I’ve recently started researching and speaking with camera “experts” on the best compact cameras for travel photography. There’s a lot out there. There’s also a lot of technical jargon that goes with it too.
I’m a point-and-shoot kind of girl – that is, I take the camera, point at the subject and shoot. Needless to say, it’s cumbersome looking through hundreds of travel snaps and figuring out the best one. There are a lot of resources online on understanding the different functions of your camera – Walk Fly Pinoy, a columnist on Wild Junket Magazine, gives you a lowdown in layman’s terms and I found it quite useful so go check it out.
So when I say camera “experts”, I mean the people that sell them, use them and have travelled with them. My only suggestion is that when you do speak with these experts, make sure you’ve shopped around for prices so that you know you’re not getting ripped off. Also, have a list of your must-have travel photography requirements like what you intend on photographing and make sure it ticks most of the boxes. My travel photography must haves are:
- Low light or night sky
- Macro (eg. close up photos of your food)
- Sports (eg. adventure travel)
My knowledge ends there and I’m not here to bog you down with a lot of technical jargon that even I don’t half understand. I’m hoping to take a basic photography course this year to better equip myself for my next adventure. I know there are a LOT of others out there who just want a decent camera to take on a trip, but don’t necessarily want to use all of the functions, or don’t have the time to take a course.
In summary: Point and Shoot.
Sony DSC-RX100 III
- Inbuilt pop-up flash
- Inbuilt WiFi connectivity
- Full HD Video so great for vlogging
- Impressive performance for night photography and for what it is
- Quick autofocus
- Quick image review
- Dust and water-resistant and freezeproof to -10°C/+14°F
- Inbuilt WiFi connectivity so you can post and brag about your photos on social media
- Feels robust and fits nicely in the hand
- Amazing image quality
- Ultrafast autofocus and burst shooting
- More compact than your average DSLR
- Inbuilt WiFi wireless networking
Sony A7 Series
- Apparently the Sony A6000 is a hybrid of the Sony A7 and Sony NEX 6
- Very similar to the Sony A6000 but obviously that’s the more recent model
- Accepts existing Alpha-mount and E-mount lenses
- Previously been compared to Canon 6D and Canon 5D Mark III (hmmm, I don’t know about this)
- Similar to A7R but the A7R has higher resolution
- A7S is better in low light
- 4K HD video capability
Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GH4 (4K)
- Unless you can view 4K videos, you probably won’t need this – it is said to be of “broadcast quality”
- Great for self-documentaries and vlogging
- Weather sealed, perfect for environments where splashes of water or dust particles are common
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
- Easy to use manual focus
- WiFi connectivity option
- Inbuilt pop-up flash
- Inbuilt filter editing function
- Time lapse video function
Olympus OM-D E-M1
- Solid build and waterproof
- Advanced WiFi capability and remote control shooting using your smartphone – perfect for those selfies or creating time lapse videos
- It’s almost bordering pro-level
Also, the one thing to keep in mind is that THERE ARE NO PERFECT CAMERAS OUT THERE. So don’t get disappointed if it’s missing that one feature you want, or if a function button is too small, or if it doesn’t have a flip screen, or if it doesn’t come with an interchangeable lens option.
To give you an idea, I currently use a Sony NEX 5, Canon EOS 500D (my first ever DSLR) and my HTC One M8 smartphone. I’m saving up to purchase the Sony RX100 III as an everyday camera with close-to-DSLR quality photos. It’s compact and I’ve seen what it can produce in terms of landscape shots. Highly raved about in 2014, along with the Fujifilm X-T1.
What is your go-to travel camera?
Featured Image: Moe at Plaza Mayor Lima, Peru circa 2012
DISCLAIMER: These are the information provided to me by camera retailers I spoke with. This is an unpaid review. The aim is to give you a list of cameras as a starting point for your own in-depth research. All images linked to official manufacturer’s website or review sites.