Traveling and Photography goes hand in hand. Who doesn’t want to share his best memories from a great trip with his friends or family? Finding the best travel camera for You can help You to keep these memories and experiences. It is a wonderful thing to look back at Your past trips and to remember all those great places You have been. The people that You met, the adventures that You undergo.

Selection of the Best Cameras for Traveling

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact...
Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP...
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with...
Megapixels
20
42
12
Sensor
1″
Full-Frame Sensor
1/2.3"
Weight
210g
657g
498g
Feature #1
Reliable Auto-Focus
4K Video
Waterproof 15m
Feature #2
Inexpensive
Compatible with old Lenses
Shockproof 2.1m
Feature #3
Very compact
Good Weather Resistance
4K Videos
Verdict
Great Price-Performance
Best Image & Video Quality
Underwater Action
Customer Rating
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact...
Megapixels
20
Sensor
1″
Weight
210g
Feature #1
Reliable Auto-Focus
Feature #2
Inexpensive
Feature #3
Very compact
Verdict
Great Price-Performance
Customer Rating
Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP...
Megapixels
42
Sensor
Full-Frame Sensor
Weight
657g
Feature #1
4K Video
Feature #2
Compatible with old Lenses
Feature #3
Good Weather Resistance
Verdict
Best Image & Video Quality
Customer Rating
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with...
Megapixels
12
Sensor
1/2.3"
Weight
498g
Feature #1
Waterproof 15m
Feature #2
Shockproof 2.1m
Feature #3
4K Videos
Verdict
Underwater Action
Customer Rating

The following guide will present You a selection of the best travel cameras, that You should take on Your next vacation to not only capture those moments but present them in the best possible way. With this help, You will enjoy both, the traveling and the photography much more. If You are looking for very inexpensive cameras, then I would recommend the guide about point and shoot cameras for under $200.

Before buying a new camera for traveling, You should consider which type of camera suits Your trip the best and how much money You are willing to invest. There are a lot of different ways to travel and I try to present a variety of cameras that will be best for Your next adventure.

Best Travel Camera under $500

Traveling can be a quite expensive investment itself. Instead of spending the remaining money on a new camera, I would advise You to rather focus more on the travel experience. Nowadays, there are already a lot of great cameras available for less than $500. With them, You are able to capture Your unique memories in a great quality, while having a bit more money to spend on the travel experience. Digital cameras are already so far advanced, that even cameras for under $500 produce images, that You can frame and hang on Your wall without a problem. If You are on a tight budget but want to enjoy some high-quality photographs, consider buying one of the following cameras for traveling.

Sony RX100 V

Sony RX100 20.2 MP Premium Compact...
Weight
Weight: 300g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 20
Sensor
Sensor: 1″
Recommended For
Recommended For … Travelers that want an all-around great compact camera for their Travel that is able to capture excellent Pictures and Videos in 4K.
Customer Rating
Sony RX100 20.2 MP Premium Compact...
Weight
Weight: 300g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 20
Sensor
Sensor: 1″
Recommended For
Recommended For … Travelers that want an all-around great compact camera for their Travel that is able to capture excellent Pictures and Videos in 4K.
Customer Rating

The Sony RX 100 V is one of the best cameras that You can add to Your travel equipment. Sony partnered up with Zeiss, to create a small camera, that is a true beast when it comes to the image quality. That Sony is willing to release the fifth generation of the RX 100 shows how popular the camera is and how much photographers are craving for this model.

The fifth iteration of the successful series comes with a 20 Megapixels sensor that. The pure resolution of this camera is very well in the professional range and does allow to print big pictures that look beautiful on the wall. Zeiss lenses are known for their great quality and the auto-focus is really fast. Being able to save the pictures in the RAW-format does allow You to post-process the images quite creatively.

Negatively pointed out can the low battery life and the not very intuitive interface of the camera. Positively, these things can be handled with additional batteries and a little time to know the camera better.

Not only in producing still images the camera performs outstandingly well, but also when it comes to video captures. The camera is able to record in 4K resolution and is a huge improvement compared to the previous generation.

