Best travel cameras 2019: versatile cameras which you can take anywhere

T3’s roundup of the best travel cameras available to buy right now

Best travel cameras 2019

Many of us take most of our pictures when we’re on holiday or travelling. It stands to reason that you’ll, therefore, want to have the best possible device with you to capture all those precious travel snaps. 

In 2019, the camera market is fiercely competitive, with a range of different options to suit different price points, needs, and experience. You should find something which matches what you’re after in this list. 

Unlike some of our other buying guides, the cameras listed here are quite diverse. Picking a “winner” isn’t something that’s simple, as we’ve tried to include lots of different types of cameras, after all, there are lots of different types of traveller.

We’ve considered lots of different price points, too. If you’ve used up all your budget on the holiday itself, you might not have a huge amount leftover to pick up a camera. On the other hand, if you’re indulging in the trip of a lifetime, investing in something which will truly do your travels justice makes a lot of sense. 

If what you’re after is the ultimate pocket-friendly camera - and you have no budgetary restrictions - then it’s hard to deny the quality of the Sony RX100 Mark VII. If you want a mixture of portability, but also crave a full-frame sensor and the opportunity to swap lenses, then the Nikon Z6 is a fantastic option. Nikon has also recently announced the new APS-C Z 50, which with its smaller form factor and lenses designed especially for it, looks set to be the perfect travel camera. 

The Panasonic G90 is another highly portable camera which also offers a vast range of useful features - both in terms of stills and video.

How to buy the best travel camera for you

Often, people will aim for something small, light and discreet when looking for a travel camera. That makes a lot of sense in an era of “hand luggage only” cheap flights – and besides, who wants to be lugging around a huge beast of a camera while sightseeing? As such, there are several cameras here which fit the bill – as well as your pocket.

Alternatively, however, others will choose something more versatile that may well take up more room in your luggage but will pay dividends when it comes to flexibility and ultimate image quality – after all, if you’re going to spend money on getting to a far-flung destination, you may as well capture the experience well.

There’s probably not one “ultimate” travel camera, but if you’re looking for something that gives you lots of control but fits neatly into your pocket, the Sony RX100 Mark VII will almost definitely elevate your shots above what your phone is capable of. 

It’s got a one-inch sensor, along with a nicely flexible 24-200mm (equivalent) zoom lens. This is the second iteration of Sony’s RX100 series to feature such a long zoom, and while the trade-off is a narrower maximum aperture, for travellers who want the best in flexibility we think it’s worth it. However, the biggest problem here is the price. The good news is that if your budget is a little on the small side, you can still get hold of all the old RX100 models that have been released throughout the years. 

Another alternative is the Panasonic TZ200. Available right now for around £569, you still get a large one-inch sensor, a 15x optical zoom and full manual control. It also doesn’t have a super bright lens, but if you’re mainly going to use it on your travels, that’s less likely to be an issue. The TZ100 also remains in Panasonic’s line-up, which you can pick up for around £400, and is a great option for those with a more restricted budget. 

For those who “holiday” means “adventure travel”, then the GoPro Hero 8 Black is the latest obvious choice for creating videos - and even stills - in all manner of unusual situations. Available for just under £400, it’s great for joining you while skiing, partaking in watersports, abseiling, kayaking, kite surfing, mountain biking - or even just a simple day on the beach. It’s teeny tiny body is ideal for chucking in a bag, while its tough credentials mean you don’t have to worry about it too much - also bringing along a power bank in your hand luggage is useful if you like to shoot a lot though. 

Lastly – but by no means least-ly – we have cameras for those whom photography is a bigger passion. By and large that means the interchangeables. For ultimate quality to capture the trip of a lifetime, really nothing will do that better than something you can switch lenses on. 

So – there’s a couple of different options. The Nikon Z6 sports a full-frame sensor and is pretty much a perfect all-round model. If you like the look of the Z6, but crave something smaller and don’t mind compromising on sensor size, the recently announced Nikon Z50 is the obvious candidate. At the moment, the lens range for both cameras is a little on the limited side, but Nikon has committed to releasing plenty more over the next couple of years. 

The Panasonic G90 is a fantastic all-rounder from the Micro Four Thirds department. There are tonnes of lenses to go with this model which combines great usability, plenty of features, and good value for money. If you want something slightly more advanced, also consider the Panasonic G9

Toting a sensor size in between Four Thirds and full-frame is the Fujifilm X-T30, which is another travel-friendly option that also looks very stylish too.

So, which will you choose? Read on to find a little more detail about each in our selection.

