- Our choice for the #1 best travel camera is the Sony RX100 VII.
- The best travel cameras have a great balance of battery life and portability.
- When looking at a travel camera, make sure it feels good in the hand and is comfortable in a small bag or backpack.
Whether your next big trip is more of a staycation or an adventure to another part of the world, you want plenty of pictures to help remember every moment. Having one of the best travel cameras can be an invaluable part of your must-have travel accessories as you want something light and compact so it’s easy to carry. The best travel cameras will be a combination of features, battery life, portability, and photography skills.
As the adage says, the best camera is the one you have with you, so you want to make sure to choose from one of these six best travel cameras you can purchase today.
- #1 Best Overall: Sony RX100 VII
- Best Compact: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
- Best Interchangeable Lenses: OM System OM-5
- Best Action Shots: GoPro Hero11
- Best Value: Canon EOS Rebel T7
- Best Waterproof: Olympus TG-6
#1 Best Overall: Sony RX100 VII
When it comes to the best travel cameras, the Sony RX100 VII is the absolute best option you can pick up today to capture memories that will live forever.
For anyone who wants the benefit of portability with pro-level features in a compact package, the Sony delivers. Using a large 1.0-type image sensor, the RX100 has a resolution of 20.1 megapixels, which means your images should look crisp and clear. If you want to capture fast motion, rest assured the Sony delivers with 20 FPS continuous shooting with autofocus tracking, even if your subject is moving at very high speeds.
If you want to capture yourself as a portrait, and of course you do, real-time eye autofocus works wonderfully with Sony eye-detection technology to get the best shot. Plus, you can take advantage of 24-200mm zoom to assist with up close and personal shots of people, places, or animals. Add in a 3-inch touchscreen, electronic viewfinder, and enough battery life for up to 260 images or 130 minutes of video.
|Hands down the best travel camera around||Fantastic results require a big, big price tag|
|Excellent Sony sensor for great results|
Check the Sony RX100 VII out on Amazon.
Best Compact: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
When you want something truly compact and small enough to fit in your pocket, the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is the answer.
Sporting something of a nostalgic look, the PowerShot G9 is a wonderfully strong option that comes complete with Canon’s Digic 7 image processing technology. The Digic 7 sensor ensures that photos look clean without any noise in the corners, even at high ISO settings to make sure every image is sharp, no matter what lighting you are trying to capture.
You can quickly frame up your shots using the 3-inch LCD touchscreen display, or zoom in on your subjects with the 3x optical zoom. A 20.1-megapixel lens helps capture beautiful photos courtesy of the one-inch CMOS sensor. Measuring only 3.8 x 2.2 x 1.2 inches in size and weighing only 7 ounces, there is no question the Canon PowerShot G9 easily comes in and out of your pockets for capturing important images on the go.
|A wonderful nostalgic look||PowerShot cameras are not as good as they once were|
|Excellent LCD touchscreen for reviewing results|
Check the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II out on Amazon.
Best Interchangeable Lenses: OM System OM-5
- Weather sealed against the elements
- Micro four thirds camera system
- Up to 50-megapixel handheld high-resolution shots
- Pro video capture up to 120 FPS
If you qualify as someone who believes in adventurous travel and living life to its fullest, picking up the OM System OM-5 might be the perfect camera for you.
As one of the best travel cameras around, the OM-5 works as a micro-four-thirds camera that offers interchangeable lenses for capturing every moment exactly as intended. Every feature of OM-5 is designed to help you capture everyday moments in a way that makes them feel magical. This starts with 4K 30FPS video recording that doesn’t allow for any compromised detail. As a bonus, the OM-5 adds a handheld high-resolution mode that allows 50-megapixel shots directly from your hand, with no tripod necessary.
For social media fans, capturing videos in vertical format is a great way to quickly share on mobile platforms and start racking up those likes. Another social-friendly feature is for vloggers, which helps the OM-5 double as a webcam by plugging into your computer via USB so you can keep your followers engaged wherever you are in the world.
|Micro four-thirds cameras produce great photography results||Could be considered too much camera for beginners|
|Perfect for vlogging while on the go||The 50-megapixel shots have to be held incredibly steady to be effective|
Check the OM System OM-5 out on Amazon.
Best Action Shots: GoPro Hero11
- 5.3K video that gives you 91% more resolution than 4K
- Water-repelling lens cover
- 27MP photo and 5.3K60 video
- HyperSmooth 5.0, AutoBoost for maximum stabilization
Action fans need to only look in one place to find the absolute best travel camera for them — the GoPro Hero11.
The biggest name in action photography, the GoPro Hero11 is going to be with you on the slopes, in the ocean, on a tour, or while you’re hiking a mountain trail. Having the ability to record in 5.3K video quality is an unmatched experience that can give you 91% more resolution than 4K and 665% more than 1080p. While this resolution isn’t necessary all the time, there is no denying there is something exceptional about having this level of video quality in such a small package.
When it comes to photos, the 24.7-megapixel camera ensures you can capture your favorite shots while on the move. HyperSmooth stabilization makes sure that whether you are recording in 2K or 5.3K, everything feels incredibly steady and leveled out. For the best slow motion around, GoPro introduced 8x video speed at 2.7K so you can see your best or worst crashes, spills, or falls in super slow motion.
|The best action camera around||So-so battery life|
|Has a ton of available accessories for use while traveling||HyperSmooth stabilization is good but not great|
Check the GoPro Hero11 out on Amazon.