Be aware that there is also the newest generation of the RX 100 available for a little more than $1.000. The RX 100 V is still often priced very high, but there are offers available now for around $500 at Amazon. In my opinion, the RX 100 V is a lot better when it comes to the price-performance and the differences are marginal. As a relatively inexpensive travel buddy, I can only recommend the Sony RX 100 V.

License

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Great Image Quality

Light Weight

4K Video

CONTRA

Video Clip Length of 5 Min



 

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Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact...
Weight
Weight: 210g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 20
Sensor
Sensor: 1″
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers that need a small camera that performs well in bad light.
Customer Rating
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact...
Weight
Weight: 210g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 20
Sensor
Sensor: 1″
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers that need a small camera that performs well in bad light.
Customer Rating

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is very comparable to the previously presented camera of Sony. Both feature a sensor that offers a resolution of 20 Megapixels, which is great if You want to look at the images not only on the display or the computer screen but want to actually print them and display them on the wall.

The Powershot G9 X Mark II is a little lighter and if You are very conscious of the weight, this camera is probably the better solution. Another positive aspect is the price of the G9 X II. Although this camera is very capable of getting high-quality pictures, the price is noticeably lower compared to the Sony RX 100 V.

A negative point is the lack of a viewfinder on the G9 X II. It only comes with an LCD-screen that You have to use while framing the pictures.

If You are looking for a good affordable camera with an excellent image quality, then this camera is a great alternative to the RX 100 V. In comparison to its previous iteration, the Mark II is a true leap forward in terms of performance.

Especially when You are searching for a camera for hiking or another adventure that can afflict the camera, this camera is a good choice, because of its sturdy body and low investment.

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Features

Features

Features

PRO

Inexpensive

Sturdy Body

Very Light Weight

CONTRA

No Viewfinder



 

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Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR...
Weight
Weight: 1.050g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24
Sensor
Sensor: APS-C Sensor
Recommended For
Recommended For … Travelers that search for a versatile camera that they also want to use after coming back.
Customer Rating
Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR...
Weight
Weight: 1.050g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24
Sensor
Sensor: APS-C Sensor
Recommended For
Recommended For … Travelers that search for a versatile camera that they also want to use after coming back.
Customer Rating

Although I am more a fan of mirrorless cameras and small compact cameras for traveling, there are also DSLRs that can make You happy while traveling. The great thing about such a DSLR is that You can also use it after traveling and You can pretty much do any kind of photography for example in the portrait, landscape or wildlife direction.

The Nikon D5300 costs a little under $500 and including the 18-55 Kit lens comes just short about $500. With a resolution of more than 24 Megapixels, the body is capable of having a great image quality. Another big impact has the lens and while the Kit lens isn’t the best, You have the choice of investing more money in a lens at a later stage if You want to.

Admittedly, the camera is not the newest and has been available for a few years. Yet, the basic technology still holds a lot of value and the camera introduced a lot of new features at that time. The camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi, which makes it very easy to transfer Your pictures and has GPS.

If You feel that the weight won’t drag You down and You want to have a camera in Your hand that is a little bigger than the compact cameras, then the D5300 by Nikon is still a good travel camera. Combined with different lenses, You have the freedom of exploring different types of photography during and after Your travel activities.

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Features

Features

Features

PRO

Changeable Lenses

Wi-Fi & GPS

Very Versatile

CONTRA

A few Years old



 

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Best Mirrorless Cameras for Traveling

For traveling, mirrorless cameras have a lot of advantages. They are lighter than their DSLR counterparts and the electronic viewfinder has a lot of additional features that are especially helpful when You are at the beginner stages of photography. For video recordings, mirrorless cameras are also a great choice. The leading manufacturer also put a lot of emphasis on the design of the cameras. For traveling, mirrorless cameras would also be my first choice of camera.

Fuji X100F – Review

Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital...
Weight
Weight: 470g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24
Sensor
Sensor: APS-C
Recommended For
Recommended For … Travelers that are comfortable shooting with a 35mm lens and appreciate a light and simple design, combined with great image quality.
Customer Rating
Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital...
Weight
Weight: 470g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24
Sensor
Sensor: APS-C
Recommended For
Recommended For … Travelers that are comfortable shooting with a 35mm lens and appreciate a light and simple design, combined with great image quality.
Customer Rating

 

For my travel through Southeast Asia, the Fuji X100F was my choice of camera. I already had a lot of experience shooting with this camera in Berlin and doing some Street Photography. Being very delighted by its qualities and capabilities, I wasn’t afraid to do some more serious projects only with this camera.

