There’s no arguing that the smartphone has become our favorite camera for everyday casual shooting. But when you’re venturing hundred or thousands of miles to see something new, there’s no beating a traditional camera. Whether it’s a rugged model that can withstand water, snow, and sand; a superzoom that lets you reach a distant landmark without schlepping there; or an interchangeable lens model with image quality that will hold up for making large prints of your favorite memories, dedicated cameras bring extra tools to the table that can pay dividends on vacation.
The camera you pick depends on the type of travel you’re planning to do. You can go for an all-purpose model that covers the basics, or a niche camera designed for precisely the activity you’re doing. Maybe you need a camera that can keep up with a high-speed adventure and rough-and-tumble lifestyle. Or perhaps you prefer to take your time setting up to capture the perfect sunset. Either way, there’s an ideal camera for you to bring along on your next vacation — and you can likely find one that won’t break the bank. We’ve compiled a list of some of some of our favorite travel cameras below, organized by category.
GoPro Hero5 Black
Why should you buy this: Waterproof, integrated touch screen, 4K video.
Who’s it for: Extreme athletes and anyone who needs high quality video in rugged environments.
How much will it cost: $400
Why we picked the GoPro Hero5 Black:
The size and weight of action cams is a no-brainer for travel. In fact, many are small enough that they take up hardly any room in a carry-on. Their wide-angle lenses capture more of the view, Wi-Fi lets you share photos via a smartphone, and operating them is as simple as pressing a single button. Plus, you can subject them to all kinds of abuse and they’ll keep on ticking.
GoPro is the household name in action cams, and the long-awaited Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session models have expanded on quality and ease of use. Both feature 4K video and are waterproof without a case. While the compact, screen-less Session is just $300, we think the $400 Hero5 Black is well worth its higher price. It adds an integrated touch screen for simple set up and use and can also shoot RAW photos for better image quality.