The 18 best travel cameras you can buy today

The best travel camera: Panasonic TZ200

1. Panasonic TZ200

The best travel zoom compact now offers even more reach

Specifications
Sensor size: One-inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-360mm, f/3.3-6.4
Viewfinder: EVF
Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1,240K dots
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+One-inch sensor+15x optical zoom 
Reasons to avoid
-Small EVF-Fixed screen 

For the ultimate marriage between high portability while keeping high-image quality, the TZ200 is currently the best around. Panasonic has kept the predecessor, the TZ100 in the line-up, giving you two options depending on your budget. 

For the extra cash, the TZ200 gives you greater flexibility with a 15x optical zoom lens, a higher resolution electronic viewfinder, a slightly better screen (which is touch-sensitive, but fixed in place), and an improved battery life. 

Ergonomics have also been improved by the addition of a strip along the front of the camera to help you get a better grip on it. Although relatively expensive, the TZ200 is a fantastic all-rounder without too much compromise.

Best travel camera: Sony RX100 VII

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony RX100 VII

The perfect premium pocket-rocket - but with a huge price to pay

Specifications
Sensor size: One inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 20-200mm f/2.8-4.5
Viewfinder: 2.35-million fot retractable finder
Monitor: Tilting, 921k-dot 3.0-inch LCD
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great range of features+Pocket friendly +Pop-up viewfinder
Reasons to avoid
-None, really

If budget is no problem, there should be nothing stopping you from investing in the RX100 VII. It offers pretty much everything you could ever hope for in a pocket-friendly camera. The large one-inch sensor produces excellent results, while the highly flexible zoom lens gets you nice and close to the action, while also being wide enough for excellent landscapes and interior shots. A pop-up viewfinder is great for traditionalists when it comes to composing, or if the sun is a little bit too bright to see the screen properly. Video specifications are also good, with a new microphone socket no doubt appealing to the travel vlogging community - of which there are many. If you’re a mainly a stills shooter, there’s little to be gained from picking up the VII compared with the ever so slightly older VI, while others down the line are also still fantastic buys if you don’t need such a long zoom. 

Best travel camera: Fujifilm X-T30

3. Fujifilm X-T30

A stylish, compact travel camera with a great selection of lenses

Specifications
Sensor size: ASP-C back-illuminated X-Trans CMOS 4 senso
Resolution: 26.1MP
Lens: N/A
Viewfinder: 2.36 million dot EVF
Monitor: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great build quality+Superb value for money+Lovely default JPEG output+Quick AF
Reasons to avoid
-No in-body stabilisation

Much like the X-T20 before it, the X-T30 borrows the best bits from the X-T3 and delivers them inside a smaller, lighter and more affordable body. It's a winning combination which made the T20 Fujifilm's most popular model. 

Quite franky, we think the Fujifilm X-T30 could be the perfect camera for most people. It's got a tough body (although, not weather proof), lightening fast auto focus performance, and, most importantly, great image quality straight out of the camera.

If you need even more reasons to buy one, the T30 is also capable of recording beautiful 4K video, and it can do all this for a very reasonable price.

Best travel camera: Canon G5X Mark II

(Image credit: Canon)

4. Canon G5X Mark II

A lovely all-rounder for travelling which is like a miniature DSLR

Specifications
Sensor size: One-inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 5x zoom (24-120mm equivalent)
Viewfinder: Pop-up, 2360k-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Monitor: Tilting, 1040k-dot 3.0-inch TFT LCD
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great size and handling +Pop up viewfinder+Good zoom range
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly expensive 

A great all-round premium compact camera, the G5X Mark II might not be quite jeans-pocket friendly, but it should certainly fit well within your bag or jacket pocket. It’s got a good range of features, with a well-performing one-inch sensor at its heart, which is coupled with a fairly flexible 24-120mm zoom lens. In terms of video, it offers uncrossed 4K recording, but unlike its sibling, the G7X Mark III, it doesn’t offer a microphone socket or live streaming to YouTube – so if you’re a dedicated travel vlogger you might want to look that way instead. If you like composing through a viewfinder, the G5X Mark II features a small but perfectly usable pop-up number that is great for using in bright light.

Best travel camera: Nikon Z6

5. Nikon Z6

Quite probably the best all-round camera on the market right now

Specifications
Sensor size: Full-frame
Resolution: 24.5MP
Lens: N/A (Z Mount)
Viewfinder: 0.5-inch, 3690k-dot OLED
Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting 2100k-dot touch-sensitive TFT LCD
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great handling+Small size (for full-frame)+Tilting screen+Full-frame sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Bulkier overall system-Limited lens availability

Nikon has been making a splash with its duo of Z mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and the Z7. The Z6 is the cheaper of the two, but either would make fantastic travel companions as they share the same body, weight and size. 

