Last updated on May 24th, 2021
You’ve only traveled there if you have a photo of it, right?
Well, that’s not the case.
But having a travel camera readily available to capture those epic moments is a must.
Whether you want to share your travel photos on social media or view them yourself on rainy days, you’re going to need a camera that can hang during adventures. That’s why we created this list of the best travel cameras. Many of these cameras crossover into beginner cameras or hiking cameras and can be used for multiple purposes, including family vacations.
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10 Best Cameras for Travel
1. Fujifilm X-T200
A travel camera should never come in the way of your adventures. The Fujifilm X-T200 is a perfect example of this — small, light, quick to shoot, and inexpensive.
The 24MP APS-C sensor with Bayer filter delivers excellent colors in JPEGs and a speed of 8 fps, and the RAW files have enough dynamic range to compete with bigger brothers like X-T30.
The kit comes with a 15-45mm lens with image stabilization, and the whole package is ideal for vacations. Fuji has one of the widest ranges of APS-C lenses, and you can consider buying the 35 mm f/2 prime lens too.
The greatest strength of the T200 is its giant, tilting 3.5″ touchscreen LCD. The camera has the vintage look and dials of a traditional Fuji but is simple enough to be used like a smartphone. The 425-point phase-detect AF, along with face and eye detection, is excellent, and you can leave everything on auto in most cases. The only drawback is that you can’t pick an AF point of your choice if the camera detects a face.
The X-T200 is also a great vlogging tool. The down-sampled 4K video quality is excellent, and you get both mic and headphone ports — provided you use a small adapter cable. A few neat tricks are the ‘digital gimbal’ feature for stabilization and an ‘HDR video’ option for high-contrast scenes.
While the camera will detect faces and keep them in focus, there is, unfortunately, no subject tracking in video.
At an entry-level price, the Fujifilm X-T200 makes for a decent travel camera if you can avoid the rain. Regrettably, there is no weather sealing at this price point.
- Affordable and portable
- Excellent image quality and color rendition
- Great for vlogging
- Beautiful design
- AF system is not sophisticated enough for complex situations
- No weather sealing
- No in-body stabilization
2. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
A direct rival of the Fujifilm X-T200, the E-M5 Mark III is a micro four-thirds camera, meaning that its 20MP sensor is smaller than an APS-C sensor. This makes the camera more compact while delivering image quality and dynamic range, which will be enough for regular travelers.
Surprisingly, although the camera is cheaper than most models on this list, the E-M5 III is weather-sealed and has impressive image stabilization and an articulating touchscreen. The body feels solid and comfortable in hand, and there are many dials for those who want to get into manual mode.
With a 121-point hybrid AF and 10 fps burst speed, the camera can handle everyday travel photography and family vacations, although you cannot expect comprehensive performance.
4K video at 24 and 30 fps is great, and so is the inclusion of a flat profile for color grading and a mic port.
Unfortunately, the so-so AF and missing headphone jack and advanced features like peaking and zebra hold it back slightly. The E-M5 Mark III will suit a beginner travel photographer looking for a simple camera that will last long.
- Rugged, weather-sealed body
- Image stabilization
- Good image quality
- Great 4K video
- AF performance is slow when compared to other mirrorless models
- Menu system is confusing
- Poor battery life
3. Panasonic Lumix DC-S5
Released in 2020, the Lumix DC-S5 is a full-frame mirrorless that will appeal to travelers looking for an all-rounder camera.
The 24MP CMOS sensor is housed in a stabilized, weather-sealed body, which feels like it will easily withstand harsh weather and a few bumps.
The overall image quality is excellent in both JPEG and RAW, although moiré can be a problem in some cases. There’s also a high-resolution mode that can capture 96MP RAW files.
Panasonic has also updated its DFD autofocusing to provide better face and eye detection and improved subject tracking. The contrast-detect AF is decent enough for most users, but fast-paced action remains a challenge for the DC-S5, and there is some hunting during video.
The DC-S5 can take 4K/30p without any crop at 10 bit, 4K/60p with an ASP-C sized crop, and 1080p up to 180 fps. The camera also offers additional tools like zebra warnings, V-log support, and waveform view, along with headphones and mic ports.
Unlike the Z5 and a7 III, the Panasonic S5 is a video camera first, which can be used reliably for stills, too, provided you soon upgrade from the basic 20-60 mm kit lens for better results.
