If you are searching for the best camera in the world, unfortunately there is no such camera. I will show you 30 budget cameras, which you can afford for your upcoming traveling trip. I will also show you the best DSLR on budget, which are very compact, and delivers sharp 4K video. I will tell you about the latest mirrorless camera which will amaze you with the image quality which it offered. All these best budget travel cameras are under $1000 USD on this list.
Best All-Around Camera for Travel?
Let’s quickly talk about the old debate; Mirrorless vs DSLR. In 2020, Mirrorless cameras had finally won over DSLRs. Also, DSLR camera sales are jaw-dropping in decline.
We are not getting any new version of it. If you are considering a budget traveling camera but first, ask yourself a few questions.
- 1. Do you prefer a lightweight camera, or you prefer a more robust camera?
- 2. Do you need a high image quality?
- 3. Do you need weather sealing?
- 4. Do you need a camera for a family vacation?
- 5. Do you need a camera for traveling around the world?
- 6. Is this will be your primary camera or backup camera?
- 7. Do you need in-camera USB charging?
- 8. Do you need a cheap lens?
You can’t find all you require in a single camera. I will recommend you always carry two camera bodies with you if you are traveling around the world and don’t want to miss the opportunity of photography. Many tourist love to purchase Canon’s DSLR cameras and use them with the kit lens which it comes with. But they are missing the joy of photography, first decide on which 3 prime lenses you like the most in all the brands, then buy the camera for it. If you prefer a fixed lens camera, then here I had many on this list. With my 15 years of photography experience, here are the best budget travel cameras for you.
Do Camera Sensor Size Matter for Travel Photography?
No, because you will mostly be shooting images in daylight, which helps keep the ISO lower. I had used a lot of tiny 1/2.3 sensor cameras over the years, and I love them. You can’t get bokeh with a tiny sensor, but do you really care? Most of the travel photography is about environment portraits and documenting the background.
Please don’t capture every image with shallow depth of field if you want your images to tell a story—the story about the location where you had been. If you are in low light, you can use the Xenon flash for lighting up the subject.
How Many Cameras Do You Need to Travel with?
2, or more. I use to travel with at least 3 cameras but if you are serious about budget travel photography, then at least carry 2 cameras with you. You will be wondering why you need 2 cameras if 1 camera can get the job done? The first camera can be your primary interchangeable lens camera. The second camera can still be a compact point-and-shoot camera that you always carry on your belt or jacket pocket. What if your primary camera got stolen or damaged? You will still be left with the second camera, which can be inferior to the first camera, but you will have something to capture with you.
For me, the main reason I carry a second camera is not to miss a shot. Whenever I go out of the hotel, even for a 5 mins walk, there always been a point-and-shoot with me. Sometimes you are not in the mood to carry your larger camera because you are just going out for lunch near your hotel. Due to this reason, I never miss a single moment.
Sometimes you carry two same camera bodies with different lenses, such as I did with my Fujifilm X-E3. One my first silver X-E3 body, I have a 15-45mm lens, and on my second brown X-E3 body, I had to pair it with a 50-230mm lens. Like this, I don’t have to change lenses to miss a shot.
Xenon Flash on Tiny Sensor Camera vs. Smartphone?
I will recommend you can get a compact 1/2.3 sensor camera with Xenon flash. Comparing it to a smartphone camera, the only significant advantage it carries the Xenon flash. If you shoot with Xenon flash, then the ISO will remain low. Xenon flash can help you produce superb image quality out of this tiny camera, which beats any smartphone image quality.
Without Xenon flash, the image quality deteriorates quickly because of high ISO. I don’t like to use night mode on a smartphone, which gives the image a fake look. If there was a Xenon flash on today’s smartphones, I had used it for serious photography. These are images took with the tiny sensor & Xenon flash.
Best Digital Camera Under $100
30. Canon PowerShot ELPH 180
|20MP||1/2.3||0.8 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||720P||126g||No|
The only best camera you can get for under $100 is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180. This camera has a tiny sensor; therefore, the image quality will not be great. Remember, this is an inexpensive camera for quick point-and-shoot shooting where you just want to capture the subject.
