As smartphone photography improves year by year, real stand-alone cameras are being falsely sidelined, but jet-setters shouldn’t neglect travel cameras. They’re still better than smartphones and can make a hell of a difference capturing priceless sunsets, candid shots, meals, and more on your travels.
Composition, exposure, shutter speed, focal length … these are not terms most people are familiar with anymore, since we take 100 photos of any subject without hesitation or consideration, knowing that one of them will be editable and postable at the end. But for many people, smartphones are a gateway to a bigger hobby or even a new profession.
If you’re in the market for a new toy, whether it’s a gift or essential gear for your budding profession, consider advice from some of our favorite professional photographers.
Some of them are investments, yes, but then again, that smartphone in your pocket was probably around $ 1,000, and you have to replace it every two years. However, these best travel cameras below (with two obvious exceptions at the end) are built to last a lifetime, just like the memories they capture.
Best travel cameras for the globetrotting adventurer
Best travel cameras for landscapes and street photography
FujiFilm GFX 100S
âWhen I embarked on a year-long adventure across Africa from south to north, I chose a Fuji GFX as my main camera,â says August Dering, travel and portrait photographer and masterclass instructor of photography. âIt’s a game changer, able to take a rugged, weatherproof medium format camera out into the wild. The resolution, dynamic range, and optical quality are exceptional, and the latest cameras have incredibly effective image stabilization, which was completely unheard of in medium format photography just a few years ago. Fuji is killing him with the whole GFX system.
âI like to travel as light as possible, so I’m always looking for the best image quality in the smallest format, and Leica delivers in spades with the M-10R. This is the first high-resolution sensor in the legendary M-series, which makes it particularly attractive for landscape photography. I think a lot of people associate the M-series only with street photography and reporting (they’re phenomenal for that), but with a gorgeous 40-megapixel sensor and some of the best lenses ever made, landscape photographers should take a serious look at this delicious little beast.
Best travel cameras for food photography
FujiFilm X-E4 with XF35mm F / 1.4 lens
âThe FujiFilm X-E4 is perfectly designed for moments of spontaneity,â says Linda Pugliese, food, travel and still life photographer. âThe lens works well for photographing individual plates or standing on a chair to get a bit of the table scenery. It holds up in low light and the depth of field lends itself well to beautiful portraits. It’s the perfect on-the-go camera that maintains quality and control.
[$849 for body; fujifilm-x.com]
Rolleiflex SL35 equipped with a Zeiss 50mm F / 1.8 lens
âIn the slower times, when I’m cooking with friends, traveling for fun, and having time to sit down, plan and wait for the moment I want to capture, I prefer to shoot with my old-fashioned Rollei, âsays Puglia. âFor me, shooting with a film is a meditative act. The camera itself is a bit weird, so the end result is always a bit surprising. It’s all part of the fun, making the camera a collaborator and not just a tool. You can find the Rollei camera and lens on sites like eBay.
[Price varies; ebay.com]
Best travel cameras for high speeds
Sony Alpha 7 III
âA lot of what I photograph involves speed or a reactionary need, and that lends itself to having smaller cameras,â says Sam Hurly, automotive and lifestyle photographer. Fortunately, the little ones can compete better with the bigger ones every year. My favorite for form, price and power currently is the Sony A7 line, namely the A7 III. I found an incredible balance of megapixels, 10 photos per second, taking photos with a RAW buffer big enough to cover the average trigger daddy, not to mention a price tag under $ 2,000. (The fourth generation is expected to be released soon, so used ones will become even more accessible.)
âA secondary choice on the go is simply a compact camera. I also stay with Sony here; its RX100 line offers size, speed and specifications. Again, the line between size and performance is so blurry these days that a phone-sized camera can outperform older professional cameras. And yes, they still shoot better than smartphones; otherwise why would they do them?
Best travel cameras for winter weather and sports
Canon bodies with L series lenses
âWhen it comes to being in sometimes brutal wintery environments, you don’t have the luxury of changing a lot of lenses to keep things away from the back of the lens or the body sensor,â says Chris. Wellhausen, sports photographer, photojournalist, and Men’s diary donor. Wellhausen has been a Canon enthusiast for 20 years and relies heavily on their cameras and lenses for his high-altitude, fast-paced photos. “Canon 70-200mm is a must-have lens because it can create a wide range of compositions, whether the action is semi-near or farther away. It covers a wide range for most actions and is also a very nice lens for portraits. It’s built with a metal lens mount and has a decent rubber seal when it meets the camera body. Regarding the R3 body, that’s rock n ‘roll for me. It brings everything together; the moment, as sharp as it gets, captured on a high-end sensor, with a mirrorless experience. These bodies are built to be sturdy. I also like the 30fps motorization capabilities on an endless buffer.
[Price varies; canon.com]
Best camera for the candid
Ilford XP2 Harman Super Single-Use Black & White Camera with Flash (27 Exposures)
âYou already have a smartphone in your pocket that takes incredible candid photos,â says Paul Octavious, portrait, stills and lifestyle photographer and founder of Black Archivist. âBut nothing compares to the thrill of the movie and not knowing what you’re getting. Just point, click, hook and step forward – no double checking to make sure everyone has it. Looks perfect. Ilford’s Harman black and white camera gives you 27 exposures for $ 19. Twenty years ago this award shocked people, but now it’s a real art (and a joy) to do. develop a movie – and you’ll savor the travel memories even more than if they were lost in a scroll of 50,000 other vignettes on your device.
Best smartphones and apps for travel photography
âI’ve always trusted Apple and its cameras for the clean, minimal aesthetic of the phone and its software, and because the navigation is very user-friendly,â says Beau Sam, commercial videographer and lifestyle photographer. âI also think iPhones are exceptionally good at capturing stills and videos in natural light, especially with color and tone. Because I am a video director, I find the stabilization function of the new iPhone 13 Pro particularly useful. This allows me to shoot handheld while still delivering smooth cinematic shots. Even with a shaky hand and awkward feet, you can still get really smooth shots thanks to the stabilization engine.
âWhen it comes to editing, I use VSCO mainly because you can easily preset filters for stills and videos, so you can apply and publish quickly in real time,â Sam explains. âBut the better way to get a good photo on your smartphone, which cuts down on editing, is to control and lock the light. (On iPhones, you tap on the subject of the shot, then adjust the light to that thing and hold that spot until the photo is taken.) This is useful so as not to become overexposed or out of focus while shooting. shooting. For videos, this also ensures that your light stays consistent.
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