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The 5 Best Compact Cameras For Travel - Winter 2024 Reviews

Updated
Best Compact Cameras For Travel

Point-and-shoot cameras are a natural choice for travel thanks to their compact sizes and built-in zoom lenses, making it a breeze to capture all your memories abroad without having to lug around a bulky kit with multiple lenses. While smartphone cameras have continued to improve, and they're more often than not the camera you've already got on you, some point-and-shoots offer improved image quality with larger sensors than the ones typically found in phones, while others offer longer zoom ranges that you simply can't get with the physically limited lenses on your smartphone.

We've bought and tested over 100 cameras in our lab, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best compact travel cameras. If you don't mind carrying a larger kit with interchangeable lenses, check out our picks for the best mirrorless cameras for travel. If you're looking to take beautiful images of destination vistas, you might also want to check out our best cameras for landscape photography. Alternatively, if you're less interested in snapping places and more interested in the people that populate them, see our picks for the best street photography cameras.


  1. Best Compact Camera For Travel

    While it isn't cheap, the Sony RX100 VII is the best compact camera we've tested for travel. Sony has basically perfected the formula for compact zoom cameras with its RX100 series. This latest model features a stacked 1-inch sensor that delivers blazing-fast burst shooting and good image quality for its size, along with a pop-up viewfinder and flash, a large tilting screen, and a zoom lens—all packed into an incredibly portable body.

    While it doesn't have the widest zoom range on this list, its 24-200mm full-frame equivalent focal length still gives you a fair amount of zoom range, giving you some flexibility for framing and composition. The camera also has a highly effective autofocus system, ensuring your subjects stay in focus, even in busier settings or with quicker subjects. That said, like most compact cameras, it has a pretty short battery life, though you can always pack a spare battery or portable power bank to charge it on the go.

    See our review

  2. Best Large Sensor Compact Camera For Travel

    The RICOH GR III is a fantastic option if image quality is your top priority. While you'll still get great images from 1-inch sensor cameras like the Sony RX100 VII above or the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II below, the RICOH boasts a larger APS-C sensor that delivers excellent image quality and better noise handling in low light. Its sleek, minimalist design makes it the most pocketable camera on this list, making it remarkably easy to take on the go.

    Of course, this isn't the travel camera for everyone. If you want the flexibility to zoom in on farther subjects or you like to shoot video on the side, you're out of luck here since the camera has a fixed 28mm equivalent focal length and lacks 4k video capability. If 28mm is too wide for you, you can opt for the RICOH GR IIIx instead, which has a 40mm equivalent lens. Though it lacks a viewfinder or zoom lens, this is the best point-and-shoot camera for travel if you want something super portable that doesn't compromise on image quality.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Compact Camera For Travel

    The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is a great mid-range option if you don't want to spend as much on a travel camera. It's easily one of the most comfortable point-and-shoots we've tested, thanks to a nicely designed grip that feels good in the hand. On top of that, its user interface is super intuitive. It also has a nearly identical pop-up viewfinder as the one found on the Sony RX100 VII, which is great for sunny days when it's harder to see the screen.

    The built-in lens on this thing is also fairly well-suited to low-light shooting since it opens up to a wide max aperture. However, it has a shorter zoom range than the Sony. Its autofocus system can also struggle to track subjects quickly and accurately, so keep that in mind if you plan on shooting busy scenes or faster subjects. Otherwise, this camera has plenty to offer for travelers who want something compact and comfortable to shoot with.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Compact Camera For Travel

    The Canon PowerShot SX740 is one of the best compact cameras to get if you're on a tighter budget. It uses a smaller sensor than the more premium options above, so there's a slight trade-off in image quality. On the upside, its built-in lens has a 40x optical zoom range, giving you a remarkably wide range of focal lengths to shoot from. Though it doesn't have a viewfinder like the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II, the camera's tilt screen can flip up for selfies or waist-level shots, and it's incredibly portable.

    Of course, the most cost-effective choice if your budget is really tight is to simply use your smartphone! Most smartphone cameras these days feature pretty impressive processing to compensate for their smaller sensors, which means you can still get great results despite some hardware limitations. The best part is that you've likely already got a smartphone on you, which won't cost you anything extra or take up more space in your luggage. Still, if you want the shooting experience of a dedicated point-and-shoot camera, the PowerShot SX740 has quite a bit of value for its price.

    See our review

  5. Best Compact Vlogging Camera For Travel

    While the previous picks are more photography-oriented, travel vloggers should take note of the Sony ZV-1, the best point-and-shoot camera for travel vlogging. While it doesn't have a viewfinder, it's the only option on this list to feature a fully articulated screen, making it easy to monitor yourself while recording or to take the odd selfie. On top of that, it has vlogging-specific features like a detachable windscreen to reduce ambient noise when using the internal mic.

    The Sony ZV-1 II has since replaced it and features a wider-angle lens that's a good fit for walk-and-talk vlogs. However, the newer model doesn't have optical stabilization, and its digital stabilization feature crops in some of that wider field of view. Therefore, the ZV-1 is still our top pick here, especially since it's cheaper. It checks all the boxes if you're looking for a compact, all-in-one vlogging camera for travel.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III: The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a good compact vlogging camera. Unlike the Sony ZV-1, it has a built-in livestreaming feature that some travel vloggers may find appealing. However, its autofocus isn't as effective, and the camera doesn't have a fully articulated screen. See our review
  • Fujifilm X100V: The Fujifilm X100V is a beautifully designed point-and-shoot with an APS-C sensor. Unlike the RICOH GR III, it has a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder and a tilting screen, making it more versatile. However, it isn't as compact as other options here, and stock shortages have made it difficult to find. See our review
  • Panasonic LUMIX ZS80: The Panasonic LUMIX ZS80 is one of the best budget options you can get, offering a ton of value for its price, and unlike the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II, it even has a viewfinder. However, it's been discontinued and is harder to find. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Feb 14, 2024: Moved the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80 to the Notable Mentions because it's been discontinued and is hard to find in stock, and replaced it with the Canon PowerShot SX740 as the main budget pick.

  2. Dec 18, 2023: Reviewed accuracy of picks with no change to recommendations.

  3. Oct 19, 2023: Moved the Fujifilm X100V to Notable Mentions.

  4. Aug 23, 2023: Added mention of the Sony ZV-1 II as a wide-angle alternative to the Sony ZV-1.

  5. Jun 28, 2023: Moved discussion of the Fujifilm X100V to the 'Best Large Sensor Compact Camera For Travel' section.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best compact cameras for most people to buy for travel, 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 would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our compact fixed-lens camera reviews. 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.