What is the best travel camera? A COMPARISON OF THE BEST TRAVEL CAMERAS 2021

If you love photography too, take photos while traveling not only brings back great memories of your adventures, but also allows you to practice this art in its own right.But how do you know the best travel camera?

But how do you capture all these memories in the best possible way? Which camera to choose for traveling?

There is no generic answer to this question, as it will all depend on the type of traveler you are, your photo level and your budget.

To help you choose, I’ve created a quick travel camera buying guide for you. This will allow you to choose the device best suited to your situation.

Given the sheer number of camera models, making a choice can be a real obstacle course. In this file, we detail all the criteria to take into account to choose the one that suits you. To help you see more clearly, we also compare in detail the most popular models.

Which camera to choose for traveling?

Before blindly embarking on a travel camera purchase, it is still necessary to ask yourself a few questions. Indeed, based on the answers to the questions below, I would tend to refer you to one type of device more than another.

Between us, there are no right or wrong choices about which device you want to buy for traveling. You just have to find what best suits your usage / needs, your budget, or your type of travel. The trick is to explain to you how to choose the right camera and according to what criteria.

1 – Identify your needs and priorities

The first thing to ask yourself is what do you want to do with your device? You will answer me: photos!

What type of photos do you want to take?
More seriously, what is the point of buying a camera for traveling? Is it simply to immortalize moments and take souvenir photos of your travels (which you will leave on a hard drive)? Or rather to share the photos with the family and on social networks? Would you like to print the photos on the way in or have them enlarged? Would you like to sell your photos? Simply indulge in your passion for photography while traveling? What type of photos in particular do you want to take? What do you want to photograph?

In short, you will understand, there are as many uses and reasons to buy a camera for travel as there are cameras!

IN CLEAR, simply identify what you want to do with your device! This is the most important thing for me when choosing your new camera.

2 – Which camera to choose for traveling: plan a budget first

And yes, unless you’re a millionaire, you’re going to have to set a budget.
Are you interested in wildlife photography?
It will often require long focal lengths …
In any case, it must be said that this is one of the most decisive elements that will influence the type of devices you are going to buy. If you want to: sell your photos + make prints and enlargements + focus on wildlife photography in the undergrowth, all with a budget of $ 300… well you’re off!

Even though camera prices have declined significantly in recent years (even for an SLR), certain types of cameras are still quite expensive and, depending on the type of photos you plan to take, you will have to pay a price.

Keep in mind the following: a compact camera will generally cost less than a mirrorless camera, which itself will be less expensive than an SLR. This is an idea, not a truth in itself, as there are some very expensive hybrids on the market as well.

3 – The type of trip planned

This is one of the elements that will also come into play for some. Indeed, if you go on a hike through Corsica or if you go hanging out between the temples and the beaches of Southeast Asia, it will be different.

You might regret carrying 5kg or more of camera gear if you need to save room for your hiking gear. You may be more loose in other types of travel.

If you go on vacation for a few weeks or on a trip for a few months or even a year, that will also be different. You might not have to worry about wearing a big SLR and a few lenses for a weekend … but for a year around the world? Do you feel able to carry an SLR camera for months or would you prefer to compromise by choosing a smaller digital camera?

4 – Your level in photo

This might be a less important thing to consider, but your photo level could help you choose the device you want to go on a trip. This element can also be directly linked to your use and your photo priorities.

If you are completely new to it and it looks great on you, you may not need to spend millions on a camera that you won’t know how to master or take the time to master.

But you can also be a novice and want to learn photography, get started because it just seems to please you. You might already be a photography enthusiast but you’ve never taken the plunge to buy yourself a nice camera, who knows? Maybe you are tired of using automatic mode? Would you like to understand the more technical notions of depth of field, shutter, white balance?

In short, assess your photo level and think about what you want to do next.

5 – Technical aspects

There are other more technical aspects to consider when choosing your travel camera.

The bulk and the weight?
This is a very important element to take into account.

Do you feel capable of carrying a one kilo box with a lens of the same weight … so a total of 2 kg in your arms?

Do you prefer the lightness and reduced size of a small camera that you store directly in your pocket and that you can take out at any time? What will be your acceptable limit at the time?

How do you see it? You just want to take pictures and then that’s it? I don’t really want to stay behind a PC at home to edit my photos. Would you mind as long as you are going to review your memories in front of you? You might already be familiar with post-processing and you won’t mind retouching photos taken in RAW while shooting?

In any case, depending on your motivation to want (or not) to retouch your photos, it will be one more element that will allow you to decide.

