When it comes to travel photography, mirrorless cameras tend to come out on top thanks to their tendency to have lighter and more portable designs, faster maximum shutter speeds, and quicker autofocus capabilities in comparison to DSLR cameras. Their electronic viewfinders are extremely handy to preview what your images are going to look like in real-time since they allow you to immediately see the effects of your various exposure settings on your images before snapping your shots.
It's important to keep in mind that your chosen lens can significantly affect your ability to adjust exposure settings. Your aperture, focal length, depth of field, autofocus, stabilization performance, and maximum zoom capability can all depend on the type of lens you use, so camera performance can differ significantly depending on your chosen lens and settings. For these reasons, we test our cameras with their standard kit lenses to help with consistency.
We've tested over 40 cameras and have put together our list of recommendations for the five best mirrorless cameras for travel photography depending on their performance, available features, and their prices. You can also check out our recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras, best mirrorless cameras for beginners, and best mirrorless cameras under $1,000.
The best mirrorless camera for travel photography that we've tested is the Sony α6400. This crop sensor camera delivers great image quality out of the box, with a wide dynamic range, good noise handling capability, and minimal loss of sharpness when shooting at moderately high ISO levels, which is good for shooting in dark environments. Its autofocus system also does an exceptional job of tracking moving subjects.
The camera's magnesium alloy body feels lightweight and sturdy and is even rated as being weather-sealed, though we don't currently test for that. It's also small enough to be easily slipped into a smaller bag or a larger pocket, but should still be comfortable to use for a wide range of hand sizes. Its flip-out screen is also bright enough to be easily seen under direct sunlight. Depending on your usage habits and choice of settings, the camera should provide enough charge to get you through a couple of shooting sessions.
Unfortunately, its menu system can take some time to get used to, which is only further complicated by the fact that you can't use the touchscreen to navigate the interface. It also lacks in-body stabilization, which might make it difficult to shoot at slow shutter speeds when using a lens that doesn't have an optical stabilization feature, though we've only tested this camera with the Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS lens, which does have such a feature. Overall, this camera's compact size, superb autofocus performance, and impressive image quality make it a great choice for on-the-go photography.
If you prioritize the jump in image quality that comes with a full-frame camera, consider the Sony α7 III. It's notably bulkier and heavier than the Sony α6400 and uses a slightly less versatile tilting screen as opposed to the a6400's flip-out display, but its larger sensor yields an even wider dynamic range as well as less noise and softness at higher ISO levels. This means you should be able to shoot in darker settings without experiencing a serious drop in image quality. The camera itself feels exceptionally well-built and comfortable to use, with well-spaced controls that offer great physical feedback. Battery life is also superb, so you should be able to use the camera for very long shooting sessions on a single charge, though this can vary depending on settings and usage patterns. Unfortunately, its continuous shooting speed is notably slower than that of the a6400, and its menu system is even less easy to use.
Consider the a6400 if you want a more portable camera, but take a look at the a7 III if image quality and battery life are bigger concerns.
The best mirrorless camera for travel vlogging that we've tested is the Fujifilm X-T4. This premium APS-C mirrorless model is a great choice for on-the-go vlogging due to its excellent video stabilization performance in 4k and FHD, fully articulated screen that can be rotated to face you when the camera is held in a selfie position, and exceptionally effective autofocus system. It can also record 4k video at 60 fps with a very minor 1.16x crop, so the corresponding reduction in the field of view isn't very noticeable.
It feels very well-built and feels sturdy enough to deal with a couple of minor bumps, and its controls offer great physical feedback. Its twin UHS-II SD card slots are a great addition if you're worried about filling up one card too quickly or want a backup in case one is corrupted. Whether you're recording in 4k or FHD, video quality is impressive, with decent noise handling capability in low-light environments and sharp, well-rendered object edges and surfaces. The NP-235 battery also supplies enough power for fairly extended recording sessions, though real-world battery life can vary dramatically depending on your usage patterns and camera settings.
Unfortunately, while it isn't especially large compared to some alternatives, it's relatively heavy even without its kit lens fitted, which can make carrying it around for extended periods rather tiring. Otherwise, this is a great option if you're looking to do some vlogging while you're on the go.
The best mirrorless camera for travel for beginners that we've tested is the Canon EOS M50. This compact APS-C mirrorless camera comes with an easy-to-use menu system that you can navigate using both its physical and touch controls, and there's even a guide mode to help walk novice users through its features. It's comfortable to use, and its fully articulated screen is suitable for vlogging, which is handy.
It offers very good image quality, so your photos are sharp and detailed even at high ISO levels. Its photo autofocus system does a good job tracking moving subjects and keeping them in focus, which is handy if you're taking photos of racing cars. It's also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible, which makes it easy to transfer photos from the camera to your smartphone to share them with friends.
Unfortunately, it has a disappointing battery performance, so it may not last for long days of sightseeing. Also, while it offers both 4k and FHD recording capabilities, its video quality in both resolutions is middling, especially if you're filming in low-light settings. That said, if you're just looking for a simple, easy-to-use camera for taking sharp and detailed photos on the go, it's a solid choice.
If you're looking for an even more compact, easy-to-use mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens, check out the Canon EOS M200. Though it isn't as comfortable to use as the Canon EOS M50, it's much more portable and can record less grainy videos in dimly lit settings. Its menu system is exceptionally easy to navigate thanks to some helpful graphics which make its menu categories clear. It even has a guide mode which can come in handy to beginner photographers who want to learn more about some of its more complex functions. Its image quality, as well as 4k video quality, are also good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a viewfinder, so you need to rely solely on the screen to compose your shots. It also doesn’t have a defined handgrip, which can make it a little uncomfortable to hold, and its battery life is disappointing.
If you’re looking for a more comfortable camera, go for the M50, but if better video quality and portability are more important to you, consider the M200.
May 31, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
May 10, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Apr 19, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their category. Text was updated for consistency and accuracy.
Mar 29, 2021: Minor updates to the text for accuracy; no changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best mirrorless cameras for travel for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the US).
If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras, ranked by their suitability for travel photography. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.