Best Mirrorless Cameras For Travel Photography

Looking for the best mirrorless camera for travel photography?

Because this is exactly where you need to be if that’s the case.

Right now I’m going to show you nine of the best mirrorless cameras on the market. Three for beginners, three for intermediate and three for advanced photographers.

Let’s get to it.

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Finding the best mirrorless camera for travel photography in 2019

Of course, the best mirrorless camera for you is a personal choice. A camera that meets all of your needs might not be the best option for someone else.

And that’s fine, we are all at different stages in our photography journeys. Some of you might be thinking about becoming a professional travel photographer, others might just be doing it for fun.

We’ll be going over a range of options from different brands to help you decide.

In each section I will tell you which one I would personally pick from that category.

But first

What to consider when buying a new camera

Price

Price is probably the biggest factor that will influence your decision. While we might all want the latest and greatest camera, we can’t all afford it.

Most of us have budgets to stick to. You should think about how much money you have to spend on a mirrorless camera, that way you can narrow the list down straight away.

Once you know your budget, you can start looking at the specs of the cameras that fit into it.

Sensor

For the purpose of this article, let’s say there are three, sometimes four, main sensors you need to think about when deciding which is the best mirrorless camera for travel photography.

The four different sensors are:

  • Micro Four Thirds (M4/3)
  • APS-C
  • Full Frame (35mm)
  • Medium Format

The difference between them is their size, M4/3 being the smallest are Medium Format being the largest.

The most common sensors found in mirrorless cameras though are the first three (Micro Four Thirds, APS-C and Full Frame), you’ll most likely end up with one of these three. Medium format mirrorless cameras are rare and aimed at professionals with a price tag to match.

The sensor is the part of a camera that captures the light. So, in general, a large sensor = ability to capture more light. Larger sensors generally perform better in low-light situations and also provide a larger depth of field (a burry background).

That doesn’t mean smaller sensors are bad though. For example, the Fujifilm X-Series cameras use only APS-C sensors and are regarded as some of the best on the market.

Smaller sensors mean the camera and lenses can also be smaller and when we’re talking about travel photography, that can be a big plus.

Weight and size

As I just mentioned, size and weight are pretty important factors when choosing a mirrorless camera for travel.

If you are going to be carrying it around on your back all of the time along with all of the other things you need while on the road, you will soon notice a few extra ounces.

Airlines often have weight restrictions for carry-on luggage and you will probably have your camera with you on the plane on your cabin bag. So minimising your photography gear’s weight is essential if you don’t want any unwelcome surprises at the airport.

Travelling With Photography Gear
Everything you’ve ever needed to know about how to get the most photography gear on a plane as cabin baggage for free.

Weather sealing

Depending on your style of photography and how you like to shoot, weather sealing may or may not be important to you.

It will probably come as no surprise that weather sealing is often a feature of more expensive cameras so you will really need to consider if you’ll need it or not.

Having a weather sealed camera basically means it can get wet and it shouldn’t be a problem.

If you plan to shoot lots of landscapes in changeable weather, it might be something to consider. But keep in mind that even mirrorless cameras that aren’t weather sealed can get a little wet from light rain and should still be fine.

For medium to heavy rain though it is very important that your camera and lenses are weather sealed.

Upgradability

Autofocus performance

Dynamic range

Megapixels

Range of lenses available

Best mirrorless cameras for travel aimed at beginners

A budget mirrorless camera doesn’t have to mean a bad camera if you know what to look for.

The best thing you can do when it comes to choosing the right camera is think of your needs. Not the features you’d like to have, but the things you’ll actually need.

Are you going to be making large prints? Are you going to be shooting a lot of video footage?

These are all things you should ask yourself beforehand to make the process easier. It might be nice to have an enormous 40+ megapixel sensor, but if you’re not going to get the most out of it then can you really justify the extra cost?

Sony a6000

If you want the most bang for your buck, then the Sony a6000 is the way to go.

Sony a6000
Sony a6000

You can pick one up with a kit lens for just a few hundred dollars. It’s without a doubt the best mirrorless camera you can get for around that price.

The a6000 isn’t new and, in fact, Sony have released a number of newer models designed to replace it since. It was first launched back in 2014 and even though it’s no longer the latest entry-level model, Sony are still manufacturing it.

