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5 Best Compact Cameras for Travel in 2024

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 15 min read
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With the best compact camera for travel, you can capture stunning images and videos without being weighed down by heavy equipment. But which compact camera is best for your next adventure?

Are you looking for a simple photography camera? Are you a travel vlogger? Or are you an intrepid explorer who needs a robust travel companion? Our list has compact cameras for all types of travelers.

The Sony ZV-1 II is our top choice for the best compact camera for travel. Its pocket-sized body makes it super portable. It also has specialist features for vlogging, like a built-in mic and rotating touchscreen, and it takes gorgeous still images. It’s the perfect camera for the modern traveler.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Compact Camera for Travel
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
 

What Is the Best Compact Camera for Travel?

The best compact camera for travel should be small and easy to carry wherever you go, but it shouldn’t compromise on results. The Sony ZV-1 II, Panasonic TZ200, and OM System Tough TG-7 top our list for those reasons.

With a compact camera, just because it’s not an interchangeable lens doesn’t mean you can’t capture incredible photos and videos. All the cameras on our list prove that compact doesn’t mean compromise.

Some have larger sensors than others, but you can expect gorgeous images from each one. And some of the cameras even produce stunning 4K video footage.

Other handy features for travel photographers? They include a zoom lens, accurate autofocus (AF), and specialist shooting modes. You might also want some durability so you and your camera make it home in one piece.

You can see our selection of the best compact cameras for travel in the table below. We take a closer look at each camera in the section after. Then we have a buyer’s guide at the end if you need more information to help you.

Our Top Pick
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
  • Compact size for easy transportation
  • Fixed 18-50mm lens with f/1.8-4.0 max aperture
  • Eye-detection and tracking autofocus
  • Webcam functionality
  • Built-in 3-capsule microphone with sound muffler
  • 4K video at 30 fps and 120 fps in Full HD
Best Image Stabilization
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
  • In-body 5-axis stabilization
  • Very useful 15x zoom
  • Sharp and clear 4K video
  • Impressive battery life
Most Rugged
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
  • Rugged, waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof, crushproof
  • Fixed f/2.0 lens with 4x zoom range
  • Five underwater shooting modes including underwater HDR
  • Macro modes with 0.4 inch / 1 cm min focus distance
  • 4K video with high-speed frame rates and vertical mode
Best for Street Photography
Fujifilm X100V
Fujifilm X100V
Fujifilm X100V
  • 26 MP sensor for good noise reduction and fast readout
  • Sharp JPEGs with low noise
  • 15 quality film simulations
  • Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Excellent 4K Ultra HD video
Best Zoom
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
  • Impressive lens quality in a compact camera
  • 24-600mm equivalent zoom lens
  • Superb 24 fps burst speed
  • 4K video with several frame rate options
 

5 Best Compact Cameras for Travel

1. Sony ZV-1 II

Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Brand
Brand
Sony
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1"1"
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
None
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
No
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
315
Minimum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Native)
125
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12,800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
24 fps
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Screen Size
Screen Size
3"3"
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Cinematic vlog mode, rotating touchscreen, 3-capsule microphone
Best For
Best For
Travel vloggers and content creators

The Sony ZV-1 II is the best compact camera for travel right now. Its high-resolution sensor and specialist vlogging features meet the needs of modern travelers. It’s an all-in-one content-creation camera small enough to carry in your pocket.

The 18-50 mm zoom lens offers decent composition flexibility. Although it doesn’t offer much magnification, the wide angle is perfect for filming vlogs and travel footage.

The optical quality of this Zeiss lens is excellent. Its f/1.8 to f/4 max aperture provides good low-light performance.

This entry-level Sony mirrorless is equipped with a small yet powerful CMOS sensor. Its 20 MP resolution is impressive for a one-inch sensor, and its images look fantastic on social media. You can even expand the low ISO to 80 to help you maximize image quality.

But most users choose the ZV-1 II for its video features. And the standard 4K footage at 30 fps is terrific. But you can switch to Sony’s special Cinematic Vlog Setting to make your video content more unique and eye-catching.

