What is it, it’s almost May already? Haven’t you “pumped up for summer” yet? There is a great way — everywhere and always carry a heavy camera and a bunch of lenses. But, of course, such exercises are best done closer to home. When you travel really far, you begin to appreciate completely opposite things in photographic equipment — compactness and lightness. Today we’ll talk about just such cameras for vacation and travel.
What should be the best camera for travel
As we noted above, a travel camera, first of all, should be compact and lightweight, and if it is a camera with interchangeable lenses, lightweight universal glasses should be available for it.
In addition, it should have a “survivable” battery and the ability to recharge on the go via USB. And it should also be a versatile camera that is suitable for any genre of photography — street photography, landscapes, portraits. If she makes a cool video, it will be a nice bonus.
So, here are our main criteria for the best travel camera:
In our top 7 cameras for vacation and travel, we tried to collect cameras of various types — from point-and-shoot cameras to full-frame mirrorless cameras, so that everyone can choose the most suitable option for their shape and budget.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
The latest version of the compact from the Cyber-shot series from Sony, which the language does not dare to call a “soap box”. In this baby, the Japanese company tried to collect everything a traveler might need, but at the same time save the user from having to deal with interchangeable lenses on their own. And, it should be noted, Sony managed not only to collect all this, but also to do it well (even excellently).
Its built-in 24–200mm equivalent zoom lens (developed in collaboration with top optics manufacturer ZEISS) with a good (though not the brightest) maximum aperture of f/2.8–4.5 makes it possible to capture any subject in any situation, from vast seascapes to birds, sitting on the highest branches. There is also a proprietary autofocus system that easily catches any moving objects, so you can practically not think about focusing.
The camera can also do video: 4K at 30 fps with the same cool autofocus. All this in a super-compact “soap box” case: the Sony camera weighs only 300 grams and fits into a jeans pocket.
The main disadvantage of the RX100 is its high price, but you get what you pay for: this camera gives travelers absolutely everything they need.
Another camera option with an integrated lens that is great for travelers is the Fujifilm X100V. Although it’s not very rewarding to compare them with Sony, these are cameras with completely different philosophies and target audiences. What is the reason? The Fujifilm X100V is not equipped with a zoom lens, but with a 35mm equivalent fixed focal length glass. For many, this is too pretentious solution, which, it would seem, deprives a camera with an integrated lens of one of the most important characteristics — versatility.
However, although the lens in the Fujifilm X100V does not allow you to zoom in and out while standing still, 35mm is just the focal length that allows you to photograph almost everything: from landscapes and street photography to portraits in the environment. And, of course, as befits a fix, this is a lens with very cool optics — a super-sharp picture and excellent aperture in one bottle.
Another feature of the camera is a hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder. If you prefer the viewfinder to work with the camera turned off, covering the entire frame without any color distortion and delays, use an optical viewfinder. If you want to immediately see how the picture will look with all your settings, choose electronic.
Despite being geared towards photo aesthetes, the Fujifilm X100V can shoot 4K video as well, so it’s truly a versatile travel camera. In addition, it is very compact — 468 grams.
If shooting travel blogs is in your mind, but you also don’t want to forget about photography, you can look at the vlogger Sony ZV-E10.
We have already written about this camera more than once and have repeatedly compared it with another blogging model — the Sony ZV‑1. The ZV‑1 is more compact, it has a built-in lens that makes life easier for a traveler, and if you are not interested in photography, then it is better to take it. The ZV-E10 is in this ranking precisely because of its greater versatility — this is an option for a vlogger who often posts on social networks.
The main difference between the two models is that the ZV-E10 allows you to use interchangeable lenses, which means that you have access not only to zooms, but also to fast fixes. And fast fixes are not only a beautifully “blurred” background, but also a fat plus for street photography, especially in the evening!
And, of course, this camera has everything you need for vloggers — cool 4K video, a tenacious autofocus system for photos and videos, a powerful battery and good built-in microphones. And its 24-megapixel APS‑C sensor allows you to take detailed pictures with low noise and good dynamic range.
The main disadvantage of the model is the lack of built-in stabilization, so it is better to use optically stabilized lenses. There are also some problems with the rolling shutter effect (a special type of image distortion in a video), but they are not critical.
