As a travel photographer, I am always asked, “What is the best camera for a beginning travel photographer?”  The answer depends on your budget and long-term goals as a photographer.

When I started out in travel photography, I used a Nikon D7000 with a full frame lens. I knew before purchasing it that I was committed to photography and did not mind paying extra for my camera gear. Eventually, I upgraded to a Nikon D850 which is perfect for my needs and style of shooting. This set up along with a good quality lens and accessories can cost you over $6,000. A hefty price tag also came with a hefty size – a great, high-quality, Nikon flagship camera can take up a lot of room in your bag.

Thankfully, mirrorless cameras are quickly replacing the traditional DSLR camera. According to DigitalTrends.com, “a mirrorless camera is one that doesn’t require a reflex mirror, a key component of DSLR cameras. The mirror in a DSLR reflects the light up to the optical viewfinder. In a mirrorless camera, there is no optical viewfinder. Instead, the imaging sensor is exposed to light at all times. This gives you a digital preview of your image either on the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF).”

There are quite a few benefits to owning a mirrorless camera. The size, the weight, and the ability to take pictures inconspicuously are just a few of the advantages of mirrorless cameras.  Further, well-known tourist attractions, concerts, and even airlines are starting to ban the use of DSLR cameras.  Prices vary amongst these cameras, but make no mistake about it – your craft will take an investment. With all of these things in mind and assuming image quality, as well as the size of the camera, are essential to your purchasing decision, here are my top 5 cameras, at every price point, for beginning travel photographers.

Sony Alpha A7iii Mirrorless Camera

The Sony Alpha A7iii mirrorless camera revolutionized the camera market and set the standards for mirrorless cameras.  High image quality, sleek, compact design, and many accessories to include lenses are readily available to photographers.  If you purchase this camera, you will not be disappointed. However, it is a bit pricey but for the long-term investment it well worth its weight in gold.

Body Only Price: $1,999.99 

Lecia M10

The Lecia M10 is an excellent camera, and it weighs the same as the A7.  Many photographers love Lecia cameras for its nostalgia, name and its image quality.  In my opinion, it’s a bit overpriced, but it’s an excellent camera nevertheless.

Body Only Price: $7,995.00 

IMG: Leica-M10

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 IV

If you want something smaller and lighter than the A7 III, but with a wide zoom range, the RX100 IV is ideal for travel.  Notably, it also used by Bob Krist, a well-known National Geographic travel photographer.

Body Only Price: $899.99

IMG: Sony DSC rx100 mark 4 digital camera

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four-Thirds Camera

This camera shoots excellent images and is good for wildlife, especially with the crop factor.  This not a full frame sensor, but it will get the job done without the hefty price.

Body Only Price: $1699.99 

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Another excellent mirrorless camera with a crop sensor.  Perfect for street and travel photography, this camera delivers crisp pictures on the go.  The Wi-Fi function also allows you to share your photos quickly by using the free Fujifilm Camera Remote app. 

Price with one lens: $1499.99 

Whichever camera you decide to go with, do your research first. Take them for a test drive at your local camera store or check out your favorite photographers and ask them about their equipment. You can also check out used cameras, but buy from a reputable person or dealer. Good luck with your venture and happy shooting.

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