The X100F was my choice of camera because, in contrast to popular believe the 35mm lens isn’t a limitation for me, but not worrying about which lens to choose does give me more creative freedom.

Ijen Panorama - X100F Travel Camera

If You are not comfortable with using only the electronic viewfinder, You can switch to the optical viewfinder instead. Typical for mirrorless cameras, the battery life is not exactly great, but with a few spare batteries, I can get through a full day of shooting.

From a personal experience, the camera is also very sturdy and did very well when photographing in sulfur smoke, or in an elephant sanctuary. You may also have a look at my image gallery from my travel through Southeast Asia.

Another fun fact is, that a lot of people consider the camera to be a classic analog camera, because of its vintage design. This can be a great conversation starter and a lot of people are very curious about seeing this camera in action and very friendly. For traveling, this is great to get closer to people and have a little chat with them.

License

Features

Features

Templates

PRO

Excellent Image Quality

Great Design

Relatively Compact

CONTRA

No Tiltable Screen



 

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Sony A7R III

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP...
Weight
Weight: 660g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 42
Sensor
Sensor: Full-Frame
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who seek for the maximum quality and aren't hesitant to invest a little more money in their memories.
Customer Rating
Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP...
Weight
Weight: 660g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 42
Sensor
Sensor: Full-Frame
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who seek for the maximum quality and aren't hesitant to invest a little more money in their memories.
Customer Rating

Are You traveling and want to present Your trip in the best possible way? Then the Sony a7R III is the best camera You can get on the market. In basically every aspect that describes a camera, the a7R III is top-notch.

With over 42 Megapixels, You can not only print pictures for Your wall, but You could also plaster walls at an acceptable resolution. The image quality is one of the highest in the industry and if You are an ambitious photographer, this camera can increase Your chance to win a competition or land a few pictures in the next National Geographic Issue.

The high-ISO performance is outstanding and does allow You to take pictures in very bad light conditions without using a flash. Capturing Wildlife with this camera is also working like a charm with one of the highest burst modes available and a 5-axis in-body stabilization, You are very versatile in Your choice of style.

When it comes to video though, there are better cameras available. The a7R III does offer a 4K mode, but compared to the top-notch image quality, the video performance is rather lackluster.

The Sony a7R III isn’t very budget-friendly but it does offer the best image quality that is available. Given the rather compact design and the lightweight, it is also perfectly suitable for traveling.

License

Features

Features

Features

PRO

42 Megapixels

Best Image Quality

Full-Frame Sensor

CONTRA

Low Battery Life



 

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Lumix GH 5

PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Body 4K Mirrorless...
Weight
Weight: 725 g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 20
Sensor
Sensor: Micro Four-Thirds
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who not only want to have a good image quality but are more focused on capturing their impressions as a video.
Customer Rating
PANASONIC LUMIX GH5 Body 4K Mirrorless...
Weight
Weight: 725 g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 20
Sensor
Sensor: Micro Four-Thirds
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who not only want to have a good image quality but are more focused on capturing their impressions as a video.
Customer Rating

Mirrorless cameras are not only a good choice for still images, but also for video captures. The Lumix GH 5 is a hybrid camera, that does put a lot of emphasis on the video production, while also offering decent still pictures.

What’s important for this kind of emphasize on video production is the internal buffering and processing. Most cameras will have a hard time recording high-quality material and saving it. Not so the Lumix GH 5.

The processor is very capable of handling the 4K 60p, 10-bit internal video recordings and the Dual Slot SD-Cards allow You to record non-stop for a very long time. For its usage, the battery life is also very conservative, which does play a role when going for longer video recording times.

Although the buffering is very fast and can take up to 65 frames in the RAW-Image format, it can take some time to process it. So if You are planning on exhausting the buffer, You also have to keep in mind, that the camera will be inoperable for a short amount of time.

Other than that, the Lumix GH 5 is a great mirrorless camera that focuses on stellar video quality and which allows You to shoot some Vlogs or other video material on Your vacation.

