A Good Travel Camera?

I just got back from my trip to France and Morocco! I’m so eager to tell you about it, but I need to get over jetlag, go through and edit my photos, and of course cobble together a few cohesive thoughts on the whole thing. So today, can I ask for a recommendation? I’d love a good camera for traveling. Something between my iPhone and my DSLR.

I brought my Canon 7D with two lenses (a wide angle 10-22mm, and my favorite, the 35mm f/1.4L prime) in a leather camera bag from ONA. Altogether, my camera gear was at least 10 pounds which I’m normally happy to carry for the sake of better quality photos. While six months pregnant though? I was jealous of my travelmates with small lightweight cameras. And really, I’ve been looking for a good travel camera for a couple of years now — it just took this trip to really make it seem like I ought to finally find something.

Traveling With My Camera Bag

I’m aware of a few options… Jordan bought a Sony NEX on the recommendation of a friend, and coincidentally it was the same model that both Carol and Dave were using, though theirs were provided to them by Sony. I was sent a Samsung Galaxy Camera to review for Babble in 2012, and I had high hopes for it but it was buggy and not as great as I’d hoped. I liked the quality of the Canon G10 that I used to own (I gave it to my sister a couple of years ago, but it looks like the new G16 might work for me now), and I’ve heard great things about the Fujifilm X100S, but I worry that the fixed lens is limiting and it’s expensive.

Since I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t need to carry all of my heavy, expensive gear with me, I’m still looking for the magic camera I was two years ago. Good in low-level light, wifi or bluetooth connection with my iPhone (or maybe just Eyefi compatibility?), manual and a variety of automatic modes (shutter or aperture priority), nice depth of field, a wide optical zoom range, and of course, something that can take good quality photos. Do you have any recommendations, or an impartial review site to check out? Thanks in advance for your help!

76 Responses to “A Good Travel Camera?”

  1. Kathy McGraw July 1, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Did anyone mention the micro 3/4 mirror less cameras? They are so much lighter then the DSLRs, and take interchangeable lenses. They are the future. I have an Olympus EPL5 and it is wonderful and light. It takes the most amazing pictures and costs a lot less the comparable Fuji camera. It also has a beautiful retro feel to it.

  2. Molly July 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    I also have a micro 4/3 camera – a Olympus EPL-1. I like it very much. I’ve taken it on all my travels (Key West, London, Paris, Rome, Niagara Falls, Grand Cayman in the last couple years). It has interchangeable lenses and all the controls you’re looking for. All the goods for it will fit in a small bag. I took a digital photography course a few years ago and my photos were on par if not better than those taken with big DSLRs.

    It has one drawback – it does not have a view finder – everything is done through the rear screen. You can buy hot shoe viewfinders for it, but they will run a couple hundred bucks.

    If you want all the controls of a DSLR and interchangeable lenses without the bulk, look into micro 4/3rds mirrorless cameras. Nikon, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus and Sony all make them. I think you’ll also appreciate their somewhat retro look.

  3. B July 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    I love my little Canon elph. It takes really nice photos (especially outdoors) and the casing is a tank – it has survived many drops!

  4. Trudy July 2, 2014 at 12:53 am #

    I have a Canon G12 camera and have never wanted a DSLR. My friends with DSLRs can’t believe the quality of my photos, on just a small compact camera. It is actually a bridging camera, and you can use it with lenses if you want, but for most stuff, especially if you don’t want to cart heaps of gear around, it does pretty good on its own. I think the newer version is G16?

    • Mary Middleton Design July 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      I have the G11 and love it but have scratched the lens. Its almost cheaper to replace than fix (I hate that) so I’m reading these responses with my own needs in mind. Until the scratch I think the G11 was almost on par with a DSLR except for when a wide angle was needed

  5. Sangeetha July 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    I have a Panasonic Lumix 7. I cannot give you any recommendations as I simply use it as a point and shoot and have never given any of the ther features a try.
    What I would love to see on your blog, once you purchase your travel camera, is maybe a tutorial on how to get the best pics with bridge cameras.
    This is much needed for amateurs like me! Thanks!

  6. Natalie July 2, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Looking forward to seeing what you find. I definitely find myself wish I had pulled out my camera to snap pics of our 7 month old now, instead of the usual iPhone. I want her to have great quality pics but our camera with lenses is too much to carry on top of a diaper bag/stroller/ purse and everything else to entertain our little lady!

    xo
    Natalie
    chicbostonmama.com

  7. Bethany July 5, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    My husband bought the Fuji 100x last year after selling his Canon – it’s the first time he hasn’t had a DSLR but he loooooooves it. It’s great for travel and takes amazing photos. Sorry for my non-pro review, just wanted to say it’s rad.

