Bags packed for your next adventure? All you’re lacking is the best travel camera for your buck. The ideal travel camera fuses lightweight, durability and is packed with features. No one wants to haul around a completely separate bag for lenses and camera bodies for a family vacation. Unless you’re me and are completely absurd about camera gear.

Some will think you have a camera in your pocket. Your smartphone. That’s true but stick with it for the selfies and quick pictures you’ll take on your travels. For better image quality, you can’t go wrong with a dedicated camera – be it a point-and-shoot, mirrorless or DSLR.

Smartphones do everything. Cameras stick within their lane and do one thing extremely well – pictures and now video.

Below is our picks for the best travel cameras of 2017. You’ll see the cheap, but solid options. The mid-range and the pro-level, you have the cash, so why not have all the bells and whistles.

Travel Point-and-Shoots

These are the only cameras on the list which truly fit in your pocket. While not as feature-packed as a mirrorless or DSLR camera, the point-and-shoot market has stepped up its game in recent years, packing and insane amount of features into the perfect size. You won’t be swapping out lenses, and if you need a grab-and-go setup, these won’t steer you wrong.

1. Sony RX100 V

The company keeps innovating at a blistering pace, and the feature list of this camera does not read like the point-and-shoots of old. The RX100 V is the fifth and latest generation from Sony and comes complete with 4K video, a burst rate of 24 frames per second and a 315-point phase detection autofocus system.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 MP Digital Still Camera w/ 3" OLED
  • World's fastest1 (0.05 sec.) hybrid AF system (contrast + phase)
  • World's most - 315 phase detection - AF points on a compact camera
  • World's fastest continuous shooting speed1 at 24fps3 w/ AF/AE tracking

For a comparison, all previous RX100 models used contrast detection. You are getting professional level features in a camera that fits in your pocket. It’s paired with a Carl Zeiss 24-70mm lens and an electronic viewfinder. All of this comes with a steep price tag of nearly $1000, but the Sony RX100 V is the best point-and-shoot travel camera on the market.

Megapixels: 20.1

Weight: 10.6 oz.

What You’ll Love: It does damn near everything. 4K video. Extremely fast burst rate. All in the palm of your hand.

What You Might Not Like: It’s expensive, and for the price, you can buy a mirrorless camera from Sony. The flipside to that argument is the RX100 V is ready to go out of the box and extremely user-friendly.

2. Sony RX100

The counterpoint to the Sony RX100 V is the first-generation RX100. If you don’t need 4K video and all the latest technology, it gives nearly the same image quality in a package under $400. The six hundred dollar difference does have a lot of features being left on the table.

Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom
  • 20.2 MP, Exmor CMOS Sensor, 28-100mm equivalent F/1.8-4.9 lens, ISO 125-6400 Expandable ISO 80, 100, and 25,600, 3-Inch LCD screen with 1.2M dots
  • 1080p video, Steady-Shot image stabilization,Rear control dial and customizable front control ring
  • Burst Mode (shots)-Approx.10 fps,(VGA) Moving Image Size -640x480 30fps Approx.3Mbps

There is no electronic viewfinder, and the autofocus is orders of magnitude inferior to its latest successor. But, it does feature a Carl Zeiss 28-100mm lens giving it a slight edge over the RX100 V. Not bad for a camera showing its age against the current generation of point-and-shoots.

Megapixels: 20.1

Weight: 10.5 oz.

What’ll You Love: It’s one hell of a deal at sub-$400.

What You Might Not: It lacks 4K video, the burst rate and there’s no electronic viewfinder.

3. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Not a personal preference, but if you want an all-in-one point-and-shoot, the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 will be of interest. It tips the scale at similar weights of a DSLR or mirrorless camera, but you don’t have to worry about changing lenses out. It features a 25-400mm dedicated zoom lens.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 4K QFHD/HD 16X Long Zoom Digital Camera (Black) + Polaroid 32GB+ Battery + Polaroid 62mm UV Filter + Camera Bag + Cleaning Kit + Screen Protector + Wallet
  • FREE Panasonic TRIPLE YOUR WARRANTY Bonus Offer, extends your 1 year warranty to 3 years -- This Ritz Camera KIT Includes 8 items -- All BRAND NEW Items with...
  • Large 1-inch 20.1MP MOS sensor for amazing defocus control
  • Bright Leica DC Lens 25-400mm F2.8-4.0

It comes down to personal preference and while technically a point-and-shoot (actually more of a superzoom), you’re not fitting this in your pocket. Other features include the ability to shoot 4K video. If you know you don’t want the hassle of swapping lenses but need some serious telephoto capability, the FZ1000 has you covered.

Image quality is on par with the Sony cameras above, but it suffers once you head into a low light situation.

Megapixels: 20.1

Weight: 29.3 oz.

What You’ll Love: It’s a true all-in-one. The zoom is incredible, and if you want one camera without the stress of adding lenses, it has you covered.

What You Won’t: It weighs the same as a DSLR or mirrorless without the versatility to swap lenses depending on the situation. The low light issues are a problem which may crop up on your travels.

