Best Vacation Camera

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086 JP 20140725 085559 Australie

De beste camera’s voor op vakantie

We tested 103 cameras (see our camera reviews) before we decided to write this article.

On vacation, you’re usually in a new environment, surrounded by all kinds of new impressions. You see new things and often want to share them with others. No wonder that for many people, the vacation is therefore the perfect time to take a lot of pictures. For those who are still wondering which camera is best for that, we’ve made a selection of the best vacation cameras from all the cameras that we have tested.

WHAT KIND OF CAMERA WILL YOU TAKE WITH YOU?

The temptation is of course great to take the best camera you can afford on that wonderful trip to the Grand Canyon, the expanses of the Serengeti or the high mountains of Nepal. However, the idea that a better camera always makes better photos does not always hold true. Unless you’re on a special photo trip, you’re often on the road a lot on vacation, and you don’t always have the time to adjust everything properly or to set up a tripod and wait for the right light. And certainly not if you also have a partner and/or children with you. Weight and costs can also slow you down. A heavy camera with heavy lenses can become a burden when walking around all day, which might make you want to leave equipment behind in your hotel or just not want to take it out of your bag anymore.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario H-FS AF 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ f/8 1/500 sec 800 ISO
Nature photography does not require a big camera with heavy lenses. It can be done very well with something modest like an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with (converted to 35 mm) a 90-400 mm objective lens that weighs three ounces. Thanks to the good image stabilization from Olympus, this shot is razor-sharp from a rocking boat without a tripod.

We therefore have a strong preference for lighter cameras when traveling. They’re easier to take with you, which means you often shoot more pictures. In some places in the world, an expensive camera can also attract too much unwanted attention, making it less pleasant to use it a lot. If that’s the case, consider a cheaper, less conspicuous model. And then possibly take two bodies. One for photographing and one for back-up.

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The ideal travel camera is lightweight and versatile, such as this Nikon D7500.

OUR CHOICE

It will therefore come as no surprise that we mainly opt for mirrorless cameras. After all, they are lighter than comparable SLR models. But there are also light and compact SLR models, which are also very affordable. And they have good sensors, excellent autofocus and a large selection of lenses is available. So those too are eligible. Without further delay, we therefore present our ideal vacation cameras:

LIGHT, COMPACT AND NOT TOO EXPENSIVE

Do you want a nice, light camera with which you can take good photos and have money left over for a nice trip? Then choose one of the following models:

Nikon Z50

The Nikon Z50 can be seen as a miniaturized version of the full-frame Z6 and Z7. The Z50 has almost the same ergonomics and control options as its bigger brothers. With 20 megapixels, the sensor has slightly less resolution, but it scores very well on dynamic range and noise. The Z50 has no image stabilization, but the two available DX zooms are stabilized. The quality of the zooms is good enough to get the most out of the sensor, and they are also very compact and together offer a nice range. The standard zoom, the Nikkor Z DX 16-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR is a real pancake zoom and ideal for traveling. For telephoto work, there is the Nikkor Z DX 50-250 mm f/4.5-6.3 VR.

Nikon D3500

288640 D3500 AFP 18 55 VR front34l 7f6d22 original 1535551179

If you want to keep it really cheap and still be able to take beautiful photos, the Nikon D3500 is a great choice. This SLR camera comes from a long line of D3xxx models. And that means that it is an almost fully developed model that offers great value for money. The 24-megapixel sensor offers 20% more resolution than the new Z50, and on a single battery charge, you can easily take 1500 shots if you do not use the screen too much. That is one of the advantages of an SLR. Another advantage is that the Nikon D3500 with its F-mount has a wide selection of lenses.

Nikon D7500

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For a bit more, you can also do yourself a big favor with the Nikon D7500.  This offers a larger viewfinder, a better and faster autofocus and a significantly higher shooting speed than the D3500. That is certainly useful if you want to do a lot of nature photography. It also has some extra controls, which is nice if you are an advanced photographer who sometimes wants to set everything yourself. Just like with the D3500, you can choose from one of the largest lens collections ever for the D7500.

Panasonic GX9

If you’re looking for a really small camera, but one with many options, then the Panasonic GX9 should be high on your list. The M43 sensor is slightly smaller than the APS-C sensors of the cameras mentioned above, but it does have the same number of megapixels as, for example, the Nikon Z50 or the D7500: 20. The GX9 also has an excellent built-in image stabilization, making it easy to shoot without a tripod with slow shutter speeds and to shoot beautifully by hand without a gimbal. There is also a huge selection of good and very compact lenses for the M43 system. If you want to take an extensive set with you, it will always stay smaller with a GX9 than with an APS-C system.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

OM D E M10 Mark III EZ M1442EZ horizontal KeyVisual

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III has the same lens mount as the Panasonic GX9 and the same size sensor. But where the Panasonic has a 20-megapixel sensor, the Olympus means making do with a 16-megapixel version. The sensor is smaller than that of APS-C, which gives the Olympus a small disadvantage in low light. But on the other hand, the E-M10 Mark III has very good image stabilization that works better than that of many competitors, and there are many reasonably bright fixed-focal length lenses for this system that are affordable and super compact. And if you enjoy working with long telephotos for shooting animals at great distances, you are at the right address with Olympus.

