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The 10 best compact cameras, according to National Geographic

From budget-friendly point-and-shoots to high-tech wonders designed for wildlife photography, check out these recommendations from our photo engineering team.

Studio photograph of a collection of cameras for the National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

Things may still be far from “normal,” but our desire for adventure remains the same. Whether it’s spotting a rare bird in your local park or exploring an ancient wonder in a far-flung destination, technology has made it easier than ever to capture and preserve precious moments.

A powerful travel image not only has the ability to tell a story but also reminds us of the extraordinary beauty the world offers. “As a biologist and conservation photographer, I’m always amazed by the diversity of life on the planet,” says Jen Guyton, photojournalist and National Geographic Explorer . “Traveling to see and photograph nature’s riches allows me to learn new things and appreciate the abundance of this planet.”    

With that in mind, we tapped the photo engineering team at National Geographic for which compact cameras they recommend—and why.   They design and build custom equipment for professional photographers and test consumer products for this annual guide. Here are their picks for travel:

Fujifilm X-T5  

best travel compact camera 2022

The XT series from Fujifilm—often our top pick—has had a major revamp this year with the XT-5. It can go toe-to-toe with professional full-frame mirrorless models and DSLRs in performance, autofocus, image quality, and handling. While the X-T5 has gotten a little smaller than the X-T4, it gained the fantastic 40 megapixel (MP) sensor from the X-H2, one of the most detailed APS-C sensors on the market, which makes it—in the authors’ opinions—the reigning champion of 2023 travel cameras.    

One of the most impressive things about the X-T series is that it provides an enjoyable shooting experience for amateurs and pros by blending vintage dials with modern, professional-grade controls, weather sealing, and ports for video or still photography. For more: Fujifilm

Ricoh GR III and GR IIIx  

Studio photograph of the Ricoh GR III camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

The GRIII packs some serious photographic power into a pocketable size. It has a stabilized 24 MP APS-C sensor, dual-type autofocus, a responsive touch screen, and an easy-to-navigate menu system. It’s suits for casual point-and-shoot photography, or more controlled manual shooting. If you find the 28mm f/2.8 effective focal length too wide, the GR IIIx, released in 2021, is identical to the GR III in every way except for its lens, which is a slightly tighter 40mm f/2.8 equivalent lens. For more: Ricoh      

Tip : The camera’s battery does not have a high capacity, but the built-in USB-C port makes it simple to top off the battery with a phone charger.

Fujifilm X100V  

Studio photograph of Sony RX100VII camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

When it was first released in 2011, the original X100 rocked the digital camera industry, revitalizing this legendary camera film brand and bringing retro styling to the forefront of camera design.  

The latest, the X100V, brings a few significant changes. The lens has the same value (35mm f/2 equivalent), but the new design significantly increases sharpness corner to corner, both for wide-open and close-up images.  

The camera’s body design adds nearly full weather sealing, a flip-out screen, and a slightly changed grip, as well as improvements to the control layouts (including a control stick). Fujifilm cameras produce the best JPEGs in the industry, with amazing film simulations; cameras in the X100 line are often the backup of choice for photojournalists. This one has a leaf shutter that can sync to high speeds with a strobe and a built-in neutral-density (ND) filter for combatting bright sunlight. For more: Fujifilm    

Tip : When photographing with the Fujifilm X100 always pack a hot shoe thumb rest, a lens hood, and a wrist strap. These allow you to ditch the camera bag and lens cap.  

Sony RX100VII  

Studio photograph of a Sony RX100VII camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

Despite being more than three years old, the seventh-generation RX100 line remains as one of the most versatile ultra-compact cameras. This version comes with real-time autofocus from Sony’s pro line, giving photographers highly reliable eye/face autofocus that now works with animals. No other camera in this size has autofocus or shoot speeds close to this little wonder. Plus, it shoots electronically with almost no distortion of moving subjects.  

( These photos from the Nat Geo archives capture extraordinary moments in time .)

This means silent shooting and high shutter speeds for working in bright light. The RX100VII sports a 24-200mm equivalent zoom lens that, while not as bright as we would like, covers a wide range for the traveler. Tom regularly describes this camera line as his “desert island” choice. Does it command a high price for such a small camera? Yes, but it delivers outstanding performance. For more: Sony  

Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrom  

Studio photograph of the Leica Q2 camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

Though expensive, the venerable Q series cameras are wonderful to use. The Q series comprises These full-frame, fixed-lens cameras with full-frame, fixed-lens cameras with a 28mm f/1.7 lens providing built-in stabilization. Since the first-generation Q and Q-P have been discontinued, we recommend the modern Q2 and Q2 Monochrom, which both have a 47.5 MP sensor, a larger battery, and full weather sealing.  

The Q2 Monochrom is nearly identical to the Q2, except that it shoots only in black and white and has a sleek black paint job. Removing the color filter stack (or Bayer array) makes for astounding black-and-white images; it also increases sharpness and high ISO performance because more light reaches the pixels. If you prefer color, the Q2 will be more to your liking. For more: Leica

OM System OM-1  

Studio photograph of the OM System OM-1 camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

The OM System (aka Olympus cameras) just released the flagship OM-1 camera, a major upgrade from the beloved Olympus E-M1 series.    

The OM-1 has a similar layout to the E-M1 series but it packs a super fast stacked sensor for high-speed stills shooting at up to 10 FPS mechanical and a blazing 120 FPS electronic. An updated sensor brings better low light performance and subject detection autofocus algorithms that can detect cars, planes, animals, and humans.  

This model also has hand-held high-res shooting (you can take 50 MP images out of a burst of 16 frames) and the Live-ND filter, which simulates a neutral-density filter. In addition, computational photography for handheld shooting emulates some tripod-based long exposure shooting (for example, a blurred waterfall). The pro line lenses have a high-quality build, integrated lens hoods, smooth zoom and focus rings, and round bokeh visualization (background blur).  

The OM-1’s lens options make it ideal for birders and wildlife watchers. The new 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO gives you a lightweight 300-800mm range and an integrated teleconverter up to 1000mm handheld. Tom tested this lens/camera combo and had a blast photographing birds in his neighborhood without his arms getting too tired. For more: OM Systems  

Tip : The best lenses include the Olympus 12-100mm F/4 IS PRO (24-200mm), 12-24mm f/2.8 II PRO (24-80mm f/2.8 equivalent), 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO (80-300mm pro zoom), 7-14mm PRO (wide-angle zoom), 300mm F/4 IS PRO (600mm F4 equivalent), 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO (300-800mm f/4.5).

Fujifilm X-S10  

Studio photograph of the Fujifilm X-S10 camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

With an internally stabilized 26 megapixel APS-C sensor, the X-S10 features impressive ergonomics despite its smaller size. It also has contemporary unmarked command dials and a mode selector, compared to the retro style used on other Fujifilm bodies.  

What do you give up for the affordability and compact size? It has a smaller battery, a single card slot, a smaller viewfinder, no weather sealing, and a slightly lower top shutter speed. But these are all fair trades in our book. For more: Fujifilm      

Tip : Thanks to its ergonomic grip, this camera pairs well with an all-around zoom lens. The Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR makes the perfect single lens travel kit.  

Nikon Z30  

Studio photograph of the Nikon Z30 camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

Nikon’s new Z30 is the third version in the company’s Z-mount APS-C lineup. Its compact size sets it apart. That’s thanks in part to not having an electronic viewfinder or a 30-minute recording limit, plus a vari-angle (or “tilty-flippy,” if you prefer) screen.

Although it’s considered an entry-level camera, the Z30 is capable of 4K 30p recording without a crop, which cannot be said of its bigger, full-frame brother, the Z5. Its stills credentials are impressive as well, with the same amazing low-light performance, an 11fps mechanical shutter with AF tracking, strong AF performance, and the option to save images as high-quality raw files.  

More importantly, it’s light, easy to carry around all day, and just plain fun to shoot with. It’s a perfect match for Nikon’s compact DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR, which makes for an excellent setup to document your adventures. For more: Nikon

Tip : If range is more of a concern than camera size, consider adding the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR to your camera bag. At effectively 375mm on the long end, with five stabilization stops, you’ll have no trouble capturing brilliant images of distant subjects.  

Canon EOS R7  

Studio photograph of a Canon EOS R7 camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

The R7 is among Canon’s first APS-C RF mount cameras (announced in May of 2022 alongside the trimmed down R10). The largest camera on this list justifies its size with impressive features, including one of the best APS-C sensors on the market (X-T5 has the crown now) at 32 megapixels.

Additional features include an in-body stabilization that can auto-level your horizons, a 15fps mechanical shutter (and a blistering 30fps electronic), two UHS-II card slots, and a comfortable ergonomic grip that houses the same LP-E6NH batteries used by its full-framed siblings, giving it a very dependable battery life.    

We’ve also been impressed by its auto-focus on objects—using the same deep learning algorithms as the R3—but the face and eye detection performance leaves something to be desired. Its weather sealing means you can feel comfortable taking it just about anywhere, making it a solid action and adventuring companion. For more: Canon

Tip : Pair this powerhouse body with a good lens. We recommend purchasing a Canon EF-RF mount adapter so that you can take advantage of the countless affordable used EF DSLR lenses on the market.  

Studio photograph of the Sony a7C camera, made for the 2023 National Geographic 2023 travel camera guide

The a7C lost out last year to the Canon RP (the first full-frame, interchangeable lens camera to make our list). But the a7C offers some noteworthy features. It’s remarkably compact for a full-frame camera.  

Our research suggests this camera body has the smallest full-frame, interchangeable lens with a mechanical shutter or stacked sensor on the market. This is an important distinction because there are smaller full-frame cameras, but they either have a fixed lens or do not possess a shutter/fast read out sensor. As a result, photographing moving subjects is impaired.

Despite its small size, the a7C comes loaded with Sony’s quick and dependable real-time autofocus system. Pair this camera with one of the ultra-small prime lenses from Sony, such as the Sony 24mm f/2.5, 35mm f/2.8, 40mm f/2.5, or 50mm f/2.5. Doing so will give you a wonderfully compact travel camera that keeps a full frame sensor in your hands. For more: Sony

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Notable Mentions

Recent updates, all reviews, the 6 best travel cameras - summer 2024 reviews.

Best Travel Cameras

A good camera can be an indispensable travel companion, letting you capture your adventures abroad to share with friends and family. For many, the best camera for travel photography will be the camera you've already got in your pocket—your smartphone. If you want to step up your photography game, however, there are plenty of great cameras out there that won't take up too much space in your luggage. While it can be hard to narrow them down, it's important to consider things like portability, battery life, build quality, your own ergonomic preferences, and, of course, your budget.

We've bought and tested over 100 cameras in our lab, and below, you'll find our top camera recommendations for travel. If you're specifically looking for a point-and-shoot camera, check out the best compact cameras for travel instead. Or, if you're interested in capturing beautiful landscapes on your travels, the best cameras for landscape photography might also be of interest. Travel vloggers can also look at our top vlogging picks .

Best Camera For Travel

OM SYSTEM OM-5 Design Photo

The OM SYSTEM OM-5 is one of the best travel cameras you can get. As part of the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system, it offers a balanced mix of portability, ruggedness, and image quality. Though it isn't as heavy-duty as higher-end models like the OM SYSTEM OM-1 Mark II or the older Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III , it has a more compact body that makes it better for travel. Plus, it's compatible with a wide selection of portable MFT lenses that will keep the overall size of your kit down.

Beyond its relatively small size, the camera is weather-sealed and feels well-built overall. It has an excellent five-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system, which can help you get steadier shots at slower shutter speeds or while recording vlogs. That said, the OM-5 doesn't have the longest battery life, so you might have to pick up a spare battery for long days on the go, but overall, this is an excellent travel camera for the price. If you want to save even more money, the older Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is nearly identical and can be found for less if you buy used, though it uses an older processor and lacks some extra features like 'Live ND' mode.

See our review

Best Full Frame Camera For Travel

Sony α7C II Design Photo

If image quality is your top priority, the Sony α7C II is one of the best cameras for travel photography you can buy. It's one of the few full-frame cameras on the market that boasts such a compact size. While it's still the largest option on this list, and full-frame lenses are typically larger, it's impressive how compact Sony made this camera while including features like IBIS and a fully articulated screen.

The real star here, of course, is the camera's high-resolution full-frame sensor, which has plenty of dynamic range and great noise handling in trickier lighting conditions. On top of that, the camera has a fantastic battery life and a sturdy, weather-sealed body. That said, its ergonomics leave a little to be desired, particularly when shooting through the tiny viewfinder. If you want to save some money, the original Sony α7C is practically a bargain now, though the new model is more well-rounded, with better video features and a higher-resolution sensor.

Best Mid-Range Camera For Travel

Fujifilm X-T30 II Design Photo

If you can do without IBIS and want something a bit more affordable, the Fujifilm X-T30 II is a great mid-range option. It uses an APS-C sensor and has a portable, lightweight body that's ideal for traveling. While it lacks more premium features like weather-sealing and advanced video specs, it's still a relatively sturdy camera, and its dedicated exposure dials give you more hands-on control over camera settings.

Aside from its portability, the  X-T30 II  uses a relatively high-resolution APS-C sensor that delivers excellent image quality straight out of the camera. Film simulation profiles make the camera a blast to shoot with and let you change up the look of your photos without having to do any post-processing. On top of that, the camera has a decent autofocus system and a relatively long-lasting battery, making it an excellent travel camera for the price.

Best Budget Camera For Travel

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Design Photo

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is one of the best budget cameras we've tested for travel. Like the higher-end OM SYSTEM OM-5 above, it uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, making for a remarkably portable camera kit with plenty of lightweight and affordable lens options. It's also a great choice for beginners, thanks to simple controls and easy-to-use creative shooting modes.

This is also one of the only cameras at this price point to feature IBIS, which can help capture handheld images at slower shutter speeds and comes in handy for stabilizing videos and vlogs. That said, this is still an entry-level model, so it doesn't have the greatest build quality. Its autofocus system can also be sluggish with faster subjects. If you'd prefer a camera with a more reliable autofocus system, the Canon EOS R50 is an amazing alternative and comes a bit cheaper. However, its lens options are more limited, and it's less portable overall.

Best Point-And-Shoot Camera For Travel

Sony RX100 VII Design Photo

A premium point-and-shoot is the way to go if you need something compact but more capable than your smartphone camera. The Sony RX100 VII has been going strong for several iterations, and for good reason. This latest model uses a stacked 1-inch sensor, so image quality is very solid for its class. It's also one of the few cameras that's actually pocketable, so you can bring it with you wherever your travels take you, and its built-in lens has a fairly long zoom range that's great for travel snapshots of everything from landscapes to far-away subjects.

Be aware that compact cameras like this have a limited battery life, though you can always bring a spare battery or a portable battery pack to charge it on the go. The RICOH GR III  is a great alternative if you want a more minimalist camera. It doesn't have a viewfinder, and its fixed focal length lens is less versatile than the zoom lens on the Sony. However, it has a larger APS-C sensor that delivers excellent image quality and is better suited to low-light situations. On the other hand, if you're looking for something cheaper, you can still find older generations of the RX100 on eBay and other used camera retailers.

Best Vlogging Camera For Travel

Sony ZV-1 Design Photo

If you prefer to vlog about your travels rather than photograph them, try the Sony ZV-1. Like the  Sony RX100 VII above, it uses a 1-inch type sensor, performing similarly when it comes to image quality and autofocus, but it has a different design, with no viewfinder and a shorter zoom range. On the flip side, it's one of the only compact cameras to feature a fully articulated screen that's ideal for recording yourself. Plus, it has a better built-in mic than most point-and-shoots, complete with a detachable windscreen to cut down on wind noise while recording.

If you prefer a wider field of view, consider getting the newer Sony ZV-1 II , which has a new wide-angle lens that's a good fit for walk-and-talk vlogs. The camera performs similarly otherwise, but Sony also removed optical stabilization from its lens. For that reason, and because of its price, the original ZV-1 is a better deal for most travel vloggers and one of the best video cameras for travel if you need something compact.

  • Fujifilm X100V: The Fujifilm X100V is a large-sensor point-and-shoot camera. It isn't nearly as portable as the Sony RX100 VII, and its fixed focal length isn't as versatile as the Sony camera's zoom lens. However, it's still relatively compact, and its larger sensor captures higher-quality images if that's a priority. The Fujifilm X100VI has since replaced it, but we haven't tested it yet, and it's nearly as hard to find as its predecessor. See our review
  • Nikon Z f: The Nikon Z f is an excellent full-frame option for travel, particularly if you like vintage-style cameras. It has a retro-inspired and relatively portable design but isn't as compact as the Sony α7C II. See our review
  • RICOH GR IIIx: Like the RICOH GR III, the RICOH GR IIIx is a great alternative to the Sony RX100 VII. It's nearly identical to the GR III but features a 40mm focal length lens instead of the wider 28mm focal length on the GR III. The Sony is still more versatile for most travelers thanks to its zoom lens, better autofocus, and 4k video capability. See our review
  • Sony ZV-E1: The Sony ZV-E1 is a full-frame camera that's even more compact than the Sony α7C II. It's a great choice for high-quality travel videos, with a sensor optimized for low light. However, it lacks a viewfinder and is generally less versatile for photographers and hybrid shooters. See our review

Jul 04, 2024: We added the RICOH GR IIIx to the Notable Mentions as another option for those looking for a minimalist compact camera.

Jun 04, 2024: We brushed up some of the text in the article for clarity and reviewed the picks to ensure they're still current.

May 08, 2024: We reviewed the cameras included in the article, including their price and availability, to ensure the article is up to date and adequately meets user needs.

Apr 10, 2024: We've replaced the Sony α7C with the Sony α7C II because it's more widely available and offers some advantages for video work. We also removed the Sony ZV-1 from the Notable Mentions, making it the 'Best Vlogging Camera For Travel.' Finally, we added the Nikon Z f to the Notable Mentions.

Mar 13, 2024: We've removed the 'Best Action Camera For Travel' since we've temporarily paused buying and testing action cameras.

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the top travel cameras for most people, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all of our camera reviews, ranked by their suitability for travel photography. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.

Finding the Universe

Travel tales, photography and a dash of humor

Best Travel Camera - camera above Florence

The Best Travel Camera: Compact, DSLR, Mirrorless & Phone!

Last updated: June 14, 2024 . Written by Laurence Norah - 167 Comments

I’m a professional travel photographer, and one of the most popular questions I’m asked by readers and students on my travel photography course is what the best travel camera is.

With that in mind, I wanted to put together a definitive (and regularly updated) guide to the best travel camera out there.

This guide covers everything you need to know to help you choose the best camera for travel, based on your needs and budget, as well as a guide to all my favourite cameras.

This is a detailed post, in which I’m going to cover my top picks for the best camera across a range of categories, including smartphones, compact cameras, mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras, to name just some of the options.

These travel camera picks will suit a wide range of budgets, needs, and expertise levels. Our picks are ordered in approximate order of budget, from lower budget models through to higher end models.

I’m also going to go through in detail what you need to look for when buying a camera for travelling, and why each specification is important, so you can make the best choice for you.

Remember, the best camera for travel is going to be very dependent on your needs and situation, but after reading this post you should be able to pick the right camera for you – even if it’s not one we suggest!

I also have a guide to the best cameras for hiking and backpacking which contains some different options specific to those requirements, as well as a guide to the best action cameras .

This guide will also work if you are looking to buy a camera for someone else, and I recommend taking a look at our photography gift guide for more ideas of what to buy a photographer too.

Now, before we dive into individual travel camera recommendations, let’s get started by looking at what you need to think about when picking a camera for travel.

I think this is essential reading, as understanding what you are looking for when buying a camera will help you make a truly informed decision.

What To Consider When Picking A Travel Camera

Budget – how much do you have to spend on a travel camera.

This is an important one. Cameras vary wildly in price, from a couple of hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars. So you definitely need to think about how much you want to spend.

Also, this is a travel camera. Whilst you want to get the best shots, travel can expose you to risks, from loss to theft. Obviously, these are things that can be mitigated against with insurance, but it’s something to bear in mind when making an investment – the more pricey the camera, the higher the insurance premium.

Finally, don’t forget that the camera is only a part of the puzzle. You will also need things like memory cards, spare batteries, lenses – as well as possibly a tripod and filters. Your needs will vary, but don’t forget to include them in your overall budget – I’ve written a post on travel photography accessories to give you some pointers, as well as a guide to picking the best lens for travel photography .

Weight – How much are you willing to carry around?

This is a really important question. If you’re the kind of person who likes to travel light, then you’re not going to want a bulky DSLR. Having the best travel camera that sits in your hotel room while you’re out having fun isn’t going to be much use.

Even a mirrorless system might be too much for you if you want something that will truly fit in your pocket or purse, and your best bet is probably a smartphone or compact camera.

On the other hand, if image quality and low-light performance are more important to you than weight, and you’re happy carrying spare lenses, filters, and other accessories, then you’ll likely be looking at a mirrorless or DSLR system.

Remember, as a general rule of thumb, the bigger the camera, the more room it has for a larger sensor. A larger sensor means the camera can capture more light, which means you’ll get sharper, cleaner images even when shooting in darker situations.

Use – What are you going to be taking pictures of?

The type of photography you’re going to be doing makes a big different to the type of travel camera you will be buying. If your main goal is to take nice travel photos for your albums, social media, and to post to friends and family online, then any of the camera types will likely do the job.

However, if you’re going to be doing a lot of action photography, or need the camera to be fully waterproof, then something like a GoPro is going to be the best option.

If you like astrophotography, you’re going to need a camera with a big sensor to let in plenty of light and you might want to invest in a DSLR. Conversely, if you just want a general purpose camera with plenty of flexibility for a variety of travel scenes, from food to landscapes to people, then something like a mirrorless system will most likely be best, offering the best performance for the weight.

Best Travel Camera

Extra features to look for in a Travel Camera

A lot of cameras these days come with extra features that you may or may not care about. I’m talking about touchscreen interfaces, built-in GPS, WiFi, weather resistance, pivoting screens, and so on.

The main features you should be looking at in terms of actual image quality are the sensor size, aperture range, level of manual control, and, for cameras without an interchangeable lens, the optical zoom. Beyond that, which features you are interested in depend on your needs.

For example, you may also want to take videos with your camera. Some cameras are much better at video than others – notably Panasonic’s range of Lumix cameras are known for their video performance.

Personally, I love having a camera with GPS and WiFi capabilities so I can easily remember where my shots were taken, plus I can remote control my camera from my smartphone. On the other hand, a touchable, pivoting screen isn’t a deal breaker for me.

What works for me might not work for you though, so think about which features are important to you when making a purchasing decision. The best camera for travel photography definitely varies from person to person, but hopefully the information in this post will help you make the right decision.

Photography Terminology to Know When Buying a Camera for Travel

Like any subject, photography brings with it a raft of terminology – some of it is important to know about, other things are manufacturer buzzwords that don’t really make any difference to your photography. Here are the important terms to look for when buying a camera for travel, and what they mean.

Aperture. The aperture is the hole in the lens that lets light in, and is one side of the exposure triangle . Aperture is measured in numbers, with an “f” preceding the number, for example, f/1.8, f/2.2. The smaller the number after the “f”, the bigger the hole, and the more light that gets in. Look for smaller numbers, which will let you get better pictures even when there is less light available, and also allow you to better control depth of field .

Optical zoom. This represents the difference between the smallest and largest magnification that the camera’s lens can achieve. So a camera with a 10x optical zoom can make objects seem 10x bigger in the image compared to when the camera is zoomed out.

Digital zoom. A totally pointless feature that some manufacturers add to their cameras. It’s basically a software zoom – the same effect you get if you zoom in on your PC or smartphone when you have an image. Avoid using it.

Focal length. Focal length is the proper photography term for optical zoom, and is a standard across lenses and manufactures. Optical zoom is an easy to understand number that you will find in point and shoot cameras. Focal length, measured in mm, is the number you will find on cameras with interchangeable lenses. The bigger the focal length, the more magnification the lens offers.

EVF. An electronic viewfinder. This means that the camera has a viewfinder, but rather than being a glass based version that shows the scene in front of you as your eye sees it, instead there’s a small electronic screen which shows what the camera sensor is seeing – the same as the display on the back of the camera. You generally only find these on high end mirrorless cameras.

Megapixels. Megapixels just refers to the number of pixels the camera’s sensor has. Mega means million. So 12 megapixels is 12 million pixels, and would be an image 4000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels high. 4000 * 3000 = 12 million.

Thankfully, manufacturers are nearly over the megapixel war, which is a good thing, because as long as you have over about 12 megapixels, you’re good to go. In some cases, such as smartphones, less megapixels is actually better, as you’ll probably get better low-light performance as each pixel on the sensor might be bigger. But yes, unless you’re planning on printing out your images on billboard sized canvases, you can essentially ignore the megapixel marketing.

OIS / EIS. These are image stabilisation technologies, either Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) or Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS). OIS is found in a number of camera and lens systems, and a small number of smartphones, and is a mechanical system that compensates for small movements of the camera system, such as your hand. EIS is generally only found in smartphones, and is a software solution for motion compensation. OIS generally achieves better results.

Sensor size. The size of the sensor inside a camera is one of the most important specifications to be aware of. The bigger the sensor, the more light it can capture, and so the better it will perform in conditions where there is less light.

Sensor sizes range from tiny, such as those found in smartphones, and generally increase in size as the size of the camera increases. Here’s a diagram to show different sensor sizes, and you can read more about different formats here .

Best Travel Camera - Sensor sizes

Do be aware that manufactures can be a bit sneaky when it comes to describing sensor sizes, particularly in compact cameras. They might for example, talk about having a “1-inch” sensor.

This refers to the type of sensor, rather than it’s physical size. So whilst a 1/2.3 inch sensor is smaller than a 1-inch sensor, neither sensor is actually close to 1/2.3 inch or 1 inch. See more on how physical sensor sizes map to actual sensor sizes here .

RAW. RAW is a file format that more advanced cameras use, allowing you to save the unmodified image data that the camera has captured, rather than the edited JPG version.

This gives you much greater control over the final look of your images, with the downside that file sizes are much bigger, and you have to edit them on your computer in an image editing program before you can use them anywhere.

Many cameras give you the option to shoot in RAW, JPEG/JPG, or to shoot in both. We recommend shooting in both even if you plan only to use the JPG version for now – in the future as your photography skills develop, you’ll be pleased to have the option to go back and edit the original RAW files. You can find out more about RAW in my guide to RAW in photography .

If you are interested in learning more about photography and understanding in detail all the terms above and how they affect your shots, check out my travel photography course , which has all the photography answers you need.

The Best Travel Camera

I’ve divided this list into the different types of camera for travel, with some information on what to look for in each category. I will keep this post updated with the latest travel camera options as they are released. You can see the last date of update at the top of the post.

Each section has a series of the best travel camera recommendations ordered approximately by price, from lowest to highest. Note that prices change and sales occur, which is why we link you to the relevant pages on Amazon and other camera retailers for up to date pricing information.

This should give you everything you need to know to help you make a decision on which would be the best travel camera for you to buy, based on your budget, usage scenario and luggage space.

Best Smartphones for Photography

Why pick a smartphone for travel photography.

If you care about portability, ease of use, and not having to carry another device around with you, then my advice is to get a smartphone with a decent camera, and just use that.

A smartphone can certainly make for a good travel camera, and the latest smartphones take excellent photos in a wide variety of situations.

They also have more features than your average small travel camera – you can share the images directly from the smartphone to your favourite social media platforms, plus have them automatically back up to the cloud as you go using something like the Google Photos app.

In addition, since a smartphone is a device that nearly all of us will be travelling with anyway, choosing one which takes good photos is a cost-effective way of buying a camera.

The main disadvantages are the lack of lens options, reduced manual controls, and generally poor performance in low-light due to the small sensor. But if you want something you’re always going to have on you, a smartphone is hard to beat.

Finally, I’d also add that it’s worth picking a smartphone with a good camera even if you plan on buying a standalone camera. It will serve as a good backup, and you are likely to always have it on you.

What to Look for When Buying a Smartphone for Travel Photography

Manufacturers are fairly inventive when it comes to squeezing tech into tiny smartphone bodies, but obviously there’s a limit to what can be achieved in such a small form factor.

Features to look out for include a wide aperture, which will let more light in, and let you capture shots in low light conditions. Another good feature is an optical zoom, which will let you capture images of further away subjects. This is usually achieved either with a clever nifty periscope zoom, or through the use of multiple cameras as different focal lengths.

Some smartphone manufacturers talk about having bigger pixel sizes. This relates to the physical size of the pixels on the sensor, a number measured in µm, or micrometers. Larger pixel sizes are good as they are more light sensitive and help low light performance.

Speaking of pixels, be wary of high megapixel numbers. In my opinion, anything above 16MP is a warning sign that the manufacturer is trying to win you over with high numbers – you really want less megapixels, as each pixel can then be bigger to capture more light.

Other features to look out for are some form of stabilisation, either optical or electronic, which will let you get photos in lower light and compensate for your hand movement. Better smartphones will have more manual controls to give you more options for your photos. There are different types of focusing system, but I’ve never found a lot of variation between them. Waterproofing can be a benefit, meaning you can get photos in the rain or at the beach.

Also if you plan to travel internationally with your phone a lot, try to choose an unlocked phone so you can put a foreign SIM card in, and that works on multiple frequencies so you still get 3G, LTE/4G and 5G (for more recent phones). That means you can still easily use it to call, text, and get online when travelling internationally. Here’s an excellent resource for finding out which phones work on which networks in which countries.

The Best Smartphone for Travel Photography

Here are five suggestions for current phones which I think are some of the best smartphones for travel photography and should definitely at least get you started in your search. Prices are for the unlocked version of the phones, you might be able to get a better deal through a carrier on a contract.

1. Google Pixel 8

Google Pixel 8 - Unlocked Android Smartphone with Advanced Pixel Camera, 24-Hour Battery, and Powerful Security - Obsidian - 128 GB

Launched in late 2023, the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro offer a combination of reasonable price and excellent camera performance. They can take great pictures in the majority of lighting situations, including in low light, when it switches into a low light mode.

Most users will likely be happy with the Pixel 8 version. This comes with a 50MP wide angle camera (which outputs 12.5MP images) and a 12MP ultrawide camera, as well as an 8MP front facing camera. It comes with a 1/1.31” sensor and a f/1.7 aperture. The wide-angle camera has 1.2µm pixels, whilst the ultrawide uses 1.25µm pixels

You also get 4K video support as well as built-in image stabilization. The standard Pixel has no optical zoom, but it does support shooting in RAW. Being a smartphone, it has a touchscreen, and it’s also water resistant.

You can also upgrade to the Pixel 8 Pro if you want an additional 5x telephoto lens, although it does cost a bit more.

This would be our pick for the best reasonably priced smartphone for travel photography.

Check latest price here .

2. Fairphone 5

Since 2013, Fairphone have been manufacturing smartphones that are fairly made. What does that mean? Well, the idea is that the production of their devices is made in a sustainable way, with practices that benefit everyone involved.

That includes the people involved in everything from the mining of the materials that go into the phone, through to you, the consumer. Over the years, smartphones have become increasingly hard for consumers to repair, with the industry moving towards a more disposable model.

Fairphone wants to change that, with phones that are user repairable and upgradeable, as well as relatively affordable.

Now, to be honest, the first few phones from FairPhone weren’t class leading. Building a device that meets all their requirements is tough. But they have continued, and the latest iteration, the Fairphone 5, is actually solid performer when it comes to general use, and also as a camera.

You get two main cameras. The first is a 50MP f/1.9 aperture camera with a 1/1.56″ sensor, 1 μm pixels and optical image stabilization. The second is an ultrawide 50MP with an f/2.2 aperture, 0.7um pixels and a 1/2.51″ sensor.

Now, the image quality from other phones on our list will be marginally better, but the green and environmental credentials of the Fairphone are world leading for smartphones.

3. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

best travel compact camera 2022

Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones are known for their superior photography capabilities, and the 2023 Galaxy S23 Ultra is no exception.

You get four rear mounted lenses, a boggling 200MP f/1.7 wide angle, a telephoto 10MP f/4.9, a second telephoto 10MP f/2.4 and an ultrawide 12MP f/2.2.

This range of lenses gives you a 10x optical zoom, as well as impressive digital zoom capabilities which go all the way up to 100x! The front facing camera is no slouch either, offering a 12MP f/2.2 wide angle.

Pair that with pixel sizes from 0.6µm-1.4µm pixels and OIS – all packaged in a water-resistant smartphone, it’s no wonder that it is usually found at the top of the pile when people review cameras for smartphones. This is the smartphone I currently own and use for my mobile travel photography needs. Check latest price here .

4. iPhone 15 Pro Max

best travel compact camera 2022

The latest iPhone Max model offers a range of photography focused features that make it a worthwhile upgrade over previous iPhone models. You get 3 cameras in total.

There’s a main 48MP camera which also offers a 2x 12MP zoom. Then there are 2 12-megapixel cameras, one which offers an ultra-wide lens, and one with a 5x telephoto zoom. This latter is the biggest optical zoom of any iPhone to date.

There’s also a built in LIDAR scanner, which makes for wonderful night photos, as well as a RAW mode. A great choice if you’re an Apple person.  Check latest price here .

Best Compact Camera for Travel Photography

Why pick a compact camera for travel photography.

A compact travel camera offers a number of advantages. First, they offer larger sensors than most smartphones, so image quality and performance is usually improved. They are pocketable, so easy to take with you.

Compact cameras also tend to be designed to be more user friendly (hence the nickname point-and-shoot cameras) and are generally much less expensive than mirrorless and DSLR camera systems. Many models offer manual controls, and having a separate device means you can keep on taking photos even if your smartphone battery is on the way out.

One of the biggest advantages though, and the reason to pick a compact travel camera over a smartphone, is the optical zoom. All the compact travel cameras we feature have an optical zoom (except the GoPros), letting you get shots of distant objects that you wouldn’t be able to get with a smartphone.

The main disadvantages are the smaller sensor sizes compared to a mirrorless or DSLR and the lack of interchangeable lenses.

If you’re interested in buying a compact camera, see our detailed guide to getting the most out of a compact camera here for some tips and advice.

What to look for when buying a Compact Travel Camera for Travel Photography

There are a variety of features that compact travel cameras offer for travel photography. Key features to look for are the optical zoom, and specifically, how much optical zoom the camera offers.

Other features include the size of the sensor – the bigger the sensor, the better the performance – the maximum aperture, and whether or not there is some form of image stabilisation technology built in.

Any camera with a long optical zoom needs excellent image stabilisation, as the more you zoom in, the more exacerbated tiny movements become.

Other features to consider depending on your needs include GPS, WiFi and touchscreen capabilities. Some more advanced compact travel cameras also include manual modes, which can really help you get the most out of them, and some even shoot in RAW. Let’s take a look at our pick of the best compact travel cameras.

The Best Compact Camera for Travel Photography

Here are a number of my top suggestions for compact travel cameras which I think are some of the best options for travel photography.

Note, many manufacturers have ramped down production of their compact cameras and new models are not being released. This is largely due to the popularity of smartphones.

The main impact is that many of the models I recommend are now older models.

This means stock and availability of some compact camera models can be very low. This is especially the case at the lower price points.

I’d suggest checking used camera sites like KEH or MPB if you are struggling to find a specific model.

1. Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / (TZ90 in UK)

best travel compact camera 2022

With a 30x optical zoom lens, a 20.3MP 1/2.3 inch sensor, OIS, full manual controls and RAW support, this camera puts out some great shots at an excellent price for what you get. It even has an electronic viewfinder, which is rare in a compact camera and can make composing images in bright sunlight easier.

A newer model was released in 2019 – the ZS80 . This adds Bluetooth and a higher resolution EVF but not much else. We’re not sure that is a sufficient upgrade to justify the price difference, but it’s up to you. If you find them at the same price, then you might as well get the ZS80, otherwise the ZS70 remains our pick while it’s still available.

Check price on Amazon here , B&H here and Adorama here

2. Sony RX100

best travel compact camera 2022

It also has a fast f/1.8 aperture and a 3x optical zoom. It’s a little long in the tooth now, but you can pick one up for a great price, hence the inclusion in this list. You can also get newer models with newer features at increasing price points.

We use and love the RX100 version V , which offers a number of upgrades over this model and is available at a reasonable price. You can see the bottom of this section for the latest and greatest version as well.

Check price on Amazon here

3. Canon Powershot SX740

best travel compact camera 2022

At 1/2.3in, the sensor is similar to other cameras at this price point. Also, as with other cameras with a long zoom, it comes with the tradeoff that the maximum aperture only goes to f3.3, and at maximum zoom, is all the way down at f/6.9.

Still, it’s one of the best zoom cameras in our list of point and shoot travel cameras, especially at this price point, and the price is excellent for what you get.

4. Olympus TG-7 Waterproof Camera

best travel compact camera 2022

If you need a camera that will survive nearly everything you throw at it, including drops and being submerged in water, then this Olympus is a great option.

It’s particularly focused on those looking for underwater photography, and unlike the GoPro mentioned below, it features a 4x optical zoom lens. This is also optically stabilized.

This camera also has RAW shooting, 4K video support, a fast f/2 lens and built in GPS, as well as a variety of dust, shock and waterproof features. Of all the cameras in our list, this is probably the one with the most survivability!

5. Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II

best travel compact camera 2022

It has more manual controls, allows for RAW shooting, and an aperture that starts at f/2. The optical zoom isn’t too impressive at 3x, but you definitely get improved image quality from that larger sensor.

6. Sony Cybershot HX99

best travel compact camera 2022

With an excellent 28x optical zoom packed into a small body, the camera offers an 18.2-megapixel 1/2.3in sensor, flipping touch screen, 4K video support, electronic viewfinder, manual modes, RAW support, Bluetooth and 10fps shooting support.

It’s an excellent choice for a compact zoom camera, with good image quality and solid features. It’s also reasonably priced for what it offers.

Check price on Amazon here , B&H here and Adorama here .

7. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 (TZ100 in UK)

best travel compact camera 2022

Panasonic’s 1-inch sensor camera model is no slouch, with an f/2.8 aperture lens and an impressive 10x optical zoom. It also has full manual controls, a touchscreen interface, EVF, OIS and RAW shooting.

It’s a little more pricey than other options in our list, but that optical zoom is a definite bonus in the 1-inch sensor category. There is also a newer model, the ZS200 , which costs a bit more and also has a 15x optical lens, although it has a narrower aperture as a result.

8. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

best travel compact camera 2022

We’re moving up a price point now with the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II. This is unique amongst the compact cameras in our lineup, as it uses a micro four thirds sensor.

This larger sensor results in better low light performance, but does mean the camera is larger and heavier. The sensor offers 17MP of resolution in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The camera comes with a 24-75mm equivalent lens (approximately 3x optical zoom) which offers a variable aperture of f/1.7 – f/2.8.

You also get a touch screen, electronic viewfinder, optical image stabilization, full manual controls, and RAW support. The screen however doesn’t flip out.

Overall, this is an excellent option for those who don’t mind trading absolutely portability for improved image quality. If you fall within this category, you may also consider the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III , which has an even larger APS-C sized sensor in an even larger body.

9. Sony RX100 VII

best travel compact camera 2022

There’s a big jump in price to Sony’s latest RX100 model, the RX100 VII. Released in August 2019, in our opinion this is one of the best compact travel cameras money can buy. If your budget can stretch to it then this would be our pick for the best compact camera for travel.

Like the previous model in the lineup, the VI, this camera is a leap over previous cameras in the RX100 lineup as it has a far more impressive optical zoom, equivalent to 8x, with a 24mm – 200mm lens.

This compares very favourably to the previous optical zoom of models in the range (versions I – V), at 3x.

It still retains the 1-inch sensor, so you get better image quality than your average compact camera. It’s also the first in the series to feature a variable aperture which is slightly slower – however we feel this is a reasonable trade-off due to the zoom capability. It also has image stabilisation, a tilting screen and an electronic viewfinder.

We would argue that this is the best small camera for travel photography, if you have the budget for it, although the improvements over the VI are not too significant, so if you can find that for a lower price, that might be the one to go for. We personally have the version V model which we got for a great price during a sale event.

The Best Action Camera for Travel Photography

Why pick an action camera for travel photography.

If you are going to be spending time doing any kind of adventure activities, from snorkelling and swimming to skiing or snowboarding, an action camera is likely going to be the best option for you.

These tiny cameras are designed for use in more extreme environments, including total water immersion, and are perfect for capturing moments that other cameras simply wouldn’t survive.

That survivability does come with a trade-off of course – most action cameras don’t have manual controls, optical zoom or the ability to change aperture settings. However, when you’re catching the perfect wave you are unlikely to be wanting to fiddle with that sort of thing anyway – you just want something that works.

We’d generally say that an action camera is going to be best as a secondary camera or if you plan on making a lot of video. It can work as your primary camera, if you are happy to live with the restrictions.

What to look for when buying an Action Camera for Travel Photography

Most action cameras are fairly similar in size and features, although there are a few things to look out for.

Obviously, the environments the camera can survive in are important to consider. Some action cameras are totally waterproof for example, whilst others will need a special housing.

The interface is also important. These cameras are very small, so having a simple interface is key so you aren’t fumbling with setting when trying to get the shot.

Other features to look out for are image or video stabilization, size of the screen, if it has a touchscreen for control, additional features like voice commands and the resolution of the video and photo files. Support for 4K video for example should be the default for any action camera you buy for travel.

It’s also worth checking to see what accessories the camera comes with, as this can add a lot to the price. Some cameras come with a lot of accessories out of the box, whilst others will require you to spend quite a bit on additional accessories to meet your needs.

Best Action Camera for Travel Photography

Here are some of our suggestions for the best action cameras for travel photography. We also have a more complete guide to the best action cameras if you want some more suggestions.

1. Akaso Brave 7 LE

best travel compact camera 2022

Despite the lower price, this camera doesn’t skimp on features. It supports video at up to 4K at 30 frames per second, 20MP still image capture, voice commands, electronic image stabilization, a large touch screen for control, and a second front facing screen which is perfect for selfies. It’s even water resistant without the case down to a metre, or 40 metres with the case.

Check price on Amazon here .

2. GoPro Hero

best travel compact camera 2022

The most well-known brand in action cameras has to be GoPro, and specifically the GoPro Hero range of action cameras. Whilst they tend to be the more expensive option, they excel at action photography and video.

If you need something that’s going to survive water and action, then the GoPro line is the best option out there.

Advantages of the GoPro are that it is waterproof without a housing down to 10 metres (with housings available deeper than this), and they have fantastic image stabilization. It also has voice activated commands.

The disadvantage is that to get the best shots you are going to need to buy a number of accessories so you can mount the GoPro wherever you want. These can add up a bit. You’re also likely to need additional batteries.

Still, if you want the best action camera out there for image quality and features, the GoPro series is the one to go for!

Check price on Amazon here and  B&H here  

3. Insta360 Go 3

If you can’t decide between an ultraportable action camera and one with a screen, then we’d highly recommend checking out the Insta360 Go 3, which offers the best of both worlds, and is one of the action cameras we currently use.

best travel compact camera 2022

The camera itself is tiny, weighing around 35g (1.2oz). Despite the diminutive size it’s still fully featured though, supporting 2.7K video. It’s also waterproof without a housing and features a powerful magnet system which allows you to mount and attach it almost anywhere.

If you use the camera on its own then there’s no screen. However, pop it into the “action pod” and it turns into a more traditional looking action camera with a full size tiling touchscreen, control buttons and additional battery life.

4. Insta360 X3

best travel compact camera 2022

Most cameras on the market today shoot what’s in front of you. However, if you want to capture all the action, then you might consider a 360-degree action camera.

If that’s the case, then the brand we recommend is Insta360. They’ve been making 360-degree cameras for a number of years, and we have used a number of their cameras on trips around the world.

Their latest 360 action camera is the Insta360 X3 . It comes with two cameras, meaning it can capture a 360-degree view of the world at 5.7K. It’s no slouch at photography either, able to capture a 72MP 360 degree photo.

That means that you can get the shot and then crop down as you wish to frame the exact action moment you want. Alternatively, you can shoot with a single lens if you want. Both front and rear facing cameras are equipped with a 1/2″ 48MP sensor. It also supports HDR mode and is waterproof to 33ft (10 metres).

Check price on Amazon here and  B&H here 

Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel Photography

Why pick a mirrorless travel camera for travel photography.

A mirrorless travel camera is a relatively new development in the travel camera space. They are similar to DSLR cameras; however they do not have an internal mirror to reflect light from the lens to the optical viewfinder.

This means that they can be smaller, lighter and more portable – making them a top contender for the best camera for travel.

Mirrorless cameras also have all the other benefits of a DSLR – larger sensors, manual controls, excellent image quality and interchangeable lenses.

In terms of disadvantages, they are of course larger and heavier than smartphones or compact travel cameras and are more expensive, especially when you factor in one or two good lenses.

Compared to DSLRs, they generally have poorer battery life, and less lens choice – although this latter is improving as mirrorless systems mature.

What to look for when buying a Mirrorless Travel Camera for Travel Photography

Mirrorless cameras come with different sensor sizes, from the micro 4/3 format up to full frame. All of these are larger than those you will find in compact travel cameras or smartphones, and again, the larger the sensor, the more light the camera can capture in any given situation.

Another key factor to consider is the lens selection. Different manufacturers offer different lens systems, so it’s worth investigating to be sure there are sufficient lens choices for the kind of photography you want to be doing. Also be aware that whilst most mirrorless cameras ship with a kit lens, you can also buy them without a kit lens and then buy a more suitable lens for your needs.

Other considerations include the screen type, if the camera has an EVF, WiFi, water resistance, type of focus system and so on.

Also be aware that all of the camera manufacturer’s below have a range of mirrorless options – I’ve done my best to highlight those that offer the best combination of price and features for travel photography.

Based on a few years of experience shooting with a variety of different mirrorless camera systems, and feedback from fellow travel photographers, we’re put together our list of the best mirrorless cameras for travel.

If you choose one of these, we also recommend reading our guide to how to use a mirrorless camera to get you started!

1. Canon EOS R100

best travel compact camera 2022

With a large APS-C size sensor as found in their consumer DSLRs, the Canon EOS R100 is one of the best budget travel camera options to consider. It took Canon a while to get into the mirrorless camera game, but their “R” series is now a serious line-up of excellent cameras.

The R100 is the entry level model, launched in July 2023. You get an APS-C sized 24.1MP sensor, a superb autofocus system, support for a wide range of lenses as well as built in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. The relatively large sensor offers good performance, and I’ve personally always found the Canon menu system to be the most intuitive to use.

There’s no touchscreen, which is a logical omission at this price point, but other than that you are looking at perhaps the best entry-level mirrorless camera for beginners.

Check price on Amazon here and B&H here .

2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

best travel compact camera 2022

The Olympus has an excellent in-camera stabilisation system, an EVF, a (fixed) touchscreen and WiFi connectivity. There’s also a wide range of micro 4/3 lenses available.

3. Sony a6100

best travel compact camera 2022

Sony have been making mirrorless cameras for a long time, and the a6000 was our model of choice for a long time. However, the camera was released in 2014, and is now getting a bit long in the tooth.

Today, we recommend the a6100 which was released in 2019. This features an APS-C sized sensor (the same as you find in most DSLR’s), fast autofocus, a tilting touch screen, EVF, and a wide range of lenses, plus WiFi, and is an excellent bit of kit for the price. The main omission is weather sealing, for which you’d want to consider the a6400 or a6600 .

Sony have a number of models in the a6xxx range. These include the a6000 (2014, discontinued), a6300 (2016, discontinued), a6500 (2016, discontinued), a6600 (2019), a6400 (2019) our current recommendation, the a6100 (2019) and the a6700 (2023).

Each of these offers different features and capabilities over the a6100. Differences include battery life, autofocus, touch screen capabilities and image stabilization.

Depending on your budget, you might find one of these suits your needs better. The a6600 in particular is an excellent choice as it offers in camera image stabilization as well as a touch screen, weather sealing and much improved battery life.

However, as of writing we think the a6100 is one of the best budget mirrorless cameras for travel.

4. Nikon Z50

best travel compact camera 2022

Nikon was late to the mirrorless camera game, but they’ve now released a number of mirrorless camera models including full frame and DX sensor models.

The Z50 is their more entry level mirrorless camera, which features a DX sized sensor, similar to the APS-C sensor in other cameras.

It has a 20.9MP sensor, 11fps burst shooting, 4K video support, a tilting touchscreen display and an OLED viewfinder.  You also get Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, with battery life rated to around 300 shots.

If you are an existing Nikon user looking to make the leap to mirrorless, this is an excellent option. It’s a great lightweight alternative to something like the D7500, and has compatibility with most of Nikon’s lenses via an adaptor.

If you’d prefer a full frame option, consider the Nikon Z6 II or Z7 II .

Price: Check price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

5. Panasonic Lumix GX9

best travel compact camera 2022

To start with, Panasonic cameras are known for excellent video performance, and if this was a round-up of the best travel video camera, it would have many more Panasonic cameras in!

The GX9 also has the advantages of a fully tilting touchscreen, 4K video, excellent sensor based optical stabilisation, a wide lens choice (most micro 4/3 lenses will work). Unfortunately, unlike the GX8, this doesn’t have a weather sealed body.

6. Fujifilm X-T30 II

best travel compact camera 2022

The X-T30 II features an APS-C sized 26.1MP sensor, excellent build quality and a reputation for taking superb, sharp photos.

You also get an EVF, a tilting touch screen and WiFi.

If you want a more traditional mode dial interface, check out the Fuji X-S10 which offers similar specifications but with the addition of in-body stabilization.

7. Canon EOS RP

This is the first full frame option in our list. I wanted to include full frame cameras in this list, despite them being a little larger and often more expensive than cameras with smaller sensors.

A full frame camera has a sensor that is approximately equivalent to a frame of 35mm film, and they generally offer the best image quality and low-light performance, at the downside of a higher price and larger physical size.

Canon’s full frame mirrorless range launched in 2018 with the Canon EOS R , and the RP is the more budget friendly offering, which has an excellent feature set in a very compact offering.

best travel compact camera 2022

For your money you get a full frame sensor in a lightweight, weather-resistant body. There’s a flipping touchscreen, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 26.2-megapixel sensor.

The best news though is that if you are an existing Canon user, there’s a lens adaptor. This will let you use all your existing EF and EF-S Canon lenses with the camera, meaning you don’t have to re-invest in all new lenses.

There are a few omissions – there’s no in-body image stabilization, and burst rates max out at 5fps. However we think this is an excellent option, especially if you already have some Canon lenses.

If your budget stretches to it you might instead consider the more recent Canon EOS R8 , but for the money I think the RP is a bargain full frame option.

8. Canon EOS R7

Launched in 2022, this APS-C camera is packed with the latest technology. In fact, a lot of the technology in this camera, especially around autofocus, is borrowed from Canon’s high-end EOS R3, a camera which retails in excess of $6,000 USD.

best travel compact camera 2022

At the heart of this camera is a 32.5MP APS-C sized sensor. That is fully image stabilized, and it supports shooting at 15 frames per second (mechanical) and a staggering 30 frames per second (electronic).

Perhaps the most impressive feature though is the autofocus. This can identify and track a range of subjects, including animals and birds. I have used this system extensively and it is amazing how well it can lock onto even a fast moving subject to enable you to get sharp shots every time.

You also get a touch-enabled flip screen, weather sealing, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and compatibility with a massive selection of Canon lenses. Battery life is reasonable at 660 shots, and the weight without a lens is also good at 612g/ 21.58oz.

If the price is a bit much, consider instead the Canon EOS R10 . The sensor has fewer megapixels and you lose image stabilization and weather sealing. However, it weighs a lot less and you still get a very powerful camera for your money.

Price on B&H here  and  Adorama here

9. Sony Alpha 7c II

If you like the look of the Sony A6xxx line but want something with a full frame sensor, look no further than the Sony A7C.

best travel compact camera 2022

Somehow, Sony has managed to fit a full frame sensor into a body that is almost identical in size and weight to the A6600, making it one of the smallest full frame mirrorless cameras on the market today.

They haven’t cut corners in terms of features either. You get a 33MP sensor, 10fps shooting, in body image stabilization, 4K video, WiFi, bluetooth, vari-angle touchscreen and weather proofing.

It even manages 540 shots on a charge. A fantastic option if you want something with a full frame sensor but in a relatively compact size.

Check latest price on Amazon here , B&H here , and Adorama here

10. Canon EOS R6 Mark II

In 2020, Canon launched two spectacular mirrorless camera options, namely the Canon EOS R6 and the Canon EOS R5 .

best travel compact camera 2022

These were the first full frame mirrorless cameras from Canon featuring in-body image stabilization, offering an amazing 8 stops of stabilization when used with a compatible lens.

In 2022, a new model of the R6 was released, the R6 Mark II. This features improved battery life, a slightly larger sensor, and a much faster burst shooting speed compared to the original R6. It also retails at the same original MSRP of the R6, so would be the camera we recommend.

Compared to the R5, the R6 Mark II is the lower priced version, and the one we would recommend for most travel photographers. The R5 is an amazing bit of kit, with 8K video support and a higher megapixel sensor. We personally use the R5 (see our full Canon EOS R5 review here ), and love it.

However, the R6 Mark II offers a very similar experience with a much-improved price point, so unless you really need the 8K video support or higher megapixel count, we think the R6 Mark II is a great option.

Specs wise the Canon EOS R6 gives you a 24.2MP full frame sensor, autofocus that can track people, animals, and vehicles, up to a staggering 40 frames per second burst shooting, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, 4K video, as well as a flip-out touchscreen. It’s also dust and drip-proof.

As with the Canon EOS RP above, there’s a lens adaptor which will let you use all your existing EF and EF-S Canon lenses with the camera, meaning you don’t have to re-invest in all new lenses. If you have the budget, this would definitely be my camera of choice for travel photography.

You can see our full Canon EOS R5 review here , which covers a lot of the features of the R6 Mark II, to see if it might be the camera for you.

Check price on Amazon here , B&H here  and Adorama here .

11. Sony Alpha a7 IV

Sony effectively started the mirrorless camera revolution, and the Sony a7 IV, as the name suggests, is the fourth iteration in the excellent a7 range.

Sony a7 IV

It comes with a full frame 33MP back side illuminated sensor, flip out LCD display, a high refresh rate EVF, WiFi, 10fps burst shooting and a fast autofocus system that includes animal and people eye tracking.

It also has excellent battery life at 610 shots per full charge, and includes weather sealing.

Of course, all these features do mean the price is relatively high. The good news is that you can still pick up previous models in the range, including the A7 III and A7 II . You lose some of the latest technology, but you still get great performance at a much lower price.

Check price on B&H here and Adorama here .

Best DSLR Cameras for Travel Photography

Why pick a dslr travel camera for travel photography.

Honestly, if this is your first travel camera purchase, then I suggest that a mirrorless camera is a better choice for most travel photography use compared to a DSLR. They offer all the control you need in a smaller, lighter package, with an ideal balance of portability and image quality.

For a time DSLR’s had a better choice of lenses and improved battery life over their mirrorless counterparts, but those areas have been significantly improved with modern mirrorless cameras and so this is no longer a good reason.

The main disadvantage of a DSLR is the weight – the weight in particular, especially when you add in some high quality lenses, is a real issue for many users.

That said, at the entry level especially, you can pick up some real bargain DSLR cameras. So if you are just starting out and want something to learn photography with, a DSLR can be a solid budget option, giving you full manual control over your photography.

Just be aware that the main manufacturers are almost exclusively focusing on mirrorless cameras going forward, which would appear to be the future of photography.

What to look for when buying a DSLR Travel Camera for Travel Photography

DSLRs tend to be the largest type of camera, so one thing that is important to look for is that the camera is comfortable in your hand. My suggestion is to visit a store and try the camera in hand, with a variety of lenses attached, to see how they perform before making a purchase. Canon and Nikon still rule the cameras in this category.

Features are fairly similar across most DSLR’s in terms of capability. They’ll either offer an APS-C sized sensor, or, more expensively, a full frame sensor.

Other features to look for include the ISO range, lens selection, weather resistance, GPS, WiFi, touch screen, autofocus system and number of control dials. More dials can be a good thing – letting you quickly set the camera up for different needs without having to dive into menu options.

If you do purchase a DSLR camera, do also take a look at our guide to using a DSLR camera to help you get the most out of it.

Best DSLR Camera for Travel Photography

We personally travel with both mirrorless camera’s and DSLR’s – for our work as travel photographers we still love our full frame DSLR – the image quality and lens selection still make these a great choice for us. Based on our experiences, here are the top five DSLR travel cameras available at the moment:

1. Nikon D3500

best travel compact camera 2022

For the money you get a 24.2 APS-C sized sensor, solid performance and an excellent selection of lenses. To be honest, there’s not much between this and the more expensive Canon below other than this doesn’t offer 4K video support. It really depends what works for you and your budget.

2. Canon Rebel SL3 (EOS 250D in Europe)

best travel compact camera 2022

The Canon Rebel line is an excellent series of good value entry-level DSLR cameras (my first DSLR was a Rebel), and the SL3 is no exception.

It’s one of the smaller SLR cameras Canon has made, and offers great performance for an excellent price. Specs include a touchscreen, 24.2MP sensor, WiFi, 1070 shot battery capacity, 4K video support, and compatibility with all of Canon’s lenses (and a great many third party lenses.).

The SL3 was released in April 2019, and it’s predecessor (and our previous pick), the Rebel SL2 , is likely to be available at a good price as a result. It’s a very similar camera, featuring the same sensor, but has around half the battery life and doesn’t support 4K video.

3. Nikon D7500

best travel compact camera 2022

Moving up into the “prosumer” category of DSLR camera’s, and Nikon’s version is the D7500. This is Nikon’s high end APS-C camera, with a 20.9MP sensor, fast autofocus, a weather sealed body, and Wi-Fi. It also has a tilting 3.2″ touchscreen.

If you’re looking to upgrade from an existing consumer focused Nikon to something a bit more professional from the Nikon range, this is a good choice. However, you might prefer the lighter and just as fully featured Nikon Z50 instead.

4. Canon EOS 90D

best travel compact camera 2022

5. Canon EOS 6D Mark II

best travel compact camera 2022

Compared to its predecessor, and our previous favourite travel camera the Canon EOS 6D, the Mark II adds a touchscreen which swivels.

It’s solidly built, and well priced, having seen some great discounts since it launched at $1800. For a full-frame travel DSLR, we think this is a great bit of kit.

Just be aware that it’s only compatible with “EF” mount lenses – any “EF-S” mount lenses from other Canon bodies won’t work. If it’s a bit pricey, do consider the original 6D, which is still a fantastic travel camera and is very competitively priced nowadays.

What is the Best Budget Travel Camera?

As a bonus section – this is one of the most popular questions I’m asked when people ask me to help them choose the best travel camera, so I thought a section to help those of you with a fixed budget would help.

My suggestion for the best budget travel camera is one of the following cameras. Note that some of these are older and may no longer be in stock. As a result, you might want to pick them up second hand, see my guide to buying used cameras for tips on how and where to do that.

1.  Nikon D3500

It also comes with the advantage that you get access to all the Nikon and Nikon compatible lenses, which is a huge choice. If you’re keen on an SLR, this is a great option at a fantastic price point.

2. Olympus OM-D EM-M10 III

best travel compact camera 2022

It’s also cheaper since the launch of the Mark 4, meaning you can pick it up with a lens and be right on budget!

3.  Sony RX100

With full manual controls and the ability to shoot in RAW, plus a 1-inch sensor and excellent image quality, this is far more than “just” a point and shoot.

As mentioned in the compact camera section above, there are various iterations of this model available, and you can pick up one of the earlier versions for a great price.

If you’re looking for a quick summary of the best travel camera on the market today, these would be our picks, ordered by camera type.

  • Sony RX100 range : If you’re just looking for a point and shoot camera that will take great photos with minimal input, then I’d suggest this range as a great option.
  • Panasonic Lumix ZS70 : If you are constrained by budget but want a good zoom, this is the best budget compact travel camera with a decent zoom.
  • Sony a6600 : If you want a great compact mirrorless camera, the Sony a6xxx range is the one to go for. The entry level model is the Sony a6100 , (discontinued in late 2021 but stock is still available) but if you can stretch to the a6600 that’s a better option as it has image stabilization and a touch screen.
  • Sony Alpha 7c II – if you want all the benefits of a full frame camera but in a compact package, this is the camera to go for. I think it’s the ideal camera for hiking or backpacking .
  • Sony Alpha a7 II – for a budget full frame mirrorless camera, this would be our choice. It’s also fantastic value. Note this is a bit older now, so the A7 III or A7 IV might be a better option depending on your budget.
  • Nikon D3500 : If you are looking for a DSLR for travel photography, I’d recommend this Nikon at the entry level
  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II : This is our pick for our favourite high end DSLR for travel photography, although we’d recommend a mirrorless camera to most users
  • Canon EOS R6 Mark II – An excellent compact full frame mirrorless camera with all the features you need. If your budget will stretch to it, also consider the Canon EOS R5 which is the camera I currently use

Hopefully this summary helps with your purchasing decision! If I was purchasing a camera today with no previous lenses, I would likely go with the Sony Alpha 7c if I wanted something lightweight.

As a Canon user with lots of lenses though, I’d go with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II or Canon EOS R5 . If you are a Nikon user with existing lenses, then I’d suggest the Nikon Z50 , the Nikon Z6 II or Z7 II .

When upgrading, it’s often easier to stay with the same manufacturer as the menu systems are usually going to be familiar, and your existing lenses might carry over.

Accessories for your Travel Camera

When budgeting for your travel camera, don’t forget to think about any accessories you might need.

If you’re planning to buy an interchangeable lens camera like a mirrorless or DSLR system, then you will obviously need a lens. Check out our guide to the best travel lenses here for some recommendations across a range of systems.

We’d also recommend considering some of the following accessories.

Travel can be rough on your photography gear, and so I recommend investing in a good photography bag.

Camera bags are specially designed to provide padding and protection for your gear, and many of them also come with rain covers. This means that you have somewhere safe, protected and padded to put your gear.

Personally, I use Vanguard photography bags and I’ve been an ambassador for Vanguard for many years now. If you see something on their store that works for your equipment, you can save money using our exclusive Vanguard discount code. This will give you 20% off everything in the  Vanguard store.

Just use the code  FindingTheUniverse for your discount! This code works in the Vanguard USA, UK, Australia, Spain, and Germany stores.

There are of course a range of other camera bags available, you can see the options on Amazon here and B&H Photo here .

External Hard Drive

When you travel, it’s important to be able to store your photos somewhere safe. To do this, we recommend investing in an external SSD.

The price of external SSDs has come down in recent years, so we would recommend one of these over a mechanical version as they are much faster, smaller, as well as being far less prone to losing data.

best travel compact camera 2022

The external SSD we currently use by Adata is ruggedized and dust and water resistant. It also supports both Mac and PC users.

Photo Editing Software

To get the best out of your photos you are going to want to edit them, and to do that you’ll need a photo editing application!


There are a number to choose from, including paid options like Adobe Lightroom Classic CC , Skylum Luminar AI , and ON1 Photo RAW , as well as free options like Darktable and Fotor .

Deciding which to go for is a whole other decision. To help you out, I’ve put together a guide to the best photo editing applications , which has both paid and free options.

Accident Protection

A camera is a significant investment, and as such you might want to protect yourself from accidental damage.

The price of this varies depending on the cost of your camera gear, but a relatively small investment can provide peace of mind against a variety of common accidents, from liquid spills, to accidentally dropping it.

For some examples, here’s a 3 year accident protection plan for electronics valued between $1500 and $1999.99, whilst this one covers products between $800 and $899.

Note that both of these are only valid for qualifying purchases from If you are shopping elsewhere, or direct from the manufacturer, check what they have available before purchasing if this is important to you.

It’s also possible to take out separate insurance, or that your homeowners insurance for example covers such things.

Backup Software

If you aren’t already backing up your photos, now is the time to change that. There’s no point having an awesome laptop to edit your photos on if you lose them all!

We have a complete guide to how to back up photos , which has a range of options and covers what to look for.

However, if you want an easy to use option with unlimited backups, then we use and recommend Backblaze . It’s well priced and in our experience is just works. You can try it out for free here .

Further travel photography reading and resources

And that summarizes my guide to the best travel camera for travel photography! Hopefully you found it useful. I’ll be keeping it up to date as new camera models come out and prices change.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for more resources to help you make the most out of your travel photography, check out the following resources I’ve put together:

  • My guide to picking the best lens for travel photography , which will be useful if you have a camera with interchangeable lenses.
  • My always expanding series of Photography Location Guides , to help you get the best shot in locations around the world.
  • I have a review of the Peak Design camera strap system as well as the Peak Design travel tripod
  • Photos need editing to get the best out of them. See our guide to the best photo editing software for our suggestions. If you’re looking for something to edit your photos on, see our guide to the best laptops for photo editing
  • An overview of my Travel Photography Gear , in case you wondered what a professional photographer has in his bag
  • Our guide to what to buy a photographer , which has gift ideas at every price point and experience level. For more general gift ideas, see our gift guide for travelers , and our tech gift buying guide .
  • A  Beginners’ Guide to Improving your Travel Photos
  • My series of Photography Tips , which I am always expanding and updating with posts like this one. See our guides to northern lights photography , lens compression ,  back button focus ,  fireworks photography ,  taking photos of stars ,  cold weather photography ,  long exposure photography ,  RAW in photography , use of  ND filters ,  depth of field  and  photography composition , which should get you going
  • If you like the photos on this blog, you’ll be pleased to hear they are all available for sale. Head on over to our photography sales page to place an order.

Looking to Improve Your Photography?

If you found this post helpful, and you want to improve your photography overall, you might want to check out my online travel photography course .

Since launching the course in 2016, I’ve already helped over 2,000+ students learn how to take better photos. The course covers pretty much everything you need to know, from the basics of how a camera works, through to composition, light, and photo editing.

It also covers more advanced topics, including astrophotography, long exposure photography, flash photography and HDR photography.

You get feedback from me as you progress, access to webinars, interviews and videos, as well as exclusive membership of a facebook group where you can get feedback on your work and take part in regular challenges.

It’s available for an amazing one-off price for lifetime access, and I think you should check it out. Which you can do by clicking here .

And we’re done! Thanks for reading – if you’ve got any comments, feedback or suggestions, just let me know in the comments below.

Tips and advice on how to pick the best camera for travel, including what to look for, and suggestions in every category including the best smartphone, compact, mirrorless and DSLR cameras for travel photography!

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Ian Andersen says

28th January 2024 at 10:29 am

Thanks for great and thorough reviews. I did not read through all of them and I was wondering if you could say which travel (super zoom) camera WITH GPS is better.

Laurence Norah says

28th January 2024 at 5:58 pm

Unfortunately, the majority of newer cameras don’t come with built-in GPS tagging functionality on the camera. Instead, if you find a camera which has WiFi and a companion smartphone app, they tend to pull the GPS info from the companion app. So really what you want is one of the travel cameras which has this feature. The Sony cameras in this list such as the RX100 do support this, and I believe the Panasonic ones do. However I’d recommend doing a search for each camera to ensure it does meet your requirements. Do you have a short list of cameras you like already, and I can look at trying to help.

29th January 2024 at 6:29 am

Thanks Laurence, I was a satisfied Lumix TZ user for many years up to – was it TZ 60 or 70 that still had the GPS built in. The argument for losing it was saving battery power but I found that carrying extra batteries was way simpler than using their clunky iPhone app. My latest is a TZ 202. Great pictures but annoying not to gave them tagged. I tried to switch to the SONY DSC-HX90V hoping for easier operation of the phone connection. Again, great photos but clunky GPS solution. So I am really hoping for a small (belt-carried) camera with GPS so I can get away from almost exclusively using my iPhone 15 pro.

29th January 2024 at 4:05 pm

I assure you, I feel your pain. I shot on a Canon 6D for a very long time and one of the features I loved was the built-in GPS tagging. Now I have an R5, and I have to use the Canon companion smartphone app for GPS tagging. Whilst it works pretty well, it’s another step I have to remember to do. It also eats up my smartphone battery if I forget to shut it off after shooting. About the only system I know of that still has built in GPS on a relatively compact camera is the Olympus Tough TG6, but that doesn’t have much of a zoom and is more designed as a rugged camera. So I’m not sure it will meet your needs, but one to look at.

Happy shooting 🙂

Farhana Farid says

29th September 2023 at 6:22 am

This guide on the best travel cameras is a game-changer for wanderlust enthusiasts like me! The detailed reviews and recommendations provide a clear understanding of which cameras are most suitable for capturing those breathtaking moments on the go. The consideration of factors like portability, image quality, and versatility is spot on. Thanks for making my travel photography decisions so much easier!

1st October 2023 at 10:13 am

My pleasure Farhana, I hope you find a great camera for your travels 🙂

Kevin Nalty says

15th October 2023 at 1:43 am

Hi. Agree- this is really thorough and didn’t overwhelm me. I’m curious what you think of the Canon EOS R50. I did a review of it in my blog (Willvideoforfood) but I’m not even remotely as informed. -Kevin

15th October 2023 at 12:14 pm

Thanks very much! So I think Canon has been hitting it out of the park recently with their mirrorless camera options and to be honest it’s almost hard to go wrong with whatever recent mirrorless model you pick up. The R50 specifically offers tremendous value and you get a lot of features, especially the autofocus system, which has the same features as you would find on their super high-end models like the R5 (which is what I use). In the old days of Canon they arbitrarily kept some features for their higher end models only, but that approach seems to be changing for the better which is good news for us consumers. The main downside with the R50 as you note in your review is a lack of optical image stabilization. I would also add that I don’t create video, so those areas of a camera are something I don’t review or use.

For anyone else reading this, now is honestly a great time to be buying a camera. The vast majority of recent releases have been excellent, with superb image quality and a solid range of features. As I said, it’s almost hard to go wrong 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Gurshabad Bakshi says

9th September 2023 at 6:02 am

Hi, awesome post. Very thoughtful and comprehensive. I have been reading your bogs and planned a visit to Bali based on your suggestions. I want to carry a leisure photography budget camera, that can click good photos and underwater videos and stuff. I have some questions for that. For what all activities and where all do you use Akaso Brave 7 camera? Is its image quality good enough? And if you could share some sample pics and viseos, it would be so very wonderful and helpful.

10th September 2023 at 3:02 pm

Hi Gurshabad!

So we honestly only use the Akaso (and any other action camera for that matter) for specific situations like underwater photography. The reason is that we personally have other cameras that are better for things like landscapes, and wildlife photography, but the Akaso is the only camera we have for underwater photography. So whilst it definitely works for that, we wouldn’t personally use it for everything just because we have other camera gear. However, if you are happy with the limitations, like not being able to zoom or adjust many settings, it could certainly work. I’m on a trip right now so don’t have access to all my images, so I can’t share samples unfortunately.

Hopefully this helps a bit. Have a great time in Bali 🙂

William says

22nd August 2023 at 11:10 pm

Great review and suggestions!. Thank you.

23rd August 2023 at 10:35 am

Thanks William!

Rachel says

3rd June 2023 at 8:47 pm

Thank you for this great article! I’m going to be traveling for my honeymoon soon, and decided I should upgrade from using my smartphone for all my photos to using an actual camera so I can get some printable quality photos. I’ve read a few lists like this one, but yours is the only one I’ve read that doesn’t just feel like a paid advertisement. I appreciate all the tips and advice you listed here. I now have a camera on my wishlist, thank you!

4th June 2023 at 7:03 pm

Hey Rachel! I’m so glad you found my article helpful, and many thanks for taking the time to let me know. I hope you enjoy your new camera, and if you have any questions as you continue your photography adventure feel free to reach out!

Claude AYMARD says

31st January 2023 at 8:15 pm

Hello, for you which can be the best safari travel camera easy to used for good photo quality -canon sx70 hs -canon m200 with 55-200mm -lumix tz100 -Lumix GX9 with 14-140mm thank’s in advance

1st February 2023 at 10:40 am

I do have a guide to the best safari cameras here which might help. However, from your list I would probably lean towards the Canon SX70HS for ease of use and also the great zoom means you can get good shots of further away subjects. My dad actually has the SX60 and he really likes it, we’re on safari right now and he is using it with good results.

Let me know if you have any more questions and bon voyage 🙂

9th August 2022 at 2:04 pm

10th August 2022 at 12:38 pm

Thanks Tanis!

9th July 2022 at 8:13 pm

Hello! I am so happy that I stumbled upon your website when researching for a trip to Iceland. I fell in love with photography when I was on my high school’s yearbook staff, a long long time ago. I have collected many SLR cameras over the years, manual and digital along with lenses (Nikon and Canon). Sadly, none of them have been used for several years and when I recently pulled them out, I realized how outdated they are. So…I am looking to sell everything (thanks for your amazing article on how to do that!) and start fresh. If you were me, with a budget of $2k-$4k, looking for a very high quality, relatively light weight camera system with the latest and best technology, what would you recommend? I would like one camera with two lenses at the most. Light weight enough that it’s easy to carry and use, without sacrificing image quality. Something that I can ‘grow into’ as a I renew my love of photography. Many thanks for sharing your expertise. Cheers!

10th July 2022 at 9:59 am

It’s great to hear from you, and I’m so pleased you have been finding the site useful so far!

With your requirement for something lightweight but that also has great image quality (and within budget of course) I would probably suggest the Sony Alpha 7c . Excellent autofocus, in body image stabilization, a full frame sensor and a weather sealed design, somehow all in a body that weighs about a 1lb.

If you wanted lighter, the Canon EOS RP is another full frame option which is fractionally lighter and also significantly cheaper, however you lose in body image stabilization and the focus tracking system isn’t quite as accomplished as the Sony in this model. It’s also slightly larger, despite being less heavy.

Both cameras have an excellent selection of lenses to choose from depending on what you want to photograph 🙂

Let me know if I can help any more!

17th April 2022 at 12:56 am

Hello Laurence, First off let me say thank you for such great articles, guides, advice and overview for someone who’s never been to Scotland and interested in touring the NC500. With that said, there are many great choices concerning camera & lens combinations in your article. Getting specific addressing the NC500 route, just what would be your best advice for focal lengths in reference to 35mm full frame? I see many wide to ultra wide images in the article, so inquiring about specific needs. Want to pack a 1-2 lens kit for this specific trip, and of course I’m thinking a tripod will be handy also!

17th April 2022 at 10:21 am

It’s our pleasure, I am pleased to have been of help. So I primarily travel with two lenses, a 16-35mm and a 70-200mm. Most of the landscape shots I take are with the wide angle, although there are sometimes nice opportunities to use the longer lens for isolating a subject. But if I was going to only take one lens it would be the wide-angle all the way.

Hopefully this answers your question! Let me know if I can offer any further input, I’m happy to help.

Edward says

31st January 2021 at 9:50 am

Hi, I was happy to read where you wrote “Personally, I love having a camera with GPS”. So do I, or rather so would I, but I am having trouble finding one that I like the look of. All I want is a compact camera with GPS and a viewfinder, with a useable zoom (say up to 200mm equivalent) and good image quality (which today would imply a sensor of 1″ or bigger). There is no such unicorn.

So what do you use, please, that gives you GPS? Or do you use an “add-on later” method like recording a GPS track and geotagging your photos later? I personally am reluctant to do that for a number of reasons, mainly that I travel for 3-6 months at a time (or at least I did when I could) without carrying a computer, so I would not only have a lot of geotagging to do later, but the on-the-road backup to Dropbox would not be geotagged.

31st January 2021 at 2:11 pm

I currently use a Canon 6D, which is a full frame DSLR. For a while Canon added GPS units to a number of their cameras, but unfortunately this useful feature has been missing from their newer models. For me it’s one of the most useful features to have, so I don’t like the omission. The reasoning is to do with battery life I suspect. GPS units take up power, and newer mirrorless cameras are already battery hungry. So leaving off the GPS is done in an effort to conserve battery power I suspect.

The good news is that many cameras today include the ability to pair with a smartphone app over Bluetooth or Wifi. When the camera takes a picture, it polls the smartphone app for location data, and embeds that in the photo. This of course does require extra setup, remembering to connect the camera to the phone before every shoot, and can drain your smartphone battery too. So it’s not amazing as an alternative, but it does at least work.

I believe that the Sony Image link app supports this for the Sony RX100 series, so with your requirements of a 200mm zoom and a 1″ sensor, the Sony RX100 VI or higher would be an option. Another option I believe would be the Panasonic ZS200.

Finally, another option, as you mention, is to use a third party GPS logger, either a standalone device or an app on your phone, that records the data and saves it, which you can then manually sync later. Again, it’s more work.

Overall, I would much prefer that manufacturers just add the GPS device and let us as users decide for ourselves if we want to use it and use up battery life. Hopefully it makes a reappearance as a standard feature!

1st March 2021 at 5:06 pm

Hello, thanks for the well thought-out response. It gives me a lot to think about, and if I do have to give up one or more of my checkboxes (or at least half of one, by needing to use a separate app), I may rethink them all – take a step back and ask myself what I really want to do, rather than ask what equipment will satisfy what I think are my wants. I suspect that the RX100 VI plus the app would be the nearest I could get. Or the Panasonic SZ200/TZ200 (or SZ100) plus its app. It is ironic that it seems that 1-inch sensor compacts really took off in the mid-2010s, just as manufacturers were deciding to drop GPS.

2nd March 2021 at 4:37 pm

My pleasure Edward! I would say that one of those would be the best option. It is certainly disappointing that this is no longer a standard feature!

Kyle O'Donnell says

16th December 2020 at 8:30 am

awesome list, you put it together very well 🙂 i got a Sony A6400 from amazon, it’s absolutely amazing, it really show in my vlogs.

16th December 2020 at 11:12 am

Thanks Kyle!

Charles Haskins says

29th April 2020 at 10:19 am

I have been reading through your responses to questions and I am astonished by the detail and the thoughtfulness of your answers. Quite apart from the photography info, it is a great lesson in human decency – great “customer service” for people who aren’t even customers really. I will definitely be following you in the future! Thank you!

29th April 2020 at 10:21 am

Hi Charlie,

Thanks very much, that’s kind of you to say. We do our best to try and answer everyone’s questions, be it photography or travel related 🙂 If folks have taken the time to read and leave a comment, then we feel it’s only right to answer if we can!

Thanks again for your comment, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions of your own!

All the best

29th February 2020 at 11:15 pm

I am quite new to photography. I purchased the M50 last summer (my first non-compact). I don’t know if it is my skills, the camera, or that I need better lenses, but so far I haven’t had much success getting sharp images.

1st March 2020 at 10:52 am

Sorry to hear about your issues. There are so many variables that go into what could make an image less sharp, from incorrect focus through to a lens issue. It’s hard to diagnose without seeing an image – do you have one somewhere online you can link to that I can take a look and provide some more insight? It would be best if it also shows the camera settings at the time – usually a site like flickr will save this info.

1st March 2020 at 4:27 pm

These aren’t all from the M50, but several of them are. Also, these happen to be the better ones: . I feel like I have to sort through so many that aren’t as sharp as these to find a good one, but even some of the ones I’ve posted could certainly be sharper.

1st March 2020 at 4:41 pm

Thanks for sharing. So, some initial thoughts:

On this image of the lighthouse:

The camera is set to f/29. This is a super narrow aperture. Most lenses produce their sharpest images at around f/8, with sharpness falling off towards the edges wider than f/8 (i.e. f/5.6, f/4 etc). Above f/16, sharpness dramatically reduces due to an effect known as diffraction. It’s generally not advisable to go above f/16 for this reason. Performance will vary by lens, but as a general rule, f/8 – f/12 is a good range.

Of course, this doesn’t consider depth of field for composition. For landscapes, a wider depth of field is usually preferable, so you’d be looking at f/8 – f/16 in most cases. For portraits, a shallow depth of field would be preferable. Softness in portraits is less of an issue as you wouldn’t normally have the subject on the edge of the shot, so the softness wouldn’t be too noticeable.

Now, here’s another image of a church in a city:

So this was shot a 1/40th of a second at 200mm focal length. The longer the zoom, the harder it is to hold a camera steady. As a general rule of thumb, shutter speed should not be lower than the inverse of the focal length. So if you are shooting at 200mm, you would not use a shutter speed slower than 1/200th of a second. A 50mm focal length would be 1/50th of a second.

The file format you are shooting in will also make a difference. If you’re shooting in JPG, then the compression setting and sharpness setting in camera will make a big difference to the final image sharpness. Ideally you’d want to shoot in RAW, so you can edit sharpness after the fact.

These are just some ideas to start with. Something like this shot looks wonderfully sharp to me:

Happy to provide any more feedback if you have more specific images of course 🙂

2nd March 2020 at 4:34 am

Thanks for taking the time to give feedback. You have an amazing site.

2nd March 2020 at 11:19 am

Thanks Craig – my pleasure 🙂

Natalie says

24th December 2019 at 1:05 pm

Thank you very much for collating all this information together- I do not feel nearly as overwhelmed as I did before!

I am going away travelling to India and South East Asia, and would like to both take great pictures in low light, and film a short documentary (so stability is also key without lugging a tripod around (Oof).

I am looking into purchasing a DSLR, budget however is a concern. This will be my first time camera, however I have a little experience in film cameras (mostly SonyPMW200).

I am currently looking at the Nikon D750…can you recommend something cheaper and still great for filming? I guess the Nikon D5300?

Nikon also seems to be cheaper for lenses than Canon- what would you reccomend?

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks so much

24th December 2019 at 2:53 pm

Hi Natalie,

Thanks very much!

So I have to be honest, video is not an area of expertise for me. However, if you want to shoot stable video without a tripod, you are going to need to think about how you are going to stabilize your camera. Without a tripod, your best bet is going to be some kind of camera stabilization. Currently, the Canon and Nikon DSLR’s don’t offer this in camera, so you would need to rely on a lens with image stabilization built in.

Alternatively, you could look for a camera with image stabilization built in. I’m not sure what your budget is all in, but one of the micro four thirds cameras from Olympus or Panasonic might be a good option. These are notable for producing great video, have a wide choice of lenses, and most importantly, have built in image-stabilization in the camera body. The Olympus Om-D E-M10 Mark 3 is currently on sale all over the place with a lens. For video and low light, you will benefit from a wide aperture prime lens, such as the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 .

I appreciate this might not be the answer you were looking for, but if video is important, I think this might be a better direction to go in than a DSLR. All the capabilities are the same, the only disadvantages are a reduced battery life and a slightly smaller sensor. However, by using a wide aperture lens you can make up for the reduced low light performance.

I hope this helps – I’m happy to discuss further of course!

20th December 2019 at 1:17 am

Sorry I visited your site but couldn’t read a thing. Please fix the site. Best regards

20th December 2019 at 10:46 am

Thanks for your comment. Could you clarify perhaps what you couldn’t read and what i need to fix? The site loads ok on all our devices, but if you can let me know what device and browser you are using, and what specifically is not working, then I will be happy to take a look,

Martha Dobson says

3rd November 2021 at 4:02 pm

Website was beautiful, I think that this man is lying to you about the website not being legible.

3rd November 2021 at 6:07 pm

Thanks Martha!

Marije says

17th December 2019 at 8:47 am

Hi Laurence,

Thank you so much for this very insight- and helpful review. I’m looking to buy a compact camera with good optical zoom possibilities for photographing people, landscapes and wildlife during my holidays. As I’ll be visiting Swedish Lapland for a week of winterfun, I would like a camera that will also be Able to capture the northern light (autora). Which compact camera will be a good or even the best choice. Was Leaning towards a Sony Cybershot DSC-RX 100 series but found vi and vii quite expensive anD not shure about optical zoom of v. Love to hear your opinion.

17th December 2019 at 9:14 pm

So I would say probably the next best option after the RX100 would be the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 or ZS200. The Canon Powershot G3X is another good option as it has a 1 inch sensor and a 25x zoom lens. I have to say, northern lights photography is a challenge for any camera though, even a full frame DSLR. So while you will definitely be able to get photos with a compact camera, just be aware of its limitations. I have some tips on taking taking photos of the northern lights here , which might be worth a read.

Otherwise, let me know if you have any more questions – and have a great trip!

22nd October 2019 at 8:36 am

How about the Panasonic G90/95? It has all bells and whistles of GX9 and much more (like UHS-II support, stronger IS and focus stacking). It has a comfortable grip and a rugged body, a swivel touch screen, unlimited video shooting, mic and headphones port (hello vloggers!). Similar to GX9 it can be charged via usb but comes with an external charger and both can be charged via a powerbank with 2 ports! I’m almost happy with my gx9 but miss the weather sealing and the mic port. If Pana doesn’t release a gx10 with these 2 features I’ll go for the G90.

24th October 2019 at 12:51 pm

The G90/95 is certainly an excellent camera, although is at a bit of a price premium compared to the GX9 so isn’t directly comparable in my mind. However, if it fits what you are looking for you should definitely go for it – this list is by no means definitive (hence the long section at the beginning to help people decide).

Enjoy your new camera, whatever it turns out to be!

lalan kalansooriya says

15th September 2019 at 12:36 pm

Hi I am bigginer to the photography and i wish to buy a camera. I love to travel photography. My budjet is about 300$. So I would like to know what are the recomended cameras for me

15th September 2019 at 2:25 pm

At $300 you will definitely be looking at either a mid-range compact camera or a lower end DSLR. There aren’t many mirrorless cameras at that price point unfortunately, unless you go second hand. In terms of compact cameras, I’d suggest either the Lumix DC-ZS70 or the Sony RX100 .

For DSLRs, consider the Nikon D3400 or the EOS Rebel T6 .

10th August 2019 at 8:23 am

Hi Laurence and Jessica, Just a quick thank you message to say that this is the first article I read (and I ‘ve read quite a few!) that really explains things about cameras in a clear way! Im new to travel photography and was looking for info on how and where to start from. Thanks a lot!

11th August 2019 at 11:38 am

Our pleasure! We’re always happy to hear that we’ve been able to help people, and believe me, I know that photography is not the easiest topic to get to grips with 🙂 Let us know if you ever have any questions!

Stuart Svoboda says

21st July 2019 at 6:03 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful and comprehensive advice. Obviously, budget plays a big role in most people’s decisions and there are few aspects of photography that don’t involve some compromise. However, for those who are willing to part with a bit more cash in pursuit of a supremely capable yet practical alternative, you missed at least one significant choice and that’s the Lumix G9. My G9, battery grip, lenses (mostly Leica, covering the 35mm-eq range from 16-800mm), spare batteries, flash/soft box, filters, etc. (including an Olympus TG-5, which I agree is a great, bomb-proof, go-anywhere camera) all fit into a small pack that weighs 6400) ISO noise with moving subjects. Big deal (looks more like film anyway). A much more compact (although not pocket-sized) and far cheaper alternative that still produces great IQ (stills and 4K video–much better than a 1/2.3) is the Lumix FZ1000. The first-gen (which I got for c.US$600) is still available and a great bargain (IMHO, the best price/performance value currently available). The Mk II adds some nice features but has the same great 1″ sensor and 25-400mm-eq Leica lens. If you can’t get great images under most conditions with that, it’s not the camera… And no, I don’t work for Panny–they just make great cameras (performance and ergonomics). Bottom line: the IQ achievable in most conditions from even “mid level” cameras these days is more than enough for most purposes–much beyond that is overkill (but some of us like overkill on occasion).

Thanks for your blog.

21st July 2019 at 6:32 pm

Thanks Stuart! We also like the Panasonic gear, I’ve had a G6 and still use the GX8 on a regular basis. There just wasn’t room for every camera on the list, but we certainly appreciate your recommendation and no doubt folks reading the post will find your input useful as well 🙂

Sandra says

11th July 2019 at 7:50 pm

Thanks for such a great article! I am wondering what you think of the new Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II which was announced July 9th and is due in stores August 1st. How do you think it compares to others in your compact camera list? I am taking a 3-week trip to China in September and want a great travel camera. Looked at the Sony RX100 VI but it felt very small in my 73-year-old hands and I missed it not having a grip. I am replacing a very old Canon G16. Thanks for any input you can share!

12th July 2019 at 4:19 am

I’ve been reading up on these two cameras and they both look very promising. I would say that they would probably be excellent, but I’ve not been able to personally try them out as yet. However, if you are used to Canon, it would be a logical step to buy one of these two, and I am confident you will be happy with the performance. I’ll be updating this post in the near future, but likely after your trip. In the meantime though, I am still happy to recommend them on spec as the price / specifications are great.

Candy Luong says

24th June 2019 at 8:45 pm

Thank you for the well-written review! I am on the market to purchase an upgrade from a 2011 Canon Rebel T3i with a couple of EF lens. I am conflicted between upgrading to a DSLR or mirrorless camera for travel and leisure photography. What I look for in an upgrade is WIFI, GPS, lightweight, adaptability to the canon lens, and does not break the bank (max $1500) for a full kit. Is there a mirrorless camera that has a proven adapter for canon lens? I’ve looked into the Canon EOS RP but the price point for a full kit is insanely expensive. What would you recommend?

25th June 2019 at 1:38 am

So the Canon EOS RP would be my recommendation – with the adaptor the body only should come in under your budget, and it will work great with the Canon lenses you have. If you move to another manufacturer, I think you will struggle to get a full frame camera for any less money, and the adaptors are not so good as they have to do a conversion between the electronic systems, which usually results in slower performance. The only thing missing from the EOS R is built in GPS, however the low energy bluetooth capabilities mean you can sync GPS from your phone without too much battery drain.

If it’s still too much, you might consider a second hand Canon 6D or 6D Mark 2, which are both great cameras. I still shoot full time with the original 6D and have no complaints. GPS is one of my favourite features on it, and I wish more cameras had it as a default!

I hope this helps!

Kathy Golden says

17th June 2019 at 11:27 pm

I just happened upon your website while researching DSLR cameras and I found a treasure-trove of information! Thank you so much for this thorough and informative blog. It is very helpful. I hope to compare mirrorless and DSLRs for both travel and “family” photography.

19th June 2019 at 4:18 pm

My pleasure, let me know if you have any questions!

6th June 2019 at 11:50 am

Really found this article useful – thanks!

Soon, I am quitting my job and going travelling for the ‘foreseeable future’ – yay fun!

I love taking pictures generally (e.g., smartphones or on friends cameras). But knowing I am going travelling, I would love to capture some great quality shots and edit them myself etc along the way. Although a ‘first purchase’, I need it to be high quality so that it is worthwhile over a smartphone, worth the financial investment, and worth carrying around. I am very likely to take a look into some of your courses too before I go (so that I actually CAN capture some good moments) – with this in mind, what would you recommend?

Many thanks in advance!! Flo

6th June 2019 at 12:02 pm

My pleasure! So it will depend on how much you want to carry with you. If it’s a minimal amount, then you’d be better off with a high end point and shoot, like the Lumix ZS200 or the Sony RX100 series. These both take excellent photos, have full manual controls and even shoot in RAW.

If you want to step up above that there are many choices. For travel, I’d recommend probably a mirrorless camera to keep the weight down, paired with one or two lenses. At this point it will come down to your budget – all the mirrorless cameras on this list will do a great job, but they are at different price points, starting with less expensive and then getting more expensive! At the higher end, I’d suggest perhaps the Canon EOS RP, whilst at the lower end, the Sony a6000 or Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III.

Let me know if I can help any more 🙂

6th June 2019 at 7:32 am

Hi thank you for such wonderful tips. Im no expert. I would really appreciate some guidance. I own iphone x and photos are great. But for travel I d also need a solid zoom for vast landscapes. I ve been looking into Panasonic, I like idea of Leica lens… what I d like is what can i get up to 1000 usd ( preferabbly less) that would make sense to get better photography then iphone x, a good zoom and still a nice looking not too big camera. Thank you 🙂

6th June 2019 at 11:40 am

So based on your requirements for a smaller camera, I’d say either the Sony RX 100 VI or the Lumix ZS200. They both offer a good zoom range and good image quality, as well as manual controls.

You could look into mirrorless cameras too, but to get a good zoom you’d need a larger lens, and it wouldn’t be so compact!

Let me know if you need any more information, I’m happy to help 🙂

12th May 2019 at 10:46 am

Hi .. I am a Nikon d5300 (with two lenses 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses) user and I need to buy a compact camera with dslr quality lesser in weight .. please suggest

12th May 2019 at 7:16 pm

So if you want something really compact then the Sony RX100 range is a good option. The quality is great for a compact camera, and you also get full manual controls. If you just want something a bit smaller, then you might consider one of the mirrorless options, but they aren’t always a lot smaller, so a compact is likely to be a better option.

Thomas Mygind says

1st June 2019 at 7:38 am

If you want the smallest Full Frame option – then this basis option weighs 450 gram + EF-lenses. Cannon M100 + Viltrox 0.71x adapter makes your APS-C into a full frame eqvivalent.

Then add any EF-lens you like -for example: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens 33.5 oz (950g) 3.3 x 4.9″ (83 x 124mm) 77mm 2002 Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens 13.4 oz (380g) 2.9 x 2.8″ (73 x 70mm) 67mm 1996 Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens 23.7 oz (670g) 3.3 x 4.2″ (83.5 x 107mm) 77mm 2005 Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens 13.2 oz (375g) 2.8 x 3.0″ (72 x 75mm) 58mm 2000 Canon EF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 USM Lens 7.4 oz (210g) 2.6 x 2.7″ (67 x 68mm) 58mm 2002 Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens 19.1 oz (540g) 3.1 x 3.8″ (78 x 97mm) 72mm 1998 Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens 17.6 oz (500g) 3.1 x 3.5″ (78 x 90mm) 72mm 2000

9th May 2019 at 11:20 am

Hi, I’m relatively new to serious photography, but I’ve long had an interest in photo editing and am now wanting to learn more about the actual photography part of it. As it is, you’ve pretty much sold me on the Nikon D3500 since it sounds like an excellent option to learn from without being too expensive, though I’m also considering the D5300 for its video capabilities (from what I’ve found) and the GPS option. Can you recommend a few additional lenses, ideally at least one for further away shots? Particularly for some darker areas.

Whatever the case, this guide has taught me quite a bit and given me a lot to think about. Thank you for that.

11th May 2019 at 9:03 pm

Delighted to have been of assistance. So my first recommendation would be to check out our guide to the best travel lenses, which has a number of options for Nikon. You can see that here:

The criteria you have (long lens that is good in low light) does unfortunately bring you into the more costly type of lens – you need a wide aperture to capture more light, and all the glass ends up costing more. I’d suggest looking for a lens with a f/4 or faster aperture (f/2.8 would be ideal), and 200mm to 400mm focal length.

Happy to provide some more specific suggestions if my linked post doesn’t do it for you 🙂

13th May 2019 at 9:39 am

Hey Laurence,

You make a compelling point, as did the price tags once I looked into what you suggested. I’ll add that to my “eventual” list once I’ve gotten good enough to justify the cash.

I ordered a D3500 bundle “w/AF-P DX 18-55mm & 70-300mm Zoom Lens” and “55mm Wide Angle & Telephoto Lens”. Seemed like a fair way to start (though I wish I’d have ordered it a few hours prior because I missed a nice sale, haha).

I’m keeping this page bookmarked, there’s so much to learn and I appreciate the help. I had to check out your guide on San Francisco since that’s part of why I wanted a new camera: I’m taking a trip up that way later this year and am planning on making the most of it – I live in California, but I’ve never spent much time that way since it gets expensive fast – including a few museums, Grace Cathedral, Chinatown, and several other areas. Now I’ve just got to practice a lot in the next 3 1/2 months so that I can manage something awesome by then.

Thanks again, this has been incredibly helpful.

13th May 2019 at 6:34 pm

It’s absolutely my pleasure, and please do reach out if you ever have any more questions about photography or travel, and I’ll do my best to help out. Enjoy your new gear, I’m sure you’ll be very happy with it!

4th May 2019 at 10:06 pm

Great website!

I will be going to Europe this summer and I intend to take many HDR pics. I currently have a Nikon D3400. (I prefer the APS-C cameras to the full frame cameras because I like the lighter weight, especially for travel.). I like the camera except for the fact that it has no exposure bracketing at all. This makes HDR photography, especially of tourist sites that might have people walking in the distance, slightly difficult. My question is: Should I take the D3400 to Europe or purchase the latest Canon Rebel, with which I can do 3 quick shots continuously?

Please consider: I have compared my Nikon to my old Canon T3i. Using the same settings for both, the Nikon seems to take better pictures when I compare the exact same shots side by side. Is that just my imagination or is that due to the very slightly larger sensor?

So, again, the choice is: 1) take the Nikon, which seems to take good pics, and be forced to take all my HDR shots manually? (The advantage there is that I could take 5 or more.); OR 2) buy a new Canon T7 or T7i and be able to take 3 quick shots at different exposures? (I don’t mind the extra cost if you find it is the best choice.)

I would appreciate any advice you can provide.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration to this matter.

5th May 2019 at 9:48 am

Thanks! So the sensor size probably doesn’t make that much difference, but the sensor technology likely will. The T3i was released in 2011, and it’s hard to really compare that against a much newer camera, as sensor technology moves on every year. I would say that the newer Canon would likely be comparable. It’s definitely frustrating that the Nikon cameras in the D3xxx range don’t have exposure bracketing, that’s a real omission by Nikon. I would say that if this is something that is important to you, and you don’t have a wide selection of Nikon lenses, that you might find the Canon more suited to your specific needs. I also can’t speak for the T7i, but on my Canon 6D, I can set it to take 3 or 5 shots for the exposure bracketing 🙂

Best of luck, and have a great trip!

22nd April 2019 at 7:03 am

Thank you for your great article. It is well-written and informative. I notice in your picture comparing sensor size, that Nikon’s aps-c is larger than the Canon aps-c. Is Nikon’s significantly better than Canon’s in terms of the final picture? What is the measurable difference between the two, in terms of pixels and/or quality? Should I base my decision on that? Thanks again

22nd April 2019 at 10:30 am

There is not a big difference between the two to be honest, the small size difference is not big enough to make a real world difference in my opinion, certainly not enough to make a purchase decision on 🙂

Mohit Chupra says

21st April 2019 at 9:57 am

Hi , after read the content i understand that there a lot of good value entry -level DSLR cammers .

21st April 2019 at 11:22 am

That is correct, DSLR cameras are great value for sure 🙂

20th April 2019 at 2:27 pm

Hi, I currently have galaxy s10 and thinking of buying Famon g7x for travelling. The main purpose of the trip is the northern lights. Would g7x worth buying? Or would s10 do the trick? Thanks

20th April 2019 at 3:25 pm

So the Canon G7x does have a larger sensor than a smartphone, and will therefore be better for northern lights photography. Smartphones are capable of taking pictures of the northern lights, but they won’t produce the best results. Either way, you will definitely want a tripod as otherwise you will get blurry pictures. I have a full guide to taking pictures of the northern lights you might want to check out too.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Sanjeev Rai says

12th April 2019 at 7:34 pm

I am going on a family trip to Europe covering Italy Switzerland and Paris . Looking into various videos of gopro I am inclined to buy go pro but not sure how much I will utilize as I am not into adventure sports. Although I feel a good family video covering mountains and beach will be cool. Also thinking of buying Nikon D3500 or May be both . Totally confused . I am not a photography enthusiast but regularly travel and wants to keep memories of my trips . Pleas guide

12th April 2019 at 7:44 pm

Hey Sanjeev,

So a GoPro is good as a general point and shoot action camera that will survive most situations. It’s also great for video. However, it has limitations – you can’t zoom, and it takes very wide angle photos. So things will seem further away. This is great for action sports and so on, but not really ideal for landscape photography.

If you want something pocketable that does great quality, I’d probably suggest one of the compact cameras on our list, or a mirrorless cameras. Most of these also do good video as well 🙂

Sanjeev says

13th April 2019 at 11:50 am

Thanks Laurence

I have budget of USD 500 . Will see which one fits the budget. Also may be GOPro + IPhone 7

13th April 2019 at 2:18 pm

Best of luck 😀

7th April 2019 at 7:18 pm

Hi – I’ve been a portrait photographer for too many years to say 🙂 and have always used Canon. At the moment we have 2 5d mark iii and one 7d at the studio with multiple lenses. I have finally made a decision to follow my passion and start traveling to shoot more landscapes and small towns. Weight is the biggest issue for me, however, quality of camera and lens is too. I’ll be headed for Europe then Asia this fall so I have some time but I’m trying to figure it out now. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

7th April 2019 at 7:27 pm

Ah, the old conundrum – weight vs quality! Personally, we travel with a pair of Canon 6D’s and usually three lenses, a wide angle, a 70-200 (plus 2x convertor for wildlife) and a fast prime.

The key is a good strap for the camera (we love the Peak Design straps) and a good bag.

If I was you, and used to the Canon system (which I am), I would stay with it. I’d probably also suggest sticking with full frame. If size is the predominant issue, mirrorless cameras can help a bit, but not as much as folks might make out, because often so much of the weight is in the lens anyway.

I would probably be tempted by the Canon EOS RP. It’s a full frame mirrorless camera that, with a mount, will be compatible with all your EF (and even EF-S) lenses. It’s very compact for a full frame mirrorless camera.

If you want to just start over, and don’t mind investing in new lenses, then I might suggest something like the Fuji X-T30, which produces really lovely images. My only concern with shifting to a new system is that Canon is really great and colour, and other camera systems may not be as good as you used to (this is a reason many photographers I know have not shifted to the Sony mirrorless system for example).

I hope this response helps a bit! Let me know your thoughts 🙂

7th April 2019 at 10:04 pm

Hi Laurence, Thank you for your quick reply. I agree about the Sony, as we are so invested in all Canon lenses it makes it hard to change. I have, however, been very interested in the mirrorless camera and now with Canon’s out I have contemplated it but don’t see it being so much better than the 5diii except of course the weight, (which is what I need) I also worry that the battery doesn’t last long and even if I use an attachment won’t it slow down my lens? Deb

7th April 2019 at 11:38 pm

Canon has designed the mount adaptor so it just works like a passthrough. There’s no impact on the lenses. I know this has been an issue with other systems, like using the Canon lenses on Sony cameras, you lose autofocus speed and sometimes stops of light, but Canon didn’t want that to happen so the lenses should work just as well as if they are native.

To be honest, the performance won’t be massively improved over the 5D Mark III which is a great camera. If you are happy travelling with that, then go for it. But if size is a consideration, I’d say it’s the best option that would also let you use your existing lenses.

Carrie says

4th April 2019 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for the reply.

It’s a little difficult for me to describe how looking through a viewfinder on a non-DSLR camera affects my eyes. For many photos I prefer using the viewfinder, but for other photos I really like having the articulated screen.

I’m leaning toward the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 or one of the Nikon’s with an articulated screen (the good thing about a Nikon is my boyfriend has Nikon cameras and we might be able to share lenses). It’s just a matter of finding the right Nikon.

5th April 2019 at 12:04 pm

My pleasure. So it sounds like a DSLR is the right kind of camera for you. I would definitely recommend Nikon if your boyfriend has Nikon already, as this will save you the hassle of multiple lenses. When Jess and I got together, she had Nikon and I had Canon, and we just decided we’d merge everything to Canon to make life easier.

In terms of cameras, the Nikon D5600 is probably the best option as it comes with the tilting screen. You could also pick up the D5500 for a lower price if budget is a concern.

3rd April 2019 at 10:09 pm

The current camera I’m using is a Nikon B700, which I like for its small size, articulated screen, and super-zoom. However, the image quality seems to have deteriorated a lot in the two years I’ve had it and I now am having issues with using the viewfinder (my dry eyes are making it difficult to see what I’m trying to focus on because I’m looking at a tiny screen). So I think it’s time to switch to a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Mirrorless might be better because of the smaller size, but having never used one I don’t know how my eyes will handle it.

Any recommendations for a good, smaller DSLR or mirrorless with a good zoom and an articulated screen? My father has been using Panasonic Lumix cameras for years and has been very happy with his results.

4th April 2019 at 12:12 pm

So for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, these don’t come with a fixed lens, meaning you can change the lens to something that meets your requirements. However, there are not many lenses out there that would offer the sort of zoom you might be used to with the B700, that would also be smaller. So even if the camera body ends up being smaller, the overall package would be fairly large. Bridge cameras like the one you have are a fairly specific product and the main way they have been able to differentiate from all the other types of camera out there is by offering these pretty incredible zoom lenses.

I am a little confused though – the B700 has a screen, so I am wondering why you would not be using that for the focus? If the viewfinder is too small, this will be a similar problem with viewfinders on other cameras too I think.

I just don’t want to recommend a camera that doesn’t actually solve the problem!

2nd April 2019 at 6:52 pm

Hi, I have been looking into the Sony RX100 VÍ and the brand new Lumix FZ 1000 II. I want zoom, big sensor, tilting LCD, and low light capability. My only concern is size of the Lumix since my primary use will be for travel. Please help! What are your thoughts?

2nd April 2019 at 7:12 pm

So both cameras actually have the same size sensor, which is the 1″ sensor. The FZ1000 II definitely has more zoom, but it is much less compact. However, it also has a longer battery life and a tilting / swivel screen.

Personally if a compact camera is what you want, I would go for the Sony as it will slip into a pocket or purse. The Lumix definitely won’t. I don’t think image quality will be much different, although there are not many reviews on the FZ1000 II as it’s so new.

I hope this helps 🙂

2nd April 2019 at 7:24 pm

Thank you so much. It definitely helps.

Donna F. says

26th March 2019 at 1:43 am

This article is super! And, so is – I’ve learned so much as I am researching what camera to purchase. Any recommendations would be welcomed. I want a compact camera to travel with me on my motorcycle. It will need to endure a lot of vibration. I’d like for it to fit in a jacket pocket or tank bag. And, I’ll be taking pictures of landscapes, awesome views and interesting people.

26th March 2019 at 1:53 pm

Thanks very much Donna – delighted to be able to help!

So if you think the camera is going to be subjected to a pretty rough time, you might consider the Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera . It’s a good camera, although the 4x optical zoom, whilst good, may not be perfect for everything. It’s certainly the toughest camera in our list though.

If image quality and more zoom is more important, and you think you can trade off a bit of the survivability factor, I might consider either the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 or the Sony RX100 VI . These both have more manual controls as well as a larger image sensor, so the image quality will be higher. The Sony is at quite a premium price point though, so you would definitely want a good case to protect it!

I hope this helps a bit 🙂

Let me know if I can help out any further!

Nowshad Rahman says

24th March 2019 at 4:18 pm

I was looking for features the basic travel camera and this helped a lot. Thanks for the insightful article. Sony RX100 VI is good for travel?

24th March 2019 at 4:24 pm

It certainly is. It is definitely a premium compact camera, but the combination of image quality, manual controls, and the impressive zoom and autofocus performance make it probably the best compact camera for travel on the market today 🙂

Mallory J says

20th March 2019 at 4:42 am

Looking for some input… I have a Nikon D80. I used to do newborn photography some years ago. It worked fine for me then. Had my own kids, moved on in my career and on the side we travel a ton. The Nikon is clearly older and the whole set up is too heavy to travel with (I have 4 lenses total for it, however only use the my 24mm and 50mm. Rarely the 125 as I felt the quality was bad and never the telephoto that I bought with it. Anyhow, years later I know nothing about photography anymore and am looking for something other than my phone (iPhone xsmax). I want better, easier and more convenient than the D80. I like the blurry backgrounds (see I can’t even remember the correct terminology for this) and clear photos for nature and sports. My questions is, right off the bat, is there a camera that stands out? Do I go Nikon and continue to use my lenses and forgo the weight? Do I get something new, compact, same brand, different brand?

20th March 2019 at 10:22 am

Hi Mallory,

The word you are looking for is bokeh 😉

Ok, so this is a bit of a challenging question. SInce you already have lenses, my initial response would be to consider maybe the Nikon Z6 . Whilst this is pretty much identical in size to the D80, it’s a mirrorless camera with a full frame sensor, so you will be getting a marked step up in image quality and capability in a camera that is the same size. There’s also a Nikon adaptor so your existing lenses should work, although you’ll want to check compatibility. You should also find it easier to pick up as the menu system will be similar.

If size / cost is more of a consideration, then I think you would want to consider a mirrorless camera and look to invest in a couple of lenses. If you are happy with prime lenses then this is great because they tend to be cheaper and higher quality.

I’d say perhaps the Canon RP, or the Fujifilm X-T30 would be a great starting point, depending on budget 🙂

Happy to answer any follow up questions of course!

5th March 2019 at 9:33 am

Hi, thanks for you great article about various compact/travel cameras. I am planning to buy a new camera. I am trying to decide between Canon m50, Canon 200d, Nikon d5600 as well as Canon g3x. I live in humid area & that’s why I am concerned & also bit worried about that. I don’t have budget to buy expensive camera that have weather sealing. Canon g3x. does have weather sealing but then it have only 1 inch sensor (I do need camera which takes great quality images, video making is not my priority). Moreover, I also want to have a touchscreen. Kindly help me in this regard. Thanking you for the same

5th March 2019 at 12:09 pm

So based on your requirements and budget (I am assuming your budget based on the cameras you are looking at), I am going to suggest a totally different camera to those which you have been looking at.

My suggestion is either the Pentax KS-2, the Pentax K70 or the Pentax KP.

These are all APS-C sized sensor SLR camera which are weather sealed. They are also great value for a weather sealed camera.

The only disadvantage is that they do not come with touchscreens. I know this is something you want, but it might be a decision between weather sealing and a touchscreen at this price point. If the touchscreen is more important, I would suggest the Canon m50.

8th March 2019 at 11:35 am

Thanks for your reply. Kindly let me know why you suggested Canon m50 and also are mirrorless camera more sensitive to moisture/dust than DSLR? Thanks

8th March 2019 at 2:13 pm

So a mirrorless camera is more sensitive to dust than a DSLR. This is because there’s no mirror protecting the sensor, and every time you change lenses the sensor is exposed to the elements. In terms of moisture, I would not say there is a significant difference. A mirrorless camera has more electronic parts if you include the screen, so in theory more could go wrong, but I would say in the real world this isn’t likely to be a big issue.

I recommended the M50 as it’s a great compact mirrorless camera that is easy to use and produces quality results. However, a compact DSLR from Canon or Nikon would also be a good choice. Honestly, most cameras these days will take great photos in the right hands, the technology has come along very far. It’s just question of what has the specific specifications you need.

8th March 2019 at 2:26 pm

Thank you sooo much for your swift response. And thank you for clearing my doubts too. Actually I had almost decided to buy canon m50 but due to doubt about absence of mirror may make it more sensitive, I have narrowed down my choices to Nikon D5600 and Canon 200d. But still confused cause Nikon D5600 have 39 AF points whereas Canon 200d have just 9 and canon have dual pixal Autofocus. My priority is for stills. Kindly let me know if more Autofocus points are really that important. And please help me to decide between these two models. Thank you soo much for helping me out.

8th March 2019 at 7:49 pm

A lot of autofocus points can be useful if you are shooting fast action or wildlife photography. Otherwise it’s not too critical. I have a Canon 6D which is my primary camera, which I think has 9 autofocus points, and I’ve never found I needed more!

4th March 2019 at 8:24 pm

Hello, hope you’re doing well. I love your web page ❤️ I have some months suffering and searching information about a digital camera. I am interested for full frame & Mirrorless Camera for my work as a Aesthetician , and for travel also , I have considered Canon G7 X Mark II but im not pretty sure if it good for photography. Suggest me one good camera or good lenses for travel, fashion, makeup . Good bless you and thankful if you wanna respond

5th March 2019 at 3:03 pm

If you’re interested in a full frame mirrorless camera, I’d say that the Sony A7II would be a good option. The G7X Mark II is a lighter and more compact camera, but you can’t change the lenses, and it doesn’t have a full frame sensor.

Other options include the Canon EOS RP, Canon EOS R, Nikon Z series, and the more recent Sony A7 III, although this is somewhat more expensive now than the version 2.

For lenses, there’s a huge choice. I’d suggest a walk around lens for general travel photography, and then a fast prime lens for portrait work. A 50mm f/1.8 lens would be good for that. I have a guide to travel lenses you can see here:

Mick England says

3rd March 2019 at 3:53 pm

This may have been written before the D7500 came out as you state: “This is Nikon’s high end APS-C camera, with a 20.9MP sensor, fast autofocus, a weather sealed body, dual SD card slots and Wi-Fi.” In fact Nikon actually dropped the dual card slot that was present in the 7200 but the D7500 is nevertheless an excellent camera and I have never had a card fail on me.

3rd March 2019 at 4:05 pm

Hi Mick! Thanks for the catch 🙂 I’ve updated the description of the D7500. I too have never had an SD card fail on me in any camera, although I appreciate some folks like the peace of mind – especially for critical work like weddings and other event photography.

22nd February 2019 at 12:54 am

Hi, I have come across your website while I am searching for best travel camera. I am very limited knowledge about camera and planning to get my first ever camera. Thinking of getting either sony or canon. I am going to visit Euroup in 2 months and need travel camera for both photo and video capturing. May I request for your recommendation please? Thanks in advance ~

23rd February 2019 at 7:27 am

I would likely recommend a mirrorless camera like the EOS M100 as they are easy to pick up and use, and also easy to learn. However, I don’t know your budget – the M100 is at the low end of the budget (although it’s still a great choice). However, if you have more money to spend, there are other options too 🙂

12th February 2019 at 9:36 am

Hey there, I want to buy a travel system camera because my DSLR is just too heavy to carry around all the time. I‘m currently trying to decide between the sony a6000 and sony a63000. So far, from what i‘ve heard it seems like there‘s no big difference between the two cameras that justifies the much higher price of the newer model. However, since i‘m planning to go to south east asia, i‘m not sure how important it is for me to have a camera that‘s water and dust resistant (as the a6300 is). What‘s your experience? Is the a6000 likely to survive rainy season (pf course i‘m going to put my camera in the rain either way) or is worth investing 300€ more for that feature? Thank you!

12th February 2019 at 5:31 pm

I would probably lean towards the a6000 – it’s less costly, and weather sealing won’t make a camera waterproof unfortunately – you’re better off just trying to keep it dry 🙂 The a6300 is a decent camera, but I think for the price difference it’s not that much better.

Have a great trip!

11th February 2019 at 6:38 am

hi, thanks for your such informative blog. I am considering to purchase Fujifilm X-T20 with 18-55mm lens or Canon M50. And, my usage is more to photo shoots instead of video shoot.

I appreciate if you could give advise on this,

13th February 2019 at 9:17 pm

Both are excellent cameras, so it is hard to really decide between them. The Canon is slightly better for videos, and the Fuji might give slightly better photo performance, but the difference is very small. The main difference is the lens options – I would say there are more better value lenses for the Canon than the Fuji, but to be honest, both are really great cameras and I don’t think you will be disappointed with either choice!

Roxanne says

5th February 2019 at 6:58 am

What camera would you recommend for the following.. Indoor for a convention I will be attending Site seeing photos Novice photographer Selfies Price isn’t a deal breaker, so as long as it’s going to last me Captures my memories Ease of grab and shot Social posting Printing

Also considering a upgrade on cell too. To have both a camera and cell phone handy for just in case. I currently have a iPhone 7plus. But open to a smartphone that offers better photo capabilities.

Thanks in advance for your help!

5th February 2019 at 11:44 am

Hi Roxanne!

So the most challenging scene you’ll be looking at shooting will be the indoor scenes, which is where many cameras will struggle due to a lack of light.

If you wanted a capable smartphone, I currently use the Google Pixel 3 which is excellent for a wide range of shooting scenarios, including low light. I’ve not tried out the latest iPhone though.

In terms of a camera, for point and shoot I’d have to suggest either the ZS100 / ZS200, or one of the Sony RX100 options. However, the smaller sensor might not give the best results for indoor work.

So if you don’t mind a slightly bigger camera, I’d probably recommend the Fujifilm X-A5. This has a flipping screen for selfies, a large sensor that performs well in low light, and is still quite portable and easy to use.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

Ranjeet Kaur says

19th January 2019 at 6:47 pm

Hi guys, thanks so much for creating this page its an amazing read… i had a dslr camera for 10 years but it has now broken i also have a small canonn camera very small.brought in 2005 takes a card of 2gb but thats givent up as well. I i belive its time to up grade…. i use the camera for travling, gathering and amy social events. I also use it with work when i go and look at properties… so with this in mind im strugling to decide which camera to buy as i would like to get a small compact one…. what would you recommend?

19th January 2019 at 6:55 pm

Hi Ranjeet!

Our pleasure. So if it’s a small compact camera you are after, that is the section of the post to look at. We also have an expanded version of suggested compact cameras here . It’s hard to recommend without knowing your budget, but that page should give you lots more options!

4th January 2019 at 1:05 am

I’m hoping you can help as I am probably comparing apples to oranges. I’m looking for a travel camera for an amateur that is fairly compact, has an auto function, can take selfies, and takes bright, crisp pictures. Deciding between the Canon EOS M50 and the Sony RX100 iii. Any advice?

4th January 2019 at 9:47 am

Sure thing! So the RX100 will be more compact than the M50, but my personal preference would be the M50. It has a larger sensor, meaning images will be higher quality in a variety of shooting situations, has the full auto function, and also has a fully articulating screen for selfies. So that would be my preference of the two.

Another option is the EOS M100, which is a bit smaller, but has similar features. It’s also less expensive. It might be a good balance between the two options 🙂

26th December 2018 at 9:41 pm

What would your opinion be with getting the 200d with a 35mm prime and an ultrwide zoom? Do you have any suggestions as to which lenses I should look at? Total budget would only be around 700 I think at this stage. It would be used for travelling (cities and mountains) as well as a little bit of filming in the woods, but this is very much a secondary use

Many thanks

26th December 2018 at 10:01 pm

So that would be a great combination. Assuming a total budget of $700 to include the 200d, which is around $400 body only, then my suggestion would be the Canon 10-18 ultrawide angle , and the Canon 50mm f/1.8 , which is an amazing lens for the price.

That will take you to $794 all in, which is pretty decent for what you are getting 🙂

26th December 2018 at 10:06 pm

Sounds just about perfect, thanks for the speedy reply

If I remember I’ll try to post how I get on with them, such a good thread I’ll probably have a read over in a few months again XD

Thanks for the help, Flo

26th December 2018 at 10:17 pm

My pleasure 🙂 I’d love to hear how that combination works for you, so do pop back and let me know 🙂

We keep this post up to date as newer models come along, we also have a guide to travel lenses if you want another post to read 🙂

Have a wonderful 2019!

26th December 2018 at 7:23 am

Thanks for your article, it was really helpful. I was already considering the Nikon D3500 with an 18- 140mm lens as an alround in-expensive travel camera for an upcoming trip where we really only want to travel with the bare minimum. We can get this as a kit lens in Aus. However, I was wondering about the comparison between the D3500 and the D5600 with the 18-140 mm which is also available as a kit?

26th December 2018 at 11:09 am

Hi Helen, and thanks!

So there is not a great deal of difference between the two. They have pretty much the same specification, the main difference is that the D5600 has a moveable touchscreen and the D3500 has a fixed, non touch-screen. The D5600 is a bit heavier too, but they are otherwise dimensionally identical.

So really it comes down to whether or not the moving touchscreen is something you would want, as otherwise these two cameras are pretty much identical.

Hope this helps!

valina1981 says

11th December 2018 at 6:03 am

Absolutely love this post! Thank you. I’ve spent the last few weeks drowning in information and agonizing over which camera will be the best for me. As a complete beginner who wants to capture great images but wouldn’t have the slightest idea where to start with changeable lens this guide is ideal. Thank you

11th December 2018 at 10:06 am

My pleasure!

9th December 2018 at 7:21 am

I found this very helpful and an now as subscriber. I was going to sign up for your course, but got confused (my constant state) when I was about to pay and was greeted by a different instructor (‘Nomatic” Matt, or something like that). I now have a little over and hour experience reading your material and felt there was a good match, so didn’t sign up with Matt, if that is what I was doing. May be I missed something. Please let me know if you are in fact the instructor. Thanks

9th December 2018 at 10:31 am

Sorry about that confusion, I should probably try to make it clearer. So the course that you are talking about is my course, I wrote the whole thing, and all the homework / feedback comes to me. The course is just hosted at the Nomadic Matt site as he has a number of courses that compliment each other, plus it means I don’t have to worry about server hosting and the technology of the course – I just run it 🙂

But yes, that’s the one to sign up for to get to me 🙂

9th December 2018 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the quick response and clarification. I will be signing up.

9th December 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Steve, looking forward to helping you out 😀

Shirzad says

27th November 2018 at 1:13 am

You are a star!! Thank you, very informative.

27th November 2018 at 11:21 am

My pleasure! let us know which one you chose 🙂

David Stepenberg says

19th November 2018 at 1:56 am

Outstanding publication that was informative and easily understood. I appreciate your sharing your experience and expertise.

I’m interested in a digital camera that produces extremely high quality photos for canvas enlargement, has a large sensor, image stabilization, and is compatible with a high quality long range zoom lense. Based on this publication I’m assuming a DSLR is best, but I’m not sure which one and would appreciate your feedback.

19th November 2018 at 10:13 am

Thanks very much 🙂

So based on your requirements, you’d be looking at a fairly high end camera. You have a few options, depending on your budget:

The Canon 5D Mark IV The Sony A7r III The Nikon D850

These are all roughly the same price. For your specific needs, I would probably lean towards the Sony a7 rIII, which is a mirrorless full frame camera, with in body image stabilization and a high megapixel sensor which means you’ll be able to get those high quality images you’re after.

The 5D is a great camera, but the sensor doesn’t have so many megapixels. The Nikon is also excellent, with a fantastic (Sony made) sensor, but has no in body stablization.

Of course, both Nikon and Canon offer stabilised lenses, so you can get the same effect with a lens.

I hope this helps. There are other options at lower (and higher!) budgets, but this would me my starting point without knowing your exact budget 🙂

26th October 2018 at 4:13 pm

Nice article..! Any reason to choose D3300 over D3400?

26th October 2018 at 6:07 pm

In terms of the cameras under $500, I wanted to pick a great value camera, and the D3300 certainly fits that bill, especially since the D3400 and D3500 have since been released. However, if you have the budget, the newer models are definitely worth checking out 🙂

17th October 2018 at 9:22 pm

I feel you are missing a well known and loved travel camera. The Ricoh GR &/or GRii essentially the same, is ultra light, a somewhat fast 2.8 for low light, no AA filter that delivers sharp images and can be found used $350 or brand new $600. Yes, it has a fixed 28mm lens but it’s also so sharp with an aps-c sensor That cropping into a RAW image is still sharp after digital processing. Not the fastest auto focus but for those who focus on setting up their image or are patient for the scene to develop, it’s sufficient.

Great blog. Thanks for the work.

18th October 2018 at 5:43 pm

Thanks very much! There are a lot of great cameras out there for sure, and thanks for recommending your favourite. Hopefully someone finds your recommendation useful 😀

7th October 2018 at 2:10 pm

Absolutely brill article thankyou! I have a question for you . . . Im a land artist in the UK and currently looking to invest in a camera to capture my artwork. Been using a samsung galaxy phone up till now but seriously need to upgrade as Im being asked for large prints! Im good with light and composition but have very little tech knowledge! So looking for the smallest simplest camera that is not a phone! that shoots in RAW for high quality large prints that I can carry easily and not have to think about! Ive been looking at the Sony RX100 V and wondering if the image quality will be good enough . . friends saying Sony Alpha series is better! Help! Getting confused with so much choice! Would really appreciate your opinion or advice :)) *artwork ranges from small macro creations to much larger woodland or river work

10th October 2018 at 4:59 pm

So for something small the shoots in RAW, a higher end point and shoot should work fine for your specific needs 🙂 The Alpha series from Sony is a great choice too, but they are certainly bigger than a point and shoot, and also a bit more complicated to use. So I would advise something like the Panasonic or Sony in this post. We also have a more comprehensive Point and shoot camera guide here with even more choices 🙂

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Cecilia Lawrence says

11th September 2018 at 1:22 am

Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to write up this list! I was wondering if you could give me some camera recommendations. I’m an amateur photographer and I mostly use my camera for taking interior photos (like architecture or portraits) for art references. The things I’m looking for are:

1.) Long battery life (when traveling) 2.) Under $500 3.) Good in low-light settings

I’m trying to find either a good point-and-shoot or a mirrorless camera that fits in my budget. I was told that the Canon Rebel t6 is a good DSLR for what I’m looking for, but I’m wondering if it might not be a little too cumbersome when traveling. Any suggestions?

11th September 2018 at 10:34 am

Hi Cecilia!

My pleasure. So, your wishlist is quite a challenge I have to be honest 🙂

For a long battery life, your best option is going to be a DSLR, as mirrorless cameras use up more battery due to not having an optical viewfinder, which means you always need to be powering a screen.

Low light is the hardest environment for a camera to work in. My suggestion for the type of photography you are wanting to do would be to invest in a tripod, which can help get around some of the challenges of shooting in low light by letting you use longer exposures.

My suggestion would be perhaps the Canon M100 . This has the same sensor has the Canon DSLR cameras, but is in a smaller body, so it is quite compact. It comes in under budget including a lens. The only issue is that the battery life is not going to be as good as a DSLR.

let me know how that sounds!

11th September 2018 at 6:06 pm

Thank you so much for your quick response! This camera looks perfect–exactly what I was looking for. Thank you again!

11th September 2018 at 6:09 pm

My pleasure Cecilia 🙂 You inspired me to add it to the post as well, I think it’s an excellent option at this price point 🙂

Prashanth says

31st August 2018 at 9:17 am

Hello, thank you for an excellent article. I’ve got a tough one for you – my trusty Panasonic FZ300 has checked itself out after three terrific years. I can’t seem to find anything else that matches its set of amazing features. Can you help? Thanks!!

31st August 2018 at 10:31 am

Hi Prashanth,

I think the logical replacement would be the new Panasonic FZ330, which seems to have a similar set of features and upgraded technology 🙂

1st September 2018 at 6:00 am

Oh wow Laurence, thank you! I can’t believe I wasn’t able to find it myself. I kept searching for “FZ300 successor” but apart from a few forum postings on what a potential successor should look like, I only saw pages from four years ago that declared that the FZ300 was a successor to the FZ200! I noticed that you don’t have a section for bridge cameras on your blog – from my own experience, I found the FZ300 the most versatile cam I’ve used. I go on an annual 5500+ meter trek (Kailash Manasarovar yatra if you’re interested), and I’ve really put the weather sealing capabilities of the FZ300 to the ultimate test! The ultrazoom really comes in handy on the trek (to scope out far away features or wildlife) and the insane feature set (from 4 years ago!) – 4k video, timelapse, wifi, multiple zoom controls, touchscreen, etc. make this camera an absolute treat to use. If at all anything could be improved, it would be the sensor, because it isn’t good at all in low light (thats when the RX100 comes out of my pocket ;-)). I look forward to checking the FZ330 out – thanks again!

1st September 2018 at 6:04 am

Oops! I had just replied to your comment Laurence, but I’m afraid the FZ300 and the FZ330 are exactly the same 🙁 “There is no functional difference as far as I know. It is a brand / labeling thing. The FZ330 IS the FZ300.”

1st September 2018 at 10:54 am

You are right! I am so sorry, I just found that and figured it must be the latest version of it as that’s what Panasonic has on their website. They don’t seem to have anything newer with the same sort of features, and I can’t find anything else that is the same sort of bridge design with the same feature set. The FZ300 / 330 seems to still be the only option. So I’m not sure if you’ve considered just buying another one?

You are definitely correct that this guide is currently missing bridge cameras, the only reason being I don’t have personal experience with them so it’s hard for me to give good advice!

2nd April 2019 at 7:07 pm

Hi again Prashanth!

A bit of a delay, but I thought you’d be interested in the recently launched FZ-1000 II. It doesn’t have quite the zoom of the FZ330, but the sensor is both bigger and has higher megapixels, so when you crop the image you will likely end up with the same results. It’s also somewhat more expensive. But in case you were still looking, I thought you’d like to know 🙂

2nd August 2018 at 7:15 am

Thank you so so much for this. This helped me so much

2nd August 2018 at 10:00 am

My pleasure Rachel 😀 says

23rd May 2018 at 3:55 pm

Hi findingtheuniverse, This article is very much helpful. But still I have question on it should I ask here ?

23rd May 2018 at 7:36 pm

If you have a question you are welcome to ask it 🙂

nick esposito says

16th March 2018 at 4:23 pm

6D II has a swivel screen and a touchscreen..your info is wrong in the article.

16th March 2018 at 4:29 pm

Thanks Nick – I’ve fixed that in the article 🙂

Gezina Uys says

21st February 2018 at 12:59 pm

I have been looking for a travel camera for a long time now, but not one can can do everything I want it to do. 1. It must be lighter than my Canon EOS . 2. Must take superb photo’s because I print a lot and enlarge them. 3. Large sensor. 4. Good optical zoom lens. 5. Image stabilization. 6. Build in flash with range more than 10m. 7. Megapixels – more than 20.

Please advice me what to buy. I go on a holiday in August and must have the camera by then. My Canon is just to heavy to carry around.

21st February 2018 at 1:13 pm

That is quite a list 🙂

Getting everything you want in one camera is going to be quite hard – a large sensor will require a larger camera body, that’s just how it works. I’d also add that very few built in flashes are either that powerful or produce good results – this is why pretty much every professional level camera doesn’t even have a built-in flash.

It’s hard to give specific advice without a budget in mind. However, my advice to you would be to consider the Sony mirrorless systems, and in particular the Sony Alpha a7II ( ) for your requirements. This has nearly everything you have asked for:

1 – mirrorless, so smaller and lighter than EOS full frame cameras, weighs 1.32lbs 2 – takes great photos 3 – full frame sensor 4 – lots of lenses available 5 – built in 5-axis image stabilisation 6 – no flash (see above for why) 7 – 24.3MP

21st February 2018 at 1:37 pm

To follow on from your e-mail where you say that Sony are leaving the South African market (!). This is definitely a problem, as there aren’t any other full frame mirrorless cameras that I’m aware of, other than the Leica range, which are really expensive.

So my advice would be to look instead at the APS-C sized sensors on mirrorless cameras. These still produce great image quality and come in a smaller format. I’d specifically advise either the Fuji XT2 or the Fuji XT20, depending on your budget, both of which offer superb image quality. I know a number of professional photographers who love these cameras and use them as their main cameras day in and day out.

Techwhippet says

15th February 2018 at 7:22 am

Hi Mate! I just bought the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III, and am curious, do you ever take prime lenses when travelling? I’ve seen some amazing travel pictures taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. Amazing blog, keep up the great work!

17th February 2018 at 8:36 pm

Thanks very much! I don’t usually take prime lenses, I usually have a wide angle and a telephoto, and find that is enough to carry!

Greg Kennon says

3rd February 2017 at 4:05 pm

Wow! Awesome in depth post! We recently bought a Sony point and shoot camera and we have loved it. We have used a DSLR before but they are so heavy to take on long walks/hikes! Thanks for the great post! I will definitely reference this when it’s time to upgrade:)

Laurence says

3rd February 2017 at 4:09 pm

Thanks Greg, pleased you find it useful!

Leslie Hoerwinkle says

24th January 2017 at 3:53 am

So, which camera is the best? ????

13th February 2018 at 10:23 pm

It really depends on what you want to do with it, and your budget! I’d suggest checking out the post and making a decision on the best travel camera for you 🙂

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The best compact camera for 2024: top pocket choices to take anywhere

Find your dream smartphone-beating pocket compact

  • Best overall
  • Best for features
  • Best for video
  • Best for photo quality
  • Best for hobbyists
  • Best all-rounder
  • Best money-no-object
  • Best compact instant
  • Best vlogging
  • How to choose

How we test compact cameras

Best compact camera lead image

1. The list in brief 2. Best overall 3. Best features 4. Best video 5. Best photo quality 6. Best hobbyist 7. Best all-rounder 8. Best money-no-object 9. Best instant 10. Best vlogging 11. How to choose 12. How we test

With smartphone cameras getting better all the time, the best compact cameras have to do more to justify a place in your pocket. Some do this with optical zoom lenses that get you closer than any phone. Some have large sensors that are sharper than a smartphone in all conditions. Others are simply fantastic fun to shoot with. One thing’s for sure: every compact listed below does something unique that makes it worth your attention.

We’ve tested pretty much every compact camera on the market. If we’ve learnt anything, it’s that there isn’t one option that’s right for everyone. The decision comes down to your own needs and budget. Our personal favorite is the Fujifilm X100VI , simply because it combines all of the things we look for in a compact camera: fast autofocus, excellent image quality and in-body image stabilization, all wrapped up in a tidy body. But you might not feel the same.

We’ve spent hours and hours testing compact cameras in the real world, in the kind of situations you’re actually likely to encounter. That means shooting from the hip, changing settings on the move and shooting a mix of stills and video. Based on the results, we’ve shared the good and the bad about each compact camera below, to help you make a better decision about which is right for you.

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras Editor. With more than 15 years’ experience in the photo video industry, Tim has been lucky enough to test countless cameras – including many of the best compacts. Over this time, he’s developed a deep practical understanding of what makes a good compact camera. He notes, “smartphones are now incredibly capable photography tools, but compacts can still offer something more. If you’re looking for a dedicated camera with superior features and handling, the premium models in this list are definitely worth considering.”

The quick list

Use the round-up below for an instant summary of the best compact camera for every need and budget. When you find a compact camera that ticks the right boxes, you can use the links beneath each entry to jump down to our full write-up.

Fujifilm X100VI compact camera on a white background

The best compact for enthusiasts overall

A sharp street shooter, the X100VI takes Fuji’s TikTok-famous X100 series to new heights, with a 40MP sensor and image stabilization.

Read more below

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII

The best pocket compact for features

With strong image quality, sharp 4K videos and class-leading AF, the RX100 VII is one of the most capable compacts right now.

Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera

The best compact for video creatives

A bright lens, superb autofocus and useful design features make the Sony ZV-1 a powerful pocket option for shooting video.

Ricoh GR III

The best photo quality from your pocket

Responsive, pocketable and intuitive handle, the GR IIIx uses a versatile 40mm f/2.8 lens to produce sharp RAW stills.

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

The best for keen hobbyists

A brilliant compact for enthusiasts, the Lumix LX100 II offers excellent stills quality, responsive autofocus and good physical controls.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

The best all-rounder for photographers

The Canon PowerShot G5 X II blends a capable core with useful features, a quality build, and great controls and handling.

Load the next 3 products...

Leica Q3 on white background

The best money-no-object compact

The Leica Q3 is the most powerful, most enjoyable, most expensive compact camera. Price aside, it’s tactile and high quality.

Polaroid Go

The best compact instant camera

Combining retro looks with point-and-shoot simplicity, the Go produces rich instant prints that are perfect for sharing.

DJI Pocket 3 on a white background

Best for vlogging

This fantastic tool for solo vloggers is super-portable and super-stable thanks to its gimbal, plus it's affordable.

  • ^ Back to the top

The best compact cameras in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best compact cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best compact camera for most people

1. fujifilm x100vi.

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid, fujifilm x100vi sample images.

✅ You want a versatile everyday camera: A sharp sensor and image stabilization make the X100VI a flexible tool for shooting on a daily basis.

✅ You like a retro-modern hybrid: The X100V blends old-school looks with modern features, including a superb hybrid viewfinder.

❌ You want the best value overall: Its new skills are welcome, but the X100V offers many of the same core features for less – if you can find it in stock.

❌ You like to use different focal lengths: The fixed 23mm focal length is a calling card of the X100 series, but some will find it too limiting.

The Fujifilm X100V went viral for its retro style, pocket-friendly design, hybrid viewfinder and fixed 23mm f/2 lens. The X100VI takes the same concept and upgrades it again, boosting resolution to 40MP and adding in-body image stabilization for the first time. It also borrows the class-leading autofocus from the Fujifilm X-T5 . In our review, we found images pin-sharp across the entire sensor, with the increased pixel count offering greater flexibility when cropping. Together with impressive subject tracking autofocus and effective stabilization, we think it’s an even more rounded compact for street shooting.

Our tests also revealed the X100VI to be a more capable filmmaking tool, courtesy of 6.2K 10-bit video support. The fixed focal length will still be a limiting factor for some, as will the single UHS-I SD card slot. You need an adaptor for full weather-proofing, too. Given the sold-out demand for the X100V, it’s also unsurprising that Fujifilm has increased the price for its successor. But from our time living with the X100VI, we think it’s the pinnacle of the X100 series, and the best premium compact for everyday use. 

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X100VI review

2. Sony RX100 Mark VII

Sony rx100 vii sample images.

✅ You need a complete pocket camera: The RX100 VII is arguably the most rounded pocket camera for photo and video.

✅ You shoot action: Lens zoom is limited, but the performance is not with super fast autofocus and continuous shooting. 

❌ You want excellent handling: Small it may well be, the RX100 VII isn't the most ergonomic option available.

❌ You rely on a touch screen: The function of the touch screen is limited, with no support for menu navigation.

In many ways, the RX100 VII is still best compact around right now. Its autofocus system, we found, is comfortably ahead of any other pocket camera, tracking moving subjects with great reliability and making clever use of its Face and Eye AF, even in video mode. Video quality is superb, while image quality is also stellar. But all of this comes at a huge price, and for many people that could be a deal-breaker.

Still, we can't avoid including it in this guide, as it's one of the best options around. If your budget allows, then you won't find a more powerful compact than the Mark VII. But if you're happy to sacrifice some of the latest autofocus features and a microphone jack, check out the RX100 VI, which offers most of its performance but costs a little less.

Read our in-depth Sony RX100 Mark VII review

The best compact video camera

3. sony zv-1, sony zv-1 sample images.

✅ You want a powerful vlogging camera: The Sony ZV-1 is the best compact camera for YouTubers right now, shooting smartphone-beating 4K video.

✅ You want a compact you can grow with: Sony has made the ZV-1 simpler for beginners to use, but it's also jam-packed with pro features.

❌ You mainly want to shoot stills: While it's no slouch for stills, the lack of a viewfinder and moderate zoom range will limit some photographers.

❌ You need an all-weather action camera: The ZV-1 is packed with features, but one that's missing is weather-proofing.

If it's mainly video rather than stills that you're looking for from a compact camera, then the  Sony  ZV-1 is the one of the best options around. Not that it isn't also very capable at shooting still photos – it has the same sensor and processor as Sony 's latest RX100 series cameras, after all – but the ZV-1's main strength are its video powers. That includes its class-leading autofocus powers, which helps it tenaciously lock onto people and moving objects in your frame. During testing, we found it to do an excellent job of keeping moving subjects in focus and tracking our eyes across most of the frame. Of course, the video quality from its 20.1MP 1-inch sensor is nothing short of impressive as well.

These are backed up by a 3.5mm mic port for boosting audio quality with an external microphone, and a hotshoe to help mount the latter. Its bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 doesn't give you the same reach as the RX100 VII, but it does ensure that you get lovely background blur in both stills and videos – perfect if you mainly shoot portraits or vlogs. Sony has since released the ZV-1 II , but for us the successor was a puzzling update that in real world use offered little extra than the ZV-1 to justify its pricier tag. 

Read our in-depth Sony ZV-1 review

4. Ricoh GR IIIx

Ricoh gr iiix sample images.

✅ You want to develop your creative eye: With a fixed focal length lens, exposure tools and a wide range of in-camera edits, the GR III X encourages creativity.

✅ You want a fun pocket camera: Small enough to slip in the pocket, quick to use and intuitive to handle, the GR IIIx is point-and-shoot happiness.

❌ You want a versatile camera: The GR IIIx is as niche as they come. Fixed lens, fixed focal length, modest video specs. This is aimed at a certain type of photographer.

❌ You shoot video a lot: Tech-wise, the GR IIx is way behind today's smartphones for video recording, being limited to Full HD resolution and mono in-camera audio.

If you’re an avid street photographer there’s no doubt you’ll have heard of the Ricoh GR – a superb series of compact cameras that are famous for their sharp, fixed focal length lens and large APS-C sensor. The Ricoh GRIIIx is the latest model and features a 40mm f2.8 lens versus the standard GR III’s wider 28mm f2.8 option, which may make it a more versatile option depending on your proclivities. Personally, we’d prefer the X’s 40mm for portraiture while the GR III’s 28MM is ideally suited to landscape.

From our review, we think the GRIII X is a superb everyday carry camera, with new features like the Snap Focus system making it an intuitive camera for capturing decisive moments. A host of excellent customization options make it a great choice for experienced tinkerers with in-camera raw editing and easy sharing via the wireless smartphone connection. We would have liked better battery life and a tilt-screen, but such omissions are understandable given the compact body. We think this is the best GR iteration yet if you’re on the hunt for superb image quality, snappy performance, and intuitive handling in a pocket-friendly body.

Read our in-depth Ricoh GR IIIx review

5. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

Panasonic lx100 ii sample images.

✅ You want a Micro Four Thirds sensor: The sensor is larger than the 1-inch ones used in most other compacts and produces lovely photos.

✅ You want excellent handling: A sensible size, decent grip, EVF and solid build all combine for a lovely shooting experience.

❌ You want the latest tech: The LX100 II is a fantastic camera but it was launched all the way back in 2018 and feels a little dated with its fixed screen and clunky UX.

❌ You want a speedy shooter: The zoom action is a touch pedestrian; both the zoom lever around the shutter release button and the multi-function control ring respond slowly. 

Compact cameras with sensors larger than 1-inch in size are typically limited to fixed-focal-length lenses, which is great for quality but less so for flexibility. But not the Panasonic LX100 II; it manages to marry a 17MP Four Thirds sensor – the same size as those found inside Panasonic's G-series mirrorless cameras – with a zoom lens equivalent to 24-75mm in 35mm terms, proving that sometimes you can get quality and flexibility at once. 

We found its Leica-badged lens to be very impressive, capturing very good levels of detail that's worthy of pricier APS-C cameras, and its exposure metering system more than reliable. Our tests also show that it handles noise pretty well and produces natural-looking images with faithful colors. The original LX100 was something of a landmark camera for offering something similar, and this latest iteration takes the baton, with a nippy AF system, robust body, clear 4K videos and a useful electronic viewfinder among its highlights.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review

Image credit: TechRadar

6. Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Canon powershot g5 x mark ii sample images.

✅ You want excellent build quality: Build quality feels great overall, with secure handling and plenty of attention to detail around all the controls.

✅ You're want an everyday shooter: The 24-120mm f/1.8-2.8 lens strikes a nice balance between versatility and image quality, covering most everyday scenarios.

❌ You shoot 4K video: The G5X Mark II can shoot 4K video, but cannot match the superior features from Sony's rival offerings.

❌ You want excellent value: Canon is never cheap, and the G5X Mark II looks like an expensive option compared to its rivals. 

The best Canon cameras you can buy don’t just include full-frame flagships - the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is easily one of the top options from the brand currently. It’s not the cheapest option out there currently but it’s a well-rounded camera with a pocket-friendly form-factor and fantastic handling, New features for the Mark II include the excellent stacked 20.1MP 1-inch CMOS sensor equipped with the brand’s DIGIC processing engine. 

This model is now capable of 30fps in raw burst mode, 20fps burst in regular JPEG, and also features a respectable line-up of video specs. Being able to fully capture video at 4K without any crop factor is a particular highlight in such a small body. Other excellent new additions include USB charging, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity, which are all fantastic quality of life additions for any camera - especially one at this price point. These additions, combined with the Mark II’s excellent build quality and versatile 24-120mm f/1.8-2.8 lens make this camera an excellent every day carry option and one of best travel cameras in particular.

Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II review

Find savings on Canon cameras with our Canon promo codes .

The best money-no-object compact camera

7. leica q3, leica q3 sample images.

✅ You like manual control and a tactile experience: The robust dials and shutter button offer the tactile experience that we'd like to see more of.

✅ You want the best-quality everyday camera: With a super-sharp lens and full-frame sensor, no compact camera can better the Leica Q3 on stills.

❌ You want to push a camera hard: The Q3 has some seriously impressive features, but they work best when in moderate, everyday use.

❌ You’re after great value: There’s no real rival to the Q3, and it does represent reasonable value for a Leica, but $5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,790 is a lot of anyone’s money. 

Compact cameras can be cost-effective alternatives to interchangeable lens cameras but that doesn’t mean there aren’t superb high-end options. Take the stunning Leica Q3: a full-frame monster that comes complete with the exceptional Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH fixed lens. Calling the Leica Q3 compact may be a slight stretch – it's around the same size as the Panasonic Lumix S5 II with a pancake lens – but it is the full package if you’re looking for superlative image quality and almost unparalleled build quality. 

It’s this latter point that allows the Leica Q3 to stand out from the competition and smartphones. Put simply, the Leica Q3 offers a premium tactile shooting experience that even the best camera phones can’t hope to match. And, price aside, the Leica Q3 is an excellent performer. Unlike the well-known M-series rangefinders from the brand, the Q3 is fully autofocus capable, which makes it an excellent everyday carry for the well-heeled. Sure, the autofocus performance doesn’t quite match the best systems on the market right now but the Leica Q3 is the brand’s easiest to use camera yet - and one that scores full marks on style points.

Read our in-depth Leica Q3 review

8. Polaroid Go

Polaroid go sample images.

✅ You love keepsakes: There's nothing like a physical print and the Go spits out beautiful little prints that you can keep or share with those around you.

✅ You want a small instant camera: Most instant cameras are big and bulky and awkward, but the Polaroid Go is as small as they come. 

❌ You want low running costs: The Go itself is inexpensive, but its instant film refills increase the cost significantly.

❌ You shoot close ups: Most instant cameras are point-and-shoot, but the fixed focus can feel quite limiting for close ups.

Instant cameras are designed for fun – and few make it easier to capture quick, attractive snaps than the Polaroid Go. Pitched as “the world’s smallest analogue digital camera”, its boxy, retro shape means it isn’t as portable as a digital compact camera – but it’s still one of the dinkiest instant cameras you can buy in 2021. Capable of producing credit card-sized prints with dreamy pastel tones and impressive detail, the Go’s greatest merit is its point-and-shoot simplicity. 

The streamlined interface is super easy to use, with a handy digital shot counter for tracking your snaps. Unlike other instant cameras, we found this to be very versatile. Automatic flash can be manually overridden, while self-timer and double-exposure modes add welcome opportunities for creativity – although its fixed focus and lack of a macro mode mean it isn’t quite as flexible as certain alternatives. Film refills aren’t the cheapest, and you do pay a premium for the Polaroid Go’s portability. What you also get, though, is an entertaining, accessible and convenient – not to mention surprisingly capable – instant printing camera.

Read our in-depth Polaroid Go review

9. DJI Pocket 3

Dji osmo pocket 3 sample images.

✅ You shoot handheld solo vlogs: The three-axis gimbal offers unmatched stabilization, while ActiveTrack works like a virtual cameraman.

✅ You value portability: True to its name, the Pocket 3 is a pocket-friendly solution for shooting steady vlogs wherever you go.

❌ You shoot a lot of photos, too: Low light image quality is improved over the Pocket 2, but resolution is much lower.

❌ You’re happy with your smartphone: If you prefer shooting with your phone, a gimbal mount like the DJI OM 5 might make more sense.

We were already big fans of the DJI Osmo Pocket 2 , yet its successor takes quality and convenience for vlogging to a whole new level. It equals the video quality of larger models like the Sony ZV-1, yet still has an incredibly compact form factor. The improvement in video and image quality, now up to 4K 120p, is enough to pick the Pocket 3 over your smartphone for vlogging, as is the super smooth footage achieved thanks to the three-axis gimbal. It's also a massively convenient device, comfortably slipping into a pocket, with decent audio quality and compatibility with remote mics.

There's also a new trick up the Pocket 3's sleeve: multi-aspect video recording. Taking a leaf out the GoPro Hero 12 Black playbook, the Pocket 3's 1-inch sensor is squarer than your traditional 16:9 aspect, so you don't unnecessarily lose detail when switching between horizontal and vertical formats. The rear LCD screen touchscreen even rotates to instantly switch between those formats. Little wonder that the Pocket 3 is now our top recommendation for most vloggers. 

Read our in-depth DJI Pocket 3 review

How to choose the best compact camera for you

Sony ZV-1

How to choose the best compact camera

When it comes to selecting a compact camera, there are several factors to consider. As the name suggests, all compact cameras promise portability, but there’s more to keep in mind than form factor alone. All of the cameras in our list above offer some combination of versatility, handling, features and image quality. Which specific aspects matter most will depend on what and how you like to shoot. If you can’t find a compact the ticks your key boxes, you might be better off using your smartphone’s camera.

One of the key things to think about is sensor size. All of the best compact cameras should represent a step up from your smartphone. Micro Four Thirds and APS-C options, such as the Fujifilm X100V, are now as prevalent as 1-inch models. 

If you plan on using your compact camera for travel, you should take a closer look at its lens and zoom capabilities. To be worthy of your attention, the latter should offer at least 10x optical zoom, if not more. If you plan on using your camera for street photography or candid portraits, a fixed lens might work better for you. Or if night-time shots are your thing, look for a compact with good noise handling and high ISO capabilities.

Whatever your subject of choice, pay attention to how a camera handles. This is something we cover in our reviews. Most compacts have an electronic viewfinder, but a small number use an optical one instead. Most also feature a touchscreen interface, which makes it more straightforward to upgrade from a smartphone, although not every display can tilt. You should also think about whether manual controls matter to you.

Some features you might not need, but a few – such image stabilization or face/eye tracking – could prove to be useful bonuses. Of course, price is a factor as well, so if the models above are too pricey new, check out their second-hand availability. Our guide on  how to buy a second-hand DSLR or mirrorless camera may be aimed at larger models, but much of the same advice applies to premium compact cameras.

Is a compact camera better than a smartphone?

It’s widely accepted that the best camera is the one you have with you, and this will often be the smartphone in your pocket – especially if you’re looking to capture quick, sharp images for sharing on social media. While the  best camera phone  options are better than ever, though, the top compact cameras remain a cut above their mobile rivals when it comes to image quality and the overall shooting experience.

Larger sensors are an obvious bonus: the sensor inside a premium compact will, in general, be bigger than the one in your average smartphone. This means you’ll get more detail and better low-light performance, which will be evident if you choose to print out your images. It helps that most compact cameras also benefit from high-quality optics.

Only a handful of smartphones offer the versatility of optical zoom. While zoom range varies by model, most of the best compact cameras feature this as standard. Even with huge improvements to the quality of digital zoom technology, it can rarely compete with the quality of optical zoom when it comes to preserving detail.

Many compact cameras also have physical advantages over smartphones. While both types of device are designed to be pocket-friendly, the best compacts feature dedicated buttons and dials that offer greater creative control. Similarly, many of the best compact options feature a small but useful grip that gives them an ergonomic edge over smartphones when it comes to handling. Tilting touchscreens and dedicated electronic viewfinders are also handy for framing, while certain compacts ship with niche features, such as stabilizing gimbals and waterproof bodies. 

The Sony RX100 VII sitting on a wooden bench

Do photographers use compact cameras?

Given their performance and relative portability, most photographers now favor one of the  best mirrorless cameras  as their primary camera. These models are not much bigger than a premium compact, with many numbering among the  best travel cameras , yet they also offer the flexibility of interchangeable lenses.

That being said, many photographers still choose to travel with a premium compact as a second camera. While they might not compete outright with the images captured by top mirrorless models, a reliable compact camera can be a useful tool to keep within easy reach, in case a photo-worthy scene unfolds before you.

This is particularly true for street and travel photographers. A compact is less conspicuous than a professional full-frame camera, making it easier to shoot comfortably in public. The smaller proportions also mean you’re more likely to take it with you whenever you head out, without needing a bulky kit bag.

The same is true for photographers who want to travel light and leave their main camera at home. You’ll rarely see an image from a compact adorning billboard, but the best models can produce images plenty sharp enough for digital assignments and prize-winning pics. That’s especially true if you pick a compact that focuses on a specific niche, such as the Fujifilm X100V with its fixed 23mm f/2 lens – ideal for street and low-light photography.

Fujifilm X100VI camera held up to photographer's eye on the streets of Tokyo

☑️ 100s of cameras reviewed ☑️ 15 years of product testing ☑️ Over 16,000 products reviewed in total ☑️ Nearly 200,000 hours testing tech

Real-world tests are the most revealing way to understand the best compact cameras' performance, quirks, and features. So, along with standardized tests for factors like ISO performance, we take every camera we test for a spin to see how it fares in real-world scenarios.

We'll use it both handheld and on a tripod to get a sense of where its strengths lie, and test its startup speed. We also use a formatted UHS-1 card and shoot in both raw and JPEG (if available), testing its burst shooting and buffer performance. 

For autofocusing, we use the different autofocus modes on hand in single point, area, and continuous modes. Naturally, we take a look at how accurate and reliable its metering is, how well it handles noise, and how well it minimizes things like fringing and distortion. Its video shooting skills are tested as well by shooting some test footage at different frame-rates and resolutions.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Of course, we also look at the camera's design, handling, and user interface while getting a sense of what kind of photographer it's most ideal for. Battery life is tested as well over the course of the day with the screen set to the default settings. Once the battery has reached zero, we'll then count the number of shots to see how it compares to the camera's CIPA rating. 

Once all is said and done, we take all our data and everything we've learned about the compact camera and compare it to its price tag to see if it offer great value for your money.

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Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other. 

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best travel compact camera 2022

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5 Best Compact Cameras for Travel in 2024

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With the best compact camera for travel, you can capture stunning images and videos without being weighed down by heavy equipment. But which compact camera is best for your next adventure?

Are you looking for a simple photography camera? Are you a travel vlogger? Or are you an intrepid explorer who needs a robust travel companion? Our list has compact cameras for all types of travelers.

The Sony ZV-1 II is our top choice for the best compact camera for travel. Its pocket-sized body makes it super portable. It also has specialist features for vlogging, like a built-in mic and rotating touchscreen, and it takes gorgeous still images. It’s the perfect camera for the modern traveler.

Sony ZV-1 Mark II

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Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

What Is the Best Compact Camera for Travel?

The best compact camera for travel should be small and easy to carry wherever you go, but it shouldn’t compromise on results. The Sony ZV-1 II , Panasonic TZ200 , and OM System Tough TG-7 top our list for those reasons.

With a compact camera, just because it’s not an interchangeable lens doesn’t mean you can’t capture incredible photos and videos. All the cameras on our list prove that compact doesn’t mean compromise.

Some have larger sensors than others, but you can expect gorgeous images from each one. And some of the cameras even produce stunning 4K video footage.

Other handy features for travel photographers? They include a zoom lens, accurate autofocus (AF), and specialist shooting modes. You might also want some durability so you and your camera make it home in one piece.

You can see our selection of the best compact cameras for travel in the table below. We take a closer look at each camera in the section after. Then we have a buyer’s guide at the end if you need more information to help you.

  • Compact size for easy transportation
  • Fixed 18-50mm lens with f/1.8-4.0 max aperture
  • Eye-detection and tracking autofocus
  • Webcam functionality
  • Built-in 3-capsule microphone with sound muffler
  • 4K video at 30 fps and 120 fps in Full HD
  • In-body 5-axis stabilization
  • Very useful 15x zoom
  • Sharp and clear 4K video
  • Impressive battery life
  • Rugged, waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof, crushproof
  • Fixed f/2.0 lens with 4x zoom range
  • Five underwater shooting modes including underwater HDR
  • Macro modes with 0.4 inch / 1 cm min focus distance
  • 4K video with high-speed frame rates and vertical mode

Fujifilm X100V

  • 26 MP sensor for good noise reduction and fast readout
  • Sharp JPEGs with low noise
  • 15 quality film simulations
  • Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Excellent 4K Ultra HD video


  • Impressive lens quality in a compact camera
  • 24-600mm equivalent zoom lens
  • Superb 24 fps burst speed
  • 4K video with several frame rate options


5 Best Compact Cameras for Travel

1. sony zv-1 ii.

The Sony ZV-1 II is the best compact camera for travel right now. Its high-resolution sensor and specialist vlogging features meet the needs of modern travelers. It’s an all-in-one content-creation camera small enough to carry in your pocket.

The 18-50 mm zoom lens offers decent composition flexibility. Although it doesn’t offer much magnification, the wide angle is perfect for filming vlogs and travel footage.

The optical quality of this Zeiss lens is excellent. Its f/1.8 to f/4 max aperture provides good low-light performance.

This entry-level Sony mirrorless is equipped with a small yet powerful CMOS sensor. Its 20 MP resolution is impressive for a one-inch sensor, and its images look fantastic on social media. You can even expand the low ISO to 80 to help you maximize image quality.

But most users choose the ZV-1 II for its video features. And the standard 4K footage at 30 fps is terrific. But you can switch to Sony’s special Cinematic Vlog Setting to make your video content more unique and eye-catching.

A built-in three-capsule mic helps you record audio with your video. You don’t need any extra audio equipment, which helps you travel light. The camera also comes with a wind muffler, so voices come through loud and clear when shooting outside.

Real-time autofocus keeps your subjects in focus as they move around the frame. The sophisticated system also has face and eye detection, which is ideal for filming people.

It also has gyroscopic video stabilization that reduces the effects of camera shake. This is handy if you don’t have a travel tripod or stabilizer.

The Sony ZV-1 II is the must-have compact camera for the traveling vlogger. It has everything a vlogger needs when traveling abroad. And it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about creating exciting travel content.

2. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

The Panasonic Lumix ZS200 (TZ200) is a pocketable compact camera . It comes with an impressive retractable 15x zoom lens. Weighing 0.75 lb (340 g), it feels solid in your hand, thanks to the metal body.

It has a large 20.1 MP, one-inch sensor to ensure high image quality. Although not very fast, the zoom lens of the ZS 200 covers an impressive 24-360mm focal range. This is ideal for travel photography.

Low-light performance is good thanks to the five-axis Hybrid OIS stabilization. You can raise your ISO to 25,600. But aggressive noise reduction at the higher ISO values might make the image look too smooth.

Images are composed and reviewed with the large three-inch LCD screen. Although it’s not tiltable, it has touchscreen capabilities. The ZS 200 has plenty of auto modes to make it easier for beginners. Experienced users will enjoy switching to manual.

The Lumix ZS200 features 4K/30 video and a 4K Photo mode. You can extract single frames and save them as 8 MP still photos.

Battery life is good, ensuring about 350 shots before recharging. Another great feature for the travel photographer is the AC charger. This Olympus OM System camera can also be charged via USB using a portable power bank.

3. Olympus OM System Tough TG-7

The Olympus OM System Tough TG-7 is the best rugged compact camera on the market. Tough isn’t just a clever name with this one. It really can cope with the toughest of tough conditions. So, if you’re the more adventurous type of traveler, this is the camera you need.

It’s completely waterproof down to 50 feet (15 m). And we don’t just mean it’ll survive a dip in the water. You can use this camera underwater ! It even has five specialist underwater photography modes.

It’s also shockproof and withstands drops over 6.5 ft (2 m). Through dust-proofing allows you to use the camera in dry, desert-like conditions. And Arctic explorers can keep shooting in temperatures as low as -10 C. You can take this camera anywhere.

We’re disappointed OM System hasn’t improved the sensor resolution from the previous model. It stays at a modest 12 MP, which isn’t great compared to other modern cameras. But the picture quality is still accurate, rich, and vibrant. Your pics will look great on social media.

A 4x zoom lens gives you decent magnification and shot variety. And the constant f/2 maximum aperture gives you solid low-light performance.

The in-camera macro modes are a brilliant way to capture details close up. Nature lovers can snap detailed images of all the new flora in an exotic country.

Thrill seekers can use this Olympus OM System as a rugged action camera . You can attach it to your handlebars or helmet and record exhilarating 4K footage at 30 fps. And if 30 fps isn’t fast enough, switch to Full HD for a smoother 60 fps video frame rate.

The OM System Tought TG-7 is the perfect compact camera for wild, adrenaline-fueled travels. It can withstand the toughest conditions and helps you bring home some fabulous media.

4. Fujifilm X100V

The Fujifilm X100V is one of the most popular cameras among street photographers . It looks fantastic with a classic rangefinder design. It’s compact and easy to hold for hours at a time.

The weather sealing protects it from bad weather. Combine all that with outstanding image processing powers, and you’ve got one of the best compact cameras for travel.

Although it’s a compact camera with a fixed lens, it has a powerful APS-C sensor. The 26.1 MP resolution gives vibrant images with rich colors and details. The quality is far superior to most smartphones, even beating many interchangeable-lens cameras.

A 23mm focal length gives you a lovely wide angle for street-style travel shots. The wider field of view helps you snap images in tight spaces like old European streets or crowded markets. It also has an f/2 maximum aperture, giving you brilliant low-light performance.

The native 160 t0 12,800 ISO range isn’t great, but you can expand the top end to 51,200 if you’re in a dark location. There’s also a low ISO setting of 80, allowing you to boost image quality in stunning locations.

Fujifilm has used its knowledge and heritage of film photography to create fantastic film simulation modes. Each mode gives you images that replicate the finish of one of their iconic film stocks. They have simulations of color and black-and-white films.

Thanks to the glorious 4K video recording, this Fujifilm mirrorless is ideal for video travel logs. It offers a smooth 30 fps frame rate at full resolution and 10-bit 4:2:2 color via the HDMI port. The 120 fps frame rate option enables full HD slow-motion videos.

The X100V ‘s size, durability, and retro style make it a top choice for traveling street photographers. It fits in any camera backpack without fuss and is an absolute joy to shoot. It’s the best compact camera for travel if you love street photography.

5. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is the most expensive camera on our list. But the price is justified by the camera’s performance, which will appeal to expert and pro photographers on the move.

The RX10 is a rather bulky, DSLR-style bridge camera . It’s not the lightest and most compact camera on our list. But it packs a wonderful zoom lens, covering an impressive 24-600mm range. And it is bright, too, having an f/2.4-4 variable aperture.

Optical stabilization is very effective. Combined with the fast aperture, it makes taking good images in low-light conditions easier. Another interesting feature is the hybrid AF. It’s fast and precise, and it has a 14 fps burst shooting mode and RAW image format.

The camera includes NFC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth for connectivity. These allow for the easy transfer of your images to a smartphone and remote control of the camera.

This camera also records high-quality 4K video . The dedicated microphone jack port allows recording audio with an external microphone. This makes this camera very attractive for vloggers.

Due to its size, the handling experience is very similar to that of a classic DSLR camera . You will not find yourself battling with small buttons.

A welcome feature for travel photography is that the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV is weather-sealed. You can shoot in any conditions without worries.

Best Compact Camera for Travel FAQs

Packing the right gear is a key element of success when traveling abroad. Finding the best compact camera for travel is an important factor, but your camera is only one piece of the puzzle.

Other accessories are also important. And maybe you’re not confident about compact cameras. These Q&As should help you prepare for your next photography trip.

A woman in a hat holding a compact camera for travel

What Are the Best Mirrorless Cameras for Travel?

The Nikon Z50 is our top recommendation for a mirrorless camera for travel. Its compact body fits any travel backpack, and the APS-C sensor produces gorgeous images. The camera has many creative features and delivers lovely 4K video footage.

More experienced travelers might prefer the Canon EOS R8 . It’s one of the most compact and lightweight full-frame cameras around.

Its 24.2 MP resolution might be modest for a full-frame sensor. But the image quality is still exceptional, with a wide dynamic range and low-noise performance in low light.

Mirrorless cameras are an excellent choice for travel photographers. They are lighter and have smaller bodies than DSLR cameras, making them more portable. They have powerful sensors and superior features. A mirrorless is ideal if you want more from a camera.

Our full article has more of the best mirrorless cameras for travel . We also have another article on the best lightweight cameras , all of which make excellent travel cameras.

Nikon Z50

Which Backpack Is Best for Compact Travel Cameras?

If you’re traveling with a compact camera, we recommend the Wandrd Duo Daypack . It’s a stylish yet unassuming backpack with plenty of storage space and thorough weather sealing.

If you’re traveling with a compact camera as your main shooter and minimal gear, you don’t need a big travel camera backpack if you’re traveling with minimal equipment. 

The Duo Daypack is ideal for the photographer who travels light. It has a protective “pop camera cube” for larger mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. But it also has padded pockets for smaller gear like compact cameras.

Sensational build quality reassures you when you’re traveling in a new place. You know your gear is safe within. And you’re confident the backpack will last the distance.

You can read our full, in-depth review of the Wandrd Duo Daypack here. Or you can see more of the best camera backpacks for travel we recommend .

Wandrd Duo Daypack Backpack

What Other Camera Accessories Does a Travel Photographer Need?

Packing too much gear can be a problem when going on a photography trip. It’s easy to fill your backpack with every piece of gear you have, just in case. You then have a heavy backpack of camera gear you won’t use.

The key to a successful trip is packing smart. So here are some photography accessories that are genuinely useful when you’re in a far-flung location.

A secure and protective SD card case is a must-have when traveling. When new, exciting visuals surround you, you can get pretty trigger-happy, and memory cards fill up fast.

Take as many SD cards as possible so your storage isn’t limited. But you have to keep them safe in a durable holder.

The Kiorafoto Professional Card Case is the best option. It has a solid outer casing and is completely watertight when closed. This affordable item can be a lifesaver. See more top-quality SD card cases we’ve reviewed .

Another digital storage solution is to take a rugged portable external hard drive. The LaCie Rugged Mini is ideal for travelers. It has storage options from 1 to 5 TB, is water and dust-resistant, and has fast read-write speeds for quick media transfers.

Another handy digital gadget is a portable power bank like Anker’s slim one . If your camera has USB charging, a power bank lets you fill it up whenever and wherever. This allows you to shoot longer without returning to your hotel or hostel.

Some travelers like to travel with a tripod. While tripods might seem big and cumbersome, you can get specialist travel tripods that are portable . The K&F Concept Lightweight Tripod is one of those. And it’s one we recommend if you need extra stability when country hopping.

Mini tripods are another handy option if you want a light pack. They’re popular with travel vloggers and content creators. And they work very well with compact cameras. The Manfrotto Pixi Evo is the best place to start with mini tripods.

Kiorafoto Professional Memory Card Case

Conclusion: Best Compact Cameras for Travel

The best compact camera for travel is lightweight and portable yet delivers top-quality media. Whether you want high-level holiday snaps or exotic video content, there’s a compact camera with your name on it.

The Sony ZV-1 II is the top choice as the best compact camera for travelers. It produces lovely still photos but excels in vlogging features. The 4K video footage is gorgeous. Hardware features like the built-in mic or rotating touchscreen make it an all-in-one camera for content creation.

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The Best Compact Travel Cameras to Take on Your Next Adventure

These tiny point-and-shoot digitals cameras can capture high-resolution photos and videos, and they won’t weigh you down on your travels. They’re also reasonably affordable.

a collage of three among the best travel cameras

By Henry Phillips

Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.  Learn more

A new wave of compact digital cameras has been hitting the market steadily over the past few years, with each new release getting closer to pro-level DSLRs in terms of optics quality and resolution. Pocket-sized and powerful, these compact cameras are changing the way in which consumer and prosumer photographers capture moments while on the road. Before you head out on your next adventure, consider leaving the DSLR behind and opting for one of the more sensible options below.

Products in the Guide

The Do-It-All Travel Camera

The Purist Smartphone Upgrade

The Enthusiast Fixed-Lens

The Fixed Lens Grail

Compact Interchangeable Mirrorless

Small-But-Mighty Full Frame System

Unlike “DSLR” or “Mirrorless” , the term “travel camera” is a bit murky. So, for the sake of this article (and our advice to you) let’s say that we’re looking for a lightweight camera (DSLRs: out), preferably with a fixed lens but potentially interchangeable if things don’t get too bulky. It should be attractive, too. We want to be able to plunk this thing on a cafe table and not look like a total neckbeard.

Otherwise, it should be pretty user-friendly, sure the Leica M11 is a fantastic travel camera, but we don’t have the time or money to get into manual focus rangefinder systems. Let’s stick to snappy autofocus cameras with the ability for some quick artistic controls (nix the ultra-cheap point and shoots) like aperture. Good phone connectivity is a huge plus.

Generally, you should be able to see a cool fleeting moment, capture said moment and have it on your phone within a pretty short amount of time, and you shouldn’t have to look like a dork while doing it.

What to Look for

leica q2

Sensor size: Generally, bigger is better when it comes to sensor size. A bigger sensor can gather more light — and thus more detail — and so it’s able to create a higher-quality final image. A bigger sensor can help with things like background blur and low-light performance, too.

Lens: Most travel-sized cameras don’t support interchangeable lenses — although there are exceptions — meaning that the lens it comes with is the only lens you get. So the lens’s “zoom range” and “aperture” are very important.

Size and weight: The whole point of a travel camera is for it to be compact yet stillbe able to shoot better quality photos and videos than your smartphone. The smaller the camera, the more portable and travel-friendly it is. However, the smaller the camera, the smaller its sensor tends to be. So there tends to be a fine line between size and image quality.

Video Chops : If you’re in the market for a travel camera to shoot video, keep a close eye on the video specs. Not all smaller cameras have 4K (or even 8K) video, especially if they’re several years old. Also, a lot of manufacturers make cameras at similar price points, but one is better for video and one is better for stills (Fujifilm and Sony are notorious for this).

How We Tested

tech roundup

We’ve been writing about and reviewing cameras and photography gear for near-on a decade. We also work with major brands and talk to professional photographers and other experts within the industry. The below selections of travel cameras are a combination of products that we’ve had hands-on experience with as well as products that are made by brands trusted within the space. When reviewing, we test each camera’s photo and video shooting capabilities, as well as their ease of use, size and general durability.

collage of three 35mm cameras

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 VII

sony cybershot dscrx100 vii digital camera

  • $1,298.00 at B&H Photo
  • Time tested, refined design
  • Ultra compact
  • Feature rich
  • Can take some time to get the hang of
  • Smaller 1" sensor won't feel quite as "special" as something bigger
  • Sensor: 20.1MP 1-inch Exmor RS BSI CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: Zeiss Vario-Sonnar f/2.8-4.5 Lens, 24-200mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Year released: August 2019

Sony’s RX100 line of compact shooters has long been a fan favorite and the VII is the latest and greatest model — it’s really just a great all-around travel camera. It’s packing a solid (if a bit petite) 20.1MP 1-inch sensor behind a quality zoom lens and a very cool pop-up viewfinder. Plus, with 4K HDR video capabilities, terrific advanced tracking and autofocus features, a flip-around viewfinder and an external mic port (a first for a Sony RX100), the VII is really the perfect camera for amateur (and even serious) bloggers.

Ricoh GRIIIx

ricoh gr iiix digital camera

Ricoh GR IIIx

  • $1,046.95 at B&H Photo
  • Everything you need, nothing you don't
  • RAW image quality is fantastic
  • No viewfinder
  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: 40mm f/2.8 Lens (35mm Equivalent)
  • Year released: 2021

The normal GRIII is a great little camera and the GRIIIx is an even great er little camera. The GRIII line is basically defined by having a honking big 24.2MP APS-C sensor, a fast, non-zoom lens, and nearly nothing else. It’s a purist camera that does one thing very well: taking photos. Though technically personal preference, we like the GRIIIx more because of its tighter 40mm focal length, which is right in the middle of what people would consider normal, instead of the original GRIII’s 28mm lens (wide). Generally, the 40mm focal length is gonna feel more special/different when compared to your phone camera.

Fujifilm X100V

fujifilm x100v1300x1000 digital camera

Fuijifilm X100V

  • $1,399.00 at B&H Photo
  • Awesome hybrid viewfinder
  • Very good looking
  • External controls
  • You're paying extra for that viewfinder
  • Getting a bit long in the tooth
  • Sensor: 26.1 APS-C X-Trans
  • Lens: 35mm f/2 (35mm equivalent)
  • Year released: 2020

The Fujifilm X100V is just so. dang. good. It’s got a fast, 35mm f/2 lens projecting onto fuji’s omnipresent (see below) and fantastic 26.1MP APS-C sensor. It’s got classic looks and intuitive external controls for key settings, but what really sets this camera apart is the viewfinder. It’s this super trick/weird hybrid setup where you’ve got the option to either look at a very high-quality electronic viewfinder or a real-deal optical finder with all sorts of cool info overlaid. If you think it sounds like a gimmick…you’re mostly right, but it’s a very fun experience to shoot around in the optical viewfinder mode (even if you’ll spend most of your time in the EVF mode).

leica q21300x1000 digital camera

  • $4,995.00 at B&H Photo
  • Lens is God's gift to man
  • Sensor is Germany's gift to man
  • Price is devastatingly high
  • Your phone will hate dealing with 47 megapixel raw files
  • Sensor: 47.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Lens: Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH. Lens
  • Year released: 2019

The Leica Q2 is the company’s fixed-lens full-frame digital camera and it looks basically identical to the company’s original Q, which was a smash hit amongst photographers who valued portability, fast speeds, minimalism and, most importantly, could afford the Q’s immense price tag. Like its predecessor, the Q2 once again proves that a Leica can have autofocus, an electronic viewfinder and a fixed lens – and still be a real Leica. The new model is more durable (and splash-resistant) and has better connectivity, but more importantly, a significantly upgraded sensor, with almost double the resolution (47.3 vs 24.2).

The Leica Q2 will likely be a grail item for most people. If money is no object (or you just want to splurge), however, this is a travel camera to buy if you want to be the envy of all your friends. For bonus points, track down the ultra-cool “Reporter” edition.

Fujifilm X-T30 II

fujifilm xt30 ii mirrorless digital camera

  • $899.00 at B&H Photo
  • Compact size
  • Affordable, excellent lenses
  • Small-ish viewfinder
  • No sensor stabilization
  • Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 Sensor
  • Lens: multiple X-mount lenses available

Best to think of Fuji’s X-T30 II as the sensible upgrade from a fixed lens system. It’s not necessarily more expensive, but you’ll be lugging around some extra lenses. The interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera is a pretty perfect travel camera for those that want to do the photo deep dive and have the ultimate flexibility that you can only get by having multiple lenses. It’s small and lightweight, plus it’s not terribly expensive, but the performance levels you get with this thing are off the charts. It has a huge APS-C image sensor, fast processor, incredible autofocus (on par with Sony’s APS-C offerings) and shoots 4k video at 30 frames per second.

You’ll get some top-notch design and Fujifilm’s X-mount lenses – particularly the non-zoom lenses – are top-notch and not too expensive. If you’ve got this body, a 23mm f/2 and a 50mm f/2 in your bag, you’re golden.

sony a7c mirrorless digital camera

  • $1,598.00 at B&H Photo
  • Huge performance in a tiny package
  • E-mount lens ecosystem is massive
  • Aging internals
  • Some user interface quirks that require a learning curve
  • Sensor: 24.2MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI Sensor
  • Lens: Sony E-Mount
  • Year Released: 2020

It’s best to think of Sony’s full-frame A7C as an A7III in a new housing with smarter autofocus. That is to say, it’s an absolute unit. Its main selling point is cramming a huge, 24.2MP full-frame sensor into a tiny body with an interchangeable lens mount. Autofocus is snappy and it somehow manages to fit a 5-axis sensor stabilization in there too. The performance-per-cubic-inch of this camera is incredibly impressive and the fact that you get access to Sony’s massive (and very good) line of full-frame E-mount lenses is just gravy.

Other Cameras to Consider

Our recommendations are based on real-world testing and hands-on experience. Here’s a snapshot of new and unreleased cameras our testers are considering for future updates to this guide.

Fujifilm X-T5 ($1,699+) : Released in November 2022, the Fujifilm X-T5 is the company’s new flagship compact camera. It’s smaller, lighter and less video-focused than the X-T4. And it has many of the same hardware — including the same 40-megapixel APS-C sensor and X Processor — as Fujilfim’s higher-end X-H2.

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS ($599) : This little point-and-shoot is a fan favorite. It’s a few years old — released in mid-2018 — so you often find it heavily discounted, but it also over-delivers in a couple key ways. It has great zoom capabilities (up to 40x optical zoom), can shoot 4K video and has a flip-up viewfinder. The main downsides? It lacks a touchscreen and its 20.3-megapixel sensor is a bit dated.

Nikon Z50 ($995+) : Released in late 2019, the Z50 is Nikon’s first APS-C mirrorless camera. It comes with a 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor and works with Nikon’s Z-mount ecosystem of lenses (same as the company’s flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7). Yet it’s also truly a compact camera that’s easy enough to wield one-handed.

Fujifilm X-E4 ($849+) : The Fujifilm X-E4 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera that was released in early 2021. It’s the company’s smallest camera that works with its X-series of lenses. It has a 26.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, a super snappy processor and a convenient LCD touchscreen that opens up a range of photo- and video-shooting options.

collage of three vintage cameras

Related Topics

The best travel cameras, including a Sony compact, Fujifilm, Insta260, and Canon camera.

The best travel cameras of 2023

No matter where your travels take you, these cameras will set you up for success in documenting every detail of the journey.

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Choosing travel cameras for your trips can be an overwhelming prospect. You’re faced with a ton of great options, from advanced mirrorless systems to compacts and action cameras. It’s easy to get lost in the noise. Plus, when you consider features like video capabilities, screen type, and sensor size, it can be downright confusing. All of these features need to fit your photographic—and budgetary—needs. Knowing what you intend to use your captures for and what is most vital for you when traveling with a camera is the best place to start. These are the best travel cameras available, no matter what you are looking for.

  • Best overall: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
  • Best action camera: GoPro HERO11 Black
  • Best 360 camera: Insta360 X3
  • Best mirrorless: Fujifilm X -T5
  • Best mirrorless on a budget: Canon EOS R100
  • Best for video: Sony ZV-E1
  • Best for video on a budget: Sony ZV-1

How we picked the best travel cameras

The editors and writers at Popular Photography have decades of photography experience in just about every genre and have covered and reviewed just about every major camera on the market. When selecting the products in this list of best travel cameras, we looked at a wide range of important features in travel cameras. We researched the different camera choices available and compared specs and image and video quality. Size and weight, sensor size, autofocus abilities, battery life, and lens options were just some of the considerations. In addition, we noted any unique attributes or settings available on the cameras. We also aimed to choose offerings at different price points and cover the range of camera types from DSLR to compact. All of these considerations allowed us to compile a list of cameras suitable to various travel styles and capture needs.

The best travel cameras: Reviews & recommendations

While you certainly can use your smartphone to document your travels, there are lots of reasons to bring a dedicated camera along. Whether you’re looking for better image or video quality, a different perspective, or just don’t want the distraction of your phone, the best travel cameras will help you capture epic images to help you relive your trip down the line.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII

  • Resolution:  20.1 megapixels
  • Sensor size:  1-inch
  • Lens mount:  N/A
  • Image stabilization:  Digital and optical in the integrated lens
  • Memory card slots:  Single Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Weight:  10.65 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4 x 2.29 x 1.69 inches
  • Versatile 24-200mm zoom lens built into the camera
  • Fast autofocus with AF points covering nearly the entire field of view
  • Pricey for a compact

The newest iteration of the Sony RX100 is an excellent bridge between a compact camera and a DSLR or mirrorless option. Its pocket-ready size makes it easy to carry and pack, an important feature for a travel camera. The smooth finish on the camera body does make it a bit slippery, but a wrist strap can help with carrying. 

Despite falling into the compact category , it has the option to use full manual mode (and other staples like aperture and shutter priority), allowing you to have complete control over your images. The 24-200mm equivalent lens covers both the wide-angle and telephoto sides of things, which is helpful for documenting a range of subjects on your travels. Plus, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.5, you can still get nicely blurred backgrounds for drawing attention to your main subject. It’s also handy for shooting in low light if you don’t want to rely on the built-in pop-up flash.

The RX100 VII has 4K video recording with human and animal eye autofocus, which mimics Sony’s higher-end mirrorless models. The newly designed sensor and BIONZ X image processor allow for extremely fast autofocus, with 68% of the image area covered by AF points.

GoPro HERO11 Black action camera

  • Resolution:  27 megapixels
  • Sensor size: 1/1.9-inch
  • Image stabilization:  Digital
  • Memory card slots:  Single microSD
  • Weight:  4.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 2 x 1.3
  • Award-winning stabilization
  • Extremely compact
  • Waterproof without a case
  • Tons of mounting accessories
  • Still not the best in low light conditions
  • Limited controls

GoPro cameras have been synonymous with travel cameras for quite some time. That’s in part thanks to how rugged and compact they are. And now, the GoPro HERO 11 features the largest sensor of any GoPro yet. It can produce 27-megapixel stills, as well as 5.3k 60p video. And the expanded image sensor allows for more flexibility when zooming, cropping, changing digital lenses or adjusting the aspect ratio. You’ll be able to easily create vertical videos for social media platforms without losing most of your image.

GoPro’s HyperSmooth 5.0 image stabilization system is truly impressive, offering several modes depending on the activity in which you’re participating. It’s even burly enough to smooth out footage from high-impact activities like mountain biking or skiing. And it offers Horizon Lock to keep your footage level even as you move around.

GoPro also added new night effects to its latest action camera . That includes modes for documenting star trails, creating light painting photos, or capturing vehicle light trails. It still won’t perform as well in low light conditions as something like a mirrorless camera, but it has been improved compared to previous models.

If you want the latest GoPro, the recently released Hero 12 offers even longer run times and higher-quality HDR video.

Insta360 X3 action camera with a forest in the background

Abby Ferguson

  • Resolution:  48 megapixels
  • Sensor size:  1/2-inch
  • Image stabilization:  Yes
  • Weight:  6.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.8 x 1.3
  • Excellent stabilization
  • Unique 360-degree perspective
  • Lots of mounting options
  • High-quality video
  • App is a bit tricky to use

If you want something a bit unique for your travels, the Insta360 X3 action camera fits the bill. It records 360-degree video with its dual lenses so that you can show every direction for immersive content. The selfie stick is invisible in the footage, so you won’t have that distracting element in your shots. And it’s plenty rugged, with an IPX8 rating and waterproofing down to 33 feet without a case, making it an ideal travel camera for rugged adventures.

The X3 offers many different video and photo modes for extra versatility. It’s capable of 5.7K 24p 360-degree video, 4K 30p single-lens footage, 8K 360-degree timelapse, or ultra-wide 170-degree shots at 2.7K resolution. It can also create up to 72-megapixel photos, so you’ll be able to get high-quality stills as well. And thanks to its 6-axis gyroscope and FlowState Stabilization technology, your videos will be smooth and level no matter how adventurous your activity.

The camera pairs with the Insta360 app, which gives you lots of creative control. It provides lots of AI-powered features to simplify the process, or you can have full control. If working with 360-degree files, you can choose the direction the camera points, have it follow something, and so much more. The app is a little confusing to use, so takes some getting used to, but it offers nearly endless editing options.

To learn more about the Insta360 X3, read our full review .

  • Best mirrorless: Fujifilm X-T5

Fujifilm X-T5 Main

Stan Horaczek

  • Resolution: 40.2 megapixels
  • Sensor size: APS-C
  • Lens mount: Fujifilm X
  • Image stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
  • Memory card slots: Dual slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.5 inches
  • 6.2K video at 30fps
  • In-body stabilization
  • Attractive in-camera film presets
  • Tactile camera controls
  • Solid weather sealing
  • Expensive for an APS-C camera
  • Rear screen only tilts

The newest version of Fujifilm’s X-T5 camera is an ideal choice for a hybrid shooter who wants to take both photographs and video on their trips. As an APS-C mirrorless camera , the body is relatively compact, which is ideal for a travel camera since it won’t take up much room in your bag. And it features Fujifilm’s typical retro styling, so it will look cool when you bust it out on your trips. Plus, there are lots of tactile dials on the top of the camera that keep you from digging in the camera menus, which is always ideal for staying in the moment.

The X-T5 offers 40.2 megapixels for detailed, high-quality photos. If that’s not enough, you can take advantage of Pixel Shift Multishot, which automatically takes 20 frames with a single press of the shutter to produce a 160-megapixel file. The electronic shutter goes up to 1/180,000 seconds, with 20 frames per second burst shooting to help you document fast action.

On the video side, it’s capable of 6.2K 30p video or oversampled 4K footage. The seven-stop in-body image stabilization system will help with achieving sharp photos even when shooting in low light. And it will help keep your videos smooth, even without a gimbal.

As with other Fujifilm cameras , it comes with lots of different film simulation modes. These can give your photos a more polished, unique look without needing to spend time editing, which is ideal when traveling.

To learn more about the X-T5, check out our full review .

Canon EOS R100 mirrorless camera

  • Resolution:  24.1 megapixels
  • Sensor size:  APS-C
  • Lens mount:  Canon RF
  • Image stabilization:  None
  • Memory card slots:  Single slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Weight:  12.6 ounces
  • Dimensions:  4.6 x 3.4 x 2.7 inches
  • Budget-friendly
  • Very compact
  • Excellent image quality
  • 4K video 24p video
  • Rear screen is fixed
  • No touchscreen functionality

Canon’s EOS R100 is an absolutely tiny camera, especially for one that offers interchangeable lens functionality. It is compatible with all RF lenses, as well as EF lenses if you get an adapter. The camera weighs a measly 12.6 ounces, making it the smallest Canon R line camera yet. It’s also very affordable.

Despite the small size and budget price, this camera has a lot to offer. It’s capable of cropped 4K 24p video, of you can record full HD at up to 60p. The autofocus system is very advanced for a budget camera, so you can trust that your images and videos will be in focus without much work on your end. The Eye Detection will even work when you are trying to get full body shots of a subject. Still images will also be high-quality thanks to the 24.1-megapixel sensor and excellent dynamic range.

The main downside to the camera is the rear screen. It is fixed, so you won’t be able to flip it around for selfies. And it isn’t a touch screen. But it offers lots of wireless connectivity options for transferring your files, so you don’t need to worry about sitting down to a computer to get images to share to social media while traveling.

Sony ZV-E1 full-frame mirrorless vlogging camera

  • Resolution:  12.9 megapixels
  • Sensor size:  Full-frame
  • Lens mount:  Sony E
  • Image stabilization:  Digital, 5-Axis
  • Memory card slots:  Single slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
  • Weight:  1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions:  4.8 x 2.8 x 2.1 inches
  • Impressive autofocus
  • Unlimited 4K recording
  • Lots of color control options
  • Single UHS-I card slot
  • Lower resolution sensor isn’t as ideal for stills

Sony’s ZV-E1 is a full-frame camera that is specifically built for vloggers . It is an interchangeable lens camera, unlike its more budget-friendly sibling mentioned below, meaning you can have more control over the look of your content thanks to the wide selection of lenses for Sony E mount. And, even though it’s a full-frame camera, it’s still very compact and lightweight, making it ideal for travel.

The ZV-E1 offers advanced and impressive autofocus. It can even track multiple people in a single frame, which is helpful if you are traveling with a group. It also offers focus breathing compensation, which is a change in focal length when adjusting the focusing distance. A bokeh switch allows for a custom level of bokeh, so you can fine-tune the style of your shots.

Perhaps most importantly, the video from the ZV-E1 is excellent. It’s capable of up to 4K 120p video or 240 fps with full HD resolution. And there are no recording limits, so you can record long cuts. It provides access to advanced color control, such as S-Cinetone, for natural-looking skin tones. You can also adjust the gamma, black level, knee, color level, and more. Or you can import and apply your LUTs in camera to save you editing time.

Sony ZV-1 the best travel camera.

  • Resolution:  10.1 megapixels
  • Sensor size:  One-inch
  • Weight:  10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.15 x 2.36 x 1.71 inches
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Excellent autofocus
  • Flip-out screen great for vlogging
  • Less than impressive battery life
  • 24-70mm lens may not be wide enough for some

This is the first version of Sony’s entry-level vlogging camera, but it is still an excellent choice and will save you money over the latest iteration. To create this vlogger camera, Sony used much of the tech featured in the more expensive RX100 line, resulting in superb quality in a bit more stripped-down package. They also added a handgrip on the ZV-1, making it easier to hold. And, the screen flips to the side, making selfies easier to record even when you have accessories on the hot shoe. 

Despite being a small point-and-shoot camera, you get 4K video and access to tons of AF points across the sensor. There is even a focus mode that allows you to easily shift focus from your face to elsewhere in the foreground, which is helpful for showing off your travel finds.

While the quality of the 24-70mm lens is solid, having something a little wider would have been ideal. If you do want a wider lens, the new ZV-1 II offers an 18-55mm equivalent lens. It also features a faster sensor and a new mic design. It will cost you a little over $100 more at the time of writing but may be worth it if you want that wide view for documenting travel.

Things to consider before buying the best travel cameras

When selecting the best travel cameras for your trips, there are a handful of things you should consider.

Your photography style

It is essential to consider what kind of traveler you are and how you intend to use the camera. For example, if you don’t mind traveling with heavy gear and want quality over anything else, your camera needs will differ from someone who likes to travel fast and light. Likewise, a backpacking trip through a jungle could call for a different camera than a luxury cruise. Deciding on what your priorities are first will help you narrow down all of the options available to you in a camera.

You’ll want to pay attention to both dimensions and weight in your setup. The amount of space that a camera takes up in your bag is significant when maximizing what you can bring along. Carrying a heavy camera around on your back while in between destinations or holding it for long periods while out and about gets old fast, so weight does make a difference. Even a few ounces can start to weigh you down on long treks.

You’ll want to choose a camera that offers features you’ll actually use but skips others that won’t be necessary. For example, if you want to take lots of selfies or group photos, a camera with a screen that flips around will be extremely helpful. Or, perhaps you would like to take lots of videos and share your travels. If so, paying attention to the video recording capabilities is a good idea.

Ruggedness and weather-sealing

Moisture and sand don’t play nicely with electronics. Hard falls can do even more damage. If you’re planning to take your camera out into the wilderness or other treacherous terrain, opt for a camera with robust weather sealing. Some cameras come with an IP (ingress protection) rating that will tell you exactly how much exposure to water, dust, and shocks they can withstand. Even if you’re not headed into the jungle, travel can take a toll on cameras, so ruggedness always comes in handy. 

Image size and quality

Not every photo is destined to become a giant print.  If you plan to use photos and videos solely for social media and to remember your trip, spending money on a camera with exceptional image quality and large files is unnecessary. However, if you want to make large prints of your images or produce high-quality films from video footage, you will want to invest in a camera with more megapixels and higher video resolution. Just remember, more pixels require more storage, so don’t skimp on those SD cards .

As with most purchasing decisions, cost is a significant factor. This is especially true with a travel camera, as you are likely putting an expensive piece of equipment at risk of getting broken, lost, or stolen, depending on how you use it. Finding a camera that isn’t pushing your budget to the max may be a good idea because of the risk. Insuring your equipment before trips is also recommended.

Q: Are mirrorless cameras better for travel?

Mirrorless cameras are often smaller than DSLRs because they can cut out all the space and weight required for the mirror mechanism. That also gives mirrorless cameras fewer moving parts, which means fewer things to break during your trip. As mentioned above, lighter and smaller cameras are ideal for travel, making mirrorless a frequently preferred option for travel cameras.

Q: Is GoPro good for travel photography?

GoPro cameras are excellent for travel for a few reasons. First, they are built to withstand extreme conditions, so you don’t have to baby them by any means. Second, they are tiny. You can easily throw one into your backpack or even a jacket pocket, making lightweight travel more possible. Lastly, they have excellent video capabilities and pretty solid still photo specs. However, they are limited in exposure control (among other things), and the ultra-wide-angle lens may not be ideal for all settings. There are tradeoffs, but overall it is an exceptional pick for travel.

Q: Can an iPhone 12 replace a DSLR?

The iPhone 12’s camera is impressive, no doubt. And as photographer Chase Jarvis once said, “the best camera is the one that’s with you.” Depending on your goals for your travel photography, the iPhone can absolutely replace a DSLR. However, if you want more control over your images or want higher-quality files, a dedicated camera, whether a DSLR or something else, will be the way to go.

Final thoughts on the best travel cameras

Choosing the best travel cameras will come down to your travel style (rugged adventures or luxury stays), documentation needs (stills or video), and how much control you want with your camera. For most users, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII is a well-rounded option that meets a variety of needs. In addition, it offers more quality and features than a phone would, making it a worthwhile upgrade.

Why trust us

PopPhoto has a long history of delivering the opinions of some of the sharpest and most prolific camera dorks the world has to offer. Since 1937, we’ve been reviewing cameras, providing wisdom from well-known photographers, and generally just nerding out about all that goes into making great pictures. Our current crop of writers and editors have decades of professional photography and camera writing experience among them. Collectively, we’ve probably shot with just about every camera and lens combo you can imagine—as well as some obscure stuff you may not even know about. Remember the Casio Tryx folding camera? PopPhoto does.

We also get that buying a camera is a big decision, which is why we’re dedicated to helping folks choose the right one (or, in our case “ones”) for their needs. Case in point: Handing over top dollar for an expensive rig may leave you unsatisfied if it doesn’t fit your preferred shooting style. Sure, a $6,000 sports-oriented DSLR can capture landscapes, but do you really need to do it at 30 frames-per-second? No, you don’t.

Abby Ferguson

Abby Ferguson is the Associate Editor for Gear and Reviews at PopPhoto, joining the team in 2022. She has been involved with the photography industry in various capacities since her undergraduate training at the University of Kentucky, with work ranging from client photography to program development and management of the photo department at Evolve, a vacation rental company.

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When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form .

The best compact cameras


There are all types of cameras and features to be had these days, but first, you need to find the right size. These days, it is possible to purchase several different camera sizes, but sometimes, the moment calls for something more diminutive, something smaller that is easier to manage and store. That is when you need a compact camera. 

Best instant cameras

Nostalgic these instant cameras print tangible photos in seconds.

Instant cameras may not be new gadgets, but they are becoming more modernized with selfie modes, Bluetooth capabilities, apps, and the use of filters. Polaroid Now+ is our top pick due to its fun app, filters, and vintage film experience. It's time to have actual photos in your hand again to showcase your memories in a classic way.

First, though, you need to find the best compact camera for your needs. Will you be using it for vlogging? Do you need a camera to take photos while you travel? Or, do you want special features like zoom and filters built right in?

That is where ZDNET comes in. We have scoured the market to find the best compact cameras available so you can get to photographing. 


  • The 6 best cameras: Up your photography game
  • What is a DSLR camera and which are the best?
  • The 5 best cameras for beginners: Start your photography journey
  • Is GoPro still the best action camera? Well, it depends
  • The best DSLR cameras

Best compact camera overall

  • Excellent video quality
  • Built-in mic
  • Vlogger features
  • Limited lens width
  • No built-in viewfinder

Tech specs:   Dimensions: 4.15" x 2.36" x 1.7" | Weight: 0.65 lbs. | Screen size : 3"  Video capture resolution:  UHD 4K30p |  Photo sensor size:  1"

The Sony ZV-1 is an excellent fit for vloggers and other types of content creators with its compact form. It has an effective still resolution of 20.1 MP with Eye Autofocus and Autofocus tracking available in real-time, as well as a Product Showcase Setting that adjusts from faces to objects with automatic exposure. 

The screen measures three inches with a side flip-out three-inch LCD screen that also tilts up for better visibility. You will be able to connect to your 2.5mm microphone, HDMI D cord, or your USB Micro-B connection. It also comes ready with a 3.5mm microphone, Jack Mic jack, and MI shoe that all allow for improved sound. 

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

Best compact camera for live streaming.

  • 4K live streaming
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Excellent sensor
  • Limited 4K video
  • Mediocre lens

Tech specs: Dimensions: 1.6" x 4.1" x 2.4" | Weight : 0.82 lbs. | Screen size: 3" | Video capture resolution: 2160p | Photo sensor size: 1"

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is also a compact camera, offering a 20.1 MP effective still resolution with 4.2x optical zoom. It is WiFi-enabled with a three-inch screen and a one-inch photo sensor, producing 4K 30P/FHD 120P video. 

There is a special panorama feature that includes an optical image stabilizer with an optical sensor resolution of 20.1 megapixels and a 4.2x optical zoom. For use, you can use your camera with both Mac and Windows, and you even have the option to use your camera as a webcam.

Fujifilm X100V

Best compact camera splurge.

  • Lightweight design
  • Convenient tilt touchscreen
  • Fast speeds
  • Cannot change lens

Tech specs: Dimensions: 2.1" x 5.04" x 2.94" | Weight: 1.05 lbs. | Screen size: 3" | Video capture resolution: 2160p | Photo sensor size: APS-C

Fujifilm X100V has a three-inch screen with a 23mmF2 lens. It has an effective still resolution of 26.1 MP with built-in simulation modes and a flash for better photos. It has simulation modes with 1x optical zoom with an expanded X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 combination. X100V's advanced hybrid viewfinder lets you switch between the X100V's 0.52x magnification optical viewfinder (OVF) and 3.69M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). 

There is a two-way, tilting LCD touchscreen that easily fits back into the camera, allowing you to record 4K video at 30 frames per second. You also have the option to use an adapter ring and weather-sealing protection lens that you can purchase additionally. 

Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II

Best compact camera sensor.

  • Fantastic zoom
  • LCD touchscreen
  • Pre-burst setting
  • On the larger side
  • No mic option

Tech specs: Dimensions: 4.52" x 2.61" x 2.17" | Weight:   0.87 lbs. | Screen size: 3" | Video capture resolution: 2160p

Panasonic brings the Lumix DC-LX100 II with a three-inch screen, 3x optical zoom, and an effective still resolution of 17 MP with exclusive Panasonic sensor technology. The photo sensor size is micro four-thirds with 4K video and photo captured within 30 frames per second. 

It offers 17 megapixels in 4:3 aspect for better and easier viewing. There are special effects, too, including miniature, monochrome, and toy settings, with focus stacking and 4K pre-burst. You will also find multiple connectivity options that include Bluetooth, USB, and HDMI for easier access. 

Sony RX100 VII

Best compact camera with zoom.

  • Super fast shooting
  • Excellent 4K video
  • Impressive zoom
  • Tiny controls
  • No microphone mount

Tech specs: Dimensions: 4" x 1.68" x 2.38" | Weight: 0.61 lbs. | Screen size: 3" | Video capture resolution: 2160p

With 20.1 megapixels and 8x optical zoom, the Sony RX100 VII offers a BIONZ X Image Processor for better clarity and detail. A built-in flash is also incorporated, plus a powerful aperture high magnification zoom lens, so nothing is overlooked when you take your photos. 

A particularly impressive feature includes AI-based real-time tracking for stills, movies, and touch tracking that adjusts between human and animal for greater definition. When your photo is taken, the three inch-screen helps you preview to ensure it is the best you can take, and the HDMI and USB connections make for easy sharing.

What is the best compact camera?

The best compact camera is the Sony ZV-1 for its affordability and compact size.

All cameras can start to blend together after a while, so here we offer a comparison table to help you find the best compact camera for your needs.

Which compact camera is right for you?

The right compact camera for you really depends on what you'll be using the camera for, what features are important to you, and what price you're willing to spend. 

Our expert recommendations can help you find the best compact camera for your needs. 

How did we choose these compact cameras?

In our search for the best compact camera, we considered several key features.

Size: When you are on the go, it helps to have a lightweight, portable camera that is easy to carry, so we considered the size of each camera when choosing the best compact cameras for your busy life.

Zoom: A camera's zoom can make a phenomenal impact on your photos, better capturing meticulous detail in each image.

Screen size: We looked for cameras with a 3-inch screen, which is the standard among the best compact cameras.

Cost: Price is always an important consideration, as many shoppers have a budget in mind when shopping for the best compact camera. 

Why do I need a compact camera?

A compact camera offers a smaller design that typically includes a lightweight build. This not only simplifies use but also makes for greater portability, making it easier to take with you on the go.

Do I lose features with a compact camera?

The best compact features are able to offer fantastic features like improved shutter speed, better ISO control.

How much does the best compact camera cost?

The best compact cameras range in price from around $700 to more than $2,000, depending on your budget. 

Are there alternative compact cameras worth considering?

You can find great quality compact cameras from brands like Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and more. For those more flexible with their budget, here are a few alternative best compact cameras to consider. 

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Fujifilm x-t4 camera, leica q2 monochrom, zdnet recommends, the best small tablets you can buy: expert tested, the 20+ best security camera deals for amazon prime day 2024, this sony bravia is one of the best tvs you've never heard of - and it's on sale for prime day.

The Best Travel Cameras for Every Type of Trip

Photographer in nature

Maybe you’ve got a dream trip booked, or maybe you’re still dreaming about where to go next. Either way, one thing’s for sure: When the time comes to pack your bags, you’ll want to have the right camera in tow to capture every glorious on-the-road-again moment. But with technology constantly evolving—“Smaller digital cameras have improved dramatically from several years ago,” says New York City-based photographer David Engelhardt—and countless options and features to consider, finding your perfect travel camera for vacation or work can feel overwhelming. 

To help narrow the field, we turned to the pros: Engelhardt, former White House photographer Pete Souza , U.K.-based lifestyle photographer Lucy Laucht , and sharpshooters on our own photo team. From discreet, compact models to retro-cool options worthy of being displayed on your bookshelf, here are 15 travel cameras worth taking on the road.

This gallery was last published in November 2019. It has been updated with new information.

All products and listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Image may contain Electronics and Camera

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 VII

Best for: Traveling light

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 VII is proof that good things come in small packages. Neil Leifer, whose storied, 50-plus-year career has included shooting more than 200 covers for Sports Illustrated and Time and creating iconic images of Mohammed Ali (his 18th book, Neil Leifer. Boxing. 60 Years of Fights and Fighters , was released earlier this year), says it’s his go-to for personal use. Leifer, an ambassador for the brand through its Sony Artisans of Imagery program, says it’s also often the only one he takes on his travels with Crystal Cruises , for whom he’s a guest speaker. “It looks like a toy, but it has a 24-200mm Zeiss lens, and it’s sharp as a tack,” he says.

Image may contain Electronics Camera and Digital Camera

Best for: Street photography

Whether he’s shooting at home or on the road, Steve McCurry loves the Leica SL2. McCurry, the prolific photographer whose iconic “Afghan Girl” image appeared on National Geographic ’s June 1985 cover, says the SL2’s lenses are the best he’s ever used, and that the camera “is incredibly durable.” Video shooters will appreciate the camera’s super-crisp 5K and 4K recording capabilities, and users who are photographing in rugged settings—dusty, windswept deserts; choppy waters prone to spewing sea spray—will be glad for its weather sealing, which keeps out the elements. Of the SL2, McCurry, who founded the nonprofit ImagineAsia in 2004, adds, “The functionality is very well thought out and sensible.”

Image may contain Electronics Camera and Digital Camera

Canon EOS R

Best for: Low-angle wildlife photography

“As a wildlife photographer, I am always looking for new angles and fresh perspectives,” says Adam Bannister , resident photographer at Kenya’s Angama Mara and manager of the property’s Angama Photographic Studio . His pick for capturing them: the Canon EOS R for its tilt screen—“It allows me to hold the camera away from my face and still see what I am shooting,” he says—and the ability to activate its silent shutter. “Both [features] will help you to be less noticeable. The result: more candid, less intrusive photographs,” Bannister says. For travelers with a particular interest in wildlife, Bannister also suggests the Canon EOS R5 for its built-in animal eye tracking focus, “which would make this style of photography that much better and [involve] less guess work,” he says.

Image may contain Electronics Camera and Digital Camera

Fujifilm X100V

Best for: Aesthetes

With its clean edges, satin coating, and top and bottom aluminum plates, the Fujifilm X100V gets big style points. But there’s a lot more to this camera than its retro good looks. The X100V’s new, enhanced 23mm F2.0 lens offers better resolution and lower distortion than previous versions, and its optional weather-resistant adapter ring and protection filter (a first for the X100 series) will keep it safe in wild weather. It also has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, shoots 4K video, and has a tilting electronic viewfinder, which Engelhardt says “can be handy when composing images from above, or when you’re shooting from the hip and trying to be stealthy.”

Best Travel Cameras Leica M10

Best for: Landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits

“My Leica M10 paired with a 35mm lens is my most trusted travel companion,” says Laucht . “Small, nimble, and film camera-like in appearance, it’s perfect for spontaneous street photography and portraits.” Faster than previous Leica M-System cameras and the slimmest of the brand’s digital M-Camera models, the handsome and compact M10 has an extended ISO range (used to adjust exposure) of 100 to 50,000 that users can adjust via a new setting dial on the top plate, even when the camera’s turned off. A new sensor developed specifically for the M10 means improved color rendition, sharpness, and resolution, too. “I’m yet to find a camera that so perfectly captures the colors and the essence of a moment like the M10 does,” Laucht says.

Image may contain Tool

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Best for: Aerial photography and video

Sam Muchai , a Nairobi-based photographer and owner of Aerial Affairs , a company that specializes in commercial aerial photography, shoots stills and video from above with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. “It produces very high-quality images and 4K video, and yet it comes in such a travel-friendly package,” he says of his go-to drone . Bannister also favors the DJI Mavic 2 Pro for shooting from the sky. His tip: “Get a filter set, especially if you want to film with the drone. You need to have really slow shutter speeds, and this means extra light is pushed onto the sensor. By buying a good set of filters for your drone, you can increase the length of time you can film in a day.”

Image may contain Electronics and Camera

GoPro Hero 9

Best for: Action and adventure sports

When it comes to capturing action in the moment, Muchai grabs his GoPro Hero 9. “I always have one when I travel,” he says. “It's super durable and it's waterproof,” he adds, which makes it great for shooting water sports, off-road adventures, and other outdoor activities. The Hero 9’s in-camera horizon-leveling technology keeps footage stable and straight, and it has a 30 percent longer battery life than previous models. Ideal for users whose digits are busy gripping handlebars, rip cords, or ski poles, the Hero 9 responds to 14 different voice commands (”GoPro, turn on,” “GoPro, take a picture”) in English, French, Spanish, and eight other languages.

Image may contain Electronics Camera and Digital Camera

Best for: Fuss-free, high-quality photography

“For someone that does not like to stick out while traveling or fuss with a bag of lenses in a range of conditions—climbing sand dunes, traversing jungles, getting caught in a downpour—this camera is compact, unassuming, and weatherproof, with incredible quality to boot,” says Los Angeles-based photographer Marianna Jamadi of the Leica Q2. “Its mirrorless body is stealthy in terms of the shutter release, making scenarios like street shooting seamless for those that don't want to draw attention to themselves.” One feature that might give some potential buyers pause is the 28mm fixed lens, but for Jamadi, it’s a plus. “Instead of switching or deciding on what lens to use, the only way to change focal length is by moving your position,” she says. “This allows you to become fully immersed in the experience of the destination or subject you are photographing. Isn’t this what traveling is all about?”

Best Travel Cameras Leica MA

Best for: Film

The Leica M-A comes recommended by architecture photographer Adrian Gaut , who loves it for the wide range of lenses that can be attached, stylish body, and nods to a classic period in photography. Don’t let the fact that it's a film camera without a battery send you running for the hills. Instead, look at it as a chance to spend more time focusing in the moment and thinking about each exposure—and to enjoy the post-trip magic of getting film back from the lab, surprises, errors, and all. 

Best Travel Cameras Ricoh GR III

Ricoh GR III

Best for: A compact camera

For the purists, Ricoh produces a top-of-the-line compact camera. The third and latest in its popular GR line-up, the GR III, has an improved and even quicker auto-focus, and enhanced image stabilization. Its touch sensitive screen makes reviewing your shots quick and intuitive, and the new lens and image processor reproduces truer colors than the brand has been able to before.

Best Travel Cameras Fujifilm X‑Pro3

Fujifilm X‑Pro3

Best for: Inclement weather

This is Souza’s favorite walk-about camera. It's a lightweight, unobtrusive, quiet option that produces great digital files. Souza, who photographed President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama throughout their terms, recommends planning your travel shots with this camera for the “first two hours of light in the morning, the last two hours of light in the evening, or when the weather is really bad (think fog, rain, or snow).” 

Best Travel Cameras Fujifilm Instax

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

Best for: Instant print-outs

Versions of the instant camera—this one is by Fujifilm—are back in a big way. This Instax ups the ante, with high image quality and a quick printing mechanism. A tip: Instant cameras tend to overexpose your picture, making it too bright, so take advantage of this one's exposure compensation feature to darken your image slightly. Whatever you do, just don’t shake the printed photo. It doesn’t help it develop faster and can lead to cracked film.

Best Travel Cameras Olympus Tough TG6

Olympus Tough TG-6

Best for: Beach or snorkeling trips

Pocket-friendly, light, and compact, this one is a stellar point-and-shoot option and great for underwater photography (it's waterproof up to 100 feet). If you tend to be rough on your cameras, here's some good news: The TG-6's design is shockproof, too. With plenty of auto options, this camera is for the traveler who wants to keep it simple, without sacrificing quality.

Best Travel Cameras Nikon D850

Best for: Safaris

Condé Nast Traveler contributing photographer Brian Finke loves the Nikon D850 for capturing personal travel and family moments. It features an easy-to-use 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen and shoots in 4K video. It’s also a great choice for animal lovers: Not only does its silent feature allow for up-close shooting near sound-sensitive animals, it also has one of the fastest shutter speeds on this list, so you can capture any sudden movement.

Best Travel Cameras Ricoh Z1

Ricoh Theta Z1 360 Camera

Best for: 360-degree shots

And now for something completely different: a 360-degree camera. Just press the central button on the super-light device once, without worrying about settings, and the Ricoh will take a shot in every direction. Besides 360-degree still photos, the camera also captures 360-degree videos and supports live-streaming. Be sure to grab a VR headset so you can enjoy your images in their full glory—it's an overdue modern alternative to the post-vacation family and friends slideshow presentation. 

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12 best compact cameras for the perfect shot every time

For those who can’t leave the house without a camera, we’ve put our pocket-sized picks in the frame, article bookmarked.

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile

With the rise of smartphones, this sector of the market has had something to prove

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Camera technology has come a long way in recent years, especially in the compact market.

Although smartphones initially captured large numbers of traditional small camera users, improvements in sensor and image processing capabilities, have made these small packages more and more attractive to buyers.

Plus, with the rise in popularity of lifestyle blogging, vlogging and travel photography, spending good money on a compact camera is now well worth it.

By tradition and definition, these devices don’t have interchangeable lenses, which not only makes them smaller but means there’s a lot less to think about for the casual user. And unlike DSLR ’s, which have complicated controls and clunky buttons, compact cameras operate at a fraction of the speed and many have touchscreens, focus tracking and 4K video as standard.

For more serious users, we’d recommend an advanced model – as these machines often enable you to take photos in a RAW file format (a must if you want to edit your photos to a high standard), film in 4K and have a number of other features more akin to higher-grade professional equipment.

  • Best mirrorless cameras that are compact and easy
  • 9 best camera bags for protecting your equipment
  • Camera buying guide: How to choose the best model
  • 8 best vlogging cameras to level up your video content
  • 8 best instant cameras: Snap and print on the go

How we tested

We tested these cameras over a period of a month in a range of settings. Testing criteria included ease of use, ergonomics (how the menu systems operated and how easy they were to hold and operate), video and photography quality, including stabilisation and audio quality, and each individual package’s value for money compared to its competition. We also acknowledged that many people want to travel with their camera, so size and carrying ability was tested as a deciding feature on which setups to include in this list.

Best compact cameras for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Sony ZV-1: £621,
  • Best for experienced users – Canon G1X mark III: £1,139,
  • Best for travelling – Panasonic lumix LX100 II: £749,
  • Best zoom range – Panasonic lumix DC-TZ90 super zoom: £299.99,
  • Best for compact 4K filming – Canon powershot G7 X mark III: £699,
  • Best style and design – Fujifilm X100V: £1,299,
  • Best for premium quality – Leica Q2: £4,500,
  • Best build quality – Sony A7C: £1,699,
  • Best for pocket-sized shooting – Sony cyber-shot RX100 V: £799,
  • Best for a film look – Fujifilm X-E4 £949,
  • Best for street photography – Ricoh GRIII street edition: £899.99,
  • Best smartphone replacement – Fujifilm XF10: £499,

Sony ZV-1-camera.jpg

Best: For content creators

Rating: 9/10

  • Sensor: 1.0-type stacked CMOS
  • Lens: ZEISS 24-70mm

Many people who buy compact cameras already have their stills photography needs met by their smartphone, and that’s why we liked the fact that Sony has focused on video with the ZV-1, making it a truly superb vlogging camera. The autofocus and lens quality is among the very best in our tests, and we particularly liked its clever tracking ability which, when recording video, enabled us to keep people or particular subjects in-focus. It comes with a microphone wind protector too, which is a nice touch.

It’s not a one-trick pony, however: the quality of the photographs themselves are excellent and the intelligent scene mode seems to quickly and automatically change relevant settings when required. Highly recommended.

Read the full Sony ZV1 review

Canon G1X mark III

Canon G1X mark III indybest.jpg

Best: For experienced users

Rating: 8/10

  • Sensor: APS-C / 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
  • Lens: f/2.8 - f/5.6 lens

We thought the G1X mark III would be a great purchase for DLSR users or more experienced photographers looking for something a little more compact. It uses the same crop sensor as the Canon 80D (which is no longer available), so you get a fair bit for your money, even though this does rank up there as being a few hundred pounds more expensive than some other options on this list. If you’re a DSLR user or more experienced photographer looking to downsize or have a second camera for B-roll, this is the setup we’d choose.

Panasonic lumix LX100 II

Panasonic lumix LX100 II indybest.jpg

Best: For travelling

  • Sensor: 1.33in 17-megapixel multi-aspect four thirds sensor
  • Lens: Leica DC f1.7-f2.8 high-speed lens

With the updated version of the LX100 II, Panasonic has managed to create a superb compact setup that uses micro four-thirds sensor technology, which is a little bit smaller than some of the crop sensors used in most compact, bridge or DSLR cameras. Combined with a lens that folds down snug into the body of the camera, it means you can slip it into your pocket wherever you go, which we thought was the perfect feature allowing you to take this camera on your travels. An easy to use, versatile camera that would be a worthwhile purchase for any amateur or serious photographer.

Panasonic lumix DC-TZ90 super zoom

Panasonic lumix DC-TZ90 super zoom indybest.jpg

Best: Zoom range

  • Sensor: 1/2.3in OS sensor
  • Lens: f3.3 – 6.4 Leica lens

Although this camera is a few years old now, we included it firstly because of its super competitive price, but also its impressive zoom range which greatly increases its flexibility and usability in a variety of settings. It’s one of the best zooms we’ve encountered, and if you’re a wildlife photographer, for example, you’ll appreciate the camera’s ability to get close to the action without having to change lenses.

We found focus at all zoom levels to be speedy, and the Leica 24mm lens does a good job of keeping images sharp, even though we did feel there was a little bit of softness around the edge of the frame. If you’re looking for an older, budget setup that has an impressive zoom, this comes highly recommended.

Canon powershot G7 X mark III


Best: For compact 4K filming

  • Sensor : 20.1MP, 1.0”-type sensor
  • Lens : f/1.8-2.8 4.2x 24 mm zoom lens

We tested this product on several shoots during walks over a two-week period, including in low-light conditions. With 4K video shooting, this is a popular camera with YouTubers and vloggers and it’s easy to see why. We particularly liked its simple-to-use layout and ergonomics, which will be familiar to both existing Canon users and traditional compact camera users too, with its built-in rotating wheel on the top-right of the camera for selecting different modes.

Our only criticism is that the autofocus tended to “hunt” a little and the images could be on the soft side. It was a fast and simple camera to use, however, with its built-in neutral-density filter providing excellent image quality in a range of conditions. The vertical tilting rear screen makes selfies and vlogging especially easy. Our second favourite camera on this list.

Read the full Canon powershot G7 X Mark III

Fujifilm X100V


Best: Style and design

  • Sensor : 26.1MP APS-C CMOS image sensor
  • Lens : Newly designed 23mmF2 lens

The X100V from Fujifilm is a highly attractive product, and probably the camera we’d go to again and again in the looks department. It has a stylish, retro design with a fixed 23mm lens, which makes it perfect for street photography. It was one of our favourite lenses we tested, however, the package is somewhat let down by the prohibitive cost. For this money, we think that there are options available that still do just as good a job.

This model is currently out of stock, but you can sign up for email notifications once it becomes available.

Read the full Fujifilm X1OOV

Lecia Q2.jpg

Best: For premium quality

  • Sensor : 47.3MP full-frame sensor
  • Lens :28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens

Not just one of the best compact cameras on the market, the Lecia Q2 is arguably one of the best cameras in the world, full stop. Leica has always prided itself on quality, and this full-frame offering is no exception. It has a 47.3 MP full-frame sensor, is totally weather-resistant, spray and dustproof and comes with a fast, fixed 28mm 1.7 prime lens that is the perfect focal length for a range of portraiture, landscape and street shooting styles.

Prohibitively expensive for most of us, but an article about the best compact cameras wouldn’t be complete without including an example of how far the technology has come in this area.

Read the full Leica Q2 review


Best: Build quality

  • Sensor: 24.2 megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R sensor
  • Lens: E-mount lens

The alpha range from Sony offers tremendously powerful performance in small, mirrorless packages. It is proof that an alternative manufacturer away from the mainstream camera producers such as Canon and Nikon can make devices that rival pro DSLRs.

The A7C, although larger than some of the other cameras we tested, is still Sony’s smallest full-frame camera with interchangeable lenses. We liked its side-hinged vari-angle screen, fast autofocus and the fact that you can swap out lenses for more flexibility. We’d recommend this for photography enthusiasts who’d like to bridge the gap between compact cameras and larger DSLR offerings. It is, however, on the pricey side.

Sony cyber-shot RX100 V

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 V.jpg

Best: For pocket-sized shooting

  • Sensor: 1.0-tye stacked Exmor RS CMOS 20.1MP sensor
  • Lens: Zeiss 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 large aperture lens

Size, or lack thereof, is the name of the game when it comes to the RX100. The camera fits a relatively large sensor into a small body, so we think this is the perfect option for travelling around and keeping it in your pocket or rucksack. This model has had number of different iterations over the years, and now the 24FPS continuous shooting has been refined, there’s extended support for 4K video capture and a super slow-motion function has been added. It also has one of the fastest autofocus systems we’ve come across. A good example of a brand refining a successful product over the years.

Fujifilm X-E4

Fujifilm X-E4  indybest.jpg

Best: For a film look

  • Sensor: 16.1 megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor
  • Lens: XF 27mm lens

Another stylish option from Fujifilm, this compact setup is lightweight, easy to use and although quite expensive, offers excellent build quality and ultra-high-resolution 4K footage, sampled from native 6K for movie makers, which we thought was a great addition for a small setup. Fujifilm have included a film simulation option in this camera, and you can choose between classic film styles for your images, which we can see being a popular feature. We were impressed with this mode too – a retro feel is achieved without compromising on the quality of colour reproduction, skin tones or overall feel.

Ricoh GRIII street edition

Ricoh GRIII Street Edition.jpg

Best: For street photography

  • Sensor: APS-C-size CMOS image sensor
  • Lens: 18.3mm, f2.8 lens

The Ricoh GR is a famous luxury camera from a brand that was first started in the film era. It’s a go-to for many travel and street photography fans. We liked the size of this new incarnation of its GRIII – a “street edition” with a detachable viewfinder, an orange lens ring, two batteries and a bespoke leather strap.

This limited edition is not, however, necessarily any better than the original GRIII (£799, ). And although the original has been around a while, its portability, discreet appearance and the 18.3mm, f2.8 lens is still well suited to those wide street scenes, also making it a good option.

Fujifilm XF10

Fujifilm XF10.png

Best: Smartphone replacement

  • Sensor: 24 MP APS-C sized sensor
  • Lens: 18.5 mm F2.8 Fujinon lens

We liked this other stylish option from Fujifilm as it’s one of the cheapest high-end compact cameras on the market and also one of the simplest on which to take good, striking images full of depth and colour. We’d recommend this for people moving up from smartphones who want to learn the basics of camera and photography technology. Its handling, ergonomics and functionality all work well considering the price point.

It feels sturdy and solid, but we noticed the difference compared to more expensive cameras in the speed of the autofocus and the quality of the video. If shooting movies isn’t your thing, and you need something on a bit more of a budget, we’d recommend this.

While the Champagne gold that we tested is currently out of stock, it’s also available in black.

The verdict: Compact cameras

Our best buy is the Sony ZV-1 , which in stills mode is much like the RX100 (also included in this list), but has superior filmmaking and audio recording functionality. It’s therefore an exceptional camera for vloggers and budding filmmakers.

The Canon powershot G7 X mark III , meanwhile, is a very close second, nearly pipping the Sony to the spot if it wasn’t for the soft and sometimes wayward autofocus. We would recommend road-testing these examples for yourself, as it can be down to personal preference.

In third place, we do love the Fujifilm X100V , if you have the money to spend.

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Matting It Up

Taking a photo of a lighthouse in Tobermory, Ontario

7 best compact travel cameras for 2022

How to choose the best travel camera.

As a photographer, I often get asked for advise on which camera to buy. Most of these people are specifically looking for a travel camera. Here I explore the world of high quality, easily portable, compact travel camera that produce amazing photos. While there’s no one best camera for every person, this article outlines what to consider and provides a few recommendations for every style and budget.

Digital camera technology continues to improve, and I keep this post up-to-date to reflect that. Since I first wrote about travel cameras in February 2019, I’ve stopped recommending large full-frame sensor. I had also stopped recommending even mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, but I’ve since backtracked. At the end of the day, it comes down to finding the right balance between image quality, power and flexibility, and portability for travel.

My top 7 compact cameras are grouped into 4 categories, with a side-by-side summary at the bottom . All cameras in this list meet a few mandatory criteria:

  • Large sensor (1-inch or APS-C, with one exception) but avoiding full frame to minimize size and weight
  • Fixed lens (prime or zoom) rather than interchangeable lens camera, also to minimize size and weight
  • Maximum aperture of at least f /2.8 or faster, for good low-light image quality
  • Released no more than 3-4 years ago (ideally in the last 1-2 years)
  • USB charging, so you don’t need to pack a battery charger

My top travel camera picks

The tiny sony powerhouses.

Sony RX100 VII digital camera

Sony RX100 VII and Sony RX100VA

US$1,200 / CA$1,600 and US$850 / CA$1,100

I own the second generation (Mark II) of this camera, released in 2013. I use it for all my underwater photography, and increasingly for land-based photography. The current model is the RX100 VII (seventh generation) and Sony has done a great job of keeping this camera current. It’s actually remarkable how Sony fit the power of this camera into such a small package (TIME named the first generation one of the best inventions of 2012), making probably my top for best travel camera. The RX100 VA version is similar but one year older and with a few tradeoffs that make it more affordable (it’s a revamped version of the 5 th generation).

Both the RX100 VII and RX100 VA have large 1″ sensor with 20MP and the same processor. The RX100 VII has an astonishing zoom reach equivalent to 24-200mm, with an decent maximum aperture of f /2.8-4.5. The RX100 VA has a shorter (but very useful and respectable) zoom range equivalent to 24-70mm but it’s a faster lens with maximum aperture of f /1.8-2.8.

They’ve virtually identical in size and weight, with the RX100 VII 102×58×43mm and weighing 302g, while the RX100 VA is 102×58×41mm and 299g (both weights include batteries).

The choice effectively comes down to whether you need the increased zoom range (to 200mm) of the RX100 VII or the faster lens ( f /1.8-2.8) of the RX100 VA.

Most landscape photos tend to use wide focal lengths (24mm is perfect) and both cameras do that. If you like taking photos of animal life, the 200mm telephoto range is beneficial. But if you find yourself shooting in low light (early morning or evening), the faster lens f/1.8 lens will capture better quality photos.

Retro style, functionality and weatherproofing

Fujifilm X100V fixed-lens camera

Fujifilm X100V and Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

US$1,400 / CA$1,800 and US$1,000 / CA$1,300

These are 2 rather different cameras, both strong players from veteran camera companies, and both sporting retro or classic camera styling.

Where they’re similar is that they both sport a larger APS-C sensor, which is over 3x the surface area of a 1-inch sensor. In theory, this means better image quality in low light, and makes it easier to isolate your subject against a blurry background. But larger sensors require (relatively) larger camera bodies and larger, heavier lenses. However, as more “serious” cameras, they both offer weather sealing (great when caught by a surprise rainfall) and a hot shoe (if you ever think you’ll use an external flash). It’s all about tradeoffs!

The Fuji X100V has a 35mm equivalent prime (not zoom) f /2 lens. This is excellent for street photography or landscapes, common scenarios for travel cameras. But if you like zooming into subjects (like wildlife or portraits), it won’t be flexible enough for you. However, many purists advocate that ditching the zoom makes us think more about composition, resulting in better photos. The f /2 lens is fast enough for indoor and low-light photography. The other unique element that old-school film photographers will appreciate are the manual dials for aperture and shutter speed. They can both be set to auto for full automatic, one or the other set for shutter or aperture priority, or both set for full manual, all without touching a menu.

The more affordable Canon G1 X Mark III looks like a small DSLR because of the hump that holds the fixed viewfinder and flash (most other cameras in this list have pop-up flashes and viewfinders). Unlike the Fuji X100V, the Canon G1 X Mark III has a zoom lens equivalent to 24-72mm. But it’s a slower lens with maximum aperture of f /2.8-5.6. The G1 X Mark III is the oldest camera in this list, having been announced in October 2017, and I suspect a newer Mark IV version will be coming soon.

While both the X100 and G1 X are quite portable (they’d easily fit in a purse or fanny pack), they’re a fair bit larger and heavier than the Sony RX100 models. The Fuji X100V is 128×75×53mm and 478g while the Canon G1 X Mark III is 115×77×51mm and 399g.

Travel camera plus photo editor (aka smartphone)

Apple iphone 13 pro.

US$1,000 / CA$1,400

Lineup of Apple iPhone 13 Pro phones showing 3 camera lenses

For many travellers, a smartphone camera really is the best camera. It’s more pocketable than any dedicated camera. It’s also more multi-purpose, since it’s, well, a smartphone. While they have smaller sensors than the dedicated cameras in this list, they take advantage of sophisticated software to improve image quality in low light. Smartphones also make it easier and faster to edit a photo and get it posted to Facebook or Instagram. Third-party camera apps, including Lightroom, give you manual setting functions and capture RAW files.

Phone cameras also geotag your photos, so you’ll always know where you took that shot, useful on roadtrips and when visiting remote areas.

While the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are the most expensive iPhone (and one of the most expensive phones in general), it’s not the most expensive camera in this list, and it serves many other functions. So when you look at it like that, it’s really a bargain!

The iPhone 13 Pro is my recommendation for a camera replacement because it sports 3 lenses that provide effectively the same functionality as the zoom cameras in this list. If you want a larger screen, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has the same camera system.

The three cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro are:

  • Ultra wide 13mm equivalent f /1.8
  • Wide 26mm equivalent f /1.5 with sensor-shift optical image stabilization
  • Telephoto 77mm equivalent f /2.8 with optical image stabilization

By having 3 discrete lenses, they can each be more specialized than a generalist zoom lens. The ultra wide lens on the phone is wider than any camera in this list, so it’s great for those of us who love the look of ultra wide angle photography. The wide f /1.5 lens is the fastest lens in this list. And the telephoto lens is a tad more telephoto than previous generation iPhones at 77mm equivalent (compared to the 12 Pro at 52mm and 12 Pro Max at 65mm equivalent), and still a speedy f /2.8.

The iPhone 13 Pro ipMax also introduces a LiDAR sensor to help focus in low light (among other applications) and the ProRAW image format that combines the benefits of RAW images with Apple’s computational photography algorithms.

It’s also worth nothing that the iPhone goes beyond the weather sealing of the Fuji X100V and Canon G1 X with its IP68 rating, meaning it can survive up to 6 metres (19.6 feet) of water for 30 minutes. So no worries about being caught in a torrential downpour or taking it for a swim or snorkel!

Budget-friendly zoom cameras

Canon PowerShot G5 7 Mark III digital camera

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III and Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

US$750 / CA$1,000 and US$900 / CA$1,200

“Budget-friendly” is a subjective definition and these are still relatively expensive being around the $1,000 mark, but they’re the cheapest cameras in this list while still meeting my strict requirements for a large sensor and fast lens. These both sport a 1-inch sensor like the Sony RX100 cameras. They’re similar in many ways to the RX100 VA, but a tad larger and heavier, so I almost didn’t include them in this list. (If you’re not looking to spend $1,000 on a camera, my advise would be to just stick to the camera on your existing smartphone; a budget camera won’t give you much more!)

They’re included here because, compared to the Sony RX100 VA, they have a larger zoom range. The Canon G7 X Mark III has a 24-100mm f /1.8-2.8 lens, and the Canon G5 X Mark II has a 24-120mm f /1.8-2.8 lens. So both are as fast as the RX100 VA but with a larger zoom range, and shy of the RX100 VII zoom range but faster.

The Canon G5 X Mark II is a viable alternative to the Sony RX100 VA (and similarly priced) if you want a bit more zoom reach. And the Canon G7 Mark III is a contender if you’re willing to pay a bit more for more zoom range, but don’t want to sacrifice lens speed (as in the Sony RX100 VII).

In size and weight, the Canon G7 X Mark III is nearly identical to the Sony RX100 cameras at 105×61×41mm and 304g. The Canon G5 X Mark II sits between these Sony cameras and the larger APS-C cameras from Fuji and Canon at 111×61×46mm and 340g.

Side-by-side comparison

Here’s a summary of the key features and specs of these phones for easy comparison.

Have questions? Ask away! What camera do you use for travelling? Do you have another suggestion for best travel camera? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The best compact cameras in 2024: top quality cameras you can take anywhere

These are the best compact cameras you can get right now, and we've tried them all. Get big camera quality in your pocket!

Ricoh GR IIIx

The Quick List

  • Best overall
  • Best for YouTube
  • Best for the streets
  • Best hybrid
  • Best waterproof
  • Best budget
  • Best for stills
  • Best 1-inch sensor
  • Best for megapixels
  • How to choose
  • How we test

Amazon Prime Day is taking place on July 16-17, and the  best Prime Day camera deals  can be very tempting, but we don't see the same scale of discounts as Black Friday.  Some camera companies don't offer Prime deals at all, and even exclude Amazon from their own rebate schemes. 

With stock being volatile, our advice is that if you're ready to buy a product then jump on it now – prices probably won't fluctuate much, but stock levels will!

The best compact cameras are perfect as a 'second' camera for DSLR or mirrorless camera owners who want to travel light now and again. They give little away in features or image quality, but they are small enough to slip into a jacket pocket. These are the ones we rate the highest.

With this guide, we have picked compact cameras that nevertheless have sensors large enough for high-quality images and the mix of automatic and manual controls that enthusiasts and experts will be looking for, and that we are used to getting in a DSLR or mirrorless camera. If you want something cheaper and simpler, we've got that covered too in our guide to the best point-and-shoot cameras .

The key point about 'compact' cameras is that the lenses are not interchangeable. The lens is built in which saves you having to think about which lenses to invest in and which lenses to pack. 

As Ecommerce Editor for Digital Camera World, and having been a professional photographer for nearly two decades, I've seen and used a LOT of cameras, using compacts while on holiday or when I wanted to travel light. Now in my spare time, I use my trusted Leica M-E to shoot street photography, usually in black and white.

Fujifilm X100VI product shot

If you want the latest and greatest then there is no denying the new FujiFilm X100VI is the best overall compact on the market with 40MP stills and 6K video capabilities. Read more below

Sony ZV-1 product shot

Aimed at vloggers, the Sony ZV-1 might just look like another variant from the RX100 range but in reality, it's so much more. If you've used one of the RX100s, the sensor and lens will probably be quite familiar. Read more below

Ricoh GR IIIx product shot

One of our favorite compact street cameras ever, this is a powerful pocket-sized camera with built-in editing tools, an ND filter, 2GB of internal storage, and a choice of focal lengths. Read more below

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II product shot

Panasonic hits a sweet spot by using a mid-sized MFT sensor, which makes it great for both shooting video, and for normal stills photos. However, you do only get a modest 3x zoom. Read more below

OM System Tough TG-7 product shot

An update on the TG-6 does little to change the specs, just swapping Olympus for OM Systems on the front – but that doesn't stop this being the best waterproof camera out there. Read more below

Panasonic Lumix ZS80/TZ90 product shot

Not many compact cameras offer such a massive zoom, 4K video, manual shooting and a viewfinder. It doesn't have the biggest sensor or the fastest burst mode but it is an impressive little camera. Read more below

View the full list ⤵

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III product shot

This Canon PowerShot uses a big APS-C 24-megapixel sensor that allows it to maximize image quality, whilst still offering you a 3x zoom. Read more below

Panasonic Lumix LX15 / LX10 product shot

If you want a versatile camera, with a decent zoom range and a great 1-inch sensor then this is the one I'd pick. Read more below

Leica Q3 product shot

If you want the best compact camera for megapixels then the Leica Q3's 60MP stills beats all the competition – but you'll have to pay a hefty price tag. Read more below

Best compact cameras in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best compact camera overall

Fujifilm X100VI camera on a slatted wooden bench

1. Fujifilm X100VI

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

✅ You want a premium compact camera: The X100VI is the king of the hill when it comes to the narrowing field of compact cameras. ✅ You love retro-inspired cameras: I love the looks of the X100VI – it harks back to beautiful rangefinder film cameras from the last century.

❌ You want to shoot at different focal lengths:  The X100VI is a fixed-lens camera, so you are stuck with the 23mm focal length. ❌ You want to shoot lots of video:  The two-way tilting screen limits vlogging and recording from awkward angles.

The new Fujifilm X100VI may seem unchanged on the surface, but I find it hard to complain when the design is as breathtaking and well-crafted as ever. It's not just looks: the build quality is exceptional, and feels really good in the hand. Using the X100VI is still an absolute delight for me, especially with its hybrid viewfinder and manual dials that add a tactile element to my photography experience. 

Thankfully, there are some noteworthy upgrades under the hood. With a new 40MP sensor, updated processor, and IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization), the X100VI's stills and video capabilities have received a significant boost. From the initial samples I've taken, the results have been nothing short of excellent.

Admittedly, the price of the X100VI is the highest yet, which does make it a tough decision, especially when there are cameras with better technology available for less.  However, for me, the iconic design and enhanced features make it a compelling choice despite the price tag.

Read more: Fujifilm X100VI review

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Best compact camera for YouTube

Sony ZV-1 compact camera on a tripod

2. Sony ZV-1

✅ You want great autofocus: With its super-responsive AF, this is the perfect camera for YouTube. ✅ You want compact: This mighty camera is near-pocketable, and perfect for vlogging on the go.

❌ You want full-frame: Its 1-inch sensor outperforms, but it doesn't offer that fantastic full-frame look. ❌ You want 16:9 review: For a YouTube camera, it would be great to view  your video in 16:9 on the rear screen.

Aimed at vloggers, the Sony ZV-1 might just look like another variant from the RX100 range but in reality, it's so much more. If you've used one of the RX100s, the sensor and lens will probably be quite familiar. 

Where this camera excels is the controls, rear screen, and body, making it perfect for YouTube . It too has the popular zoom range of 24-70mm with a variable aperture of f/1.8 - f/2.8 however, there is a big change in minimum focusing distance as you zoom which is annoying, especially if you're using it to record video.

The SteadyShot active stabilization wasn't the best, but the autofocus is very impressive. It has a vari-angle, tilting rear screen that means it's perfect for recording yourself or taking selfies, and it comes with a mic-wind shield, which means its audio quality even with the built-in mic is still pretty good. Unlike the Sony RX100 cameras, it doesn't have a viewfinder, but it produces high-quality images, is even better at video, and, best of all, it'll cost you less. 

Read more: Sony ZV-1 review  

Best compact camera for street photography

Ricoh GRIIIx

3. Ricoh GR IIIx

✅ You love 40mm focal length: Niche to some, but adored by many, this captures what the eye seems. ✅ You want a big sensor in a small package: With its 24MP APS-C sensor in this small body, it’s a powerful tool.

❌ You want a viewfinder: If you want one, you’re going to have to buy it – an eye-level viewfinder costs extra. ❌ You're on a budget: With those features and the hype, it comes with a costly price tag.

The Ricoh GR IIIx is a street-savvy version of the Ricoh GR III with a better-suited 40mm lens instead of the original 28mm. It does have a few other benefits to it, including an optional 1.5x teleconverter lens, which can be attached to the fixed lens for a more zoomed-in view.

For an APS-C camera, it's incredibly compact, making it ideal for street or travel photography; and with a wide f/2.8 lens, super-fast eye AF, plus sensor-shift stabilization, it's great for portraits, too. It's pocket-sized but it's big on features, boasting 2GB internal storage and built-in NDs. It truly is a compact camera aimed at photographers who want to have total control.

Read more: Ricoh GR IIIx review  

Best compact camera for stills and video

Panasonic LX100 II

4. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

✅ You want a ‘do it all’ camera: This camera is perfect for 4K video and 17MP stills - great for those holiday snaps. ✅ You want a fast zoom lens: With its f/1.7-2.8 aperture and 24-75mm equiv zoom range, it’s a powerful package.

❌ You want high MP count: With 'only' 17MP it's not beating any megapixel races. ❌ You want a bigger sensor: With its Micro-Four-Thirds sensor. you won’t be getting the shallow DoF  you see in full-frame.

When it comes to big sensors, the struggle has always been finding a compact camera to match. But let me tell you, Panasonic has nailed it with the LX100 II. It's got the perfect blend of stellar stills and video performance all packed into a pocket-sized body.

What sets it apart is its Micro Four Thirds sensor, which is almost as large as the APS-C sensors found in many DSLRs. Yet, somehow, Panasonic has managed to shrink down the lens assembly to fit snugly within the camera body. It's truly remarkable how it’s achieved such a compact design without sacrificing performance.

The LX100 II is a fresh take on the original LX100, which was starting to show its age. With its new 17-megapixel 'multi-aspect' sensor, you have the flexibility to shoot in different aspect ratios without compromising on image quality. And let's not forget the external shutter speed dial, lens aperture ring, and aspect ratio switch – they make shooting with this camera an absolute joy. Trust me, it's a game-changer.

Read more: Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review

Best compact camera for all conditions

A red OM System Tough TG-7

5. OM System Tough TG-7

✅ You want GPS: With its built-in GPS, you can be sure to geotag your shots to remember all your fantastic holiday memories. ✅ You want a zoom function: With a 4x optical zoom, this is the perfect camera to take to the beach or the ocean and always get the shot.

❌ You want high-resolution stills: It’s only a 12MP sensor. ❌ You want something new: This is virtually identical to its predecessor, the Olympus Tough TG-6.

The Olympus TG-6 was my go-to waterproof compact camera, and now it's back as the OM System TG-7. I'm glad to see it's pretty much unchanged because that's exactly what I loved about it. It's still my top pick for a rugged waterproof camera.

One of my favorite features is the built-in microscope setting, which allows me to capture stunning close-up shots. Plus, the Field Sensor System is a neat addition, recording GPS coordinates and ambient temperature along with my photos.

With 4K video at 30fps and the option for Full HD video at 120fps for super-slow motion, the TG-7 is quite versatile. The generous 25-100mm optical zoom lens lets me get up close to the action.

I appreciate the improved chunky handgrip, which gives me a secure hold on the camera, and the internal zoom mechanism means the lens is always protected from knocks and bumps.

Overall, the TG-7 is straightforward yet sophisticated, making it hands down the best waterproof camera I've come across.

Read more: OM System Tough TG-7 review

Best budget compact camera

Panasonic Lumix ZS80

6. Panasonic Lumix ZS80/TZ95

✅ You want a huge zoom: With a zoom equivariant from 24-720mm, you can’t beat this compact powerhouse. ✅ You want fast FPS: With 10 frames per second, this is a fast little compact for anyone wanting to capture the action.

❌ You want to shoot at night: This little compact is good in the daytime, but its low-light performance leaves a lot to be desired. ❌ You want a bright viewfinder: The viewfinder is a little small, so composing your image can be tricky.

When I worked at Wex Photo Video (a British camera retailer), the Panasonic ZS80/TZ95 was my top recommended camera for people who were after something compact, with a generous zoom that didn't break the bank. 

For such a tiny camera, it's hard to believe it has a zoom range of 24-720mm, making it possible to shoot wide landscapes and objects far in the distance. With 4K video, a pop-up flash, a range of shooting modes you'd expect to find on a mirrorless camera or DSLR and a macro mode so you can focus as close as 3cm, it really is a jack-of-all-trades system.

It might not have the fastest burst mode, but at 10fps it's plenty quick enough if you're mostly looking for a camera to take on holiday or as an upgrade from your camera phone. 

Read more: Panasonic Lumix ZS80/TZ95 review

Best compact camera for stills only

Canon PowerShot G1 X

7. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

✅ You want compact: For its sensor size, this is a compact camera that you can take everywhere with you. ✅ You want good image quality: With its 24MP APS-C sensor, it offers great image quality for the price.

❌ You want 4K: The highest video resolution on offer here is 1080p. ❌ You want a wide zoom range: It only offers a 24-72mm zoom range.

The Canon G1 X Mark III might be pretty pricy, but it's practically a DSLR in a compact body. It boasts an impressive 24-megapixel APS-C sensor – the same sensor you'll find in the Canon EOS 80D DSLR, making this compact a great stills-only option.

The lens has a versatile 24-72mm focal range and retracts into the camera to make it perfectly pocket-sized when you're not using it. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a fixed aperture, so at 24mm you can shoot as wide open as f/2.8, but at 72mm the aperture will drop down to f/5.6, which isn't great.

The G1 X Mark III can only shoot 1080p video, not 4K, but that doesn't bother me much, as it's not what I would buy it for. It can shoot at 7fps in continuous burst mode and has Wi-Fi connectivity for transferring images on the go. 

I did like this flagship PowerShot a lot, and the only thing putting me off is that it's been out for a while but the price has barely shifted. Maybe that's because of how good it is!

Read more: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III review

Best compact camera with a 1-inch sensor

Panasonic Lumix LX15 being held in palm of reviewer's hand

8. Panasonic Lumix LX15 / LX10

✅ You want a fast lens: With a maximum aperture of f/1.4, this is a great option for low light. ✅ You want great autofocus: This camera has swift and accurate AF that puts some bigger cameras to shame.

❌ You want a good grip: The camera has round edges, making it harder to hold than others. ❌ You want a viewfinder: Unfortunately there is no option to add one, so you need to focus via the rear screen.

The Panasonic LX15, which goes by the name LX10 in North America, lacks a viewfinder, and rather than including a Micro Four Thirds sensor it has a smaller 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor, which will reduce image resolution and performance.

However, it is capable of recording 4K video and it has a super-responsive touchscreen, which makes focusing really easy. It has a zoom range of 24-72mm and a really fast variable aperture of f/1.4-2, making it the fastest compact zoom lens available. 

Overall, I think it's a great little camera that has a perfect balance of features, performance and pricing. It's small enough to fit in a pocket, but is powerful enough to take some stunning photos. It's just that... having used both, I'd rather pay the extra for the LX100 II.

Read more: Panasonic Lumix LX10 review

Best compact camera for megapixels

Leica Q3 digital camera being held by DCW Technical Editor Gareth Bevan

9. Leica Q3

✅ You love 28mm focal length: The Q3 offers the only f/1.7 aperture lens in the whole Leica range, but it is also fixed to the body, so you have to love shooting at 28mm. ✅ You want to follow the trend : Thanks to a massive media spike in Leica, the Q3 has become 'on trend' – which is never a bad thing.

❌ You want to shoot other focal lengths: With its fixed 28mm lens that you can't change, your only option is to crop. ❌ You want an optical viewfinder:  The Q3 features a high-res EVF without the optical VF of Leica M models.

Leica cameras are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them. No matter where you stand, you can't deny they are incredible cameras that offer exceptional image quality. The new Leica Q3 features an impressive full-frame 60-megapixel sensor. It has a fixed 28mm f/1.7 lens, making it one of the fastest prime lenses available on a compact camera. This update to the Leica Q2 now also shoots 8K video.

The biggest downside of this camera is the thing that will put most people off – the price. It's an very expensive bit of kit and it would probably be higher on our list if it didn't cost an arm and a leg.

You could pick up one of the best mirrorless cameras and a lens for less, but sometimes the experience of using a Leica is worth the money. Other than the price, they're relatively hard to get hold of so if you have your heart set on one, you might have to hunt for one first.

Read more: Leica Q3 review

How to choose the best compact camera

You might imagine that one compact camera will be much like another, but there are three key features to take into account before you make a decision.

1) Prime vs zoom lenses: With a compact camera is that the lens is non-interchangeable, so the one it comes with will have to do all the jobs you want the camera for. You may be happy with a single focal length prime lens, or you may prefer the extra scope of a zoom. The focal length range on these zoom cameras varies enormously - from 3x up to over 100x on a bridge camera .

2) Viewfinder: If you find you use the rear screen on a camera most of the time, you may not need an eye-level viewfinder – and this does give you more scope with your camera selection. Some photographers, though, would be lost without a viewfinder. 

3) Sensor size : It is not just about megapixels: image quality also improves by using a larger sensor. Full-frame is the biggest size sensor found on compacts, but full-frame compacts are very expensive and have a fixed wide-angle lens. If you want a zoom, the biggest-sized sensor is APS-C which under half the size of full frame. But if you want a big zoom in a pocketable camera, then you will need a model with a 1in sensor (about a third of the size of an APS-C sensor). An MFT sensor is smaller than an APS-C sensor, but bigger than a 1in one. 

How we test compact cameras

During our testing process, we take compact cameras out into the real world, snapping photos in various lighting situations to gauge their performance. With a collective experience encompassing hundreds of models, our reviewers compare the results against both current competitors and past iterations. 

Our focus lies heavily on image quality, scrutinizing the details captured in each shot. Since compact cameras prioritize ease of use and portability, we also closely examine the ergonomics and handling of every model we evaluate.

Find out more about how we test products at Digital Camera World

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For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specializing in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound, and many more for various advertising campaigns, books, and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science, and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is a member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected into BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in street, medium, and large format photography with products by Leica, Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa, and Sinar. Sebastian has also used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI, and everything in between. He now spends his spare time using his trusted Leica M-E or Leica M2 shooting Street photography or general life as he sees it, usually in Black and White.

  • Gareth Bevan Reviews Editor
  • Rod Lawton Contributor

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best travel compact camera 2022

Compact Camera Reviews

The 10 best compact cameras for travel photography in 2022 (video).

best travel compact camera 2022

Entry-level and mid-range compact cameras have fallen by the wayside as most of us own a high-end smartphone that’s sufficient for capturing impromptu images. But for “serious” photography on the go there are still several compelling reasons to carry a premium point-and shoot camera with easily accessible creative controls.

While there are relatively robust apps enabling you to control a variety of settings on a flagship smartphone, functionality tends to be cumbersome as compared to a “real” camera. In the video below you’ll see why you’re much better served by a full-featured compact camera with manual controls, and see 10 models that are among the best you can buy in 2022.

best travel compact camera 2022

Top 10 Zone is an interesting YouTube channel with an experienced team of product researchers who provide unbiased gear guides based upon product popularity, price, and overall quality. In this episode they present their top picks for full-featured compact cameras, chosen specifically for travel photography.

Key criteria include a small form factor, quality optics with a versatile zoom range, both still and video capabilities, and enough manual controls to let you flex your creative muscles. The 10 recommended cameras include models from Panasonic, Canon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Leica, and Sony.

The choice you make will depend upon your budget and specific needs, but this gear guide explains the strong points of each model so you’ll know whether to buy it or something else.

best travel compact camera 2022

The Top 10 Zone YouTube channel not only reviews cameras but also a wide variety of other products, so check it out the next time you’re ready to go shopping.

And take a look at another video we posted recently, explaining everything you need to know about memory cards, readers, and downloading images .

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best travel compact camera 2022


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best travel compact camera 2022

Review: The best travel camera for every type of photographer

UPDATE: Aug. 8, 2023, 5:00 AM EDT This guide has been updated to reflect Mashable's latest hands-on testing.

We live in an age of over-sharing, but the best travel cameras do so much more than help you post your adventures on Instagram, Youtube, or TikTok. Travel cameras can also help you freeze moments in time so that you never forget your favorite travel experiences. Travel photography can be a great way to capture pictures of your loved ones at their happiest, and you may look back on these photos decades in the future.

Of course, the best travel camera should also be used to show off your adventures on social media — we never said over-sharing was bad.

The best cameras for travel make it easy to take pictures without overstuffing your suitcase. While there are plenty of accessories for travel photography , modern travel cameras are lightweight, compact, and user-friendly.

As anyone who's had to sit on their suitcase to close it would know, you need to save every square inch you can when packing. You should always make sure you have the essentials , but nobody wants to have to throw things away at the airport gate because their bag is overweight .

Unless you're a professional YouTuber or National Geographic photographer, chances are you don't want to lug around a heavy-duty model, or a mirrorless camera that requires five different lens for each subject. Similarly, if you're not part of a camera crew traveling for work, a fragile camera that requires careful packing and gentle handling probably isn't worth the trouble.

Fortunately for you, Mashable is on the case, and we’ve been busy researching, testing, and reviewing travel cameras. When picking the best travel camera for every type of photographer — whether you’re a beginner, photography expert, action-adventurer, or content creator — we looked for easy-to-use and easy-to-pack cameras that won’t get in your way.

Should you bring a travel camera at all?

If you clicked on this article, you're likely planning to. But take a minute to consider your phone camera — if you have a new smartphone, it probably comes equipped with a camera that has formidable photography abilities of its own. In fact, the newest flagship smartphones have some downright futuristic photography capabilities. We're not even impressed by the iPhone's ability to shoot in 4K anymore. Give us advanced lowlight photography from Pixel phones, the Samsung Galaxy's famous ultra-zoom lens, or the Xiaomi smartphone with Leica cameras.

So, if you already have the latest iPhone , Samsung Galaxy , or Xiaomi model , is there any reason to carry an extra camera instead of just snapping pics with that?

Well, it depends. For skilled photographers, even the best smartphone cameras can't compare to a mirrorless camera from Sony or Leica . For everyone else, there are still lots of reasons to upgrade to the best travel cameras.

Are you going somewhere beachy and want to take cool underwater photos without worrying about water damage? Is this a ski trip or something active that requires image stabilization and 4K HDR video? Or would you just rather keep your phone safe in your bag at all times, so that you don't accidentally drop it while taking pictures? For all of the above, the best camera for travel will outperform your smartphone camera.

Whatever the reason (even if it's just better quality pics for the 'gram), if you want to pack the best camera for travel, you should evaluate your options based on the following:

Technical Considerations:

  • Size/Weight: There's no point to investing in a professional model that doesn't fit in your travel bag. Make sure that your choice isn't so hefty that you don't end up leave your camera and lens at home.
  • Image Quality: Anyone can snap a blurry picture of the Eiffel Tower, but you want a crystal-clear and totally unique photo to remember your trip. A camera's sensor size will be the biggest factor on overall image quality (more on this below).
  • Zoom Range: Despite massive advances in smartphone camera technology, this is still one area in which most smartphones fall short. For close-up photography, you'll need cameras equipped with zoom lenses.
  • Shooting Modes: Versatility is one of the other perks of toting around a camera — from drones that will give you aerial shots to vlogging cameras for video quality, different devices offer different advantages over your standard phone cam.
  • Price: Above all, don't purchase anything beyond your means. For this guide, we've avoided $5,000 Lecia cameras, as these can be risky to travel with unless you're a professional photographer.

What's the difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras?

When searching for the best travel cameras of 2023, we wanted to include the most common types of travel cameras: mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras, action cameras, and drones. (We also decided to include a smartphone for good measure.) But what type of camera is best for your needs? Action cameras, drones, and smartphones are pretty self-explanatory, so what's the difference between DSLR and mirrorless cameras? And what camera is best for travel photography?

For a long time, DSLR cameras were the gold standard for high-quality digital cameras. They provide professional-level photo quality and more advanced features for experienced photographers. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera. In this type of camera, light passing through the lens bounces off a mirror into a traditional viewfinder. Even the best DSLR camera for travel will be larger in size compared to point-and-shoot and mirrorless cameras, and this can be an issue when traveling.

Mirrorless cameras don't have a mirror, and thus lack a traditional viewfinder (although they typically have a digital viewfinder). For this reason, mirrorless cameras are lighter and more compact than DSLR cameras, which also make them more travel-friendly. Because of the digital viewfinder, mirrorless cameras often have a shorter battery life compared to a DSLR.

You can take equally great images with both a mirrorless and DSLR camera. Because mirrorless cameras are newer (and more trendy), many of the best new cameras fall into this category. However, DSLR cameras are often much more affordable.

The specs to look for in the best travel cameras:

To pick the best camera for travel, you'll need a basic understanding of some photography terms and camera specifications. You could spend a lifetime mastering the art or photography, but before buying a camera, take the time to familiarize yourself with the following terms.

Megapixels: The unit itself (MP) denotes one million ("mega-") pixels, which essentially describes the detail of your photos. You can have too many megapixels, depending on your purpose — Instagram, for example, automatically downsizes overlarge images to 1.2MP.

Image File Format: This refers to the image formats supported by the camera. Typically, this includes .jpeg and raw image files. A camera with easy-to-access image files is an underrated feature. This can be important if you're traveling for a long time and want to be able to access your pictures externally from your camera ASAP. Make sure you can open and, if necessary, edit photos on your laptop or even phone (an adapter or external card reader will usually be needed as well).

Sensor: A camera's sensor has a huge impact on overall image quality, which is why sensor size is the main specification professional photographers look at. Bigger sensors have more pixels, which means better low-light and dynamic performance as well as reduced noise. However, smaller sensors have a better zoom range and are both lighter and cheaper. DSLR and mirrorless cameras usually have full-frame (~36mm wide) or APS-C (22.3-23.6mm wide) sensors, while compact cameras have 1-inch (13.2mm wide) sensors. The iPhone 11 has a 1/2.55" sensor, for comparison, and that will give you 12MP images. For a more detailed guide to sensor sizes, check out this graphic .

Lens: Pro photographers will rattle off details about the makers and materials of camera lenses, but what you really need to know is mostly just aperture and focal length. So while names like the "Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 E ED VR" look intimidating, they really just boil down to naming conventions that list brand, lens type/size, focal length, maximum aperture, and miscellaneous details ("VR" here stands for vibration reduction) in that order.

Focal length denotes zoom, and aperture is how much light the lens lets in, which affects exposure and depth of field. Zoom is fairly straightforward — some lens have ranges, while others have a fixed focal length, so you'll have to move to get your subject in frame. Aperture, on the other hand, is measured in fractions. A smaller aperture, say of f/11, gives you less background blur (like, the opposite of portrait mode), aka more depth of field, and a darker image. Larger apertures — f/2.8 is pretty standard — will give you a very focused effect with lots of light.

Continuous Shooting Speed (Video Mode): Measured in fps — that is, frames per second — this number is what you look at if you need your camera to be capable of quick shots for action scenes. The higher the frame-rate, the smoother and clearer the action.

Max Video Resolution: This one is mostly for those people who want to edit a highlight reel of their travels, or vlog their trip. Otherwise, typical 1080p will do just fine for most purposes — you don't need to splurge on 4k unless you want to crop footage while retaining the quality (and you really don't need 8k unless you're a filmmaker).

While this sounds overwhelming (and it definitely can be, to be honest), if you aren't fussed about specs, our list below gives a quick breakdown of what each camera is good for, taking into consideration all its features. On the other hand, if you have a very specific lens type in mind or just want to fully understand your purchase before committing, take a look at the listed specs and how they compare.

With all this in mind, we've gathered the best cameras for travel below. Our top recommendations were hands-on tested by the Mashable team, and we've included some additional options so that you can find the best travel camera for your particular needs.

This guide is geared more toward photography beginners than pros, so we've favored cameras that are more affordable and beginner friendly. And to make sure they travel well, we've prioritized cameras that are durable, lightweight, and compact.

This article may contain affiliate links that Microsoft and/or the publisher may receive a commission from if you buy a product or service through those links.

Review: The best travel camera for every type of photographer

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The Best Cameras, Whether You’re A Beginner Or A Pro Shooter

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As versatile as smartphone cameras are, nothing replaces the creative control you get from a dedicated camera. And with a range of sizes, prices and capabilities, standalone camera options seem endless. Whether you’re a neophyte just starting to look beyond your mobile or closer to a pro, the best cameras—like our top recommendation, the Sony a7 IV —can help you achieve your vision, your way.

From point-and-shoot to DSLR to action, here are the best cameras for photography and video.

For better image quality and the flexibility of a standalone camera, but with the added benefit of simplicity, you might choose a point-and-shoot camera . And action cameras are an entirely different kind of beast, made for anyone who wants to mount a camera to their helmet or chest and capture their crazy antics—be it mountain biking, rock climbing or snowboarding. With so many choices, you might need some help, so keep reading—we’ve rounded up some of the very best cameras you can get today.

  • Best Camera Overall: Sony Alpha 7 IV (Body Only)
  • Best Instant Camera: Polaroid Now 2nd Generation Instant Camera
  • Best Point-And-Shoot Camera: Sony RX100 VII
  • Best Mirrorless Camera For Enthusiasts : Nikon Z50 Mirrorless Camera Two-Lens Kit
  • Best DSLR Camera For Beginners: Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR With 18-55mm Lens
  • Best DSLR Camera For Photography Enthusiasts: Nikon D780 (Body Only)
  • Best Action Camera: GoPro Hero12 Black Action Camera
  • Best Point-And-Shoot Cameras For Vloggers: Sony ZV-1F

Best Camera Overall

Versatile for amateurs and enthusiasts alike, sony alpha 7 iv (body only).

Sensor size: Full-frame | Image resolution: 33MP | Video resolution: 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 120fps | Display: 3-inch free-angle tilting touchscreen | Max autofocus points: 759 | Memory card slots: CFexpress Type A/SD; SDXC UHS-II | Built-in flash: No | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps for 828 frames RAW/unlimited JPEGs

Best for: Excellent still and video performance.

  • High-resolution video capabilities
  • Long sustained burst mode
  • Strong on-board connectivity
  • Fewer frames per second than competitors
  • Lower resolution rear display for the price

Whether you’re shooting still images or 4K video, the Sony Alpha 7 IV is a well-designed mirrorless camera that offers plenty of creative control and versatility. Among its top features are fast, advanced autofocus performance with eye-tracking—even when capturing video at 4K 60fps. And it delivers great results whether shooting outside on a bright and sunny day or in low-light conditions. The Alpha 7 IV relies on its Bionz XR engine to handle high-speed image processing.

The camera’s internal electronics shine in its continuous shooting modes. For example, it easily captures at up to 10 frames per second, with a larger sustained capture rate for 828 frames in RAW and unlimited JPEGs. The camera can also be used for vlogging, since the display flips out and rotates, allowing it to be pointed forward. However, when paired with a lens, this camera body is heavy to handhold, so it’s best used with a tripod. Ports include an HDMI-A and USB Type-C, a headphone jack and an external microphone port. You also get wired, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to your computer or mobile device. Buy the  Alpha 7 IV with a 28 - 70mm lens for $200 more.

What the reviews say: Reviews for this camera are overwhelmingly positive. One reviewer on Amazon noted how impressive the autofocus in particular was. “I thought the A7III autofocus was great, but this camera truly blows the A7III autofocus out of the water. I also really appreciate the improved menu system.”

Best Instant Camera

A modern take on the instant camera with great image quality, polaroid now 2nd generation instant camera.

Camera type: Instant | Print size: 3.5 x 4.2 inches total; 3.1 x 3.1 inch image area | Lens: 2 fixed focus zones: 0.55m–1.3m, 0.6m–infinity

Best for: Taking instant pictures using Polaroid i-Type or Polaroid 600 film.

  • Classic Polaroid instant camera design
  • Dual lens system
  • Built-in flash
  • Optical viewfinder
  • Film is expensive
  • Only eight shots in each film pack

This is a classic-looking instant camera from Polaroid that’s reminiscent of the instant cameras from yesteryear. This one, however, comes with some modern technology, like a built-in flash and an autofocus dual-lens system.

There’s a close-up lens (when your subject is between 1.8 and 4.3 feet away) and a distance lens for anything farther away than two feet. The optical viewfinder allows you to frame your shots, while the built-in flash sheds light in darker areas. This camera uses a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 120 shots. The biggest drawback to this camera is that each pack of instant film only includes eight shots.

What the reviews say: A reviewer on Amazon loved using this camera for parties. “Great for parties. Friends love the Polaroids, it’s super easy to use, the charger (instead of batteries) is really nice, and the photo quality is fantastic.”

Best Point-And-Shoot Camera

A pocket-size option for dslr-quality photos, sony rx100 vii.

Camera type: Point-and-shoot | Still image resolution: 20.1MP | Video resolution: 4K | Display size: 3-inch touchscreen

Best for:  Influencers and YouTubers. 

  • Flip-up touchscreen display 
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Top-tier autofocus
  • A little expensive
  • Battery life is only fine

With its compact build and flip-up rear-display, the RX100 VII is a prime option for social media influencers and YouTubers. It captures 4K video and also serves as a versatile still image camera. The zoom lens covers 24 to 200mm, an excellent range for casual shooting. These impressive optics help account for why the Sony RX100 VII is more expensive than the typical point-and-shoot camera—but it’s worth it.

The camera offers an excellent autofocus system, too, with real-time autofocus that can track whatever you point the camera at, with impressive face detection. The camera supports recording 4K video at 30fps, and if you lower the resolution to 1080p, you can record at an impressive 120fps.

What the reviews say: A reviewer on Amazon was particularly impressed with the camera’s vlogging features. “If you’re a vlogger or someone who just wants to travel light and wants the best that money can buy in a point-and-shoot, then I don’t think you can go wrong with this camera.”

Best Mirrorless Camera For Enthusiasts

Superb lenses that shoot 11 frames a second, nikon z50 mirrorless camera two-lens kit.

Camera type: Mirrorless | Still image resolution: 20.9MP | Lens: Interchangeable | Video resolution: 4K | Display size: 3.2-inch touchscreen

Best for: Someone looking for a powerful, mid-priced, mirrorless camera that supports a collection of 15+ optional Nikon lenses. 

  • Compact design
  • Good optional lens selection
  • The rear touchscreen display flips down
  • Resolution could be better

Mirrorless is poised to be the future of serious photography. The Z50 is an excellent starter camera for getting your feet wet in the world of mirrorless photography without spending a fortune. 

The Z50 shoots 20.9 megapixel images on the somewhat smaller APS-C sensor, so the body is small and fits easily in your hands. It has the ability to shoot a blazing fast 11fps, can record 4K video and has a large, articulating 3.2-inch touchscreen monitor (in addition to an electronic viewfinder). It’s also compatible with any lens in Nikon’s Z-series. This particular model comes with two kit lenses: a wide angle 16-50mm and a generously deep 50-250mm lens. There’s enough here to carry any beginner well into advanced photography before feeling the need to upgrade. 

What the reviews say: A reviewer on Amazon was impressed with the compact size of the camera. “The Z50 is small—nice and small—with good physical controls and frankly fantastic kit lenses.”

Best DSLR Camera For Beginners

A great all-in-one price, canon eos rebel t7 dslr with 18-55mm lens.

Camera type: DSLR | Still image resolution: 24.1MP | Lens: Interchangeable | Video resolution: 1080p | Display size: 3-inches

Best for: Amateur photographers looking for an affordable DLSR camera that offers decent still image resolution.

  • Plenty of optional Canon lenses available
  • Very affordable
  • Good still image quality
  • Doesn't support shooting 4K video
  • Display not touchscreen 
  • Display does not tilt or rotate 

Canon’s compact and lightweight Rebel T7 is a textbook example of why it can still make sense to buy a single-lens-reflex camera when there are so many superb mirrorless camera alternatives out there. This “classic” DSLR design is a slight evolution from the older, venerable (and now discontinued) Rebel T6. For under $500, you get a great camera body and an all-around versatile 18-55mm lens, so you could go a long time before feeling the urge to add a telephoto lens (or other optional lenses) to your camera bag.

The cheapest camera in Canon’s DSLR stable, the T7 is aimed squarely at beginners. It doesn't offer a fast burst mode (at best, you can take only three frames per second), the rear LCD monitor isn’t a touchscreen (nor does it pivot for unusual shooting angles) and there’s no 4K video recording—it’s 1080p only.

Setting aside the things the T7 can’t do, you end up with an impressive DSLR that can teach any beginner the ins and outs of photography. It has Wi-Fi and NFC for transferring images to your smartphone. The nine-point autofocus is fast and accurate.

What the reviews say: A reviewer on Amazon loved learning the basics of photography with this camera. “Super easy to navigate, takes gorgeous pictures with great detail, comfortable to carry around. Absolutely perfect to teach yourself photography on!”

Best DSLR Camera For Photography Enthusiasts

A solid glass pentaprism elevates this camera to the next level, nikon d780 (body only).

Camera type: DSLR | Still image resolution: 24.5MP | Lens: Interchangeable | Video resolution: 4K | Display size: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen

Best for: Enthusiasts looking for a DSLR that offers a lot of creative control when taking pictures or shooting video.

  • Great optional Nikon lens selection
  • Tilting 3.2 inch LCD display
  • Good battery life
  • Just one (instead of dual) SD memory card slot
  • Still image resolution is good, but could be better

The D780 is an impressive DSLR that is a significant step up from most beginner camera bodies. It’s rugged, so it should survive long shoots in the field, and it has the same internals as Nikon’s pro-level cameras. The 51-point autofocus system is fast and accurate, which enables you to shoot at a maximum speed of seven frames per second. And when we say this camera is fast, we mean it. It can lock focus in incredibly quickly, allowing you to spend more time actually taking photos, and less time messing with autofocus settings.

The camera has a convenient tilting touchscreen on the back, and it supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to help you more easily transfer images wirelessly. It can capture video at up to a 4K resolution, so it works for photographers who want to capture high-resolution video, too.

What the reviews say: A reviewer on Amazon loved the autofocus tech on offer by the camera. “Just like many other reviewers, I was skeptical of it being too similar to my previous body, however, it was totally worth it. The touchscreen autofocus actually works very well, and this is a big feature for my video work.”

Best Action Camera

Capture your adventures, gopro hero12 black action camera.

Video resolution: Up to 5.3K at 60fps |  Still image resolution:  27.1MP   | Waterproof rating:  Up to 33 feet   |  Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB Type-C |  Display size:  2.3-inch (rear touchscreen), 1.4-inch (front)

Best for:  Vloggers who occasionally battle the elements.

  • Variety of video shooting modes
  • Captures 5.3K resolution video at 60fps
  • Front- and rear-facing displays
  • Expensive for an action camera
  • Can be slightly difficult to navigate

The GoPro Hero12 Black solidifies GoPro’s standing atop the action camera heap, with meaningful upgrades to both video and battery life. The camera keeps the 8:7 aspect ratio from the previous model and supports 10-bit color.  New for the Hero12 Black is the ability to use the camera in vertical mode, which is perfect for social media creators. You can shoot 5.3K video at up to 60fps, 4K video at up to 120fps, or 2K video at up 240fps—so no matter what the video quality you’re looking for, the camera should have you covered. And the improved HyperSmooth 6.0 image stabilization effectively mitigates camera shake and now includes horizon leveling. 

The advantage of the Hero12 Black’s small, rugged design is you can use it almost anywhere—on the icy slopes or in water up to 33 feet deep (and more with an optional housing). It comes with a excellent battery, which is longer-lasting than the previous-gen Hero11 Black. And, the camera is available in bundles with additional accessories like microSD cards, grips, mounts and more.

What the reviews say: A reviewer on Best Buy was impressed with the improved battery life on the camera. “The battery life is quite good, supporting long recording sessions without needing frequent recharges. This makes it a reliable companion for extended outings.”

Best Point-And-Shoot Cameras For Vloggers

When you (and youtube) need your close-up.

Max video resolution: 4K at 30fps |  Still image resolution:  20.1MP  |   Weight:  8.1 ounces  | Live streaming capability: Yes |  Connectivity: USB Type-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth |  Display size: 3-inch touchscreen

Best for:  Nimble, specialty shooting and greater creative control. 

  • Built-in features specifically for vloggers
  • Easy to use
  • Touchscreen display hard to see in direct sunlight
  • Wireless shooting grip sold separately

The Sony ZV-1F is a more affordable option than either the Sony ZV-1 or the Sony ZV-E1, and designed specifically for vloggers and content creators. It provides an assortment of easy-to-use features, such as Product Showcase, soft skin-tone effect and one-touch background defocus for easily creating professional-quality content. Plus, the ZV-1F is ultra compact and can record clear sound with minimal background noise thanks to the included three-capsule microphone and wind screen.

It has a 1-inch sensor and uses a fixed, 20-millimeter wide-angle lens—perfect for a natural perspective. The camera’s display flips around so you can frame your shots, but it can be hard to see in bright light. It can accurately track the movement of your eye and of objects, and it has face auto-exposure with up to 4X digital zoom. Sony’s optional Bluetooth wireless shooting grip makes it especially easy to use this camera one-handed.

What our writers say: Forbes Vetted’s Jason R. Rich reviewed the  Sony ZV-1F , and he says, “I believe this will quickly become the go-to camera used by high-profile vloggers, YouTubers, TikTokers and social-media influencers. I found this model did a great job handling its core vlogging purpose, but discovered it also does a decent job serving as a traditional point-and-shoot camera.”

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The best prime day macbook deals include 23% off the macbook air, why trust forbes vetted.

At Forbes Vetted, we’re proud of our large library of tech and camera articles . We offer dozens of resources about all kinds of cameras, including mirrorless cameras and dash cams .

  • This guide was written by Christian de Looper , who has over a decade’s worth of experience writing about consumer technology. He also wrote our guide on the best mirrorless cameras and best travel cameras .
  • All picks in this guide were approved by Rebecca Isaacs , Forbes Vetted’s tech editor, a consumer technology expert who has years of experience writing about and covering all the latest gadgets.
  • The world of tech and camera equipment moves fast, so we make every effort to keep our content accurate and up-to-date. This article was last updated in July 2024.

How We Chose The Best Cameras

In building this list of the best cameras, we leveraged our own expertise and years of experience covering the consumer technology and camera industries as well as reviews from users.

  • We identified the different categories of cameras, and narrowed our list down to the top products that we’ve tested that are consistently recommended in those categories.
  • Factors we considered included things like image quality, video features, portability and more.
  • We also pored over reviews from real buyers to make sure others’ experience aligned without own. We didn’t include any options that weren’t top-rated by reviewers.

A Quick Guide To Types Of Cameras For Photography

Here’s an overview of the different types of cameras for still photography available.


Often (but not always) one step up from the cameras built into your smartphone, point-and-shoot cameras generally offer better image quality, more shooting options, and, depending on the model, sometimes even a fair amount of exposure control. It’s a good entry point into the world of standalone cameras.

That said, the cameras built into the latest smartphones (like the iPhone 14 Pro Max , Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or the Google Pixel 7 Pro ) now rival what’s possible using low-to-mid-priced point-and-shoot cameras, so the popularity of this camera category is on the decline. But they are still used for vlogging.

For about 50 years, SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras were the most common type camera for serious photographers. Thanks to their interchangeable lenses, you could swap the lens in seconds to go from wide-angle to telephoto. They also offered complete exposure control. And the reflex mechanism—a mirrored prism that let you look through the viewfinder, but rapidly swung out of the way to expose film when you pressed the shutter button—enabled you to see exactly what you were about to take a picture of.

These days, DSLRs are still that, only they use digital sensors (hence the “D”) instead of film. DSLRs have been the choice of serious (and aspiring) photographers for decades, but mirrorless cameras are quickly replacing them as the go-to cameras used by semi-pro and professional-level photographers.

Mirrorless cameras are sort of like DSLRs, without the SLR part. In other words, there’s no mechanical mirrored prism that needs to move when you take the picture—the camera is a true digital device. It simply sends the same signal to the electronic viewfinder and to the sensor that records the image. This lets mirrorless camera bodies weigh much less than DSLRs and be more compact in size (without compromising resolution or functionality).

Mirrorless cameras are the future of photography and will eventually replace DSLRs altogether—but they currently have a few disadvantages. They can suffer from shorter battery life than DSLRs, for example, because they have to power an electronic viewfinder. Plus, the lens selection can be more limited. However, this is quickly changing as the various camera manufacturers are all now fully embracing this new and fast-evolving technology.

Instant Camera

The first instant cameras were released in the late-1940s, but became super popular in the 1970s, thanks to Polaroid. Instead of using traditional film, these cameras use special photo paper that jettisons out of the camera once an image is taken—allowing you to hold a print in your hands within minutes after a photography has been taken.

Instant cameras have made a resurgence in popularity in recent years and some offer a few modern twists. Check out our guide to the best Polaroid cameras to learn about all the new features.

Action Camera

These are small digital cameras that can easily be attached to your body, equipment, a selfie stick or a tripod, allowing you to capture action from a stunning first- or third-person perspective. They can also be used as a traditional, handheld point-and-shoot camera or as a video camera capable of shooting ultra-high-resolution content.

Action cameras are waterproof, ultra durable, work in extreme temperatures and can often capture images and videos other cameras are not capable of. They also offer an ultra wide-angle lens. In some cases, they can capture 360-degree photos or video content as well. While you can use these cameras to capture your action-oriented adventures, they also make great vacation cameras due to their small size and versatility.

Christian de Looper

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15 Genius Travel Accessories to Buy on Amazon Prime Day — From Just $7

Our picks include game-changing tech, gadgets, fashion, and more.

Alesandra Dubin is an LA-based lifestyle writer and editor. As a veteran digital journalist, she's covered travel, food, parenting, and more for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy, and countless other online and print outlets. An avid traveler, she often trots the globe with her husband and their twins. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @alicedubin. Alesandra holds a master's degree in journalism with an emphasis on cultural reporting and criticism from NYU, and a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley.

best travel compact camera 2022

Travel + Leisure / Francesca Fasciglione

While there’s no magic you can do to ensure your travels go smoothly, there are some strategic items you can pack to help you level up your experience. From packing cubes to tech tools , clothing , and accessories , these products can be serious game-changers for your travel comfort, convenience, and style.

Now is a great time to grab our favorite essentials, because they’re all on sale right now for Amazon Prime Day (which officially runs from July 16 to 17 this year). We sifted through the masses of deals to bring you the 15 most genius accessories. Starting at just $7, each has the potential to improve your next trip in its own small, but meaningful, way. 

Jisulife Handheld Mini Fan

With more than 45,000 five-star reviews, this handheld mini fan is fit for summer travel in hot and humid conditions. The compact device is a fan as well as a flashlight and backup power bank. Offering up to 19 hours of cooling time on a single charge, it’s conveniently rechargeable via USB.

Bagail 8-Piece Packing Cube Set

Packing cubes are a great way to stay organized. This comes with eight different pieces so you can have one each for shoes, toiletries, and laundry. See what’s inside each by way of breathable mesh panels, so there’s no guessing the contents of each cube. Keep everything tidy during your journey as well as at your destination. 

Faleave 2-Piece Sweater Set

I’m a travel writer and this outfit is my open secret to looking polished on-the-go while still feeling as comfy as I do in sweatpants (or pajamas). I have the set in apricot, which looks more like an off-white. On a recent trip, I swapped flats for wedges and headed straight from the airport to dinner wearing this versatile outfit. 

STM 3-in-1 Charge Tree

With this three-in-one charging gadget, you can charge your phone, AirPods, and Apple Watch all at the same time. The design is compact and foldable, so you can slip it into your suitcase easily with minimal bulk and fuss. Reviewers say it’s “ compact and easy to use .”

TIJN Classic Aviator Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a packing essential, especially in the summer. But, they can get expensive — which makes it disheartening when they get lost or scratched. Stocking up on an affordable pair (while they’re on sale for even less) is a clutch move. The alloy metal frames and lenses are scratch-resistant, and the lenses have UV400 protection coating.

Aerothotic Strappy Sandals

Traveling almost always calls for more walking, so it’s good to have a pair of supportive shoes. This lightweight pair provides excellent arch support, an adjustable buckle for a bespoke fit, and a footbed that cushions the whole foot, from toe to heel. “They offer unparalleled comfort, durability, and style at a fraction of the cost compared to other brands,” said one five-star reviewer among this popular sandal’s 4,300 reviews.

Bandesun Snackle Box

Multicompartment plastic boxes are trending on TikTok as a way to organize lots of snacks into delightful, securely-packed surprises. Especially fun for little kids to uncover one at a time throughout a long flight, this box contains eight compartments. It’s also great for keeping other non-edible bits and bobs organized during travel, like jewelry.

Travel Inspira Digital Luggage Scale

If you’ve ever frantically rearranged things in your suitcase on an airport floor while dealing with overweight luggage and an impatient queue forming behind you, you know how helpful a personal luggage scale can be. This one is compact, lightweight, and a tiny fraction of the cost of overweight bag fees.

JREN Kids Tablet

Whatever your attitude about kids’ screen time at home, chances are you tend to relax your policies when you travel — especially for long flights or car rides. This tablet offers a way to keep the littles entertained with games, videos, and more. You can manage screen-time limits and install other parental controls, too.

Aosu Wireless Camera Doorbell

It can be hard to relax while you travel if you’re the type to worry about the state of things back home. Prime Day is an excellent time to get a video doorbell to help allay those concerns from afar. Keep your eye on your place and even interact with potential visitors from wherever you are with this smart gadget. You’ll get a live view from your doorbell along with the ability to arm and disarm it from wherever you are in the world. The doorbell is on sale, but your peace of mind is priceless. 

Riemot Luggage Handle Cup Holder

If you’re not sprinting with a cup of coffee toward your departure gate, are you even traveling? This simple-yet-effective tool helps make that situation much more manageable. It connects easily to the handle of any rolling luggage, providing pockets to hold two drinks, plus a third pocket for other essentials. Adjust the band easily to get a snug fit on most luggage handle types. When you’re not toting around a latte, it’s a great place to keep your important travel documents, phone, and AirPods.

INIU Portable Charger

A backup charger may just become an essential item on your packing list. Doubt it? Just wait until you’re abroad, trying to order an Uber after a long flight with your phone on 1%.  With well over 100,000 ratings, this popular charger can keep you juiced up, helping you avoid sticky situations. It has USB-C ports both in and out.

Yesno Wide-leg Jumpsuit

This wide-leg jumpsuit is perfect for long flights or road trips. It’s also a versatile option you can easily dress up and layer. The straps are adjustable and it even has pockets to stash all your travel essentials. The breezy, loose-fitting outfit helped one reviewer stay “relatively cool in 85-degree heat in the blazing sun.”

AirGlo Portable Phone Stand

This phone stand is actually the brainchild of a flight attendant. It’s a compact, affordable gadget to help you watch movies and TV shows on long flights with your personal device, in case there’s no in-seat entertainment unit. One five-star rating praised its “amazing functionality” — for propping up other items, like a mirror, for getting ready on-the-go.

Bostanten Crossbody Bag

A crossbody bag is a stylish way to keep valuables close to your body, and away from pickpockets. This one is made of cruelty-free faux leather, so it's durable and reasonably priced. It has five pockets and five built-in card slots as well as a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap. “Everything I need for going exploring in a new city is easily-accessible without being clunky,” one reviewer wrote.

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