Finest Compact Digital Cameras for Travel

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Travelling this season and want better photos than your phone can provide? Here are top rated cameras and lenses of the year, ranging from pocket-friendly shooters to high-end medium format systems. The best travel camera should be portable, versatile and capture great quality pictures, and here’s everything you need to know to pick the best digital camera for your holiday trip.

Comparison Table

Sony Alpha a6400

Stable, fast, versatile, and compact, the Alpha a6400 from Sony is an APS-C-format mirrorless camera that adopts many of the features normally reserved for their full-frame lineup. It straddles the line between consumer and enthusiast, delivering automatic operation for family snapshots with the image quality and speed aficionados love.

The Good

  • Compact build.
  • 24MP APS-C image sensor.
  • Quick, accurate autofocus.
  • 11fps continuous drive.
  • Large, sharp EVF.
  • Selfie LCD.
  • Built-in flash and hot shoe.
  • 4K video without recording limit.

The Bad

  • Omits in-body image stabilization.
  • Flip-up screen not ideal for vloggers.
  • Some operational frustrations.
  • External charger not included.
  • Only full-frame lenses are weather sealed.
  • UHS-I card slot.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Comprising everything needed to begin shooting, the Canon PowerShot G5X Mark II Digital Camera Deluxe Kit from B&H bundles the advanced compact camera with a memory card, a camera case, and a spare battery. A three-year drops and spills warranty is also included for further protection to your equipment. It is a pocket camera that will make enthusiasts happy, with a solid zoom range, a 1-inch sensor, and an electronic viewfinder.

The Good

  • Larger image sensor than phones.
  • 5x zoom lens.
  • Excellent ergonomics.
  • Built-in EVF and flash.
  • Selfie LCD with touch support.
  • In-lens ND filter.
  • 4K video.

The Bad

  • No mic input.
  • Autofocus not as advanced as some competitors.

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500

Compact, easy to use, and versatile are all traits of the Nikon D3500, which is designed to be as flexible and intuitive as possible, while still offering the imaging capabilities you expect from a DSLR. Sadly, it doesn’t offer a lot of upgrades, but cements its value as a strong entry-level camera thanks to a lower price point.

The Good

  • Compact.
  • Affordable.
  • 24MP resolution.
  • 5fps continuous shooting.
  • Automatic image transfer via Bluetooth.
  • In-camera shooting guide for beginners.

The Bad

  • Fixed LCD omits touch support.
  • Contrast-based live view focus not ideal for video.
  • No mic input.

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS captures views ranging from ultra-wide to extreme telephoto. It’s a solid camera for wildlife observers, families, and shutterbugs in search of a lightweight bridge model.

The Good

  • 65x zoom lens.
  • Vari-angle LCD.
  • Excellent EVF.
  • 10fps bursts.
  • Raw image capture.
  • 4K video with mic input.
  • Wi-Fi. Strong ergonomics.

The Bad

  • Not great in dim light.
  • Omits accessory shoe and 24fps video.
  • 4K not available in all modes.
  • Not a good choice for fast action.

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II

A classy compact for quality-conscious travel photographers. The trouble with big sensors is that you need big lenses to go with them, so there goes any kind of pocketability – except that Panasonic has really hit the sweet spot with the LX100 II. The Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II has a better image sensor than the original, but it would have been great to see more upgrades for the price.

The Good

  • Bright zoom lens.
  • Micro Four Thirds image sensor.
  • 11fps burst shooting.
  • Strong control layout.
  • Touch LCD. 4K video and photo options.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The Bad

  • Pricey.
  • Not quite pocket-friendly.
  • Doesn’t have in-body flash.
  • Fixed LCD.
  • No mic input.

Sony Cyber Shot DSC-HX99

Sony Cyber Shot DSC-HX99

If you want big zoom in the smallest possible package, the HX99 is for you. Most of us want to travel as light as possible, and the featherweight 242g Cyber-shot HX99 lets you do just that. It’s also amazingly compact at 102.0mm x 58.1mm x 35.5mm, yet somehow Sony has managed to squeeze in a 24-720mm-equivalent zoom lens. For its excellent long zoom feature squeezed into a pocket-friendly body, this gadget is a good buy, although it shows ugly flare and struggles in dim light.

The Good

  • Pop-up EVF.
  • 30x zoom range.
  • Flip-up, touch LCD.
  • Speedy autofocus.
  • EVF and flash.
  • Raw support.
  • 4K video.

The Bad

  • Unattractive flare.
  • Dim f-stop limits low-light photography.
  • Shaky handheld video.
  • Cramped EVF.
  • Unresponsive when writing images to memory.
  • Requires microSDXC for full video experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.