What kinds of cameras do professional travel bloggers use? What’s the best travel camera? Why choose this camera over that camera?
If you’re a travel blogger (or even just a traveler who enjoys visually documenting and sharing experiences), choosing the right camera and gear is extremely important. However, the plethora of different camera brands and types available, coupled with the savviness + industry insight required to identify important pros and cons for each make/model (not to mention the monetary investment required) can turn the task of choosing a new camera into a very daunting decision.
I know this from personal experience, as I’ve been in the market for a new camera for quite some time. I’ve spent the last several months doing A TON of research —from reading camera reviews to comparing camera feedback from other travel bloggers — to identify the cameras most-loved by bloggers, critics, photographers and consumers. I’ve spent so many mind-numbing hours researching and reading all about this camera and that camera, so I wanted to share my findings with you and hopefully save any current or future camera shoppers a few (million) hours of research.
If you’re considering a new camera, below are the top contenders for 2017’s best travel camera (based on months of research):
Sony A7R II:
I’m listing this one first since the Sony A7R II is the camera I ultimately decided to go with (after a great deal of deliberation). A little backstory about how I came to this decision: I had been using an old DSLR and wanted to upgrade to a newer version. Initially I planned on purchasing a newer DSLR (the options I was considering are included below). However, as a traveler I found that my DSLR (+ all my lenses) were kind of clunky and, therefore, weren’t the easiest to carry with me regularly. Since we all know you can’t plan those great shots, I ended up taking most of my photos with my iphone (since I opted for convenience and didn’t have my DSLR). While some people are perfectly fine carrying a large camera and lens set with them wherever they go, I found that I’m not that person. So ultimately, I wanted something smaller and more convenient without sacrificing image (DSLR) quality. Enter the Sony Alpha A7R II.
Though smaller than a DSLR, this full-frame, mirrorless camera’s image quality (at 42MP) is actually better than most DSLRs. When I decided to go for a smaller camera I had narrowed it down to this camera (the A7RII) and the Sony Alpha A7II. The A7RII is the better camera of the two (for numerous reasons), however it’s also about $1,000 more expensive than the A7II. The A7II is an amazing camera and I know I would have been happy with it. However one big reason I decided to fork over the extra grand and go with the A7RII was thanks to my lovely Canon lens collection. Though both the A7II and A7RII will work with canon lenses (if you buy an A-mount to E-mount lens adaptor like this one), the autofocus is slow or doesn’t always work on the A7II. So ultimately it came down to the fact that my Canon glass was more conducive to the A7RII.
Price: Starting around $2,500
Learn more about the Sony Alpha A7RII
Bloggers Who Use This Camera: Expert Vagabond, Everything Everywhere (Gary Arndt), The Planet D
Sony Alpha A7 II
As I mentioned above, The Sony Alpha A7II is an exceptional camera. Numerous travel bloggers have made the switch from large Nikon and Canon DSLRs to this lightweight mirrorless camera. The Sony A7II is compact, user-friendly and takes exceptional images and videos. It has a 5-axis stabilization technology which delivers sharper photos and smoother videos when taken by hand (without a tripod). You can buy this camera new for around $1,600 which is about average for any high-quality camera. If you’re willing to switch to Sony lenses, this is a solid camera for the price.
Price: Starting around $1,650
Learn more about the Sony Alpha A7II here.
Bloggers Who Use This Camera: Romaroo, Ordinary Traveler, Renee Roaming
The Sony A600 and A6300 are highly recommended by professional travel photographers. This mirrorless, compact camera is easy to travel with and takes a If you’re looking for a small camera that’s easy to travel with and takes amazingly clear and crisp photos. It’s easy to shoot with, easy to use, and — as an added bonus — it’s at a lower price point now than it has ever been before. You can get fancy and creative with multiple lenses, or just buy a basic point and shoot lens. If you’re not ready to invest in a high-end professional camera, but still want beautiful quality images this is a great option. Even a great deal of professional photographers carry any A600 as their backup camera. This little gem has truly stood the test of time and is still widely loved by photography enthusiasts and professionals.
Price: Starting around $500
Learn more about the Sony A6oo here.
Bloggers Who Use This Camera: Be My Travel Muse, Stuck in Customs
Fujifilm X Series
Fujifilm’s X-T2, X-T10 and X-T1 are all exceptional cameras. If you’re new to photography, the X-T10 is great for people who are just starting out, as it produces beautiful photos on auto mode. At $600 it’s also the cheapest of the three, making it a great introductory camera. One step above the X-T10 is the X-T1. The X-T1 is great for intermediate to experienced photographers as its manual focus settings grant the user much more control over image composition. Though slightly smaller and heavier than the X-T10, the X-T1 is weather resistant and a great all-around camera. For aspiring and professional photographers the Fujifilm X-T2 is the X Series MVP. This mirrorless camera blends an extremely responsive autofocusing system with Fuji’s first-rate color and image processing all within a compact form that makes it perfect for travel photography.
