Even if you have a great camera phone, a travel camera can still provide more crisp details; not to mention its other features such as excellent low-light captures, underwater covers, and other capabilities that a smartphone simply lacks.
Travel cameras have a range of classifications. Some good considerations as a good travel camera is the Nikon D3500 due to its clear and magnificent stills even in lowlight conditions. However, make sure to also study the types of lenses that are compatible with your cam.
On the other hand, for best image stabilization, action cameras are a very nice choice to have. They have decent image stabilization and waterproof capability that makes them possible to cover your underwater adventures. Such cameras include the GoPro Hero9 and the Akaso EK7000.
Evangeline Summers, Solidsmacks expert in the field of photography, reminded buyers to look for a travel cam that is compact, portable, and versatile. In that way, you will have a piece of equipment that can cover every moment of your outdoor experiences; be it a video underwater, a photo at night, or a motorcycle video clip.
Additionally, Summers said that the core features of a travel camera must be the initial indicator to consider. For instance, the 30x optical zoom of Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K, the magnificent 26.1 megapixels of Fujifilm X-T3, and the overall beginner-friendly Nikon D3500 camera.
Having said this, let us dig in further with the qualities of the best travel cameras on the market. With the help of Summers, we’ve consolidated the important features to look for a travel camera. To further assist you in purchasing, we also added the links so you’ll be able to get their best Amazon deals.
1. GoPro HERO9
71.0 x 55.0 x 33.6 mm
Max Video Resolution
5K (30 FPS)
GoPro Hero9 is the latest and most updated GoPro model as of today. It has a lot of features that can ultimately amaze anyone.
First, it has improved video and photos resolution at 5k and 20 MP, respectively. It also has an improved 3.0 version of the HyperSmooth and TimeWarp features that’s also fantastic according to Summers.
“The upgrades of this camera are very overwhelming,” Summers shared. “All of these are beneficial to travelers and activity lovers like me. Apart from the resolutions of photos and videos, the stabilization of this camera is very, very nice. You’ll see the difference if you are an action camera user before the release of this one. Also, the stabilization is partnered with auto horizon leveling that’s one of the most advanced features of GoPro. Likewise, the TimeWarp can insanely record time-lapse videos at a high outstanding level.”
Another additional attribute that this cam offers is the wide connectivity features, audio features, live streaming, power tools, touch screen rear screen, and its waterproof capability for up to 33 feet underwater. Additionally, the 1720 mAh rechargeable battery is long-lasting. Thereby, you can capture the videos and stills the entire day without any worry.
2. Fujifilm X-T3
132.5 x 92.8 x 58.8 mm
Max Video Resolution
C4K or 4K UHD at 60P
The Fujifilm X-T3 comes with a 26.1-megapixel resolution. It is 1.8 megapixels more than the previous X-T2 model (with 24.3 megapixels). With this, you can capture better stills.
“An increase in the megapixels is a great factor when it comes to travel cameras especially if you want to capture more detailed and large printouts,” Summers started. “Apart from the megapixels, what I love about this camera are the improved 2.16 million phase-detection pixels paired with the cam’s new X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor. The X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor of Fujifilm Corporation adds to the highest possible image resolution that you could have. This feature also offers a three times faster image processor than the previous models. And, the improved ISO sensitivity of 51,200 is superb in tracking and focusing on the objects as fast as ±1/3EV."
Its video capability, on the other hand, can record in DCI 4K at 400 Mbps and FHD at 200 Mbps in approximately 30 minutes duration. To achieve this, it is recommended to at least use an SD card that is UHS Speed Class 3 or a Video Speed Class 60 for 400 Mbps movie recording.
Furthermore, this camera can provide you with a great JPEG and RAW image shooting. That said, you can process and tweak the details of your image without sacrificing the image quality that it has. This is very true with the RAW files. Since they can capture up to 4,096 to 16,384 levels of brightness, you can adjust and edit the final appearance of the image using your favorite software. Hence, a smoother image is achieved.
With all the aforementioned features, the Fujifilm X-T3 has a lot more to offer as compared to its competitors. Thus, it is worth mentioning as one of the best travel cameras ever.
3. Nikon D3500
124 x 97 x 70 mm
Max Video Resolution
1080p at 60 FPS
Nikon D3500 is a beginner camera unit packed with great features to help travelers who are new to DSLRs. It has a great ergonomic build with an easy grip and lightweight body. The button layout also enables you to have easy access to the controls of the camera. Apart from the good handling, there are more things the D3500 can offer.
“D3500 will give you a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor which is very reliable to get crisp images with rich tones,” Summers added, “Also, its burst rate is still great at 5 FPS given the fact it is an entry-level cam that is reasonably priced! So, with this bad boy, you got the most affordable, most beginner-friendly DSLR ever!”
On the other hand, its Guide Mode is delivered using the rear LCD screen which makes things more convenient to users. The controls are very intuitive as well and it is stripped off of Nikon DSLR’s Custom Settings menu. The latter might sound a bit drastic and more of a disadvantage but these things are compensated with just the right set of great features to aid your photography needs.
“It has this magnificent Guide Mode on the dial,” started Summers, “Not only will it give you a virtual tutorial of the functions of the camera, but it will also allow you to adjust it depending on your needs. With this, you have the option between the basic assistance or the tutorial for more advanced features of the camera.”
4. Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70K
112 x 67.3 x 41.2 mm
Max Video Resolution
4K at 30p
You will get a travel camera that has both a high-resolution photo and a 4K video resolution with LUMIX DC-ZS70K. Further, this travel camera offers a 20.3 megapixel MOS sensor that’s very competitive with Panasonic’s G series releases.
“Panasonic’S ZS70K is one of the best choices for travelers who are on a tight budget yet aiming to have quality and respectable shots,” Summers stated. “This cam has a large megapixels sensor that’s very reliable and at the same time, a 4K video recording. Add to this, the 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer enables the users to minimize blurring and capture crisp and continuous video shooting of a fast-moving subject.”
Also, the Focus Stacking function is another great feature that this camera has. According to Summers, this feature is very efficient because you can adjust the focus of the image right after you’ve taken the photo. Thereby, this will foster more flexibility since you can play and experiment on the depth of field of your image.
Furthermore, the ZS70K offers an excellent 30x optical zoom and 60x intelligent zoom, an AC/USB travel charging port, and a 180-degree front flip-up touch screen for easy selfie photography and vlogging.
5. AKASO EK7000
60 × 41 × 30 mm
Max Video Resolution
4K at 30 FPS
Akaso EK7000 is one of the best competitors of the GoPro series both in the sports and travel section. Its varied mounting capabilities make it very efficient and versatile to use. This camera can be mounted on your head, chest, bike, tripod, wrist, or anything you wanted to mount. Hence, you are ensured of easy ergonomics while enjoying the trip.
“Apart from versatility, the 4K camera video recording of this cam is stunning at its best,” Summers started. “You can capture every crisp detail of your travel with 25 FPS at 4K, or with 1080p at 60 FPS. The latter can be an alternative if you want to have a faster shooting speed. However, always remember that a memory card’s read speed and write speed can also affect the recording performance of your camera. For a better experience, choose to have a class 6 or higher class memory card.”
Another best thing with EK7000 is that it is waterproof and can be submerged in water for up to 98 feet. It is best if you are a diver or an underwater lover. Furthermore, capture your moments using its various shooting modes. This camera supports loop recordings, time-lapse photos, and burst mode for up to 3 photos per second using its 170-degree wide-angle lens.
You can also control your shoot via a smartphone, a tablet, or remote control. For the first two options, you just need to download the iSmart DV app and you can have full control over the camera’s live preview, playback, and file sharing. Meanwhile, the remote control that is attachable to your wrist can record or take a photo instantly. Remember, however, that the remote is splash-proof only, and is not waterproof.
Packed with many great features and an affordable price, this camera surely has its edge in competing with a large number of travel camera options out in the market.
Best Travel Cameras - Buyer's Guide
The size and weight of your travel camera are some of the indicators of its portability. Hence, it is important to assess if you can handle bulky and heavy DSLR cameras or if you just want to have a small action camera with you.
This is also another consideration because an increase in the camera megapixels is great especially if you want to capture more detailed images and at the same time, print them out large. Remember that the more megapixels you have, the higher the pixel count is also embedded in your image. Thereby, no pixelated printouts will occur because the pixels are not stretched out.
Your skills must also complement the complexity or simplicity of a travel camera. If you are already a pro, you might want to go for more complex models to further enhance your skills. However, if you are a novice, there are also simpler camera models such as the Nikon D3500 which can make your experience easier. Opting for compact cameras and action cameras is also a great choice since they are much simpler and more straightforward to use than mirrorless and DSLR models.
The 5K is the most advanced video resolution that we can have in most compact travel cameras. And luckily, GoPro Hero9 has it. With high video resolution, the complex and tiny details are captured and documented at a very distinct level. On the other hand, if you are going to push with these types of cameras, be mindful that the SD memory card must also adapt to the video resolution that it has. For the best match, it is recommended to use at least a class 6 memory card. This is not only because of its high storage capacity but as well as the card’s read speed and write speed characteristics that complement the 5K video resolution of a camera.
Best Travel Cameras - FAQs
High-megapixel cameras are great in capturing detailed information. They also prevent you from developing pixelated images. That is because high megapixel cameras can enlarge and crop images while keeping the pixel’s structure at its highest. Therefore, it is important to know if you want your images to be printed out or keep them as a digital copy. If you do need the former, then, high megapixel travel cameras are a must to consider.
Low-quality memory cards can be a bottleneck when shooting with a high megapixel camera. To determine the compatibility of your memory card with that of your camera, try to read the specifications that your cam has. To add some, a class 10 memory card is ideal for Full HD video recording, HD still images, and continuous shooting.
You might think that a smartphone camera is good enough for your trips. However, investing in a camera that’s specific for travel is also a wise choice. Besides, if you travel often, this type of camera lets you capture the most precious moments at utmost supremacy and keep them in safe storage.
With proper management, maintenance, and added safety accessories, you can prolong the life of your travel cameras. For instance, keeping your travel camera in a padded case or bag will keep the lenses from cracks and damage.