Best Travel Cameras of 2018 to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof

Best Travel Cameras to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof

If you are at all interested in photography, skill isn’t enough to capture the best photography. Sometimes you need to upgrade your photography equipment. It does make a big difference. But when you travel, having the bulkiest and most expensive gear isn’t too smart either. With my camera having recently been destroyed by a rambunctious dog, I had to look into the latest best travel cameras and wanted to share my findings with you.

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Best Travel Cameras of 2018 to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof

Here’s What We’ll Cover

(You can jump to the sections that interest you the most.)
Essential Travel Camera Specs
Best Point and Shoot Travel Cameras under $500
Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras under $500
Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras between $500-1000
Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras over $1000
Best DSLR Travel Cameras under $1000
Best DSLR Travel Cameras between $1000-2000
Best DSLR Travel Cameras over $3000
Best Action Cameras for Travel
So Which Camera Maker Is the Best?
It All Comes Down to Practice Though

Essential Travel Camera Specs

There are five criteria which I require potential travel cameras to have if they want to join me on my world trips:

  • Excellent images (high resolution and raw mode, please)
  • Sturdiness (needs to survive constant changes of climates and temperatures)
  • Not too heavy (you’ll want to carry it around with you potentiall every day)
  • Versatile and manual settings (screw auto mode and predefined fancy modes)
  • Video function (nowadays, that’s quite normal)

Of course, there are multiple pro features and criteria but I don’t want this to become to technical. Essentially, you will want something that you can use every day, in any kind of environment, so it needs to be light, easy to use, and, of course, make excellent photos. For occasional and amateur travel photographers, point and shoot cameras are a great budget option. For more professional travel photography, DSLR cameras are kinda a must. If you want to go all out, drones and 3D cameras are the new toys that everyone wants to have. For better overview, I am breaking this down into categories.

Best Travel Cameras to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof
Photo by Thomas AE on Unsplash

Best Point and Shoot Travel Cameras under $500

Point and shoot digital cameras are the most hassle-free and budget-friendly options when it comes to suitable travel cameras. You can easily carry them in your pocket, whip them out quickly to snap a pic (hence the name) and you don’t need expertise photography skills. Settings are easy and limited and their photos don’t take up too much data on your SD cards. It’s a neat solution for anyone who wants to get started or who just wants a nice camera for memorable holiday photos.

For a decent point and shoot that is even waterproof (up until 50 feet), take a closer look at the Olympus TG-5. It even takes RAW footage and if you know how to use Photoshop or Lightroom you can get mind-blowing amazing photos out of your holiday snaps. For a tilting screen, 30x optical zoom and connectivity to your camera, consider the Sony Cyber-shot HX90V. A sturdy point-and-shoot model is the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS. It is advertised as “selfie-ready” due to its movable multi-angle LCD display.

Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras under $500

The latest travel cameras with excellent photos despite being mirrorless are produced by Sony, such as the Sony DSC-RX100. Especially travel bloggers love the Sony cameras as a viable alternative to the bulky Nikon or Canon DSLRs. If you want a good compromise between DSLR and mirrorless, check out bridge cameras like Fuji.
Additional specs you might appreciate are low light performance (e.g. Canon PowerShot G9 X) and built-in wifi (e.g. Canon PowerShot SX720). Zoom is also a pretty great feature, but make sure to look for optical zoom instead of digital (which doesn’t actually zoom your object closer).

Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras between $500-1000

In this category, expect sharp photos and 4K mode, such as with the Panasonic Lumix GX85. What is great about this camera is that it has a touch monitor that is also tiltable, which is great for low angle or hard-to-reach shots, for instance. You don’t have to bend over backwards to see where you’re pointing at.

If you really want to shoot outdoors and in all kinds of weather, maybe take a closer look at Panasonic Lumix. I have had one before and I really enjoyed it. The Panasonic Lumix G85, for instance, has special weather sealing and has a good grip, which is great when you’re not too gentle with your cameras and yank them out for adventurous photos really quickly. Leica lenses are supposed to be some of the best our there and you can get these with Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100, which might have no touch screen but can shoot in 4K.

Best Mirrorless Travel Cameras over $1000

You can find amazing mirrorless cameras with excellent photo quality, such as with the fashionably retro-looking but extremely fabulous Fujifilm X-T2. If you want the neat feature of remote control and super fast autofocus, get the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and download the free Olympus Image Share app. Again, if you want amazing mirrorless cameras that can compete with the best DSLRs, you gotta check out Sony again, in particular the Sony a7R II. To keep your budget lower (as Sony is $$$), buy a lens from a competitor, such as Canon. They might be a tad slower, though.

Best Travel Cameras to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Best DSLR Travel Cameras under $1000

While DSLR cameras take up space on the higher price spectrum of the best travel cameras, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i is still pretty much affordable and offers great features. A competitor worth splurging on is the Nikon D5600.

At the lower end of the DSLR cameras in the Canon range, look up the Canon EOS 6D. It might not be able to shoot in 4K but it allows for 4.5 frames per second shoots and 1080p HD video recording. Outstanding is it’s optical zoom of 50x! Even the much pricier Canon EOS 5D Mark III with its 6 fps and 61-point AF system cannot hold a candle to this particular feature (only 4.3x).

Best DSLR Travel Cameras between $1000-2000

At therelatively lower end of the DSLR cameras in the Canon range, look up the Canon EOS 6D. It might not be able to shoot in 4K but it allows for 4.5 frames per second shoots and 1080p HD video recording. Outstanding is it’s optical zoom of 50x! Even the much pricier Canon EOS 5D Mark III with its 6 fps and 61-point AF system cannot hold a candle to this particular feature (only 4.3x). Full HD shoots and a tiltable screen promise Pentax K-1 or Sony Alpha 77 II. Nikon cameras are pretty much awesome, if you ask me, and in this price range it is worth looking into Nikon D750.

Best DSLR Travel Cameras over $3000

For top-notch travel photography, the Sony a99II will help you a low-pass filter up to ISO 102,4004 and 12fps 4K movie recording in full-frame. There is even in-body image stabilization optimized for full-frame sensor. It also has wifi connactability and a dust and moisture resistant body.

When it comes to higher end Canons, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is pretty solid. Sadly, that’s also a drawback as it is quite heavy, for instance compared to the slightly pricier Canon EOS 5DS R Digital SLR. For a super professional Nikon model, which again, is on the bulkier side, the Nikon D5 is widely heralded. Its 4K video recording is possible at the crazy speed of 30fps and it boasts 12 fps shooting for 200 Shots with AE/AF.

Best Travel Cameras to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Best Action Cameras for Travel

When it comes to action and adventure shots, GoPro is the market leader. The newer the model, the more amazing features you can count on. With GoPro 6, you for instance have a screen, incredibly advanced video stabilisation, 4K60 and 1080p240 video and generally better performance and storage capabilities than GoPro 5. Of course, there are more affordable copycat versions, such as the AKASO EK7000 4K. These are a good entry into the world of action cameras. Don’t forget the additional GoPro gear, such as selfie sticks, attachments and waterproof cases (for older models).

For aerial footage, whether of “still” landscapes or dynamic people, drones are the way to go. (Be sure to check local drone laws and get special insurance.) Here again, there are lower end and high tech models, depending on your budget and passion for the latest technological gear. A general favourite is the DJI Mavic Pro, which can fold down to the size of a small bottle and lasts up to 27 minutes. For a lower end drone with live video, check out the Holy Stone HS110.

So Which Camera Maker Is the Best?

It is hard to say whether Canon or Nikon are better than the other or whether Sony will quickly overtake them when it comes to lightweight and high quality travel cameras. For cameras in the lower cost range, Fuji delivers well. In the end, it comes down to what you are used to or need at the point of camera purchase. Even different models of the same camera maker can give pros pause as they need to get used to new button arrangements and features.

Camera Equipment to Level Up Your Travel Photography and Videography

Investing in the right additional equipment, such as lenses, lens covers and filters, camera bags, stabilisers or external microphones can elevate your travel photos and videos to the next level. To protect your camera from scratches and the sun, invest in a clear UV filter or a polarising filter to get those vibrant blues out of the sky.

Especially if you want to create outstanding travel videos, invest in a portable, adjustable and lightweight tripod, such as Joby Gorillapod. Make you pick the right model for your camera size and weight. If you want decent sound recording, don’t ever rely on the inbuilt microphone of your travel camera. Instead, invest in an external mic. Choose between clip on/lav mics, budget compact Rode mics or professional Rode microphones, for instance. These are also great if you are filming outdoors.

Best Travel Cameras to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash (same with header and pin)

It all comes down to practice though

No matter if you invest in expensive gear or opt for more affordable travel cameras, taking great travel photography comes down to knowing how to use your equipment. Learn basic composition, try different angles, capture moments, not just pretty views and don’t shy away from experimenting.

If you take selfies and generally need solo traveller photos, you might need some more additions, such as a wireless remote control, apps to check what you’re taking photos of (as is common with GoPros). But don’t ever be daunted by all the different settings you could do or spectacular photographers on instagram. With passion, a trained eye and curiosity, you can hone your skill. Remember, this is not a competition. You gotta, enjoy it first!

Let me know, which of these cameras have you had experience with or are you looking into at the moment? I’d love to hear from you.


Read next:

18 Clever Ways to Take Solo Travel Photos
Travel Photography Tips To Make You Look Like a Pro
How to Shoot NYC Skyline Photos Like A Pro // Sponsored

Best Travel Cameras of 2018 to Make Your Travel Photography Go Through the Roof

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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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Comments

    • Dennis
    • 11/12/2017
    Reply

    Great article Annemarie. I’m currently looking to buy a good travel camera so this was perfect timing. I’d also like to know how you edit your videos. Thanks

    1. Reply

      Hi Dennis, this has worked out well then! I hope you can find an awesome camera. I know it’s always such a struggle to decide which one to pick.

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