You get a full-frame sensor in an extremely portable bit of kit which is well-suited to a wide range of shooting conditions. That lovely large full-frame sensor means image quality is all but guaranteed, with the 24-70mm f/4 making for a great walk around lens. You should just about have enough room in your bag for another lens or two - the 14-30mm f/4 lens is great shout for wide angle landscapes, architecture and other travel scenes.

Other notable features including a tilting touch-sensitive screen, a fantastic electronic viewfinder and Snapbridge connectivity for quickly sharing your shots with those back home.

Best travel camera: Nikon Z50

(Image credit: Nikon)

6. Nikon Z50

Nikon’s Z handling in a small, travel-friendly sized format – what’s not to like?

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 20.9MP
Lens Mount: Z
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch, 2360k-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Monitor: 3.2-inch 1040k-dot tilting touchscreen
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great handling +Small size+Good value 
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively limited native lens range 

If your budget can’t stretch to a Nikon Z6 – or you just want something even smaller - there’s a lot to like about the new Z50. It uses an APS-C sensor, rather than full-frame, which means that Nikon has been able to distil the great handling of the Z series into an even smaller body. Image quality will likely still be fantastic - especially in good holiday light - while there’s even been lenses which are specifically designed for it to keep the size down. For now, there’s not a huge range of native Z lenses to choose from, but the system is steadily growing as time goes on. The Z50 also benefits from a screen which faces all the way forwards, great for grabbing those vacation selfies.

Panasonic G90

(Image credit: Panasonic)

7. Panasonic G90

A well-rounded mid-level camera perfect for travel photographers and vloggers

Specifications
Sensor Size: Four Thirds
Resolution: 20.3MP
Lens Mount: Micro Four Thirds
Viewfinder: 2,360k-dot OLED EVF
Monitor: 1040k-dot 3.2-inch fully-articulating touchscreen
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great handling +Great video features+Good native lens range
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively small sensor 

Ticking a heck of a lot of boxes, the G90 is pitched as a mid-range camera ideal for travel enthusiasts. With a huge range of native lenses for the Micro Four Thirds mount, the G90 perhaps offers the most flexibility in this list, especially given its superb video credentials. What it also does well is with build quality and handling - put simply, this is a really nice camera to use, with a decent grip and well thought-out controls. The Four Thirds sensor may be significantly smaller than full-frame, but that means that the overall system, aka lenses, is nice and compact too - which is ideal for travel. Less adept at low light situations than its larger-sensor brethren, if you’re travelling to somewhere with bright climes, that won’t matter too much and your back will certainly thank you.

Best travel camera: Canon EOS M6 Mark II

(Image credit: Canon)

8. Canon EOS M6 Mark II

All the power of an advanced DSLR in a travel-friendly package

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 32.5
Lens Mount: EF-M
Viewfinder: N/A
Monitor: 3.0-inch tilting 1.04m-dot touchscreen
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Small size+Uncropped 4K video+Super high resolution sensor 
Reasons to avoid
-No inbuilt viewfinder

Using the same ultra-high-resolution sensor as the 90D DSLR, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is a great option for travel thanks to its small size and weight. Despite that, it packs some incredible features like 14fps shooting and uncrossed 4K video recording. It doesn’t have an inbuilt viewfinder, but you can purchase one separately if you feel the need to buy one - if you’re used to composing shots on your phone, you’re likely to be a little less bothered. The 15-45mm kit lens supplied with the camera is a decent walk around and travel lens, but if you crave something a little sharper, go for the 32mm f/1.4 lens. 

Best travel camera: Panasonic Lumix LX100 Mark II

9. Panasonic Lumix LX100 Mark II

Great for street photography and city breaks

Specifications
Sensor size: Four Thirds
Resolution: 17MP
Lens: 24-75mm (equivalent) f/1.7-f/2.8
Viewfinder: 0.38-inch, 2760k-dot Live Viewfinder
Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1240k-dot, touch-sensitive TFT LCD
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Large sensor+Small body+Touch-sensitive screen
Reasons to avoid
-Screen doesn’t tilt-Only a modest upgrade from its predecessor

We were big fans of the original LX100. Representing an excellent choice for travel photography, it’s small and light enough to fit discreetly in a bag, but features a Four Thirds sensor - much larger than most sensors found in compact cameras.

