Here's a List for theTop 10 Compact Cameras for Travelers

Fujifilm X-T1

Pick for Travelers: Classy, retro styling in the form of a 1970s film SLR. But instead of optics, the camera uses a pentaprism, which holds one of the best electronic viewfinders yet. This camera is quick—its autofocus is quick, its image review is quick, and it shoots tons of pictures in a row without hanging up. The small size of the camera and lenses means that, even if you decide to carry the whole system with you on your travels, your bag will be less than half the size of a standard DSLR's.

Pro Tip: Fujifilm cameras have very nice film-emulation modes for their in-camera JPEGS. Try shooting in JPEG + RAW with the camera set to Classic Chrome. These JPEGs have a wonderful color palette that looks like old Kodachrome slides. If you don’t like the color, you always have the RAW file to process however you like. —Dan Westergren, contributing photographer for Nat Geo Travel

Get It:

Sensor: APS-C 16MP

Features: Interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, high-speed electronic shutter with speeds up to 1/32000 sec, HD video

Published December 2015

By Dan Westergren


Canon EOS M3

Pick for Travelers: Current Canon DSLR shooters can use any of their EF mount lenses with an inexpensive adapter. So if you have a bag full of Canon lenses and want to try a mirrorless camera, this is a good way to go. Even though there is no eye-level finder, the viewing screen has a fully featured touch-screen interface. If you are comfortable holding your camera like a phone, it really works well. There is also an add-on electronic viewer available.

Pro Tip: Because the autofocus was slow in comparison to other mirrorless cameras, the original version of this camera, the M1, was not a good seller. They are still available for less than $300. That’s a lot of camera for the money. Video shooters are scooping up older versions for use as second cameras to add another point of view to their productions. Dan Westergren, contributing photographer for Nat Geo Travel

Get It:

Sensor: APS-C 24.2MP

Features: Can use Canon EF lenses, Wi-Fi, HD video


Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Pick for Travelers: This is a new version of an Olympus OM camera that dates back to the 1970s. Here, Olympus revisits its "smaller is better" philosophy and packs in the latest high-tech features. If you like technical features, particularly when shooting cities at twilight, you'll like the multishot 40-megapixel mode. Like the Fuji, a complete setup fits in a smaller bag.

Pro Tip: Try the articulated screen with touch-screen focusing for video and stills. The option to touch-focus and shoot is set right on the screen. This works particularly well when shooting from a low angle. After framing up the shot, you can wait for someone to walk into the frame, touch their image on the screen, and the camera will focus and immediately take the picture. —Jim Richardson, contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Traveler

Get It:

Sensor: Micro 4/3rds 16.3MP

Features: Interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, five-axis image stabilization, high-resolution composite image, HD video


Sony Alpha a7R II

Pick for Travelers: If you like to make big prints and want a full-frame sensor but in a slightly smaller, mirrorless format, then this is a good choice. It's not quite as portable as the others on this list because the full-size sensor requires Sony's full-size lenses, but it's still a noticeable reduction in bulk, with 42.4 megapixels of image-capturing goodness.

Pro Tip: Every year seems to bring a new variation on the a7 platform. The a7R II brings the count up to six, from the 4K-video-optimized a7s to this new 42.4-megapixel monster. You have to commit to buying a camera that matches your photo-taking style, but then you’ll have a camera that is just right for you. —Dan Westergren, contributing photographer for Nat Geo Travel

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Sensor: Full-frame 12.2MP (a7S), 24.3MP (a7), 36MP (a7R), 42.2MP (a7R II)

Features: Full-frame mirrorless, interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, HD video


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

Pick for Travelers: The Panasonic G series has been a photographer favorite for a few years. The cameras are loved for their small size and excellent image quality, as well as for the huge range of lenses available from Panasonic, Olympus, and Leica. An added advantage is that the micro 4/3 cameras in this series all share a common lens mount and functionality. This is a good choice if you want a higher megapixel count than the Olympus cameras offer.

