Best travel cameras


It is probably the most asked question by travelers with a certain affinity for technology. Which camera should I take to document my trip? This article tries Answers to this question to give. This is not easy and for this reason the contribution is a little longer. Because there is no such thing as a perfect camera.

Every camera or camera system is ultimately a compromise. What is optimal for one person may be the wrong choice for another. A backpacker who pays attention to every gram will see a different camera as optimal than a photojournalist who travels especially to take pictures. Therefore, the following recommendations are based on different “travel types”. Depending on how you travel and what your photographic goals are, you will find yourself in one of the following descriptions. A click on “To the camera recommendation” leads you directly to suitable models. Or you can simply scroll through all the options!


Travel types and camera recommendations

Type 1 – cameras for travel photography as documentation

Your photos primarily serve as personal memory or for friends and relatives. They should document your trip and tell about your experiences. You don’t want to deal with detailed post-processing in detail. In addition, you want to travel exempt and do not want to carry extensive equipment. Sharing photos over the Internet is more important to you.

Type 2 – cameras for active adventurers

In addition to the smartphone, which you have always plugged in anyway, you want to preserve your experiences through videos for posterity. You are Active traveler, action-packed in nature or doing sports or spectacular trips to unusual places. Yours Camera should be robust and can take away water, dust and dirt.

Type 3 – Best compact camera for travel (for those interested in photography, creatives and weight optimizers)

You want to take a closer look at photography (and possibly also videos). Photos are not only used to document your trip, you also have a certain one creative or artistic claim to your pictures. You may edit special photos on the computer. However, you want to as little luggage as possible be on the move. What is important to you is small equipment that does not take up as much space as possible, does not attract attention, can always be there and offers good image quality. A General purpose weapon that is, where you don’t have to mount the right lens first, but a camera that is ready for use in most situations.

Type 4 – Inexpensive, compact equipment for certain motifs

You roughly know which motifs are of particular interest to you on the trip and would like to use them for these purposes matching lenses carry along. A wide angle for landscape photography, a portrait lens for the city or a telephoto lens for animal photography. The equipment should still as light and compact as possible stay and not tear a big hole in the travel budget.

Type 5 – cameras for ambitious (amateur) photographers with high demands

You are an ambitious (amateur) photographer and the Photography is a significant part or even the reason for your trip. For this you are also ready to dig a little deeper for the equipment and do not look at the last gram of weight. You edit your photos or videos afterwards on the computer to get as much out of the recordings as possible. You may also plan to make money with your photos.

Type 6 – cameras for photo travel and professional users

You travel primarily for photography. You are ready to carry a lot of equipment and therefore weightto do that Optimal image quality to get out for your recordings. You also know exactly which motifs are of interest to you and carry appropriate high-priced lenses with you. A high resolution and optimal edge sharpness of the lenses are more important to you than compactness and unobtrusiveness. You will later publish your photos in magazines, exhibitions, photo books or be on the road for a client.


Type 1 – Best camera for travel photography as documentation

San Gimignano in Tuscany

He talks about cameras for pages and then recommends the cell phone first? Yes indeed! 🙂 The Today’s smartphone generation cameras are so goodthat they are in no way inferior to larger cameras in a variety of situations. Especially when the photos are used to show them on the phone screen, on Instagram or Facebook. As long as you have no ambitions to put your photos in an exhibition or to print them out in large format, the smartphone is the first choice.

On the other hand, it has many advantages. The Smartphone is always with you, takes up no space, is ready for use in seconds and allows you to use yours Document your trip carefree. Many models now even offer recordings with the raw format, so that a lot can still be extracted from the images in post-processing. With your smartphone, you can capture impressions while traveling that you would never take with a large camera. Always remember that it is the photographer who takes the photo. And not the camera. You can also use a cell phone camera creative and artistically demanding recordings create, especially when traveling.

