The best travel compact cameras in 2018

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Going on a vacation and clicking a million photos with your smartphone in the hopes that at least one will be profile picture worthy? Yeah, we've all been there. 

Most smartphone cameras aren't ideal for long-range shots and carrying a bulky DSLR is just too much of a hassle. I mean, in the age of minimalism, everyone aims to travel light and keep things flexible.

This is why we've come up with a list of the best cameras that can give you the range of a DSLR without the weight. A truly effective compact camera can prove to be a true blessing!

This is what makes the 'travel camera' genre so popular. These are compact cameras, barely larger than a regular point-and-shoot model, but with massive 20x or 30x zoom lenses. You get the portability of a regular camera, but with much more scope for shooting different kinds of subjects.

You're not going to get the same kind of quality you'd get from a DSLR or a mirrorless camera because the only way to make cameras with big zooms small enough to go in a pocket is to use a smaller sensor. But the picture quality is still pretty good, and perfect for sharing with friends and family.

If you're not sure this is the kind of camera you need, check our step by step guide: What camera should I buy?

Otherwise, keep reading, because here's our list of the top compact travel cameras you can buy right now.

Nikon Coolpix W300

Rugged waterproof camera with 4K video recording capability

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 16MP | Lens: 24-120mm, f/2.8-4.9 | Monitor: 3.0-inch, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting: 7fps | Movies: 4K UHD | User level: Beginner/intermediate

4K UHD videos
Water proof, shock proof, dust proof and cold resistant
Lacks viewfinder

The Nikon Coolpix W300 is made for those who love capturing adventurous moments as it happens. Though the GoPro series already exists in the market, the W300 has more access to features found on a conventional digital camera. 

It's rugged and waterproof, replacing the older Coolpix AW130, but very little is different in terms of technical specifications. It's worth it to point out that this camera will survive in depths up to 100 ft and can withstand a drop from 7.9 ft. In addition to also being dust proof, it's freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius. 

Another thing that's different is that It also has a SnapBridge feature that allows users to easily transfer the images to any mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy connection. The in-built GPS can pin point your location in any photo and the mapping feature along with the altimeter and depth gauge, gives you a holistic understanding of your photography.

Read the full review: The Nikon Coolpix W300

Sony Cybershot HX350

Sony Cybershot HX350

50x optical zoom bridge camera

Sensor: 1/2.3-inches, 20.4MP | Lens: 4.3-215mm, f/2.8-6.3 | Monitor: 3.0-inches, 921,600 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic, 0.2-inches | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Movies: 1080p FULL HD | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Tilting screen
GPS built in
Can't shoot RAW
Tricky pull-up viewfinder

Supposedly an upgrade from the HX300, very little is different between the two models. 

The camera comes with Optical SteadyShot anti-shake technology making it ideal for on-the-go photos that will develop without blurs. The 1080p Full HD video is an upgrade from the 720p HD options on the older model, but in the age of 4k, it still seems a behind the times. 

This bridge camera (in between professional and pure point-and-shoot) mimics its design from traditional DSLRs making it very hard to differentiate for laymen. That is to say, its extensive controls and solid built makes it look more expensive than it actually is. 

Read the full review: Sony Cybershot HX350

Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Huge zoom in a svelte shell

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.3MP | Lens: 24-960mm, f/3.3-6.9 | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle screen, 922,000 dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting: 5.9fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Excellent zoom range
Sturdy build quality
No viewfinder
LCD not touch sensitive

The Canon PowerShot SX730 HS is something of a tale of two halves. The good news is that it exhibits a fine build and is generally pleasing to use, with good response across most aspects of operation. 

If you want a no-nonsense camera with a broad zoom range, and most of the decision-making left to it, the SX730 HS may just be what you’re after. The flipside of this is that the PowerShot SX730 HS lacks several of the features of its rivals, despite being one of the dearest options of its kind. 

4K video, touch operation, an electronic level, even the option to move the focusing point - if you want any of these you'll have to look elsewhere. 