Pro Tip: David Alan Harvey used an earlier version of this surprisingly tiny camera to capture many of the pictures featured in a National Geographic magazine story on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Get It:

Sensor: Micro 4/3rds 20.3MP

Features: Interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, in-body image stabilization, 4K video


Sony Alpha a6000

Pick for Travelers: This is a mirrorless camera with the familiar APS-C sensor used by most affordable DSLRs. If you’re looking to replace your standard digital camera with a smaller version but still want a relatively high megapixel count, this incredibly affordable camera is a good choice.

Pro Tip: The a6000 has 179 autofocus points that make it one of the quickest and most intelligent-focusing cameras on the market. If you like to photograph sports or even just kids running around in the yard and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a pro-level sports camera, then this could be just what you’re looking for. Dan Westergren, contributing photographer for Nat Geo Travel

Get It:

Sensor: APS-C 24.3MP

Features: Interchangeable lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, 179-point autofocus, HD video



Fuji x100t

Pick for Travelers: If you aren’t interested in carrying a full camera kit when you travel but still want to exercise your artistic side, go simple. Try this non-interchangeable-lens camera that boasts a 35mm-equivalent field of view and a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. This retro-looking camera boasts Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS sensor array. It's a radically different way of separating colors, leading to small-sensor image quality that rivals its full-frame competitors. Only having a single field of view might seem too simple, but limited choice can often lead to better pictures. It’s nice not to be burdened with carrying too many lenses and accessories.

Pro Tip: I have always gone very basic, one camera and one lens. You really have to put yourself in a position of danger to be creative. —David Alan Harvey, Magnum photo collective member and longtime National Geographic photographer

Get It:

Sensor: APS-C 16MP

Features: Single-focal-length 23mm lens (35mm full-frame field of view), Wi-Fi, hybrid electronic/optical viewfinder, HD video



Olympus TG-3

Pick for Travelers: Although this camera has the very small point-and-shoot-size sensor, its other attributes more than make up for that slight handicap. It's pocket-size and completely shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof, as well as waterproof to 50 feet without a housing. Sometimes the best photos come from the sketchiest circumstances, and you won't be afraid to bring this camera along—it's one you don't have to worry about. Olympus has added a new Tough camera, the TG-860, which incorporates a selfie-friendly, 180-degree flip screen.

Pro Tip: [I took] this camera on my first diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef. I was very impressed by the clarity of the images I got below the surface. All of my dive mates were jealous, especially the one who paid extra for housings and whose pictures weren't as clear. —Carolyn Fox, former director of digital, Nat Geo Travel

Get It:

Sensor: 16MP

Features: Waterproof (rated to 50 feet), f/2.0 25-100mm lens, three-inch OLED monitor


Sony DSC-RX10

Pick for Travelers: This is for someone who wants a camera that does everything, from shooting pictures inside Notre Dame Cathedral to capturing close-ups of lions in the Serengeti. Usually this requires interchangeable lenses and the foresight to remember to carry the one you might need. With the DSC-RX10, Sony has created a stunning camera with a 24-200mm equivalent zoom—and the best part is that this lens has a fixed f/2.8 aperture, so that zoom will be more useful in interesting low-light conditions. The camera itself is no slouch, but the lens is so good that you might be tempted to buy this model just for the optic—good thing, because the two come as a permanent pair. For those who just want a great camera that will meet most of their needs and doesn't require carrying around a bag of lenses, this is the one to have.

Pro Tip: The Sony RX10 is the perfect video run and gunner, not to mention still camera, for a traveling shooter who wants a lightweight but fully featured camera. —Bob Krist, frequent photo expert for National Geographic Expeditions and longtime contributor to National Geographic Traveler magazine

Get It:

Sensor: One-inch 20.2MP

Features: Carl Zeiss f/2.8 24-200mm lens, Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder, HD video