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Another camera that fulfills all the criteria for a great vacation and travel camera is the Canon EOS M50 Mark II.
This cropped mirrorless camera takes great 24-megapixel JPEG photos with nice colors that can be shared on social media with minimal post-processing. Autofocus does not fail, although it is slightly worse than that of Sony cameras.
The M50 II shoots video in 4K, although with quite a bit of cropping, so it’s best to switch to 1080p for better picture quality and improved autofocus. For bloggers, there is built-in support for YouTube streaming, vertical video, and a microphone jack.
This is a very light — 387 grams — and compact — 116 x 88 x 59 — camera. The signature EOS M series lenses are also small and light.
Perhaps not the M50 II’s strong point is the battery — 305 shots on a single charge, but the camera can be recharged from a power bank on the go. In general, this is an easy-to-use, versatile and very budget camera, which is convenient to go on vacation with — it does not take up much space and can do everything a traveler needs.
As an alternative crop camera that makes excellent ready-made JPEGs for social networks, we can recommend the Fujifilm X‑T30 II. The Fujik is also very easy to handle, compact, and there are plenty of cool miniature lenses for it.
If you’re a fan of the full frame and all its benefits (detail, wider “look”, improved low-light performance, etc.), but still want to travel light, then Sony has a unique offer — the Sony a7C.
The Sony a7C isn’t much bigger than the RX100 soapbox we started this list of the best travel cameras with, but it doesn’t lag behind full-frame full-frame cameras in terms of image quality. The a7C has a built-in stabilization system that makes it easier to shoot video and work in low light, an excellent autofocus system, detailed 4K and a battery that allows you to take 740 frames on a single charge — an outstanding result for a mirrorless camera.
Of the minuses — a relatively high price (although we must not forget that this is a full-frame camera) and a not very convenient miniature viewfinder (you have to pay for the overall compactness).
There is another full-frame Sony camera that has earned cult status among travelers — the Sony a7 III. It’s also very compact for a full frame model and has a very long battery life. The model was released in 2018, so it falls slightly behind the latest Sony in terms of video capabilities and autofocus performance, while being slightly cheaper. This makes the Sony a7 III one of the most interesting cameras on the market for travel photographers in terms of value for money.
Yes, a SLR appeared in our rating! DSLRs are bigger and heavier than their mirrorless counterparts, but when it comes to travel, they have one very big advantage: battery life.
Nikon D5600 is good for several reasons. Firstly, just the same battery (970 photos per charge). Secondly, despite the fact that this is a DSLR, it is quite compact and weighs only 465 grams.
The 24-megapixel APS‑C sensor delivers beautifully detailed photos, and you get all the benefits of working with an optical viewfinder that we talked about above. This camera can be purchased with a universal zoom 18–55mm at a very reasonable price today.
However, the camera has serious limitations in terms of video shooting: not very good detail, no 4K and weak autofocus for video. So if you’re going to shoot anything more demanding than short tik tok videos, it’s best to take a look at the mirrorless camera options we’ve outlined above.
GoPro Hero10 Black
And of course, what’s a good vacation without an action camera? A calm, measured vacation is not for everyone, and someone needs to rush with a camera into the very heat (or into the very water)! That’s what GoPro is for. The newest model in the Hero10 Black series offers everything you need for shooting action videos and extreme sports, but it doesn’t forget about photography.
Despite the small matrix, the “goproshka” takes 23-megapixel pictures at the level of good camera phones. Computational photography algorithms are used to make the photo as suitable as possible for social networks — with nice bright colors and good dynamic range.
In terms of video, the Hero10 Black shoots 5.3K at 60fps and 4K at 120fps for cool, detailed slow motion. There is an advanced stabilization system on board, so you can jump and run with the camera as you like without fear of getting jerky and shaky video.
The camera has a capacious battery (more than one and a half hours of video on a single charge), which can be recharged using an external battery. As befits an action camera, it has a super-compact body with protection from all possible external misfortunes — rain, sand, dust, salt water.
As an alternative to action cameras, you can consider the advanced rugged Olympus Tough TG‑6 compact. It’s as indestructible as a GoPro, yet it has a 25–100mm equiv 4x optical zoom lens. and a larger sensor that benefits low-light performance.