With technology advancing every day, finding a high quality travel camera has never been easier. The ideal camera for capturing vacation moments is versatile, versatile and has the ability to take crisp photos. From lightweight mirrorless systems to compact point-and-shoots, we have gathered a list of the 5 best cameras to document your vacations with.
1. Nikon D4S
Nikon has proved several times over to be an industry leader when it comes to designing high performance DSLRs. Their D4 proved an instant winner when it was launched in 2012 but that was short lived since many competitors soon adapted a similar design. Nikon retaliated by taking the best features of the D4 and made small changes to the autofocus, image processing as well as shooting. The result was a new and improved Nikon D4S.
The new Nikon D4S can shoot at up to 11 frames per second with autofocus and metering acquisition. The Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX allows for 3D tracking and 51 AF points. This camera has impressive low light sensitivities thanks to an ISO range of 100-102400, which expands to 50-3280000. The 16.2 megapixel full frame sensor shoots crisp still photographs and videos. The ability to record externally and internally is something you’ll appreciate.
Another notable feature of the Nikon D4S is a second processor that’s specially designed for focusing only. The camera also has stereo microphone socket that allows you to adjust the level of recording sensitivity.
- Incredible low light performance
- Comes with new Expeed 4 processor
- Capable of 3D tracking
2. Sony RX100
The original version of Sony’s high-end RX100 series is one of the best travel digital cameras you’ll find on the market. This point-and-shoot camera offers everything you’d expect from a less than $500 camera. It boasts a 20.1 megapixel sensor that works together with a fast Carl Zeiss zoom lens to deliver clear and crisp images. The F1.8-4.9 stabilized lens has Zeiss T* coatings that help minimize internal reflection.
Sony integrates the patented WhiteMagic technology to ensure a longer battery life as well as greater brightness. Its ability to capture 17MP still photos without interrupting 1080i or 1080p60 video shooting is incredible to say the least. While it isn’t the smallest camera on the market, having a larger sensor doesn’t affect the ability of the Sony RX100 to fit in a pocket.
You will love the user interface offered by the RX100. It doesn’t go overboard with manual controls and the control dial circling the lens is the key to its usability. The function menu makes it easy to customize settings and specify which features you want access to first.
- Impressive build quality
- Large 1″ sensor
- Tilting screen is useful
- Has a short zoom range
3. Nikon D3300
The Nikon D3300 is a 24.5 megapixel camera designed as an upgrade of the D3200. It comes with the Expeed 4, the fastest image processing engine by Nikon. The camera also offers an increased maximum ISO sensitivity of 25600. While its 5fps shooting rate isn’t the best, it’s pretty decent for an entry level camera and won’t disappoint when capturing vacation moments.
The Nikon D3300 also comes with an 11 point Autofocus system, a 420 pixel RGB sensor metering system and a 3″ 921k dot rear screen. All of these are features you will find in older cameras in the series, particularly the D3200. It shoots still photos in 12-bit RAW and JPEG formats, saving all of the files to an external memory card.
When it comes to performance, the Nikon D3300 provides accurate and quick focusing capabilities. It excels in bright light but struggles a little in low light conditions. The viewfinder on this camera comes with an improved 0.85x magnification, helping you compensate for difficulty with manual focusing. Overall, this is a travel-friendly camera for someone who already owns a few Nikon lenses and doesn’t have money to spend on a mirrorless. If you’re a fan of Nikon, check out this list of some other good nikon cameras to consider.
- Good performance for an entry level camera
- High resolution at an affordable price
- Offers value for money
- Lacks built-in WiFi
- Awkward manual focusing with kit lens
4. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
This high quality bridge camera is designed to offer impressive image quality. It combines an authentic DSLR feel with a versatile 16x optical zoom. And while it is hardly cheap, you’ll find that its 20.2 megapixel 1″ sensor delivers great image quality. It is also one of the first bridge cameras to offer 4K video shooting capabilities.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 offers an increased aperture of f2.8-4.0 and as such, you could lose a little lens speed when not shooting wide open. The 5-axis stabilization feature is a welcome addition, especially when shooting without a tripod. This camera is equipped with a 921k-dot 3″ variable angle screen. While it isn’t touchscreen, the on-body function buttons help fill the gap.
- Comes with a relatively large sensor
- Decent handling
- Good performance
- Image quality is great
- Limited zoom ring
5. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is a mirrorless digital camera with plenty of useful features under the bonnet. It boasts 16MP CMOS sensor, a top-notch viewfinder, built-in WiFi and 5-axis image stabilization. The camera was designed as a more affordable version of the preceding E-M10 that was introduced in January, 2014. It has a higher resolution EVF and allows for 60p video recording.
The OM-D E-M10 Mark II features an AF targeting pad, which is similar to Panasonic’s Touchpad AF. This allows you to move the focus point with your eye to the viewfinder and finger on the LCD screen. Its fully electronic shutter allows for a maximum shutter speed of 1/16000 sec. Implementing the Auto ISO is simplistic and doesn’t take into account the focal length.
- Allows for 4K time-lapse mode
- Equipped with TruePic VII processor
- Tilting 3″ touchscreen LCD is quite useful
- Performance of kit lens is mediocre at best
The camera you choose depends a lot on the kind of vacation you are planning. You can opt for a niche camera that’s specially designed for the activity you’ll be doing or you can purchase an all-purpose model that covers the basics. Whatever your needs, you can depend on the above cameras to deliver top-notch performance.