Canon EOS M50

17 EOS M50 BK The Front EF M15 45 STM

If you prefer to shoot with Canon, the M50 is a great choice. The 24-megapixel sensor delivers excellent image quality, and the turning and tilting screen with fine touch control is great. You can even film in 4K with the EOS M50, although with a significant crop. The 2.36-megapixel viewfinder gives a larger viewfinder image than comparable SLR cameras from Canon and shows you what you are doing.

Canon 2000D

If you prefer a Canon SLR, for example because you already have EF lenses or because you prefer to work with an optical viewfinder, then the EOS 2000D is a very nice, affordable SLR. It has a modern, 24-megapixel sensor with a good dynamic range. The autofocus system is the age-old, proven nine-point system from Canon, and the camera can film in full HD. You won’t score points with that at parties, but you can use it quite well to take pictures. And there is a wide selection of EF-S lenses available.

Canon 2000D review sample image
Sample image Canon 2000D test

FOR WHEN THE RESULT IS WHAT COUNTS

Are you going on a trip? And do you really want to come back with photos that you can be proud of and that you can also hang on your wall? Then take one of these:

Canon EOS R

EOS R Body

The Canon EOS R is Canon’s first full-frame system camera. It is significantly lighter and smaller than Canon’s full-frame single-lens reflex cameras but can be used with all EF lenses with no loss of performance or functionality with the EF-RF adapter. In fact, the adapter is also available in a version with an extra control ring. And of course you can also opt for the new and excellent RF lenses.

Nikon Z7

The Nikon Z7 is also the first full-frame system camera for Nikon. Even so, it is already a mature camera without teething problems. Shortly after the introduction, the autofocus was greatly improved thanks to a firmware upgrade, and the camera now has good Eye-AF. And with its 46-megapixel sensor, it offers image quality that few other cameras deliver. Buy the retractable Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 and Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 and you have a great compact set for landscape and travel photography.

Sony A7R IV

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The Sony A7R IV is, as its name suggests, a fourth-generation mirrorless camera. The 60-megapixel sensor is currently the best you can get in full frame. The sensor offers incredible sharpness if you use the right lenses. At the same time, the camera is small and has image stabilization. This helps when using unstabilized fixed focal points. The camera can even be used well with compact APS-C zooms. Then you still have 26-megapixel files. The A7R IV has an autofocus system that is certainly as good as the sensor.

Panasonic G9

Image G9 H ES200 SplashProof

Next to megapixel giants such as the Nikon Z7 and the Sony A7R IV, the Panasonic G9 does not seem to fit in this list. The G9 has a sensor with “only” 20 megapixels. For the most part, it is the same as in the GX9. But the G9 scores high both on speed and on film options. This is perhaps one of the best hybrid cameras. So if you want to film as well as photograph, this is one of the best choices. And it also costs a third of, for example, the A7R IV or the Z7. You can spend the difference nicely on a number of high-quality, bright zooms or bright fixed focal points. Thanks to the M43 sensor, long telephoto lenses are also seriously smaller than those of full frame or APS-C.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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Just like the G9, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II also has a 20-megapixel sensor. On the Olympus, it’s all about speed. The camera achieves 20 images per second in RAW + jpeg and even 60 images per second in PRO-Capture. And if 20 megapixels is not enough, you can always use the 50-megapixel Highres mode. You need a tripod for that on the Mark II. If you want the Highres option, but without a tripod, there is the much larger E-M1 X or the new, not yet tested by us, E-M1 Mark III. The Mark II has recently received a major firmware upgrade, which has made the video capabilities and the AF in video much better, and the camera has also become a really good hybrid. Another strong point of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the fantastic weatherproofing. If you are going to extremely dusty, cold or wet areas, this is your best choice.

Oslo: Panasonic G9 + Panasonic Leica 8-18mm @ 18mm, 100 ISO f/5.6, 1/1000sec
Oslo: Panasonic G9 review + Panasonic Leica 8-18mm @ 18mm, 100 ISO f/5.6, 1/1000sec

If you are going on a trip, do yourself a big favor and leave that big camera bag full of heavy equipment at home. Traveling means being on the road. And the more you move around, the more you get to see. With lighter and smaller equipment, you are more mobile, and you often take more pictures. And a small camera is also much less intimidating for the people you get in front of your lens.