The Best Cameras for Travel, According to Professional Photographers

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR is our favorite.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon, Adorama, and Sony

Cameras let us snap scenes that inspire, places that take our breath away, and simple moments that make up the fabric of a destination through our eyes. Hefty camera bodies with giant lenses might seem like the obvious choice for top-notch photos, but for travel, they can be a bulky hindrance taking up too much packing space.

Considering your specific needs will be your jumping off point when you're ready to shop for a camera companion. Are you a hardcore adventurer? Are most of your travels long-haul trips? Are you a beginner or advanced photographer? These are all questions you should ask yourself to help narrow it down.

Our favorite DSLR camera for traveling is the landscape-friendly Canon EOS 6D Mark II. However, if you prefer a professional-grade mirrorless option or a compact point-and-shoot that doesn't skimp on quality, we've got options for those, too.

Whether you purchase a budget-friendly camera or something pricier, it'll be an investment — not only financially, but also in trusting your pick to properly capture once-in-a-lifetime experiences that don't come with do-overs. To help with your travel camera search, we researched dozens of options and spoke to professional photographers Jonathan Pozniak and Viktoria North, as well as Nikon senior product manager Mark Cruz.

These are the 11 best cameras for your traveling adventures.

Best DSLRs

Best Mirrorless

Best Point-and-shoots

T+L's Top Picks

Best Overall DSLR: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at B&H Photo and Canon

Why We Love It: It has a full frame and is great in low-light situations.

What to Consider: It doesn't have 4K video capabilities.

For a full-frame DSLR that won't completely break the bank, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a great choice. Its intuitive, user-friendly design is an upgrade to the classic 6D and a solid all-around option that'll go the distance for mid-range photographers. The full-frame sensor is ideal for those looking to step-up their photography game, and while this model doesn't have 4K video, a slew of additional smart features make it a delight to use. The built-in GPS location tracking is an excellent tool for travel photographers to keep track of where all those beautiful images were created. Wi-Fi, NFC (Near Field Communication), and Bluetooth allow for easy connectivity to smartphones and apps, which is great for transferring images quickly.

Although the 6D Mark II performs well for street and portrait photography, capturing landscapes is where this camera really shines. Crisp images with little noise paired with weather-sealed protection is a fantastic combination for shooting scenery around the world. Like any DSLR, this is a heftier camera to carry around when traveling, but the large, textured hand grip provides comfort for holding and shooting with it. The live-view from the back display screen can be controlled by touch and its flexibility for tilting to various angles comes in handy when experimenting with your own shooting style. Good battery life is the cherry on top.

Sensor Size: Full-frame CMOS sensor | Megapixels: 26.2 | Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb​​ | Video Shooting: Full HD video at 60 frames per second | Weight: 1.51 pounds (body only)

Best Budget DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T7

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Canon and B&H

Why We Love It: It's super affordable and user-friendly.

What to Consider: It's best suited for entry-level photographers.

With the Canon EOS Rebel T7, you can save your dollars without skimping on image quality, and there's not much more you can ask for in the DSLR world. Although there is a newer version of this camera (EOS Rebel T8i), the T7 is still the most budget-friendly device with features perfect for someone ready to branch out and learn the ins-and-outs of DSLRs. That being said, it's more suited for a beginner photographer who wants to amp up their game past smartphone photography. It's a fantastic camera to practice manual mode, learning how to adjust ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings. Eventually, it's likely that it'll be outgrown and you'll be ready to graduate to a more complex camera — but we all have to start somewhere, right?

Canon is notorious for having a straightforward, easy-to-use system, which is a huge bonus for beginners. The LCD screen is helpful for navigating the menu and setting up images, though it does lack the luxury of touchscreen capabilities. Built-in Wi-Fi allows for quick sharing between devices, so your amazing shots can be posted to social media platforms in a jiff.

