When it comes to travel photography you need not only to make great images, which is kind of given for a good travel camera, but you also need it to comply with a bunch of other requirements. The camera must comply with the baggage limitations, it must be road-worthy and weather proof. This is because invariably there will be situations when you will be caught up outdoors in bad weather. So, without further ado here is the list of the top 7 compact cameras for travelers under $2000.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro-four thirds camera

We start this discussion about the top 7 compact cameras for travelers with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, one of the best mirrorless systems ever made. This mirrorless micro-four thirds camera has a magnesium allow body that is weather sealed. The 16 megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor produces excellent images as well as full HD videos at 60p.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

It is also capable of shooting UHD 4K 3840 x 2160 videos at 30p / 24p, something travelers love doing on their travels. You can choose to compose with either of the bright 3” 1036k-dot OLED touchscreen monitor or the 2359k-dot OLED live-view finder. Assisting you with auto-focusing is the 49-point auto-focus system. It supports a fast burst mode of 12 fps with AF-S mode. To top it all the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless digital camera

For one thing, the Fujifilm relishes a challenge. It is a camera that is tailor-made for shooting stills while you are traveling. This is a slightly dated design, not because it looks like one, which is essentially a retro design wrapped around a fantastic piece of digital sensor, but because in reality this is an old camera. It was launched in 2014.

Fujifilm X-T1

Fujifilm X-T1

Despite being old the camera is still a workhorse and thus find a place on this list of the top 7 compact cameras for travelers. The weather resistant construction of the camera consists of over 75 seals preventing dust and dirt from entering the camera. Moreover, the camera is rated to work even in -10 ˚ C, making it ideal for most locations around the globe. The camera has an array of buttons and dials that make it very easy to work with most of the shooting tweaks. A great additional feature of the camera is that the you have an option to use a battery grip. This houses a separate battery compartment and extends your shooting time.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless micro four thirds digital camera

The next in this line of top 7 compact cameras is also a dated design. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 was launched back in 2013. However, under $2000 it has one of the better weather sealed bodies in the business.

Olympus OM-D E-M1

Olympus OM-D E-M1

Inside the magnesium alloy construction and weather sealing is a 16 megapixel micro four thirds sensor. These sensors have a crop factor of 2x. Thus, with a 50mm lens you can get the equivalent field of view as a 100mm lens mounted on a full-frame / 35mm camera. What you would probably hate and is something that comes from being a dated technology, is the 12-bit support instead of 14-bit. What you will like, on the other hand is the fact that the camera has a sensor-shift type image stabilization system. This automatically makes all lenses designed for the Olympus micro-four thirds mount stabilized.

This camera works with both the legacy four thirds lenses as well as the newer contemporary micro four thirds system lenses. You also have a touch LCD live-view screen and a reasonably large sized 2360,000 dot electronic viewfinder. Both the viewfinder and the LCD screen comes with 100% frame coverage.

Sony Alpha a7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera

Retailing at just around $1700 the Sony Alpha a7 II is a mirrorless full frame camera with 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor. Sony’s sensor-shift type image stabilization system ensures all Sony lenses are stabilized by default. They have provided up to 4.5 stops of image stabilization that covers all five axis. Sony’s fast hybrid auto-focus system ensures that the camera can lock focus quicker than most.

Sony Alpha a7 II

Sony Alpha a7 II

When you pick this camera up, the first thing that would strike you is the solid reassuring feel. Magnesium alloy construction and a reasonable weather resistant design makes it a formidable design. You have the option to use a secondary battery grip. This houses a battery compartment, thus extending your shooting options when you are out in the field. Plus, you also get a reasonably quick 5 fps burst rate that could come in handy from time to time. Native ISO ranges from 100 – 25600 which should give you a lot of room for expressing your creativity. The other goodies include a 3” 1228.8k-dot tilting LCD monitor plus a 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Based around a 24.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor and an X-Processor Pro engine the Fujifilm X-Pro2 mirrorless digital camera is a weather sealed design ideal for shooting great quality stills on your travels. Compact cameras have a big advantage when compared with the unwieldy DSLRs, especially when when you are travelling. They are discreet and silent, attracting little attention. This is the reason why we have kept this discussion on the top 7 compact cameras confined to smaller mirrorless systems only. At least if you are shooting with a single lens and a compact body like the Fujifilm X-Pro2, you will always be able to take your camera anywhere you go and shoot anywhere you are.

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The camera features a fantastic auto-focusing mechanism that has a total of 273-points. This is a significant improvement over the older cameras in the X series lineup. Plus, the new camera has a native ISO range of 200-12800 which can be further extended to 100-51200 in its extended mode. The electronic viewfinder has a display resolution of 2360k-dots and the 3” rear LCD screen has a 120k-dot resolution. Both the viewfinder and the rear LCD screen has a 100% frame coverage.

Olympus PEN-F Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera

Another Olympus on this list of the top 7 compact cameras and this one is the Olympus PEN-F. The Olympus PEN-F has a 20.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor and a TruePic VII Image processor. This micro four thirds system camera comes with a 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder and a 3” swiveling rear touchscreen LCD that has a resolution of 1037k-dot. Both the viewfinder and the rear LCD gives a coverage of 100%.

Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F

At first looks the PEN-F appears a rekindled retro design. As a matter of fact it is. The retro connection is undeniable. The buttons and dials on the camera lends a sort of vintage look combined with an easy to use functionality that photographers who hate the electronic menu options would love to fiddle with. The 5-way sensor-shift type image stabilization system, that gives 5 stops of stabilization, is yet another feature on the camera you would love to use.

This is an all-weather camera. Magnesium alloy and aluminum construction with art0leather wrapped around the camera body in a combination of ruggedness and delicacy that is hard to resist.

Sony Alpha a7R Mirrorless Digital Camera


To round up this discussion of the top 7 compact cameras for travelers we review the Sony Alpha a7R. Retailing at just under $1900 the Sony Alpha a7R is a fantastic camera that gives even pro category DSLRs a run for their money. The full frame sensor has a resolution of 36.4 megapixels. The Sony Alpha a7R encompasses a number of technologies. To start off, there is no optical low pas filter. Thus, the images produced by the camera are super sharp. Sharpness comes at a price though. Some images especially those which has fine repetitive patters will suffer from moiré and false coloring. That’s a negative point that you will live with.

Sony Alpha a7R

Sony Alpha a7R

The second important feature of the camera is the newly designed gapless sensor architecture which captures a lot more light than traditional sensor powered cameras. The a7R is a metal heavy design. Meaning, Sony has designed this to last. Additionally, there are weather sealing at several places which allows you to use this camera regardless of the weather conditions around.

Rajib Mukherjee

Rajib’s love for the road is second only to his love for photography. Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly. He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favourite pursuits.
Rajib Mukherjee

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