Best Value: Canon EOS Rebel T7
Helping take your travel photography to another level will be the large 24.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, as well as built-in wireless connectivity to quickly get photos and videos off the Rebel T7. The sensor works to make sure you get the sharpest images possible so you don’t need to crop anything during a post-editing process. However, if you do want to make a quick edit, you can easily do so on the camera if you want to cut someone or something out.
What really helps the Canon EOS Rebel T7 stand out is its interchangeable lenses. As a DSLR camera, you have a wide range of different focal length options that can get you up close or keep you as far away from a subject as you want. For beginners, Canon offers some of the easiest-to-follow menu options, which is great for learning on the go. Last but not least is Full HD video capture, delivering some of the crispest videos you can find in an entry-level DSLR.
|A great entry-level DSLR for beginners||Might be too large for some as a travel camera|
|Includes interchangeable lenses||Other DSLRs include bigger sensors|
Check the Canon EOS Rebel T7 out on Amazon.
Best Waterproof: Olympus TG-6
When it comes to the best travel cameras for going wherever the road takes you, the Olympus TG-6 is the absolute best path forward.
Right from the jump, the TG-6 stands out, and not because of its bright red coloring. Instead, Olympus created this camera for the elements including waterproofing up to 50 feet of depth. Similarly, Olympus also included dust and shockproofing as well as crush-proofing for the utmost safety and security while on the go. For going underwater, Olympus thought of everything by adding five different shooting modes as well as an underwater microscope mode, which is just outstanding to play with.
For the times you are on land, you have both 4K and Full HD 120 FPS high-speed movie recording at your disposal. There’s also plenty of battery life for around 50 minutes of 4K video or 340 minutes of images so you can expect to grab plenty of memories before you need to recharge. With an F2.0 lens available, you will have no issue capturing bright images during the day and sharp images in low-light conditions.
|Fantastic choice no matter the elements||Only available in one color|
|Includes five different underwater shooting modes||4K video battery life could be better|
Check the Olympus TG-6 out on Amazon.
What to Know Before Buying a Travel Camera
Before you go on any trip or pick up any travel camera, there are a few important things to know. First and foremost is that a travel camera demands an option that fits your idea of how large a travel camera should be. Size does matter here and while every option on this list is small, some are smaller than others. For example, the GoPro Hero11 is significantly less weight than the Canon EOS Rebel T7 and takes up far less room in a bag. The amount of space a camera takes up does matter, so it’s something to consider.
Separately, you should also consider what features are important to you. Are you a vlogger? If so, the OM System OM-5 is absolutely the best option for you, but if you are focused on action shots, then it’s the GoPro Hero11. Deciding what features are most important first and foremost will help make choosing the best travel camera an easy decision.
Last but not least is cost, as these travel cameras can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over one thousand dollars. The thing is, it’s not necessarily true that the more you spend, the better the results; instead, it’s also what type of camera as a DSLR is going to cost more than a micro-four-thirds camera, with rare exceptions.
Using a Travel Camera: What It’s Like
Capturing memories while you’re on vacation is one of the best ways to remember all of the special moments you shared with family, friends, and anyone in-between. A camera like the GoPro Hero11 is going to be such a fantastic experience if you want to remember just how fast you zoomed down a hill, or if you beat your spouse down a ski slope. The same is true for scuba diving or snorkeling as the Olympus TG-6 is hands down the best option for any type of water activity.
Choosing a DSLR or a micro four-thirds is going to be so great as you have interchangeable lenses that enable you to take the right picture, anytime. Even as lenses can quickly add up in costs, having the option to take the perfect shot just by pulling a lens out of a camera bag is going to be an experience you might only get once in your lifetime.
There is no question that a travel camera provides a richer and more fulfilling camera experience than a smartphone. As good as iPhone and Android cameras have become, they are still limited compared to DSLRs or micro-four-thirds cameras. A smartphone cannot change a lens, it’s not ideal for underwater use, and certainly not something you want to be exposed while biking down a trail at 20 or 30 miles per hour.
|#1||Sony RX100 VII||Best overall, excellent sensor, 20.1 MP, 20 FPS continuous shooting||Expensive|
|#2||Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II||Best compact, nostalgic look, 20.1 MP, 3x optical zoom||Not as good as older PowerShot models|
|#3||OM System OM-5||Best interchangeable lenses, 4K 30FPS video, 50 MP handheld mode||May be too much for beginners, requires steady hand for 50 MP shots|
|#4||GoPro Hero11||Best action shots, 5.3K video, 24.7 MP, HyperSmooth stabilization||Mediocre battery life, stabilization could be better|
|#5||Canon EOS Rebel T7||Best value, 24.1 MP, interchangeable lenses, beginner-friendly||Large size, smaller sensors compared to other DSLRs|
|#6||Olympus TG-6||Best waterproof, 50 ft depth, 4K video, F2.0 lens||Only available in one color, 4K video battery life could be better|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©solominviktor/Shutterstock.com.