Knowing how often we travel it’s important to capture memories, you know…which you find yourself looking at lovingly years down the road.
Memories really are things to be cherished, so what better way of doing that than with a camera? No, not that old, clunky washed out camera from under your bed you haven’t used since 2000. We mean using something light. One of the best pieces of advice is to carry light.
What makes me an expert?
Let’s roll back for a minute before we get into the nitty-gritty.
I know what you’re thinking.
What makes him an authority on cameras?
Aside from taking thousands of photos over 8 years, I’ve run a professional photography company (WeShootYou) in London since 2018. In this time I’ve travelled to several countries and got to play with some funky equipment.
Anyway, I want to share a personal story with you.
Five years ago, travelling up the white cliffs in Seven Sisters, United Kingdom (see gorgeous photo below).
I was lugging up camera gear above these peaks, and let me tell you what a nightmare it was.
Carrying 10kg of camera equipment was no walk in the park, I was half dead by the time I reached the peak of the cliffs.
So was it worth it?
Totally, but I want to save you some effort and a lot of stress.
Anyway, let’s jump into it!
Best Compact Travel Cameras
The Sony A6000
- Le tout dernier capteur CMOS Exmor® HD APS 24,3 mégapixels de Sony ; Mise au point automatique Fast Hybrid avancée ; SVGA Tru-Finder™. Objectif zoom 16-50 mm inclus.
- Model Name: Alpha 6000 /ILCE-6000 16-50
- Brand: Sony
- Form: Compact Digital Camera
- Weight: 285 grams
- Special Features: 24.3MP, APS-C Sensor, Interchangeable Lens, Blisteringly Quick Hybrid Autofocus.
- Quick auto-focus, faster than your standard DSLR. You’ll be able to focus on moments when it counts and snap it at the right time.
- Very compact, as it fits comfortably within your hand.
- Rapid Continuous Shooting mode, letting you capture up 11 frames per second.
- Interchangeable lenses – so you can swap out lenses at ease, whether you want to shoot long or short distances.
- Great battery life
- Slightly outdated as it was released in 2014.
- Missing Animal Eye-AF technology released by Sony in recent years, which uses AI to track eye movements. The technology available only tracks eyes in humans not animals.
- Display could be better as the resolution isn’t great.
- Smaller grip than successor.
- Internal menus can be finicky.
If you would like something reliable, with great battery life, this is a brilliant choice. Don’t mind the fact that it was released in 2014 – it’s actually kept up with the times relatively well. This is by far one of the best cameras I have used when it comes to battery life and portability. Not to mention it has great interchangeable lenses, so you’ll never miss out on a shot.
My only gripe I had in my travels is holding the camera, as its grip is quite small & lower quality display resolution.
Panosonic Lumix Digital Camera DMC-TZ100
- Model Name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 Compact Digital Camera (25-250 mm, 10x Optical Zoom, F2.8-5.9 Leica Lens)
- Brand: Panasonic
- Form: Compact Digital Camera
- Weight: 310 grams
- Special Features: Built in zoomable optical lens, Lens from 25mm to 250mm, 4k Video, 20.1 MP.
- 25fps 4k Video Shooting
- Compact and travel friendly
- Powerful zoomable Leica Lens up to 250mm, Leica is known for impeccable build quality.
- In-built post-focus ability – allowing focus to be added in post capture.
- Touch features available.
- 5 axis video stabilisation when capturing video.
- Small electronic viewfinder (EVF), subject to colour tearing (where colours leave a trace behind).
- Lens is slow to take photos when fully zoomed.
- Lacking NFC – so pairing devices is made harder.
- At longer focal lengths, lens photos can be soft, lacking detail.
A great competitor to the Sony A6000, both in pricing and portability. It only comes 25g heavier than the Sony A6000 – so it won’t break your back!
It comes packed with a quality built-in zoomable lens made by Leica which are known for their durability and quality of the material. I found the lens to be powerful and clear, with even larger depths of optical zoom. The benefit to this is that it provides versatility in the focal lengths available to the camera, however, you’re limited to one lens which is not interchangeable. For enthusiasts, being limited to one lens is quite limiting.
