What is the Best Travel Camera?


What is the Best Travel Camera?If you often travel and want to purchase a camera that will allow you to capture moments in time, here are a few comparisons from the three main camera types that will hopefully help you decide which one is the best travel camera for you.

The three categories of cameras

Point and shoot cameras are the smallest of the three main types. They usually have no interchangeable lenses and they are also cheaper than the other two camera types. While they offer limited camera settings and lower image quality compared to the other ones, they win in terms of affordability, in addition to being the easiest to use. These cameras are also the lightest ones, making them great for travels and for street photography.

DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras are the oldest types of cameras, and they use a reflex lens to project the light from the lens unto the sensor and to the viewfinder. High-end models of this type are mostly used by professional photographers, offering the best image quality and adaptability. However, they are the heaviest cameras and the learning curve is also steep due to the numerous controls.

Mirrorless cameras do not use a mirror as DSLRs do, as the light from the lens travels directly onto the sensor and then the image is projected on an electronic viewfinder. These cameras are lighter than their DSLR counterparts but they generally have a narrower lens selection. They are not as adaptable as DSLRs, but they are easier to use and, up to the medium range, they offer about the same image quality.

Point and Shoot cameras

SONY RX100 II

This point and shoot camera has a resolution of 20 megapixels and has a sensor size of 13.2 x 8.8 mm which is fairly larger than what most competitors have. The price floats around $750, making it somewhat more expensive than other models. The focal length of the camera is 28-100mm and it has a 3.6x optical zoom. The camera weighs 281g, making it a good option for taking shots while traveling.

OLYMPUS TG3

This 16 megapixel camera costs around half the price of Sony RX100 II but its sensor is half the size as well. It is a bit lighter than the model above, weighing 247g. The focal length is 25-100mm which offers some decent versatility.  The best thing about this camera is that it is environmentally sealed, waterproof, and shock proof making it a better choice for travel and shooting in harsh environments.  Heck, it even says “Tough” written across the camera body.

Mirrorless cameras

PANASONIC DMC-GX7

The DMC-GX& is a 16 megapixels rangefinder mirrorless with a four thirds sensor which measures 17.3 x 13 mm. This camera is the more expensive of the three models, costing up to around 1000 dollars with a lens. While this camera wins at best image quality, it is the heaviest of the three, while also being bulkier.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1

This SLR-style mirrorless has a resolution of 16 megapixels and a four thirds 17.3 x 13 mm sensor. It weighs 497g. It can shoot photos at ISO speeds of 100-25600 while also being able to record video in H.264 quality. While offering great image quality, this camera costs around $1,400, making it a fairly expensive option in this category.

SONY ALPHA A7

This mirrorless camera shoots photos at a resolution of 24 megapixels. The main advantage of this camera is that it has a full frame sensor of 35.8 x 23.9 mm. The superior image quality comes with a higher purchase price of around $1,500 and a bulkier body with a weight of 474g.

SONY NEX-3N

This camera is a good option for users looking to step up from the point and shoots. It has a 16 megapixels resolution and a DX sensor of 23.5 x 15.6 mm. It is a lot lighter than its counterparts, weighing 269g. Its light weight and small size makes it perhaps the best small camera for travelling in this category.

SAMSUNG NX MINI

This 21 megapixels rangefinder mirrorless camera is the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera in the world. Where it gains on weight and size it loses on image quality, having a sensor of just 13.2 x 8.8 mm. It is a lot cheaper than most other mirrorless cameras, making it an affordable option for beginners.

NIKON 1 AW1

This 14 megapixel camera is perhaps the first rugged mirrorless that has appeared on the market. Its small 13.2 x 8.8 mm CX sensor may not offer the best image quality, but it more than makes up for it with resistance to shock, water or dust, making it ideal for shooting in harsh environments.

OLYMPUS E-M10

This mirrorless camera is of “DSLR-ish” design, able to shoot photos at 16 megapixels. Although its lens selection is smaller compared to the other two, it weighs 396g, being a great ultra-light companion and offering almost the same versatility as most entry-level DSLRs.

DSLR cameras

CANON EOS SL1

This compact DSLR has a resolution of 18 megapixels and a DX sensor of 22.3 x 14.9 mm. This entry-level model is a fairly good option for beginners in the DSLR department, offering many settings, Jpeg and RAW shooting formats and H.264 video. It is also very light, making it easy to carry around.

NIKON D5200 (with 18-55mm lens)

This consumer DSLRs has a 23.5 x 15.6 mm sensor and a 24 megapixel resolution. The camera comes with an articulated 3 inch display, and its F-mount makes it possible to lose a plethora of lenses, including older versions. It is also one of the most expensive entry-level DSLRs, and it is also heavier than most in its category.

Conclusion

It cannot be said that there is an absolute best camera for travel. You should decide which qualities you want your camera to have depending on your needs. If you want to travel light and be able to just take snapshots, then point and shoots are all you need. If you want to benefit from modern technology but don’t want to fiddle too much with the controls, then mirrorless cameras might work best. If you decide to step up your game and start learning travel photography on a serious level, then you should go for the professional DSLRs.

So decide which the best camera for travel is in your case and start taking photos!

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Published in Travel Photography, Travel Photography Gear Reviews

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