4. Canon Powershot G-Series

Three cameras at varying price points. The budget Canon is the Powershot G9 X. It lacks some of the features and zoom of its pricier siblings, but at $429, you’re getting the same image sensor as the pricier G5 X. What you’re not getting in the Canon PowerShot G9 X is an optical viewfinder or articulating LCD screen.

Canon has been coming on strong of late with its point-and-shoots to counter Sony’s mad rush into the market. They may not have the absurd features of the RX100 V, but don’t sleep on Canon. It’s a stalwart in the photography industry for a reason.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom, Built-in Wi-Fi and 3 inch LCD touch panel (Silver)
  • 1.0-inch, 20.2 Megapixel* High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with Canon's powerful DIGIC 6 Image Processor creates the Canon HS SYSTEM for outstanding...
  • Ultra-slim, lightweight and pocket-size camera with intuitive LCD touch panel that has an improved user interface, which allows for quick and easy setting...
  • Capture stunning 1080p Full HD video (60p/30p/24p options) for lifelike images and convenient playback on an HDTV via the HDMI output. Record at up to 60 frames...
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (Black)
  • 1.0-inch, 20.1 Megapixel* CMOS sensor with Canon's new DIGIC 7 Image Processor helps deliver exceptional image quality even in low light.
  • Features a bright f/1.8 (W) - f/2.8 (T), 4.2x (24-100mm), 9-blade iris diaphragm andBattery IS-equipped lens.
  • Capture impressively high resolution images with high-speed continuous shooting up to 8 fps in both RAW mode / JPEG mode.
Canon PowerShot G5 X Digital Camera with 4.2x Optical Zoom, Built-in Wi-Fi and 3 inch LCD
  • 1.0-inch, 20.2 Megapixel* High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with Canon's powerful DIGIC 6 Image Processor creates the Canon HS SYSTEM for outstanding...
  • Convenient controls include an exposure compensation dial, front dial, control ring and control dial that helps provide for quick customization of shooting...
  • Multi-angle capacitive 3.0" touch panel LCD with a screen resolution of 1.04 million dots for a sharp, clear display and easy operation and sharing

Travel DSLRs

Want more than a point-and-shoot? A DSLR fills that void and offers an array of options for any budget. Like a mirrorless camera, you will need lenses, so it’s best to find a prime and zoom to fill out your kit. You want to maximize weight and versatility.

Most DSLRs at even the lowest price points come with built-in WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and the manufacturers own app to easily port pictures to your phone or laptop.

1. Nikon D3400

The latest in the D3000 series from Nikon, it is one of the best entry-level DSLRs on the market. It’s lightweight. Doesn’t bog you down with tons of features and menus to customize. You grab and go with a solid kit lens for under $400.

Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Black)
  • SnapBridge Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor

At 24.2 MP, image quality is great for the price. The EXPEED 4 processor is fast, and it’s compatible with Nikon’s Snapbridge app. Thankfully, the app has come a long way and now works as it should. The included AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens is a welcome improvement over the D3300 lens. You can opt for the deluxe kit which includes a 70-300mm lens and you’re set for just about any travel situation with the family.

My own personal take is to add a prime lens – a dedicated 35mm or 50mm. Once you start shooting with a prime lens, it’s hard to go back to the kit lenses.

Megapixels: 24.2

Weight: 0.87 pounds

What You’ll Love: It’s a damn steal at less than $400. Prepare to be hooked on photography once you learn the ins and outs of the camera.

What You Might Not: Once you’re hooked, you’ll want something better and faster. It’s the nature of the hobby. Still a great starter camera.

2. Nikon D500

The flagship APS-C camera from Nikon. Imagine the D3400 went off to college as the ugly duckling and came back a swan. There’s that much difference between the two. It’s award winning and is on par with the Nikon D5, the flagship full-frame for a fraction of the cost.

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR (Body Only)
  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD

It is simply a dream to shoot with. Dual memory card slots, including one for XQD memory, excellent battery life, a great continuous shooting speed of 10 fps, 4K video and absolutely amazing low light capability. It’s pricier, but more than worth the cost. You are getting everything in the D5 crammed into the D500.

Megapixels: 20.9

Weight: 1.9 pounds

What You’ll Love: Everything. It’s my favorite camera. Well, you may hate life with snapbridge, but Nikon is working on getting it fixed.

What You Might Not: Snapbridge. Honestly, I’m used to popping the SD card out and heading for a laptop, but I see the benefits of having all the images transferred via Bluetooth to my smartphone. It makes for easy sharing on social media. And I wish it had a better LCD screen, but that’s the argument for every camera.

3. Canon EOS Rebel T6

It’s a similar setup as Nikon. You have the entry-level Canon EOS Rebel T6 with an EF-S 18-55mm and EF 75-300mm for under $500. The 18-megapixel APS-C sensor is more than enough to capture high-quality images.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm and EF 75-300mm Zoom Lenses (Black)
  • 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) image sensor and high-performance DIGIC 4+ Image Processor for excellent speed and quality.
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to H: 12800) for shooting from bright light to low light.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi* and NFC** connectivity provide easy sharing to compatible smart devices, select social media sites and the Canon Connect Station CS100 device.

