The best travel cameras of 2018

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

best travel cameras vacation and

best travel cameras dt of 150 travelcamsThere’s no arguing that the smartphone has become the favorite camera for everyday casual shooting. But when you’re venturing hundred or thousands of miles to see something new, there is 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 a 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 is 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 compiled a list of some of some of our favorite travel cameras below, organized by category.

At a glance

Product Category Rating
GoPro Hero6 Black The best travel camera overall 4 out of 5
Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5 The best rugged travel camera 4 out of 5
Panasonic Lumix TS30 The best budget travel point-and-shoot Not yet rated
Panasonic Lumix FZ2500 The best travel superzoom Not yet rated
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V The best premium travel compact Not yet rated
Panasonic Lumix GX85 The best interchangeable lens cameras for travel Not yet rated

GoPro Hero6 Black

The best

GoPro-Hero6-Black-review
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Excellent 4K/60p video and best-in-class electronic image stabilization.

Who’s its for: Extreme athletes and anyone who needs high-quality video in rugged environments.

How much will it cost: $399

Why we picked the GoPro Hero6 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 keep on ticking.

GoPro is the household name in action cams, and the flagship Hero6 Black is the latest and greatest. Like the Hero5 Black before it, it has a built-in touch screen yet is completely waterproof without an additional case. It also has some of the best specs of any action camera, with 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. And while you may not need that kind of speed and resolution, you will absolutely love the Hero6 Black’s greatly improved electronic image stabilization, which produces beautifully smooth footage whether you’re holding the camera by hand or mounting it to your mountain bike. A lot of the enhanced performance is due to a new image processor, the GP1 — a first for a GoPro camera.

GoPro also has some unique post-processing features that will be particularly useful for travelers. The GoPro app (iOS or Android) can create automatic edits of your videos — and even incorporate photos from your camera roll — using telemetry data to highlight all the best moments. Transfer your footage to your phone every night, and wake up to a short, polished edit of the previous day’s activities.

Read our full GoPro Hero6 Black review

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5

The best rugged travel camera

Olympus Tough TG-5 Review
Hillary Grigonis/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: RAW photos, great macro ability, rugged, and weatherproof

!!!! NEEDS PRODUCT CARD!!! Desc.: From hiking to skiing to snorkeling, the Tough TG5 can handle it all.

Who’s it for: Enthusiast photographers who need a camera that can survive the elements.

How much will it cost: $399

Why we picked the Olympus Tough TG-5:

Rugged point-and-shoot cameras are similar to action cams, except they put still photos first, video second. Perfect for beach trips and snorkeling, they are meant to be shot by hand, rather than mounted to a helmet, bike frame, harness, etcetera. Such cameras are also waterproof, dust-proof, and freeze-proof without requiring a separate housing, as is sometimes the case with action cameras.

The Stylus Tough TG-5 continuous Olympus’ dominance in the rugged camera game, and offers several advanced options not normally found on this type of camera, like the ability to shoot uncompressed RAW photos. It also has a stellar macro mode and even an incredibly easy to use light-painting mode, perfect for some nighttime creative fun at your next camping trip. At $399 (after $50 instant rebate), it’s one of the more expensive options out there, but it packs a lot of power for the price and should last for years to come.

Read our full Olympus Stylus Tough TG-5 review

Panasonic Lumix TS30

The best budget travel point-and-shoot

best travel cameras panasonic lumix ts30 lifestyle

Why should you buy this: Low price and ease of use.

Who’s it for: Anyone who needs a basic camera to handle the sand and surf.

How much will it cost: $138

Why we picked the Panasonic Lumix TS30:

If you are looking for a model that is affordable and easy to use, look no further than the Panasonic TS30. With its basic still and 720p video modes, it won’t be winning any image quality tests, but it’s still waterproof down to 26 feet, can shoot at eight frames per second, and even features a “torch light” for improved underwater videos. At less than $140, it’s an easy choice for your next beach getaway or trip to the slopes.

Read more here

Panasonic Lumix FZ2500

The best travel superzoom

lumix fz2500 1
Alberto Lima / Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Fantastic still image quality, equally great video.

Who’s it for: Enthusiast photographers who don’t mind the size (or price).

How much will it cost: $997

Why we picked the Panasonic Lumix FZ2500:

The superzoom is more or less a point-and-shoot camera with a very long zoom lens. Some have a DSLR-like body, while others are more compact. Many offer advanced shooting modes and manual controls, but most still use internal components typical of smaller, entry-level cameras. A few, however, are built around larger sensors and even offer RAW photos and, therefore, better image quality.

The Panasonic FZ2500 has just a 20x zoom, not nearly as long as some other cameras in this category. However, it uses a much larger, 20MP, 1-inch-type sensor, and can shoot in RAW, so it has vastly superior image quality. It also shoots continuous bursts up to 12 frames per second, records video at 4K resolution, and has a built-in ND filter.