Top recommendation: Huawei P30 Pro

Due to their small size, smartphones cannot accommodate large sensors and lenses due to the system. The very good image quality today is due to artificial intelligence and algorithms that make up for the hardware limitations. The Huawei P30 Pro is probably the most impressive model on the market at the moment. The integrated camera consists of no less than three lenses and four sensors with different resolutions for ultra wide-angle, wide-angle and telephoto shots. The high light intensity of is particularly impressive f/1.6 at a resolution of 40 megapixels in wide angle. The wide-angle and telephoto lenses are also optically image stabilized.

Added to this is the outstanding software that operates in the background. For example, the excellent bokeh algorithm enables appealing background blurring to be achieved in portraits, which is otherwise only known from larger cameras. And countless apps are available for the Android operating system, which can expand the range of functions of the camera. With its water and dust protection according to IP68, the smartphone is a robust companion even in rough everyday travel.

Also recommended

Be honest: We recommend pretty much every cell phone in recent years that has a camera and a lens. For travel photography in the sense of a documentary or reportage, smartphones are because of their spontaneous readiness and inconspicuity best for.

Samsung’s camera quality is always convincing. So don’t be surprised if you meet the manufacturer more often in this leaderboard. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is equipped with a quad camera with ToF sensor. Samsung has also installed a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor with f / 2.2 aperture, a 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor with adjustable f / 1.5 or f / 2.4 aperture and a 12-megapixel telesensor with f / 2.1 aperture. The cell phone is therefore equipped for every situation and always guarantees excellent photo quality. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus can zoom up to ten times, but only digitally. Videos are recorded in a maximum of 4k at 60 fps.


Type 2 – Action camera for the active traveler and adventurer

Hooker Valley in New Zealand

What would a trip be without an Action Cam? For many, such is likely small, robust and versatile camera be the first choice after the smartphone when it comes to documenting a trip. Whether diving in the sea, skiing or simply as a handy selfie camera, action cams have become an integral part of luggage.

Top recommendation: GoPro Hero 8 Black

For many years the name GoPro has been a synonym for action cams. Even if there are other providers now, the current one GoPro Hero 8 Black 2020 is the measure of all things. Videos can be recorded in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which also enables slow motion recording. Live streams are also possible in full HD resolution. Of particular note, however, is the first-class image stabilization. In addition, the GoPros has an almost incomprehensible range of matching accessories that allow spectacular perspectives with their brackets.

  • The redesigned shape is more compact and you can quickly replace the brackets with the fastening eyelet at the base. A new side flap makes changing the battery even faster and the lens is now twice as shockproof. 1
  • Vloggers, professional filmmakers and aspiring content creators now have more options than ever – with quick-to-use accessories like flashes, microphones, LCD displays and more.
  • Liquid is now more liquid. The HERO8 Black now has three stabilization levels: On, High and Boost. So you can choose the best option for all situations. Secure the largest possible field of view or use the turbo to get the smoothest video of a HERO camera ever.

Also recommended: GoPro Hero 7, YI 4K Plus, Sony RX0, Olympus Tough TG-5

If you do not necessarily need the latest of the latest, you can also safely switch to the older and therefore cheaper GoPro Hero 7 Black to grab. It can also record 4K at 60 frames per second and Full HD videos at up to 120 frames per second. The image stabilization is not quite at the level of the latest model, but it is quite sufficient for most purposes.

The top model is even cheaper YI 4K Plus from the company YI, which also records 4K at 60 frames per second. The camera is definitely the price-performance winner, but is not waterproof without an additional housing and the sound recordings of the internal microphone cannot quite keep up with the GoPro models.

Sony RX0 II takes a special position. The special feature of the camera is its folding display and its 1 “image sensor, which is significantly larger than the sensors of all other action cams. Together with the integrated Zeiss lens, the model offers one for action cams outstanding photo and video quality. However, this is also reflected in the price, which is significantly higher than that of the competition. The camera is, so to speak, the sports car among the action cams – definitely with certain advantages, but not suitable for everyone and not necessary.