It is however significantly cheaper than its successors. Sony packed as many top-of-the-line features into the a6000 as they could in 2014 which means it’s still a relevant camera now, in 2019.

The higher price of Sony’s newer entry-level models puts some beginners off buying them. That, and the fact the a6000 is still a great camera today, is which is why I think Sony haven’t discontinued this model.

They simply don’t want to loose their grip on the beginner market.

It’s lightweight design (344g) and small size means it will fit easily into your carry-on bag when travelling.

Some important specs:

Processor: Bionz X

Sensor Format: APS-C

Sensor Type: CMOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 344g

Megapixels: 24.3

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: No

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 100 – 25600

Duel Card Slots: No

Autofocus: 179 phase detection points + 25 contrast detection points

4K Video: No

Click here for a great in-depth video review of the Sony a6000.

Canon EOS M50

The Canon EOS M50 makes for a great beginner mirrorless camera if you have a little more money to play with.

I was debating if I should include the cheaper entry-level mirrorless camera from Canon, the EOS M3. But to be honest it’s not a great camera, it doesn’t even have a viewfinder.

I did say that “a budget mirrorless camera” doesn’t have to mean “a bad camera” after all.

Canon EOS M50
Read more about the Canon M50 and why it makes such a great travel companion for beginner photographers.
Canon M50
Canon M50

If the M50 is out of your price range and you wanted something around the price of the cheaper Canon EOS M3, then I would suggest getting the camera I mentioned above, the Sony a6000.

In other words, anything but the Canon EOS M3.

The Canon EOS M50 is very beginner-friendly. It even has an option to switch the menu into a beginners mode so that it doesn’t seem so confusing.

Perfect for learning all of the setting you need to learn without the confusion of all the photography jargon.

Some important specs:

Processor: DIGIC 8

Sensor Format: APS-C

Sensor Type: CMOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 351g

Megapixels: 24.1

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: Yes

Native ISO Range: 100 – 25600

Duel Card Slots: No

Autofocus: 143 phase detection points + 99 contrast detection points

4K Video: Yes

Click here for an in-depth video review of the Canon EOS M50.

Fujifilm X-T20

My personal mirrorless camera for travel was the Fujifilm X-T20 when I started out. Which is why it’s the model I recommend to beginners.

Despite it being the most expensive out of the three beginner cameras I’ve mentioned, it’s more than worth the extra money.

Fujifilm X-T20
Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm released an updated version of this camera, the X-T30, this year. But again, the improvement in specs doesn’t fairly reflect the huge increase in price.

At least not for beginners anyway.

Something that I love about all Fujis are the manual dials. They are all very tactile and easy to use without having to go into the settings menu.

Fujifilm also make extremely good lenses and if you do eventually upgrade to one of their high-end X-Series mirrorless cameras, you won’t need to buy new lenses as you’ll still be able to use the ones you have.

All in all, I think the X-T20 is the best Fujifilm camera for travel.

Some important specs:

Processor: X-Processor Pro

Sensor Format: APS-C

Sensor Type: X-Trans CMOS III

Weight (with battery and without lens): 383g

Megapixels: 24.3

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 200 – 12800

Duel Card Slots: No

Autofocus: 325

4K Video: Yes

Click here for an in-depth video review of the Fujifilm X-T20.

More About Beginner Mirrorless Cameras
Check out this article about the best beginner mirrorless cameras for more help choosing your first camera.

Best intermediate mirrorless cameras for travel photography

If you’ve got a little more of a budget to play with then you’re in luck. The market for cameras that are a happy medium between features and cost has become very competitive.

The main brands have all been competing in this area which has lead to some really impressive cameras being released at a reasonable price.

Fujifilm X-T3

Fujifilm saw that the future was mirrorless before most did. And because of that, they have been perfecting their X-Series line of mirrorless cameras for quite some time now.

The Fujifilm X-T3 is one of their flagship models and for good reason.

Fujifilm X-T3
The Fujifilm X-T3

The X-T3 is the successor to the hugely popular Fujifilm X-T2. The X-T2 was a great camera when it was released, and it still is (you can pick one up at a reduced price now as it’s a ‘last generation’ model!). But the X-T3 raised the bar to a whole new level.

