We’ve put together the most comprehensive guide out there to assist you in making the right choice when it comes to purchasing the best travel camera on the market in 2021
It can be very overwhelming when it comes to choosing the best travel camera for your needs. With an overwhelming amount of camera brands, styles and types on the market in 2021 finding the best travel camera for photography and the right fit for you is mission impossible.
There’s no easy answer to this question but having the right information and the right guide can make the process so much easier; and with that in mind here is the Ultimate Guide to the BEST Travel Cameras.
Why listen to us?
Having travelled the world for 12 months from South America to South East Asia we have spent extensive time using a variety of different cameras on the market across different uses, in the air and underwater and feel proud to have put together this comprehensive guide on the best travel camera.
What is the Best Travel Camera of 2021?
Have you ever heard the saying ‘the best camera is the one you have on you?’
Well what if you only had your iphone on you? Or a small compact camera? You don’t have to own the latest and greatest camera of all time, some of the greatest images captured by professional photographers have been shot using smaller than normal sensor sizes or on older cameras.
Defining what your needs are in photography or videography is an important factor in determining what camera is right for you.
Related Article >> Our comprehensive Guide to Travel Photography tips and tricks 2021
Quick camera guide: Best Travel Cameras in 2021
- Canon G7X mark 2 – Best camera for travel vlogging
2. Fujifilm XT3 – Best camera for professional travel photography
3. Fujifilm XT30– Best value Travel Camera
4. Fujifilm XS10– Best budget travel camera
5. GoPro hero 9 – Best action camera for travel
6. DJI Mavic Pro 2 – Best professional Travel Drone
How to choose the Best Travel Camera
We’ll give you our best recommendations for travel cameras in a second, we promise but it’s important to know all the important features to look out for when choosing the right travel camera for you.
Size and Weight
This might seem a bit odd but if you love hiking and backpacking then you know weight is a critical factor to enjoying your hike and not getting too bogged down with heavy gear.
The best camera for backpacking therefore needs to be small, light-weight and packed with features whilst still being able to capture great images, be durable and portable in the field.
Resolution and Megapixels
Make no mistake the current camera market is obsessed with pushing the concept of more is better, bigger is better!!
That’s why camera manufacturers play a hard game of pushing as many megapixels into their cameras as possible.
1 megapixel is approximately 1 million tiny dots of colour that make up a digital image on your screen, for example the Fujifilm X-series cameras are around 24-26 megapixels, whereas larger format cameras can shoot around 40-60 megapixels.
We shoot a camera capable of taking images with a 26.1 megapixel camera and we love it!
In our opinion some of the best travel cameras on the market are the ones that are weather sealed, which differs slightly between manufacturers but ultimately, weather sealing mostly ensures your camera’s interior is protected from dust, water and debris.
Weather sealings are getting better and better and this becomes a huge benefit to consumers who continuously push the use of their camera each year.
Full frame vs Crop
Standard camera systems used a 35mm sensor which they called full frame. It was an industry standard for a very long time, until camera manufacturers designed camera sensors smaller than this, known as crop sensor cameras.
Crop sensors come in a few different sizes such as aps-c, micro four-thirds or your iphone which is roughly ⅓ inch sensor (7x smaller than full frame)
These days camera manufacturers are very intelligent at creating high performing image sensors capable of producing image quality to that of full frame cameras without the bulk and weight, like Fujifilm’s line-up of x series cameras.
The best thing you can do to learn which you prefer is to head into your local camera store and spend time with both versions, seeing which one you prefer to shoot on. The main difference will be the price point, as full frame sensors are MUCH more expensive than their crop counterparts.
A fairly new concept to the digital camera world, sensor stabilisation refers to the concept of a camera’s image sensor reducing shake and movement, giving you a more stable and sharper image to account for hand shake with slower shutter speeds, particularly in low light situations.
Some of the best travel cameras on the market now have IBIS (in-body stabilization) but that doesnt mean bodies without IBIS are any less better as cameras.
Action cameras have only recently introduced the concept of in body stabilisation, most notably is the legendary GoPro, who revolutionized the way people took photos and captured footage on their adrenaline fuelled adventures.
The latest GoPro Hero 9 is a perfect example of how a tiny action camera shooting in high quality footage can stabilise a video even when being moved around and shaken!
We currently use the Fujifilm XT2 which does not have sensor stabilization, however their line of Fujinon lenses have built-in OIS, which means the glass elements within the lens are stabilised.
If you shoot video as well as photo then you’re going to want a camera that shoots 4k.
4k is a high resolution video format that produces high quality video that’s sharp, clear and used widely in the video world.
Although most computer monitors won’t play back 4k video, you can always down-res the video to playback in 1080p. It also allows you to crop in on the video and still maintain the highest image quality possible straight out of the camera.
The ability to zoom in or out is dependent upon the lens range of that camera system which is in theory determined by your choice of shooting. If you have a preference for wildlife shooting then you are best suited to choose a camera system that has a lot of low aperture (fast) telephoto lenses.
