When you’re travelling, all you want to bring with you in terms of cameras is something light, relatively small, and that can deliver incredible image quality. And for many folks, mirrorless cameras and some point and shoots can totally fulfill that role. While everyone believes that you need a DSLR to get better photos, it isn’t always the best choice for when you’re travelling. They can be large and in order to get the best image quality with the mix of features, you’ll be getting into the even bigger cameras. When you’re in a big city the last thing you need to be toting around you is a large camera.
And for those times, we’ve got the list that you’ve been wanting to read right here.
We loved the X100s when we got it in for review. Granted, we didn’t think that the focusing algorithms were always the smartest, but the image quality that one can yield from a camera like this is nearly untouchable in the point and shoot realm (with the exception of Sony’s RX1R).
The Fujifilm X100s has a retro-inspired form factor that will appeal to not only rangefinder lovers, but street photographers. It houses a 16.1MP APS-C X Trans sensor that outdoes the image quality of pretty much any other APS-C sensor in the market. The sensor works by randomizing the photosites, therefore giving the user better image quality when shooting at higher ISOs. Plus there is no AA filter, so your results will be that much sharper.
This isn’t a camera targeted toward everyone though. There is no real automatic mode so to speak, just a program auto mode. I’ve seen people shoot with this camera in full auto and still achieve great results. As long as you can figure out what you’re doing, you really shouldn’t have a problem at all.
When travelling through a big city though, consider the fact that you’ll have a fixed 35mm equivalent on your camera that can do everything from portraits, landscapes, and candids. That field of view means that you can capture beautiful moments on the Metro in Toronto.
If you need something with a small form factor, excellent build quality, and wifi built in, you might want to consider the Olympus EP5. This camera is the successor to the EP3–which introduced some of the fastest autofocusing that we’ve ever seen. The EP5 brought with it an upgraded 16MP LiveMOS Micro Four Thirds sensor (the same in the EM5) and a magnesium alloy body outfitted with lots of retro styling.
You can affix the new VF-4 EVF to it if you prefer to use a viewfinder of some sort. Then you can pair the camera with either the 12mm f2, 17mm f1.8 (its kit lens), 45mm f1.8, or the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 to keep the package still portable but efficient when it comes to shooting in big cities. City shooting requires you to be swift and since you’ll most likely be doing a lot of walking, also quite nimble. For the absolute best in portability, we recommend pairing this camera with something like a HoldFast Gear Camera Leash wrist strap. This way, you can snag a photo of that curious stranger in the crowds of Midtown Manhattan.
Of any of the compact Micro Four Thirds cameras that we’ve held, the EP5 is by far the most solid feeling of the bunch so far. Granted it doesn’t have weather sealing. But if you’re not going to go shooting in the rain, that won’t matter any way.
The Samsung NX300 is one of the best cameras that the company has put out in a while, and in our opinion the best camera that they’ve put out this year. The NX300 not only boasts an excellent build quality, but has such a high emphasis on connectivity that you’ll want it to become your main travel camera in many ways.
During our review period, we believed the NX300 to be a camera designed for Instagram. Using the Samsung iOS or Android app, you can happily shoot away to your heart’s content and then camera will automatically transmit the images over to your phone at a smaller JPEG size. When you’ve unlinked the camera (which has its own built-in router) you can use your phone’s data or Wifi to transmit the images to your favorite social sharing service such as Instagram. Pair the camera with a small and fast prime lens and you’ll be in even better shape for a beautiful social sharing experience.
So what this essentially means is that you can shoot away to your heart’s content when you’re perusing the streets of San Francisco and then share that cool street performer that you found at Fisherman’s Wharf later on without even going to the computer.
Seriously, how could we not put the Sony A7 on this list?
We spent an entire week with Sony’a latest full frame mirrorless offering and found it to be more responsive when it comes to focusing than its brother the A7r. If you have a collection of rangefinder or system lenses, you can most likely adapt them to this camera with ease.
This camera has weather sealing, fast focusing with the right lenses, an incredible sensor that captures loads of information, and a great form factor that is very intuitive. What more could you really ask for?
Not only might this camera become your new main camera, but it is also perfect for travelling. The weather sealing means that if you have a weather sealed lens attached, you can take it out during the rainy days in Seattle. But the small size and lightweight build will also mean that if you’re getting into the trend of scaling tall buildings, you won’t have to worry about a heavy camera.
Last on this list is another Sony camera. But this isn’t just any Sony camera. The company’s reps are calling it their very own Swiss Army Knife. Indeed, it’s probably an appropriate name for it. The camera has a 24-200mm f2.8 equivalent zoom lens in front of a 1 inch sensor. Combine all of this into a small form factor and you’ve got a camera that can be quite capable and is perhaps the world’s most capable travel zoom camera to date.
Just think about this: with one camera you can get the quality of one of Sony’s best point and shoot cameras (the RX100 Mk II), a super far zoom range, wifi, and a totally reworked video system. This camera uses every single pixel on the sensor instead of line-skipping–which effectively gets rid of so many problems when it comes to recording video.
In the end, you’ll have a camera with a ridiculous zoom range without needing to change your lenses. Just keep in mind though that it is the smallest sensor camera on this list. And if you’re all about liking it big, then it might not be the option for you.
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