Choosing the Best Travel Cameras – 2018 Travel Camera Reviews

Best Travel Cameras

This year, our trusty point and shoot camera bit the dust, and now it’s time to replace it. It was a small Canon PowerShot that we took pretty much everywhere. We loved the small, slim size, and it took great photos which is just what a good travel camera should be.Taking photos with the best travel cameras

Now that we’re back in the market, we’re pleasantly surprised by the amount of great travel cameras out there. These days, most will shoot in RAW, have large sensors for capturing great photos, work well in different kinds of light, and have fast and accurate auto-focus. Some of the higher end models have features that rival that of even their equally-priced DSLR counterparts!

After digging through the reviews and features, we’ve narrowed down our list of what we think are some of the best travel cameras out there. If you’re in the market for a small but capable camera for your next vacation, take a look at our list. We think you’ll find something that will fit the bill.

Choosing the Best Travel Cameras

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The Best Travel Cameras At A Glance

Camera Best For Features Weight w/ batt. Price

Best digital camera for pro featuresSony Alpha a6500
Those looking for a cutting-edge mirrorless
design that takes razor-sharp photos. Takes Sony E mount lenses. Not a pocket camera.
24.2 Megapixel APS-C Sensor
Very fast autofocus
11fps continuous shooting
4K movie shooting
1 lb./453 g
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Best compact digital cameraPanasonic LUMIX FZ1000
Travelers looking for a camera that will take great pictures with minimal fuss and comes
at a good price. Larger size in between a compact and DSLR.
4K 30p video
Large 1-inch 20.1 Megapixel sensor
Super-fast LUMIX DFD focusing
Integrated smartphone WiFi for remote control
1.83 lb./831 g
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One of the best point and shoot camerasCanon PowerShot G7 X Mark II 
Those who are looking for a great camera that will easily fit in a purse or pocket
but still takes great photos at a good value.
1.0-inch, 20.1 Megapixel* CMOS sensor
High-speed continuous shooting up to 8 fps
3.0" touch panel LCD
1080p Full HD video
0.70 lb/319 g/
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All around best compact cmaeraPanasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10
If you don't mind not having a viewfinder,
the LX10 takes sharp photos, shoots
4K video, and has a large
20 megapixel resolution that can fit
inside your pocket, making this a good choice. Best compact camera all-around.
Large 1", 20 Megapixel
4K Ultra HD video recording
Large 3.0-inch touch monitor
0.68 lb/310 g
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Best compact camerasSony DSC-RX100M III
The Sony RX100M III is arguably
the most capable compact camera
out on the market. Its 20 megapixel
sensor and fast lens will capture
great shots while on the go.
20.9 MP 1" sensor
Continuous shooting up to 10 FPS
Pop-up electronic OLED viewfinder
3.0 inch LCD
1080 60p/24p HD video
WiFi and NFC for sharing and remote control
0.64 lb/290 g
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Great beginner cameras for travelCanon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
Those looking for a great value and a
unique, lightweight design in a compact travel camera.
1.0-Inch, 20.1 Megapixel sensor.
Ultra-slim, lightweight and pocket-size camera.
0.45 lb/206 g
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Best travel camera for long zoomPanasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70
Longest zoom for a pocket compact camera. This camera is great for photographers
on a budget but still want to capture sharp
pictures and great moments while travelling.
20.3 Megapixel
4K video recording
180 degree front flip-up touch screen
30x zoom
0.71 lb/322 g
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Best small cameras for travelFujifilm X100F
Those looking for style and function. With an impressive 24 MP sensor and a sleek
look, this camera may be for you. This is a fixed 35mm with no zoom, however.
Mirrorless design.
24.3 megapixel sensor
Built-in ISO dial
AF mode
High-quality RAW images
1.03 lb/469 g
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Best cameras for travelPanasonic LUMIX ZS100
Great for those looking for great zoom
capability out of their travel camera that
snaps great photos and is a relative value.
20 Megapixel sensor
10x (25-250mm) optical zoom
4K Ultra HD video recording
Eye-level Electronic Viewfinder
0.69 lb/312 g
Check Price

Finding the best travel cameras - what to look for

Image Quality

A good camera should take good photos period. There are several considerations that go into this equation, but for me it comes down to optics, RAW capability, and a sensor that's quick and accurate.

