We picked the Best Travel Cameras for 2018
Take them anywhere you travel and never shy away from showing your beautiful creations, you never know who they might inspire.
Travel during the summer, vacations, and cruises are looming in the not-too-distant future.
We know that you’re thinking whether you should finally equip yourself with something more than a smartphone camera!
Check out my photos from my trip to Iceland, if you like them, you might really have to step up your camera game.
Well, you’re not alone and you’re reading the right article. Although smartphone cameras have come a long way, they still cannot compare to the quality of what a camera only product can offer. Excellent products such as compact, mirrorless, DSLR (digital single lens reflex) and adventure (e.g. GoPro) camera are going to be the scope of our research today.
Related: 10 Best Travel Gadgets
Without using too much camera geekery, we break down how to make that absolute best purchase in the price range of $150-700 USD.
Our philosophy with this list is to identify one or two models in each category of camera that represent the most compelling value for the money.
We also believe there is more to outstanding image quality than mere specs alone would show. The best travel camera is about outstanding value for the money, and a balance between all the features that really matter: ease of use, battery life, overall size and bulkiness, sensor & lens quality and the presence of key features (Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity, 4K video capability etc.).
A quick workshop on camera types:
There is no such thing as the best camera for all possible purposes. The best camera really depends on what you’re going to be using your camera for, and what capabilities you want, to maximize with your style of photography.
- If you primarily desire convenience and ease of use, the point-and-shoot cameras should be at the top of your list (if not your humble smartphone!).
- If you want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and reduced weight without the low-light capabilities of a DSLR, you should consider a mirrorless model.
- Finally, if you are willing to lug around a heavier and somewhat bulky travel camera while prioritizing lens quality and low-light capabilities, the DSLR is generally the best travel photography camera and your way to go.
Without any further ado, here are our selections on the absolute best travel camera you can buy in 2018 without breaking the bank.
Point & Shoot #1 Pick: Panasonic LX10
Price: $548 US
Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: Yes (Wi-Fi)
Weight/Dimensions: 10.9 oz. / 4.15 x 1.65 x 2.36”
Ease of use doesn’t really come in a better package than this. Some of the features in this camera- a high-quality Leica 3x zoom lens (24-72mm) and generous aperture. This small package howcases an outstanding ability to focus in high and low light conditions for quick, easy-to-take, beautifully-exposed images. If you’re used to your smartphone touch-screen interface, the transition to this camera will be smooth with its intuitive touch-screen controls and video options. Downsides include modest battery life and no viewfinder.
Point and Shoot #2 Pick: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mk II
Price: $529 US
Weight/Dimensions: 7.19 oz. / 1.18 x 3.9 x 2.2
We think that the Panasonic LX10 & Canon PowerShot G9 X are both outstanding point-and-shoot cameras. The Canon edges out the Panasonic slightly in weight, and it’s kind of ridiculous how a camera this high performing can so easily fit in your pocket. For those of you who value being able to quickly turn on your camera and snap a shot, the Canon edges the Panasonic. Canon’s start-up time is 1.3 vs. 3.2 seconds. For low-light settings, we would give the edge to the Panasonic, with its much higher extended ISO (25,600 to 12,800).
Point and Shoot #3 Pick: Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS/ IXUS 285 HS
Price: $199 US
Weight/Dimensions: 10z oz. / 3.9 x 3.1 x 2.7
This unit is amongst the most powerful for the price in the ‘point and shoot’ category. It’s incredibly small, very easy to use and captures video and still images with aplomb. The only problem is that smartphone camera technology has largely caught up to, if not superseded the capabilities of the low-end of the point-and-shoot category. As an alternative to your smartphone, however, this is still your best bet.
Mirrorless #1 Pick: Sony a6000
Price: $598 US
Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: Yes (Wi-Fi& NFC1)
Weight/Dimensions: 9.9 oz. / 1.42 x 4.33 x 2.48”
Mirrorless cameras are a great next step from the ‘point and shoot’ style of camera, featuring the DSLR-like flexibility of interchangeable lenses while retaining ease of use and small proportions. This is perhaps the best travel camera in its category due to ease of use, outstanding photo quality relative to rivals, and a tremendous range of high quality, Sony lenses. Vacation scenes photographed with an a6000 could easily be mistaken for those taken by more expensive DSLR models.
Mirrorless #2 Pick: Panasonic Lumix G7
Price: $597 US
Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: Yes (Wi-Fi)
Weight/Dimensions: 14.4 oz. / 4.9 x 3 x 3.4
A worthy alternative to the a6000, the Panasonic Lumix G7 has dropped in price since its 2015 debut and continues to represent compelling value. Videographers desiring a mirrorless will often choose this camera over the Sony with its luscious 4K video capabilities.
Action/Primarily Video: GoPro Hero6 Black
Price: $397 US
Video: 4K / 2.7K120 / 1080p/240
Weight/Dimensions: 4.2 oz. / 1.7 x 2.4 x 1.3”
Sure, great conventional cameras are all fine and dandy, but what if your vacation includes riding a Ducati down the Amalfi coast highway in Italy, or snowboarding/mountain biking down your favorite mountain of choice? Well, in that case, you need the GoPro Hero6 Black. It records all the 4K video you could want, takes remarkably good still photos (just in case you still need that) and will happily accompany you on your underwater video adventures. Just, please, do not buy this if you’re going to stay in your hotel suite the whole time.
DSLR #1 Pick: Nikon D3400
Price: under $500 US
Video: 1080p Video
Weight/Dimensions: 48 oz. / 5.3 / 8.6 x 3”
Weighing in at over 4x the weight of the above mirrorless/point-and-shoot models, travelers who choose DSLRs to know that they are sacrificing convenience and portability in favor of arguably the most potent photographic platform. The D3400 regularly wins entry-level quality contests due to its superior lens (great for low light), outstanding price, great battery life and tons of beginner-friendly features (a guide mode and overall very easy-to-use controls).
DSLR #2 Pick: Canon EOS Rebel T5i
Price: under $550 US
Video: 1080p Video
Weight/Dimensions: 62 oz. / 5.2 x 3.1 x 3.9”
Even bulkier than the D3400, this is the best travel camera for those looking for the video capabilities of the GoPro with the flexibility of the DSLR platform. This camera outclasses the D3400 in video capabilities, can be upgraded with multiple lenses (unlike GoPro) and features a tilting LCD touchscreen to help facilitate interesting and unique angles around your subjects.
Equip yourself for the summer time, make sure you capture memories and experience whether it is with your phone or a camera, the creation is what really matters.