Price: X-T2 – $1,500 – $1,800
X-T1 – $800 – $1,100
Learn more about Fujifilm X Series here.
Bloggers Who Use This Camera: The Blonde Abroad , Adventurous Kate
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Before I decided to go with a smaller, mirrorless camera I was trying to decide between the Canon 5d Mark III and the Canon 7d Mark II. I spent hours researching the two cameras, and I can tell you both are exceptional for anyone wanting a DSLR. The 5D Mark III is a full-frame camera for serious photographers who want the highest quality gear. This camera is beloved by professional photographers and travel bloggers alike, and has been toted by some as the best all-around camera ever produced. Boasting a 22MP full-frame sensor in a body that’s based on the EOS 7D design, and with a 61 point AF system this camera really does it all. It also has the ability to produce clear photos at high ISO, making it great for night and lowlight settings.
Price: starting at about $2,000
Learn more about the Canon 5D Mark III here.
Bloggers Who Use This Camera: Do You Travel , Young Adventuress, Hello Emilie, Travel In Her Shoes
Canon 7D Mark II
The Canon 7D Mark II is another top professional DSLR. It features a newly designed 20.2 MP sensor that delivers high resolution image files with stunning clarity. It’s sensor also goes up to 16,000 ISO which is great for lowlight shooting. It also features some of Canon’s most sophisticated AF technologies, ever. All around this is a spectacular camera. Wildlife and Sports photographers especially love this camera for its speedy AF system and impressive continuous shooting rate. If I would have decided to go with a DSLR this is the camera I had decided on. It’s slightly less expensive than the Canon 5d Mark III, but has most of the same features (that matter to me), making it the ideal DSLR.
Price: about $1,400
Learn more about the Canon 7D Mark II here.
Bloggers Who Use This Camera: Queen of Jetlags, Kevin & Amanda
GoPro Hero 5
GoPro was invented to be the prefect travel camera. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean or skiing down a mountain, this camera can literally go anywhere. GoPro’s newest model, the Hero 5, is the best GoPro on the market. This new model is waterproof without the additional housing, and it features a touchscreen (so you can actually see what you’re recording and easily adjust menu options). The Hero 5 also boasts a cool new voice command feature, similar to Siri. Plus, as an added bonus, the new Hero 5 is actually less expensive than the 4.
Price: About $400
Learn more about the GoPro Hero 5 here.
Great article. I would love to own some of these in the future.
I currently have the cannon 600d and the Sony x5000 ! my two fav cameras for blogging and youtube videos <3
I bought a DSLR a couple years ago but have been thinking about getting a smaller, compact camera for travels. That Sony one looks perfect!
I love my Sony for traveling! It’s compact enough but it still takes great photos.
Oh man. The 5D is my DREAM camera! I currently have an 8D and it does me right so far but maybe next year I’ll invest in the 5D!!
This is a great review, i recently purchased a used cannon 7d, I’ll be referring back to your article when I’m ready to upgrade.
Great list. I always stress out about if I have the right camera, if I got a new camera what should I get, etc… I do think my next upgrade will be the Go Pro Hero 5, but I’ve see a few people have issue with it being damaged in water despite is supposedly being waterproof.
Thanks for sharing! I’ve been looking for a lighter travel camera. kimballandkedzie.com
We are currently in the market for a new DSLR camera and I came across your blog at the right time. Thank you for the information you provided. I will read more about these cameras and make a decision in about two weeks from now.
the sony you selected appears to be heavier and larger than the cannon cameras. in what way is it more convenient and compact? thanks.
It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the Sony A7RII is actually much smaller and thinner than any full frame camera. This article offers great side-by-side comparison images so you can see the size difference a bit better: http://bit.ly/2umwsBb
Thankyou so much!
You’ve done much if the homework that I had intended to do. I’ve been really focused on the Olympus mirrorless cameras but now I will also consider the Sony range.
Shaun and Mark
Great post and so detailed and with all the information that I was looking for because I am in the market for a Mirrorless camera, already owning a DSLR and a GoPro so your choice of the Sony really confirms what everyone has been suggesting to me. The A6 i’m told is good and cheap but I really plan to go for the A7 since I don’t change cameras that often. Thanks for all the info.
I’ve a Canon DSLR which is my baby but for the same reason ive been in the market for a mirrorless camera for some time now. Sony a7rii is my dream camera but sadly I cant afford it so I’m debating between Fujifilm x-t2 or Olympus om-d e-m10 mark ii. Difficult decisions ahead!