Best Travel Cameras For Road Trips
You got our Camera Caper Photo Challenge Cards, you got your road trip route and ready to go. But wait, which camera should you take with you? Thankfully there are loads of travel cameras which excel at road trips and the great outdoors.
We will run down the top 6 travel cameras you should be thinking about for your next road trip or adventure, there is something for the hobbyist, adventurer and professional.
For The Hobbyist
The best camera is always the one you have as the saying goes but for the hobbyist sometimes the camera on a mobile phone is enough. However if you want something with some extra features then going for a compact style camera is a perfect solution and they also contain many of the features found in their top of the line cousins.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (or the ZS200) is a great starter with a fixed lens with 10x optical zoom which is a 25-250mm equivalent focal length range. That should give you enough reach for almost every situation. It’s also got 4K recording and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, great for bokeh.
If a prime lens camera is an option and budget is no issue then the FUJIFILM X100V is a great choice. It has a prime 35mm lens which means it’s not as versatile as the Lumix but it does have an APS-C sensor which means better low light performance. The sensor design also includes an expanded phase-detection autofocus system, which has 425 selectable points that cover nearly the entire sensor area.
The update to the X100V over the older X100F is huge with regards to it’s sharpness, at f/2.0 the camera displays super sharp images right across the frame. Just be aware you need a filter or a hood for the fixed lens to complete the weatherproofing. You have been warned !
This AF system has been updated to deliver faster, more accurate focusing performance in a variety of lighting conditions down to -5 EV. A street and travel photographer’s dream.
For The Adventurer
Chances are you’re spending lots of time outside and in situations where the weather is less than perfect. There are plenty of cameras to choose from which blend power with brawn, and decent weather proofing.
The Nikon Z 6II is now my go-to camera for outdoors working, it’s bomb proof weatherproofing and great price point for a full frame of this quality makes it tremendous value. With it’s full frame sensor you can be sure it will deliver in almost any situation thrown at it. While the original Z6 is still a great option however the Z6II is updated with a new dual memory card slot interface to hold one CFexpress Type B card and one SD UHS-II card for more flexible storage.
Plus the Nikon Z6II doubles as one of the best video cameras money can buy, all at a super attractive price point, if the Z6II is too expensive then the Nikon Z6 is still a brilliant buy with nearly all the features of the Z6II.
A smaller option is the Sony Alpha a6400, while it doesn’t quite have the performance of the Nikon Z6II, it does have a huge array of lenses available for it and blazing fast auto focus speed.
To date Sony’s E-Mount has around 112 lenses which cover every kind of photography you can think of. The autofocus system on the a6400 inherits many technologies from Sony’s line-up of full-frame cameras, including the a9, a7R III, and a7 III models. The Sony a6400 features 425 phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast-detection AF points that are placed densely over the entire image area, covering approximately 84% of the image area.
All of which add up to super fast auto focus performance.
For The Pro
There are many many options for the professional and the choices below will be agreed and disagreed with in equal measure.
Canon, Nikon, Sony and Lumix make excellent pro level cameras. Choosing between them is also hugely personal as they all feel very different in size, button layouts and menu options and not to mention their ecosystems.
DSLR cameras are a dying breed so let’s skip those and just concentrate on mirrorless for now. For those not worried about size, the Lumix S1R is a brilliant choice, with a superb menu system and button layout that makes it super intuative to use.
One of the stand out features is the EVF and the information inside it. While with the Sony and Canon cameras you can only display one or two information tools on screen at the same time, with the Lumix the EVF and LCD rear display can have the spirit level, histogram and stabilizer feedback all together. The rear buttons backlight which makes working in the dark a boon.
Plus the Lumix S1R has the same CFexpress Type B card and one SD UHS-II card config as the Nikon Z7II and Nikon Z6II which is super useful for write speed.
If you’re looking for mega pixels the Sony Alpha a7R IV is your go-to. Moving to an even higher resolution realm, the Sony Alpha a7R IV continues the noteworthy series of highly capable full-frame mirrorless cameras, characterized by impressive stills, video performance and versatility of it’s 61 megapixel sensor.
Sony has the largest ecosystem of any mirrorless full frame camera which means everything from super wide to 500mm+ lenses are on offer from retailers. The Sony a7R IV also has class leading dynamic range and image stabilization both are highly important to any professional photographer.
Dan has been working in the photography industry for over 20 years mostly in the commercial space. He re-focused in travel and travel content 5 years ago after a long career in commercial studio, interior and advertising content for industry leaders in many genres.
Published many times in print with Professional Photographer, Sony, Culture Trip, Countryside Magazine, NY Tourism Guide, New York Times, many real estate marketing magazines throughout the USA and many online publications. Dan has also co-authored “Creative Photography : The Professional Edge”.
Dan also runs yearly photography tours in Alaska at alaskabearcruise.com where he is the guide and company co-owner. He also runs a successful nationwide photography business.
Current principal sponsors include Think Tank Photo and Lumix, also a previous British Photography Awards Ambassador.