Upgrade your travel photos with these lightweight cameras that pack a punch.
Nat Geo Travel asked Tom O’Brien, photo engineer for National Geographic Magazine, to share his top picks for must-have compact cameras. These cameras are perfect for both traveling light and making incredible photos. Read about his favorites and start planning your next trip!
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For the traveler who wants the best model overall
Pick for Travelers: Over a year old now but the X-T2 still maintains its prowess of imaging excellence. The camera has everything one would want in a professional DSLR in a APS-C mirrorless camera. The combination of quality manual dials to control settings, speed of image processing, the amazing line lenses and the build quality make this camera such a pleasure to use that many professionals now use this camera as their main system. You simply cannot go wrong with the X-T2 as a high end travel camera; it’s an all-star, all-around team player that just won’t quit or let you down, no matter where your travels take you.
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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
For the technologically-demanding traveler
Pick for Travelers: The E-M1 Mk II is in the writer’s opinion the most technologically impressive camera on this list. In a package that is considerably smaller than professional DSLR cameras Olympus has placed imaging technologies that allow for mind-bending capture rates (both mechanical and electronic shutter speeds are class leading). The E-M1 MKII is easily the most weather sealed interchangeable lens camera on the market; I took it canoeing in the Florida springs and a few times splashed water directly onto the camera, it didn’t skip a beat. Olympus has legendary autofocus, allowing for sharp, fast, and accurate focusing on targets of all types and speeds. This means whether you find yourself at an air show shooting soaring planes or photographing a local parade of dancers at dusk, this camera will lock tightly to subjects. This is a truly versatile travel camera.
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For the app-loving traveler
Pick for Travelers: The a6000 series has become increasing popular with those looking to capitalize on Sony specific technologies while maintaining a very compact and relatively affordable camera; the a6500 is a the latest in this line. The a6500 is great for those that understands the shortcomings of the current generation of E-mount Sony cameras but wish to enter into the ever expanding Sony Alpha universe to reap the benefits of their sensor technologies. The a6500 is exceptionally compact and light for the sensor and technology is packs in. The shear popularity of this camera speaks to volumes about Sony imaging technology. In this iteration you will find a powerful 425-point phase detection autofocus system and an extended shooting buffer.
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For the water-loving traveler
Pick for Travelers: The Olympus TG-5 continues its line’s legacy as a top choice for a tough camera and entry level underwater camera. This iteration of the TG line makes an interesting design change from its predecessor, it has downsized its pixel count from 16 MP to 12 MP. To most this seems like an odd decision but in fact it is a move to increase the low light performance of the sensor. By reducing the pixel count, the pixels can be larger and thus gather light more efficiently, giving better performance in dim conditions such as underwater or at dusk. Make no mistake though, the sensor size is still ample for posting to the web and smaller prints. As usual the TG line of cameras, the TG -5 is the leader of the pack in tough cameras.
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Top 10 Compact Cameras for Travelers
By Tom O’Brien
Photographs by Mark Thiessen
more at National Geographic