The Best Camera for Your Dream Vacation Isn’t a Smartphone

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Last Updated on October 13, 2021

Top Pick: Sony RX100 VII

If you can’t spare the time to do extensive research on the best camera for your dream vacation, then choose this one.  Its performance and quality are superior to many others of this category.


A smartphone does not make the best camera for your dream vacation! No matter how latest, greatest and stylish it is. Even with good smartphone cameras, they can’t zoom too far before destroying the image & don’t provide enough detail for large prints.

Do you know what kind of camera to use on your trip? 

Depending on your needs, here are a few suggestions.

With one of these cameras, you can enjoy the results for a lifetime despite their price. Even the cheapest models are not exactly cheap-that the cheapest adds a few hundred dollars to the cost of a vacation. Yet, the cameras mentioned below seem like a good deal to us.


Among my favorite small cameras, I highly recommend the Sony RX100 VII. This camera is what I would call a “professional” point-and-shoot. The small size allows it to fit in my pocket, but it also has many of the same features as my bigger mirrorless camera.

There are other options for a bit less money, like the older RX100 IV. In addition to this, they make underwater dive-housings at a reasonable price. It’s a perfect destination for travel bloggers!

      2. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

In order to achieve even greater telephoto coverage, you need a superzoom in your bag. In terms of superzooms, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is our favorite when shooting things from a great distance. 

As it has a wide zoom range (21-1365mm), it can take shots of the Taj Mahal from an extremely wide angle as it can long-distance panoramas of howler monkeys nestled in the jungles of  Costa Rica.

It can capture 1080p video in crisp and clear quality and has a smooth autofocus system and silent zoom. 

In addition to being easy to use with Canon’s user interface, this camera provides a high level of control while being far less complicated than some other superzooms.

      3. Panasonic LX10

Another good point-and-shoot camera for traveling is the Panasonic LX10. In terms of specs, it is very similar to Sony and Canon. 

The most notable differences are that there is no viewfinder (just the LCD), a slightly bigger aperture, and less battery power.

      4. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI

Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI is similar to its DSC-HX99 counterpart, just a bit bulkier. By using a larger sensor, the quality of images can be increased considerably. 

Getting the shot you want is easier with the pop-up viewfinder, which is larger and clearer. This lens is not as long as the HX99’s, but it covers a much wider focal length range, 24–200mm.

The HX99 has a 24-720mm zoom, but this camera isn’t meant for photographers who like to shoot with extreme zoom. Those who don’t mind using their feet to zoom but still want to travel light should consider this. 

With plenty of customizable buttons and dials, the RX100 VI offers a mind-boggling array of controls. This camera takes gorgeous shots-it’s a definite step up from a smartphone. Its video quality is unbeatable as well.

      5. Sony A7 III

In the current market, the Sony A7 III is the best travel camera to spend your money on. In the past few years, Sony has been on the leading edge, and other brands have struggled to keep up. Sensor technology, focusing speeds, and dynamic range are among the best; it is also more cost-effective than its competitors.

The Sony A7 III was designed specifically for videographers, offering excellent performance in low-light conditions while the  Sony A7R III (the camera I use) has 42.4 megapixels, making it ideal for landscape photographers too.

      6. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is a powerful, surprisingly affordable, and nevertheless quite a compact mirrorless camera that completely outperforms the Sony RX100 VI in every aspect.

The only disadvantage is that it’s a bit bigger, and you have to buy (and carry) an extra lens if you want the same reach as the Sony. 

Still, the camera and lens combo of an Olympus will typically cost about half as much as the RX100 IV, and its Four Thirds sensor, when paired with high-quality lenses, will give you better results. 

With an interchangeable lens, this camera is much more versatile and allows you to add wide-angle and prime lenses to capture a wide-angle prime for portraits of your traveling companions. The value proposition is mighty compelling if you’re willing to carry a camera bag.

      7. Fujifilm X‑T3

This mirrorless camera from Fuji is a popular competitor to the Sony A7. In previous trips, I’ve used it, and I’m impressed with the quality! I enjoy how it has rugged with all-metal dials for controlling the settings on this camera.

The main downside is that the APS-C sensor is smaller than the Full Frame Sensor on the Sony A7. Another is the low-light situation results in less power consumption. Also lacking are internal stabilization, fewer focus points, and half the battery life.

     8. Nikon D3500

With good reason, the Nikon D3500 has been one of the most popular DSLRs ever produced. As compared to cameras like the Canon 80D and the Nikon D7200, it has a somewhat lighter body.

In exchange for the weatherization that the other two DSLRs provide, the D7200 offers a light body that includes nearly all other D 7200 features save wireless camera control. D3500 stands out for its incredible battery life, which lasts up to 1200 shots per charge.

     9. GoPro Hero8 Black

A good action camera enables you to capture the thrill and the danger of doing something crazy. The GoPro Hero8 Black is the top choice in our list of action cameras if you’re planning some wild adventures in the great outdoors.

Despite its sharp, vibrant, wide-angle video and impressive stabilization, we still consider it as the best mountain bike camera available. The hyperlapse videos are captivating, the slow-motion footage is superb, and the camera can even take decent still photos in a pinch. 

It’s not a replacement for any of the cameras we recommend above, but it is a perfect complement to them.

     10. YI 4K+

Chinese-made YI 4K Plus is a solid alternative to GoPro’s adventure travel camera, which is also significantly cheaper. It has virtually identical features, such as 4K video at 60 frames per second and touchscreen or voice control, as desired.

Like the GoPro, the YI has digitally stabilized videos. However, the device offers little beyond 4K video and 12 MP photography. YI 4K+ is a good budget alternative to the GoPro line if you don’t need all its extra features.


The Best Camera for Your Dream Vacation Isn’t a Smartphone

I hope you enjoyed reading about the best travel cameras! Don’t forget to take other necessary accessories with your cameras like tripods, camera bag, microSD. 

Pick the perfect camera for travel and capture the epic travel memories & experiences to share with family and friends.

Olivia Bouler

From a young age, camera's fascinated me. My dad gave me my first Canon when I was seven, and since then I've tried to improve my craft. As a young Ornithologist and photographer, I travel a lot and love to bring a camera with me. I love the feeling of capturing a moment that can never be repeated and providing someone with a memento of a time or place.