It had manual control and great handling, and made a lot of sense for city breaks where zooming isn’t too much of a priority. 

After four years of waiting, Panasonic updated the LX100 to bring out the Mark II version. It represents more of an incremental upgrade when compared to its predecessor, so while it still represents an excellent choice if budget is tight you might want to keep an eye out for one of the originals available at a bargain price.

With the new version you get touch-sensitivity, additional 4K Photo options, and, quite usefully for travellers, the ability to charge via USB.

Best travel camera: Canon G1X Mark III

10. Canon G1X Mark III

Don’t have room for your DSLR in your bag? Stick one in your pocket instead

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Lens: 24-72mm equivalent F2.8-5.6 zoom lens
Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder
Monitor: 3-inch 1.04M-dot fully articulating
Video: 1080/60p
Reasons to buy
+DSLR-sized sensor+Vari-angle screen+Small body
Reasons to avoid
-Limited zoom-Short battery life

If you don’t want to take your DSLR on holiday - or you don’t have room - then the Canon G1X Mark III is a credible alternative. It offers an DSLR (APS-C) sized sensor in a camera which you can fit into your pocket. 

There’s always, always a trade off, so in this instance, you only get a 3x optical zoom, while the aperture range is a little limited, but for travelling photographers who don’t want to compromise on image quality, it’s an ideal choice. Be prepared to spend a pretty penny for this little marvel, though - and pack a spare battery if you can.

Best travel camera: Panasonic GX9

11. Panasonic GX9

A small and light DSLR alternative for your holidays

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 20.3MP
Lens: N/A
Viewfinder: EVF
Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Compact+4K Photo and Video+Fast Focusing
Reasons to avoid
-No weather sealing-Screen only tilts 

If interchangeable lenses and a large sensor are your aspiration while travelling, but you don’t want to lug around a heavy DSLR (or even one of the larger CSCs), then the GX9 is a great choice. 

There’s a 20.3 megapixel sensor, in-body image stabilisation, a touch-sensitive screen, and a tilting electronic viewfinder. With Panasonic you always get 4K Photo and Video, giving you not the opportunity to record 4K video, but also to shoot at 30fps and extract stills of those magical holiday moments.

Best travel camera: Sony RX10 IV

12. Sony RX10 IV

An ideal choice if you want zoom, but need to stay light

Specifications
Sensor size: One-inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 25x optical zoom, 24-600mm f/2.4-4
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch electronic viewfinder, 2,359,296-dots
Monitor: 3-inch, tilting, 1,440,000-dot
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Super long lens+One-inch sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive-Bulky 

To use the term bridge camera with the RX10 IV would be doing it a disservice, as this term has generally been met with snooty derision from “serious” photographers. While it may well be one in the strictest sense of the word, the RX10 IV arguably redefines the genre, producing the ultimate all-rounder which is ideally targeted at travellers who want the image quality of an interchangeable lens camera and a bunch of optics, but don’t want to carry them around. 

Here you’ve got a 25x optical zoom lens, which also manages reasonably wide apertures of f/2.4-4 (particularly impressive at the 600mm end), along with a high-quality EVF, fantastic AF system and a very well performing sensor. Take this on your safari holiday and you won’t be disappointed - just be prepared to shell out the big bucks.

Best travel camera: Fujifilm X100F

13. Fujifilm X100F

Pretty, but powerful with it

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24.3MP
Lens: 23mm (equivalent to 35mm) f/2.0 fixed lens
Viewfinder: Hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder
Monitor: 3-inch, 1040k-dot fixed screen
Video: Full HD
Reasons to buy
+APS-C sensor+Beautiful body
Reasons to avoid
-High price-Fixed length lens

Perfect for city breaks, the X100F is easily the most attractive camera on our list. Oozing with retro style, the X100F is about more than just looks though. It houses a fantastic APS-C sized sensor, which is perfectly matched to a 23mm f/2.0 lens which gives you a 35mm equivalent. While some may not appreciate only having one focal length, it forces you to think about your composition, and is a lot more versatile than you might think. 

It’s a shame there’s no touchscreen here to make grabbing those quick street shots a little easier, and the price is pretty high for what is ultimately a niche model, but it produces travel photos which are just so easy to fall in love with.