These are the main questions to ask yourself to know which camera to choose for traveling. If you can already answer all of these questions, it will clearly point you towards your purchase!

What types of the best travel camera?

The first step in choosing a camera is figuring out what type of camera is best for you. There are five types of digital cameras: Smartphones ,compacts, SLRs,mirrorless  and bridges.

Smartphones

Well, let’s be clear, if you only go with a smartphone, then you are not a big fan of photography. So yes, I know some will say that smartphone cameras have gotten better!

At the moment, the 3 smartphones below are ranked as the best!

Suitable for those who are lazy to take out a device, who want very light, which fits in the pocket. No need to think about retouching your photos, printing them or enlarging them, I guarantee you, the result will be more than mediocre …

Best smartphones 2021: which is the best phone with best camera ?

New Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (256GB, Graphite) [Locked] + Carrier Subscription

$1,199.00 in stock
1 new from $1,199.00
2 used from $773.36
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G NOH-NX9 256GB 8GB RAM International Version

$1,180.00 in stock
5 new from $1,179.99
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G | Factory Unlocked

$999.99 $1,199.99 in stock
1 new from $999.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

The compacts

As the name suggests, compacts don’t take up much space in a backpack and fit easily into a pocket. Their objective is fixed: it is therefore not possible to replace it to cover different uses.

They are equipped with relatively small sensors and their performance is therefore more limited than that of SLRs or hybrids. They are less sensitive, and therefore make less beautiful photos in low light.

Compacts generally have lower responsiveness. They take longer to fire and focus slower, which is more likely to blur.

They are less ergonomic for making your own adjustments than other types of devices and not all have a viewfinder.

However, expert compacts, like the Sony RX100, are equipped with larger sensors and manage to combine discretion with high image quality.

Expert compacts are well suited to travelers who value weight and discretion and don’t want to complicate their lives with tweaks and lens changes. On the other hand, ditch the entry-level compacts which do not add much compared to a smartphone.

Here, for example, is the current selection of the best expert compacts for travel.

Sony RX100 III 20.1 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera

$748.00 in stock
8 new from $748.00
13 used from $350.00
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III

$749.00 in stock
12 new from $749.00
7 used from $588.00
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Camera 

$797.99 $997.99 in stock
3 new from $797.99
6 used from $669.88
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Single-lens reflex 

SLR cameras consist of a body and an interchangeable lens. The main advantage of SLRs is therefore to be able to adapt the optics to the type of photos you want to take: panoramic, macro … If you opt for an SLR, you will therefore also have to choose a lens. This is often sold as a kit with the case, which is enough to get started.

The case is important for ergonomics and adjustability, but it is mainly the lens that determines the quality of the image. It is therefore better to opt for an entry-level camera with a good lens than the other way around.

The SLRs have an optical mirror viewfinder

This type of camera is also faster, making it easier to take pictures of moving subjects. Their real added value is to be able to take photos in any light conditions and to offer greater freedom of photographic creation.

SLRs are however quite heavy and bulky, which is a constraint when traveling.

SLRs are suitable for tourdumondistes who already have a good level in photography (or who want to get started seriously) and who are not too sensitive to weight and discretion.

For example, below are 3 examples of different ranges from the Canon brand. The associated characteristics of each device are really very variable …

Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera

$489.00 in stock
2 new from $489.00
Free shipping
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Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Canon EOS 800D

$769.00 in stock
2 new from $769.00
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera

$1,399.00 $1,799.00 in stock
8 new from $1,399.00
13 used from $1,139.99
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Mirrorless

The aim of mirrorless cameras, also called “interchangeable-lens compacts”, is to combine the advantages of compact cameras with those of SLRs. As with reflexes, their lenses are interchangeable.

As on the compacts, the aim is electronic, without mirror. They are therefore less bulky.

Their sensors are larger than those of compacts. Hybrids offer better picture quality, especially in low light. They are also more responsive when it comes to focusing and triggering.

Hybrids are on the rise. Some, like the Sony Alpha 9 for example, are even overtaking the SLRs.

The main disadvantage compared to SLRs is the access to a lower number of lenses, which makes this type of camera less flexible. Their autonomy is also a little less good than that of reflexes.

Hybrids are for you if your primary concern is to maximize image quality / size. They are therefore an excellent compromise for tourdumondistes.

There are mirrorless cameras at almost all prices, from very basic cameras at a low price, to mid-range performance cameras, but also to high-performance Full Frame mirrorless cameras at high prices.

