12 Portable Cameras for Travel Photography

86Share

When choosing the perfect camera for travel photography, there are myriad options available, depending on the way you like to shoot, how compact you want your camera to be, and how versatile your camera system needs to be. Ranging from ultra-compact point-and-shoots to sleek interchangeable-lens options, here are 12 portable cameras perfect for your upcoming travels.

1. Leica Q2

I’m an advocate of traveling with a single lens, and the Leica Q2 embodies this philosophy perfectly with its high-end design, fixed prime lens, and sleek form factor. The Q2 is an ideal travel camera due to its compact size, but it is certainly no slouch when it comes to imaging capabilities. One of the highest-resolution options on our list, the full-frame 47.3MP sensor is truly impressive and gives you some versatility with the built-in Crop Modes to simulate the look of different focal lengths. However, the Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH. is one of the key reasons the Q2 is as popular as it is; it’s a stunning, fast wide-angle prime perfectly matched to the sensor. And since there’s no need for changing lenses, the whole kit is even more compact than the svelte M-series rangefinders. Other reasons this camera is perfect for travel: DCI and UHD 4K video recording, a very nice 3.68MP OLED electronic viewfinder, and a dust- and moisture-sealed design.

Leica Q2 Digital Camera

2. Ricoh GR III

A true pocketable powerhouse, there’s no denying Ricoh’s GR III is an ideal camera for traveling. It boasts a high-resolution 24.2MP APS-C sensor, has a fixed 28mm f/2.8 equivalent lens, and includes Shake Reduction image stabilization… all in a package the size of your palm. I had a chance to travel with the GR III earlier this year and really fell for its minimalist design and just plain impressiveness of the imagery. There’re no bells and whistles in this camera, which is why it’s so successful. It’s a simple and understated camera that works, and it’s perfect to slip in any bag or your pocket for anything from a long weekend to a multi-week overseas adventure.

Ricoh GR III Digital Camera

3. Nikon Z 7

Another camera I had a chance to use while traveling, the Nikon Z 7 is perfect for the traveler who’s looking for a versatile system without having to deal with too much heft. Compared to the aforementioned cameras, the Z 7’s main merits lie in that it’s an interchangeable-lens camera, giving you a bit more flexibility for bringing along a couple of lenses, a zoom, or just a different focal length lens than a wide-angle prime. The Z 7, along with the Z 6, is Nikon’s first foray into full-frame mirrorless, and they nailed it with one of the most compact bodies in this category, exceptional imaging capabilities, while retaining perfect ergonomics for all-day use. The Z 7 is one of those cameras that will excel on the road just as much as it will in your home or studio.

Nikon Z 7 Mirrorless Digital Camera

4. FUJIFILM X-T30

The younger, smaller brother to the X-T3, FUJIFILM’s X-T30 is a perfect travel camera due to its slightly reduced dimensions and weight from the higher tier of X-series cameras. Despite its svelte design, the X-T30 packs a wealth of photo and video capabilities to suit your travel photography needs. As Todd Vorenkamp says, the X-T30 could replace his trusty X-T3 “when I really want to travel light(er), because I know I would be getting identical image quality in a smaller and lighter package.” Speaking of identical image quality, the X-T30 does feature FUJIFILM’s 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4, which provide you with high-res stills, DCI and UHD 4K30 video, quick AF, and sensitivity up to ISO 12800.

FUJIFILM X-T30 Mirrorless Digital Camera

5. Sony a6400

Sometimes overshadowed by its impressive and versatile a7-series, Sony is still cranking out APS-C-format cameras that continue to incorporate noteworthy still and video features, but in a very sleek package. The Alpha a6400 is a perfect example of this, with its 24.2MP APS-C sensor, UHD 4K video, 425-point AF, and 11 fps continuous shooting. Even better, this camera has been given the “vlogger treatment,” with a 180-degree tilting touchscreen, making it perfect for recording your travelogues. Also ideal for capturing those fleeting moments, the a6400 has an incredible 0.02-second AF acquisition speed along with Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking to help ensure your subjects are in perfect focus.

Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Digital Camera

6. Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II

Among premium point-and-shoots, the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II is a beloved one due to its large sensor size, versatile zoom, and range of features that tick most “wished-for” boxes. It’s a perfect all-around shooter due to its 17MP Four Thirds sensor, which offers impressive still capabilities, sensitivity to ISO 25600, and UHD 4K video. The 24-75mm equivalent zoom, with an f/1.7-2.8 maximum aperture range, is somewhat unique among large sensor compacts, and the Leica-designed lens also has POWER O.I.S. to reduce the appearance of camera shake. Also, a necessity for many, the LX100 II has a 2.36m-dot viewfinder to make this compact camera better suited for working in bright conditions.

Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II Digital Camera

7. Panasonic Lumix DC-G95

For a bit more versatility than a compact, fixed-lens camera, Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G95 is a perfect blend of a sleek form factor and apt performance. As a Micro Four Thirds camera, the G95 has a huge system of lenses to choose from to suit any of your travel needs, but it still retains a small footprint that makes it easy to pack in a day bag. The 20.3MP sensor couples with a Venus Engine image processor to deliver impressive UHD 4K video, V-Log L is pre-installed, and still-photo performance is backed by ISO 25600 sensitivity, 9 fps shooting, and 5-axis image stabilization. Increasing its versatility, the G95 also has a high-res 2.36m-dot EVF and a free-angle, swiveling 3.0" touchscreen LCD.

Panasonic Lumix DC-G95 Mirrorless Digital Camera

8. FUJIFILM GFX 50R

One of the requirements for a “travel camera” is that it is small and lightweight, and while objectively the FUJIFILM GFX 50R isn’t necessarily either of those, it does have the claim as being the most compact, portable medium format camera currently available. Even if not small enough for an everyday carry camera, for photographers looking for ultimate image quality in a portable design, the GFX 50R is the go-to option due to its slim, rangefinder-inspired design that’s roughly the size of a professional full-frame DSLR, but featuring a sensor approximately 1.5x the size. For photographers looking to focus on landscapes, scenic shots, and other subjects benefitted by a high degree of detail, the GFX 50R might just be worth the slight jump in size.

FUJIFILM GFX 50R Medium Format Mirrorless Camera

9. Canon EOS Rebel SL3

While DSLRs aren’t reigning supreme anymore, there is still the simple satisfaction of having a reliable, trusty camera with you for your travels. And while the initial push for switching to mirrorless dealt with the promise of smaller camera sizes, more recent cameras have bucked this trend, making room for ultra-compact DSLRs to still have their niche. Chief among the tiny DSLRs is the Canon EOS Rebel SL3; an APS-C-format camera offering a wealth of shooting capabilities. The 24.1MP sensor offers UHD 4K video, 5 fps shooting, and ISO 25600 sensitivity and, since it’s a DSLR, it has an optical viewfinder for easy viewing. Another traveling benefit to DSLRs has to be battery life, which is still markedly better; the SL3, for instance, gives you just over 1,600 shots per charge on a relatively compact battery.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 DSLR Camera

10. Nikon D5600

Another compact DSLR, the Nikon D5600 is a comfortably situated camera that mixes a handful of advanced features with an especially sleek body design. Featuring a DX-format 24.2MP sensor, this camera offers up to 5 fps shooting, ISO 25600 sensitivity, and Full HD video, as well as in-camera Time-Lapse movie recording. A large, 3.2" rear touchscreen LCD is perfect for live view shooting and playback and, featuring SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the D5600 is a well-connected camera, perfect for sharing your images when on the go.

Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera

11. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

The latest release in the venerable line of G1-series advanced compacts, the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III includes huge improvements over its predecessor, including a step up to a larger 24.2MP APS-C sensor and the inclusion of a 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder. A versatile 24-72mm equivalent zoom is featured, and is benefitted by an Optical Stabilizer system that benefits working in low-light conditions. Also impressive for a compact, the G1 X Mark III sports Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a feature typically reserved for Canon’s SLRs and mirrorless bodies, making it particularly well suited for video recording.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Digital Camera

12. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI

Closing out our list is the latest camera from the series that practically put premium compacts back on the map, the Sony RX100 VI. Shawn Steiner had a chance to take it for a week of travel across the USA, and deemed it the “perfect pocket camera” due to its having “all the range and quality you could ever need.” This sixth-generation model made one of the biggest shifts in the RX100 series with its inclusion of a dramatically longer 24-200mm-equivalent zoom, compared to the previous models with 28-100 and 24-70mm zooms, making the RX100 VI much more of an all-rounder/all-in-one type of camera that’s perfect for travel. And even with the new lens design, it still retains its pocketable form factor, as well as a 20.1MP 1" sensor, UHD 4K video, and unique pop-up viewfinder design.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI Digital Camera

Do you have any additions to our list of perfect travel cameras? Tell us about your favorite cameras for travel in the Comments section, below. For more travel-related news and tips, be sure to check out the rest of Travel Week on B&H Explora!

