A huge part of traveling involves documenting the sights you see and experiences you have. Everyone has his or her own preferences when it comes to the choice of camera for the job. Most of us now rely heavily on our mobile phones with increasingly powerful built-in cameras. Still, many of us also carry our primary gear to ensure high-resolution images for posterity.

Before you can choose which camera to get, there are a few basic things you need to consider. Truth is, with cameras, you might actually find yourself drowning in things to deliberate. Many of it may even overwhelm you, especially when you start going through technical jargon such as aperture, focal length, sensor type and size to name a few. You will eventually need to understand these things (if you’re still a beginner), or use them to make an informed choice if you’re a bit more versed in photography. But before you even get to these items, there are far more basic considerations:

BUDGET – This is a good starting point as it will immediately narrow your options within a given range. With an unbelievable number of cameras out in the market, the price range among types, classes, features, and brands is diverse. Knowing your budget trims down the field considerably. You also need to remember that the actual unit is just one piece of the whole equation. There are other expenses like memory cards, gimbals or tripods, filters, lenses for interchangeable cameras. Make sure you include them in your budget.

SIZE/WEIGHT – Having narrowed down your options according to budget, you will then need to decide if you’re willing and able to carry a sizable camera with its corresponding weight. This will further focus your search as it will determine if bigger and heavier DSLRs are in the running or completely out of the picture. If you know you want something you can slip inside your pocket, then you can direct your search to the most compact units.

USE/PURPOSE – Finally, know what you intend to use your camera for. Wildlife photography tends to require powerful zooms while street photography doesn’t necessarily. Are you more interested in taking stills, or do you intend to record more videos? Are you a video blogger (vlogger), or a photojournalist? These things will determine the unit you need because different cameras often have certain strengths while others may be hybrids that offer good results with multiple features. Again, the subject/s you intend to shoot and the formats you want to end up with are important considerations.

Here are some of the best cameras according to feature and use, curated from recommendations of gadget sites, travel bloggers, and professional photographers.

Compact Travel Camera

Save for serious hobbyists, enthusiasts, and professional photographers, most people opt for compact cameras over bigger and heavier DSLRs. Smaller cameras are far easier to bring and handle. As the classification suggests, point-and-shoot takes the guesswork out of taking your shot.

1. SONY CYBER-SHOT RX100 VI

10 Cameras You Need to Take on Your Travels

The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI is the latest iteration in Sony’s highly regarded RX line, which has produced constantly evolving solid models. The latest innovation from its predecessor is the 24-200mm (equivalent to 8.3x optical) zoom lens which Sony somehow managed to pack into this tiny unit. It boasts the world’s (currently) fastest AF, taking as little as 0.03 seconds to focus. It is able to shoot as many as 24 frames per second (fps), up to 233 continuous shots. The RX100 VI also has a retractable viewfinder easily accessible with a touch of a button, and its adjustable screen comes with touch shutter capability.  All this plus its 20 megapixel one-inch sensor does come with a hefty price tag, but if compact size, minimal weight, and ease of use with lightning fast focus are what you’re looking for, this is certainly worth considering. Get this on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

DP Review: Silver Award

What they’re saying:

“The latest entry in Sony’s premium pocket series seems like it was made just for travel photography.” – PCMag

“If you can only have one camera and need it to do everything in the smallest, lightest package, this is the camera for you. It also makes a fantastic second or backup camera if you typically run a larger camera on your travels.” – Tom O’Brien for National Geographic

2. SONY CYBER-SHOT RX10 IV

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 IV is like the RX100 VI’s slightly bigger cousin. They have near identical internal components but the RX10 IV carries a few significant upgrades. For starters, there is the longer-reaching 24-600mm superzoom lens that delivers consistently good image quality up to its maximum zoom setting. Its hot shoe offers the flexibility of ample illumination via different external flash options. A bigger battery and weather sealing mean it’ll shoot more images and videos for longer durations and through more types of environmental conditions. It delivers 24 fps of burst shooting, high-speed phase-detection autofocus, 4K ULTRA HD video, and is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi. All this pretty much makes the RX10 IV the ultimate go-to, all-around compact travel camera. Get this professional level bridge unit on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

DP Review: Gold Award

What they’re saying:

“Like the idea of an all-in-one camera with a quality sensor, but want an even longer zoom lens? Then a bridge camera is the answer and Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 IV is the best there is.” – Techradar

“If you liked the tiny RX100 VI but were left wanting more in optical reach and durability, look no further than the stellar RX10 IV. It shares nearly all of the internal components of the RX100 VI but adds the amazing long zoom lens, a hot shoe for flash syncing, weather sealing, and a bigger battery. If you want to go from landscapes to wildlife photography with just one camera—without changing lenses—then this is the camera for you.” – Tom O’Brien for National Geographic