Most camera systems have a good range of these but some are more varied than others.
Mirrorless vs DSLR
We’ve been fortunate enough to see this transition over time from DSLR (digital single lens reflex) through to Mirrorless technology.
The difference between the two is that DSLR’S use a physical mirror inside the camera that is lifted everytime you press the shutter button, taking a single exposure and exposing the light to the sensor.
Mirrorless technology removes this mirror and sends the image directly from your lens straight onto the sensor continuously, allowing for electronic viewfinders, but more importantly, smaller, more light weight and better technology cameras.
Some of the best mirrorless cameras on the market today shoot incredible images and are a fraction the size and weight of the counter parts, the DSLR.
Best Budget Travel Camera
Canon G7X mark 2- most affordable compact camera
This tiny little beast of a camera is one of Canon’s best compact travel cameras on the market, the second of its range being the mark 2 version.
A hugely successful camera that came onto the market in 2016 has the ability to shoot in a wide range of scenarios and produce high quality, stunning images with a 20.1 megapixel sensor, shooting wide open at 1.8..this is one of the best travel cameras on the market today.
Popular as a backpacking camera, you can get away with using a camera capable of producing high quality images in both raw and jpeg, and be small enough to carry with you on long hiking trips or overnight camping trips.
We personally used this camera for a lot of vlogging we did overseas in 2019, and with the ability for the screen to flip up so you can see yourself when filming, it’s the best camera for travel vlogging in our opinion!
If you love to shoot underwater then there is no better alternative than the g7x mark 2. Most mirrorless and DSLR cameras need an underwater housing to be submerged for so long, and when your camera body is as small as this then buying a housing unit becomes affordable and easy to carry.
Looking to up your game when it comes to travel photography? You can finally move on from the point and shoot category and step-up into the world of compact mirrorless cameras.
There’s a couple of things you need to be aware of when it comes to this, knowing the capabilities of the ISO, lens range, weather sealing, ability to shoot raw, colour science, portability and more are key components when choosing the right camera.
Read More on our comprehensive guide to the essentials of travel photography with our Photography guide here
The Fujifilm XT20 is a silent assassin when it comes to mirrorless photography. Small, simple and can literally fit in your pocket, this 24MP CMOS sensor camera shoots both raw and jpeg with a decent battery life and capable of shooting 4K video.
In terms of size and weight, it is the best Fujifilm camera for travel in our opinion due it’s discreet and retro appearance.
Suited for the intro travel photographer who’s ready to get their hands dirty with learning full manual mode, the Fujifilm XT20 offers you the chance to switch between full manual control and full automatic control, when you need to palm the camera off to a friend or stranger to take a photo.
Best Cameras for Travelling – Top Fujifilm Cameras
The younger and newer version to the XT20 is our personal favourite and our work horse over the past couple of years.
This camera really takes photography to the next level for those making the switch from the bulkier and heavier systems of DSLRs, another light weight, diversifiable and capable body with an array of lens choices.
If you prefer to shoot mirrorless with an interchangeable lens system without dragging around heavy, cumbersome lenses on your hikes then this is the best camera for backpacking the world, the perfect camera system.
Capable of shooting raw & jpeg, shooting in 4K video mode, a weather sealed body that has all the output jacks you need like a headphone jack, USB jack, micro-SD charging capability & of course a fantastic sensor image resolution at 24 megapixel sensor capable of shooting at 14fps with an electronic shutter and dual SD card slots, this has to be one of the the best travel cameras around today.
We’ve been using the XT2 for a number of years and absolutely love it. It really is a light weight, compact mirrorless system producing stunning image quality that can be used on small screen resolution for Instagram for example, and also capable of producing print-quality images.
There is a better version of the XT2 however and this is the Fujifilm XT3 that come complete with 4k60 and a 10 bit colour resolution
It is a crop-sensor camera so you don’t get the full 35mm equivalent full frame image, however that’s what wider lenses are for, but also don’t forget to use your feet to zoom in and out as well!
As of today, Fujifilm offers a whole gamut of both x-series cameras and their latest, most expensive range of medium format cameras – one step above full frame with a megapixel count of 101 megapixels!
As of 2021, the best travel cameras on the market from the Fujifilm lineup include cameras like the XT3, XT4, the Xpro 3 and the new Fujifilm XS10.
There are a myriad of other cameras like the HX-1 with IBIS (in body stabilization) and the soon to be released in 2022, Fujifilm XH2
Fujifilm also has a line of GFX cameras, they’re medium format range which offer the higher end of specs like a 50 megapixel sensor, 101 megapixel sensor designed primarily for studio shooting for large prints, but chances are you don’t need the higher end of gear.
BONUS: BEST Fuji Lens For Travel
Best all round lens
There’s two positives to having crop-sensor cameras, the lenses are WAY smaller than full frame, and they’re WAY lighter.
So travelling and hiking through mountains and forests with light gear is made easy and flawless.
When you travel you want as little gear as possible, but you also want the best lenses for the job which is why we recommend a select few for different purposes.