Sensor Size: Cropped CMOS sensor | Megapixels: 24 | Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb ​​| Video Shooting: Full HD Video at 60 frames per second | Weight: 15.06 ounces (body only)

Best DSLR for Beginners: Nikon D5600

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Nikon and B&H Photo

Why We Love It: It's compact for a DSLR.

What to Consider: There's no 4K video capability.

You can't go wrong with the D5600 for your first few years navigating the photography world.This handy beginner DSLR breaks out of the bulky stereotype but still manages to offer features like Wi-Fi, a multi-angle touchscreen, and time-lapse video capabilities. The Nikon D5600 presents novice photographers with an excellent entry-level camera that's easy to use and compact enough to throw in your bag for a day exploring. Short of upgrading to a full-frame camera, it doesn't get much better than this model's sharp, high-quality images and user level. The ISO also ranges from 100-25600, allowing users to play around with shooting in low-light or even at nighttime, when you can dabble in astrophotography.

This camera can be bought in just the body-only form, but for a bit more you can get the included kit lens, a versatile bundled AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens. As a DSLR, you'll have your pick of future lenses to purchase as well, from fixed portrait to wide angle landscape lenses that will work with the camera's F-mount.

Sensor Size: Cropped APS-C CMOS sensor | Megapixels: 24.2 | Shutter Speed: 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, bulb ​​| Video Shooting: Full HD video at 60 frames per second | Weight: 1.02 pounds (body only with battery and memory card)

Related: The Best Photo Book Makers for Your Travel Photos

Best Overall Mirrorless: Sony A7R III

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Sony and B&H Photo

Why We Love It: It produces high-quality photos and videos that are perfect for professionals.

What to Consider: When using larger, heavier telephoto lenses, the camera body is a bit less comfortable to hold, but adding the battery grip helps.

This workhorse will go the distance producing crisp, detailed images perfect for large-scale prints. Mirrorless cameras like the A7R III have converted many DSLR users with their packable bodies that don't leave out any features. We love this camera's 42.4 megapixel capabilities, autofocus performance, and 4K video recording. The live view screen shows real-time settings in action, so you can easily adjust when shooting in manual. For travel photography, it just makes sense. "Mirrorless cameras are equipped with the latest technology and are smaller than traditional DSLR cameras. They're great for those shooting handheld and carrying their camera around for street and travel photography. They are also easier to use and have superior video capabilities thanks to more robust focusing," Nikon's Mark Cruz says.

The Sony A7R III's improved battery life is a welcome addition from earlier models, making this an easy choice for a solid travel camera. The price point is on the higher end, but the quality matches it. Another fantastic feature is that this camera can be completely tailored to your preferences with the various settings, though it takes a while to set everything up. Dual SD card slots are ideal for professionals shooting in the field for longer amounts of time, as is the new battery life. Focus-wise, the Eye AF setting is a game-changer and can handle wildlife, children, or anything else with unpredictable movements and still keep faces in focus.

Sensor Size: Full-frame CMOS sensor | Megapixels: 42.4 | Shutter Speed: 1/8000 to 30 seconds, bulb ​​| Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 1.45 pounds (body only)

Best Budget Mirrorless: Nikon Zfc

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Nikon and B&H Photo

Why We Love It: The vintage design with modern capabilities is a home run.

What to Consider: We love that there is some flexibility with interchangeable lenses, but there are currently only two options.

The "F" in this stylish mirror camera's name stands for "fusion," and the Nikon definitely delivers the best of both worlds. It pays homage to a classic retro film design while packing in technologically advanced features and the ability to swap out lenses. "The Nikon Zfc comes in at a lower price, though it's not full frame. It's a great choice for traveling, and has a rad vintage film camera look to it! It also performs well with moving subjects," says professional photographer Viktoria North. All of this in a small, compact camera that's a treat to shoot with.