3. PANASONIC LUMIX FZ1000

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

The Lumix FZ1000 may be five years old but remains relevant because it delivers a genuine hybrid experience in both stills and videos. It sports a 25-400mm (16x optical) lens with a decent f2.8 – 4.0 aperture. Its one-inch, 20.1 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor allows it to capture clear images with minimal noise. As a video camera, it can record 30 fps in high resolution 4K Ultra High Definition and allows screengrabs of 8-megapixel hybrid photos that capture spontaneous shots even regular stills don’t. The FZ1000 is for anyone looking for a bigger reach than what the Sony RX100 VI has. It may not shoot as fast but with its hybrid properties, it continues to be a popular choice as a bridge camera for those wanting full coverage without the bulk, weight, and hassle of lens changing that come with professional units. Get the FZ1000 now at 34% off on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

DP Review: Gold Awardee

What they’re saying:

“If you like capturing images of local wildlife, but don’t want to carry a big, bulky telezoom lens, think about a bridge camera. About the size of a small SLR, a fixed-lens design allows for longer zooms than you can get with an interchangeable lens of the same size. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is one of the best values out there, offering 25x zoom power (25-400mm) and a 1-inch sensor.” – PCMag

4. CANON G7X Mark II

 

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

Like the Sony RX100 VI and Lumix FZ1000, the G7X II has a large one-inch 20.1 megapixel sensor that lets it capture high quality photos and videos. It does come with a larger aperture of f1.8 at the wide angle and f2.8 when its 24-100mm lens is at full (4.2x optical zoom) extension. What it lacks in 4K video capabilities, it delivers via the old standard 1080 at 60 fps with excellent detail and image stabilization. Its touch capable high-resolution LCD screen can be tilted 180° up and 45° down, making it easy to shoot at high and low angles. Last but not least, its built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to transfer clips and images to a laptop or phone for instant sharing on social media. All these elements combine to make the G7 Mark II a favorite for video bloggers and Amazon’s choice as best for travel.  Get it at 7% off now on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

DP Review: Silver Award

What they’re saying:

“The G7 X Mark II is an excellent go-anywhere, general use camera for enthusiast photographers or professionals looking for to supplement their full-size gear.” – DPReview

“In terms of pure practicality and quality you can’t beat the Canon G7X Mark 2 as the best vlogging camera for travel on the market.” – NOMADasaurus

Mirrorless Camera

5. FUJIFILM X-T3

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

With all the incredible elements in the X-T3, the question seems to be, what CAN’T we say about this premier unit. What sets the X-T3 apart are the finer details that make it faster, more specialized, and able to withstand rougher conditions. Among these points is its new high-speed processor that allows blackout-free continuous shooting of up to 30 fps with the electronic shutter in 1.25x crop, and up to 11 fps using the mechanical shutter. Add to this the new Sports Finder Mode that makes moving subjects much easier to shoot. Apart from the obvious application in sports coverage, this is a definite a plus in wildlife photography. The X-T3 now also includes ISO 160 among its normal range, where it used to only be available as extention. This means you can now achieve even cleaner, noise-free images. When it comes to video, the X-T3 can record 4K at 60 fps at 1.18x crop and 30 fps when using the full width of the sensor. Its built-in Wi-Fi allows instantaneous sharing of images, and its weather-sealed body makes it ideal for the rugged outdoors, unpredictable weather, and various activities that may include exposure to dust and water. If you have the money to spend, this unit is a solid choice packed with high-end features that’ll give you amazing still and video images in different settings. Get it on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

DP Review: 2018 Consumer Stills/Video Camera of the Year

What they’re saying:

“With its classic looks, attractive photos and superb video, it’s the APS-C camera to beat.” – DPReview

“For the traveler who wants the best model overall.” – Tom O’Brien for National Geographic

6. OLYMPUS PEN E-PL9

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

At first glance, the Olympus PEN E-PL9 may seem like just a pretty face with its sleek faux leather exterior in white, black, or brown, and even a special edition blue. But it does, in fact, come equipped with some pretty good features in a compact build. It has a very decent 16 megapixel micro four thirds sensor with built-in image stabilization capable of capturing good quality images despite its small build. It also has a 121-point contrast-detect autofocus system with face and eye detection, as well as a built-in flash which its predecessor didn’t. Its touch sensitive screen lets you focus and take the shot with one tap, while its 90-degree upward tilt and flips 180-degrees downward flip make it ideal for capturing selfies. The E-PL9 is also reliable for videos as it can also record 4K at 30fps. If you’re looking to move from your smartphone to an actual camera, but without straying too far from smartphone size, this is what you’re looking for. It’s a step out of the box for those not yet sure if they’re ready to take on more specialized units.  Get it as a kit with the 14-42mm EZ lens at 7% off on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

What they’re saying:

“The E-PL9 a beginner-friendly, higher-quality alternative to your phone camera.” – Digital Trends

“Perfect for blogging, vlogging and influencing… This is the perfect camera for Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.” – Digital Camera World

7. OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 Mark II

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

If you’re looking for a compact camera with professional level DSLR features and the flexibility of an interchangeable lens, then the OM-D E-M10 Mark II is for you. If there’s one word to describe this unit, it would be FAST. Nearly everything about it is just that. It boasts class-leading speeds of 60 fps with the electronic shutter and 15 fps shooting with the mechanical. Its high-speed sequential burst shooting can capture up to 8.5 frames per second, and its Touch AF lets you focus and take the shot with a simple tap on the screen. The OM-D E-M10 Mark II lets you capture as much detail even with fast-moving subjects, and with its exceptional weatherproofing, is ideal for wildlife and sports photography. And with a built-in Wi-Fi as well as its own free image sharing app, you can send your images straight into cyberspace. Get it 8% off on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

DP Review: Gold Award

What they’re saying:

“The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the best compact camera system for shooting wildlife and other challenging high-speed subjects… It is easily the most weather-sealed interchangeable lens camera on the market. I took it canoeing in the Florida springs and splashed water directly onto the camera a few times, but it didn’t skip a beat.” – Tom O’Brien for National Geographic

Rugged, Waterproof

8. OLYMPUS TG-5

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

If you’re certain your next adventure will involve far more water than a few splashes, then you’ll be needing the Olympus TG-5. Shockproof from 7 feet, waterproof to 50 feet, crushproof to 220 lbf, and freeze-proof to 14 degrees, the TG-5 is more than just a ruggedly handsome package. It has a bright f2 lens at its widest 25mm setting, a killer (microscope-like as National Geographic’s Tom O’Brien describes it) macro, and can shoot RAW images as well as Ultra HD 4K video. Also comes equipped with Wi-Fi and Olympus Image Share app for easy and immediate sharing. If you’re planning on climbing mountains, trekking through sandy dunes, or plunging into the deep, the Olympus TG-5 is your best bet. Grab it now at 11% off on Amazon.

Star Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars

What they’re saying:

“It will withstand water, knocks and bashing around better than you will!” – Digital Camera World

“The best… The Stylus Tough TG-5 continues Olympus’ dominance in the rugged camera game, and offers several advanced options not normally found on this type of camera.” – Digital Trends

9. GoPro HERO 7 Black

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

The GoPro Hero has come a long way since its inception. This iteration packs incredible features in the GoPro’s familiar tiny box. Strapped to a helmet for rugged outdoor activities, or while exploring the mysteries of the deep, the Hero 7 Black delivers gimbal-like stabilization thanks to its HyperSmooth technology which predicts your movements and compensates for camera shake. It is also equipped with Super Photo which intelligently applies imaging treatments like HDR, local tone mapping, and noise reduction to optimize shots. Voice control allows you to go hands-free, while the new Live Streaming feature lets you share your adventures on Facebook as they happen, while saving the footage on your SD card in high resolution. Speaking of videos, the Hero 7 Black can record 4K at 60 fps and even lets you slow clips down 8x for funny or epic highlights. Grab it now on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

What they’re saying:

“Action cameras have replaced traditional point-and-shoots and camcorders for many types of underwater and outdoor work… While many of these cameras still require an external case to be waterproof, the GoPro Hero7 Black can go down to 33 feet without one, making it our top pick.” – PCMag

DSLR

10. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D

10 Cameras Perfect for Your Next Trip

For the photography hobbyist who doesn’t mind a bigger unit, a bit more weight, and the task of lugging and changing lenses, the Rebel SL2 (200D) is a compact entry-level DSLR with solid features. It has a 24.2 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor along with a fast dual pixel autofocus with phase detection. It also sports a vari-angle touch screen as well as built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth for instant sharing of images and videos which the Rebel SL2 is capable of recording at full HD quality at 60 fps. Its external microphone port lets you plug in an optional directional mic to create more professional-looking vlogs. Get the Rebel SL2 with the 18-55mm kit lens at 14% on Amazon.

Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

DP Review: Silver Award

What they’re saying:

“Canon’s travel-friendly DSLR has power and versatility too.” – Digital Camera World

“The Canon Rebel line is an excellent series of good value entry-level DSLR cameras (my first DSLR was a Rebel), and the SL2 is no exception. It’s one of the smaller SLR camera’s Canon has made, and offers great performance for an excellent price.” – Finding the Universe

Far from being the ultimate list of travel cameras, this is more of a guide to some of the more frequently recommended in their respective classes. They’re the ones you’re likely to see pop up in various other rundowns when you do a search. There are many other fine choices in each of the categories, whether compact digital, mirrorless interchangeable lens, DSLRs, sports/action, or even smartphones. It boils down to a few important considerations such as budget, subject/s to shoot, extent of photography interest, convenience and portability, and what you really hope to achieve with your images. Whatever your choice, what matters is how comfortable you are with it, and how it helps serve your purpose.

Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services. Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.

About the author

Teelie Turner

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