Those who are more interested in photos should take a look at the Olympus Tough TG-6. The model is more comparable to a classic camera, but just as robust as the above action cams for videos. The camera is waterproof, protected against deformation, dust and frost and offers a zoom range with a focal length range of the equivalent of 25-100mm, which is completely sufficient for most purposes. Videos can also be recorded with up to 4K resolution. With up to 120 frames per second, Full HD videos offer the opportunity to create interesting slow-motion effects.

Overview

CameraWater resistantExt. Microphone inputBattery life **Resolution (photo)Resolution (video)Weight
GoPro Hero 8 Black*up to 10mYes60 min12 Mpx4K / 60p, FHD / 240p126 g
GoPro Hero 7 Black*up to 10mYes60 min12 Mpx4K / 60p, FHD / 240p118 g
YI 4K Plus*with housingYes70 min12 Mpx4K / 60p, FHD / 120p64 g
Sony RX0 II*up to 10mYes120 min15.3 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 120p109 g
Olympus TG-6*up to 10mNo380 photos12 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 120p249 g

** When recording video with 4K / 30p


Type 3 – compact cameras for those interested in photography, creatives and weight optimizers

Skiing in the Engadine

The compact camera is dead? Not at all! Even if the cameras in today’s smartphones achieve excellent results, there are good reasons to take a compact camera with you on the trip in 2020. Thanks to their lens with optical zoom, compact cameras can be used more flexibly and often have better ergonomics due to their design. Especially the segment of the so-called “noble compact cameras” with their 1 “sensors offers one Photo quality that is in no way inferior to an SLR camera with a kit lens. Particularly in poor lighting conditions, significantly better results can be achieved than with a smartphone. And that without a lot of extra weight in your luggage.

Compared to system cameras with interchangeable lenses, compact cameras have immense advantages. They are lighter, less noticeable and cheaper. Nevertheless, they offer comparable picture quality. A system camera only shows its strengths when you are ready to use special lenses. Before you operate a system camera with the kit lens only, look better for a good one Compact camera around. In 90% of the situations these are completely sufficient.

Top recommendation: Sony RX100 V / VI / VII

Sony has been one of the leading manufacturers of cameras with 1 “sensors since the introduction of the RX100 series in 2012. There are now countless different models with the name RX100, all of which are still available. All models can be charged via USB. The newest variants are expensive, but technically superior to all other models RX100 V, RX100 VI and RX100 VII. All three weigh around 300 grams and have a 1 “sensor with 20 megapixels, an excellent phase auto focus, a folding display, a fold-out viewfinder and excellent photo quality. The video properties are also impressive for such a compact camera with high-speed recordings, slow motion and detailed 4K recordings.

The main difference between the models is the built-in lens. The RX100 V has a very bright lens with a 35mm focal length of 24-70mm at aperture f/1.8-2.8. The RX100 VI and RX100 VII are equipped with a slightly fainter lens, but with 24-200mm offers significantly more zoom. The two cameras also have a touchscreen. The main differences between version VI and VII lie in the somewhat better performance of the newer model and the possibility of connecting an external microphone. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether this is worth the hefty surcharge. There is no significant difference in image quality.

Also recommended: Sony RX100 III, Canon G7 X III, Canon G9 X II, Panasonic LX15, Panasonic TZ202

In addition to the top models, much cheaper 1 “cameras are also available. The best price-performance ratio offers the Sony RX100 III, which is equipped with the same lens as the RX100 V. The photo quality is largely identical, only the video functions are somewhat limited. If you don’t value 4K resolution, you can make a real bargain here. The original version of the is again significantly cheaper RX100. With 28-100mm, this has a slightly different focal length range, but is equal to the more expensive models in terms of pure image quality.

