Looking to up your travel photography game? Here are the best cameras for travelers plus what to consider before buying one.
For photography lovers, an opportunity to travel means an opportunity to capture the most amazing shots. Whether it is capturing African Elephants in Africa or the Bujhi Khalifa building in Dubai, a good camera will determine whether you take that Instagram worthy shot or just another photo on the internet.
However, choosing the best travel camera can be daunting especially since there are so many on the market. So in this post, I teamed up with a number of travelers to list down the best cameras for travelers.
But before you choose which camera you’ll be taking with you while you visit some of your bucket list destinations, there are some things to consider.
What to consider before buying the best travel camera
Travel cameras have different prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. So the price of the travel camera you buy must fit right in your budget.
2. Size and Weight
Being a travel camera, the weight should be put into consideration. Depending on how you’re traveling, your travel camera shouldn’t be too heavy to hinder you from enjoying your trip and moving freely.
3. Image quality
This should literally be the number one quality to consider. The ultimate reason for carrying a camera for travel photography is to be able to capture quality images. So before you look at the price and other factors, be sure that the camera you decide to buy produces quality images.
4. Ease of Use
You don’t want to travel with the most sophisticated camera on the market only to miss out on taking shots of amazing sceneries because you couldn’t figure out how best to use it. The best camera to travel with should be easy to use.
Best cameras for travelers
To make it easier for you, this post is categorized into the Best DSLR cameras, Best mirrorless cameras, small travel cameras, Digital compact cameras and Phone cameras that capture amazing photos.
Best DSLR cameras for travel
1. Canon 100D
Contributed by Karolina from Karolina Patryk. You can also follow her on Instagram
When photos from mobile cameras just do not do the job anymore, the best DSLR camera for travel is the Canon 100D. Lighter than other DSLRs which usually weigh around 769g, the Canon weighs 407g with a compact size that makes it easier to pack and carry around.
In order to become the smallest and lightest DSLR camera in the world, the Canon 100Ds 18MP APS-C Hybrid AF II CMOS sensor is much smaller and thinner compared to other cameras of this type.
A testament to the saying that size does not matter, the Canon 100D has a fast and constant aperture of f2.8 and a touch screen with a precise light-metering system that allows you to take great shots each time.
Designed for a traveler that is always on the go, the compact body of the Canon 100D has a rubberized handgrip for easy and safe handling.
It also features creative filters that will add color, contrast, and drama to your shots. The downside of having a camera with a compact body, however, is that it is bound to have a smaller battery which lasts around 1 hour 20 minutes for live view shots.
The only way to get around this is to carry a charger or spare batteries with you. It is also very pricey for its size as it is the same price as its ”big brother”, the Canon EOS 700D.
Canon 100D camera specifications
- Weight of Camera – 407g
- Zoom – Depends on which lens you use since it allows interchangeable lenses
- Sensor Size – 22.3 x 14.9 mm
- Mega Pixels – 18 Megapixels
Pros and Cons of the Canon 100D
- It is a touch screen
- Face detection focusing
- An optical built-in viewfinder
- External microphone port
- It has a weak battery life
- No AF micro adjustment
- It has no image stabilization
- Has no wireless connection
In conclusion, the Canon 100D is not only the best small digital camera for traveling but also the lightest. You can check out its prices or buy it on Amazon.
2. Canon 70D
Contributed by Kelley from Sailing Chance. You can also follow her on Instagram
I travel a lot – by air, land, and sea, so, I need a camera that can stand up to many different terrains and weather conditions. For all my travel adventures, my Canon 70D has been my trusty companion.
It is a mid-range DSLR camera, so it has better image quality than the entry-level models. It combines the touch screen interactivity of a smartphone and the quality of a DSLR camera in one device which I find very useful.
The touch panel LCD screen pops open and rotates so you can always see what you are shooting no matter the weird angle you are trying to capture. The touch panel can also be programmed to activate your shutter with the touch of a finger.
You can also always make sure your subject is in focus by touching the subject before you hit the shutter. That feature can be very helpful when the sun is in your eyes during the magic hour.
