Looking for a travel camera that will capture the wow factor from your trips? We’ve tried and tested hundreds and here are our top picks.
Travel cameras are must-have travel gadgets – but they have a tough gig.
A good travel camera needs to perform well in varied conditions, take stunning pictures and ideally be small and light.
There are so many contenders in the travel camera market that it can be tough to choose the best one – and that’s even before you start looking at things like action cameras and drones. Here are the top travel cameras to capture your time on the road and bring your travel photography up to the next level.
One of the functions that we think is most important in any travel camera is built-in wifi. We’ve only chosen models that have this feature so you won’t find it mentioned in any of the entries below.
The Sony A6000 has been around for a couple of years but still packs a punch in the travel camera market.
Mirrorless cameras have helped to revolutionise travel cameras and the Sony A6000 still takes the prize thanks to its affordable price point and great performance under a range of conditions.
Performance-wise, the Bionz-X processor is incredibly quick, meaning that you can be shooting moments after the camera’s switched on. When paired with incredibly fast autofocus and 25 contrast-detection points that work to create photos with impressive clarity and depth of field, you can see why the A6000 is such a popular choice and you get a host of brilliant Sony lenses to choose from too.
Type: Mirrorless Camera
Pros: Good Image Quality.
Cons: No touch-screen focus function.
Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ100 is a solid digital compact travel camera with an impressive 10x zoom function.
It’s a great choice for those that want the slim format and ease of a compact camera that offers a decent optical zoom for those longer-distance shots. Though not quite as slim as some of the other travel compacts out there, the TZ100 is still small enough to easily fit into a jacket pocket. The i-inch sensor produces high-quality images.
The camera also boasts 4K recording (4,000 pixel-width footage), which gives you super sharp videos that you can pull still photos from. To put that into context, the best HD video has only a 1,920 pixel-width. You can also shoot in RAW format in addition to standard JPEG.
Other pluses for the Lumix TZ100 are the fast focusing and ability to take a large number of photos in short succession (burst speed). Obviously, if you’re trying to catch that lightning speed snap, you’ll need a camera that can keep up and the TZ100 can.
That said, the autofocus doesn’t perform quite as well in lower lights. If you want to manually focus the camera, you can do this on the touchscreen display – a handy function to have up your sleeve.
Type: Digital Compact Camera.
Pros: Impressive performing compact. Fast focusing. Small and portable. 1-inch sensor produces high quality images.
Cons: Non-tilt screen. Autofocus slower in low light.
Canon PowerShot SX730 HS
The Canon PowerShot SX730 HS is a great choice for photographers looking for a compact camera with a super-zoom at a relatively low price point. With a 40x optical zoom lens, this is one of the leading compact travel cameras in this area.
The SX730 has a fully tiltable screen, which is great for taking selfies, and full manual control if you prefer to control the shutter speed and aperture manually. The autofocus is very fast, but there is a short lag after you switch the camera on before it’s ready to shoot.
What differentiates the SX730 from more expensive digital compact cameras? The biggest thing is the sensor. While the Panasonic DMC TZ100 has a 1-inch sensor, the SX730’s is 1/2.3-inch.
The significantly smaller sensor means that you aren’t going to get the same incredible clarity and will get grainier, noisier pictures in low-light conditions. That said, the SX730 does perform well in good light and that 40x zoom can be very handy.
Type: Digital Compact Camera.
Pros: 40x zoom. Tiltable screen. Easy to use. Low price.
Cons: Small sensor can struggle in low light. No touchscreen. HD not 4k video. No RAW format.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is another strong contender on the affordable end of the mirrorless camera range. It’s a good choice of travel camera for photographers who want to be able to take high-calibre pictures on an easy-to-use camera with some playful features.
Though not quite as small as a compact camera, its compact body makes it much easier to transport and handle than many SLRs.
One of the most attractive features on the E-M10 Mark II is the 5-axis image stabilisation. The stabilisation helps to reduce blur and camera shake in both still photos and videos.
The Mark II comes with an electronic viewfinder, which unlike some of its counterparts, is large enough to make it a viable counter-option to using the LCD display in difficult lighting conditions.
Shooting wise, the E-M10 Mark II offers the choice of RAW or JPEG images. Movies are Full HD (not 4k, which is reserved for Olympus’s pricier mirrorless options).
Type: Mirrorless Camera.
Pros: Great to handle. Good electronic viewfinder. Image stabilisation.
Cons: Full HD video, not 4K.
With its retro appearance and impressive capability, the Fujifilm is arguably one of the best compact travel cameras that money can buy… the only drawback is that it’s quite a lot of money.
