15 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
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It’s often the case that we take the vast bulk of our pictures when we travel or go on holiday. It makes sense therefore we’ve got the best possible device with us to capture all those precious holiday snaps.

In 2019 there’s a heck of a lot of choice - so no matter your skill level, budget or type of travel camera you’re after, you should find something suitable for you on this list.

The cameras here are actually quite diverse, so picking a winner isn’t altogether straightforward. We’ve tried to include lots of different types of cameras, because there’s lots of different travellers. 

We’ve also looked at a range of different budgets and price points - after all if you’re splashing out on a big trip, you might have run out of readies when it comes to buying a camera. Alternatively, if you’re taking the trip of a lifetime, you might consider it worth the investment to make sure you do justice to your memories.

If you’re after the ultimate pocket-friendly camera, then the Sony RX100 VI is hard to beat - but it comes with a hefty price tag. 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. If you want even more portability, then the Panasonic G9 is a great choice but has a smaller sensor.

How to buy the best travel camera for you

Many people understandably choose to go for something light, small and discreet - which makes a whole of sense in the age of hand luggage only. We’ve got a few cameras here that will fit the bill - and your pocket. But others will choose to go with something more versatile that will take up more room in your luggage but will reward you with greater flexibility and the chance to show off your travels at their very best.

There’s probably not one “ultimate” travel camera, but if you’re looking something that will fit neatly into your pocket but still give you lots of control, the RX100 VI will elevate your shots way above those that you can take with your phone. 

It has a one-inch sensor, but it’s also got a very flexible 24-200mm (equivalent) zoom lens. This is the first time we’ve seen such a lengthy zoom on an RX100 series camera, and while there is a sacrifice to be made in terms of wide aperture (f/2.8-f/4.5 is now the maximum you can go to), we think it’s worth it for the upgrade in flexibility. The biggest problem with this model is the price - but if you’re budget is a little more lacking, step backwards through the range and you can pick up some of the older models, such as the RX100 IV or V for a better price.

If you’re after a large zoom and a one-inch sensor but your budget is more restricted than the £1000 it’ll cost you for a RX100 VI (and let’s face it, who’s isn’t?), take a look at the Panasonic TZ200. You can pick one up at the moment for around £629 and you still get a large sensor, a 15x optical zoom and full manual control. It doesn’t have a super wide aperture lens, but if you’re mainly going to be using your camera in sunny climes, it may not be such a big deal breaker. 

The TZ100 remains in Panasonic’s line-up, which is available now for around £430 and is a great option, too.

For those who “holiday” means “adventure travel” then the GoPro Hero 7 Black is the latest obvious choice for creating videos and even stills in all manner of situations. Available for under £350 it’s a great companion for skiing, watersports, abseiling, kite surfing or just a simple day on the beach. It’s teeny tiny body is ideal for chucking in a bag, while its tough credentials means you don’t have to worry about it too much - you might want to bring a long a power bank in your hand luggage though if you like to shoot a lot.

Finally, for those who photography is a bigger passion, we have 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. 

We’ve got a couple of different options here. There’s the Nikon Z6 which sports a full-frame sensor and is a perfect all-round model. It being mirrorless means that it’s got a smaller body than a DSLR, making it ideal for travelling. Lens range is limited for now, but image quality is nothing short of fantastic. 

Meanwhile, the Panasonic G9 is one of the best Micro Four Thirds cameras still on the market. The overall system is lovely and light, with a huge range of different lenses available that you can carry around without doing too much damage to your back (or hand luggage weight limit). Also included in the list is the Panasonic GX9, which is even smaller than the G9, and the Nikon D500, a DSLR which is a great all-rounder - especially if you stick the cracking 16-80mm f/2.8-4.0 lens on for your travels. 

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

The 15 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 VI

2. Sony RX100 VI

Power in your pocket - but a high price to pay

Specifications
Sensor size: One-inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-200mm (equiv), f/2.8-4.5
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch, 2.36m-dot retractable viewfinder
Monitor: 3.0-inch, 921k-dot, tilting touch-touch-sensitive screen
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Useful viewfinder+Tilting touch-sensitive screen+Flexible lens+One-inch sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Fiddly buttons-Touch-screen not available for everything

You won’t find a better compact camera on the marker than the Sony RX100 VI. If you really do want the ultimate pocket-friendly camera, this is it. However, you have to be prepared to pay the price for that. Still retailing at over £1,000 this isn’t the camera for somebody on a strict budget.

As well as being pocket-friendly, you get a lens with a 200mm reach, a nifty retracting viewfinder which comes in handy in sunny conditions and 4K video recording. Older RX100 models had a more restricted zoom length - but a wider aperture, so if you’re somebody who often shoots in low light, it’s worth looking back towards older models (they’re cheaper, too). 

You’ll have to think of this as investment camera - the good news is that it’s so good that it will last you way beyond your holiday.

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: Nikon Z6

4. 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: Panasonic Lumix LX100 Mark II

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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 Hero7 Black

10. GoPro Hero7 Black

Simply the best GoPro ever made

Specifications
Sensor size: Small
Resolution: 12MP
Lens: 6mm-49mm fixed lens
Viewfinder: No
Monitor: 2-inch touchscreen
Video: 4K60
Reasons to buy
+Great image stabilisation+Easy to use+Good audio recording
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life limited-Better options for stills-shooters available

The GoPro Hero 6 was superb, and the company has done a lot to build on its successes with the new Hero 7 Black. The biggest improvement comes to image stabilisation, which is now available - and more importantly, really works - at 60fps at 4K. It does this via a new technology called ‘HyperSmooth’ which makes use of built-in electronic stabilisation to keep your videos nice and steady.

Retaining the same shape and size as its predecessor means you can keep any accessories you’ve already invested in. It’s waterproof down to 10 metres on its own, or if you’re big into diving, you can go as deep as 30 metres with an optional waterproof housing.

Other improvements have been made to audio recording and there’s fun new features like TimeWarp to experiment with. At under £350, you don’t have to invest an absolute fortune to get your hands on the newest piece of kit, either.

GoPros are definitely best suited to video creators, but you can take the odd still with it too if you like.

Best travel camera: Canon SX740 HS

11. 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: Sony RX100 V

12. Sony RX100 V

A pocket powerhouse with a high price to match

Specifications
Sensor size: One-inch
Resolution: 20.1MP
Lens: 2.9x optical, 24-70mm (equivalent) f/1.8-f/2.8
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch retracting viewfinder, 2,359,296-dots
Monitor: Tilting, 1,228,000-dots
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+One inch sensor+Super fast shooting
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive-Screen not touch-sensitive

Sony’s most premium compact really is the ultimate compact camera, and you won’t find anything better than it on the market. Sadly, you probably also won’t find anything this expensive - still, if it’s something you’ll have on you all the time, perhaps it could be considered good value for money. 

For your cash, you get an excellent sensor, coupled with a great lens, which offers the old favourite of 24-70mm equivalent, as well as maximum apertures of f/1.8-f/2.8 for low light shooting. The RX100V can shoot super quickly too, and it even records 4K video. There’s not much to dislike here, but be prepared to pay for it.

Best travel camera: Panasonic TZ100

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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.

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