A built-in three-capsule mic helps you record audio with your video. You don’t need any extra audio equipment, which helps you travel light. The camera also comes with a wind muffler, so voices come through loud and clear when shooting outside.

Real-time autofocus keeps your subjects in focus as they move around the frame. The sophisticated system also has face and eye detection, which is ideal for filming people.

It also has gyroscopic video stabilization that reduces the effects of camera shake. This is handy if you don’t have a travel tripod or stabilizer.

The Sony ZV-1 II is the must-have compact camera for the traveling vlogger. It has everything a vlogger needs when traveling abroad. And it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about creating exciting travel content.

 

2. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Brand
Brand
Panasonic
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1"
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Fixed
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
49
Minimum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Native)
125
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
10 fps
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K
Screen Size
Screen Size
3
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
15x zoom lens, expandable ISO range, 350-shot battery life
Best For
Best For
Travelers who want a small compact with the best image stabilization and a helpful zoom

The Panasonic Lumix ZS200 (TZ200) is a pocketable compact camera. It comes with an impressive retractable 15x zoom lens. Weighing 0.75 lb (340 g), it feels solid in your hand, thanks to the metal body.

It has a large 20.1 MP, one-inch sensor to ensure high image quality. Although not very fast, the zoom lens of the ZS 200 covers an impressive 24-360mm focal range. This is ideal for travel photography.

Low-light performance is good thanks to the five-axis Hybrid OIS stabilization. You can raise your ISO to 25,600. But aggressive noise reduction at the higher ISO values might make the image look too smooth.

Images are composed and reviewed with the large three-inch LCD screen. Although it’s not tiltable, it has touchscreen capabilities. The ZS 200 has plenty of auto modes to make it easier for beginners. Experienced users will enjoy switching to manual.

The Lumix ZS200 features 4K/30 video and a 4K Photo mode. You can extract single frames and save them as 8 MP still photos.

Battery life is good, ensuring about 350 shots before recharging. Another great feature for the travel photographer is the AC charger. This Olympus OM System camera can also be charged via USB using a portable power bank.

 

3. Olympus OM System Tough TG-7

Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Brand
Brand
Olympus
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1/2.3”1/2.3”
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
None
Megapixels
Megapixels
12 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
Yes
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
25
Minimum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Native)
100
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12,800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
8 fps
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Screen Size
Screen Size
3"3"
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
4x zoom f/2.0 lens, macro and underwater shooting modes, waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof, crushproof
Best For
Best For
Adventurer travelers in need of a rugged, compact camera

The Olympus OM System Tough TG-7 is the best rugged compact camera on the market. Tough isn’t just a clever name with this one. It really can cope with the toughest of tough conditions. So, if you’re the more adventurous type of traveler, this is the camera you need.

It’s completely waterproof down to 50 feet (15 m). And we don’t just mean it’ll survive a dip in the water. You can use this camera underwater! It even has five specialist underwater photography modes.

It’s also shockproof and withstands drops over 6.5 ft (2 m). Through dust-proofing allows you to use the camera in dry, desert-like conditions. And Arctic explorers can keep shooting in temperatures as low as -10 C. You can take this camera anywhere.

We’re disappointed OM System hasn’t improved the sensor resolution from the previous model. It stays at a modest 12 MP, which isn’t great compared to other modern cameras. But the picture quality is still accurate, rich, and vibrant. Your pics will look great on social media.

A 4x zoom lens gives you decent magnification and shot variety. And the constant f/2 maximum aperture gives you solid low-light performance.

The in-camera macro modes are a brilliant way to capture details close up. Nature lovers can snap detailed images of all the new flora in an exotic country.

Thrill seekers can use this Olympus OM System as a rugged action camera. You can attach it to your handlebars or helmet and record exhilarating 4K footage at 30 fps. And if 30 fps isn’t fast enough, switch to Full HD for a smoother 60 fps video frame rate.

The OM System Tought TG-7 is the perfect compact camera for wild, adrenaline-fueled travels. It can withstand the toughest conditions and helps you bring home some fabulous media.

