* Smartphone cameras are convenient, but don’t yield high-quality images
* Choose portable and lightweight camera models that don’t skimp on image quality
* Many new camera models come equipped with smart technology + pro-level specs
In honor of Winter travel season, we’ve rounded up the best cameras (and video cameras) to travel with. These lightweight, compact, and pro-performing models won’t cause additional hassle and delay in TSA security lines at the airport, and they’re also easy to transport while you explore your destination.
Plus, unlike your average smartphone camera, these cameras are equipped with high-quality image processing capabilities, and many are engineered with smart capabilities so you can share your adventures with friends, family, and upload to social media easily while on the go.
1. Polaroid SnapTouch Camera – EDITOR’S CHOICE
Modern updates elevate the historically beloved Polaroid camera. The new generation Polaroid is an instant digital camera featuring the capacity to instantly print images, just like the original. This one, however, also allows you to sync images via Bluetooth to your smart phone or tablet to instantly share on social media or send to friends and family. It’s always nice to have tangible token of memories–especially when travelling–and this camera allows you to instantly print color, black and white, or vintage sepia prints, while boasting the full benefits of a high-performing digital point and shoot. Plus, it’s got some major storage capacity (126 gigabytes), high quality resolution (13 mega pixels) and helpful features like a built-in selfie camera, which will come in handy for impromptu photo ops or moments when you aren’t up for asking strangers to take your family photo for you.
2. Samsung NX Mini 20.5MP CMOS Smart Mirrorless Digital Camera – HONORABLE MENTION
This mini digital camera promises to “carry something small that captures it all.” In fact, it’s smaller than your standard smart phone and remains the smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market today. Despite its compact design and small size, its pro-level performance specs don’t disappoint, allowing you to easily get creative with your travel photography when you want images a little higher quality than your phone would yield, but don’t want to carry around a bulky DSLR. Its impeccable automatic noise-reduction properties and internal image processing capabilities beat out even the latest smartphone models, and its 20.5MP BSI CMOS sensor offers the utmost in clarity and detail, with lifelike colors that bring your memories to life. Even in low lighting scenarios, Samsung’s NX mini retains sharp detail and shadows without unwanted grain. It’s also designed with some impressive features including auto share, auto backup and even baby monitoring (through its video capabilities).
3. FujiFilm Instax Mini Instant Camera – BEST REVIEWED
Instant cameras are a natural choice for your summer photography needs, especially when travelling. With their inherently nostalgic design, instant cameras are a fun throwback to simpler times, when an instant print was the equivalent to today’s Instagram posts. But these days you can get the best of both worlds with the FujiFilm Instant Mini Instant Camera. The miniature size and lightweight design allows you to easily tote it around–toss it in your beach bag or stow in your carry-on until you’re ready to shoot. The vast selection of stylish color options make this cute camera an appealing choice for Instagram “curators,” as it will look just as charming in your photos as a cute prop.
To that end, it’s also got a selfie camera—a feature that clearly, the O.G. Polaroid models lacked. It’s internal light metering and aperture detection properties will recommend the best setting to use (indoor, outdoor, cloudy, night-time, etc.) depending on your environment, to ensure you get the perfect image each time, regardless of your setting. And, you can customize your photos too, with its manual adjust dial, which allows you to opt for an image with a softer, vintage look or a sharper result. For a retro feel with modern amenities, you can’t go wrong with this adorable instant camera.
4. Sony HDR AZ1VR/W Action Camera – HONORABLE MENTION
Sony’s smallest splash-proof action camera doesn’t skimp on upgraded features, despite its compact design and miniature size, allowing it to fit into smaller bags for outdoor excursions and reducing hassles in the TSA line. Added bonuses include Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization, which reduces bumpy, blurry or shaky videos when you’re hiking or documenting the scenery during your next road trip. Plus, the 170-degree wide-angle lens allows you to get creative with perspective with your in-motion shots, and its impressively accurate back-illuminated light sensor ensures you get stunning shots, whether shooting during the day or night.
If action sports, bike riding, or kayaking are in your travel plans, this camera will make documenting a breeze with its adhesive mount and adjustable tripod adapter. Simply attach the camera to your helmet, bike, or baseball cap for convenient, hands-free use.
5. Ivation 20MP Underwater Digital Camera & Video Camera – BEST VALUE
For warm-weather summer vacations, having the option to document your beach, pool, snorkeling, and other aquatic adventures is a major plus. In addition to being waterproof (submersible up to 10 ft.) this digital still and video camera is also shockproof, making it a great option for travelling with accident-prone children or vacations packed with outdoor activities or action sports.
Jeeping through the desert or going on a backpacking trip? This “mini memory maker” is also dust proof. In addition to its superb dual full-color LCD displays, it’s also equipped with a front-facing selfie for spur-of-the-moment photo-ops when a photographer isn’t available. Despite its compact design and lightweight feel, this rugged camera is meant to go places for the unfussy traveler.