Best Travel Cameras Per Budget
Hello Explorers! In this article I have a great list for you for the ones I consider the best travel cameras for the following segments:
- Below 100$
- $100 < $ < $500
- $500 < $ < $1000
- $1000 < $ < $2000
But first, we need you to figure out what are your preferences. When it comes to travel cameras, there are many things to consider:
- Do you want a small and compact camera to take your snaps or do you prefer enjoying the benefits of a proper camera with interchangeable lenses?
- Are you planning to edit your images or not?
- Do you film video, or justs stills?
Explorers! Remember to share this pin to your Travel or Photography boards! This way you know what to buy when the time comes!
Finally, in order to help you get the travel camera that suits you the best, let me introduce you to the three main camera segments so you have a better idea of what are the differences between each other:
Point and shoot:
Point and shoot are the classic small cameras that are super convenient to take with you. They will produce good pictures and it is likely to have some basic video futures
While they are mostly “cheap” cameras, in recent years we have seen some massive improvements in some models, creating better quality pictures and videos
Mirrorless & DSLR
Mirrorless and DSLR cameras are also most known for having interchangeable lenses. DSLR have an older system which includes a mirror that reflects light into the sensor. Mirrorless is a newer system that removed the mirror -that’s why is mirrorless- and light goes straight to the sensor.
These cameras have bigger sensors, allowing you to edit them creating better images. Also, the interchangeable lenses will enable you to adjust your photography for your needs.
Lenses allow you to “specialize” your camera in a particular field.
- Do you want to take interior pictures? Then it would be best if you had a wide-angle lens, so more of the scene is in the frame.
- Do you want to take pictures in dark situations? Then you require a lens with a wider aperture, so more light goes in.
As we can notice in the following images, one huge advantage Mirrorless has over DSLR, is that camera bodies are smaller and lighter. Clearly, this is very important to consider when travelling.
These are “heavy duty” cameras that will allow you to go into the water. They are more resistant against hits, and they are small-sized and adaptable to many different mounts.
But one of the most significant drawbacks is their fixed focal length which means you can’t zoom. Nowadays, action cams are including digital zoom, but this means they lose quality when they do it.
As you can figure by now, this means there is no such thing as a perfect camera. So whatever you buy, you’ll notice that there are certain things you can’t do with it.
Generally, when we travel, we are mostly using both photography and video features. We take pictures of buildings, family and how you are feeding that non-hygienical Pidgeon in St Marcos Square. And we use videos to film those short fun moments of our holidays like when your kid falls skiing.
Taking these into consideration, let’s see the best travel cameras:
Suggested: How To Travel Photography: 15 Tips for Excellent results
Best Travel Cameras: Below $100
This market is dedicated to Point & Shoot cameras as they are cheaper to produce. That doesn’t mean you won’t find cool cameras in this niche. For me, the best 2 options are:
Canon PowerShot a2300: This camera produces nice video, but overall, it has great images. Canon is well known for its colour science, and when you are in this segment you will likely not be editing your images. This is very important as it is nice to have a camera with great straight out of camera images.
Sony Cybershot WX9 16.2: personally, I wouldn’t say I like Sony’s colour science as much as canon. That’s why I think this camera won’t produce as great pictures as the camera mentioned above. BUT this camera has far better video features.
Do you see it? There is not such a perfect camera. All of them have tradeoffs. Here Canon offers better image, but worst video capabilities. That’s why I would alway suggest to you to don’t over stress, even if you buy a $3000+ camera, you’ll notice there are things it simply won’t do.
Which one would I choose? Being honest, I’d stuck with my phone! But if having to choose one, I’d go with Sony as I film a lot when travelling. But do you?
Best Travel Cameras: $100 < $ < $500
Now here we can find more exciting cameras as we can get into the Mirrorless/DSLR World. In this segment, there are more varieties of cameras, the reason why you might agree or not with my choices. But at least, I’ll be explaining to you why I choose each 😊
GoPro Hero 8: People don’t realize how useful the new GoPros are. They are by far the most versatile camera, and I have found my self using them in so many situations!
Since version 7, the cameras have a fantastic image stabilization that allows you to create sick videos. Besides, they are minimal, water-resistant and have high-quality features enabling you to develop sick slow motions videos. In this video sandboarding in Perú, I mostly used a Gopro, even for B-roll! I have found myself using this camera more and more!