Read the full review: Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

Nikon Coolpix P900

World's first bridge camera to feature an 83x optical zoom

Sensor: 1/2.3-inches, 16MP | Lens: 4.3-357mm, f/2.8-6.5 | Monitor: 3.0-inches, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic, 0.2-inches | Continuous shooting: N/A | Movies: N/A | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Huge zoom range 
Articulating screen 
Inbuilt Wi-Fi and near-field communication (NFC) 
No RAW shooting 
Screen not touch sensitive 
Expensive 

The P900 stands out because of it's 83x optical zoom and remains the market leader in this respect. The issue with this camera is that due to crazy large zoom, it's one of the larger cameras on the list.  

It's manual control feature is something that's immensely useful for enthusiasts but it's shadowed by the fact that you can't shoot pictures in RAW format especially since it's biggest competitor, the Canon SX60 HS, does support RAW.

As a travel camera, most of your images will turn out beautiful since most shots will be taken in bright light. It's ideal for bird or wildlife photographers, even for users who want to take pictures of the moon, since these things are normally out of range for most lenses. But, if you have plans for low-light photography, you should probably look at other options. 

Read the full review: The Canon Coolpix P900

Canon PowerShot SX430 IS

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20MP | Lens: 24-1080mm, f/3.2-6.9 | Monitor: 3-inch, 230K dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting: 30fps | Movies: 720p, VGA | User level: Beginner/intermediate

45x optical zoom
Interesting movie options
Manual pop-up flash
Screen is not gapless

What makes this camera special is its built-in optical image stabilisation (IS), giving almost 2.5 stops of stabilisation. There are a bunch of scene modes that come pre-programmed for different situations as well as an auto mode that for beginners that don't care for too many settings. 

There's a focus assist lamp in the front to help the camera focus in low light locations where as the pop-up flash is manual. You'll have to open and close it on your own even in auto mode. 

Even though it has an A/V out and USB socket, it lacks a HDMI port making direct connections to a TV a bit of a pain. The screen isn't gapless making the LCD view ineffective in bright light situations. You know, when you have to cup your hand over the screen so that you can see what's going on? That. 

The basics of the camera measure up well. Performance delivers decent results with good color composition. Despite having no HDR or backlighting scene mode, the camera comes paired with an iContrast that serves the purpose of expanding the dynamic range that the camera can capture. 

Overall, for travelling, this camera will give you value for your money!

Sony CyberShot RX100 III

The best pocketable compact camera just got better

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.3MP | Lens: 24-840mm, f/3.4-6.9 | Monitor: 3.0-inch, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/intermediate

EVF built in
High quality sensor fast lens
Screen isn't touch sensitive
Restricted zoom range
Two-step EVF activation

The Sony Cybershot Mark III is a unique camera that outshines the others in its price class. Unlike most of the other pocket-sized camera, this camera comes with a viewfinder (EVF). It helps with the composition of the photograph in bright light and helps you concentrate on the image.

An upgrade from the RX100 II, it manages to keep all the amazing features of it's predecessor while adding a whole bunch of improvements. It's 1-inch sensor is capable of recording high quality photos and the wide aperture enables the user to fully control over depth of field. 

The camera scores on all fronts, from being to easy to use to producing quality images. 

Read full review: Sony CyberShot RX100 III

Sony WX500

Sony WX500

Affordable with an amazing zoom but without the luxuries

Sensor: 1/2.3-inches, 20.4MP | Lens: 4.3-215mm, f/2.8-6.3 | Monitor: 3.0-inch, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting: 24/30/60fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner/intermediate

30x optical zoom
Tilting screen
Small size considering the feature set
No viewfinder
No raw recording
No touch screen

The Sony WX500 is an attractive camera with solid specifications, which brings the user all the same features as the HX90 and should even deliver the same image quality. 

What's the difference?

That it's cheaper. 

Since the sensor in camera is smaller in order to make the huge zoom feasible, one would assume that photographs wouldn't come out as well. But, the Exmor R CMOS sensor does a pretty good job. The Bionz X engine negates the qualm about over smoothing of images to hide the noise in photos. 

The auto-focus is pretty snappy, even in low light situations and handles its colors well. 

This camera is meant for users looking to save money without compromising on quality. 

Read full review: Sony WX500