The only real con of the 70D is the overall size. When you factor in a lens, the camera can weight a few more pounds which can really weigh you down when you are trying to pack as light as possible.
Canon 70D specifications
- Weight of the camera – 1.66 pounds
- Zoom – variable and dependent on your lens
- Sensor size – variable and dependent on your lens
- Megapixels: 20.2 megapixels
- Aperture: variable and dependent on your lens
- Favorite lenses for travel – Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras. This lens gives you varying zoom ranges so you can capture a variety of travel experiences.
- The other lens I carry is the Sigma 30mm 1.4 which is a great fixed lens. The low aperture capabilities are key in low light situations like caves and at sunset.
Pros and Cons of a Canon 70D
- Excellent image quality
- Screen touch capabilities
- Great Autofocus for videos
- Wifi built in connectivity
- It is heavy
- No headphone outlet
Whether it is used for amateur or professional photography: This camera is best for someone who is familiar with a DSLR and looking to step up their image quality game. Is Canon 70D the best travel DSLR camera for you? Buy it here from Amazon.
3. Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Contributed By Claire from Adventure at work. You can also follow her on Instagram
My favorite camera that I bring on all my travels is the Canon EOS 6D Mark II! Now be warned, this camera isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s a semi-professional, full-frame DSLR camera that is not the easiest to lug around!
However, I think it’s totally worth it, because of the endless memories that it captures in high definition. The quality of the images on the 6D Mark II is amazing, meaning you’ll get phenomenal photos for posts on Instagram, for a travel blog if you have one, or even for your wall at home! Therefore, I recommend the Canon 6D Mark II because of the way it allows me to relive my travel memories over and over again and hence making it the best camera for blogging
Canon 6D Mark II specifications
- Weight – 765 gram
- Sensor Size – Full frame CMOS 35.9mm x 24.0mm
- Megapixels – 26.2 Megapixels
- Zoom/Aperture – depends on which lens you use with the camera.
Pros and Cons of the Canon 6D Mark II
- Superb, professional image quality
- Good low-light performance
- Fast focus
- Flip-out LCD screen for selfies and blogging
- Wide variety of lenses for all types of photographers
- It comes with a full frame sensor
- No built-in flash
- No 4k
- Quite heavy and large to carry around
Overall, the Canon 6D Mark II is not only the best DSLR camera for travel but also the best camera for travel blogging. You can check for prices of the Canon 6D Mark II or buy it on Amazon.
Best mirrorless camera for travel
1. FujiFilm XT-2
Contributed by Natasha from And then I met Yoko. You can also follow her on Instagram
The FujiFilm XT-2 is part of the mirrorless X series of Fujifilm cameras. My biggest reason for picking this camera was the size and weight. Compared to full-frame DSLRs, this mirrorless camera only weighs 507g and the lenses in the line up are equally light.
The size is small enough that I usually travel with two lenses and the body, which fit snugly into my day bag. This is important because if the camera was bigger it would end up collecting dust in the hotel room.
The sensor on the XT-2 is APS-C, which means it’s smaller than a full frame one. Some photographers will argue that this means it’s inferior but it is not. The picture quality, at 24.3 MP, is impressive and many professional DSLR photographers are switching over.
The zoom capabilities depend on which lenses are used. Because the XT-2 has interchangeable lenses you can go with fixed distances (prime lenses) or zoom lenses, which are great for travel. The kit comes with an 18-55mm which is the perfect starter focal length. It’s wide enough to capture big monuments and tight enough for intimate shots. My favorite zoom is the 16-55mm f/2.8. For more detail on different lenses and travel accessories, you can see my list of gift ideas for travel photographers.
The XT-2 is also weather-sealed which means, when paired with weather-sealed lenses, it can withstand rain and dust. It’s a great lightweight camera for both professional and amateur photographers who want something they can grow into.
