Take better pics on your next trip with this selection of travel cameras, including devices from top brands like Canon, Sony, and Nikon.
You might have noticed that many people like to take photographs when they travel. In fact, people who barely use their phone’s camera in regular life are often eager to document the strange (to them) and wonderful landscapes, buildings, water features, art, nature, people, animals, and, of course, sunsets of a new location.
There is something about leaving your everyday surroundings that forces you to pick up a camera and start snapping. It’s a primal urge that cannot and will not be ignored. You can try and resist, but just when you think you’ve overcome the struggle, a pretty sight will catch your eye and then the next thing you know you’re eight shots deep into a semi-professional photo shoot.
If you’re going to spend most of your trip with a camera in your hand, then you should probably think about investing in a decent device. There are lots of great travel cameras on the market from a bunch of leading brands, so you have plenty of choice.
With so many options to consider, we’ve gathered the best mirrorless, DSLR, point-and-shoot, instant film, and GoPro cameras to help inform your decision, starting with a little detail on each type of camera.
DSLR cameras are digital cameras with larger sensors that can capture higher-quality images, interchangeable lenses (meaning the photographer can adapt the camera to fit the specific environment they’re photographing), and long battery life.
These cameras are the largest (and heaviest) of the bunch because the camera’s body houses a mirror inside, which reflects the light that comes in from the camera’s lens into the viewfinder (where one looks when taking a photograph). They do tend to be expensive, but we have lined up options at the top and bottom of this scale.
Mirrorless cameras also produce high-quality images. They’re smaller and lighter than DSLR cameras, but they usually have a much shorter battery life. You might have to carry around an extra battery depending on how long your trip is.
Mirrorless cameras tend to be slightly more affordable than DSLR cameras, and the ones we’ve listed below are all less than £500.
Point-and-shoot cameras offer pretty standard image quality in general. If you’re looking for a camera that will take a clear, simple photo, a point-and-shoot is a solid option. Some smartphone cameras have surpassed the image quality offered by a point-and-shoot camera, although the options listed below both capture higher quality images than most smartphone cameras. In addition, some point-and-shoot cameras are built to withstand underwater submersion or a couple of falls, so if you’re going on a particularly rugged vacation, a point-and-shoot might be the right option.
Point-and-shoot cameras are often referred to as a “compact” camera, and they are lighter and smaller than mirrorless and DSLR models. They tend to be cheaper than or priced similarly to mirrorless cameras.
The image quality on instant film cameras is low compared to the other choices on this list, however, many enjoy the novelty of the simple, nostalgia-inducing photos taken by film cameras.
The camera itself is a manageable size, but keep in mind that when carrying instant film cameras around, you’ll also want to bring film and have space to safely store the photos you take. Instant film cameras are the cheapest of the bunch, however, the film is sold separately at about £10 a pack.
GoPro cameras are primarily used for capturing first-person video footage and can withstand harsh conditions. GoPros aren’t as fit for traditional photography as the other types of cameras on this list, but if you want to capture an outdoors-focused vacation on video, a GoPro is easily the best choice.
GoPros are the smallest of all the cameras listed and are so light that users can easily wear the cameras on their heads using a head strap (sold separately). The GoPro in our list below is cheaper than most of the cameras listed here.
Those are the details on each type of camera on offer, and now it’s up to you to decide which travel camera suits you best. These are the best cameras for traveling in 2020.
Small and lightweight DSLR that offers great image quality for a mirrorless price.£544 from AmazonThe Canon EOS Rebel SL3’s claim to fame is that it’s a small and lightweight DSLR that offers great image quality for a mirrorless price.
As is characteristic of DSLRs, the SL3 has an impressive battery life, which — in addition to its compact size — makes it all the more portable, especially if you’re traveling somewhere with limited access to electrical outlets.
The camera also includes an optical viewfinder (rather than an electric one), which allows for a more natural look at whatever you’re capturing.
Small and lightweight, but with an image processing system that produces high-quality photographs and HD video.£429.99 from AmazonThe Sony Alpha A6000 is super small and lightweight, has an electric viewfinder, and runs on Sony’s BIONZ X image processing system to produce high-quality photographs and HD video.
The A6000 combines the strengths of both phase and contrast-detection autofocus, with 179 phase-detection points and a high-speed contrast-detection function. This results result is an impressive burst mode and highly accurate movement tracking for both stills and video.
In addition, you can easily connect the camera to your smartphone via WiFi to share your images.
IMAGE: AMAZONPanasonic Lumix GX85DED autofocus and post-focus lets users re-focus images after they’re taken.£429.77 from AmazonThe Panasonic Lumix GX85 has DED autofocus and post-focus, which allows users to re-focus images after they’re taken.
In addition, one of the Lumix’s biggest draws is its 4K video recording capabilities. We know that the first job of a camera is to take photos, but high-quality video is a nice bonus, especially when a picture just won’t do something justice.
The small, portable design offers detailed shots with dual image stabilisation to resist shaking.
Offers up fantastic image quality even in low light environments.£2,199 from AmazonThe Nikon D780 is the most expensive option on this list, but offers 4K Ultra HD photo and video recording capabilities, and fantastic image quality even in low light environments.
The camera can also connect to your smartphone and computer via WiFi and Bluetooth for immediate image and video sharing. Plus, with up to seven frames per second continuous shooting, you can capture fast-moving animals, vehicles, or sights you see throughout your travels.
Eye-detection features make the D780 a great choice for taking holiday portraits.
Long zoom capabilities combine with a long list of travel-friendly features.£1,150 from AmazonThe Sony RX100 is the latest in Sony’s cyber-shot compact camera collection and has notably long zoom capabilities.
The camera also includes image stabilisation, lightning-fast autofocus, rapid continuous shooting, and pro-level operability, all in a compact design. The advanced image processing engine also delivers improved image resolution with low noise.
Like many of the other choices on this list, the RX100 has built-in WiFi and 4K video recording capabilities.
This compact camera offers complex systems and features in a portable frame.£499.99 from AmazonPanasonic packs a large and fast lens into a compact camera with the Lumix LX100, which is the camera’s biggest draw.
In addition, the camera has an electronic viewfinder, WiFi capabilities, and 4K video recording. The Manual Focus Ring also lets you quickly gauge focal crispness by enlarging a section of your composition.
It’s worth noting that the Lumix does not have built-in flash capabilities so if you’re photographing in low light while traveling, you’ll have to make room for the Lumix’s external flash component.
Digital lenses and improved HDR quality produce fantastic videos from your travels.£379.99 from AmazonThe GoPro Hero 8 includes the company’s HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization technology (with multiple levels of stabilization), automatic TimeWarp speed selection, night lapse in 4K, 2.7K, 1440p, or 1080p video recording, and three different microphones to capture all associated audio aspects.
The digital lenses and improved HDR quality produce fantastic images and videos, and, of course, Hero 8 is waterproof and built to withstand rugged environmental conditions.
The Lomo’Instant Automat is known for its prowess in low-light environments.£129 from AmazonThe Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat is known for its prowess in low-light environments.
The camera auto-adjusts its aperture, shutter speed, and flash output to adapt to a wide range of landscapes and photographic conditions, with an impressively wide-angled glass lens.
The Automat is perfect for taking film portraits and long-range shots, and color gel filters are included to spice up photos.