The Best Small Cameras for Travel Photography

The Best Small Cameras for Travel Photography

Everyone wants amazing photos from their travels and taking the right camera on your trip is essential to ensuring that you can capture those amazing shots that will become treasured memories (and hundreds of Instagram likes!) Traveling with bulky DSLRs can be a drag but nowadays you can get great quality photos with compact cameras that are the best small cameras for travel.

Why I’ve ditched the DSLR

I used to travel with a Canon EOS 700D DSLR Camera which is a really good all round starter DSLR. Of course, DSLR’s offer the best picture quality, a huge variety of changeable, but pricey, lenses for every occasion and optimum control but they are also bulky and heavy. I also feel like they hang around your neck like a flashing beacon that says “look at my expensive camera – I have a lot of money” (not the message a solo female traveller really wants to give out!)

Taking photos with a DSLR on the train in India
Taking photos with a DSLR on the train in India

Changing lenses often means you miss a great shot, especially for street photography in somewhere like India where you blink and it’s gone, and while shooting in raw gives you the best result I was fed up of spending hours editing my photos – I wanted to be able to instantly share and keep friends and followers up to date with my travels as a photo posted a week later, however amazing, lacks that freshness and excitement of sharing what’s happening right now but I found that smartphone photos just didn’t cut it.

Caught in action in Cornwall
Caught in action in Cornwall

My search for the best small cameras for travel photography

So, for these reasons I recently decided to ditch the DSLR in favour of something more compact and travel friendly but the problem was that while I wanted a camera that would be lighter to carry, that had built in wifi and was easier to use, I’m also a bit of a perfectionist and didn’t want to compromise on picture quality but I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money in my search for the best small cameras for travel photos.

I spent a lot of time researching online, talking to others and playing with the cameras in store before making the decision and then buying on Amazon to save money.  Since quite a few of you have been asking recently what camera I’ve been using (thanks for the compliments on my photos! ) I thought I would put together a list of the cameras that I consider to be the best small cameras for travel bloggers and travel photography enthusiasts.

The Top 3 Best Small Cameras for Travel Photography

The Panasonic Lumix TZ70
The best compact cameras for travel photography – The Panasonic Lumix TZ70

Meet my new compact camera perfect for traveling – the Panasonic Lumix TZ70

The Panasonic Lumix TZ70 is its top-end do-it-all stylish compact. The TZ70 boasts a 30x optical zoom lens, good autofocus, image stabilisation and image quality (it has a 12-megapixel sensor, a lower resolution than the earlier TZ60, but has better results) and so many other features. It’s a stylish and fun point and shoot but also has all the control you would expect from a DSLR when shooting on fully manual. One thing that sets the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 apart is the electronic viewfinder, rare in most compact cameras, but it means you can actually see what you’re doing in bright sunlight.

Price:  Approx £267  Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 on Amazon

I’ve had a lot of fun shooting with this compact camera and received a lot of compliments for my travel photography. It fits in my pocket, does everything that I want and is easy to use so I can concentrate on enjoying my travels and capturing the moment to share instantly instead of having a big, heavy camera weighing me down but still getting that stunning colour and super sharp quality that I want.

I like how I can shot in auto or use one of the preselected scenes if I’m feeling lazy, or I can also shot in P,A , S or fully manual. The Panasonic Lumix also captures files in RAW but to be honest it is a bit slow and I’ve found that for most photos the JPEG files are good enough.

One of the things I love the most about the Panasonic Lumix is the zoom – after using DSLRs and having the change lenses I just love being able to zoom in so easily and take those close up shots, often without anyone even realising I’m taking a photo and the built in Wifi means that I can send my photos over to my phone in seconds and post them on my Instagram and Facebook. 

Here’s some example pics from my Panasonic Lumix TZ70  (unedited and without filters!)

A few examples of unedited photos from my recent travels in India with the Panasonic Lumix TZ70
A few examples of unedited photos from my recent travels in India with the Panasonic Lumix TZ70

The Panasonic Lumix TZ70 is simply one of the best value all round compact cameras for travel photography. Of course, it’s not the best camera in the world, but then spending thousands on a camera for photos to go on Instagram and on the blog is kind of unnecessary and for the price, size and image quality I’m really happy with it.

For me the only downside to the Panasonic Lumix is that it does not have a touchscreen or tiltable screen – not having a touchscreen felt weird at first but I soon got used to the controls but having a tiltable screen is something I really miss which would be super helpful for taking selfies, especially as I travel solo a lot!

Check out reviews, full specifications and get the best price for Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 on Amazon 

I also considered:

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III

The Sony Cybershot RX100 III
The Sony Cybershot RX100 III

This must be one of the very best small cameras for travel photography – It’s small enough to carry in your pocket, but is still packed with features, it has a premium build, great image quality from it’s 1 inch sensor and a pop-out built-in electronic viewfinder.

The Sony RX 100 III had the added bonus of a tilt-angle LCD screen – perfect for those selfies! The RX 100 III also has a newer, faster 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens.  If you can afford it – this is one of the ultimate compact cameras for travel, this is the camera that I really wanted to get but decided against it purely because it was double the price of the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 and that extra money could get me 2 more weeks of travel (whats the point of spending so much money on a camera that you end up not being able to afford to go anyway?)

Price: |Approx £566

There is a whole family of Sony RX100 models which are all great compact cameras for travel, each generation is a marked improvement from the last but all are good so you could go for one of the older models but for what you save in price you do lose in features like viewfinders, wifi, tiltable screens etc.

Check out and compare the reviews, features and prices on Amazon for the Sony Cybershot RX100 Range

Check out reviews, full specifications and get the best price on Amazon for the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III 


Canon PowerShot G7 X


The Canon Powershot G7 X
The Canon Powershot G7 X

The Canon Powershot G7 X is another great contender in the league of best small cameras for travel photography. It has a large sensor and 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens for super quality and detailed shots, including some great ‘bokeh’ shots. The Canon Powershot G7 X also has a touchscreen, tilt-angle screen great for selfies with lots of features bundled into a well-built and pocketable body with all the customisable controls you could want – the only downside it that there is no viewfinder – that was the reason why I went for the Pansonic Lumix instead of the Canon Powershot G7 X.

Price: Approx £354

Check out reviews, full specifications and get the best price on Amazon for the Canon PowerShot G7X 

I also considered a compact system camera

DSLRs are getting lighter nowadays, if you still want to have the flexibility of changing lenses and all the quality of a DSLR in a smaller package you could also consider a mirrorless or Compact System Camera. I decided against this I prefered the ease of having a built in zoom and not having to change lenses but take a look at whats available.

Try The 10 Best Mirrorless Compact System Cameras of 2015 on Tech Radar  and check prices and reviews for Compact System Cameras on Amazon 

Which camera do you use for travel photography? Do you have a great, affordable, compact camera for travel that I haven’t considered?

By the way, if you found this article helpful and decide to purchase one of the cameras on Amazon through my links you can save money while I also earn a small commission which helps to keep me on the road! Thanks for your support. 😉 

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The Top 3 Best Small Cameras for Travel Photography

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Faheem Akhtar January 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Very Nice!!!! You should Travel to Pakistan and explore its beauty You will enjoy You jurney.

Anna February 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Faheem, I’d love to go to Pakistan one day hopefully 🙂


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