Each of us has different needs when choosing a compact camera for travel. Shooting in New York City will be different than the Grand Canyon. If you’re wanting a better camera than your smartphone without the size and cost of a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera, here are some great compact digital camera options perfect for your next adventure this year!
The 6 Best Compact Cameras for Travel
What to Consider in a Compact Camera for Travel
Consider your travel style and these key factors when choosing a compact travel camera.
- Size and Portability: You’ll want a camera that’s lightweight and easy to hold, store, and carry with you. Being able to slip your camera in your pocket or bag is a huge plus.
- Price: What’s your budget for a compact travel cam? The prices vary a lot, so consider your needs, how you’ll be using it, and compare it to each feature.
- Image Quality: Consider the camera’s sensor size, focal length, aperture, and level of manual control.
- Zoom Capabilities: A better zoom range allows you to get closer to the action, but may increase the size of the cam. This is a personal preference, depending on where and what you’ll be shooting.
- WiFi: Most compact cameras offer built-in WiFi, so you can upload images to your devices on-the-go. This is if you’re in remote locations.
6 Best Compact Cameras for Travel
|Camera||Sony RX100 VI||Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II||Fujifilm X100F||Leica Q||Sony RX1R II||Sony RX10 IV|
|Sensor||1″||1″||APS-C||Full Frame||Full Frame||1″|
|Focal Length (Full Frame Equivalent)||24-200mm||24-100mm||35mm||28mm||35mm||24-600mm|
Limited High Frame Rate (HFR) modes up to 960p
|Stabilization||5-Axis||Dual Sensing IS||No||In-Lens||No||5-Axis|
|Max burst rate||24||8||8||10||5||24|
|Display Screen||3″ Tilting Touchscreen LCD||3″ Tilting Touchscreen LCD||3″ Fixed LCD||3″ Fixed Touchscreen LCD||3″ Tilting LCD||3″ Tilting Touchscreen LCD|
|Weight||.66 lbs||.71 lbs||1.03 lbs||1.4 lbs||1.12 lbs||2.41 lbs|
|3 Day Rental||$54||$39||$58||$165||$130||$73|
Sony RX100 VI ($54 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)
The Sony RX100 VI is our top choice for a compact travel camera. At 301 grams, it can easily be thrown in your pocket, yet doesn’t skimp on image quality and features. It offers a 24-200mm equivalent lens that will cover most of your needs. It has very good autofocus and the 24 frames per second burst mode allow you to use the RX100 VI in even high action situations.
On top of its still photo capabilities, you can shoot high-quality 4K video with 5-axis stabilization. Or, if you want to slow the action down, the RX100 VI lets you shoot full HD at 120 frames per second. The Sony RX100 series has long been producing among the very best compact cameras out there and the RX100 VI lives up to that reputation.
- 24-200mm focal length gives a lot of shooting options
- Very good dynamic range
- Great video with stabilization
- Great autofocus
- 5-axis stabilization
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II ($39 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a great all-around compact camera that will work in most shooting situations. While there are some drawbacks – no 4K video, decent but not exceptional burst rate – it holds its own and exhibits the quality Canon is known for.
The G7 X Mark II has found fans among many vloggers. The touchscreen LCD tilts 180 degrees up to be viewable from the front and its face-detect AF does a great job of keeping the subject in focus. It also offers a built-in ND filter to help control light when shooting with wide open aperture settings or with very slow shutter speeds in daylight. This is among the most popular vacation/vlogging cameras for its balance of features and price.
- Great image and video quality
- Tilting touchscreen LCD
- Built-in ND filter
- Improved ergonomics
- Wider aperture gives more options in low light
Fuji X100F ($58 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)
The Fujifilm X100F is a fantastic camera but one that may appeal to a smaller audience. The most notable difference between this and other compact cameras is its fixed lens that limits the shooter to a 35mm equivalent. While this is a very useful focal length – and the f/2.0 maximum aperture performs well in low light – it doesn’t offer the flexibility most casual shooters want. This is a popular street photography camera.
- Fantastic image quality
- Good battery life
- More robust external flash capabilities than other compact cameras
- APS-C sensor
Following in its tradition of exceptional rangefinders, the Leica Q is a luxury compact camera that packs in phenomenal photo capabilities at a steep price. With a full frame sensor, fixed- length 28mm lens, and a maximum aperture of f/1.7, you get the amazing image quality that Leica is known for. Keep in mind this fixed prime lens will limit your flexibility when shooting. This camera is popular for street photography.
- Extremely good image quality and a very sharp lens
- Very good high ISO performance
- Good battery life
- 10 frames per second burst shooting
- Wide aperture for limiting depth of field
Sony RX1R II ($130 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)
For serious photographers looking for the best picture capability in a small package, the Sony RX1R II is a good option. Targeting the same audience as the Fuji X100F and Leica Q – with a price in between the two – the RX1R II also offers a wide f/2.0 aperture at a fixed 35mm focal length.
The RX1R II offers a massive 42MP full frame sensor that will allow for great low light images and great cropping ability. It is a very popular street photography camera but its high MP full frame sensor also makes it great for landscapes and cityscapes.
- 42MP full frame sensor
- Fantastic image quality
- Very good low light performance
- Very good dynamic range
- Pop-up viewfinder
Sony RX10 IV ($73 for a 3 Day Rental – See More)
The Sony RX10 series has consistently been one of the top bridge cameras available, and the RX10 IV builds on the strengths of the previous model. It retains the RX10 III’s huge focal length range, with a 24-600mm equivalent f/2.4-4 lens that is surprisingly sharp across its entire range. And like that camera, the RX10 IV’s 1” sensor offers very good image quality.
The biggest improvements in the new model come from a more powerful autofocus system that improves autofocus speed and reliability. EyeAF is more accurate than ever thanks to the introduction of 315 phase detection autofocus points. There is also a new AF-A that automatically chooses between single and continuous autofocus depending on the scene.
In addition to the improved autofocus, the RX10 IV sports a new chip that extends the buffer capacity. This is most notable when shooting in the high frame rate mode, where you can now shoot for up to 7 seconds at up to 1,000 fps. The buffer for standard stills is also improved, with the ability to shoot up to 249 jpegs. Finally, for video shooters, the addition of S-Log3 offers even more flexibility when editing your footage.
- Very good 4K video quality
- Very good image stabilization
- Weather sealed
- Extensive zoom range
- Ports for both headphones and microphone when shooting video
A portable camera is a perfect solution for travel. There are many options to consider when choosing the best compact digital camera for traveling but look at your specific needs. Consider size and portability, image quality, or extensive video capabilities when choosing the perfect camera for your next trip.
*As of this writing. Pricing subject to change.