Best travel camera: GoPro Hero 8 Black

(Image credit: GoPro)

14. GoPro Hero 8 Black

The latest and greatest GoPro flagship is great for thrill-seekers

Specifications
Sensor size: Small
Resolution: 12MP
Lens: 6mm fixed lens
Viewfinder: No
Monitor: 2-inch touchscreen
Video: 4K60
Reasons to buy
+Small and Lightweight+Great video stabilisation +New built-in mount 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited use for stills 

If your holidays involve more than just idling about on the beach, the chances are you might want to capture all the thrills of your adventures. The perfect companion for watersports, mountain-biking, skiing, canoeing, kayaking and all manner of other exhausting activities, the GoPro’s main draw is video. It offers 4K video and a whole host of different video modes to help you get lots of different kinds of shot. The Hero 8 Black can shoot stills, which makes it useful for getting the odd grab shot, but if you’re primarily interested in photography - rather than videography - you’d probably be better off looking towards a rugged compact.

Best travel camera: Canon SX740 HS

15. Canon SX740 HS

If zooming is what you need, this is the one for you

Specifications
Sensor size: 1/2.3-inch
Resolution: 20.3MP
Lens: 24-960mm (equivalent) f/3.3-f/6.9
Viewfinder: N/A
Monitor: 3.0-inch, 922k-dot, tilting TFT LCD
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Huge zoom range+4K video+Simple-to-use 
Reasons to avoid
-No raw format shooting-Not great for low-light-Screen not touch-sensitive

Here we have a camera that will fit neatly into your pocket but gives you a whopping 40x optical zoom to play with. 

There will always be a compromise to be had, and in this case the trade off for a super long zoom is a smaller sensor. That’s not too much of a deal breaker if you’re generally shooting in good light, but the SX740 is therefore not best suited to darker conditions.

However, there are some other plus points, including full manual control, a screen which flips all the way forwards, and 4K video recording. It’s also available at a good price, making it well suited to those on a budget.

Best travel camera: Panasonic TZ100

16. Panasonic TZ100

A pocket friendly 10x zoom, with a one-inch sensor a full manual control

Specifications
Sensor size: One-inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 10x optical 25-250mm (equivalent) f/2.8-5.9
Viewfinder: 0.2-inch 1160k-dot electronic viewfinder
Monitor: Three-inch 1040k-dot touch-sensitive screen
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+One inch sensor+10x optical zoom
Reasons to avoid
-Very small viewfinder-Less capable in low light than RX100 V

The premium compact sector of the market remains one of the most interesting. Here we have something not offered by any of the others in the shape of a 10x optical zoom - that makes it particularly appealing for the versatility it gives while travelling. 

The one-inch sensor produces bright and vibrant images, while the maximum aperture of the lens starts at f/2.8 - but quickly drops to f/5.9, making it less useful in low light than its Sony RX100 V rival. Still, there’s a small (but usable) viewfinder, a touch-sensitive screen and 4K video recording available - all in all a very versatile little travel compact.

Best travel camera: Nikon D500

17. Nikon D500

Probably the best all-rounder DSLR currently available to buy

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 20.9 MP
Lens: N/A
Viewfinder: 100% optical viewfinder
Monitor: 3.2-inch, 2359k-dot touch-sensitive, tilting screen
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great all rounder+APS-C format sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy and bulky-Screen not fully articulating

While for some, travel photography equates to pocket-friendly cameras, for others, it’s about finding something which offers the best all-round capability and gives you options to be flexible. The Nikon D500 is quite probably the best APS-C DSLR on the market right now, offering 10fps shooting, a great viewfinder, a tilting screen and a high-performing sensor. 

If you want to keep things light, then the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 “kit” lens which often comes bundled with the D500 is a great option for travellers, giving you the option to swap out for extra length (or perhaps extra width) should you need it.

Best travel camera: Panasonic G9

18. Panasonic G9

A fantastic Four Thirds option ideal for travel enthusiasts

Specifications
Sensor size: Four Thirds
Resolution: 20MP
Lens: N/A
Viewfinder: OLED electronic viewfinder, 3,680k-dots
Monitor: Articulating, touch-sensitive TFT LCD 3-inch, 1040k-dots
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Small overall system+Excellent viewfinder 
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller sensor than DSLR-Large body (for a CSC)

Easily one of the best compact system cameras on the market, the Panasonic G9 is a great all-rounder for a wide range of travel subjects. If you’re shooting wildlife, the 20fps (at full resolution) burst speed is sure to appeal, while the fine detail and excellent colours produced by the sensor make it good to capture landscapes, portraits and everything in between. 

While the G9 may be relatively bulky for a compact system camera, since the Micro Four Thirds system is small, you can fit a slew of lenses in your hand luggage while barely noticing they’re there - something you won’t get with a full-frame alternative.

Liked this?