 

4. Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X100V
Brand
Brand
Fujifilm
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-CAPS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Fixed
Megapixels
Megapixels
26 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
No
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
425
Minimum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Native)
160
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12,800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
11 fps
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Screen Size
Screen Size
3"3"
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
23mm f/2.0 lens, film simulation modes, tilting touchscreen
Best For
Best For
Traveling street photographers

The Fujifilm X100V is one of the most popular cameras among street photographers. It looks fantastic with a classic rangefinder design. It’s compact and easy to hold for hours at a time.

The weather sealing protects it from bad weather. Combine all that with outstanding image processing powers, and you’ve got one of the best compact cameras for travel.

Although it’s a compact camera with a fixed lens, it has a powerful APS-C sensor. The 26.1 MP resolution gives vibrant images with rich colors and details. The quality is far superior to most smartphones, even beating many interchangeable-lens cameras.

A 23mm focal length gives you a lovely wide angle for street-style travel shots. The wider field of view helps you snap images in tight spaces like old European streets or crowded markets. It also has an f/2 maximum aperture, giving you brilliant low-light performance.

The native 160 t0 12,800 ISO range isn’t great, but you can expand the top end to 51,200 if you’re in a dark location. There’s also a low ISO setting of 80, allowing you to boost image quality in stunning locations.

Fujifilm has used its knowledge and heritage of film photography to create fantastic film simulation modes. Each mode gives you images that replicate the finish of one of their iconic film stocks. They have simulations of color and black-and-white films.

Thanks to the glorious 4K video recording, this Fujifilm mirrorless is ideal for video travel logs. It offers a smooth 30 fps frame rate at full resolution and 10-bit 4:2:2 color via the HDMI port. The 120 fps frame rate option enables full HD slow-motion videos.

The X100V‘s size, durability, and retro style make it a top choice for traveling street photographers. It fits in any camera backpack without fuss and is an absolute joy to shoot. It’s the best compact camera for travel if you love street photography.

 

5. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV
Brand
Brand
Sony
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1"1"
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Fixed
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
Yes
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
315
Minimum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Native)
100
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12,800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
24 fps
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Screen Size
Screen Size
3"3"
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
24-600mm equivalent zoom lens, weather sealing, NFC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity
Best For
Best For
Professional travel photographers who want the best zoom to capture subjects from a distance

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is the most expensive camera on our list. But the price is justified by the camera’s performance, which will appeal to expert and pro photographers on the move.

The RX10 is a rather bulky, DSLR-style bridge camera. It’s not the lightest and most compact camera on our list. But it packs a wonderful zoom lens, covering an impressive 24-600mm range. And it is bright, too, having an f/2.4-4 variable aperture.

Optical stabilization is very effective. Combined with the fast aperture, it makes taking good images in low-light conditions easier. Another interesting feature is the hybrid AF. It’s fast and precise, and it has a 14 fps burst shooting mode and RAW image format.

The camera includes NFC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth for connectivity. These allow for the easy transfer of your images to a smartphone and remote control of the camera.

This camera also records high-quality 4K video. The dedicated microphone jack port allows recording audio with an external microphone. This makes this camera very attractive for vloggers.

Due to its size, the handling experience is very similar to that of a classic DSLR camera. You will not find yourself battling with small buttons.

A welcome feature for travel photography is that the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV is weather-sealed. You can shoot in any conditions without worries.

Best Compact Camera for Travel FAQs

Packing the right gear is a key element of success when traveling abroad. Finding the best compact camera for travel is an important factor, but your camera is only one piece of the puzzle.

Other accessories are also important. And maybe you’re not confident about compact cameras. These Q&As should help you prepare for your next photography trip.

A woman in a hat holding a compact camera for travel
(Adobe Stock)
 

What Are the Best Mirrorless Cameras for Travel?

The Nikon Z50 is our top recommendation for a mirrorless camera for travel. Its compact body fits any travel backpack, and the APS-C sensor produces gorgeous images. The camera has many creative features and delivers lovely 4K video footage.

More experienced travelers might prefer the Canon EOS R8. It’s one of the most compact and lightweight full-frame cameras around.

Its 24.2 MP resolution might be modest for a full-frame sensor. But the image quality is still exceptional, with a wide dynamic range and low-noise performance in low light.

