Heading off to sunnier climes on your annual holiday? You don’t need to break the bank with these budget friendly cameras which are ideal for traveling. Here are some of our favourite cheap travel cameras.
Travel cameras need to be flexible enough to use in a variety of situations, while also being light enough that you’ll want to carry them around with you all day. You’ll often find that you pay a premium for the latest and most advanced releases – but just because a camera is a year or two old, doesn’t mean it automatically stops being a good performer.
In this piece, we’re going to take a look at some older cameras which you can pick up for a fraction of the price of the latest releases, but still deserve room in your holiday suitcase. Save your money for piña coladas by the pool with our guide to the best cheap travel cameras 2016.
Best cheap travel cameras 2016
When you want a camera that slips into your pocket but covers a large zoom range, you could choose one of these, most of them are one generation behind.
Sensor: 12.1MP 1/2.3-inch type MOS Sensor
Zoom: 30x (24-720mm)
Other features: Full HD video recording, inbuilt Wi-Fi, manual control, raw format shooting.
Several reviewers have noted that the TZ80 is outperformed in image quality stakes by its predecessor the TZ70, so not only are you getting a bit of a bargain, you’re also getting something that produces better results than the newer version. In many ways the TZ70 is the ultimate travel compact camera, featuring a huge zoom range, the ability to record in raw format, full manual control and a host of automatic and video options. If you want something to take with you around sights and tourist attractions, as well as taking family portraits, this could be an ideal camera and is currently available for less than £250.
Sensor: 20.2MP 1/2.3-inch type CMOS Sensor
Zoom: 18x (25-450mm)
Other features: Hybrid Auto, Full HD video recording, inbuilt Wi-Fi
Although the Canon SX610 is a much simpler camera than Panasonic’s TZ70, it’s also available at a super bargain price now, sneaking just over the £100 mark. You don’t have manual control or raw format shooting, but you have a good range of automatic stills and video options, plus an 18x zoom – you can concentrate on having a good holiday and framing your shots, rather than anything else with a camera like this.
Sensor: 18.2MP 1/2.3-inch type Exmor R CMOS sensor
Zoom: 30x (24-720mm)
Other features: Tiltable LCD screen, Bionz X Processor, Manual control, Full HD video
This cute compact camera was the world’s smallest 30x optical zoom camera at the time of its launch, meaning you get a whole lot of focal length range in your pocket. You can also shoot in manual mode, but there’s no possibility to shoot in raw format. There’s a good range of automatic and video options, and you can shoot your holiday selfies with ease using the tilting screen.
Best cheap bridge cameras 2016
The flexibility of shooting with a DSLR in a much smaller and easier to carry package. You’d need a lot of different lenses to cover the range a typical bridge camera offers. Here’s some bargain finds, again older models in a company’s range.
Sensor: 16MP 1/2.3-inch type CMOS sensor
Zoom: 50x (24-1200mm)
Other features: Full HD video recording, Wi-Fi and NFC, Zoom Frame Assist, Manual Control
This well-equipped bridge camera from Canon is a good shout if you are an existing Canon user and want to feel familiar with all the buttons and menu options. You’ve got a great focal length range, and you can shoot in manual mode. Raw format shooting is missing, which is a shame, but otherwise it’s a very flexible option. Bear in mind there’s no viewfinder, though.
Nikon Coolpix L340
Sensor: 20MP 1/2.3-inch type CCD
Zoom: 28x (22.5-630mm)
Other features: AA batteries, Smart Portrait Mode
If we’re talking about ultimate bargains, the Nikon L340 is great if you’re on a strict budget. Keep it away from low light situations and you should be left with some great photos. The 28x optical zoom is flexible for most conditions, and should serve you well in most tourist spots. What’s more, the fact that it accepts AA batteries means you can usually find replacements no matter where you are in the world. On the downside, this camera doesn’t shoot raw format and there’s no manual mode.
Sensor: 20.2 1-inch type Exmor-R CMOS sensor
Zoom: 8.3x (24-200mm)
Other features: Tilting screen, electronic viewfinder, Wi-Fi and NFC
While something costing over £500 may not seem to be cheap, when you consider that the newest version of this camera costs £1,350 you begin to see why we have included the camera in our list. £559 is a great price for Sony’s premium bridge camera, which uses a much larger than average sensor. While 8.3x zoom doesn’t seem like too much when you consider some of the other behemoths we have included on this list, it should more than enough to cover most situations, and covers a much wider area than the average DSLR superzoom lens. You also get manual control, raw format shooting, and good coverage in low light.
Premium Compact Cameras
When you want something which offers a fantastic compromise between pocketablility and high image quality, some of the premium compacts on the market could be the one for you. Here’s three that are currently available at a great price.
Sony RX100 III
Sensor: 20.1MP 1-inch type Exmor R CMOS sensor
Zoom: 2.9x (24-70mm)
Other features: Electronic viewfinder, Tilting LCD screen, Bionz X Processor, Wide maximum aperture
Another camera which seems expensive on first glance, but is much cheaper than the latest version of the RX100. Sony has set the benchmark for one-inch type premium compact cameras, which is now in its fourth generation. The third generation still produces excellent images though, and although a relatively modest zoom range, 24-70mm should suit most subjects and is the same as the classic professional lens focal length range. You get manual control, raw format shooting and fantastic image quality in low light. You also get an electronic viewfinder which cleverly hides in the camera’s chassis when not in use.
Sensor: 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor
Zoom: 4x (28-112mm)
Other features: Electronic viewfinder, wide maximum aperture, raw format shooting.
Fuji’s retro-styled premium compact camera doesn’t is available at a bargain price thanks to the fact that the X30 is now available. You still get a great camera with the X20 which has a good range of features to suit the enthusiast photographer including full manual control, raw format shooting, an electronic viewfinder and high image quality. It helps that it looks great too.
Sensor: 20.2 1-inch CMOS sensor
Zoom: 4.2x (24-100mm)
Other features: Full HD video, wide maximum aperture, raw format shooting, manual control
Canon used to rule the premium compact market until Sony started to take it over with its one-inch sensor cameras. Now Canon has its own range of one-inch sensors, bearing the G name. The G7X sits in the middle of the line-up, and although it’s now been superseded by a Mark II, you still get a great camera in the Mark I version, with raw format shooting, great low light performance and a flexible zoom range.