  • Exmor Cmos 1.0 with 20.2 million pixels, F1, 8 lens, 3, 6x optical zoom, Full HD 50p, LCD (7.5 cm / 3.0 inches)
  • Large sensor for detailed images with low noise
  • Beautiful blur effects and luxurious, compact design in aluminum

The offers similar properties at a comparable price Canon G7 X III. This has a bright lens with 24-100mm equivalent focal length and thus offers a little more zoom than the Sony RX100 III. The G7 X III also has a very easy-to-use interface with a touchscreen and excellent color rendering directly without post-processing. This camera also has a resolution of 20 megapixels in photo mode, and video mode, like the more expensive Sony models, offers 4K resolution. There is no electronic viewfinder. But there is the possibility to connect an external microphone. For this reason, the camera is too very suitable for vloggerswho want to publish their content as quickly as possible without subsequent color corrections. Incidentally, the sister model has almost the same properties in a smaller and cheaper package G9 X II. A major difference to the G7 X II is the slightly fainter lens, which also offers less zoom. In addition, the G9 X II allows a maximum of video recordings in Full HD.

Panasonic has with the LX15 a counterpart to it in the offer, the f/1.4-2.8 has the fastest lens of all 1 “cameras. The camera can also record videos in 4K resolution and offers an intuitive setup for timelapse recordings. The LX15 also has the TZ202 a sister model that has the same sensor and largely identical software. It differs primarily by its fainter lens, but with 24-360mm it has the largest focal length range of the compact 1 “cameras. In addition, the camera has a built-in viewfinder, but no folding display.

Special, but iconic: Fuji X-100F, Panasonic LX100 II

It has no zoom at all, but a prime lens Fuji X100F. The latest model of the X100 series builds on the tradition of its predecessors and is in the optically appealing retro style held. Inside, the camera knows how to impress with the outstanding X-Trans sensor from Fuji in APS-C format. The picture quality is not least because of the bright fExcellent /2.0 lenses with the typical reportage focal length of 35mm. The camera is definitely not for everyone, but can be a lot of fun, especially when traveling.

A similar concept is used, but with a zoom lens Panasonic LX100 II. This camera also has an operation that is comparable to the retro concept of the X100F. Exposure time, aperture and exposure compensation can be adjusted on the camera and lens using dedicated dials. The LX100 II combines a comparatively large sensor in Micro Four Thirds format with a fast lens and thus enables image quality that is unrivaled for compact cameras. The camera is also interesting for filmmakers due to Panasonic’s excellent video capabilities. It is just a shame that Panasonic has decided not to install a folding display. And the price also makes you look twice, but is fine for what is offered.

Overview

cameraFocal length (zoom)Luminous intensityResolution (photo)Resolution (video)USB chargingWeight
Sony RX100 VII*24-200mm (8.3x)f/2.8-4.520.1 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 120pYes302 g
Sony RX100 VI*24-200mm (8.3x)f/2.8-4.520.1 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 120pYes302 g
Sony RX100 V*24-70mm (2.9x)f/1.8-2.820.1 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 120pYes299 g
Sony RX100 III*24-70mm (2.9x)f/1.8-2.820.2 MpxFHD / 60pYes290 g
Sony RX100*28-100mm (3.6x)f/1.8-4.920.2 MpxFHD / 60pYes240 g
Canon G7X III*24-100mm (4.2x)f/1.8-2.820.1 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 120pYes**303 g
Canon G9X II*28-84mm (3x)f/2.0-4.920.1 MpxFHD / 60pYes**206 g
Panasonic LX15*24-72mm (3x)f/1.4-2.820.1 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 60pNo306 g
Panasonic TZ202*24-360mm (15x)f/3.3-6.420.1 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 60pYes340 g
Fuji X-100F35mmf/2.024.3 MpxFHD / 60pYes470 g
Panasonic LX100 II*24-75mm (3.1x)f/1.7-2.8
21.8 Mpx4K / 30p, FHD / 60pYes392 g

** Only with Canon proprietary cable

In addition to the compact cameras presented, there are also Variants with smaller sensors and a larger zoom range. However, since these are by no means better than smartphones in terms of image quality, a purchase is no longer worthwhile in my view. The segment of the so-called Bridge cameras combines a larger zoom range with a 1 “sensor. Cameras like that Panasonic FZ1000* or the Sony RX10 IV* are suitable for photographers who need a large zoom range but do not want to change lenses. In view of the high weight and the bulky dimensions of these cameras, it may be advisable, however, to directly mount one System with interchangeable lenses (see below), which can be put together and expanded as desired.