- Outstanding build quality
- Image stabilization worth 6.5 stops
- Excellent for video
- Good image quality in JPEG and Raw
- AF performance can be sketchy
- Shooting speed of only 5 fps
4. Sony Alpha a7C
Don’t let the small size of this camera fool you. The Sony Alpha a7C is the world’s smallest full-frame mirrorless camera, and if the 24MP CMOS sensor with Sony’s state of the art ‘Real Time’ AF is not enough, it also comes with internal image stabilization, a fully articulating touch LCD, and a battery rated for more than 700 shots per charge.
You can pair this with several lenses, but the small size of the camera suits travel lenses like the collapsible 28-60mm kit lens or the 50mm prime.
As far as performance goes, the a7C does not disappoint. The dynamic range of the sensor and its low-light performance is top of the class. A few things that come in the way of otherwise great photos are the small EVF, the dials — all of which must be controlled by your thumb — and a confusing menu system.
The AF is quick, and once you have set up AF-C — which is for tracking subjects — the a7C will do most of the heavy lifting on its own.
4K video at 30 fps comes with a crop, but you can shoot at 24 fps to use the entire area of the sensor. Serious videographers will be happy with the headphones and mic port, zebra warnings, focus peaking, and log profile, although the 8-bit footage and rolling shutter may be limiting.
The a7C demands some practice, but there is little that this camera cannot do once you have learned its deep feature set.
- Full-frame image quality in a small body
- Excellent AF performance
- Image stabilization
- Long-lasting battery
- The EVF is bit small and uncomfortable
- No front dial, only 3 rear dials
- Many good Sony lenses are too large for the camera
5. Canon EOS 6D Mark II
The first DSLR on this list, the 6D Mark II, is perfect for those looking for an authentic DSLR experience with an optical viewfinder and a solid-feeling body.
The 26MP full-frame sensor and DIGIC 7 processor can still hold their own. The optical viewfinder has a 45-point AF system, which is good enough for general use and travel photography. In live view, the 6D II gives Dual Pixel, which works well for video and subject tracking, although the shooting speed of 4 fps is disappointing.
The video feature set is also nothing mind-blowing. You only get 1080p video, and there is some noticeable softness in the footage. Apart from the Dual Pixel’s ease of use and the articulating touchscreen LCD, the 6D II has not much to offer.
Overall, the 6D Mark II is a great camera, capable of delivering excellent images, especially if you already have Canon lenses. The weather-sealed body is enjoyable to use, and the buttons, dials, and OVF provide an engaging shooting experience.
- A pure DSLR shooting experience
- Well-built and rugged body
- Good low-light performance
- built-in GPS
- AF system feels outdated when compared to newer cameras
- Dynamic range could have been better
6. Fujifilm X-T4
The Fujifilm flagship mirrorless camera contains all the company’s best features — an excellent 26MP APS-C sensor, beautiful JPEG colors, and retro-style dials in a weather-sealed body.
What’s new is 6-stop in-body image stabilization and better battery life, both advantageous when traveling and don’t want the additional weight of a tripod and extra batteries.
Image quality is top-notch, and you can easily rely on the auto mode, especially for portraits, and the auto bracketing feature for perfect exposure or HDR photography. The T4 gives a speed of 15 fps, and its AF system is rapid, although you might have to tweak a few settings and use Zone AF for best results with wildlife.
The 18-55 and 16-80mm kit lenses are great and quick to keep the overall package portable.
The X-T4 is arguably Fuji’s best video camera too. With 4K, image stabilization, 10-bit footage, focus peaking, and zebra warnings, it can be used for much more than just home videos. One drawback is the lack of subject tracking in video; otherwise, the X-T4 is a perfect all-rounder travel camera.
- Excellent image quality
- Internal stabilization
- Lots of features for videographers
- Retro-style dials make the shooting experience enjoyable
- AF performance is not the best for action photography
- No subject tracking in video
7. Canon EOS R6
Canon has combined in this mirrorless camera a superb 20MP full-frame sensor with an ergonomic and weather-sealed body — the foundation of any reliable travel camera.
The EOS R6 comes with the DIGIC X image processor that powers 4K video, 10-bit output, and log capabilities. You also get internal image stabilization up to 8 stops and a fully articulating touch LCD.
Overall, the EOS R6 has excellent specifications for both photography and video. But what makes it great for traveling and landscapes especially is the Dual Pixel AF II. You can use this camera as a point-and-shoot and never get a blurry photo. The AI-powered subject tracking, face and animal detection, and a shooting speed of 12 fps make the R6 excellent for capturing kids’ events and pets running around.
The body can be bought with the 24-105mm kit lens, a good focal range for general use and wide enough for many landscape shots.
Apart from the heating issues when shooting 4K video, significant rolling shutter, and the default noise suppression applied in RAW, the EOS R6 is a well-rounded package, albeit slightly expensive.