License

Features

Features

Features

PRO

4K Video in 60p

Dual Slot SD-Cards

65 Frames Buffer

CONTRA

Slow Processing for the Buffer



 

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Best Waterproof Travel Cameras

Traveling often means to go on hikes and exploring the nature. At least for me, that is some way to enjoy being in a foreign environment. While most cameras are pretty well accustomed to rougher conditions if You are going to the extreme and want a camera that is also waterproof here are some recommendations. These cameras are not also great for photographing during heavy rain, but can also be used to take pictures underwater. With them, You can discover what is below the water surface of streams or seas. Therefore, they are ideal for trips with a kayak or other journeys, where You spent a lot of time on the water.

Olympus Tough TG-5

Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with...
Weight
Weight: 250g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 12
Sensor
Sensor: 1/2.3"
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who want to capture images under extreme conditions and underwater.
Customer Rating
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with...
Weight
Weight: 250g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 12
Sensor
Sensor: 1/2.3"
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who want to capture images under extreme conditions and underwater.
Customer Rating

The TG in the name stands for tough and the Olympus TG-5 is more than just tough. The 12 Megapixels of the camera might not sound a lot, but in combination with the newest TruePic VIII image processor, the image quality is decent.

Of course, the goal of the camera is not to take the highest quality images ever, but to deliver reliable results when facing extreme challenges. The TG-5 is waterproof up to 15m and shockproof up to 2.1m. Of course, the camera is also resistant to dust or temperature differences.

When shooting underwater the camera needs to be controlled easily and the TG-5 does achieve exactly that. The design is very ergonomic, does feel good in the hands and the controls are easy to use.

Out of the water, the camera is mainly good to use in well-lit environments. Anything above ISO 800 will increase the noise to an unacceptable level.

In addition to still images, the camera is also able to produce 4K videos. So if You are searching for a camera that is able to capture pictures and videos in a decent quality, then the Olympus TG-5 does exactly offer that.

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Features

Features

Features

PRO

Waterproof

4K Videos

4x Optical Zoom

CONTRA

Only 12 Megapixels



 

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Nikon Coolpix W300

Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital...
Weight
Weight: 230g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 16
Sensor
Sensor: 1/2.3"
Recommended For
Recommended for ... Scuba divers that want to take pictures while being underwater.
Customer Rating
Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital...
Weight
Weight: 230g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 16
Sensor
Sensor: 1/2.3"
Recommended For
Recommended for ... Scuba divers that want to take pictures while being underwater.
Customer Rating

Did You think that there is no small and easy camera available to take pictures underwater? Well, then the Nikon Coolpix W300 is Your answer to this question. Being waterproof to a depth of 30 meters, this camera proofs that You don’t need a big rig to take decent pictures.

Similar to the TG-5, the Coolpix W300 is shockproof from a height of 2.4 and features a very sturdy body that does well against dust or other extreme environments. The camera does offer a little more optical zoom that can You bring closer to Your subjects.

The raw image quality might be superior to the TG-5, but in comparison, the exposure is not 100% reliable and does produce inconsistent results. The camera controls are also more difficult to handle, which can be problematic when being underwater.

Therefore, the Coolpix W300 should be used when You plan to take it to its depth limits. For shallow snorkeling, the TG-5 might be more suitable for You.

License

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Waterproof

4K Videos

Safe until -10°C

CONTRA

Aperture of F/2.8



 

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GoPro Hero6

GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital...
Weight
Weight: 120g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 12
Sensor
Sensor: 1/2.3"
Recommended For
Recommended for ... Action Seekers who not only want to shoot videos underwater but also while mountain biking or snowboarding.
Customer Rating
GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital...
Weight
Weight: 120g
Megapixels
Megapixels: 12
Sensor
Sensor: 1/2.3"
Recommended For
Recommended for ... Action Seekers who not only want to shoot videos underwater but also while mountain biking or snowboarding.
Customer Rating

The GoPro Hero6 is a decent alternative to the previous cameras when You are looking for a more video focused camera. The qualities of GoPros are very well known and they are able to deliver high-quality video footage in 4K resolution at 60 fps.

Waterproof up to a depth of 10m it can also be used while snorkeling or diving. You are able to take pictures at a decent image quality, but the GoPro really excels when it comes to video footage.

