A photo of a photographer in an urban setting shooting with the Sony RX100 VI
Street photography with the Sony RX100 VI

Whenever you travel, it’s great to have a camera on hand to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Today I’m looking at the best travel cameras on the market right now.

Back when I first became interested in photography, I borrowed my father’s old film camera and started do some street photography. But it was travel that really took my interest to the next level. There was one trip in particular to Vietnam where I really discovered how enthralling it is to engage with a new country and a new culture on a completely visual level. With the language barrier, you can’t just have a conversation with the locals and learn about the culture that way, but through observation you can still learn a lot. And having a goal to discover more photographic opportunities pushes you to explore more, to see what’s around the next corner, or to get up early and catch the sunset from that cool location you discovered yesterday.

So what are some of the features that I look for in a travel camera?

USB chargeable

Charging batteries is always a concern because of the different electrical standards that exist around the world, so if a camera is capable of charging via USB then that’s a major plus. You can always find a USB wall socket adapter no matter where you travel.

Wi-Fi capabilities

Nowadays we bring our smartphones with us everywhere, including on vacation, because even if you don’t use the local cell phone network, you can almost always find a Wi-Fi connection. Most of the latest cameras allow you to connect to your smartphone and transfer photos and videos directly, which means you can easily share them on social media or via email. So I’m certainly looking for a camera with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth built in.

Rugged and reliable

I definitely want a camera that can deal with the inevitable bumps and dings that happen on the road, but I would have to say that the build quality of today’s camera is at a very high standard and most can deal with a little bit of sand, spray or the occasional knock. However, when comparing DSLRs to mirrorless cameras, I find that DSLRs are on the whole a little more robust.

Ok, let’s look at some cameras!

The Sony RX100 VI

The Sony RX100 has is one of the most impressive cameras I’ve ever used. Now in its sixth version, the RX100 has consistently packed features that were far beyond what you would expect from a compact camera. The RX100 VI is charged by USB, and connects to your phone (or tablet) to allow you to share images or shoot remotely. It also has an 8x optical zoom giving you effectively a 28-200mm focal range, which makes it a very versatile camera. It also has a tiltable LCD screen and shoots silently which are two awesome features for street photography. One of the most impressive features of the RX100 VI however is the video options. It can shoot 4k Ultra HD, and Full 1080p HD at up 120 frames per second. This is pretty impressive for any camera, so to see them on a compact camera really is noteworthy.

A photo of the Sony RX100 VI
The Sony RX100 VI

The Olympus Tough TG-5

If you’re off on a serious outdoor adventure and need a rugged camera that can handle some rough treatment, then look no further than the Olympus Tough TG-5. This camera is waterproof to a depth of 15 meters, able to withstand a fall from 2.1 meters, and can comfortably cope with temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. So no matter where your travels take you, you’ll always get the shot. The TG-5 has a 4x optical zoom, equivalent to 25-100mm, and carries a GPS, compass, temperature sensor and a manometer for altitude and depth, so you’ll always know where the shot was taken and what the conditions were. It also has Wi-Fi to allow remote shooting and wireless sharing.

A photo of the Olymopus Tough TG-5 immersed in water
The waterproof Olympus Tough TG-5

The Fujifilm X-T2

Finally let’s take a look at a mirrorless option; the Fujifilm X-T2. Fujifilm is one of the leaders in the mirrorless segment, not just because of the beautiful design aesthetic of their cameras, but also because those cameras make wonderful images thanks to the X-Trans CMOS sensor. The X-T2 is a rugged, water-resistant and durable camera that is light and small enough to bring with you anywhere. Like the other cameras I’ve featured today, it has those nice Wi-Fi remote shooting and sharing options, and unlike the K-1 it can be charged by USB, although you need to read the manual carefully to understand how this works. You actually put a micro USB cord in one side of the USB 3 port, which seems a little counter-intuitive, but it works.

Composite image of various detail shots of the Fujifilm X-T2 Graphite Silver Edition
The Fujifilm X-T2 Graphite Silver Edition

So there you have it, some of the best travel cameras on the market today. Do you have a favorite camera you bring with you everywhere? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Be sure to visit the camera section at BestBuy.ca to see all the latest deals.