Is it worth the £1,249 price? Yes. The fourth in the series of X100 cameras (that’s what the F stands for), the X100F comes with a grand range of features packed into its sleek body.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of these is the whopping ISO range of 200-12,800 meaning you will be able to capture images in even the poorest light conditions. Shooting at 8 frames per second, the X100F is more than capable of snapping fast-moving subjects.
The camera lens is a 23mm f2.0 (equivalent to the standard focal length of 35mm). If you want more variety, you can purchase lens converters that bring it up to 50mm and 28mm.
This isn’t the camera to go for if you are looking for super-zoom capability, but the question of whether that is a problem really depends on what kind of photography you’re looking to do on the road.
There are a few things that might make you think twice about the X100F – the LCD screen is not touch sensitive, the lack of zoom options, and no tilting screen being the three biggest. But the results from the camera’s 91-point autofocus are pretty astounding and the nearest thing you can get to real life in the compact camera field.
Type: Digital Compact Camera.
Pros: Beautiful design, great to handle. Excellent autofocus. Fast shooting.
Cons: No touch screen. No tilting screen. Limited lens options. Digital zoom only.
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
The Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II is small and pleasing to look at, but don’t let that fool you. This small camera is packed with features that put it firmly on the list of the best travel cameras for 2017.
The main draw here is the 1-inch sensor, which ensures that your photos have depth, great colour and really stand out.
While many of the 1-inch cameras are packed with lots of features and additions that can make them quite bulky, Canon has opted to keep things relatively simple with the G9 X Mark II. Zoom is 3x optical – not huge but enough to make a difference when it counts and still significantly better than the zoom on your phone.
You can snap 8.2 frames per second with ease – again a real plus for those blink and you miss it moments. The camera comes with a large range of automatic shooting modes, but you can also set the shutter speed and aperture manually for maximum control.
Another plus is touchscreen focus, which allows you to manually focus in a matter of seconds.
Another big pro for a travel camera is the optical image stabilisation that stops shake on both pictures and in video. Video is Full HD, which is a high-enough resolution to suit all but the most dedicated videographers.
Type: Digital compact camera
Pros: Small size. 1-inch sensor for rich images. Good image stabilisation.
Cons: 3x optical zoom might not suit everyone.
Sony RX100 V
Another one at the premium end of the digital compact camera market, the Sony RX100 V has quite a few features that really make it stand out.
The headline one is the advanced sensor and processor that allows it to shoot at an incredible 24 frames per second.
That makes it the fastest shooting compact camera, a fact that is even more impressive when you look at the quality of the photos it produces. Even when shooting at this speed, photos are at full resolution with continuous autofocus and exposure.
Throw in a vari-angle screen and pop up electronic viewfinder, and you have an impressive piece of kit for your travels.
If you want a point-and-shoot that guarantees great results, the RX100 V is a great contender. Advanced users can also take advantage of the manual modes, while the 24-72mm f1.4-2.8 optic lens offers flexibility for capturing the perfect travel shots.
When it comes to drawbacks, the lack of touchscreen is a bit of a surprise, particularly given the cost. But with so many things in its favour, the RX100 V is our pick of digital compacts at the top end of the market.
Type: Digital compact camera.
Pros: Fastest frames per second on a compact. Vari-angle screen.
Cons: No touchscreen.
Canon EOS 750D
The Canon EOS 750D is the only digital SLR on our list. It’s a few rungs above the absolute entry-level SLR that’s relatively light and easy to shoot with out of the box. Some people dislike SLRs for travelling, complaining about the bulk – if that’s you, feel free to skip this one. Otherwise, read on.
Mirrorless and SLR cameras have one large advantage over digital compacts – the ability to change lenses, meaning one camera can offer a much greater degree of flexibility.
One of the main benefits of the EOS 750D as a travel camera is the simple operation. It’s so easy to shoot with, and feels comfortable to hold.
Unless you are a photography pro, taking the time to manually set up each photo when you are on the road can be tiresome and result in missed opportunities. That’s unlikely to happen with the 750D. That said, there are plenty of manual options for you to choose from.
When it comes to features, the 19-cross point autofocus system is nicely reliable and captures super-sharp images and great subject tracking.
Canon have included a touchscreen in the EOS 750D, again making it very easy to use. Photos and videos can easily be transferred onto your devices using the model-specific app.
Type: Digital SLR
Pros: Easy to use. Relatively light (for an SLR). Good autofocus.
Cons: Limited manual controls.
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