Another useful thing I appreciate about this camera is its superlight weight at 126g. You can put this compact camera in your pocket and ignore it’s even there.
Camera Under $200
29. Sony DSC-H300
If you have only $200 to spend, here is a very budget-friendly camera under $200 from Sony. The Sony DSC-H300 is a very budget-friendly camera with its 20 megapixels sensor. During the day, the image quality holds very well. I also like the longer zoom range of 25-875mm, which no modern smartphone can give you. The optical zoom is way better than the Space zoom on Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra.
If you are considering a backup Safari camera or just as quick snap camera on your trip, you cannot go wrong with it. The weight is very good for the zoom range at only around 600g. This is a primary still photography camera because of its only records the video at 720p. Suppose you need a DSLR style bridge camera on a budget. The Sony DSC-H300 is the best bridge $200 camera out there right now.
|20MP||1/2.3||1 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||720P||590g||No|
Best Point-and-Shoot Camera for Video
28. Panasonic Lumix ZS100/ZS110
If you are looking for an inexpensive camera that can capture beautiful 4K videos and have a huge zoom range. Here is the Panasonic ZS100, which is one of the most affordable 4K pocket cameras. I prefer the EVF, which this tiny body had, and the 25-250mm zoom range very respectable. The image quality is outstanding out of its 1-inch sensor, and I loved this camera on my Vietnam trip. This camera is very compact, and you can easily fit in any modern jeans or cargo pocket. The primary downside is the lousy video stabilization in 4K and lack of a 3.5mm mic jack. The positive thing about the camera its price around $400, consider you are getting an EVF with 4K on a 1-inch sensor inside a compact body.
|20MP||1”||10 FPS||13.2 x 8.8mm||4K||312g||No|
Best Inexpensive Digital Camera for $100
27. Fujifilm FinePix XP130
Are you seeking an inexpensive camera that can take a lot of underwater images? The Fujifilm XP130 is a rugged, waterproof camera and is ultra-lightweight. This inexpensive digital camera comes with four ways of protection:
- Waterproof up to 65 feet/20 meters
- Shockproof to 5.7 feet/1.75 meters,
- Freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C
If you are traveling to a water park such as Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia, the Fujifilm XP130 is the right choice for you for $100 USD. The good thing about the camera is fast dive mode up to 10 FPS. Also, the XP130 shoots decent 1080p Video. If you can find the newer XP140 for the price of XP130, then go for that. The XP140 had minor upgrades over the XP130, and they both are the same in terms of image quality.
|16MP||1/2.3||FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||1080P||207g||No|
Best Pocket Travel Camera
26. Sony WX500/WX800
This is one of the most used compact cameras in my camera bag. I had used the Sony WX500 for the last 5 years nonstop from Asia to Africa. I love the versatility of the 24-720mm zoom range in a very light, compact body less than the 236g. I bought the Sony WX500 in 2015 while studying the Korean language in Daejeon, South Korea. I had shot over thousands of videos with WX500, and the 1080P is very satisfactory. If you are not fine with 1080p, then the OIS in the lens of WX500 is amazing. You can walk and talk with the Sony WX500. I had taken the Sony WX500 with me to Rwanda in East Africa. The Sony WX500 was on my belt pouch all the time. The image quality of this tiny 1/2.3 sensor is amazing for what it is. There is a new version of it called WX800 with a 4K video.
|18MP||1/2.3||10 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||1080P||236g||No|
Best Travel Camera Under $300
25. Nikon COOLPIX B500
Now this and the next two cameras are going to be bridge cameras for budget photography. If you are looking for a cheap bridge camera with outstanding features, let me introduce you to the Nikon B500. This is one of the best bridge cameras under $300 and comes with a huge 40x optical zoom. If you require the most affordable wildlife camera system, you can’t wrong with the 23-900mm focal length.