All of this tech does come at a rather high price of about $1,000 (after $200 instant rebate), so the FZ2500 is aimed at enthusiast and professional photographers who need an alternative to bulky interchangeable lens systems when traveling. If you’ve got the money to spare, however, you won’t be disappointed.

Read more here

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V

The best premium travel compact

Why should you buy this: Great stills and video, impressive speed.

Who’s it for: Enthusiasts after a compact camera that won’t sacrifice performance.

How much will it cost: $998

Why we picked the Sony RX100 V:

The smartphone has pretty much annihilated the pocket camera, but there is a special breed that phones cannot touch: the premium compact. These cameras may be small on the outside, but they are bursting with power on the inside. Loved by casual shooters and professionals alike, a premium compact camera may be a worthwhile investment for your next serious vacation.

The RX100 Mark V is the latest in Sony’s long line of RX series premium compacts. It offers fantastic image quality thanks to its 20MP, 1-inch-type sensor and fast 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens. Capable of focusing in as little as 0.05 seconds and shooting bursts at speeds up to 24 images per second, you will easily capture every perfect moment. It can also handle your video needs admirably, thanks to support for 4K resolution. Of course, all of that performance comes at a price of nearly $1,000, so this isn’t the camera for everyone.

If you wish the camera had a longer zoom, Sony’s got you covered. The company recently announced the RX100 VI, which has an 8x zoom lens and faster performance. It carries a higher price tag of $1,200, however. The RX100 VI is available in July 2018.

Read more here

Panasonic Lumix GX85

The best interchangeable lens cameras for travel

panasonic lumix gx85 11
Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Top-notch image stabilization, 4K video, and compact design.

Who’s it for: Photographers who want a compact camera without sacrificing versatility.

How much will it cost: $598

Why we picked the Panasonic Lumix GX8:

The Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format is a great option for a travel camera. The smaller sensor size (compared to APS-C) allows for equivalently smaller lenses, great for anyone who wants a lighter overall package with the performance and picture quality one expects from an interchangeable lens camera. We found Panasonic’s Lumix GX85 to be the ideal traveling companion, with incredible five-axis sensor stabilization, crystal-clear 4K video, and a nice balance of size and functionality. It even fits in an electronic viewfinder, a welcome addition for taking photos outside on bright days.

While the newer Lumix GX9 has some key improvements, like a 20MP sensor, the GX85 remains an exceptional value. It is currently available for just under $600 (body only, after $200 instant rebate), making it a hard deal to pass up.

Read more here

How we test

When testing a camera, we look at its features and tech in the context of real-world use. For models we haven’t fully reviewed, our opinion is based on what hands-on experience we have as well as the general public reception. When it came to selecting models for this list, we specifically focused cameras that combined strong feature sets with portability.

Helpful advice

When shopping for a camera, perhaps the most important thing is to make sure you’re getting something you will actually use. You could spend $2,000 or more on a top-of-the-line machine for your next vacation, but if you never take it out of your hotel room because it’s too big and heavy, it’s basically worthless.

If you already shoot with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you have a good idea of what you’re willing to use. If, however, you currently shoot with just a phone, you should consider in what ways your phone is most lacking before making a choice, such as low-light image quality, the ability to shoot all-weather conditions, resolution, etcetera.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Self-balancing skates, tiny tripods, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Mobile

Too close to call: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs LG G7 ThinQ camera shootout

We take the LG G7 ThinQ and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to Rome for a camera shootout, photographing everything from the amazing local sights to an impressive showjumping event. How do these two excellent phones compare?
Product Review

Canon Pixma iP8720 review

The Canon Pixma iP8720 is a wide-format, single-function home printer that’s ideal for photos, crafts, and documents.
Photography

Instagram’s shopping stickers for businesses see wide rollout

As the Stories format continues to grow, Instagram is allowing users to shop the items inside a Stories photo or video. Instagram recently expanded stickers that let people shop inside a Story by tapping on the sticker.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: When it happens and where to find the best deals

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Photography

Not just for photographers anymore, Loupedeck+ now supports Adobe Premiere Pro

Video editors can now get physical with the Loupedeck+ control board. Originally for Lightroom, a software update allows the controls to adapt to video editing, including color grading, clip trimming, and navigating through the timeline.
Computing

PowerDirector, PhotoDirector aim to balance advanced tools with easy editing

CyberLink's latest photo- and video-editing programs fix advanced tools with a simple UI. PowerDirector adds Chroma-Key tools and multicam features, while PhotoDirector gains tethered shooting, an updated layer, and Content-Aware tools.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Computing

Photoshop isn't required to resize images. Here are 6 ways to do it in seconds

Resizing an image isn't the toughest thing in the world, even if it may seem like a hassle. Here's how to resize an image using six tools that allow you to make quick work of any photo, regardless of your operating system.
Photography

No gimbal required: GoPro’s HyperSmooth stabilizer makes Hero7 a must-have upgrade

Just how good is the stabilization inside the new GoPro Hero7 Black? GoPro calls it gimbal-like, and it works well. Also new: live-streaming, shooting modes, and menus. Plus, Hero7 Silver and Whit.