Best Travel Cameras 2014
Best Travel Cameras 2014
An ideal travel camera is lightweight, versatile, and captures great images. Point-and-shoots are the smallest and least expensive option, but they have some limitations in terms of image quality. Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras have big sensors and are more compact than digital SLRs—any traveler should give serious consideration to going in this direction. Digital SLRs are the bulkiest and heaviest option but capture professional-grade photographs and offer the widest selection of lenses. Below are our picks for the best travel cameras of 2014 with a detailed description of each.
Best Point-and-Shoots for Travel
Canon PowerShot G16 ($499)
The Canon G16 is a do-it-all advanced compact that checks just about every box for travelers. The Leica lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 for excellent performance in low light, the camera shoots Full HD 1080p video, has an optical viewfinder, and in-camera HDR and panorama modes. It even has built-in Wi-Fi for posting and transferring photos on the fly. Given this impressive feature set, the Canon G16 still is pocketable (to achieve this, Canon went without a flip-out screen that was on previous models like the G12). What are the downsides of G16? The most notable is that the sensor (1/1.7" CMOS) still is relatively small given the hefty price tag.
Sensor Size: 41 sq. mm
Weight: 12.4 oz.
Sony RX100 III ($798)
Sony is on its third rendition of the Sony RX 100 for a reason. This is one the best point-and-shoots ever made and what many enthusiasts and professionals use when they can’t carry larger set-ups. The camera has a large sensor that produces high-quality 20.1-megapixel images, a fast Carl Zeiss lens, and RAW capability, all packaged in a lightweight and durable body. The newest version features an improved maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the telephoto end for better low light performance, and a unique pop-up electronic viewfinder. You do get less zoom, but if you need it, you can still grab the Sony RX100 II for $648.
Sensor Size: 116 sq. mm
Weight: 9.9 oz.
Best Mirrorless Cameras for Travel
Sony Alpha A7 ($1,698)
The Sony A7 is world's lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera—it’s considerably lighter and thinner than its full-frame DSLR counterparts from Nikon and Canon, offering professional image quality in a truly compact body. It’s also cheaper with a price under $1,500 for the camera body. What are the weaknesses of the Sony A7? The low light performance is sub par for a camera in this price range, the autofocus could be better, and the lens options are still limited (but improving). However, the A7, along with the more expensive Sony A7R (36.4 megapixels) and Sony A7S (great for video including 4K), are impressive technological feats and excellent full-frame cameras for travelers who can afford them.
Sensor Size: 855 sq. mm
Weight: 16.7 oz. (477 g)
Best DSLRs for Travel
Weight: 15.1 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Nikon D3300
Canon EOS SL1 ($599 with 18-55mm lens)
The Canon SL1 is one of the smallest and lightest DSLRs ever made, weighing approximately 14.4 ounces without a lens. This model is serious competition to the increasingly popular class of mirrorless cameras but has the lens offerings of a DSLR (lenses are still a weak point of the mirrorless camera market, although they are catching up). With the Canon SL1 you won’t get a flip-out screen like the Rebel models and the autofocus isn’t quite as advanced, but many prefer the compact size for travel and other uses that require portability.
Sensor Size: 332 sq. mm
Weight: 14.4 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Canon SL1
Canon EOS 6D ($1,899)
Yes, we’ve made a significant jump from the entry-level DSLRs above the full-frame Canon EOS 6D. But we think you should either take the lightweight and portable option or go for professional image quality with a camera like the 6D. This “budget” full-frame DSLR hits the sweet spot among consumers and enthusiasts with excellent image quality, Full HD 1080p video, and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS for sharing and transferring files. The autofocus of the 6D is disappointing, which means that it’s inferior to other full-frame cameras for video and action, but it’s a great for capturing stills. If you want to take it down a notch with a mid-range DSLR, try the Canon 70D.
Sensor Size: 855 sq. mm
Weight: 26.8 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Canon 6D
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Nikon D810
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