The best camera is the one you have with you - or so the saying goes. When you’re travelling you may not want to take your DSLR or CSC - here are some compact alternatives.
There are several ways to approach purchasing a travel compact camera. Maybe you want something which has a huge zoom, which can offer you something that your mobile phone can’t. On the other hand, maybe you want something that can produce very high image quality, but slips into your pocket. If you’re going to be spending a week on the beach, or on the slopes, you may want something that can handle all manner of tough conditions. Finally, a bridge camera can be a good way to go for travellers, since it provides high image quality, a flexible zoom length – but still has the look and feel of a more advanced camera.
In this feature we’ve chosen some of the best travel compact cameras currently on the market to inspire you with your next holiday purchase.
Olympus Stylus TG-4
Street price: £275
If you’re looking for a camera which can withstand difficult conditions, but still want the images you take to be good, then the Olympus Stylus TG-4 offers a lot.
It has a 16 million pixel backlit sensor, with a lens which has a maximum aperture of f/2, and offers a 4x optical zoom. It’s also got GPS and Wi-Fi built in. It’s even capable of shooting in raw format, which is pretty unusual for cameras of this kind.
Perhaps most crucially however, are its rugged credentials. It’s waterproof down to 15 metres, shockproof from a height of 2.1metres, crushproof to 100kg and freeze proof to minus 10 degrees celcius.
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Street price: £250
Although Panasonic has now replaced the TZ70, with the TZ80, the TZ70 is still a fantastic camera. It offers a 30x optical zoom, so if you want the possibility to shoot faraway subjects – perhaps on a safari, or at the beach, then it’s an ideal choice.
It’s got a 12 million pixel sensor, and a three-inch LCD screen. Image quality is great – and it all fits snugly inside your pocket.
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Canon PowerShot SX710
Street price: £195
Here’s another camera with a 30x optical zoom lens. That gives you great flexibility to shoot a range of different subjects at different focal lengths.
The SX710 also has inbuilt Wi-Fi, a 20.3 million pixel sensor and full HD video recording.
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Street price: £550
Panasonic’s new TZ100 introduces a new segment into the travel compact camera market. A camera with a large sensor but also a reasonably lengthy zoom. Although a 10x optical zoom isn’t as long as the 30x optical zooms on the market, when you consider that most one-inch compact cameras have 3x or 4x optical zooms, you begin to see why this is such an appealing prospect.
With that larger sensor, along with manual control and raw format shooting, you should have something which produces very high image quality. It’s also travel friendly thanks to its small size, and the 10x optical zoom gives you a good degree of flexibility.
It’s available to buy from March 2016, and should be a popular choice for the summer.
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Street price: £629
Premium bridge cameras make for fantastic travel cameras. They give you the feel of a DSLR (and similar high image quality), without having to lug around a variety of different lenses.
The Canon G3X has a 20MP one-inch sensor, plus a 25x optical zoom which gives you the equivalent of 24-600mm. At the widest point of the lens, the maximum aperture is f/2.8, which is handy for low light shooting, too.
There’s also raw format shooting, and manual control, along with a host of dials and buttons which enthusiasts should love.
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Sony RX100 IV
Street price: £749
Much has been made of the Sony RX100 range, and its not without good reason. Now in its fourth iteration, many describe these cameras as the “ultimate” walk around camera.
They get this reputation because despite being incredibly small, they feature a one-inch sensor which has been proven to get fantastic results. The lens, offers a classic 24-70mm length, with a maximum aperture of f/1.8-f/2.8.
Other excellent features of the RX100 IV include the ability to shoot at super fast 1/32000 speeds, an inbuilt electronic viewfinder, and 4K video recording. Basically, if you want something for your travels that you can slip into your pocket, without compromising on image quality, you can’t go far wrong with a camera like this.
If your budget can’t stretch to the £749 asking price, take a look at some of the older versions of the camera – the RX100 III is still excellent, but is cheaper at £569, while the RX100 II is even cheaper at £479. You could even pick up the first generation Sony RX100 for less than £250 at the moment.
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Street price: £750
Despite having a lot of limitations – namely the fact it has a fixed length lens, the Fuji X100 range has won a lot of critical and audience acclaim. The X100T, the third version of the camera, is arguably ideal as a travel camera as you get super high image quality in a pretty small body.
Let’s make no mistake, this is not the most budget friendly compact camera on the market, or a choice for beginners, but if you’re in the market for something sophisticated, then it’s a beautiful choice.
It’s got a hybrid viewfinder, a 16.3MP APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor and a raft of manual controls, dials and raw format shooting. The drawback here is that you only have one focal length, but at a classic 35mm, it will bring a touch of elegance to your travel shots and force you to zoom with your feet.
Read our Fuji X100T Review
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Street Price: £519
Panasonic has a pretty hefty chunk of the travel market covered. The LX100 deserves a special mention because it provides you with a lot of features for your money.
First up there’s a large (Four Thirds) sensor, but there’s also the ability to zoom – the lens covers the almost classic 24-75mm length, and offers a f/1.7-f/2.8 maximum aperture. It’s small enough to fit in your bag, and maybe your pocket if it’s large enough, and also has an electronic viewfinder.
You’ve also got manual control, raw format shooting, and some great control dials and wheels that make using it a great experience. If you want something which covers a lot of bases, but doesn’t take up much room in your suitcase, then the LX100 is arguably one the most flexible choices available.
Read our Panasonic LX100 Review.
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