Mirrorless cameras are an excellent choice for travel photographers. They are lighter and have smaller bodies than DSLR cameras, making them more portable. They have powerful sensors and superior features. A mirrorless is ideal if you want more from a camera.

Our full article has more of the best mirrorless cameras for travel. We also have another article on the best lightweight cameras, all of which make excellent travel cameras.

Best Mirrorless Travel Camera
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
Its compact size and advanced features make the Z50 ideal for travel photography and videography. It’s compatible with Nikon’s Z-range lenses, which ensures versatility and quality in capturing diverse shots on the go.
 

Which Backpack Is Best for Compact Travel Cameras?

If you’re traveling with a compact camera, we recommend the Wandrd Duo Daypack. It’s a stylish yet unassuming backpack with plenty of storage space and thorough weather sealing.

If you’re traveling with a compact camera as your main shooter and minimal gear, you don’t need a big travel camera backpack if you’re traveling with minimal equipment. 

The Duo Daypack is ideal for the photographer who travels light. It has a protective “pop camera cube” for larger mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. But it also has padded pockets for smaller gear like compact cameras.

Sensational build quality reassures you when you’re traveling in a new place. You know your gear is safe within. And you’re confident the backpack will last the distance.

You can read our full, in-depth review of the Wandrd Duo Daypack here. Or you can see more of the best camera backpacks for travel we recommend.

Best Travel Backpack
Wandrd Duo Daypack Backpack
Wandrd Duo Daypack
Experience the ultimate travel companion with this high-quality camera backpack. It is light, compact, and robust and offers excellent weather protection and thoughtful features.
 

What Other Camera Accessories Does a Travel Photographer Need?

Packing too much gear can be a problem when going on a photography trip. It’s easy to fill your backpack with every piece of gear you have, just in case. You then have a heavy backpack of camera gear you won’t use.

The key to a successful trip is packing smart. So here are some photography accessories that are genuinely useful when you’re in a far-flung location.

A secure and protective SD card case is a must-have when traveling. When new, exciting visuals surround you, you can get pretty trigger-happy, and memory cards fill up fast.

Take as many SD cards as possible so your storage isn’t limited. But you have to keep them safe in a durable holder.

The Kiorafoto Professional Card Case is the best option. It has a solid outer casing and is completely watertight when closed. This affordable item can be a lifesaver. See more top-quality SD card cases we’ve reviewed.

Another digital storage solution is to take a rugged portable external hard drive. The LaCie Rugged Mini is ideal for travelers. It has storage options from 1 to 5 TB, is water and dust-resistant, and has fast read-write speeds for quick media transfers.

Another handy digital gadget is a portable power bank like Anker’s slim one. If your camera has USB charging, a power bank lets you fill it up whenever and wherever. This allows you to shoot longer without returning to your hotel or hostel.

Some travelers like to travel with a tripod. While tripods might seem big and cumbersome, you can get specialist travel tripods that are portable. The K&F Concept Lightweight Tripod is one of those. And it’s one we recommend if you need extra stability when country hopping.

Mini tripods are another handy option if you want a light pack. They’re popular with travel vloggers and content creators. And they work very well with compact cameras. The Manfrotto Pixi Evo is the best place to start with mini tripods.

Best Camaera Accessories for Travel
Kiorafoto Professional Memory Card Case
Kiorafoto Professional Memory Card Case
Kiorafoto Professional Memory Card Case
LaCie Rugged Mini
LaCie Rugged Mini
LaCie Rugged Mini
Anker PowerCore Slim Portable Charger
Anker PowerCore Slim Portable Charger
Anker PowerCore Slim Portable Charger
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod With Handgrip
Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod With Handgrip
Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod With Handgrip
 

Conclusion: Best Compact Cameras for Travel

The best compact camera for travel is lightweight and portable yet delivers top-quality media. Whether you want high-level holiday snaps or exotic video content, there’s a compact camera with your name on it.

The Sony ZV-1 II is the top choice as the best compact camera for travelers. It produces lovely still photos but excels in vlogging features. The 4K video footage is gorgeous. Hardware features like the built-in mic or rotating touchscreen make it an all-in-one camera for content creation.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Compact Camera for Travel
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7
Olympus OM System Tough TG-7