FujiFilm XT-2 camera specifications
- Weight of Camera – 507g
- Zoom – 16-55mm f/2.8
- Sensor Size – 23.6 mm × 15.6 mm
- Mega Pixels – 24. 30 megapixels
Pros and Cons of the FujiFilm XT-2
- The weather sealed lenses can withstand both dust and rain
- Lightweight camera
- Excellent image quality
- Manual focusing
- Weak battery life
- Slow wake-up time
- Auto-focus in low light isn’t the best
- No touch screen
All in all, FujiFilm XT-2 is the best mirrorless camera for travel. Check for prices or buy it on Amazon.
2. Sony a6000
Contributed by Danielle from Wanderlust while working.
My number one priority when buying a camera was to find something small and light to travel and especially to hike with. I tend to pack light, so I didn’t want a big, heavy DSLR taking up a ton of space in my carry-on.
I am also fairly new to photography so I wanted a good camera to start honing my skills without splurging on an extremely expensive camera. The Sony a6000 is the best of both worlds. Because it is mirrorless, it’s quite light and it had a bit lower price point than many DSLRs, with higher quality and versatility than point and shoot cameras.
I also love that it has tons of preset options. Many photography purists love to shoot in manual mode, but at this point, I prefer to use a lot of the preset options available to me to be able to snap quick shots. The a6000 lenses are also great because many come with an optical steady shot (OSS). I don’t have the steadiest hands in the world and I don’t hike with a tripod, so having lenses with this built-in feature is important for me to get the best possible shot. You can check out my photos taken with this camera at Wanderlust while working or on my Instagram.
Sony a6000 specifications
- Weight of the Camera – 468g with lens and battery
- Zoom – The standard lens that comes with the camera is 16-50mm, though it uses Sony E Mount Lenses so can expand with additional zoom lenses.
- Sensor Size – (23.5 x 15.6 mm ) APS-C- sized CMOS sensor.
- Megapixels – 24.3 MP
- Aperture – f/3.5 – f/22 (W) / f/5.6 – f/36 (T)
Pros and Cons of a Sony a6000
- Optical Steady State
- Has wifi connectivity
- Has an electronic viewfinder
- Fast Autofocus
- Great image quality
- Not a full frame camera
- No external microphone port
Although the Sony a6000 can definitely be used professionally in some applications, I would recommend for it amateur photographers. You can also check for its prices or buy it on Amazon.
3. Olympus OM-D
Contributed by Kate from Tear Free Travel. You can also follow her on Facebook
I love my Olympus OM-D for creating beautiful travel photos on the go. This compact camera is the perfect travel companion as it fits nicely in a small travel bag and doesn’t ever feel too bulky. As an amateur photographer, I spent the first few months using the auto features on this camera before finally investing in some lessons at my local photography shop. This camera is best for amateurs although I know of some professional photographers that use it for wedding shoots.
Although the base lens that comes with the camera is adequate, I upgraded to the Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH and loved this for taking amazing portraits of my kids on vacation. It’s hard to keep kids still on vacation and I love the touch screen with autofocus features for taking the best shots of my kids at the beach or the pool. The ability to interchange lenses is important, as it allows a lot more flexibility on the types of photos you can take on vacation. If you are looking for an affordable mid-range mirrorless camera, Olympus OM-D is a great consideration!
Olympus OM-D Specifications
Weight of the camera: 12.34oz
Zoom: None with the standard lens
Sensor size: 4/3” (17.3 x 13 mm)
Megapixels: 16.1 megapixel
Pros and Cons of the Olympus OM-D
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy for beginners to use
- Fast autofocus
- Has an external flash
- Will likely need to upgrade from the kit lens
- Will struggle to focus with fast moving people
- No built-in flash
In conclusion, the Olympus OM-D is one of the best cameras for travelers who want to capture some of the most amazing shots. Convinced that this is the best camera for travel photos? Buy it here from Amazon.
Best digital compact camera for travel
1. Olympus TG5 Camera
When it came to choosing an underwater camera, I debated long and hard between the Olympus TG5 and the GoPro. The focus range, the range of scene and macro modes on the Olympus were the persuading factors for me.
The TG5 is not just an excellent underwater camera but also a great action camera and a handy travel camera. It takes fantastic photos both in and out of the water.
One of its best features is its built-in GPS with geotagging and location logging. With the Olympus image track app, you can create a map of your adventures.
While GoPro is still the most popular on the market, I ‘don’t regret purchasing the Olympus TG5. I love the LCD screen, and the dials are easy to use underwater.
I’ve also purchased a floating strap which was easy to attach. This makes carrying the camera underwater easy and should I drop it, it will float to the top.
There are some other great optional extras that you can purchase for the TG5 camera such as the fisheye lens. This lens is waterproof, and the extra wide angled view is useful underwater.
If you’re going deep diving, you can get underwater housing kits for the Olympus TG5. These will allow you to go down up to 200 feet, and they include strobe connectors for extra lighting.
Overall, this is an excellent versatile camera which can be used by both beginners and more experienced photographers.
TG5 camera specifications
- Weight of Camera – 250g (8.1 oz.)
- Zoom – 25-100mm (4x), F 2.0-4.9
- Sensor Size – 1/2.33″”
- Mega Pixels – 12 megapixel
Pros and Cons of the Olympus TG5
- It has more AF points than the GoPro
- Built-in Flash
- 4K Video
- Waterproof up to 15 meters
- Can be dropped from 2 meters
- Operates in temperatures down to minus 10 degrees Celcius
- No External Microphone
- Battery life is not great
- Performance in low light is unreliable
Bottom line, the Olympus TG5 is one of the best underwater cameras for travelers. You can check for its prices or buy it on Amazon.
2. Olympus TG-4
Contributed by Adventures in Family Land. You can also follow them on Facebook
Adventures in Family Land bought the Olympus TG-4 for two main reasons – its toughness and the fact that it works underwater. Before we went on a world trip, we wanted to buy a camera that could take a beating and was totally waterproof – the TG-4 did not disappoint.
We bought ours in 2016 and now we’ve passed it on to our six-year-old, secure in the knowledge that he really can’t do much damage to it. He loves using it underwater, and it doesn’t matter if he accidentally drops it. It’s a great starting camera for kids.
It is an amateur camera, but there are plenty of settings for you to play around with if you want to learn or know the basics – Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Scene Modes, Microscope and Underwater. There are also two custom modes you can set up. In addition, there are many picture and scene modes and also art filters you can play with. You can also basically edit images already taken using the camera.
The battery lasts for quite a long time. Even in Lapland, where the extreme cold drains batteries, it only had to be charged once during the week.
Images can be shared to your phone using the Olympus Share app, which connects easily to your mobile phone using the camera’s in-built wi-fi. So there’s no issue getting them straight onto social media!
We wholeheartedly recommend this camera to any traveler, especially ones with children who want to get involved. With this camera, you can let them click away without worrying about damage!
Olympus TG-4 camera specifications
- Weight – 247g (including battery and card)
- Zoom – 4x Optical Zoom, 2x Super Resolution Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom
- Image Sensor – 1/2.3 inch CMOS Sensor
- Mega Pixels – 16
- Aperture – W2.0 – T4.9
- Size – 111.5×65.9×31.2mm
Pros and cons of an Olympus TG- 4
- It is Waterproof, Shockproof, Crushproof, Dustproof, and Freezeproof.
- Has a great battery Life
- Possesses the geotagging functionality
- Has a built-in flash
- Video quality and sound are not great.
- Has no touch screen capabilities
- No optical viewfinder
The Olympus TG-4 is one of the best compact cameras that can be used by both amateur and professional photographers. You can check out its price or buy it on Amazon.
Best small digital camera for travel
1. Osmo pocket
Contributed by Christopher from Rudderless Travel. You can also follow him on Facebook
As a travel blogger/vlogger the biggest challenge I have is maintaining the balance between traveling light but still having all the gear that I need to produce a variety of shots (both video and photo).
After years of travel and cameras, I’ve managed to narrow everything down to a sling bag for my drone, controller, battery and extra memory cards. I have two belt clips that allow me to attach one extra lens and my DSLR to my belt while my latest camera the Osmo Pocket is small enough to fit in in the sling bags shoulder strap pocket.