Here is a selection of 6 mirrorless cameras that I consider very well each in their range, ideal for travel in my opinion!

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIs

$599.99 in stock
7 new from $599.00
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Sony Alpha A6600 Mirrorless Camera

$1,398.00 in stock
21 new from $1,398.00
6 used from $1,299.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

$648.00 in stock
8 new from $648.00
21 used from $519.99
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Sony a9 Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera

$2,998.00 $3,999.99 in stock
9 new from $2,998.00
10 used from $2,349.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera

$1,698.00 $1,998.00 in stock
17 new from $1,698.00
14 used from $1,562.16
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera

$1,449.99 in stock
2 new from $1,449.99
14 used from $549.99
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

The bridges 

Although they look like small SLRs, bridges are actually closer to compacts. Their goal is fixed. They don’t offer a lot of settings and the quality of their optics is often average. The main advantage of bridges over compacts is that they have a much more powerful zoom. Their size and weight are also much larger.

Bridges can be a good way to gradually move from compact to SLR. However, heavy and bulky, with a photo quality inferior to that of SLRs, we do not recommend them for a health travel.

Which camera to choose according to your budget for a trip?

We give you some suggestions for the best cameras for a trip according to your budget. Because in the end that is what will usually win the most over your choice. I will update this buying guide every year to always bring you the latest news.

I deliberately exclude Smartphones and focus mainly on digital devices such as compact, bridge, hybrid or SLR. Knowing which equipment to choose, favor and equip yourself can be a real headache. I hope this chapter will guide you to some models that will allow you to capture beautiful images while traveling.

All the devices mentioned in the different price ranges below are summarized in the following summary table. This will allow you to compare prices at three online resellers and find the cheapest!

Choose your camera for less than $ 250

If you have a limited budget to invest in choosing your camera, or if you want to limit yourself to souvenir photos rather than technical photos, these devices are for you. Note that below $250 , you will most certainly have to choose between a compact digital camera or a bridge. The question “Bridge or reflex” will not arise here with a budget of this type. We expect inexpensive beginner cameras here!

Compact: Sony DSCWX220/B 18.2 MP Digital Camera

$189.95 in stock
5 used from $189.95
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Canon PowerShot SX420 Digital Camera

$249.00 in stock
3 new from $249.00
2 used from $204.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Bridge:Nikon COOLPIX B500

$157.13 $299.95 in stock
15 used from $157.13
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Which camera to choose for under $ 500

We leave the “low budget” category to enter an average price range. Here is also the arrival of the first SLRs from this budget. You always have the possibility of evolving on a good compact device or bridge of course, but of better quality. Hybrids or compact-hybrids are also making their entry into this budget range to the delight of those looking to take great pictures but not to lug around with an SLR. Here you have to make a choice according to your desires and the idea of ​​transporting other lenses in the future (hybrid / reflex).

Compact:Sony RX100 20.2 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera

$218.95 $448.00 in stock
10 used from $218.95
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Bridge: Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR 16MP Digital Camera

$429.00 in stock
1 used from $429.00
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Hybrid: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIs 

$599.99 in stock
7 new from $599.00
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Reflex:Canon EOS 4000D / Rebel T100 Digital SLR Camera

$499.95 in stock
1 new from $499.95
2 used from $459.95
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Which camera to choose for less than 1000 $

After around 1000 €, you really start to have “quality” material. There are still some very good compacts and bridges. For SLRs, all lenses sold as base will have better quality overall. The differences will be felt in low light conditions in particular (night photo). Here are some suggestions:

Compact: Sony DSC-RX100M5A RX100V5 Cyber-Shot Digital Camera

$998.00 in stock
1 new from $998.00
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Bridge: Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10

$1,698.00 in stock
12 new from $1,698.00
12 used from $1,153.93
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Hybrid: Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera

$939.99 $998.00 in stock
4 used from $939.99
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Reflex: Canon EOS 77D DSLR Camera

$949.00 in stock
1 new from $949.00
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

What choice of camera beyond  $1000 ?

Beyond a certain amount, no matter which device you choose, it will surely be of very good quality! Here are some camera proposals for people with a larger budget who want to have fun in photography

Bridge: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX10 IV Digital Camera

$1,736.60 in stock
1 new from $1,736.60
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Hybrid: Sony NEW Alpha 7S III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless Camera

$3,498.00 in stock
14 new from $3,498.00
4 used from $3,599.95
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Reflex: Canon 7D Mark II 

$1,757.69 in stock
2 new from $1,757.69
25 used from $650.00
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera

$1,579.00 in stock
2 new from $1,579.00
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

The criteria for choosing a travel camera

Size and Weight

In the old days, the bigger a camera, the better it could be considered to perform. This is no longer the case today, and compact and lightweight devices are often just fine.
Manual Settings – Professional photographers need to be able to control everything manually so they can take great photos in any situation.