The touchscreen can be a little inconvenient to control, but once the camera is set to record, it doesn’t have a huge influence anymore.

Images can be saved as RAW files and the burst-mode allows 30 pictures per second, but really the qualities of the camera lie in the video footage. With an improved image stabilization You can also take the GoPro Hero6 on a bumpy ride and the video will still be decent.

License

Features

Features

Features

PRO

4K Video in 60p

Waterproof

Shockproof

CONTRA

Difficult to control



 

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DSLRs for Traveling

Although I prefer mirrorless cameras for the travel experience, You might want to consider buying a DSLR is You want to have more options after traveling and don’t mind carrying the additional weight. DSLRs are great for their versatility that they offer in combination with the suitable lens. One advantage of DSLRs is their battery life. Since they don’t have to power up an electronic viewfinder, they can go for a long time without changing batteries. So if You really want to stay away from re-charging and changing batteries during Your trip, a DSLR can be more practical for You.

Nikon D750

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera...
Weight
Weight: 1.550g incl. Batteries & Kit Lens
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24,3
Sensor
Sensor: Full-Frame
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who want to invest in a full-frame sensor camera that performs great at every level.
Customer Rating
Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera...
Weight
Weight: 1.550g incl. Batteries & Kit Lens
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24,3
Sensor
Sensor: Full-Frame
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who want to invest in a full-frame sensor camera that performs great at every level.
Customer Rating

The D750 is an all around great camera. With its full-frame sensor, it performs very well in low-light situations, while offering great image quality thanks to the 24 Megapixels. The low-light performance isn’t limited to its image quality but also shows by its auto-focus with works very well in the lesser lit environment.

Most of the time, DSLRs are focused on either one aspect of photography, or videography. The D750, on the other hand, does combine the strengths of different previous Nikon models to excel on both stages.

Although the D750 does employ most modern features that make it a very competent camera, it does lack a tiltable screen. If You want to take videos of Yourself, the D750 can be a bit tricky to work with for this reason.

Sometimes, DSLRs are also preferred for its haptic. Having small cameras isn’t always the most comfortable choice and if You want to feel Your camera a little bit better in Your hand, the D750 has a great grip. Another technical strength is its dynamic range, which can cover a very broad field. This camera may not be a lightweight choice, but behind its extra pounds is a lot of power for Your travel photography.

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Features

Features

Templates

PRO

Good ISO Performance

Video Features

Wi-Fi

CONTRA

No Tiltable Screen



 

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Canon 80D

Canon Digital SLR Camera Body [EOS 80D]...
Weight
Weight: 1.270g incl. Batteries & Kit-Lens
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24,2
Sensor
Sensor: APS-C
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers that often search for difficult perspectives or want to record themselves.
Customer Rating
Canon Digital SLR Camera Body [EOS 80D]...
Weight
Weight: 1.270g incl. Batteries & Kit-Lens
Megapixels
Megapixels: 24,2
Sensor
Sensor: APS-C
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers that often search for difficult perspectives or want to record themselves.
Customer Rating

The Canon 80D is one of the few DSLRs that feature a tiltable screen. Unfortunately, tiltable screens are not introduced in the highest categories of DSLRs yet. Nonetheless, the 80D still delivers good photographs, while being a good tool if You are interested to capture Yourself during Your next trip.

In comparison to its previous generation, the auto-focus has been improved, sporting 45 points now that are responsible for capture sharp images. The ISO-performance has also been amped up and does very well for an APS-C sensor.

I included this DSLR because it is aimed at videographers, featuring not only a tiltable screen but also microphone and headphone jacks. To my disappointment, the camera doesn’t feature 4K but “only” Full-HD. At the moment, the resolution is very sufficient but who knows how fast new standards will be established?

Should the limited video resolution not be a hindrance for You then the 80D is the ideal DSLR for Your videos and yes, it does also have a great image quality.

