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Finding the best camera for travel is an immense task. A travel camera must be durable, packable, lightweight and easy to use. There are dozens of cameras on the market that fit the criteria, but not all cameras for travel are affordable. Additionally, budget travelers asking the question, “What is the best camera to travel with?” are often treated to a full dose of sticker shock, which can be discouraging.
We understand the angst. Whenever we need to buy new photography equipment – whether we are seeking the latest and best digital camera for travel or a new lens for a camera we already own – we spend hours, days, even weeks making our decision. We research the top features, pore over reviews, and diligently compare prices to ensure we are making the best budget camera choice.
Best Camera: Travel
Because different travelers have different needs, it is not as simple as proclaiming one camera as the absolute best camera for travel photography. That said, we can help you sort out which is the best camera for travel photos for your trip.
The first step to determining the best camera to travel with is to decide how you will be using your camera. How much zoom will you need? Do you want your travel camera to have video capabilities? Do you need a DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses or is a compact camera for travel better suited for your style? And, perhaps most important: How much money do you want to spend on a camera for travel?
What Is The Best Budget Camera For Travel?
Generally speaking, we are budget-conscious people – and especially so when it comes to travel. We have spent ample time in pursuit of the best budget camera for traveling. That said, when considering which camera to buy for traveling, it should not be a quest to simply seek out the best cheap camera for travel. The key is to find a balance; you want to buy a travel camera that offers the best value for money.
The good news is that, although cameras are not cheap, they are much more affordable than they used to be. The best budget travel cameras come in a variety of styles and sizes. To help you pick the right one for your trip, we have rounded up the best budget cameras for travel.
Pro Tip: In terms of travel cameras, technology is still advancing at a rapid pace. This means that newer camera models are being released on a regular basis with enhanced features. When this happens, older models get significantly discounted. While the latest-and-greatest is a compelling sales point, sometimes that best low budget camera is simply last year’s model!
Best Camera For Budget Travelers
Our list of the best cameras for travel on a budget includes our top picks, which offer a range of features. As you go through our list, keep in mind how you envision using the camera on your travels so that you can find the best budget travel camera for your trip!
Best DSLR Budget Camera: Canon Rebel
When it comes to the best budget DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel gets high marks from professionals and novices alike. We, too, think it is the best budget camera for travel – and it is the camera we have been using since we started traveling full time in 2014.
Canon, a trusted brand in cameras, first introduced their Rebel line of cameras in 2003 – and with each new release, they add enhanced features. Rebel cameras are wildly popular, as they are designed with professional camera elements, but are offered at an extremely affordable price. They have been touted as the best budget camera for photography for beginners. With great versatility, we think the Rebel camera is the best pick for travelers.
The camera body itself weighs about 1 pound and the camera is designed to fit comfortably in your hand. The travel camera can be used in Auto or Manual mode – and it has the added value of video capabilities. In most cases, the Canon Rebel is sold with an included 18-55mm lens – but some cameras are bundled with a professional accessory kit that comes with multiple lenses (as well as other fun attachments and useful gadgets!).
Canon Travel Camera Lens
Initially, we carried two lenses with us on our travels – the 18-55mm lens and the 55-250mm lens. However, we disliked changing the lens on a regular basis (and this is something to seriously consider for your travels!). Instead, we opted to purchase a Standard Zoom 18-135mm lens. We now use the 18-135mm as our sole lens while traveling because it works for all of our travel photo needs. It is important to note, however, that while the camera body only weighs about one pound, the lens (and larger lenses) will add weight to the camera.
Pro Tip: Rather than buying a brand new Standard Zoom lens, we purchased a used lens on Amazon and saved a ton of money!
Find out more reasons why we think the Canon Rebel is the best DSLR camera for travel in our blog post, 5 Reasons We Use a Canon Rebel Camera for Travel!
Best Budget Digital Camera: Sony A6000
We have to admit, we have long been lusting after the Sony A6000 travel camera. It is highly touted as the best mirrorless camera for travel – and it was a top contender when we started our search for the best budget camera for travel. The Sony A6000 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Canon Rebel; it fits all of the criteria for the best camera for travel beginners. However, while it is not exactly expensive in terms of cameras, it costs quite a bit more than the Canon Rebel.
What travelers love about the Sony A6000 is that it is small enough to easily fit in a travel day bag and light enough to comfortably carry on long days of sightseeing. Typically, the lenses are lighter, but they also tend to be more expensive. (That said, adapters can be fitted to the camera to enable use of other lenses, which will add more weight and is something to be considered).
The Sony A6000 is very similar to the Canon Rebel in terms of key specifications. However, the Sony travel camera excels at some of the technical features – like better autofocus and a larger viewfinder. That said, we personally couldn’t justify paying more for the slight differences.
Note: There are newer models of this camera – like the Sony Alpha A6400 and the Sony A6600 – however, these newer models are priced at $1,000-plus, which we think is too expensive to be considered an affordable camera for travel. If it is within your budget, however, the newer cameras are equipped with modern capabilities, like touchscreens and Bluetooth technology.
Pro Tip: Looking for other mirrorless camera budget options? The Canon EOS M50 is well-priced and is a top pick among fellow travelers!
Best Compact Camera For Travel: Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II
The Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II is one of the all-around best small cameras for travel. The camera is a Fixed Lens Camera (unlike the Canon Rebel and Sony A6000, which both have interchangeable lenses). That said, it still features quality Canon technology that – in some ways – make it a better camera than a DSLR or Mirrorless option.
What makes it the best compact budget camera is that it is easy to use, has optional manual controls and takes high quality pictures. It is loaded with cool features – but is still little enough to fit in a pocket, which is why we think it the best small camera for travel.
Additionally, the camera has exceptional video quality and is hailed by many as the best camera for travel vlogging (although, there is no external mic input option).
While it is tough to compare a Fixed Lens camera to a DSLR, the PowerShot G7X Mark II is about as close as you can get to a fair comparison. Without a doubt, it is the best budget compact camera – and it gets rave reviews as the best budget camera for video, too.
Looking for something even simpler? We think the Canon PowerShot ELPH is the best point-and-shoot camera for travel if you just want something inexpensive and easy to take photos with. Actually, it is the backup camera that we still travel with – just in case something was to happen to our Canon Rebel.
Final Thoughts: Best Digital Camera On A Budget
We know that it is not an easy decision when it comes to choosing the best camera for budget travel – we’ve been there! It took us some time to determine which was the best camera to buy for travel while on a budget, but we are confident that we succeeded when we purchased the Canon Rebel.
If you are still on the fence, we recommend studying the specs and features of each style and reading product reviews on Amazon.
Budget Travel Camera: At A Glance
Best Budget Canon Camera for Travel, Best Budget Camera for Beginners
Best Digital Camera Travel
Best Compact Camera Travel
We Want To Know: What do you think is the best affordable camera for travel? Share your tips in the comments below!
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