Everyone loves great photography. Whether you’re working in the travel industry or you just want to improve your Instagram, chances are you’d like to be able to take better photos. While the quality and price of your camera isn’t the be all, end all, having a reliable travel camera can make a huge difference in the quality of your travel photography. Not only will a reliable travel camera improve the quality if your shots, but it can also increase the variety of shots that you take, whether that be via a telephoto lens, an action cam, or a drone.
If you’re looking to get serious about improving your travel photography, it might be time to properly invest in the gear that you take with you. In this blog post, we will share some of our favorite travel cameras to help you get the most out of your photos and level up your travel photography skills.
Already know what type of camera you want? Just click any of the links below to jump directly to that recommendation:
The Best Travel Photography Cameras of 2019
This is the most convenient way to snap travel photos. While it is the most limiting option when it comes to manual control, the quality of smartphone cameras has improved by leaps and bounds so you can take top-quality pictures with some smartphones these days. If you just want the convenience of a small travel camera, here are our top suggestions:
Pixel 2 (Android): Google’s Pixel 2 is a beast when it comes to mobile photography. It offers full manual control, a super f/1.8 aperture lens, the option to shoot in RAW file format, optical image stabilization, and even pretty good performance in low light.
iPhone X or XS (Apple): Any iteration of the iPhone X is going to be the best choice and of similar quality to the Pixel 2. Since iPhone X’s are still brand new, they are quite expensive. If the X is above your budget, anything from the iPhone 7 and up will have a camera that is suitable for basic travel photography.
Point and Shoot/Compact Cameras
The next step up from smartphones are point-and-shoot or compact cameras. These can pack a much better photographic punch while still add a level of convenience far greater than bulkier (but more complex) DSLR or mirrorless cameras. If you’re looking for a camera that is convenient and small, but gives you some options then this is the type of camera you’ll be looking for. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Sony RX 100 VI: Sony’s RX 100 VI is generally considered as the best in its class. It has a much larger sensor than its competitors’ models which means you’ll get a much better and higher-quality image when you’re out shooting. That comes at a price, though, as the VI is not cheap. For something similar but more affordable, check out previous versions (like the RX 100 V) as they will be similar in quality but just a little bit cheaper.
Canon Powershot Elph 190 IS: If you’re on a budget, this will likely be the compact camera for you. The image quality isn’t amazing, but It will get the job done. It’s small and convenient, offers a 10x optical zoom, and has basic image stabilization.
Canon Powershot G9X Mark II: The Powershot falls in between the above two options in price, though it’s much closer to the RX 100 VI than the Elph 190 IS in quality. For the price, you can expect top-notch battery life, a rugged construction that is great for traveling, and Wi-Fi (which is also very convenient when you’re on the road).
When you think of a bulky, professional camera, chances are you’re thinking of a DSLR. While they are larger in size, they also come with much more options for manual control and customization. If you want to have more input into how your pictures are composed, these are the cameras for you. While there are many options on the market at all sorts of price points, here is our recommendation:
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: With a touchscreen, improved autofocus, and more megapixels, the EOS 6D II is an amazing camera. Professional photographer Laurence Norah, who teaches our travel photography course, uses the Mark I version of the camera and highly recommends the newer iteration. This camera is one of the lightest SLRs with a full-frame sensor, and it also has both a GPS and built-in Wi-Fi, two awesome features for the traveling photographer.
Lighter and faster than your standard DSLR, mirrorless cameras are great for travelers looking for a less-bulky camera but who still want high-quality images. They are also great for video, though the tradeoff is that there are usually less lens options available. If you’re looking to invest in your photography but don’t want something as heavy as a DSLR, this is the option for you. Some suggested cameras are:
Panasonic GX7 or GX8: With a 16MP four thirds sensor, 4K video, touch screen, and Wi-Fi, the GX7 has everything you need for successful shooting with a mirrorless camera (and the GX8 is even better!).
Sony Alpha 6300 or A7R III: If you’re on a budget but want to get your foot in the door, the a6300 is the camera for you. For someone with a higher skill level (and significantly higher budget), the A7R III is a top-notch choice, offering a full-frame sensor, super-fast processing, a secondary SD slot, and improved battery life.
Fuji X-T2: With an electronic viewfinder, flip-out screen, a secondary SD slot, and improved autofocus, this is a great mirrorless choice for anyone wanting a smaller camera but who still wants full manual control.
Canon EOS M100: If you’re on a budget, this is a great mirrorless camera for beginners. The autofocus is relatively quick, you’ll get a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If you’re looking for a great entry-level camera, this is it.
Nikon Coolpix B700: Nikon has an excellent reputation for superzooms, and this model has a crazy 60x optical zoom. It’s a good value option with positive reviews across the board. If you want an all-in-one camera with scope for more control over your photography, this is the camera for you!
Action Cams and Drones
GoPro Hero 7: While action cameras aren’t the best primary cameras, they are great tools to have in your travel photography arsenal. These rugged cameras are perfect for getting the shot in environments where any other camera just wouldn’t suffice (under water, skydiving, white water rafting, etc.). The Hero 7 is the newest GoPro camera and comes with improved stabilization, higher image quality, and much better audio. If the GoPro 7 is too pricey, anything from the GoPro 4 and up will be sufficient for capturing those epic action shots.
DJI Mavic 2: Drones are becoming a common component in many a travel photographer’s kit. They are great for capturing unique angles as well as awesome travel footage. While the drone market is growing by the day, the Mavic 1 and 2 are the top of their class (with the Mavic 2 being the newest and most advanced). While the Mavic 2 is greatly superior to its predecessor, the Mavic 1 will still get you those epic shots and is a perfect drone for beginners (plus, it’s cheaper!).
Regardless of whether you buy a smartphone, point-and-shoot, mirrorless, or DSLR, you’re going to need to always be learning new skills and actively working to improve your travel photography. Whether you’re looking to start a career in the travel industry, start a travel blog, or just step up your Instagram, by constantly honing your skills and improving your craft you’ll be able to level up your photography skills in no time. All you need to do is grab your camera and head out the door!