- Excellent image and video quality
- Ergonomic body
- Image stabilization
- Heating issues with 4K
- Dynamic range is slightly low and RAW files have default noise suppression
8. Nikon Z5
Unlike the Canon R6, the Nikon Z5 is cheaper and still offers an astoundingly good 24MP full-frame sensor in a super-comfortable, weather-resistant body with image stabilization.
In fact, for people who are mainly looking for a photography-only camera, there is hardly a better value-for-money model out there.
Nikon has always had a slightly better dynamic range and low-light performance than Canon and Fuji, and the Z5 is no exception. The 273-point AF system is speedy, and Nikon’s subject tracking is highly accurate. Only the sluggish speed of 4.5 fps will get in the way. There are also features like timelapse, exposure bracketing, and focus stacking.
The Z5 delivers good quality 1080p videos in the video segment, but 4K comes with a heavy crop. Also, the AF is prone to sudden jumping or hunting unless it detects a face, although you do get headphones and mic ports.
In a nutshell, the camera will give amazing images and decent video for 99% of travelers and save you a ton of money.
- Excellent image quality
- Reliable AF in for stills
- Image stabilization
- 4K video comes with a crop
- Shooting speed is only 4.5 fps
9. Sony Alpha a7 III
A fan favorite in the full-frame mirrorless category, the Sony Alpha a7 III will serve you well for travel, action, portrait photography, and more.
The 24MP CMOS sensor provides all the dynamic range you’ll need with minimal noise. Sony’s hybrid AF, eye detection, and subject tracking are magical once the camera is set up to your liking.
For poorly lit scenes, you have the option of manually bracketing your exposure with a tripod so that you can merge them later into an HDR shot.
Thankfully, Sony has updated the ergonomics of this camera and added an AF joystick, which makes the A7 III much more comfortable than other Alpha cameras. The weather sealing is decent enough to keep light rain out.
The camera is also formidable in terms of video. The 4K video quality is superb inclusion of a log-gamma profile, a tilting LCD, and headphone and mic jacks make it a compelling buy.
The AF in video may be spotty in a few cases, but it’s still close to Canon’s Dual Pixel. Paired with a lens like the 24-70mm G Master or 24-105mm, the a7 III will make a tremendous all-purpose travel kit.
- Excellent quality in both stills and videos
- Image stabilization
- Best-in-class AF performance
- The menus and settings are confusing sometimes
10. Nikon D7500
The Nikon D7500 is Nikon’s flagship mid-range DSLR, borrowing many features from the professional D500 body, including the 20.9MP APS-C sensor, the metering sensor, and a more comfortable grip.
The hefty, weather-sealed body will survive rough use easily, but the weight may not be suitable for long hikes. The 18-55mm AF-P kit lens is collapsible and may be a good choice for saving some space.
Being a DSLR, the D7500’s optical viewfinder and twin dials are a joy to use and provide a much more engaging experience than modern mirrorless cameras. There’s also a partially articulating touch LCD to make it easier to click photos and take video.
The sensor might have a slightly lower resolution, but the image quality and metering are beyond excellent, and it makes the camera’s readout speed and face recognition faster.
With a speed of 8 fps and a 51-point AF system with 3D tracking, the D7500 is a capable action and sports camera. The video quality in 4K and full HD is great, but you’ll have to find a workaround for the heavy crop in 4K and wobbly video autofocus.
- Top-class image quality and a wide dynamic range
- Rugged body that will last long
- Impressive viewfinder AF and subject tracking
- Body size may not suit photographers wanting to save space
- Video AF is prone to hunting
- 4K is cropped
5 Best Adventure and Action Travel Cameras
1. Olympus Tough TG-6
As the name suggests, the Olympus TG-6 is one tough camera that is small enough to fit your jacket pocket. You cannot change lenses, and the resolution is limited to a small 1-inch 12MP sensor. However, the 25-100mm equivalent range is suitable for general use, and the aperture of f/2 – f/4.9 is bright.
The Tough TG-6 is waterproof up to 15m and also shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof. Built like an absolute tank, you can drop this camera on a bumpy road, and there won’t be functional damage. The image quality is decent enough only for social media, and you have the option of shooting RAW, although instead of full manual, there’s only an aperture priority mode.
The TG-6 offers excellent macro shooting modes, along with GPS, altimeter, compass, thermometer, and an accelerometer. There’s also 4K video, which with the basic 25-point AF system, gives smartphone-like footage. The camera will not replace fancy DSLRs, but it was never meant to.