An angled touch screen, 4K video capabilities, and the option for manual settings make the Zfc not just a fun camera to shoot with but an adept one too. With all of its frills, this mirrorless camera manages to be affordable and a great value for what it offers. It comes in seven different colors, and lens options include a fixed 28 millimeter and the more versatile 16-50 millimeter. Its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection option transfers images quickly to your smartphone device through the SnapBridge app, making sharing pretty much effortless. If you're in search of a solid and compact mirrorless camera that won't break the bank but shoots with excellent video quality and looks good doing it, the Nikon Zfc can't be beat.

Sensor Size: Cropped APS-C CMOS sensor | Megapixels: 20.9 | Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb, time ​​| Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 14 ounces (body only)

Best Mirrorless for Beginners: Nikon Z50

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Nikon and Adorama

Why We Love It: The user-friendly design makes learning photography with this model much easier.

What to Consider: The flip screen tends to get in the way of a tripod attachment if you're using one.

We love how the Nikon Z50 is small enough to fit in your pocket, but don't be fooled by its size: it produces big-time quality images. "For those new to photography and video, this camera provides an exciting entry point. It's small enough to carry with you, but offers higher-quality images than your phone. This model is great to learn with as it incorporates many easy-to-use features, plus offers an automatic mode that senses different shooting scenarios and automatically adjusts the camera's settings (e.g., ISO range, exposure compensation) to deliver stunning results," Nikon's Cruz says.

The flip-down LCD screen is ideal for travel photographers and creators that want to take selfies, vlog, or include themselves for scale. The Z50 is also designed to save settings for both photo and video separately, so you don't have to worry about changing everything when you switch modes. With low-light capabilities, an easy-to-navigate menu, a sleek design, and 11 frames per second at full resolution, a beginner travel photographer will be hard pressed to find a better mirrorless camera.

Sensor Size: Cropped APS-C CMOS sensor | Megapixels: 20.9 | Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 seconds, bulb, time ​​| Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 14 ounces (body only)

Related: The Best Anti-theft Backpacks of 2022

Best Point-and-shoot Overall: Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70S

Camera
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at B&H Photo and Adorama

Why We Love It: It's a small but fierce camera that fits in a shirt pocket.

What to Consider: The viewfinder is on the smaller side.

The features that this point-and-shoot camera packs in are quite impressive given its small size and affordability. For those interested in boosting their photography up from smartphone imagery, the Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70S is an excellent travel companion. It's capable of capturing both JPEG and RAW format images, and with the whopping 24-720-millimeter zoom range on the Leica lens, you can hone in on fine details from a distance. The vari-angle touchscreen, built in Wi-Fi, and continuous autofocus are all welcome details jammed into this pint-sized wonder as well. Charging the battery via the micro-USB port without even having to remove the battery from the camera body is a breeze.

Have fun shooting with the wide array of scenery modes, such as "vivid sunset glow," "clear sports shot," and "backlight softness." Or just keep it in "intelligent auto" mode and let the camera do what it does best. This pocket-sized point-and-shoot is a trustworthy camera for capturing travel memories.

Sensor Size: Cropped 1/ 2.3 MOS sensor | Megapixels: 20.3 | Shutter Speed: Mechanical shutter: 1/2000 to 4 seconds, electronic shutter: 1/16000 to 1 second​​ | Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 11.36 ounces

Best Splurge Point-and-shoot: Fuji X100V

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Adorama

Also available at B&H Photo

Why We Love It: It has a retro, 1950's-inspired look with manual operation capabilities.

What to Consider: It's a fixed-lens camera, which might seem limiting to some people.

Point-and-shoot cameras are a solid choice for traveling due to their lightweight form and fixed 23-millimeter lenses that allow you to explore without lugging around extra equipment. They're also great for beginner photographers who may want to rely more on automatic settings. That being said, the manual capabilities are there, making this camera a versatile one that will grow with you as your skills develop.

Usually, these smaller cameras are on the budget-friendly side, but if you don't mind splurging on a camera that goes above and beyond, the Fuji X100V is a great choice. If you're in the market for more camera than a smartphone delivers and want the size and simplicity of a point-and-shoot but with a little more luxury zest, this compact camera might be for you.