Type 4 – Best mirrorless camera for travel: Inexpensive, compact equipment for certain motifs

Siena in Tuscany in the evening

If the possibilities of the noble compact are not enough for you, a look at the offers Entry-level system cameras at. These cameras with interchangeable lens connection have larger sensors than the 1 “cameras and thus a somewhat better image quality.

Top recommendation: Nikon Z50

In November 2019, Nikon introduced the Z50 as the first camera for the APS-C series of the Z-Mount. And thus created perhaps the best mirrorless entry-level travel camera. The design of the camera is strongly based on the larger sister models with a full-frame sensor. The Z50 thus inherits the outstanding ergonomics and feel that have characterized the Z series from the beginning. The 20 megapixel sensor has a slightly weaker resolution than the competition, but offers unrivaled image quality with high ISO values ​​in the APS-C range. Like the big sister models, 4K videos are standard, as is an electronic viewfinder and several rotary dials for the manual selection of aperture and exposure time. The monitor can also be folded forward for selfies.

  • Nikon CMOS sensor in dx format with 20, 9 megapixels
  • 4K UHD video with 30 percent and slow motion function
  • Up to 11 frames per second with autofocus tracking and automatic exposure

The offer is rounded off by a first-class price-performance ratio. For comparable equipment and similar ease of use, you have to dig deeper into the pocket of the competition. Only the still small range of lenses for the Z series is currently causing criticism. But for beginners, the important lenses are already available with a very compact standard zoom and a telephoto lens. And the rest will follow in the near future.

Also recommended in the APS-C area: Canon EOS M50, Sony A6100, Fuji X-T30

The Canon EOS-M system and especially the model M50 is ideally suited for all those with multiple lenses large focal length range with a small pack size want to cover. A 24-megapixel sensor works inside, which together with Canon’s dual-pixel autofocus forms the basis for good pictures. The camera is very small for a system camera, but still offers good haptics, well thought-out operation with a touchscreen and a freely swiveling folding display. For filmmakers, there is also the option of connecting an external microphone. The M50 is Canon’s first consumer camera to record videos in 4K resolution, but without the good dual-pixel autofocus and with a massive crop. Just for vloggers and for all those who want videos in full HD format, the camera is also a good overall package when it comes to video.

And what should also not be neglected: The lenses with EF-M connection are extremely light and have one first class value for money. In addition to the kit lens, there is one for the system excellent wide-angle zoom* and a compact telephoto lens*. A bright one 32mm prime lens* rounds off the ideal offer for travel photography. The only pity is that the camera cannot be charged via USB.

There are also comparable offers from other manufacturers in this segment. Above all there is the Sony A6100. The camera with 24 megapixels has been on the market for over four years, but it is still an excellent piece of technology. The technical photo and video quality is superior to the Canon M50, especially when shooting in RAW format. However, on the other hand, both the operation and the color rendering of photos directly from the camera drop somewhat. The display, which cannot be swiveled freely, is certainly a disadvantage for some. For this purpose, the camera can be charged via USB – depending on the application, a product that is almost equivalent to the M50. Sony also offers a similar offer to Canon for its APS-C cameras, with numerous zooms and some light strong prime lenses.