86 Comments

Hi!

I have no idea about cameras so please bear with me. I'd like to know what the best cameras are, or ones you can recommend for everyday use? Definitely should be portable. Just for travel, portraits and every day things. 

Thanks! Hoping to hear from you guys :)

An article on portable cameras but no mention of their weight. !

That's all you got from this article?

Yes, well Lance has a good point. The article was about the top, lightweight travel cameras. Of course knowing how much they weigh, is very important. Maybe not to you but to Lance. 

My girlfriend and I are planning on a series of trips around the world soon, and I'm planning to get her a camera as an anniversary/pre-travelling gift. What would you recommend? The number of great cameras out there overwhelms me so much that I'm seeking for experts' advice.

Easy to carry, budget from $500-$1300

Hope you guys can help me out on this! Cheers!

Below are links to a few recommended options that will definitely serve as suitable travel cameras for your girlfriend and yourself.

Fuji X100T:  http://bhpho.to/1tYBe3d

Sony A6000:  http://bhpho.to/MOMpsO

Panasonic LX100: http://bhpho.to/1sisujF

Fuji X30:  http://bhpho.to/VT6677

Canon EOS M3:  http://bhpho.to/1MUEcRE

I would like to know why no come nor info to read about aPentax K-3

Reading Josh Taylor vision about 12 Portable Cameras for Travel Photography I wonder why all strong, tough & all weather cameras are not mentioned. Olympus Tough-3, Nikon 1-AW-1 and so much more brands. It depends how you want to travel. Dust, Water, Ice proof?? Pocket-handy? Yes I am not Pro. But my TG! !! worked well in Canada. Here in the Philippines I use my Panasonic DMC-GX7. It is just what you prefer. Greetings, Petrusr de Ruijter 

Thanks Petrus de Ruijter, you are preaching to the choir with me. I love "tough" point and shoots and mentioned them at length in this article. I am also finishing up a hands-on review in which I took three tough cam models with me to Mexico and ran them through their paces. Keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks on explora.

This! article.

What are your thoughts on the new Canon G3?  Great versatility with the lens and other features, but a bit large.

I have been a G series fan and user for a long time (currently shooting the G1 X) and it does have some pretty great features. However, and to be very clear, I have yet to try the G3 X, but I am not such a fan of long lenses on compact cameras, kinda defeats the purpose. It's also a style choice but I think for the few times I would zoom to 600mm equivalent, I would prefer to use a DSLR. I am sure image quality is very good and having the long zoom as an available option clearly has its benefits. More important though, Iet's hear from anyone out there who has used the G3 X....    Thanks for the comment Pete

I mostly shoot with heavy Nikon DSLRs for work, but wanted somthing lightweight for travel that would give me the same hi quality images. After speaking with other pros and fine art photographers, I purchased the Fuji X-Pro 1, X-E2 and some hi end lenses. At first, the X-E2 felt a little cheap, until I mounted their hi-quality 18-135 zoom lens. This combination has been a wonderful all around 1 lens travel camera that gives you the range of 27mm - 202mm. Being an industrial and architectural photographer, I use my 10-24mm. But, if you only want to cary one lens, the 18-135 and the X-E2 is a nice combination. Battery life is not great, so extra batteries are a must to carry.        

Great comment thephotomaker!  Thanks for the input.

Canon SL1 with EF-S 24mm pancake, 60mm EF-S macro and Zippo lighter is all you need. 
(I don't smoke but I find that some times  good looking do)

Thanks Deryl...this writer agrees with your choice....but be careful with that Zippo! 

I agree that these remarks simpy regurgiatate what the manufacturers marketers have provided. Consequently I glossed over them without much analysis at all. I put as much effort into reading aswas done for the production.

If you're going to do this add a spread sheet with side by side comparsion of features and price and value for money. Oh and if these are for travel photography I think these days GPS is almost mandatory. Saves taking notes and photos of signs and much easier to drop into maps in Lightroom

I'm very careful about where I use GPS. Sure, it's nice to tag your photos with the precise location where they were taken. BUT, government authorities in some countries take a dim view of people photographing near sensitive locations...military installations, public utililities, airports, harbors, rail yards, etc. And the most innocuous photos might result in interviews with any number of law enforcement or governmental agencies.

Sony RX1R nedds to be at the top of this list.  Zeiss 35mm optics at fulf frame, magic!

Surprising the lack of bridge cameras, such as the Lumix FZ1000. Size of a 4/3rds or small dslr with 25-400 zooming in raw and 1600 in jpeg Lica branded lens that is pretty fast (2.8-4.0). With 4k video, it's a grab your kit and go and have all phographic situations covered. When traveling that's what I want.

Long zoom point and shoots or "Bridge" cameras definitely have the versatility advantage. Take a look at this article for some examples and wow -- more Panasonic recommendations! Thanks GeezerMike.

I find the Sony RX1 to be a superb travel camera. It is full frame and the image quality is second to none. It lacks an inbuilt viewfinder and you will need to carry a second battery but that is a small compromise for the brilliant photos this camera can take

Undoubtedly a great camera. Thanks Michael.

 We just returned from the Arctic Circle photographing Narwahl whales beluga whales and polar bears.  we were a group of 11 and all the other Nikon and Canon cameras were having problems because of the cold but my three Sony cameras just kept right on going awesome under  severe weather conditions   

Donna: Thanks for that interesting feedback and to be sure, exteme conditions call for a more careful examination of the gear you will bring. However, I have shot in sub-freezing temps with my Nikon DSLRs without a glitch. Just be sure to keep your batteries warm. Check out Todd's infographic piece on Cold-Weather Photography

Recently came back from a 10-day trip. I took a Leica M-E with a 35/2.8 Zeiss Biogon, 50/1.4 Lux and a CV 21/4. A Fuji X100 was taken primarily as a backup. I also took a Ricoh GR. It's so small as to inconsequential to take along. The M-E with the 35 was used 90% of the time, but I wound up with keeper images from every lens and both other bodies. 

Nice gear selection, but for the cost of that kit you could have hired a professional photographer to come along and take the pictures for you.

It all depends what you would like to do with the pictures you take during your trip. If you just want to demonstrate to your friends that you were here and there, then a smartphone with its tiny sensor would do it. But if you also want to be proud of your pictures and enlarge some of them, then you would need any of the cameras in the article.

As a seasoned international traveller who has tried a variety of cameras on different trips, I have settled on lugging my Pentax DSLR (with the weather seal feature on the camera and lens) for daytime use (there is still nothing like a full size IMO) and my pocketsize Sony RX 100 for nights walking around, use in restaurants, etc. as well as daytime adventures when the full size would just be too much.  I also think the two cameras provide great backup if something should happen to one of them.  I manage to fit everything in a smallish Tamrac bag.

Agree with Pentax.  I've only used Pentax cameras   .  One time trips call for a good DSLR camera.  As for a back up camera, I've found the new phone cameras serve that purpose well enough.  

Thanks Deborah...good combination and yes, I tend to want two types of cameras with me on vacation too. The more casual camera I take to dinner or breakfast strolls but want it to be able to catch good moments and serve in low light.  The RX100 series certainly do.

There are 3 cleasses of cameras shown with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II having an electronic viewfinder that can be used like a normal SLR camera for selecting the focus point and shooting, but requiring the addition of lenses, and ones that have an integrated zoom lens. The Olympus has pro level f2.8 constant aperture lenses which provide far better image qualtiy but at t cost of thousands of dollars.

The Olympus is the only one of the cameras mentioned that I would want to use 100% of the time, at home, traveling localling, and traveling overseas. The Olympus MFT kit will be half the bulk, half the weight, and half the cost of a standard DSLR camera with its lenses. This camera also produces files at ISO 12,800 that are good enough to be made into prints.

GPS integration is great for automatically geotagging travel pictures and only the one Nikon camera mentioned has this capability. With the others the users will have to try to do this in post processing by combining the information from a separate data logger used at the same time as the camera.

The Nikon, Canon, and Sony have integrated zoom lenses that are fast enough for low light and indoor use without flash and I would select from these cameras for this reason alone if looking for a backup camera to my DSLR.

Thanks Bruce.

Does the Nikon Coolpix P7800 have a viewfinder?

Yes, the Nikon Coolpix P7800 Digital Camera has both an electronic viewfinder and an 3" LCD screen.

Hello everyone, well i will write about my point of view and my case why i choose DSLR instead of mirrorless or similar. Remember that is my case and my situation when i travel, im not saying if one is better then other just put my pov for your guys before buy something, see some alternatives.

1) Most mirrorless are too expensives, of course there are some about 500 dollars but in my opinion doesn't worth the price.
2) Battery life, for me this is a problem (again, of course ther are good mirrorless with good battery life but check the price, for me too expensive)

So, regarding this what i did? Considering the money vs benefits I bought an Iphone 6 with 128gb and Canon EOS 70D with 18-135mm + 50mm Lens and im very satisfied with that combination because i can take good photos near, far, landscape, fast, slow with good or low light conditions. EOS 70D is a great camera too take photos and for movies with live view the camera are very good and the battery life is exceptionally great.

Ok i dont have 4K but for me this is not important. So that is my point of view, i hope i could help you guys

Regards,

Leonardo Bissoli.

Thanks Leonardo, that is the kind of comment I like!  We all have set-ups that work for us and you have found a combination that serves you well, thanks for sharing. Also, you bring up the important point of battery life...nothing worse than running out of battery power as golden hour arrives and you approach the last, best tour attraction of the day.  

I have  found the Panasonic DMC-ZS20  to be an excellent pocket-sized  camera. Excellent images, equivalent 24-240mm  zoom, and built in GPS.   I  now leave my  Nikon DSLR at home when I travel.  I  bring along another DCM-ZS20 as a back-up, just in case.   Current model  is  ZS-50 with even more features including WiFi. $400. 

I agree that the ZS series make nice travel cameras.I traveled this summer with a ZS-40 and enjoyed it. A very useful viewfinder, big zoom range, and reliable results. It's small enough to tuck into a leg pocket of cargo shorts comfortably. I got some terrific macro shots of flowers, bees and butterflies, and nice landscape shots. Easy camera to use but very capable. I've heard good things about the ZS-50.

Panasonic is rocking the comment section!! Thanks for the input Bob and Joe.

This is a sad article, meanders all over the place and is so painfully evident paid content. The same article that has some small little cameras that can be packed away can't have huge cameras (albeit mirrorless) who can't be packed easily away. It seems to be more of a catch-all than a real honest-to-goodness POV on what to take when travelling.

+1. It reads like copy provided by the manufacturers.

MSA and Allen p: Thank you for the feedback. Your points are well-taken, but I can assure you that our articles are not copy provided by manufacturers. We are always striving to be better and provide info that we feel will serve all of our customers. Perhaps this article on "Cameras for Vacation" will be more to your liking. It throws the net wide but I hope also offers some insight into the many and varied choices available.

The best camera in the world is the one you have with you. That's why I love the Lumix GM for travel. With a 20mm 'pancake' it is a p&s sized pocketable, light and strong with magnesium alloy frame. I prefer the remarkable 12-32 micro zoom as a versatile travel solution. I have put many miles on the previous GM1. The new GM5 adds a high-res e-viewfinder. A couple of words of caution: the camera body can take a beating but the super-light 12-32 is more delicate - care must be taken. Secondly, you might be enticed into dragging along one of the 4/3 super-zooms. Works great...and completely defeats the portability purpose.

Thanks pd...good advice and the GM5 is a wonderful and very compact mirrorless but your point is important, the portability of a mirrorless camera is dependent on your lens choices.

Should have included Oly EPL-5 series.  

I would like to see a grouping of good compact or pocket cameras that have good viewfinders. I always feel if I am holding the camera out at arms length I am defeting having a good camera. 

The GH4 is Panasonic's top of the line. Also worth considering is the new G7 which is substantially less expensive but is surprisingly capable. At least you owe it to yourself to find a G7 review if you are considering one of the mirrorless "DSLR style" cameras shown above.

I think these travel cameras should be more affordable not the high end cameras. Other than the Sony a6000 a lot are big buck buddies

Thanks Joseph, the Lumix DMC-G7 is well worth the consideration.

Show older comments

Close

Close

Close