Sensor Size: Cropped APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor | Megapixels: 26.1 | Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 second, bulb​​ | Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 1.05 pounds (body with battery and memory card)

Best Underwater Point-and-shoot: Olympus Tough TG-6

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at B&H Photo and Walmart

Why We Love It: It's tough and effective.

What to Consider: Divers should be aware that the waterproofing level only goes to 15 meters.

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is exactly what it claims to be: tough, rugged, and capable of taking superb underwater photos and videos. The solid handgrip does a great job giving you that extra security as you swim around and shoot the underwater world. With a unique internal zoom mechanism, the 25-100-millimeter lens doesn't stick out from the camera body, keeping it watertight while you capture macro details of marine life from a safe distance. RAW shooting and 4K video make this not just any old underwater camera, but one with impressive capabilities. The super slow-motion mode is another favorite. It's rated as waterproof to 50 feet, making it the perfect companion for your snorkeling or free diving adventures. It's not just waterproof either; the shockproof design makes this camera perfect for ventures outside of the water as well. Bring it hiking, mountain biking, or just for a day at the beach without having to worry.

The camera is also easy to use, which is exactly what you want when you're shooting underwater. "I had fun with the Olympus TG-6 on assignment in Bora Bora. I'm a terrible swimmer so all I could do was click away and hope for the best. Thankfully it worked!" Jonathan Pozniak shares.

Sensor Size: Cropped 1/2.3" CMOS | Megapixels: 12 | Shutter Speed: 1/2000 to 4 seconds in auto mode​​ | Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 9 ounces

Best Phone Lens: Moment tele lens 58mm

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at B&H Photo

Why we love it: It gives you 2x and 4x zoom capabilities when attached to single and multi-lens smartphones.

What to consider: Using this lens mount requires a special Moment's M-series case.

With ever-evolving, advanced capabilities for photo and video, a smartphone lens can be a solid all-around tool for capturing your travel memories. Though they don't produce high-quality imagery for large-scale prints, what they can do is enough for most travelers. We love the Moment line of smartphone lenses for the ability to elevate your photography game a bit without having to purchase an actual separate camera. The tele lens 58mm is a versatile option to slap on your phone and get that extra boost in zoom. This is great for travelers hoping to extend their range some, especially with wildlife and landscape photography. Since it's compatible with most Apple, Google, OnePlus, and Samsung devices, it's a logical option for almost anyone with a smartphone.

"For most people, a smartphone is all you need, but that may vary for each trip. If I'm out hiking for the day, my iPhone 12 Pro in my pocket is all I need, and the fact that it shoots RAW and video is a huge plus." Pozniak shared.

Focal Length: 58 millimeter | Resolution: 300 line pairs per millimeter (axis), 200 line pairs per millimeter (edge) | Lens Diameter: 39.5 millimeter | Weight: 2.6 ounces

Related: The Best Travel Tech Organizers for Keeping Everything in Its Place

Best for Video: Sony ZV-E10

Cameras for Travel
Courtesy of Sony

Also available at B&H Photo

Why we love it: It's compact, sleek, and has tons of features to let your creativity shine.

What to consider: For live-streaming video, it supports 720p, not 4K.

We love Sony's compact camera that was designed specifically for vlogging and travel videos. Things like wind and background crowd noise will be less of a problem when recording videos with the Sony ZV-E10, and with your pick of E-mount lenses, you can capture versatile content. If you're a vlogger, the real-time autofocus will be a game-changer, allowing you to comfortably move around in frame while staying in focus.

Low light isn't a problem for the ZV-E10, and it has multiple picture effect modes that allow you to make unique, one-of-a-kind videos. The one-button blurred background control is simple to use for a cinematic effect while filming or taking photos, and stabilization technology keeps things steady too. Using built-in metadata, videos can be shot vertically without any rotation necessary, making social media sharing a breeze.