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Features

Features

Features

PRO

Good Auto-Focus

Microphone & Headphone Jacks

Suitable For Photography & Videography

CONTRA

No 4K Support



 

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Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital...
Weight
Weight: 890g incl. Batteries
Megapixels
Megapixels: 30,4
Sensor
Sensor: Full-Frame
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who want to shoot a dedicated project and need a reliable workhorse.
Customer Rating
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital...
Weight
Weight: 890g incl. Batteries
Megapixels
Megapixels: 30,4
Sensor
Sensor: Full-Frame
Recommended For
Recommended For ... Travelers who want to shoot a dedicated project and need a reliable workhorse.
Customer Rating

The Canon 5D series is one of the most popular cameras for Photojournalists and has been used in Documentary Projects a lot. Are You not only traveling for Yourself but have a certain project in mind that You want to work on and need to bring it to a professional level? Then You won’t do anything wrong going for the Canon 5D IV.

With 30.4 Megapixels, the resolution is one of the highest available. The processor has been improved, compared to the 5D Mark III and allows for faster bursts. The High-Iso performance and the Dynamic range are additional strengths of the 5D IV. For videographers, this camera does offer the full 4K resolution and with the built-in WiFi, You can transfer the footage very quickly.

All these features come at a high cost and the 5D IV is definitely on the more expensive side of things. In return, You get a camera that offers a professional quality.

If You are planning to travel and completing a personal project that You want to finish on a professional level, then the Canon 5D IV offers You everything that You need. A fast auto-focus, outstanding resolution, quick burst and great video quality.

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Features

Features

Templates

PRO

Great Dynamic Range

Touchscreen

GPS & Wi-Fi

CONTRA

No Image Stabilization



 

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How to Choose the Best Camera for Traveling

When I read in forums or other places where people are gathering information to buy a camera for traveling I notice that they are often times asking the wrong questions. Often times, they will state the country or city they are traveling to, although that information is completely irrelevant for the choice of camera.

Instead, ask Yourself what You want to photograph. Travel photography is not really a genre for itself, but a combination of a lot of different types of photography. Which camera You need depends on Your personal photography preferences and not on the location You are going to.

Railtrack Cat - Travel Camera

What kind of Photography are You doing?

Therefore, the first question You should ask Yourself is which genre You are interested in the most. Are You also photographing at home and if Yes, what does interest You the most? Are You photographing either landscapes, people or the wildlife mostly?

If You don’t have a clear focus, then You should choose a camera that is very versatile and can be adjusted to the type of photography You are looking for. Although I am a huge fan of my X100F, I understand if it isn’t for everyone.

Good all-around cameras are either the Sony RX V or the Nikon D750. They offer a decent image quality and either have some zoom capabilities or can utilize different lenses.

Although the type of photography does influence the ideal camera the most, You should also have in mind how robust the camera should be.

The camera that does its job well at home, will also function in a different location. There aren’t specific cameras for cities or locations.

The Budget

The money You are willing to invest obviously does make a difference. If money wasn’t a constraint, I would go with the Sony A7R III and some sweet Zeiss lenses. Unfortunately, the minimum of 5k Dollars this setup would cost me isn’t really worth it.

I much rather spend less money on the camera and invest more in the travel experience. With this I mean, that I don’t splurge on a luxurious hotel, but use the money to extend the trip and have more time to truly experience the local culture.

Modern digital cameras have the great advantage that even the “entry-level” segment produces high-quality images. What they are capable of would have been considered professional quality ten or even five years ago. A camera for $300 can produce images that can be printed and hung on a wall without a problem and is a great camera for beginners.

They might be a little limited in difficult lighting and not be the most versatile options, but if You are planning a trip somewhere where You expect to have a lot of sunlight, then these cameras are a very inexpensive solution to getting great images.

Sulfur Mining- Ijen Travel Project

What Makes a Great Travel Camera

Although photography doesn’t change depending on where You are, the characteristics of a camera that is used for traveling can be quite different than what You are used to. For example, if You are shooting with a big rig and a lot of equipment in a studio, You won’t have the same setup when traveling. You can find a lot of mirrorless cameras for less than $1000 that are great for travel photography.

A camera for traveling should be comfortable to wear during the day, as I don’t like to miss any moment and it needs to be ready to shoot the type of photography that I am looking for without any preparation.

Weight & Compactness

Size and weight of a camera won’t make much of a difference if You are shooting in a studio and are able to put the camera aside very often. It won’t even have much of an impact if You are just walking around for a few hours. But if You are traveling and You are enjoying the vacation, chances are that You are exploring the cities or landscape for the whole day. This means that You are wearing the camera for more than 12 hours a day.

