A common question which gets asked is What is the Best Camera for Travel Photography?

The short glib answer is The Best Camera for any Photography is the camera you have with you.  But what is someone really asking when they ask What is the Best Camera for Travel Photography?

Usually they are asking given my personal situation, experience, and budget, what is the camera which will allow me to take good photos while travelling?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question, the best travel camera for me, may not suit you or what you desire.

Instead of trying to answer a question, which in the end you will only be able to answer for yourself, lets have a look at the main types of cameras which you could use for travel photography.

Cameras for Travel Photography

Digital SLR Cameras: (DSLR cameras)Best Camera for Travel Photography

DSLR cameras are the most advanced and flexible cameras available.  As such they have become the preferred camera for serious amateur and professional photographers.  The attraction of DSLR camera’s are the image quality, being able change lenses, creative settings and full manual control.

Advantages
  • Interchangeable lens
  • image quality
  • range of operating modes – full manual mode, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or program modes
  • creative features
  • better autofocus and metering functions
  • range of accessories available
Disadvantages
  • cost
  • size and bulk
Compact Digital Cameras: (Point and Shoot cameras)Best Camera for Travel Photography

The main attraction of digital compact cameras are their smaller size and ease of use.  Most of these cameras will fit into your pocket or purse.  Commonly the first camera for many as you can just point it at the subject, press the button and the camera does the rest.

Advantages
  • Compact
  • lightweight
  • inexpensive
  • good basic option
  • easy to use
Disadvantages
  • image quality
  • small or no viewfinder
  • small controls
  • restricted flexibility (limited shooting, focus and metering modes, single lens).
Bridge Compact Cameras: (Advanced Compact cameras)Best Camera for Travel Photography

These types of cameras tend to be similar to compacts.  Bridge cameras allow the you to have more control over the camera’s exposure settings.  Ideal for the more experienced photographers or if you are looking for a camera with more versatility, quality, and creative features than a basic compact camera.

See my review on the Best Compact Camera for Travel Photography

Advantages
  • Compact
  • lightweight
  • inexpensive
  • options may include manual exposure mode, manual focusing features and external flash connections
  • fixed lens and zoom lens variaties
Disadvantages
  • more expensive than basic compact camera
  • No interchangeable lenses
  • Limited features for more advanced photographers.
Mirrorless Cameras: (Compact System Cameras)Best Camera for Travel Photography

Mirrorless Cameras, they are extremely similar to a DSLR camera, without the mirror and optical viewfinder.  Mirrorless cameras have most of the features and capabilities of DSLR cameras, but with the benefit of being smaller, lightweight, and generally less expensive

Advantages
  • Interchangeable lens
  • image quality
  • range of operating modes – full manual mode, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or program modes
  • better autofocus and metering functions
  • compact and lightweight
Disadvantages
  • no viewfinder
  • more limited battery life
Smartphone:Best Camera for Travel Photography

With the growing prevalence of smartphones, most of us carry one in our pocket or purse.  This convenience provides you with an opportunity for you to capture those fleeting moments. While early smartphone cameras were very limited in their capability, the lens and sensor technology being used in the latest smartphones is often better than what you can get in a compact camera.

Advantages
  • Lightweight
  • compact
  • always by your side
  • ready to shoot
  • easy to use
Disadvantages
  • small sensor, limiting image quality
  • no viewfinder
  • fixed focal length lens
  • small lens

In future posts we will start looking at and reviewing some of the cameras which are available in the market.  I also have a post in the works outlining the cameras that I use when I travel.

So what is the best camera for your travel photography? Leave a comment below about what type of camera would suit you best (or that you currently use)?

About Brendan

Brendan established MyTravelPhotoTips.com to help holidaymakers with their travel photography. The site offers expert information, tips, tools and recommendations.

Always with a camera close at hand, Brendan enjoys sharing his personal experiences and what he has found over the years to make himself a better photographer.