The Fujinon 18-55mm 2.8-4 is the kit lens that comes with most Fujifilm bodies and is undoubtedly the best kit lens on the market, bar none. Wide and fast at 2.8 it covers a fantastic focal range from the wide through to a portrait perfect mm.
It’s both weather sealed, has OIS and an aperture ring, a very specific feature of Fujinon lenses.
Best telephoto lens
Zoom lenses aren’t just a standard in wildlife photography, they add a bit of a creative element to your photos known as compression; meaning it makes objects appear larger and closer than what they are.
Zoom lenses are a fantastic addition to your lens line-up and crucial to widening your horizons in your photography journey.
Fuji have a wide range of zoom lenses but our favourite line up includes the Fujinon 50-140 f2.8, a fantastically sharp lens from Fujinon, the 100-400mm telephoto beast, which often comes with a teleconverter in either 1.4x or 2x, meaning 400mm x 2 = 800mm zoom range.
Bear in mind whenever you add teleconverters or extenders to your lenses, you decrease the amount of light getting through so you effectively decrease the aperture range of your camera.
For the serious wildlife enthusiasts who love their bokeh, try the Fujinon 200mm F2, the gold standard of telephoto fujinon lenses.
Best Prime Lens
Prime lenses have a fixed focal length such as Fujinon 56mm 1.2 lens, which is a beast of a lens when it comes to bokeh and aperture.
It’s a slightly older lens but holds its own in the world of wide prime lenses.
Best Wide angle for Fujifilm
Wide angle lenses are capable of capturing wide scenes and should be sharp from corner to corner. IDeally too, they should be weather resistant and have a solid design.
So Fujinon created the 10-24mm f4 OIS weather sealed BEAST!
The go-to wide angle lens that doesn’t break your wallet, and fits snug inside your camera bag making for a durable, light weight lens that’s professionally sharp in every way.
Recommended Future Fujifilm Camera
On the cards right now according to Fuji Rumours.com and to be released in 2022 is the update to the Fujifilm XH-1, the XH2.
DJI Mavic Pro – The Best Drone for Travelling
Way back when drones first came onto the market they created a surge in consumer demand and interest in this flying camera.
And for good reason.
Up until the invention of drone technology for the purpose of photography, the only way of getting up above the clouds for an aerial perspective was to take an expensive helicopter flight, or hike a really tall mountain.
It’s been some years now and the lead manufacturer or drones are DJI and they have an impressive and extensive line up of their gear world-wide.
We have the very first professional drone they created, in our opinion the best travel camera (of the sky), the DJI Mavic Pro.
These days it’s a no brainer when it comes to drone photography, you need to have one! But you also need to be mindful and respectful of how you use it and the legalities of flying in restricted airspaces.
Many places in Australia have no fly zones and restricted airspace so make sure you check local laws and regulations before putting your drone in the air.
We’ve been able to take amazing photos with our drone and we absolutely love using it, although we are due for an upgrade some 6 years later, the latest and greatest on the market now is the Mavic Pro 2 or the Air 2S.
Which Travel Cameras Do I Use?
When we first started out on our trip to Canada I used a Canon 6D and had almost no idea how to use it. It definitely wasnt the best travel camera on the market but held up its own in the gammit of cameras.
I tried to do everything in manual focus mode because that’s how little I knew about shooting photography!
Most photos were relatively sharp, but everything was a bloody experiment for me!
Nowadays I use an entirely different eco-system of cameras and have pretty much stuck to this set-up for years now (we are very due for an upgrade) but it’s worked so well for us we haven’t bothered upgrading just yet.
My Camera Collection
My Main Body – Fujifilm XT2
My Second body – Fujifilm XT20
My Action Camera – GoPro hero 9
Compact camera for vlogging – Canon G7X mark 2
The camera bag I use is the Mind Shift backlight series 26L, an exceptional camera bag that has lasted me years of being used and abused and is still my favourite bag of all time.
It fits a 15 inch laptop, 2 camera bodies, 4 lenses, a drone, controller, batteries/cables, some clothes, camera accessories and more.
How to improve your travel photography
Expensive gear or even the best travel camera doesn’t equate to the best photography.
Knowing rules of composition and shooting techniques, learning how to use light and edit photos are all essential travel photography rules that you will need to learn in order to get better as a travel photographer.
- Using scale to depict objects
- Golden hour times
- Adding human elements
- The golden ratio
- Rule of thirds
- Knowing your location
- Learning the histogram
- Editing your images in post -processing software
All these techniques and rules help you understand both your camera, your subject and your craft more..but patience, practice and practice will turn your photos from mediocre to Instagram worthy photos
Protect your camera gear
Very few Insurers protect you from loss or damage specifically for tech equipment, which is why we personally recommend using World Nomads Insurance.
Aside from the standard medical, repatriation and accidental damage cover, your gear is protected everytime you leave the house on a trip.
For peace of mind the next time you leave the house on your big trip, get in touch with World Nomads Insurance to find out if they are the right fit for you.
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