What this all means is that I am hands-free! – I was never the type of boyfriend who liked to hold hands 😉
Made by DJI, the same company that makes the most popular drones on the market, the Osmo Pocket is the smallest 3-axis stabilized mechanical handheld gimbal/camera. What that means is the camera adjusts to your movements, in real time – to keep your videos and images stable and smooth.
Osmo pocket specifications
- Weight of the Camera – 116g
- The Max Image Size – 4000×3000 pixels
- Sensor Size – 1/2.3″ CMOS
- Megapixels – 12 megapixels
- Video resolution – 4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160
- The Osmo Pocket has both an automatic setting and a professional setting. In the professional setting, you manually adjust the camera parameters like exposure, ISO, and shutter speed.
Pros and Cons of an Osmo pocket
- 3-axis stabilized camera – this is a fancy way of saying your videos and photos will be stable.
- Is small, really small – fits in your pocket; I find myself vlogging so much more.
- 4K video + timelapse, motion lapse, hyperlapse, slow motion, long exposure, and panoramic settings- you can make your video and images stand out.
- Smartphone Adapter (Lightning, USB-C) – allows you to connect your smartphone to the Osmo Pocket and use DJI Mimo App to experience more on a larger screen
- Active tracking and face tracking – which means that the camera can track objects and/or your face
- Sound – Considering the size of the Osmo Pocket the built-in microphone is not too bad.
- Perfect for vloggers, it’s discrete and other than the fact that your “talking to yourself” no one knows you have a camera in your hand
- 1.08-inch touch screen – You can access all the controls by swiping and tapping
- You can not zoom in.
- Sound – Although the sound is not too bad it is awful on windy days or loud environments.
- Price – It might not be the cheapest and may not be in everyone’s budget but for everything that you’re getting, it’s worth the price.
- 1.08-inch touchscreen – In low light situations, it can be difficult to see if you’re in focus (it’s better to attach your mobile device in low light.
There are a few amazing accessories you can purchase for the Osmo Pocket but these are the two I currently use.
- Osmo Pocket 3.5mm Adapter – you can plug in a separate mic for better sound.
- Wireless Module – with this attachment you can create a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection between Osmo Pocket and your smartphone. Yes, you can control the Osmo Pocket from your mobile device.
You can also read this post to find out all the photography equipment you’ll need as an amateur photographer.
Convinced that the Osmo pocket is the best travel video camera for you? You can buy it here from Amazon.
Best smartphone camera for travel
1. iPhone Xs
As a travel addict who always wants to capture the best shots without having to carry around a huge travel camera, an iPhone Xs works perfectly for me. On the front of the phone is a 7-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 wide-angle lens that’s perfect for portrait mode.
iPhone Xs camera specifications
- Weight of the camera -177g.
- Zoom – 2x optical zoom and a digital zoom up to 10x.
- Sensor size – 1/4″
- Megapixels – 12 megapixels
- Aperture – The main wide-angle camera has an f/1.8 aperture and is optically stabilized with an f/2.4
Pros and cons of an iPhone Xs camera
- You’ve always got the camera with you and it’s super easy to use. That means you can catch shots that you just wouldn’t get otherwise if you had a bigger, less handy camera.
- I love the fact it’s small – as a cyclist, I am able to fit it in the pocket in the back of my cycling jersey.
- The photos are sharp and vivid.
- The camera does a good job when there are competing light sources and even in low light.
- You can take burst photos very easily. As I take a lot of action photos, this is really handy.
- I love the geotagging functionality, which makes sorting my photos much easier than before.
- Portrait mode is fantastic – with easy to use controls that allow you to easily blur the background as much as you want at the touch of a button.
- With all the photos on your phone, it’s extremely easy to share them on social media.
- The limited optical zoom can make it difficult to get the perfect shot in some situations.
- The camera doesn’t shoot in RAW.
- The phone’s battery could be better.
Overall, the iPhone Xs is perfect for amateur photographers that want a robust camera that’s always
close at hand. I absolutely love mine! You can check prices of an iPhone Xs or buy it on Amazon
2. iPhone 7+
Contributed by Ania from the traveling Twins. You can also follow her on Instagram
Before we started traveling, I was a full-time wedding photographer. So now that we travel all the time, people often ask what camera I use. When I sold my heavy equipment, I bought a Fujifilm XT-2 which takes beautiful photos. But the truth is that most of the time, I use my iPhone 7+. All photos from our trip to Ait Ben Haddou were taken with my iPhone 7+.
