Best Cameras for Traveling & Beyond

I think one of the most frequent questions I get whenever I do a Q&A on Instagram is “What Camera do I use for Traveling/Blogging/etc.” As I’ve been blogging for more than five years, I have a lot of experience shooting with a variety of cameras professionally over the years. I initially picked up photography in high school where I learned how to shoot on a Nikon 35 mm SLR film camera developing our own black and white photos and this is where I learned a lot about composition as well. Like any new hobby, it takes time and practice to get better (I’m sharing some early travel photos with you in this post to show you how I’ve developed as a photographer), but with this guide, I hope you’ll be able to find a camera set up that will work for you and your needs! Buckle in, this is going to be a long post. 

(all photos in this post were taken with the Sony a6000 unless otherwise mentioned.) 

Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon Portugal Villa de Ephrusi

Best Cameras for Traveling 

For traveling, I strongly recommend going as small as possible having something that is tote-able and also powerful enough to help you get the shot. For travel, I think mirrorless cameras are the way to go since they are light, compact, and easy to use. The three that I recommend the most are from most beginner friendly to more advanced: 

iPhone X & later models | Google Pixel 3a & later models: Whether you’re an OSX or Android user, both companies have amazing options when it comes to built-in cameras for their phone. I frequently take photos while traveling with my phone first and then will follow up with my bigger camera later. This photo was taken with my iPhone X and it just needed a little post-processing to get the look I wanted. See below for before and after. Some of my friends have the Google Pixel and it takes incredible photos, they are clear and crisp with accurate color rendering.  These are the most beginner friendly and serve more function than just a camera. 

As you can see below, with phone photography it’s all about the editing. 

Vintage Riviera iPhone Edits

Sony Rx100: My fiance introduced me to Sony and before he let me play with my preferred camera, he made me learn the ins-and-outs on the Sony rx100. Coming from a DSLR, this camera was so much easier to use than my big camera and was discrete enough I could stow in a crossbody or throw in my pocket if I didn’t want to carry a purse with me. It reminded me of the point and shoot camera I took with me on my study abroad trip to France. This is a perfectly priced camera to learn how to shoot manually and work on composition. It’s a great camera to learn photography basics before graduating onto more complex cameras. 

To see how capable this Sony is, check out this entire post for images that were shot with a Sony RX100

Sony a600: If you’re ready to step up your photography game for travel, this is the next step up in complication from the Sony Rx100 because you can buy additional lenses to use for your photography. It’s not the newest version (the Sony a7iii is the newest model), but it’s still a darn good camera and you can buy them refurbished for under $500 in pristine condition. You will need an additional lens for this camera, so I recommend the f4 16-70mm lens which can be used on other sony bodies as well. 

Make sure you grab a good SD card, this is my preferred one and I typically have 2 to rotate through for travel. 

Rustic Blue Door Nice

What Not to Bring for Travel (especially as a beginner) 

I hear it time and time again (and when I started blogging, I also believed it) that new photographers feel like they need to buy a heavy and expensive DSLR, like the Canon 5D Mark iv Full Frame, to take great photos.  

DO NOT BUY A DSLR if you don’t have ANY photography experience. 

let me repeat. 

DO NOT BUY A DSLR if you don’t have ANY photography experience. 

A DSLR is a very complex, cumbersome, and tricky camera to use for a first timer. I will admit when I bought my first DSLR (because all the fashion bloggers told me to when I was researching cameras) neither I nor my friends knew how to use a DSLR. I had some camera experience, but not to the extent that the DSLR requires and for the first 2 years my photos were out of focus, improperly sized, and flat because all I did was shoot on auto. They didn’t look anything like the examples online even though I had an expensive low aperture lens that produced a lot of bokeh (also a beginner myth, you don’t need a low aperture lens to produce great photos). 

But, if you HAVE to buy a DSLR and you’re really debating on what model to get, I recommend going the Canon route that has an interchangeable lens system (which means the lens isn’t built into the camera.) I’m a Nikon user and for the style of work I do, I am going to be switching over to Canon because the glass renders colors differently and at a different sharpness. See the example below where each photo was taken at the same lens quality, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. 

Canon DSLR versus Nikon DSLR Photo Example

The Canon rendered sharpness and color much differently than my Nikon. If we were to zoom in, you’d see how much less grain is in the Canon photo than with my Nikon. Both are great choices but if you’re shooting food or people, Canon is the industry choice. 

I hope this helps in your camera search for traveling! The best camera you can have for travel is the one on you, so make sure that it’s something you want to use day-to-day! 

Shop our favorite cameras by using the left and right arrow below to browse 

To Find out how to take the best travel photos and photo tips for traveling, check out our post here

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The Best Cameras for Traveling 2019

Author: Cynthia

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