But no everything is perfect!
Cons: you can’t use it for telephoto purposes. It was not created for that. That doesn’t mean you can’t create great pictures with it!
Nikon D3500: This is the camera I recommend to anyone who wants to get involved in the photography world. If you’re going to use it casually, this will give you great results. If you’re looking to go a bit more in-depth and shoot RAW images to edit them, this camera is fantastic to start.
Cons: Video features in this camera are poor, that’s why I recommend it if you are mostly planning to take pictures.
Which one would I get?
I’d choose the GoPro and take pictures with my phone. The main reason is that cellphone cameras are getting better and better every year and, while they still don’t have the capabilities of a DSLR/Mirrorless, you can get similar results. Instead, cellphones are uncomfortable for filming, and they are far from being as convenient as GoPros. They break easily, and while it is true they are water-resistant, I find it to be stressful to go underwater with my phone! To be honest, I don’t even consider doing it!
Best Travel Cameras: $500 < X < $1000
I was thinking of what camera should go in here according to the prince range, in my opinion, there is only one:
This tiny camera ain’t cheap, but damn this camera is good. Really good.
The Zeiss lens F1.8-2.8 will allow you to take incredible images in low light scenarios. The sensor is excellent if you want to edit your pictures, and the glass quality will give you sharp results.
Video recording is excellent as well. You can shoot 24fps (which will give you smooth footage), the Auto Focus is well… Sony’s Autofocus (the best one)
Why is this the only camera in this segment? In my opinion, nothing beats it.
Surely, there are other great cameras. The Nikon Z50, the Sony a6400 and the Canon M50 are great too. They will produce even better quality images and video, but they lack in versatility, and I consider that to be even more important:
- To access low light quality lenses, you’d have to spend at least 400+. Sony RX100 VA has the F1.8 which is more than enough.
- The Sony comes with a 24-70, way more useful than the 16-50mm (Nikon M50 & Sony A6400) and the 15-45 of the Canon M50. Plus, those are Kit lenses.
- It is small.
The only two benefits I see in buying one of the mirrorless cameras is the headphone jack to insert a microphone and that you can change lenses. But that would immediately increase the cost above the $1000 (any lense will cost you $400+) reason why they don’t fit in this category.
This one in my opinion surely is the best travel camera for the price range, you just won’t go wrong. You will be surprised by what this thing is capable of.
Finally, the best category!
Best Travel Cameras: $1000 < $ < $2500
I this segment cameras get tricky, as one thing is the body and another thing are lense. That’s why I will recommend you what I believe are the best options camera + lens
With Sony you just won’t go wrong. They have an incredible Auto Focus system and video capabilities. Besides, this bundle comes with the 18-135 which makes it a great all around lens. You will likely not be needing another one unless you want to make some specific things.
Anyways, this is a great camera from every single aspect. Fantastic sensor for stills and video.
Best full frame travel camera
Note: For some reason, the price of the camera is constantly varying. I have seen it with at $1700 including the 24-70 lens. I bought it at 1900 with kit lens included
Moreover, this camera allows me to adapt it to whatever I want to do with it. I can be taking pictures, I press one trigger and immediately changed to video mode. This camera is FAST to use, which is exactly what I need when travel.
For me, a travel camera must be something that can shoot video and take great pictures. This camera is just outstanding at doing both of them.
I couldn’t believe how good it was in low light situations. The dynamic range of this thing is insane, allowing me to push the sensor beyond what it should. It films 4k no crop, 1080p in 120 fps and, it has an incredible way of switching modes from stills to video. With one push of a dial, your camera is full video or stills customized.
Finally, the skin tones this camera produces are tasty! When I travel, I’m always shooting RAW+Jpeg. The Raw files are the ones I later edit and upload to IG, this blog, etc… I use the JPEGs to send pictures to my family and closest friends, and the photos straight out of the camera are, in my opinion, the best ones of any other Mirrorless.
These are some images I have taken with this camera:
Video vlog with Z6 (Pay Attention to 6:35 for to see it in action):
And that’s it, my explorers! This list isn’t just big amount of cameras listed, they truly are the ones I consider as the best travel cameras. Finally, if you want to know further details on these cameras and why do I choose them over other common ones, send me a DM on instagram or let me know in the comments below!