Megapixels

Many people think that the more pixels a device has, the better the quality of its photos. This is not always true, especially if the pixels themselves are small. On the other hand, a lot of pixels associated with a large sensor make it possible to obtain more detailed photos and to resize them without losing quality.

Aperture 

The aperture of the lens is calculated in f / number, like f / 1.4, f / 2.8, f / 4, etc. The smaller the number, the better the quality of the photo in low light.

Zoom

A zoom lens allows you to zoom in on the scene to be captured. It’s a must have for wildlife photographers. But the larger the zoom, the more cumbersome the device becomes. It’s up to you to find the right compromise.

HD / 4K Video 

Most quality travel cameras shoot in 1080p HD. Some even allow filming in 4K, but this possibility is reserved for professional videographers.

Wifi / Bluetooth

Some cameras have their own Wifi network which allows you to transfer your photos to computer or smartphone in seconds.

Interchangeable lenses – High-end mirrorless cameras and SLRs have interchangeable lenses, so you can change lenses depending on the shot you want to take.

Tropicalization

Will your travel camera be tough in any situation? Some devices are tropicalized and therefore more waterproof than others.
How does a sensor work?

Before choosing your travel camera, you should understand what the sensor is for, how to choose its size, and how it affects the size of the device and the quality of the image.

In general, a camera with a large sensor will do better in low light since it can capture more light. With a large sensor, you also get more detail, which is ideal if you want to make enlargements or crop your images.

On the other hand, it should be understood that the larger the sensor, the bulkier the camera.

What type of travel photo will you take?

The type of photographer you are will play a major role in choosing your camera. Devices all have their strengths and weaknesses, it’s up to you to find the ones that suit you.

Do you want something space-saving but powerful? Want something tough and weatherproof? Do you swear by the quality of the images? Do you have a very limited budget? Do you want to photograph animals instead? People ? Landscapes ? Sporting achievements?

Choosing a camera involves making concessions.

The best photo lenses for travel

Don’t have fun taking 5 or 6 goals when you go on a trip. Usually two are enough.

If you have the money to spend, buy two lenses: a wide angle and a telephoto zoom.
Two lenses, this is the must to cover a wide range of needs. You will be able to take pictures of landscapes, wild animals, people … But keep in mind that the more objectives you have on you, the heavier it is and the longer it takes to change.

If you are new to photography, I recommend that you take only one lens with you, if possible with a rather wide focal length like 18-55mm or 28-70mm.

When looking at the aperture, the smaller the number, the better the lens performs in low light. An F2.8 or F4will suffice most of the time. If you want to photograph the stars, I recommend an F2.8.

The best F2.8 for traveling

Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

The best F4 for traveling

Last update was on: March 4, 2021 2:56 pm

A drone for traveling?

We see more and more travelers riding their drones, and it is true that it gives great results. But, for all that, it is far from essential. The problem is that more and more places are banning their use. This is particularly the case with American national parks. And sometimes, even entire countries prohibit them.

So do your research before you pack your drone in your suitcases!

If you absolutely want to travel with a drone, I recommend the DJI Spark, especially if you are a beginner. It is small, quite accessible and very easy to use. If you then want to sell your photos and videos taken by drone and you have a larger budget, you will inevitably fall in love with the small DJI Mavic Air or the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, more reserved for professionals.

Tips for taking photos while traveling

Be careful, if you are just starting out, don’t buy an expensive camera. It’s no use and you won’t get good results if you don’t know how to use it.

Before you go, I recommend that you take a photo course and learn how to use your camera. Here are the different steps to take:

  • Learn to photograph in manual mode
  • Manage the exhibition correctly
  • Frame
  • Focus on the light and the duration of exposure
  • Find inspiration and original angles
  • Post-process photos on suitable software

You don’t become a good photographer because you have a good camera. Having a beautiful device just allows you to showcase your work. To become a good photographer, you will have to learn, work and practice for long hours.

If you really need a travel camera, check out this list. But first of all, I advise you to learn, take lessons and practice taking great photos.

Hope this article has helped you find the perfect camera for your next trip. And if you have other models to recommend, don’t hesitate!

What is the best camera for photography beginners?Top 16 best entry-level cameras

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