We look at the best cheap cameras for holidays and adventures. Find the budget travel camera that’s right for you!
If you’re heading off on an adventure, you’ll want a camera that fits your budget. The best travel cameras need to be portable, they need to have reliable features like a good battery, and ideally they need to be an all-in-one prospect – so either have a fixed lens that covers a good focal range, or come packaged with one.
Here we’ve compiled our list of our favourite budget travel cameras that are available right now. We’ve put together a selection of affordable current models and older cameras that still work great and can be picked up for a bargain. There are some tough waterproof cameras on the list too, and plenty of cameras that are highly capable for shooting both stills and video. Whatever you want to capture on your adventures, we’re confident you’ll find the right budget travel camera for you.
Let’s get to the cameras!
A travel compact designed to do it all, the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 can be picked up for a great price, and boasts a 30x optical zoom lens covering an equivalent focal range of 24-720mm, giving you coverage of the vast majority of shooting situations. Despite its slim form factor it finds room for both an electronic viewfinder with 1.2million dots of resolution and a 3-inch rear LCD screen with 921,000 dots, so however you like to compose your images, you’re covered. There are loads of extra features too – like 5-axis image stabilisation for smoother handheld shooting, built-in Wi-Fi, and a high-sensitivity sensor for better low-light performance. An outstanding all-rounder for the price.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ70
It seems amazing that this little device can shoot 60p 4K HDR video, but that’s exactly what it does, and more besides. DJI’s little action camera wunderkind is a great camera for all weathers, able to be submerged in depths of up to 11m and equipped with RockSteady stabilisation for super-smooth video footage. It can also shoot in up to 8x slow-motion, and with two LCD screens, one on the front and one on the rear, it’s also a great tool for adventurous vlogging. The video and image quality are superb, making the DJI Osmo Action a massively competitive prospect for the price.
DJI Osmo Action
Another camera blessed with a 30x optical zoom lens covering the all-purpose focal range of 24-720mm (equivalent), the Sony Cyber-shot HX90V also boasts a retractable Tru-Finder EVF and GPS functionality that automatically tags your images and videos with location data. Its 3-inch LCD monitor tilts upwards and can be rotated 180-degrees, expanding your composition options and making the camera a great option for vlogging. The lens is made with Zeiss optics for superior quality, ensuring your images and videos will be pin-sharp and rich with detail.
Sony Cyber-Shot HX90V Digital Camera with GPS
An all-weather camera that’s also outfitted for deep diving, the Nikon coolpix W300 can be taken down to maximum depths of 30m and so is perfect for underwater adventures. It’s also shockproof against drops of up to 2.4m, and it’s freezeproof down to -10°C, so wherever you plan on taking your travels, the W300 will almost certainly keep up and survive. It records 4K UHD video and shoots 16MP stills, benefiting from a 5x optical zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 for low-light work. Its Tool button is a useful addition, allowing you to instantly view information like GPS positioning, number of steps taken, altitude, air pressure or water pressure.
Nikon Coolpix W300 Digital Camera - Orange
The amazing GoPro HERO7 brought new functionality to the long-running series of action cameras, most notably livestreaming capability and the new HyperSmooth stabilisation system that delivers super-smooth video without the need for a gimbal. It can also shoot in RAW format for greater latitude in post-processing, and offers loads of great features like time-lapse, voice control, noise suppression filters, vertical-orientation shooting and – well, we could go on. It’s enough to say that this is a fantastic action camera and would make an ideal travel companion.
GoPro HERO7 Black
This highly capable mirrorless camera is one of the smallest and lightest in Fujifilm’s stable, boasting a stylish retro look with a leather-like finish. It comes packaged with the XC 15-45mm lens that provides high-quality images across a useful focal range, while the camera itself is no slouch either, with a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and an Intelligent Hybrid AF system that provides quick and accurate focusing power. Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi allow for fast image transfers and backups, and the generous native ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable to 51,200) makes it a great contender in low light. You’ll find the X-A5 does everything you need on your travels.
Fujifilm X-A5 Digital Camera with XC 15-45mm Lens - Pink
Equipped with Panasonic’s 4K video and photo modes, allowing you to extract still images from 4K footage for pin-sharp, moment-to-moment accuracy, the Lumix GX80 is a fantastic little camera that travels well. Its large 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor produces images with fantastic detail and rich colours, while the 5-axis Dual Image Stabilisation system expands your options when shooting handheld in low light. The 12-32mm lens is a useful addition that allows you to take wide, expansive shots, perfect for stunning vistas and gorgeous landscapes.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 Digital Camera with 12-32mm Lens
There have been plenty more cameras in the RX100 series since the release of the third model, however it’s still such a well-regarded camera that it’s still in production – and available for a knock-down price. Equipped with a 20.1MP 1-inch Exmor sensor and a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 lens, this is a superb imaging machine that’s so compact it’s perfect for travel as well. There’s a built-in viewfinder, Wi-Fi connectivity, a maximum ISO of 12,800, 10fps continuous shooting – everything you could want, in short. It’s an amazing piece of kit and for this price, it’s an absolute steal.
Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 III
About the Author
Jon Stapley is a professional journalist with a wealth of experience on a number of photography titles including Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World and What Digital Camera. See more of his writing at jonstapley.tumblr.com