Fuji offers with the X-T30 a camera that is not only incredibly beautiful to look at with its retro design, but can also shine under the hood. The centerpiece is the excellent Fuji-X-Trans sensor with 26 megapixels. Fuji is known for its authentic colors and, of course, the X-T30 also enables recordings with the characteristic film simulations – both for photos and videos. Incidentally, the latter can also be recorded in 4K. The operating concept with dedicated dials for aperture and exposure time takes some getting used to, but is fun and ensures that you focus more on the subject. And especially with the large selection of excellent lenses, the X-T30 offers a complete package at a moderate price.

Also recommended in the MFT area: Panasonic G81, Olympus E-M10 III

Panasonic and Olympus already established the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system before the Canon, Fuji and Sony systems. The sensors on these cameras are slightly smaller than the APS-C variant. This makes it possible to build the lenses much smaller and lighter, especially in the telephoto range. The MFT system has by far the largest lens park of all mirrorless camera systems. Lenses from Panasonic, Olympus and third-party manufacturers can be used on all cameras. The models are particularly recommended for beginners G81 from Panasonic and E-M10 III from Olympus. Both offer sensors with 16 megapixels, 4K video recordings, dedicated dials, a touchscreen and a swivel display. The housing of the G81 is also dust and splash-proof.

Overview

CameraBayonetSensor size(Crop)
Resolution (photo)Resolution (Video)USB-chargingWeight
Nikon Z50*Nikon ZAPS-C (1.5)20,9 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes395 g
Canon EOS M50*Canon EF-MAPS-C (1.6)24,1 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pNein387 g
Sony A6100*Sony EAPS-C (1.5)24,2 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes396 g
Fuji X-T30Fuji XAPS-C (1.5)24,3 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pYes380 g
Panasonic G81*MFTMFT (2.0)16,0 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pNein505 g
Olympus E-M10 III*MFTMFT (2.0)16,1 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pNein412 g

Type 5 – cameras for ambitious (amateur) photographers with high demands

Sonnenuntergang an der neuseeländischen Küste

The entry-level models of system cameras are hard to beat in terms of price-performance ratio. The pure image quality is hardly better even with the more expensive, advanced models. But if you have certain requirements that the entry-level models do not meet, then there is no way around the higher models. That can e.g. These include, for example, splash water protection, more efficient operation with more direct dials or a double card slot (dual card slots) for data backups.

Top recommendation: Fuji X-T4

The Fuji X-T4 is a hot candidate for the title of Best Travel Camera 2020. The camera offers a great deal for the money, is compact and currently outperforms everything else on the market for photographers and filmmakers in the APS-C area. The Fuji-X-Trans sensor with 26 megapixels used in this model was used for the first time in 2018 on the X-T3. It is characterized by very good noise behavior and excellent detail rendition. On the connection side, the camera offers a microphone input for filmmakers as well as an input for a remote release and an HDMI recorder. Like all Fujis, the X-T4 also has numerous dials, including dedicated dials for ISO, exposure time and exposure compensation. The aperture is set as usual on the lens itself.

The autofocus is excellent in both photo and video mode and can also be used for fast action. Keyword video mode – with 10bit 4K resolution and 60 frames per second this is also unsurpassed across all systems. As befits a professional camera, the X-T4 is dust and splash-proof and has two card slots. And last but not least, the camera with its retro design is also simply an eye-catcher! As the first camera from the T series, the Fuji X-T4 now also has integrated sensor stabilization.

Also recommend: Sony A6400, Sony A6600, Panasonic GH5, Olympus E-M1 II

Sony’s current top model in the APS-C range, the Sony A6600, is also an excellent tool when traveling. The camera offers 24 megapixels, a very good sensor and is also interesting for filmmakers with the possibility of recording 4K video. The small housing is both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, the camera is extremely compact and inconspicuous, on the other hand, the ergonomics is not as good as that of larger models. Also due to the lack of a second card slot, it drops off compared to the X-T4. Nevertheless, the A6600 is very well suited for travel photography because of its compactness, useful sensor stabilization and the associated light and small lenses. As the first APS-C camera from Sony, it uses the large battery from the A7 full-frame series and thus enables the longest runtimes in this class.