The images straight out of the Nikon B500 is surprising good. I admire B500 because of its many features in such a budget body, including NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. The 1080p videos from the Nikon B500 are the sharpest 1080P I had ever seen in a camera, which cost less than $300. You can likewise find the Nikon B500 as refurbish for around $200, and it’s the best value for money I had ever seen. The B500 ticks all the right boxes. If you are on a budget, then you can’t go wrong with it.
|16MP||1/2.3||7.4 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||1080P||541g||No|
Best Compact Camera with Wi-Fi & Longer Zoom
24. Canon PowerShot SX420
If you need a camera for $200 as brand new? The Canon PowerShot SX420 has a 42x optical zoom with excellent handheld stabilization for shooting wildlife subjects.
The video quality is mediocre at best, and it only records up to 720P. If you demand an outstanding quality video camera on a tight budget, no camera can beat the Nikon COOLPIX B500. But if you demand a better image quality with a longer zoom range of 24-1008mm, and for less than $200, this is the camera for you.
But if you ask me why you should buy the SX420 over B500, even it had very slow burst shooting, and I will say it’s had half of the weight of the B500.
|20MP||1/2.3||0.5 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||720P||325g||No|
4K Bridge Camera for Under $300
23. Panasonic Lumix FZ80
This is my favorite bridge camera for $300, which has a ton of features. No other bridge camera under this $300 category can come close to the Panasonic FZ80. First, the Panasonic FZ80 bridge camera comes with a great 20-1200mm zoom range to capture wildlife animals.
It’s also had a very fast shooting speed up to 10 fps, which I never heard in the super-budget category. This camera can shoot up to 240 FPS slow-mo videos, but the video quality is not great. The real showstopper of the camera is the outstanding 4k videos.
Panasonic FZ80 vs. Canon PowerShot SX420 vs. Nikon COOLPIX B500: I will say get the FZ80 if you need the best video with true-to-life image quality. Or SX420 if you are on a super-tight budget of $200. Finally, the Nikon COOLPIX B500 is the middle ground for both 2 of them.
|18MP||1/2.3||10 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||4K||616g||No|
Best Canon Point and Shoot Camera for Travel
22. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
I’m going to talk about this super lightweight camera, which produces outstanding images thanks to its larger one-inch sensor. The G9 X Mark II is a camera that no other camera had ever competed with. The camera’s size is ultracompact, and it produces very vivid images straight out of the camera.
G9 X Mark II also possesses a very fast continuous shooting speed up to 10 FPS. It had exceptional 1080P video quality, which is very sharp. If you put G9 X Mark II in your pocket, and you will overlook it’s even there because of its lightweight. I wish there was an upgraded model with 4K video of G9 X Mark II.
I’m still waiting for the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark III for now, but I will recommend this Mark II camera right now. If you require the best image quality camera in a super lightweight body which you can easily carry in your pocket and neglect, it’s even there. The G9 X Mark II is the best choice for you.
|20MP||1”||10 FPS||13.2 x 8.8mm||1080P||206g||No|
Best DSLR Camera Under $300
21. Canon EOS Rebel T6
When we describe traveling cameras, the first thing that comes to mind is DSLRs. If you need the highest image quality out of a $300 camera. Get the Canon Rebel T6, which is the best value for money. The Canon Rebel T6 had a massive sensor for its price and shoot sharp 1080p videos. But if you need a camera for fast action or Safari, look elsewhere because the T6 had terrible 3 FPS continuous shooting. Overall, for the price, you can’t find a better than this aside from some Nikon cameras, which I will talk about in this camera guide.
|18MP||APS-C||3 FPS||22.3 x 14.9mm||1080P||485g||No|
Best Point and Shoot Camera
20. Sony DSC-HX99
The Sony DSC-HX99 produces the image quality of WX800 and WX500. But the HX99 had some major plus points in it over the more affordable WX500. It’s one of the few best point-and-shoot cameras which can shoot RAW. If you need an ultracompact camera all the time with you, then Sony DSC-HX99 is your new “everywhere go camera.” The Sony DSC-HX99 comes with EVF in such a tiny package, plus it also records super sharp 4K video quality. The Sony DSC-HX99 produce very similar images and video quality to the bulky bridge camera Panasonic FZ80.
