You’ve already got enough to lug around when you’re on the road or popping out of the airport for your next holiday. Who wants to have to carry a massive DSLR in addition to their luggage? Besides the extra added weight, a professional-grade DSLR can be a flashing neon sign screaming, “ROB ME” – not the smartest way to avoid the travel-related petty theft we so often hear about.
photo: piet van den eynde
But photographs are some of the best ways to preserve the memories of the experiences to be had on the road. So we made a list of portable, compact and affordable cameras for you to consider taking with you on your next trip.
(p.s. follow us on instagram @projectinspo for some travel photo + video inspiration)
These are the features that make cameras travel-friendly:
- Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras that provide the essential DSLR shooting experience, thanks to hi-res electronic viewfinders (EVFs) and full feature sets, including ultra-fast, precise hybrid AF systems that provide continuous AF and focus tracking.
- Handy all-in-one zoom cameras that deliver a combination of a sleek form factor, wide-to-telephoto focal lengths, and fast apertures optimized for capturing shallow-depth-of-field effects and shooting in low light.
If you like to record video footage of your travels as much as you like shooting photos, the DL18-50 is a solid option. It records in ultra-HD 4K video for super-crisp shots of, say, tuk-tuks speeding around corners or blue whales surfacing. It also supports continuous shooting up to 20 frames per second.
Sensor: 20.8MP CMOS
Lens: 18-50mm f/1.8
Unique Features: OLED tilting monitor, SnapBridge integration for real-time wireless sharing of images
Sony Alpha a6000
This is a mirrorless camera with the familiar APS-C sensor used by most affordable DSLRs. If you’re looking to replace your standard digital camera with a smaller version but still want a relatively high megapixel count, this incredibly affordable camera is a good choice. The a6000 has 179 autofocus points that make it one of the quickest and most intelligent-focusing cameras on the market. If you like to photograph sports or even just kids running around in the yard and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a pro-level sports camera, then this could be just what you’re looking for.
Sensor: 24.3MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMO
Lens: 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6
Unique Features: Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC, Up to 11 fps Shooting and ISO 25600, 3.0″ 921k-Dot Xtra Fine Tilting LCD
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
One of the more recent iterations in Canon’s iconic G-series of travel-friendly, self-contained, high-performance cameras aimed at pros and serious shooters. This camera is perfect for those who want to experiment with capturing different angles, thanks to the sharp, tilting screen. It adjusts up to 180° upwards and 45° downwards. When you’re in a kayak or shooting flat-lays in hotel beds, the screen will help in making above-the-head shots with this camera.
Sensor: 1.5-inch 12.8MP CMOS
Lens: 24mm f/2.0-3.9
Unique Features: continuous burst rate of 5.2 fps; 3.0-inch 1,040k-dot tilting touchscreen LCD; dual lens control rings; built-in Wi-Fi connectivity plus NFC; raw image capture in both 3:2 and 4:3 aspect ratios; full HD 1080p video at 30 fps; in-camera HDR
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
The Panasonic G series has been a photographer favorite for a few years. The cameras are loved for their small size and excellent image quality, as well as for the huge range of lenses available from Panasonic, Olympus, and Leica. An added advantage is that the micro 4/3 cameras in this series all share a common lens mount and functionality. This is a good choice if you want a higher megapixel count than the Olympus cameras offer.
Sensor: Micro 4/3rds 20.3MP
Lens: 24mm f/2.0-3.9
Unique Features: Interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, in-body image stabilization, 4K video
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
This is a new version of an Olympus OM camera that dates back to the 1970s. Here, Olympus revisits its “smaller is better” philosophy and packs in the latest high-tech features in a smaller body. If you like technical features, particularly when shooting cities at dawn, you’ll like the multishot 40-megapixel mode. You can make sure your subject comes out crisp with the touch-screen focusing for video and stills. The option to touch-focus and shoot is set right on the screen, which works particularly well when shooting from a low angle. After framing up the shot, you can wait for someone to walk into the frame, touch their image on the screen, and the camera will focus and immediately take the picture.
Sensor: Micro 4/3rds 16.3MP
Lens: You can choose!
Unique Features: Interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, five-axis image stabilization, high-resolution composite image, HD video
Bonus: Go Pro
This entire video from my recent trip to Gili Trawangan island in Indonesia was filmed on a Go Pro.
I personally take my GoPro Hero 4 Black with me on every single trip and adventure – it’s tiny, extremely compact and portable, comes with a waterproof case – and is absolutely wonderful for capturing action videos and even selfies in beautiful places. I will admit that I find it better for video than photos, and is not great in low light – but if you’re heading to the beach, hiking in the sunshine or doing anything active during the day – it’s the perfect pocket-sized camera to keep in your purse/daypack.
Features: 4K resolution, super slow motion at up to 240 frames per second; waterproof housing lets you record underwater down to 131′; built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow you to easily connect to the GoPro App and Smart Remote for simple control and video sharing.
Price: Starting at $299