Not only has the X-T3 increased the image quality of still with it’s brand new X-Trans IV 26.1 megapixel sensor with backside illumination (BSI) but it has also made its mark on the lucrative video/hybrid market.

The X-T3 is able to record 4k/60p video internally with a colour depth of 10-bit at 60fps. The only mirrorless camera currently able to do that. A huge step up considering previous Fujifilm cameras had, at best, average video qualities.

The all new processor found inside the X-T3 means it can process data up to three times faster than previous generations.

Weighing in at only 507g (without a lens) it’s a great camera for travel.

Some important specs:

Processor: X-Processor 4

Sensor Format: APS-C

Sensor Type: X-Trans CMOS 4

Weight (with battery and without lens): 539g

Megapixels: 24.3

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 160 – 12800

Duel Card Slots: Yes

Autofocus: 425

4K Video: Yes

Click here for an in-depth video review of the Fujifilm X-T3.

Panasonic Lumix G9

Admittedly I don’t know too much about Panasonic cameras from first-hand experience, but I have a lot of friends who rave about them especially when it comes to video.

After being persuaded by a fellow photographer that the Panasonic Lumix G9 deserves a spot on this list, and after doing my research, I decided that I will include it.

Panasonic Lumix G9
Panasonic Lumix G9

One thing I do love about the G9 after picking one up and playing with it for a short time is the massive grip on it. I’m a big fan of mirrorless cameras but one thing I miss about DSLRs is the ergonomics.

Sometimes mirrorless cameras can be so small and uncomfortable to hold, especially with large lenses attached. Not the G9.

The G9 weighs 658g without a lens, which is quite heavy for a mirrorless camera. Especially a micro four thirds one. Something to consider if you’re buying it for travel.

Some important specs:

Processor: Venus Engine 10

Sensor Format: Micro Four Thirds

Sensor Type: Live MOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 658g

Megapixels: 20.3

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: Yes

Native ISO Range: 200 – 25600

Duel Card Slots: Yes

Autofocus: 225 points

4K Video: Yes

For an in-depth video review of the Panasonic Lumix G9 click here.

Sony A7iii

The Sony A7iii is my personal choice out of the three intermediate cameras I’ve mentioned.

It’s the first full frame camera to feature in this article and, in my opinion, it’s one of the best mirrorless cameras for travel photography out there.

Could the Sony A7iii be the best mirrorless camera for travel?
Could the Sony A7iii be the best mirrorless camera for travel?

Look at that big beautiful sensor…

It’s predecessor, the A7ii, got photographers the world over excited. Packing a full frame sensor into a mirrorless body and producing stunning images, Sony really hit the ball out the park.

And the latest iteration only builds on that success.

The A7iii has become a mainstay for all types of photography. It has proved itself in the studio, in the field and just about anywhere else you can think of.

It is probably the top ‘prosumer’ camera currently on the market.

Some important specs:

Processor: BIONZ X

Sensor Format: Full Frame

Sensor Type: CMOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 650g

Megapixels: 24.2

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 100 – 51200

Duel Card Slots: Yes

Autofocus: 693 phase detection points + 425 contrast detection points

4K Video: Yes

For an in-depth video review of the Sony A7iii click here.

Best mirrorless camera for professionals who travel

When money isn’t an issue, or a when you won’t let a mere price tag stand in between you and your passion, there are three mirrorless cameras that come to mind when the urge to travel strikes.

The next three cameras are expensive, very expensive, and by no means necessary if you want to become a good photographer. But if you are already pushing the boundaries and feel ready to take the next step, this is what I would recommend you think about.

You’re going to see a pattern forming.

I’m about to talk about two more Sony cameras. That’s because they really have cornered the market when it comes to making the best mirrorless cameras for travel photography.

I’m not biased, I personally shoot with Fujifilm cameras.

But every time I use a Sony mirrorless camera, especially one of the two below, I’m blown away.

Sony A7Riii

The Sony A7Riii would be my personal choice out of these 3 pro-level cameras.

Before Sony released the A7Riii people weren’t sure that its predecessor, the A7Rii, could be topped. Never ones to disappoint, Sony raised the bar to a whole new level with the 3rd generation of the A7R.