|18MP||1/2.3||10 FPS||6.17 x 4.55mm||4K||242g||No|
Best Low Light Compact Camera
19. Panasonic Lumix LX10
If you are into bright aperture 1-inch sensor cameras, then here is only of your option. I had bought the Panasonic LX10 just before heading to Kenya. This LX10 was the reason I capture a lot of moments there with random strangers. The downside I see is the lack of ND filters, which is very painful to use at F1.4 during bright sunny African days. The 4K video is one of the sharpest for a 1-inch sensor, but the hybrid OIS+ is a joke. I will encourage you to buy a compact camera gimbal if you want to record any walking videos. Also, there is an enormous crop in 4K. The primary attraction of the LX10 is the huge F1.4 aperture.
|20MP||1”||10 FPS||13.2 x 8.8mm||4K||310g||No|
Best Mirrorless Compact Travel Camera
18. Panasonic Lumix GX9
The GX9 is the successor to the GX85, not the GX8. Now, this confusion is out of the way, let’s talk about some things I hate. There is no flip-up or articulating screen to face you, and the second is not microphone input. If you are looking to purchase the GX9 for travel videos, then remember to use it as a second camera or use an external audio recorder to capture audio. But Panasonic GX9 is still an attractive choice for travelers out there. The rangefinder design is one of the main appealing reasons. The second is the lightweight with a plethora of affordable MFT lens out there.
|20MP||MFT||9 FPS||17.3 x 13mm||4K||407g||No|
Best Camera for Budget Travel Photography
17. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
If you are a newbie to travel photography or just want a superlight weight body with IBIS. Then the E-M10 Mark IV is the best option for you. Also, Olympus is not dead, as some peoples love to say. E-M10 Mark 4 is an excellent choice both for stabilizing videos and good image quality. Also, there is another reason to buy the E-M10 Mark IV, its retro silver color. If you are traveling, buying a silver camera is a better conversation starter. It also has blazing fast burst shooting up to 15 FPS.
|20MP||MFT||15 FPS||17.3 x 13mm||4K||389g||No|
Best Compact Camera for Travel
16. Sony RX100 VII
If you are looking for a one-camera package to carry with you in your pocket. The Sony RX100 VII is made for you. The 24-200mm zoom range in a tiny compact body that weighs around 300g. Also, if you are a vlogger, then the 3.5mm microphone jack is a handy and essential feature which you can’t ignore at all. I like the 4K video which it produces, both it’s sharp and very stable. One of the underrated features of the Sony RX100 VII is the EVF, and it comes in handy during sunny days. Overall, it’s an entirely compact camera which you carry everywhere you go.
|20MP||1”||20 FPS||13.2 x 8.8mm||4K||302g||No|
Best DSLR Camera Under $500 with GPS
15. Nikon D5300
Are you looking to buy a DSLR in 2021? I will suggest you take a look at the Nikon D5300. Today most cameras lack an essential feature, its call GPS. The Nikon D5300 comes in a built-in GPS, and it will record the information known as geotagging of the location where the photo has been captured. Later you can use google map to find out the location name, which is very useful if you don’t know the exact place name. Also, the image quality of the Nikon D5300 is very good even in 2021, and I love Nikon’s vivid JPEG output from the camera. When it comes to the video department, it’s lacking; therefore, get the Nikon D5300 for images only.
|24MP||APS-C||5 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||1080P||480g||No|
Best Travel Point and Shoot Camera
14. Ricoh GR III
One of the most beloved cameras for street photography is the Ricoh GR III. If you are into travel street photography, then Ricoh GR Mark 3 version is a perfect fit for you. I admire the Ricoh GR III image quality with its large 24 APS-C sensors all in the body, which weighs less than 300g. This is very astonishing to consider the sensor size to bodyweight ratio. The downside is a very slow 4 FPS burst shoot and lack of 4K video. Ricoh GR III is a niche of a camera, and it’s not fit for all, so consider its pros with cons before purchasing it.
