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The 4 Best Compact Cameras For Travel - Winter 2023 Reviews

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, which make it a breeze to capture travel memories without having to carry a bulky kit. 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 wider zoom ranges that you simply can't get with the physically limited lenses on your smartphone.

We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best compact cameras to get for travel. 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 the 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 you can get for traveling. After seven iterations, Sony has all but perfected the formula for its premium point-and-shoot, which is packed full of features, including a solid 1-inch sensor, a pop-up viewfinder and flash, a large tilting screen, and a zoom lens—all within an incredibly portable package. While it doesn't have the widest zoom range on this list, you still get a fairly long 24-200mm equivalent focal range, so you can take everything from landscapes to close-ups of subjects that are farther away.

    If image quality is your biggest priority, the premium Fujifilm X100V has a larger APS-C sensor that gives it a leg up in noise handling and low-light performance. However, it isn't nearly as compact and has a less versatile fixed lens, making the Sony a better fit for travel. The RX100 VII also has Sony's reliably accurate autofocus system. That said, most compact cameras have disappointing battery life, including this one, but at least you get convenient USB charging.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Compact Camera For Travel

    If you don't want to spend as much, the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is a great mid-range option. It's easily one of the most comfortable point-and-shoots we've tested, thanks to a nicely designed grip, which, along with Canon's intuitive menu and button layout, makes this camera a blast to shoot with. It also has a nearly identical pop-up viewfinder as the one found on the Sony RX100 VII, great for sunny days when it's harder to see the screen.

    The built-in lens on this thing is also better than the Sony's when it comes to low light since it opens up to a wider max aperture, but the trade-off is a significantly shorter zoom range. Its autofocus system is also disappointing and struggles 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

  3. Best Budget Compact Camera For Travel

    The Panasonic LUMIX ZS80 is one of the best compact cameras for traveling if you're on a tighter budget. Unlike the pricier options mentioned above, it uses a smaller 1/2.3-inch sensor, which means worse image quality overall. On the upside, the smaller sensor gives it more focal reach, giving you a much longer zoom range. So, if it's zoom you're after, this budget compact is a great choice with its max 720mm equivalent focal length, allowing you to capture subjects miles away with a fair bit of detail.

    It also feels decently put-together and has a small viewfinder for especially sunny days, along with a screen that can flip up for selfies. Of course, it doesn't perform too well in low light in terms of noise and generally isn't a huge step up from the image quality you can get with some smartphones. But you won't find a compact camera with a more versatile zoom lens in this price range, making it a solid travel camera for the budget-conscious buyer.

    See our review

  4. Best Compact Vlogging Camera For Travel

    While the previous picks are more photography-oriented, travel vloggers should take note of the Sony ZV-1, hands-down the best small travel camera for vlogging. You won't find a viewfinder here, but it's the only option to feature a fully articulated screen, making it exceptionally easy to monitor yourself while recording or take the odd selfie. On top of that, it has vlogging-specific features like a detachable windscreen to reduce ambient noise when using the built-in mic.

    Like the Sony RX100 VII, it has a fantastic AF system to ensure you or your subject stays in focus. However, its built-in lens has a notably shorter zoom range than our other picks. While it's enough to give you some flexibility for framing your vlogs, it isn't great if you need to zoom in on far-off subjects. Battery life and overheating can also be an issue when shooting longer takes using the highest quality settings, but if you're looking for a compact all-in-one vlogging camera, this one checks all the boxes.

    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 it doesn't have a fully articulated screen. See our review
  • Nikon COOLPIX A1000: The Nikon COOLPIX A1000 has a super long zoom range, even longer than the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80. However, it's more expensive and doesn't offer any other significant benefits to justify paying the price difference. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 10, 2023: Checked article for accuracy, with slight adjustments to text for clarity.

  2. Nov 11, 2022: Reviewed picks for accuracy; no change to recommendations.

  3. Sep 13, 2022: Overhauled article for clarity and to better represent user needs. Also rewrote intro and updated Notable Mentions.

  4. Jan 28, 2022: Added the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80 as 'Best Budget Compact Camera For Travel' and moved the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III to Notable Mentions. Added the Sony RX10 IV to Notable Mentions.

  5. Dec 01, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best compact travel cameras 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 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.