Sony A7Riii
Sony A7Riii

This beast is packing a huge 42.4 megapixel full frame sensor, an unbelievable 15 stops of dynamic range, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, improved AF performance and a whole load of other nice extras that the A7Rii lacked.

Maybe one of the most notable upgrades that makes it usable by pros is the dual card slots. No pro is going put their trust in a single SD card and risk losing a day’s worth of work.

The Sony A7Riii
Check out this article about my thoughts on the Sony A7Riii.

Some important specs:

Processor: BIONZ X

Sensor Format: Full Frame

Sensor Type: CMOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 657g

Megapixels: 42.4

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 100 – 32000

Duel Card Slots: Yes

Autofocus: 399 phase detection points + 425 contrast detection points

4K Video: Yes

For an in-depth video review of the Sony A7Riii click here.

Hasselblad X1D-50c

The exotically named Hasselblad X1D-50c isn’t just a mouthful to say, it’s painful on the wallet. You could buy the other two pro cameras on this list for the price of the Hasselblad X1D-50c and still get some change back.

Hasselblad X1D-50c
Hasselblad X1D-50c

Hasselblad saw how Sony had cornered the market by putting full frame sensors into mirrorless cameras, and proceeded to beat them at their own game by putting a monstrous 50 megapixel medium format sensor in the X1D-50c.

Admittedly, the price of the Hasselblad X1D-50c has curbed its popularity. You could buy a decent family car for the price of this camera, but nevertheless it’s a masterpiece in itself.

The Hasselblad X1D-50c is the heaviest camera on this list at 725g without a lens attached. With a lens it will be well over 1kg which, if you’re trying to travel light, can be a problem.

A lot of airlines have a 10kg weight restriction for carry-on bags. So this camera and a couple of lenses would easily take up well over 10% (more like 20%) of your entire carry-on allowance.

Some important specs:

Sensor Format: Medium Format

Sensor Type: CMOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 725g

Megapixels: 50

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: No

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 100 – 25600

Duel Card Slots: Yes

Autofocus: 35 points

4K Video: No

For an in-depth video review of the Hasselblad X1D-50c click here.

Sony A9

When it comes to studio work, the Sony A9 might not be your first choice. That award would probably go to the Sony A7Riii with its 42.4 megapixel sensor and its ability to capture extremely fine details.

Sony A9 best mirrorless camera for travel photography
Sony A9

Where the A9 really comes into its own is for shooting action, especially fast-paced sports.

It only has 24.2 megapixels. Yeah I said “only”.

However, it’s the A9’s blazing fast 20 FPS and autofocus that blows the competition out of the water when it comes to shooting sports.

Some important specs:

Sensor Format: Full Frame

Sensor Type: CMOS

Weight (with battery and without lens): 673g

Megapixels: 24.2

Viewfinder: EVF

Touchscreen: Yes

Articulating Screen: Yes

Flip-Out Screen: No

Native ISO Range: 100 – 51200

Duel Card Slots: Yes

Autofocus: 693 phase detection points + 25 contrast detection points

4K Video: Yes

For an in-depth video review of the Sony A9 click here.

Individual recommendations for specific types of photography and situations

Out of the cameras I’ve already talked about, I’m going to recommend one for different shooting scenarios. I’ll only go over things that are relevant to travel photography.

So for example, I’m not going to talk about things like studio portrait photography.

Best mirrorless camera for outdoor photography

Best mirrorless camera for nature photography

Best mirrorless camera for safari

Best compact mirrorless camera for travel

Best mirrorless camera for bloggers and vloggers

Final words on travelling with photography gear

Choosing the best mirrorless camera for travel photography is down to personal preference.

Before you considered anything you should think about your needs.

If you are just starting out, or have just outgrown your first camera, then you probably don’t need to break the bank by purchasing a camera that costs the same as a family car.

Once you’ve thought about what your needs are then, and only then, should the second factor come into play.

Budget.

Expensive camera gear won’t make you a great photographer. It’s a cliche saying, but it’s true.

I hope this guide to choosing the best mirrorless camera for travel  has helped narrow down your options. If you have any more questions feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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