Sensor Size: Cropped APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and fast BIONZ X processor | Megapixels: 24.2 | Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 seconds, 1/4000 to 1/4 second in movie mode​​ | Video Shooting: 4K at 30 frames per second | Weight: 12.1 ounces (body with battery and memory card)

Tips For Buying a Travel Camera

Understand the specs

"When you're thinking about buying a camera, it's important to understand what features and specifications complement your shooting style as well as the content you are looking to capture, whether it be still images, video content, or both," says Nikon's Mark Cruz. These are some of the specs you should consider before making a purchase.

Sensor size: Your camera's sensor is the rectangle that reads the image from your lens and dictates how much light and detail you're able to capture. The main sensor sizes to decide upon are cropped or full-frame, with full-frame cameras having larger sensors and the ability to produce higher image quality. Cropped frame sensors will get you a tighter frame, with magnification cropping the actual lens focal length by anywhere between 1.5x and 2x. This means that a 70-millimeter lens would be magnified to a 105-millimeter focal length with a crop factor of 1.5x. Common crop sensor sizes are APS-C and micro four thirds (1.6x and 1.5x).

There are advantages to purchasing a full-frame (35 millimeter) camera, though it will come with a heftier price tag. You'll experience sharper images with more crisp details, as well as less noise. Additionally, a full-frame sensor has excellent low-light capabilities, making it the ideal aspect for astrophotography. For landscape photography, the wider field of view is a major advantage of the full-frame sensor as well. If you're interested in professional photography, selling prints, or working with your images in most other ways, the full-frame sensor will be a good fit since it produces the highest possible quality images.

Megapixels: This is a measurement of the number of pixels the camera sensor has, with "mega" meaning "millions." Usually anything over 12 megapixels will get the job done. However, if you're planning on printing large-scale versions of your images for personal or professional use, the higher the megapixel count, the better. Most cropped sensor cameras have somewhere around 20-24 megapixels while full-frame cameras tend to have between 40 and 50 megapixels.

Shutter Speed: This dictates the amount of time that your camera's sensor will be exposed to the light coming in. Faster shutter speeds such as fractions of a second are usually used for quickly moving subjects in order to freeze the motion in the photograph, while slower shutter speeds are typically used to capture things like the flow of a waterfall or the stars in the night sky by having it open and exposed for a longer period of time. When buying a camera, it's a good idea to purchase one with a wider range of shutter speeds to give you the most versatility. Typically, the range is between 1/4000 to 30 seconds. "Bulb" is available on some models and offers more than 30 seconds of exposure to light, usually for photographing the night sky.

Video shooting: The highest quality video on most cameras is 4K, which will give you superb quality. However, many still have full HD video at 1080p or 720p. If video is high on your priority list, 4K is certainly the way to go.

Weight: For travel cameras, this is one of the most important factors to consider. Most travelers want a camera that is lightweight for packing purposes and easy to carry around for the day. Think about if you are willing to lug a bigger DSLR or even a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses in order to have the option for high-quality images that can be printed at a larger scale. If that's more than you need, then a compact, point-and-shoot, or your own smartphone with extra lenses might be the best fit for you.

"I think that nowadays a DSLR is a lot of weight to lug around when traveling. I don't bring one for personal travels and stick with mirrorless," explains professional photographer Viktoria North.

Buy for your skill level and purpose

While browsing for a travel camera, first assessing your skill level and main purpose for shooting will help narrow down your search considerably. If you're a professional photographer doing brand work with a hotel in a far-flung destination that will be used in marketing campaigns or billboards, your purchase will most likely look a lot different than if your goal is to get images for your travel-focused Instagram page. As a beginner, you should purchase a camera aimed at that level of photography with some room to grow, so you can learn effectively without being overwhelmed.

Buy a camera that fits your life and travel style

Are you into the outdoors and spend a lot of time doing water-based activities, or are you mostly interested in food photography when you travel? All of these aspects will help you determine the right fit for you. As photographer Jonathan Pozniak shared, it's also about comfort. "All cameras are good nowadays, and all have fantastic features. So here's my rule of thumb: go to a camera store, and hold each one in your hand. Listen to the sound it makes, feel what the clicking of the shutter is like," he says. "How do your fingers glide across the buttons? It should feel like an extension of your arm. Be intuitive with it!"