It is slightly heavier than the Nikon D3400, but when you’re in this territory, it comes down to brand preference. Both are solid starter cameras and would be perfect travel cameras. The AF isn’t too dissimilar from the D3400 with nine selectable points.

Megapixels: 18

Weight: 1.33 pounds

What You’ll Love: The value. Camera body and two lenses for under $500? That’s hard to beat.

What You Might Not: It’s a bit bulkier than the Nikon, but still one hell of a deal for those getting started.

4. Canon EOS 7D Mark II

We had the entry-level for Nikon and then the flagship APS-C D500, what about Canon. You’ll find that with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. A 20.2 megapixel that matches the D500 on continuous shooting at 10fps. While it doesn’t shoot 4K video, it does have the Dual Pixel CMOS AF to allow for crisper video at 1080p. It’s a bit of bummer Canon continues to lag in the race towards 4K.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm IS STM Lens
  • 20.2 MP CMOS sensor and ISO 100-16000
  • High speed continuous shooting up to 10.0 fps
  • 65-point all cross-type AF system

The 65-point cross-type AF makes for a great travel companion, and the price tag does include an 18-135mm IS STM Lens. There are some tradeoffs between it and the Nikon D500, but once you get into these prices, it becomes about brand preference over features.

Megapixels: 20.2

Weight: 2.01 pounds

What You’ll Love: The speed of firing off 10 frames per second is great. It never gets old.

What You Might Not: No 4K and the AF system is not as good as the Nikon D500. Seriously Canon, where is the 4K?

Travel Mirrorless Cameras

What about fusing the best of a point-and-shoot and a DSLR. That’s what you’re getting with an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. We enjoy the compact design and the versatility of adding lenses to fit whatever situation we run across. Be sure to check out our best mirrorless camera guide.

1. Sony a7rII

It’s in our other guide, but right now, there’s not a better full-frame mirrorless on the market. It’s hard to beat the megapixels count and its list of other features. What will be interesting later this year and into next is what Sony does with the a9 series. An a9r is almost guaranteed. It’s pricey, but a damn dream camera. Except for the battery life. It eats those.

Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera, Body Only (Black) (ILCE7RM2/B)
  • World's first Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor-42.4MP, 5-axis in-body image stabilization optimized for 42.4MP full-frame, 4K movie recording...
  • 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ ZEISS T* coating, Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi and NFC w/ camera apps, Fast focal plane phase-detection...
  • Shutter vibration suppression, first curtain shutter, and silent shutter, Resolution meets sensitivity 42.4MP up to ISO 102,400 / 4K up to 25,600, Durable,...

2. Fujifilm X-T2

Want to make new friends on your travels? Have a stylish camera. Fujifilm wins that race every time with the X-T2 camera. The mix of technology with a retro design is the perfect conversation starter.

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)
  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor reduces moiré and false colors to improve image quality and X-Processor Pro engine increases response times, achieves...
  • Dust and moisture-resistant body with approximately 63 points of weather sealing; Freeze resistance to 14 Degree Fahrenheit
  • High-precision 0.48-inch, 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder featuring a magnification of 0.77x and Ultra-fast Real Time Viewfinder with a lag-time of 0.005sec

3. Sony a6000 Series

It’s a pick your camera with the a6000 series. If you want the latest in in-body image stabilization, the a6500 is the way to go. The a6000 is your budget option, while the a6300 is the midrange.

Sony Alpha a6500 Digital Camera with 2.95-Inch LCD (Body Only)
  • 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ advanced processing up to ISO 51.200
  • Wide 425 phase detection AF points, Fast 0.05 sec. AF acquisition
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization steadies every lens
Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens
  • World's fastest Auto Focus speed (0.05 sec.)
  • 24.2 MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor w/ accelerated readout
  • Up to 11fps continuous shooting w/Auto Focus and Exposure
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens
  • 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25600 (expandable to 51200)
  • Hybrid AF with 179-point focal plane phase-detection and 25 contrast detect points

Wrapping the Best Travel Cameras of 2017

The options are as limitless as your destinations of choice. Do you pick the point-and-shoot or opt for the versatility of a mirrorless or DSLR? There is something for every budget above. It all comes down to the person behind the camera. Learn how to use it, and the images will be as stunning as the memories you create on the road.

Sony RX100 V$998.00Point-and-shoot
Sony RX100$448.00Point-and-shoot
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000$699.99Point-and-shoot
Canon PowerShot G9 X$399.00Point-and-shoot
Canon PowerShot G7 X$679.00Point-and-shoot
Canon G5 X$699.00Point-and-shoot
Nikon D3400$396.95DSLR
Nikon D500$1796.95DSLR
Canon EOS Rebel T6$449.00DSLR
Canon EOS 7D Mark II$1849.00DSLR
Sony a7rII$2698.00Mirrorless
Fujifilm X-T2$1515.59Mirrorless
Sony a6500$1398.00Mirrorless
Sony a6300$998.00Mirrorless
Sony a6000$598.00Mirrorless

Check Out Our Other Guides

Best Beginner DSLRs

Best Mirrorless Cameras

Vlogging Cameras

Best Drones

Last update on 2017-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API