The little brother of the A6600 is called A6400. The camera is identical in many ways, but a good deal cheaper. The biggest differences are the lack of sensor stabilization, the significantly smaller battery and the omitted headphone input. With its foldable display, the camera is very interesting for vloggers, especially since it also has an input for an external microphone. It owes its excellent all-round capabilities when traveling to extremely fast and precise autofocus. As usual with Sony, this also reliably recognizes faces and eyes in humans and animals.

The Micro Four Thirds system also offers cameras that satisfy ambitious and professional users. The system’s compact lenses, which are comparatively light in the telephoto range, pay off, especially when traveling. The top model from Olympus, the OM-D E-M1 III, shines with a 20-megapixel sensor, numerous dials, a rotating and swiveling display, as well as a touchscreen and intuitive operation. The same applies to the counterpart from Panasonic, the Lumix GH5. This camera with its video mode is particularly interesting for filmmakers. As with the Fuji X-T4, 4K videos can be recorded at 60 frames per second, and there is also a flat log profile for extensive post-processing options.

Overview

CameraBayonetSensor size (Crop)
Resolution (Foto)Resolution (Video)USB-chargingWeight
Fuji X-T4Fuji XAPS-C (1.5)26,1 Mpx4K/60p, FHD/120pYes607 g
Sony A6400*Sony EAPS-C (1,5)24,2 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes404 g
Sony A6600*Sony EAPS-C (1.5)24,2 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes503 g
Olympus E-M1 III*MFTMFT (2.0)20,4 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pYes578 g
Panasonic GH5*MFTMFT (2.0)20,3 Mpx4K/60p, FHD/120pNein723 g

Type 6 – cameras for photo travel and professional users

Milchstraße am Col du Galibier

Only the best is good enough? If you are ready to carry several kilograms and several thousand euros of equipment with you, then a full-frame system is an option. You will be rewarded with first-class photo and video quality. The full digital format corresponds to the analogue 35mm format and is the premier class among the common mirrorless systems (exception: medium format cameras, which are not included here due to the significantly higher prices).

Top recommendation: Sony A7 III / A7R III

In 2013 Sony revolutionized the camera market with the introduction of a mirrorless full frame system. In the meantime, the initial teething troubles of the first cameras have been eradicated and the current, third generation leaves little to be desired. With the A7 III, Sony offers what is perhaps the best all-rounder currently on the market. A 24 megapixel sensor with exceptionally fast and precise autofocus, a folding display, numerous freely assignable buttons and setting wheels as well as connections for microphone and headphones. This makes the camera interesting for both photographers and filmmakers. Sony’s so-called Picture Profiles also allow the latter to professionally edit the recordings in 4K resolution.

The A7R III also offers a comparable range of functions, but it has a sensor with 42 megapixels that is significantly higher resolution and is accordingly a good deal more expensive. The high resolution is interesting when large-format prints are to be made from the photos or when subsequent enlargements are required. For all other purposes, the resolution of the A7 III is sufficient. Both cameras have so-called dual card slots, so they can use two memory cards in parallel. This enables photos and videos to be backed up during the recording and is an invaluable advantage, especially for travel photographers. The successor A7R IV is now also on the market, with 61 megapixels offering even more resolution and improved ergonomics.

The only real disadvantage can be the somewhat cumbersome operation. This is a subjective assessment, but the complex menus and the half-hearted implementation of the touchscreen (which can essentially only be used to select the autofocus point) take some getting used to. The weather resistance also lags behind the direct competition. If you can live with these small restrictions, you are currently not doing anything wrong with the Sony system.