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I pack a camera for traveling?

The art of packing a camera involves cushioning and protection against the elements (rain, dust, dirt, etc.). A backpack designed for camera use with a rain cover is always a good idea, particularly if you're someone who will be exploring the outdoors. Camera cubes are also an affordable way to turn a bag you already have into a camera bag.

"When I'm not bringing a lot of gear/cameras, I love the camera cubes by Mountainsmith for the airport and plane. I usually keep the cube in my room with extra lenses and if I am doing a lot of walking, just pick one lens to use for the day (usually a 50 millimeter)," says North.

"While today's mirrorless cameras are rugged, it is best to pack them in a camera bag to ensure as much safety as possible and avoid any potential damage. You should also make sure to put the body cap on the camera to protect the sensor from getting dirty, scratched, or damaged while traveling," she adds.

What are some must-have travel photography accessories?

"Circular Polarizer and a UV filter, a comfortable strap like the Peak Design SL-BK-3 Slide, a backpack clip like Peak Design Capture Camera Clip V3, and if you're heading somewhere with rain or snow in the forecast, Peak Design's shell," says North.

You'll also definitely want something to backup all the incredible footage you'll be getting. "A portable hard drive for backups is essential! My heart crumbles when I hear stories of cameras and laptops getting stolen on the road. I've certainly experienced that myself. I make multiple backups each day and put each portable drive or thumb drive in a different bag just in case one gets lost or stolen," Pozniak shares.

Our experts also recommend making sure your batteries are fully charged before stepping out each day and bringing along a couple extras just in case.

What matters more for quality photos, the camera or the lenses?

Our experts had a lot to say when it came to the camera versus lens debate."The camera and lenses are equally important, but it depends on what a person wants to capture," says Nikon senior product manager Mark Cruz. "The lens is what creates a gorgeous blurred background or lets you get close to the action from far away, but the camera provides the autofocus performance and speed to get there. The most important factor for the quality of photos is how you, as the photographer, make the most of your equipment. Combining photography knowledge with a powerful, capable camera and sharp, versatile lenses will allow you to get the best content."

Meanwhile, professional photographer Jonathan Pozniak argues that they're equally important, and emphasizes keeping your lenses clean: "Both! But what's even more important is how you use it, how it feels in your hand, and I've gotta say it, how clean your lens is!"

Fellow photographer Viktoria North was adamant that lenses are her highest priority, and she has very good reasons for putting them at the top of her must list. "With even the most basic of digital cameras now having impressive MP counts and full size sensors becoming more common, good quality glass is most important for me," she says. "This is because I can achieve a specific feel to my images dependent on the lens. For example, a fixed 50 millimeter is going to allow me to capture my urban travels as my own eyes see things. If I also go fast on it, say F1.8, that means the background is going to be nice and blurred and keep the focus on my subjects. But if I'm traveling in some beautiful vast landscapes, I'd grab a zoom lens. This will allow me to compress the different levels of the landscape and or subject and create a lot of depth. You don't always have to go with a big lens like a 70-200mm. I hike and backpack with a 24-105mm F4 most often and when it's at 105mm, I can achieve some really great compression with it."

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure writers are product and shopping experts who draw on research and first-hand experience to curate the best up-to-date collections of items for readers. A travel photographer herself, Lauren Breedlove used her personal experience with finding the right cameras and shooting in various conditions around the world. She also scoured the internet, researching and selecting the best cameras for travel, and interviewed professional photographers Viktoria North and Jonathan Pozniak, as well as Nikon senior product manager Mark Cruz, to gather expert insights. Using all of these factors, she curated this list of the best travel cameras.

Up Next: The Best Binoculars for Every Type of Travel

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we'll send you our favorite travel products each week.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles