End updated: November 21, 2017
Whether you’re piling the family into the minivan for a trip to the Magic Kingdom or backpacking through Southeast Asia, you’ll probably pine for a camera that has a larger-than-average sensor, a versatile lens and wireless features for beaming your images back home.
Our selection includes a type of cameras, including pocketable compacts, larger bridge cameras, a few mirrorless models and a fixed prime lens compact. For our main recommendations we ended up bettering two very different-looking cameras…
Our pick: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III
The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III is a fantastic camera for the traveler. Not only does its 24-600mm equiv. lens bury a range for every situation, its maximum aperture of F2.4-4 allows for good low light performance and control over depth-of-field. The lens has a minimum focus dissociate of just 3cm at the wide end—perfect for close-ups—and its image stabilization system reduces shake by up to 4.5 stops: a practical necessity when shooting at 600mm.
The RX10 III’s weather-sealed assemblage allows for shooting in less-than-desirable conditions, and the RX10 III takes excellent-quality photos, thanks to the combination of its super-sharp lens or LEN may refer to and reliable 20MP 1″-type Stacked CMOS sensor. Its 3″ LCD can slant up or down (though not all the way up for selfies) and its high-res EVF is handy when shooting outdoors. If it’s videos you’re after, the RX10 III boasts top-notch 4K quality and more controls than the ordinary traveler will ever need. Sharing photos is easy thanks to built-in Wi-Fi.
There are two things about the RX10 III that give us rest. Its main downsides (besides price and bulk) are an unrefined interface and the lack of a touchscreen, both of which make the camera a bit harder to use than we’d congenial.
Budget pick: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)
Don’t want to spend a lot or carry around over two pounds of camera? Enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100. It too has a 20MP 1″ sensor, but dealings zoom power for a much more compact body. Its lens has an equivalent focal range of 25-250mm, which is fine for most situations, but maybe not for bird or whale-watching. Metaphor quality isn’t as good as the Sony due to a softer lens and somewhat heavy noise reduction in JPEGs.
The ZS has both a touchscreen LCD (which is, sadly, fixed) and a miserly electronic viewfinder, although we have found that some folks may notice a ‘rainbow effect’ when using the EVF, which can be distracting. The ZS100 grabs 4K video that looks pretty good, with a hybrid 5-axis stabilization feature available at 1080p and below. Panasonic has a pretty continuous Wi-Fi system that gets photos off of your camera and into emails or Facebook with relative ease.
Overall, we like the ZS100 not because it’s the most beneficent camera in its class, but because it strikes a great balance between size and focal range.
We considered all of the cameras below when picking our champ, and even though we think the RX10 III and ZS100 are the best all-rounders, the cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or on our shortlist are also worthy contenders. If you’re not convinced by our pick, take a look at the succeeding cameras for a detailed breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Our pick: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III
- Budget pick: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)
- Canon EOS M100
- Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
- Fujifilm X-E3
- Fujifilm X100F
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 III