|24MP||APS-C||4 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||1080P||257g||No|
Best Weather-Sealed DSLR for Rainforest
13. Pentax KP
If you are an old photographer like me, then you will value the love and passion for Pentax cameras. I’m still waiting for the Pentax K-3 Mark 3, so in the meanwhile, take a look at Pentax XP. The Pentax KP was the last great DSLR ever released from any manufacture. First, if you are going to climb K2 or are traveling to a harsh, unforgiving environment, this Pentax KP is for you. I love the build quality, which you can abuse, and still, it will be working. If you are searching for the best camera for photography, KP is the best for you. If you need a 4K video, then forget about Pentax KP and wait for Pentax K-3 III.
|24MP||APS-C||7 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||1080P||703g||Yes|
Superfast Autofocus Compact E-Mount Travel Camera
12. Sony Alpha A6100
If you are looking for a super-fast auto-focusing camera, Sony A6100 is for you. The price of A6100 is around $500 to $600 on deals, and you get tons of features for it. First, you get the best APS-C 4K video out there with a 3.5mm microphone jack. Also, a Sony Mi Hot Shoe is my favorite feature to use a Sony wireless LAV with no wires. I like the rangefinder design of A6100; I know it has been a little outdated design, but I still like it. If you think of getting the Sony A6100 with the 16-50mm PZ kit lens, then promise yourself never to use it for photography. I hate the Sony 16-50mm PZ pancake lens; it produces so much vignetting in the images.
|24MP||APS-C||11 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||4K||396g||No|
Best Lightweight DSLR Camera
11. Nikon D3500
Are you looking for a cheap Nikon DSLR under $300, the Nikon D3500 is the answer. Get the D3500 purely for photography. This camera produced some fantastic images for me; to this day, I admire it. One of the major reasons I purchased the D3500 was the weight, around 365g, and this is the most ultra-lightweight DSLR of all time. These days I use the Fujifilm X-E3, a mirrorless camera. But, if you are into DSLRs, you can’t go wrong with the Nikon D3500.
|24MP||APS-C||5 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||1080P||365g||No|
Best Compact Travel DSLR
10. Canon EOS Rebel SL3
You need a DSLR with 4K video, and then Canon got it for you. Welcome the super-compact Canon SL3/200D II/250D. It had different names depending on the region. For the Nikon D3500 vs. Canon SL3, the Nikon is lighter, where the Canon is compact. Also, the Canon SL3 comes with the 4K, and the video quality is very identical to the Canon M50, one of the most sold mirrorless cameras ever. I will advise you to purchase the SL3 if you look for a cool factor such as the silver color or need the vast native EF lens support.
|24MP||APS-C||5 FPS||22.3 x 14.9mm||4K||449g||No|
Best Point-and-Shoot Camera Under $500
9. Fujifilm XF10
The camera on my belt all the time is the XF10. At first, I wouldn’t say I like it because of the slow focusing speed, but I got hold of it after some use. If you are looking for a compact sports camera, then stay away from Fujifilm XF10. But if you can compose a good image by half-pressing the shutter to focus before capturing the final image. Then XF10 is the perfect companion for you. I wish there was a flip-up screen like Fujifilm X70 and 4K at 30FPS. Yes, this camera had 4K but 15 FPS and useless. I never use XF10 for any video, even 1080P, which is quite bad.
|24MP||APS-C||6 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||1080P||279g||No|
Best Interchangeable Lens Lightweight Camera
8. Canon EOS M200
Are you looking for an ultra-lightweight mirrorless camera with an interchangeable lens? The M200 is the answer? The M200 is the same camera as the M50 but in a very compact body. There is a lack of EVF and a 3.5mm microphone jack. But in return, you get a pocket-size camera; just put the EF-M 22mm F2 pancake lens on it. I had used the Canon M200 for a quick snap selfie with strangers. One of the major reasons was buying the Canon M200 was the EF-M 22m lens, which I consider it’s the best Canon budget lens of all time.
|24MP||APS-C||6.1 FPS||22.3 x 14.9mm||4K||299g||No|
Best Compact Weather Sealed Travel Camera
7. Canon G1 X Mark III
If you are traveling to the Amazon rainforest or need a compact large sensor camera with weather sealing. The Canon G1 X Mark III is the best-fixed lens APS-C all-in-one camera out there. I love the fully articulating screen for vlogging or selfies. I had used the Canon G1 X Mark III EVF a lot to compose the images during rain, and it’s such a delightful experience to use too. Sadly, there is no 4K and microphone input. Buy the Canon G1 X Mark III if you are looking for a compact weather-sealed camera.