So why does a professional photographer use her iPhone? The answer is easy: my phone fits in my pocket and is always with me.
iPhone 7+ camera specifications
- Weight of the camera -188g.
- Zoom – 2x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom
- Sensor size – For the Back camera; Main lens- 1/3″ and Telephoto lens- 1/3.6. That of the front camera is not specified.
- Megapixels and Aperture- For the Back camera; 12 MP, f/1.8,28mm (35 mm equivalent) and 12MP, f/2.8,56mm (35mm equivalent). That of the front camera is 7MP, f/2.2, 32mm (35mm equivalent)
Pros and cons of an iPhone 7+ camera
- It’s handy, you can always have it with you
- No hassle with battery, iPhones have great battery life and, you can charge it anywhere.
- In good light takes very good photos, quick focus.
- Quality of the photos is good enough to print a poster of 50x70cm,
- It is waterproof – I dropped mine in the bath and it’s still working.
- Low light photos are terrible and soulless, If I want to take a low light photo I will always use my Fuji or one of my Canons.
IS it for amateur or professional use?
Well, I’m a professional and I use it! Would I ever turn up for a wedding shoot with it instead of my chunky Canons? Never – but for travel, it’s perfect! Check for prices of an iPhone 7+ or buy it on Amazon.
3. iPhone 6s
Contributed by Nora from The Professional Hobo. You can also follow her on Facebook
In 2014, I threw away my camera. For years, I traveled with a decent camera (like a real camera), and I took some very nice shots with it. But as a blogger and full-time traveler, I found that high-resolution photos took up a ton of room on my laptop and I was always reducing the size and resolution for uploading the photos to my blog anyway. My photos were good, but I am a writer first and foremost; my shots will never be billboard-worthy (or even bulletin board-worthy).
Not only that but carrying my camera around with me all the time was a pain. I was always trying to get “off the beaten path” and blend in with the local scenery, and the giant camera hanging from my neck was like a ball and chain, tethering me to the world of being a tourist. So I started leaving the camera behind, and I enjoyed how easy it was to get around. Armed with just my smartphone, I took even more pictures. I was always ready for those perfect “Kodak moments”! It was liberating.
So in 2014, I threw away my camera, as well as my iPhone 4S (which had a horrible camera at the time). I got the best smartphone camera on the market: the 41mp Nokia Lumia 1020. While it took great photos, the phone itself was crappy (the Windows operating system was new and clunky and there were no good apps – still aren’t). So when Apple started coming out with better-quality cameras on their phones starting with the iPhone 6S, I returned to Apple as the prodigal daughter and I haven’t looked back.
It’s worth noting that iPhone and Android users can take their photos to the next level with the Camera+2 app. It has manual controls like shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. There are a variety of shooting modes (like a slow shutter, burst, timer, etc). And the editing system takes photos to another level entirely (the clarity setting kicks photographic butt).
Traveling without a smartphone or camera is unheard of. So why not combine the two?
In addition to Camera+2, here are my other favorite travel apps.
iPhone 6s camera specifications
- Weight -143grams
- Zoom – 5x digital zoom, but don’t do it. Always better to crop than to use digital zoom
- Sensor Size: 1/3″
- MegaPixels -12 megapixels
- Aperture – f/2.2
Pros and cons of an iPhone 6s camera
- Can go everywhere with it
- You won’t likely get into National Geographic with your shots.
- Rear Camera has no optical image stabilization
The iPhone 6s camera might not be the best for Professional photography but can be one of the best cameras for travel blogging. You can check for the prices of an iPhone 6s or buy it on Amazon.
And with that, we conclude the list of the best cameras for travelers. Whether you choose a mirrorless camera or a DSLR camera for your travels, just make sure it suits all your needs as a travel photographer. Just remember that there is always going to be a trade-off, all you have to do is to weigh the pros and cons and that should help you make the ultimate decision.
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