  8. Rebekah McKissick July 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    I don’t know anything about cameras but your haircut is super cute and looks adorable on you! It’s enough to make this long haired devotee reconsider.;)

  9. diana elizabeth July 7, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    I am also with Carol and Dave as a Sony Club blogger so I have the NEX equipment, I love it. I’m also a professional photographer and I think it’s great. However I believe Sony is phasing the NEX out and the Alpha 6000 is the new one to have – I have my eyes on that. Lenses are affordable too, $250ish for a 50/1.8 and 16/2.8. I still love my fixed lenses. Glad you had a great time on the trip!

  10. WendyK July 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    I replaced my elderly Canon DSLR with a micro 4/3 mirrorless a few months ago (the Olympus OM-D E-M10) and I LOVE it! In doing my homework on mirrorless, it just seemed like micro 4/3 was the mirrorless line with the widest variety of lenses available, at all price points and from several manufacturers, and many of the lenses themselves are also quite a bit smaller than the other mirrorless lines. My E-M10 has wifi and can connect to an iPhone via an Olympus app. It has gotten stellar reviews. Good luck with your search!

  11. WendyK July 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Adding a link that shows the size comparison between an Olympus E-M10 with 9-18mm lens and your Canon with the 10-22, which is a comparable focal length:

    http://j.mp/TYSoyG

    • Making it Lovely July 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

      That Olympus is one of the cameras I’ve been considering, and I love that camera size comparison!

  12. jenn geibel July 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    My husband is a photographer….but, i’m not! I got sick of the giant cameras that i didn’t know how to use & begged him to find us a good point & shoot before our baby arrived (3 years ago). We purchased the Cannon G10 (i’m sure they have a newer model now) & LOVE it…the quality is great, the size is nice & it’s simple enough for me or advanced enough for him….good luck!

  13. Jennifer July 13, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Since you’ve already invested in Canon lenses, sticking within that ecosystem is a good idea. It will permit you to keep your investment in the Canon 7D and the other lenses (35mm and 10-22mm). I have the 7D as well, and it’s one of the best cameras I’ve ever owned. Sometimes it can be too much for me to handle, especially when I want to carry less items.

    I picked up the Canon EOS-M kit with the 22mm lens. I believe it is vastly underrated, and maligned for no reason. It carries many of the same specifications included in the Canon 7D, albeit in a smaller packages. It can shoot in RAW and JPG file format, unlike many portable compact cameras. It carries an 18 megapixel sensor, meaning the same picture sizes as the 7D. It can go high in the ISO range, making it work very well in the dark. The body is beautiful and lightweight, making it easy to carry around.

    One of the most important features to me, was the compatibility with already existing Canon lenses. Any regular Canon lens (EF or EF-S) will work with the EOS M, provided you have the adapter. It can sound rather ridiculous to some people, but I don’t mind it at all. In fact, it reduces the weight issue of the camera body, and makes the lens very stable in the hands. I use my EF 24-105mm f/4 L lens with the EOS-M, and it works fine.
    The optional EF-M lenses are also rather nice in quality. I have been carrying around the EF-M 22mm prime lens included in the kit. Some people complain that the AF is too slow for their needs, but I haven’t run into an issue with it. Part of the advantage of having the large LCD is using Manual focus to get exactly the picture I want. The picture quality is very nice. The camera seems to be able to compensate for blown out skies or light in pictures, allowing it to salvage many pictures.
    In the end, you’ll be spending the least amount of money by going with the EOS M. There is also a shorter learning curve, given the consistency of the operating systems in Canon cameras.

  14. Caroline Calcote July 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    Check out the Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 (or whatever the newest equivalent model is…I’ve had it a while now). It is amazing. It has practically made me give up my DSLR. It is pricey, but truly amazing.

  15. Linda Andrews July 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    I LOVE your sense of humor!! I am just now reading about your visit to Chartres Cathedral with all your camera equipment, climbing around and being six months pregnant!! You’re looking for the MAGIC camera, what you call EYE-fi!! EXCELLENT. It’s being developed down the street from me at MIT. I needed a laugh tonight! Thank you!!

    I know I’m going to LOVE your blog just by looking at some of the current pages, but I’m thrilled with your archive pages as well.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU and keep it up!

    You newest fan,

    Linda in Cambridge, MA

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