Travel Camera Recommendations From A Photographer
I didn't know what camera I needed when I was planning a trip to New York City with my best friend, and fellow photographer, Jess. All I knew was that I wasn't going to be bringing my massive DSLR camera and additional lenses on a trip to the city. One, because of theft and two, because who wants to lug that around with them!
So I began my search...
I did the typical Google search, "Best cameras for traveling" and "small point and shoot cameras". I came up with more options than I even knew existed and was actually quite overwhelmed. So I began to define what necessities and capabilities I was actually looking for in a travel camera. Here's my list:
- Fits in a coat pocket or fanny pack
- Good image quality
- Zoom capabilities
So, the list isn't that long.
The perfect camera is out there somewhere. I wanted something for the intermediate user, I know how to operate a camera on manual mode and wanted some advanced features that would make even a little camera appeal to a professional photographer.
Photos From The Trip!
The Best Camera for Travel Blogging
I had FINALLY found the camera that was going to be my travel camera for the trip. The Sony RX100 vii. It's the seventh camera in the series and this thing has so much to rave about for being such a small sized camera! It was released in 2019 and is known for its zoom capabilities, spot on auto-focus, the 4k video, and compact size. I wasn't really in the market for buying a new point and shoot camera right before Christmas, so I opted for renting this camera (with an extra battery) for my NY trip. When it arrived a few days before, I took an hour to familiarize myself with the handheld camera, messed with the settings, and started taking pictures. Although some of the buttons were really small, the camera wasn't that difficult to use... and I am a Nikon native.
Give Me All The Specs...
When searching for a new camera, I highly recommend looking and comparing spec lists. This is an easy way to see which cameras have what and pick the one thats right for you. Something that stood out on the Sony RX100 vii was that it had capabilities of shooting in jpeg and RAW. I love nothing more than editing an actual RAW image... it gives you so much more flexibility with editing. Other key features that sold me; 20 megapixels, 3" tilting screen, low 2.8 aperature, and ability to shoot in manual mode.
The sony also has a built in flash to the body. This came in handy when shooting some portrait shots at night in NYC and I'll say the flash handled quite well. As far as battery life, you may read some varied reviews on this. I had an extra battery on hand in case I needed it, but the battery lasted a great deal of time for me. We toured the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Observatory and several other sites in the city and didn't need to swap out batteries at all that day.
While this camera is highly rated for its video capabilities, I actually didn't film any videos during my trip. So I can't give any feedback on that feature.
"The RX100 VII is the most capable pocket camera currently on the market."
-Digital Photography Review
I really enjoyed reading reviews on this small camera, the Digital Photography Review website offered a great review of this camera specifically. This table was nicely put together by their website.
Pocket-Sized... For All Your Worldly Travels
This... the size of the camera, amazing! For being such a phenomenal camera, the size is so small and compact! See the photo below, it really does fit in your pocket!!! I would throw this in my coat pocket and pull it out at a moments notice to take some photos. The city doesn't stop for a photo opportunity so you have to be ready to take a picture if something is happening. I really liked that the camera had a wrist strap (it's small) that is attached to it, I would find myself wrapping it around my wrist while holding onto the camera. While it looks sleek and pretty, it can also slip out of your hands, so be careful not to let it drop on the ground.
Before And After Photos
I, of course, couldn't recommend a camera and provide a review without showing some before & after images. By before, I mean a RAW unedited image straight out of the camera. By edited, I mean edited in Lightroom Classic for color, exposure, highlights, shadows, white balance, and cropping. I like to use Mastin Labs and Tribe Archipelago presets as a color or B&W base for my landscape & outdoor images and make tweaks from there. I also included my camera setting at the bottom of each photo to show what I was using for my setting in each of these photos.
Okay, Where Can I Buy This Small Camera For Travel?
You can buy this camera in a number of places. You can order the Sony RX100 vii directly from Sony.com, Amazon, B&H Photo, and other verified sellers. The current price of this camera brand new is about $1,299 without extra accessories. I'll talk more about those below. I do recommend purchasing a second battery, and SD card (I love Sandisk) and possibly a case to keep it in.
Not Ready To Buy It Yet?
That's okay! I rented this camera the first time I used it on a trip to New York City. I use Lensrentals.com for all my camera-related rentals, been using this company for years and they have outstanding customer service if there are any issues at all! I have a link that will save you $25 off your first rental with them if you've never ordered a rental through them before. They also have a "buy out your rental" option if you really fall in love with your gadgets. Renting a camera is a great way to get your toes wet before commiting to the whole purchase. LensRentals also offers camera accessories like extra batteries, SD cards, tripods and so much more.
Accessories for your Sony RX100 vii
Okay, now for the fun part! There are a few accessories I would personally snag up for this little handheld camera that would make travel and using the camera a little easier and durable! First is a jacket case, it comes with a shoulder strap too! This is handy for wearing around your neck and keeping the camera accessible if you don't have any pockets available. Next is a tripod! The JOBY Gorillapod is a nice tripod with bend-y legs incase you're resting your tripod on uneven surfaces, this will be helpful. This tripod has a ballhead on it, making moving your angle super easy and smooth. Last, I would recommend purchasing the Sony attachment grip, this makes hanging onto the camera a little easier and helps prevent you from dropping it!
Now You're Set, Start Photographing!
I hope you enjoyed my review on the best camera for vacation photos and found it useful in making your decision on a camera to rent or buy for your next trip! If you saw any photos of New York that you loved and are interested in buying a print, feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to give you some information on purchasing one (or more)!