Not even for a single day, but a whole week maybe. A difference of 100g doesn’t sound much, but if You are wearing a camera for such a long time, even a difference as tiny as 100g can be noticeably different. Your neck might feel better and You are enjoying photography more.

Of course, if You are used to wearing a rather heavy camera on Your neck without a good camera strap for a long time, then You might shrug it off. If You are not used to it, then going for a compact camera, that does allow You to wear it in Your hands will be a lot more stress and pain-free.

The size of the camera is not only important for its weight, but also for its ease of use. What benefits does a camera have that has a great image quality but sits in Your backpack for most of the time because it is too big and heavy?

Right, it doesn’t have any use and therefore I would always go for a camera that I have no problem taking with me for a whole day. A camera that is too big and limits my movement isn’t really suitable for me, so keep in mind what kind of action You are planning. For city tours, a bigger camera might not be a problem, but if You are going on a hike, or want to ride a bike, then a smaller camera that does fit in Your pocket might be a better choice.

Leisure Time - Travel Camera

Versatility

A camera doesn’t provide any use when it sits in Your Backpack. Additionally, if You have to change the settings, lens or other aspects about Your equipment very often, You will invest more time into Your gear, than exploring the new environment and actually taking pictures.

A travel camera should be versatile enough to get 90% of the shots You want to take without having the need to put a lot of effort in them. The other 10% You can either get by spending more time, for example in getting closer to the subject, or searching for different angles or if else fails by changing the lens.

Getting 90% of the shots with the current setup is already a great number. It might sound like a contradiction that I chose the FujiX100F as my travel camera, as it doesn’t appear to be very versatile due to its fixed lens. Yet, this focal range does cover everything that I am looking forward to photographing. From my normal Street Photography to Documentary Photography, Landscapes and even Wildlife Photography. I am confident in the abilities of this camera and therefore it is very versatile.

For others, versatility would include having a zoom lens or being able to change the lenses and the camera being able to shoot well in pretty much every condition. This depends on Your expectations as a photographer and how experienced You are using the different focal ranges.

Usability

When traveling, I don’t want to spend time digging deep into the settings of a camera just because I want to change the from burst mode to single images, or because I want to change the ISO ranges.

A camera for traveling should have an easy interface and the buttons must be intuitive to use. Otherwise, You are looking more on the screen and are not able to soak up the travel experience.

Having a travel camera that is difficult to use can also be frustrating and ruin the fun of shooting. In general, I wouldn’t recommend buying a new camera for traveling if You are not able to get used to it beforehand.

Every camera has its quirks and it can get some time to use its full potential. If You are searching for a quick solution, then compact cameras are often built with the intention of providing easy basic controls. On the contrary, if You want to change very specific settings, they can be difficult to navigate as well.

Helpful could also be to buy cameras from the same manufacturer as the interface is roughly the same throughout all of its models. This can help You to get used to it more quickly instead of having to learn a completely different concept.

Image Quality

Of course, we like to have good looking images when looking back at the travel. Having the best image quality does come at a cost though. Not only financially but also in size and weight.

The Sony a7R III or the Canon 5D IV offers the best image quality, but the camera body alone does cost more than $3.000. With lenses, a camera bag, and other additional gear, the combined cost can easily surpass $5.000.

You may get the best image quality, but is it really worth the investment and weight that You are carrying with You?

In all honesty, the difference of image quality between a Sony a7R III and the FujiX100F aren’t even very noticeable looking at computer screens or in standard sized prints. Yes, You might get really close to the picture and then see a difference, but under normal circumstances, the difference in image quality is very marginal in modern digital cameras.

They all have very high standards and if You are taking the pictures to show them Your friends and family then they won’t notice the difference anyway. More often, the pictures aren’t even printed or shown on big screens, but rather uploaded to social media. Buying expensive gear just to upload some pictures on Instagram or Facebook is a big waste in my opinion.

Before traveling, think about where the pictures may end up and if it is worth spending a lot of money on images, that may not even benefit from the highest quality. There is a lot more to the qualities of a camera than its megapixel count.