Overall, I would say this is a close competitor to the Sony A6000 – if you don’t care for the interchangeability of lenses and just want to snap as you go, this is perfect for you.
- Model Name: Sony DSC-WX500 Digital Compact High Zoom Travel Camera
- Brand: Sony
- Form: Digital Zoom Compact Camera
- Weight: 236g
- Special Features: Selfie friendly, Zeiss vario sonnar T30x optical zoom lens, 18.2 MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, 120x Digital Zoom, 180 Degree LCD monitor.
- This budget friendly camera won’t break the bank
- 180 degree LCD Screen, turnable, great for selfies
- Quality Zeiss Lens with up to 30x optical zoom for undegraded portraits
- Great battery life
- Wi-Fi and NFC options
- Dated – released in 2015
- LCD screen cannot turn 360 degrees, limited range of motion.
- No viewfinder
- Not for video enthusiasts – No 4k video, limited to 1080p.
- No manual focusing for enthusiasts
- No touchscreen
- Not for adverse weather as there is no environmental sealing
- No frontal grip
The Sony DSC-WX500 is an incredibly lightweight camera with a huge focus on budget and portability. Where it lacks in technical specifications, i.e. no 4k video, lack of touch screen, it makes up with long battery life, portability and being budget-friendly.
If you’re simply a traveller looking for an easy buy, this is perfect.
- Model Name: Fujifilm X-S10 Mirrorless Digital Camera
- Brand: Fujifilm
- Form: Mirrorless Digital Camera
- Weight: 465g
- Special Features: IBIS image stabilisation, 26.1 MP, 6-Stop, five-Axis in body image stabilisation, LCD touch screen, beautiful colour science, silent shutter, advanced AF system.
- 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder for incredible representation of images
- 3” touch-screen with 1.04 million dot screen.
- Robust Ergonomic Grip with a magnesium alloy and top plate which keeps the body in place and rigid.
- Advanced AF (Autofocus) with Face & Eye AF with tracking AF.
- Camera sensor operates well in very dimly lit settings up to -7EV
- Powerful IBIS Image stabilisation technology which also works well with it’s optical image stabilisation system each lens delivers.
- 72 lenses to choose from
- Touch operation
- No weather sealing. This was rumoured to be left out to ensure the size of the camera was kept smaller. Though personally it feels very sturdy and durable.
- Battery life could be better (up to 325 shots including flash before the battery runs out). The XT-4 is far better in terms of battery life.
- Only one UHS-I slot which means limited capacity for memory.
The Fujifilm XS-10 is a robust professional-grade camera comparable to the XT-4, some say a mini version of it. Now, in general, this is one of my favourite cameras to carry around whether in a professional capacity or as a traveller.
It comes with a beautiful 2.36M OLED viewfinder to display images with close to reality representation, far superior to its 3” touch screen. Seriously, when you take a snap what you see is what you get. Not only, is the viewfinder great for portraits, but it also takes beautiful landscape photos when paired with a 35mm lens.
The IBIS (internal image stabilisation) system that comes with this camera is pretty ground-breaking, so whether you’re experiencing the shakes or on some bumpy terrain you can feel comfortable taking snaps.
There are, however, some things I didn’t like about this camera. It’s a bit chunkier than the rest, but that’s understandable for something that’s professional grade. Aside, from the chunky-ness, it comes with a very durable body that’s surprisingly light. However, you should note that this is not weatherproof, so be careful to not drop this in large puddles or rivers. It could potentially affect the camera as it has no weather sealing.
Additionally, the lenses to pair with this camera come with a hefty price tag.
For example, a Fujifilm XF 16-55mm lens comes at £999.
To draw a difficult conclusion, out of these cameras my favourite to use has been the Sony A6000.
The Sony A6000 although slightly pricier than Panasonic Lumix takes the edge for that extra bit of functionality – the price point although a little steeper plus the added interchangeability of the lens took the cake for me. The downfall of the Panasonic Lumix is the fixed lens, so if you’re a person who wants flexibility without compromise I would opt for this.
The Sony DSC-WX500 should also get an honourable mention; this budget-friendly pocket shooter is a must for shooters with little to no experience just starting out with their travel photography.