|24MP||APS-C||9 FPS||22.3 x 14.9mm||1080P||399g||Yes|
Best Camera Under $1000
6. Canon EOS M6 Mark II
If you are into cropping images, then Canon M6 Mark II is right for you. For example, you use the EF-M 50-250mm lens to capture an image at 250mm. You can crop the 33mp by 2X; the image will result in around 8mp but at 500mm. I hope you get an understanding of the power of cropping large megapixels images. The M6 Mark II had everything you need, such as a hot shoe, 3.5mm microphone jack, flip-up screen, and a removable EVF. The major downside of M6 Mark II is the soft 4K video.
|33MP||APS-C||14 FPS||22.3 x 14.9mm||4K||408g||No|
Best Traveling Camera for Video
5. Fujifilm X-H1
Finding an IBIS on the APS-C sensor is hard, aside from the Fujifilm X-S10 and X-T4. I will say only consider X-S10 or X-T4 if you need a flip-out screen and improved IBIS. Otherwise, Fujifilm X-H1 is the best camera value for money you can get. It had the amazing Fuji colors with super sharp cine 4K video. Also, the Fujifilm X-H1 is weather-sealed, but I remembered to use it with weather-sealed lenses such as the Fujifilm 16-80mm F4. The downside of X-H1 is a weight of around 700g and bulky size.
|24MP||APS-C||14 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||4K||673g||Yes|
Best Camera for Traveling Light
4. Fujifilm X-E3
If you ask me which camera I carry on my body or shoulder all day, it can’t be any other than Fujifilm X-E3. The reason I’m able to take the X-E3 where with me its super lightweight body. I shoot with the Fujifilm X-E3 X-Trans sensor with a rangefinder design, which I love. If you need the best autofocus after Sony, then Fujifilm X-E3 offers you. I know X-T30 is way faster better than X-E3. But in actual use, I don’t care because X-E3 never slowed me down. The 4K video coming out of Fujifilm X-E3 is amazingly sharp, similar to the images it produces.
|24 MP||APS-C||14 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||4K||337g||No|
Best Adventure Camera
3. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
After Olympus had fallen, is there any reason to buy an E-M5 Mark III? There are many reasons, firstly is a lightweight body which housed the IBIS inside. Second is the best MFT 4K video you can get under the $1,000 price range. Finally, the third reason is the retro design, which I love to carry with me and show people. A lot of peoples will assume you are using a 1970s Olympus camera. E-M5 Mark III had everything you need for a lightweight, compact body.
|20MP||MFT||30 FPS||17.4 x 13mm||4K||414g||Yes|
Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel
2. Fujifilm X-S10
Looking for the fastest burst shooting up to 20 FPS, X-S10 is the best match for that. I had only tested X-S10 ones on my Safari trip; it was a very pleasant experience to capture the African Safari big five animals. The X-S10 had a much better 4K video with improved autofocus over the X-E3 and X-T30. The IBIS inside is X-S10 is very good for handheld video footage but not great at walking. Need a modern-looking Fuji camera for Safari or wildlife, and then you can’t go wrong with the X-S10.
|26MP||APS-C||20 FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||4K||465g||No|
Best Nikon Camera with Flip Screen
1. Nikon Z50
I had waited so long for a proper Nikon mirrorless camera; finally, Nikon gave us Z50. At first, I was unhappy because of the lack of IBIS. But later, I changed my opinion and purchased the Nikon Z50. If you search for the best mirrorless travel camera that covers all of your needs from photography to video, Z50 is that camera. If Z50 had IBIS, it had increased the weight and price, which defeated the purpose of being a travel camera. Get the Nikon Z50 kit with 16-50mm & 50-250mm. Both lenses blow me out of the water with their sharpness and OIS performance in the lens. One of the primary reasons to buy the Z50 is the grip, and it’s very comfortable to hold in your hands. Also, it has a flip-down screen for a selfie.
|21MP||APS-C||FPS||23.5 x 15.6mm||4K||397g||Yes|