Sometimes it's hard to sift through the marketing jargon and camera features which is why I always rely on third-party reviews and real-world examples when I can. If a camera is waterproof, indestructible, comes with a 10 year warranty, and only costs $200, but takes crummy photos, I'm not interested. For most families, you only get one chance at capturing that perfect moment, so get a camera that's up to the task and won't disappoint you down the road.

  • Pro Tip!

    When we’re trying out new gear, we like to rent from Borrowlenses.com. It’s an affordable way to try out gear before making a large investment.

Price is a factor (but not the largest one)

While there are expensive compact cameras and also cheaper DSLR cameras available, there has to be a balance when travelling. Most families aren't going to be traveling around Universal Orlando Resort with a huge DSLR slung around their neck and a bunch of expensive lenses in the stroller bag. At the same time, I want a fast, capable camera that's easy to manage and takes great photos.

Most of the cameras on this list are less than $1000 (some much more) and even fall around the $300-$400 mark, which I think is a good range. Just because I can buy a similarly priced DSLR, they have a different use and don't necessarily make for a good travel camera. Save the DSLRs for sunrise at a National Park. If you're looking for good cameras for beginner photographers, you might want to consider a camera that is similar to a DSLR but smaller like the Sony a6500 or the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000. Think of these as sort of the cross-overs of cameras.

Too big or heavy are dealbreakers

Travel cameras have to be easy to manage, and that means lightweight and compact. If we're walking around a city, and I want to take a candid photo of one of the kids, the camera has to be ready when I am. Phones can also be good at this, but can also be a little clumsy and don't always focus very quickly.

Remember, the best camera is usually the one you have with you! If you aren't' comfortable carrying a camera around because it's too bulky or heavy, then it's not a good travel camera.

Quick auto focus matters

When you're on vacation, you will be shooting in a variety of light, times of day, indoors, outdoors, and everything in between. Not all cameras handle this very well - particularly in low-light situations. Make sure you get a camera that has quick, accurate focusing so you can get your shot. Your kids aren't going to wait for your camera to decide where to focus when they're too busy having fun.

Other features found in the best new travel cameras

There are several other features that I would now consider standard when shopping for a compact travel camera. This first it RAW shooting. As someone who likes to edit and process photos in Adobe Lightroom, I want to be using the RAW file and not a JPEG. Fortunately, most small cameras these days will shoot in RAW and memory cards are cheap, so space isn't an issue.

Connectivity via Bluetooth or WiFi makes it super-easy to share photos straight from the camera to all of your other devices. Many even let you control the camera with your phone. WiFi is a must have for us, but if you want some of the other features, look for NFC (Near-field communications) capability and/or Bluetooth.

1" sensors with at least 20 megapixels in resolution is becoming the norm, and all of the cameras on our list hit the 20 MP mark. We shoot with a Canon 60D DSLR that doesn't even have that type of resolution, so there's no reason not to invest in the future with one of these cameras.

Reviews of the Best Travel Cameras

Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70

Winner: Best long zoom travel camera that fits in your pocket.

If you're looking for a long zoom in a compact camera, this is a fantastic option and is probably its best feature. It has a whopping 30x 24-720mm zoom lens that will get you close to your subject with ease.

Other features include a 20 megapixel sensor, 4k video shooting, and a tilting 3" screen. Panasonic has packed all this into a camera weighing only .76 pounds and can easily fit into a purse, backpack, or pocket. If you want a long zoom, this is the best compact camera for travel. Awesome.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70.

Sony Alpha a6500

Winner: Most advanced travel camera.

Sony is leading the way with its mirror-less cameras these days. Typically, these cameras are much lighter, and because of the simpler design, no internal mirror to worry about keeping clean. With a 24 megapixel sensor, the Sony takes incredibly detailed photos which is a hallmark of the newer Sony cameras.

The a6500 also shoots in 4k if capturing awesome video is important to you. It's not as slim as other cameras in this round-up - you won't be putting this in your pocket. Another drawback could be the price for some, as this is a higher-end model, and you will need to by a lens to go with the body. However, with superior optics, quick focus with hundreds of focus points, and huge list of prosumer features, the Sony Alpha will not disappoint.

