz.
Features: 3″ touch panel LCD, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)

The Rebel SL1 is small in size but enormous in performance. With a newly-designed Canon 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and speedy Canon DIGIC 5 Image Processor, it delivers images of extraordinary quality – ideal for those stepping up from a smartphone or compact camera.

Read Reviews

Nikon_D3300

Nikon D3300

Sensor size: 24.2MP CMOS
Weight: 15.2 oz.
Features: 11 AF points with 3D tracking, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600), 3″ LCD

The D3300, with its included zoom lens, the new ultra-compact AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II is a small, easy to use HD-SLR. It captures beautiful 24.2-MP photos and 1080p Full HD videos with vibrant colors and softly blurred backgrounds, then you can share them instantly with your compatible smartphone and the optional WU-1a Wireless Adapter.

Read Reviews

Inspired? Pin this for later …

best_travel_camera-road_affair

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links help pay for this site and keep the content free for you to read. We will never recommend products we do not believe in.

The Author

Ben

Ben is a professional web designer and the man behind the scenes of Road Affair. He has been traveling around the world with his partner in crime, Jazzy, since 2012.

Like What You've Read?

Sign up for our newsletter and get more great stuff like this in your inbox.

Comments

  1. I have an old Nikon D40 (circa 2007) and an iPhone 6s+. I know I want to up my pics game on my website and Instagram, but I don’t know whether to add lenses to my Nikon, get a new DSLR, or get a new mirrorless. I’ve seen stuff out there recommending each option. I plan on travelling full time by the end of this year. What would you recommend?

    1. The Nikon D40 was definitely a good DSLR back then but things changed a lot and even cheap Point & Shoot Cameras have larger sensor nowadays. If you wanna up your pic game I would recommend you check out the Nikon D3300. It’s the #1 best seller on Amazon with over 750 positive reviews. Plus, it is a fairly cheap DSLR camera for travel. Hope that helps and good luck with your travel plans :D

    1. It really depends on what your goal is. If you wanna step up your game and take higher quality images, I would recommend you check out the D3300. It works pretty much the same as the D3100 but it has a larger sensor and 24MPs instead of your 14MPs. If however you are satisfied with your shots and you don’t need higher quality, stick with your old one. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help to you.

  2. Fantastic guide Ben – very comprehensive. We started out with point and shoot camera’s, and even after we upgraded to DSLR’s we still use the Canon Powershot SX50 for a lot of photography, mainly because of the zoom. Wildlife photography especially – the quality is by far superior to that kind of zoom on any other camera we’ve used.

    Everything else though, highly recommend the Nikon D5300 – I’m a beginner in terms of DSLR’s so I think that’s a great entry level for those just learning :)

  3. Used a cheap Canon point and shoot cameras before but upgraded to a Nikon DSLR now. With the invention of smartphone cameras as good as most point and shoots, the photography scene has changed a lot.

  4. I would add the Canon G7 X Mark II to this list in the high end compact section. It’s one of the best on the market at the moment and it also takes awesome videos! And Canon M3 in the Mirrorless section. :)

  5. I have a Sony Cybershot but it is getting pretty old. I am planning to switch to a new one. This list has given me a good view of the best ones in the market.

  6. Thank you for such a detailed list. I am really looking forward to getting a mirrorless soon since I am a little bored of the DSLR and cannot decide between the Sony and the other brands. Most people recommend the Sony, so would you also say that? So far I had the Nikon D7000, but its time for a change now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *