The Best Travel Cameras

Table of Contents

This past year has been difficult for everyone, to say the least, and we know that you and your family might not want to be travelling anytime soon. Even though the thought of going on a vacation might seem far in the distance, investing in a good quality camera that you can use to make memories (even at home!) is never a bad idea, because there are always moments waiting to be captured on camera — like your pet making a silly face, or the beautiful forest you might walk by on the daily. Once you’re ready to travel again, it’ll be ready to nestle into your suitcase.

Whether you’re in the market for a DSLR camera that can take the most beautiful landscape shots, an action camera that can follow you into the harshest environments, or a family friendly compact camera that your children can pick up and use with ease, you’re sure to find a camera on this list that suits your fancy. Stick around until the end of the article to learn about some of the main differences between these types of cameras, and to learn more about some of the features you should be on the lookout for while shopping.

1. Editor’s Pick: Canon EOS Rebel T7 18-55mm IS II Digital Camera

1. Editor’s Pick: Canon EOS Rebel T7 18-55mm IS II Digital Camera
  • Intelligent auto modes that help you take perfect photos
  • Quick and accurate auto focusing
  • 1080p video recording
  • Large LCD screen
  • Remote shooting capability
  • Can be more complicated for beginner photographers because of the interchangeable lens
  • Less compact and portable compared to other options

Key Specs

Sensor Resolution: 24.1 Megapixel
Zoom: Varies based on your lens
Weight: 471.74 g

Because of their unrivalled photo quality, DSLR cameras snagged the win for our top two picks. This one has the best value without sacrificing quality.

You’ll need a top tier camera if you want to take the best photos while travelling; the Canon EOS Rebel T7 18-55mm IS II Digital Camera has many quality-of-life features, like its Scene Intelligent Auto mode which recognizes the kind of environment you’re in and adjusts the exposure accordingly, and its automatic white balance that can either retain warm tones or remove them based on the ambience you’re after.

DSLR cameras are endlessly creative and you have plenty of room to experiment because of their variety of settings you can customize, like brightness, depth of field, and colour tone, and they also have interchangeable lenses which you can’t get with other camera types.

2. Runner Up: Nikon D3500 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G

2. Runner Up: Nikon D3500 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Excellent quality photos at this price
  • Vibration reduction technology
  • Comes with guide modes which make it more accessible for anyone new to DSLR cameras
  • Connect with their app to make photos easy to share
  • The lens it comes with is great for portraits, but less good for taking photos of faraway objects
  • Less portable than other types of cameras

Key Specs

Sensor Resolution: 24.2 Megapixel
Zoom: Varies based on your lens
Weight: 453.59 g

This is a great camera for DSLR newbies because it has many features that will automatically deliver you a stunning photograph.

While customizable options are always there, the Nikon D3500 18-55mm does a good job of holding your hand throughout the process of learning a DSLR with its guide mode, which will give you on-screen guidance while you’re learning how to shoot. It also has auto focus modes which make it fast and responsive to use, even in more dimly lit situations. Turn on Nikon’s Vibration Reduction technology and never again will you have to worry about shaky hands with this camera — it will automatically stabilize your photographs and videos for you.

This camera will also make photo sharing a breeze, as you can download Nikon’s free SnapBridge app and connect your camera to access all your photos across your devices.

3. Best Action Camera: GoPro HERO9 Black - Waterproof Action Camera

3. Best Action Camera: GoPro HERO9 Black - Waterproof Action Camera
  • Shoots video with up to 5k resolution
  • Can record time lapse scenes
  • Rugged and waterproof up to 33 feet below the surface
  • Comes with a carrying case and mounting buckle
  • No optical zoom
  • If you’re using it as a webcam, it won’t stream your audio

Key Specs

Sensor Resolution: 23.6 Megapixel
Zoom: 0x
Weight: 318 g

If an action-filled adventure is on the table at your next travel destination, you’ll need an action camera like this one that can keep up with you.

The GoPro HERO9 Black is one of the strongest and most portable cameras you could bring out with you while travelling, especially in terms of its video capability; it can shoot video with a 5k resolution, and it can be mounted easily onto your body while you’re doing something exciting like extreme sports or diving underwater. It comes with video stabilization software built in, so you don’t have to worry as much about keeping the camera stable on your own, and it can even record your travels as time lapse scenes, which is great for moments like biking down the road or going down a big ski hill.

4. Best Budget Action Camera: AKASO EK7000 4K Wi-Fi Sports Action Camera

4. Best Budget Action Camera: AKASO EK7000 4K Wi-Fi Sports Action Camera
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Shoots video in 4k
  • Takes good quality photos and videos for the price
  • Comes with a variety of accessories
  • Waterproof up to 10 meters below the surface
  • No optical zoom
  • Worse video quality compared to pricier action cameras

Key Specs

Sensor Resolution: 12.0 Megapixel
Zoom: 0x
Weight: 560g

The AKASO EK7000 4K Wi-Fi Sports Action Camera doesn’t cost a fortune, and it will still give you most of the features you want in an action camera, with only slightly worse picture and video quality than the GoPro model. You’ll still be able to mount it onto your body and take it with you on potentially dangerous endeavors without worrying about it breaking, and you can even click a button on the conveniently included wrist strap to take photos — even if the camera isn’t somewhere easily reached.

5. Best Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot SX540

5. Best Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot SX540
  • Excellent photo quality
  • Far zoom capability
  • Built in Wi-Fi and NFC technology
  • Great for beginners who are learning photography and don’t want to fuss with many camera settings
  • Expensive
  • Autofocus system can be hard to control

Key Specs

Sensor Resolution: 20.3 megapixel
Zoom: 50x
Weight: 442.25 g

Compact cameras are both powerful and portable, and the Canon PowerShot SX540 is no exception; it takes excellent photos with its accurate focus features, 50x optical zoom capability for faraway shots, and a highly sensitive sensor for low-light shots. Sharing the photos you take with family and friends is easy with this camera’s built in Wi-Fi capabilities.

If you’re into more experimental pictures, this camera also comes with a creative mode where it will automatically apply five different filters to a single shot, so you can see how your scene would look in different settings. Most of these might not look great in most situations, but the warm retro glow filter caught our eye.

6. Best for Families: Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera

6. Best for Families: Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera
  • Intelligent systems that can help you take better photographs
  • Compact and easy to store
  • Built in Wi-Fi and near field communication to share photos easily
  • Remote Shooting
  • Worse photo quality than pricier options
  • Not great to use in low light situations

Key Specs

Sensor Resolution: 20.0 Megapixel
Zoom: 10x
Weight: 138.91g

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera is a wonderful camera for families because any level of photographer can use it with ease, and it’ll fit easily into anyone’s bag or purse. This would be a great beginner camera for children to learn about photography on and make memories in the process.

One of the downsides to purchasing a more affordable and easier to use camera like this one is that it won’t be as good in low light situations as the other models on this list, however it still comes with intelligent image shooting modes like macro, panning, or dynamic that can help you achieve better quality photos.

Types of Cameras

With all the different types of cameras out there, it can be tough for beginner photographers to know which kind would be the best for their vacation. Here’s a quick description of what makes each one special, and what kind of photographer they’re built for:

DSLR Camera: A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera is the best type for professionals because they can be more complicated to know how to use, but the results are worth it. They take great quality photos, thanks to their large sensors which allow more light into the camera, and they have many more customizable settings than the other camera types. If that’s not enough, you can switch out the lens to get the right focal length you need, which can be important if you want to alternate between portrait and landscape photography.

Action Camera: These are a special kind of camera that are meant to follow you alongside whatever action-packed adventure you’re having, like diving deep underwater or skiing down a black diamond; they usually come with some way to mount the camera to your body, and are excellent at taking videos in any situation — the caveat is that these cameras usually don’t come with an optical zoom, which means they won’t be great for taking pictures of things in the distance.

Compact Camera: Also known as point and shoot cameras, these beauties are built for newer photographers or anyone who wants a more simplistic photographing experience. You won’t be able to change out the lens, but these cameras usually come equipped with various modes and settings that can help you out in the different situations you’d want to photograph. Since these cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses, make sure the one you purchase has the focal length and zoom that you want.

Features to Look for in a Travel Cam

Zoom: Having a long-range optical zoom is great for taking pictures of landscapes and environments, as well as animals that are further away from you and you don’t want to scare off, so a DSLR or compact camera would be your best choice if you’re looking for a camera that can zoom in on faraway sights and still take high quality photos. It’s important to know that an action camera likely won’t have optical zoom — for some vacations, having a zoom feature can help you document so many fun memories, but being able to record high quality videos on the fly with an action camera can be a great trade off.

Waterproof: If you know you’ll be having a beach vacation, or you’ll be diving deep underwater somewhere, try to find a waterproof camera. An action camera will probably be your best bet, but you can also find compact cameras built to withstand harsh environments like ice, dust, or being underwater.

Video Recording: Taking videos of your vacation can be a big part of your family’s enjoyment; if you love taking videos, try to look for a model that can film in HD or higher quality, and can film in a variety of different lighting situations so that your videos come out crystal clear — a DSLR or the GoPro is going to be the best for this, but if you want an easier to use camera that your whole family can share, go with a compact camera that can film in HD.

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