Which Lenses to Use

Normally, I would recommend buying either a compact camera that has a fixed lens with an optical zoom or a mirrorless camera with a fixed prime lens. But if You are going with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera that have an interchangeable lens design, You should think about which lenses to use.

The 35mm Prime lens

My favorite lens which does cover most of my photography preferences is the 35mm prime lens. They don’t cost much money and with an aperture of around 1.8, You get some shallow depth of field to create some bokeh.

In the portraiture world, the 35mm prime lens has seen a huge increase in popularity and it shows, that You can pretty much recreate any style with this lens.

This focal length is the classic documentary photography lens for a reason. It does come very close to our natural field of view and doesn’t require a lot of familiarization.

It is great for places where You can move and get closer to people, does allow for good landscape shots and works well in the difficult light.

A Zoom Lens

In addition to the 35mm prime lens, which would be my first choice, I would go for a more flexible zoom lens. Something around 70-200mm would cover a focal range that is missing with the prime lens.

With such a zoom lens, You can shoot wildlife more easily or also have more options when being limited in Your movement. For example when You are on a boat or are shooting in very open space where it is impossible to get closer to people.

These zoom lenses are usually a bit limited in their aperture and therefore are best to use during the daylight. If You plan to use them to shoot in caves or darker bays, they probably won’t work very well.

Wide Angle Lens

Are You traveling to a location that offers a unique landscape and You want to focus on showing fields, mountains or the sea in all of its glory, then having a more specialized wide angle lens will bring You more joy than the 35mm alone?

Although I am quite satisfied with the performance of the 35mm for landscape photography, You might want to look for an 18mm lens as an alternative.

Their field of view is more suitable for landscapes and You are able to capture the beauty more easily.

Elephant Tire - Travel Camera

Travel Tips

Gear and travel cameras shouldn’t be the most important aspect of the journey. Rather take Your time to enjoy discovering different places. Meet new people and have a great time. Even without having the best pictures, the travel will be very much worth it.

Travel Light

Traveling can be quite exhausting and not only the camera does have an effect, but also the other equipment that can add up quickly. My gear for traveling usually includes a few spare batteries, a cleaning set, and chargers and SD-cards. That is all that I need camera gear wise. You might throw in a small tripod or an additional lens, but in general, I would focus on packing as light as possible.

This will help You not only to be less exhausted but stay more organized. Especially when You are changing places a lot, only having a minimum of equipment will help You to focus on what is necessary for Your travel photography.

Too much gear can distract You and doesn’t help You anyway. You won’t need those three additional lenses and no, the softboxes won’t be useful for some travel photography. Don’t be afraid to minimize Your gear and leaving things behind.

Meet Local Photographers

A lot of tourists are booking expensive tour guides to show them the city. Often times, these tourists guides might bring You to the best places, but as their name already suggests, often times they will bring You to famous landmarks.

When I want to explore different cities, I want to learn more about the local culture and see how they spend their day. Therefore, I make sure to meet local photographers that are willing to show me some of their favorite areas.

In meeting these local photographers, You will not only find great photography spots but also learn more about the local culture and get to meet new people. While traveling, I met so many great and talented Street Photographers in Southeast Asia that were willing to help me out, it really did amaze me and shows that people are proud to present their city.

On the other hand, I also like to welcome other photographers in my hometown and like to meet them for a coffee (okay – in reality it is beer) and talk with them about the city or photography.

Metting these local photographers is really more than just seeing some places, it is about getting to know a different culture and finding new friends.

Follow Your Curiosity

My most important advice when traveling with the intention of also doing photography would be to follow Your curiosity and leave spare time.

I find it very limiting and not really enjoyable when following a strict time schedule. Often times, tourists are putting themselves on a lot of stress because they want to visit as much of the foreign country as possible.

Sometimes this seems more like a challenge of marking a checklist than really experiencing the atmosphere. Instead of hopping from one place to another, cross out some cities and spend more time in one place.

You are able to experience the city more thoroughly and instead of just fishing on the surface and getting some very superficial impressions, You are able to gain more real insights into the location and people.

With these tips in mind and the perfect camera for traveling in Your hand, I hope that You will be able to come home only the best memories and a great collection of photographs.

Street Photography