For mountaineers who want something to record memories and not break down, the TG-6 is the perfect travel camera. Scuba divers can purchase a separate housing for dives down to 45m (147ft).
- Waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof
- Ability to shoot RAW
- Capable of taking good close-up shots
- Image quality is not very good
- Low resolution
2. GoPro Hero9 Black
The GoPro action cameras have become synonymous with vlogging and travel — for good reason. Their latest Hero9 Black is matchbox-like small, waterproof, and stabilized for super-smooth videos. It gives sharp 20MP photos and has a built-in timelapse feature. The Hero9 can also be used for direct live streaming and as a webcam for your laptop.
The reason why this tiny action camera suits travel photography is its ease of use. There’s a touchscreen at the back and a small screen in the front so that your selfies turn out perfect. You can shoot both 5K video at 30 fps and 4K/60 fps, with a lens range of 16 to 39mm, which is basically digital zoom.
Given the fantastic stabilization, superb video quality, and wide-angle perspective — along with an automatic horizon leveling to reduce distortion — the Hero9 continues the legacy of waterproof, pocketable adventure travel cameras.
- HyperSmooth stabilization works well
- Front and rear LCD screens
- Great video quality
- Not versatile if you want to zoom in
- Battery life is decent, but carry a spare for longer trips
3. Insta360 One R
The Insta360 One R is a modular action camera, meaning that it’s made of small parts that snap together like Legos.
The One R comes in three versions: a ‘1-inch edition’ that gives a 1-inch sensor and a Leica lens, a ‘360 edition’ that has a smaller sensor and 5.7K video, and a ‘4K edition’ that gives 12MP photos and 4K video without 360° video; all of them having in-body stabilization.
All the lenses of the three editions are interchangeable and can be bought separately. The 360 edition is in the middle of the price range and perhaps the most suitable for travel. You can use it for 18MP photos and 360° videos, and it offers useful features like RAW support, slow motion, subject tracking with voice command, editing out the selfie stick to give a drone-like feel, and timelapse. Both the image and video quality are excellent, matching GoPro models.
Being a modular body, the main module with the touchscreen and the internal electronics is reversible. Therefore, you can attach it such that the screen faces you while taking selfies, although the touch is not very responsive, and the menus are confusing.
While the build quality is not as good as GoPro, the Insta360 One R is also waterproof and affordable enough to make it a good traveler’s companion.
- Options to change lenses and add more features to the base edition
- Great stabilization
- Good video quality and 360° video effects
- Build quality doesn’t inspire confidence
- Menus are confusing, and the slow touchscreen makes it easier to use the phone app for changing settings
4. Campark X40 Action Camera
The cheapest camera on this list, the X40 is a beginner’s action kit with fewer features. The size is small enough to be pocketable, but at 540g, the X40 is heavier than other action cams.
The camera has its bases covered — 16MP photos, 4K at 30 fps and 1080p at 60 fps, a 2-inch rear touchscreen, and a smaller screen at the front to preview your selfies and vlogs. The box also includes a small remote, which can be used to click photos or begin video recording.
Unfortunately, at this price point, you miss out on proper waterproofing. The box comes with a housing that will have to be put on the camera before you can take it underwater.
- 16MP photos and 4K video get the job done
- No optical image stabilization
- Not waterproof without the housing
5. Insta360 One X2
Shaped like a small TV remote, the Insta360 One X2 is a highly portable option if you only want to capture photos and videos without worrying about settings.
There are lenses on both sides and one touchscreen display. You can capture the whole scene in 5.7K 360° video, or use the primary lens for optically stabilized wide-angle videos and photos with automatic horizon leveling.
The waterproof X2 also has the invisible selfie stick feature, which removes the stick from your videos and makes it look like you are shooting using a drone.
Using the Insta360 phone app, you can also remove moving objects and crowds, add stop motion effects, clone objects or make a timelapse.
The One X2 is a highly creative tool, and once you use a fast-enough phone and master its app, there are many cinematic effects to be applied.
If you want to capture the whole scene on your travels, the One X2 is the standard in 360 cameras.
- Dual lens for 360° video capture
- Great image quality
- The app provides endless effects
- Slightly expensive
- Requires practice and a good smartphone
The best travel camera for you depends on your travel style.
If you’re an explorer, then you’ll want a water-sealed camera body. In addition, you’ll need a wide-angle lens for landscapes or a telephoto zoom lens for wildlife.
If you’re an urban traveler on vacation, you can use an everyday camera like the Fujifilm X-T200 with its 15-45mm lens, which will also be great for family and friend photos.
If you’re not into editing travel photos or producing sharp images, then you can get away with using your smartphone camera. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.