Also recommend: Nikon Z6 / Z7, Canon EOS R / RP, Panasonic S1 / S1R

Canon and Nikon also got the mirrorless taste in 2018 and in turn offer their own systems with full-frame sensors. The systems cannot quite keep up with Sony in terms of lens offerings, but are catching up strongly. The advantage is that users of the previous SLR systems from Canon and Nikon can easily operate their existing lenses with an adapter even on the mirrorless cameras.

Nikon offers a counterpart to the Sony A7 III with the Z6 and the counterpart to the Sony A7R III / IV with the high-resolution Z7. The cameras are largely comparable to the Sony in terms of photo and video quality, auto focus and functionality. However, it is problematic for professional users that the cameras only have one card slot. This also applies to the Canon EOS R, which has a unique swivel and foldable display. This is particularly interesting for filmmakers. Overall, the camera for video recordings falls behind the models of Nikon and Sony because of its massive crop factor at 4K resolution. The photo quality, on the other hand, is very good with the 30 megapixel sensor. If video recordings are not so important to you, you can be happy with the EOS R. Since Canon released firmware updates for the EOS R, the product has been much more mature than it was at the beginning. The auto focus in particular has made a noticeable leap forward. A smaller, slimmed-down model called EOS RP is now also available. Nonetheless, as a pioneer in the field of mirrorless full-frame cameras, Sony is still a good deal ahead of its competitors – not only because of the significantly larger native lens park.

Three new Panasonic cameras also came onto the market in 2019. They use the Leica L-Mount and are the first full-frame cameras from Panasonic. The Lumix S1 is the counterpart to the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6, the Lumix S1R as a high-resolution model with 47 megapixels is the counterpart to the Sony A7R III / IV and Nikon Z7. The Lumix S1H is a hybrid model designed to satisfy both photographers and videographers. The cameras are aimed at professional photographers who do not want to compromise on image quality and robustness. The models are also pioneers when it comes to video functionalities. They are the first full-frame cameras to take pictures at 4K and 60 frames per second. The S1H even films in 6K at 30 frames per second. However, the cameras and the lenses presented are very large, heavy and eye-catching and therefore not necessarily predestined for travel photography.

Overview

CameraBayonetSensor size
Resolution (Foto)Resolution (Video)USB-chargingWeight
Sony A7 III*Sony EFull frame (KB)24,2 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes650 g
Sony A7R IIISony EFull frame (KB)42,4 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes657 g
Sony A7R IVSony EFull frame (KB)61,0 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes662 g
Nikon Z6*Nikon ZFull frame (KB)24,5 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes**664 g
Nikon Z7*Nikon ZFull frame (KB)45,7 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/120pYes**675 g
Canon EOS R*Canon RFFull frame (KB)30,3 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pYes**660 g
Canon EOS RP*Canon RFFull frame (KB)26,2 Mpx4K/30p, FHD/60pYes**485 g
Panasonic S1L-MountFull frame (KB)24,2 Mpx4K/60p, FHD/60pYes1.021 g
Panasonic S1RL-MountFull frame (KB)47,3 Mpx4K/60p, FHD/60pYes1.020 g
Panasonic S1HL-MountFull frame (KB)24,2 Mpx6K/30p, 4K/60pYes1.164 g

** Nikon Z6, Z7 and Canon EOS R, RP can only be charged via USB with selected chargers


SLR camera when traveling?

And what about SLR cameras? Of course, these are still valid in 2020. In my view, however, no longer traveling. The advantages that the so-called DSLRs had until recently (battery life, robustness, viewfinder “resolution”) have largely disappeared. Especially when traveling, the higher weight of the SLR camera is only a hindrance. For this reason, they are no longer included in this list of recommendations.

Perhaps the most important thing is finally mentioned. A camera system depends primarily on the available lenses. Investing in a system is a long-term decision. Therefore, before you decide on a camera, take a look at whether the lens range fulfills your wishes. If you need help choosing the optimal lens, check out this post. There I explain which focal lengths and lens combinations are suitable for which types of photography when traveling.

Thanks Felix Gross (Envialdi) for the info!