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The 6 Best Travel Cameras - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Travel Cameras

A good camera can be an indispensable travel companion, allowing you to capture your adventures to share with friends and family, but it can be hard to pick the right camera for your needs when there are so many options to choose from. For many, the best camera to travel with will be the one you've already got in your pocket—that is, your smartphone. If you're looking to step up your photography game, however, there are a ton of suitable options to choose from. Just be sure to consider your budget and ergonomic preferences, along with things like portability and battery life.

We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras for most people to travel with. If you want more compact options, you can also check out our picks for the best point-and-shoot cameras. Or, if you're interested in capturing beautiful landscapes on your travels, the best cameras for landscape photography might be of interest. Travel vloggers can have a look at our top vlogging picks, as well.

  1. Best Camera For Travel

    The Sony α7C is easily one of the best cameras for travel photography you can buy. It's one of the most compact full-frame bodies on the market, proving that you don't need to give up image quality and low-light capability for portability. While it's the largest option on this list, and full-frame lenses will inevitably take up more space (for a more portable camera system, look at one of our APS-C or Micro Four Thirds picks below), it's impressive how compact Sony managed to make this camera while still including features like in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and a vari-angle screen.

    Of course, that relatively compact size means fewer control dials and custom buttons, along with a disappointingly small viewfinder. However, if you're after the best possible image quality for your travel photos, the α7C's high-resolution full-frame sensor will get you there. The camera also has a fantastic battery life, so it checks all the boxes for a high-quality travel photography camera.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Camera For Travel

    While the Sony α7C is impressively compact for a full-frame camera, getting a crop-sensor camera can be a great way to save both money and space. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a great travel option with a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor. It's not only super portable and ruggedly built but has an excellent five-axis in-body image stabilization system to help you shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds or reduce camera shake in vlogs.

    Lenses will be significantly smaller than full-frame alternatives, making for a more portable kit overall. And while the smaller sensor means a trade-off in image quality and low-light capability, it also gives you more focal reach for far-away subjects. The biggest downside here is mediocre battery life, but if you're looking for something small and mighty, this is an excellent travel camera for the price.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Camera For Travel

    If you're looking for something more affordable or don't need in-body image stabilization, the Fujifilm X-T30 II is a fantastic mid-range option. It uses a larger APS-C sensor than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III but is still portable and lightweight, with dedicated exposure dials that give you more control over your settings on the fly. It also feels well-built, has good battery life, and looks stylish.

    Inside is Fujifilm's tried-and-true 26-megapixel crop sensor, which captures excellent-quality images and performs well for its size in low light. Of course, it doesn't quite compare to the results you can get with a full-frame camera like the Sony α7C mentioned above, but for most people, an APS-C sensor will be more than enough. On top of that, you get a decent autofocus system and film simulation profiles to play around with the look of your photos in-camera.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Camera For Travel

    If you're on a budget, consider the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, one of the best-value mirrorless cameras you can get. It's a great choice for beginners, thanks to dead-simple controls and an intuitive user interface. It's also super portable and lightweight, so it's easy to travel with and carry around for long days out and about. It has a very solid APS-C sensor, so image quality will more than satisfy, especially if you're getting into photography, as well as a snappy autofocus system to keep your subjects in focus.

    The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is also a great budget option, although it'll cost you a tad more upfront and uses a smaller sensor. The Olympus is one of the few cameras in this price range that comes with in-body image stabilization, too, so it's a good choice if you also like to shoot video. You can't go wrong with either of these cameras, but we like the Canon for its simplicity and hard-to-beat price.

    See our review

  5. Best Compact Camera For Travel

    If portability is your top priority, and you want something a little more capable than the phone in your pocket, a premium point-and-shoot camera is the way to go. The Sony RX100 VII pretty much has all you can ask for in a compact fixed-lens camera, so it's no wonder it's on its seventh iteration. This model uses a one-inch sensor that's a bit larger than most smartphone sensors, plus it has a versatile zoom lens for travel snapshots that can range from wider landscapes to close-ups of far-away subjects.

    The best thing about this little powerhouse is that it can fit in a larger pocket or a small bag, meaning you can take it anywhere. It also has a tiny pop-up viewfinder, which is nice to have on sunny days when it's harder to see the screen. Because it's a Sony, you can rest assured that the autofocus is reliably quick and accurate. Just be aware that compact cameras like this have limited battery life, but you can always bring a portable battery pack to charge it on the go.

    See our review

  6. Best Travel Camera For Action Video

    The GoPro HERO10 Black is one of the best video cameras for travel, thanks to its tiny size and rugged, waterproof exterior. So, you can not only bring it with you no matter where you go, but it's also perfect for capturing action footage of scuba diving, waterskiing, or any other adventuring you might do on vacation. If crisp, detailed footage is what you're after, the HERO10 can record 5.3k video on top of 4k and 1080p. You also get plenty of frame rate options for smooth action or slow motion.

    It's also a solid option for travel vlogging thanks to its front screen, which gives you a live view while recording. Best-in-class stabilization means you don't have to worry about distracting camera shake. Plus, with the GoPro HERO11 Black recently released, you can now get the HERO10 at a lower price. If the 10 is still a little out of your price range, older models like the GoPro HERO9 Black or the GoPro HERO8 Black are available and offer similar performance and features.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Fujifilm X100V: The Fujifilm X100V is a large-sensor point-and-shoot camera. It isn't nearly as portable as the Sony RX100 VII, and its fixed focal length isn't as versatile as the Sony's zoom lens. However, it's still relatively compact, and its larger sensor captures higher-quality photos if that's a priority. See our review
  • Fujifilm X-E4: The Fujifilm X-E4 uses the same sensor as the Fujifilm X-T30 II, so you'll get roughly equivalent image quality and performance. It's also a tad more portable if that's your priority, but it isn't as comfortable to shoot with since it lacks a handgrip. See our review
  • Sony ZV-1: The Sony ZV-1 is a great point-and-shoot if you do more travel vlogging than photography. It performs similarly to the Sony RX100 VII in image quality and autofocus, but it has a shorter zoom range and lacks a viewfinder. On the flip side, it has a fully articulated screen and a better internal mic for vlogging. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 15, 2022: Moved the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III from Notable Mentions to the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Camera For Travel'.

  2. Oct 28, 2022: Added the Fujifilm X100V to Notable Mentions; reviewed the rest of the picks for accuracy and clarity.

  3. Sep 15, 2022: Restructured article and picks to align more closely with user needs.

  4. Feb 10, 2022: Added the Canon EOS M50 Mark II as 'Best Budget Camera For Travel' with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as a 'More Portable Alternative'.

  5. Jan 14, 2022: Renamed the Fujifilm X100V from 'Rangefinder-Style Alternative' to 'Alternative With Optical Viewfinder'.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras for most people to buy for traveling, 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 U.S.).

If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all of our camera reviews, 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.