 Click here for the latest prices on the Sony Alpha a6500.

Try it before you buy it here.

Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000

Panasonic makes a great travel camera. It seems that everywhere I look, everyone loves them, from Amazon reviews to other travel bloggers. They take quick, sharp photos and they make several different models to chose from, so you're sure find one that suits you.

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 is a larger camera, so if you need something super-slim, you'll want to look elsewhere. It does have a long zoom 25-400mm lens that will help you get nice and close to your subjects. It has a 20 megapixel sensor, fully articulating 3" screen which is convenient for shooting video, and can shoot 4k video.

Because of the size of this camera and its SLR-like body, it is a bit heavy (relatively) at 1.83 pounds, but with its host of features and mid-range price, it's a great option. It also took top honors in the enthusiast long zoom category from dpreview.com and is one of their best rated cameras, so it's worth a look.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000.

Try it before you buy it here.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Our last travel camera was a Canon PowerShot, and we really loved it. It was compact, had a great zoom, and took great photos. Canon extends that tradition with the G7 X Mark II.

This camera has a 20 megapixel sensor and also performs pretty well in low light. It will shoot video in 1080p, but not 4k, so be aware of that. It's got a 24-100mm lens, shoots in RAW, weighs less that a pound, and can fit in your pocket. These feature in a smart, compact design make this Canon one of the best digital cameras for travel.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II.

Try it before you buy it here.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10

Winner: Best overall compact travel camera.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10 is another winner from Panasonic. It falls into the enthusiast compact category, as it has enough bells and whistles to keep even avid photographers happy.

The LX10 has a 20 megapixel, 1" sensor for capturing sharp pictures, a 24-72mm lens to give you a little bit of reach, and only weighs .68 pounds. One drawback is that it does not have a viewfinder, so you must use the 3" screen to frame your shot. If this doesn't bother you, then the high marks from dpreview.com and Amazon should prompt you to give this camera a look.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Panasonic LUMIX LX10.

Sony DSC-RX100M III

Compact with high performance - this is what a good travel camera should be, and the Sony delivers. Viewfinder and focusing is fast, and the 20 megapixel sensor delivers great images. Focusing accuracy and loads of features make this compact camera a favorite by nearly all reviewers.

With all of this functionality comes a slightly higher price of course, but if you're looking to capture the best possible images in one of the smallest packages, this is your camera. Wireless NFC make it easy to share photos and control the camera with your phone which adds to the cool factor of this camera.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Sony RX100 MIII

Try it before you buy it here.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Winner: Sleekest design

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II definitely gets our vote for the coolest design in this roundup, but don't let the looks fool you, this is a very capable travel camera. (It also comes in black if that suits you better)

It has a 1" 20 megapixel sensor for sharp photos, 24-84mm lens for some zoom capability, and a 3" screen. It's also one of the most affordable travel cameras in our roundup. It weighs less than half a pound and can go anywhere.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II.

 

Fujifilm X100F

This is the only entry on our list from Fuji. That doesn't make this camera any less impressive though, as this is an awesome piece of technology.

The Fujifilm X100F boasts a mirrorless design and a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor - one of the best in this roundup. Also unique to this camera is the hybrid viewfinder and 3" LCD screen. Keep in mind that this is a fixed length 35mm lens with no zoom capability. With no zoom, it's not for everybody. It will, however, reward you with great photographs, and its sleek design helps make this travel camera one to look at.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Fujifilm X100F.

Try it before you buy it here.

Panasonic LUMIX ZS100

Panasonic delivers again with a great compact travel camera in the ZS100. It is a great size with capable features that can go anywhere.

It features a 1" 20 megapixel sensor, a sharp Leica lens with a respectable 25-250mm zoom, electronic viewfinder, and shoots in 4k video. It also has a unique feature that lets you grab 8MB still photos right out of your 4k video. With a pocketable design and a median price, this is a great option.

 Check here for the latest prices on the Panasonic LUMIX ZS100.

 

Hopefully this gives you a good head start on finding your next travel camera! Don't forget to show us your photos!

What's your favorite travel camera?

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