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NCN Top 10 Compact Cameras for Travel


Traveling with camera gear adds a whole level of complexity to trip planning. While some are willing to haul a padded backpack full of cameras, lenses and other detritus (Rocket blowers, lens wipes, ND filters, chargers, backup devices, memory card holders, travel tripods, and so on and so on…) others travel more simply, taking advantage of the huge strides travel cameras have taken in recent years. If you are tired of carrying all that gear just to produce shots that thousands of others have taken from the very same spot you took them, check out the latest in compact cameras. Which is the best? Here are the candidates:

10. Sony QX-1

To be honest, we haven’t used on of these new sensor units yet, but they sure are strange, aren’t they? We suspect that they incorporate alien technology–why else would they be so weird?–which is enough to merit inclusion in this list.

9. Pentax Q-S1

One of the bulkiest cameras in this list, the Q-S1 has, despite it’s large size, has a number of things going for it. For one, it features interchangeable lenses. Two, Champagne Gold. Three, Gunmetal. Four, Kakhi Green. Five. Dusty Blue. And so on.

8. GoPro

The ultimate camera for the adventure traveler, once you buy the waterproof case. No self-respecting mountain biker, snowboarder, motocross rider, or space parachuter would leave home without it.

7. Nokia Lumia 1080

41 Megapickles more than makes up for the fact that this camera runs Windows. In our testing, we didn’t see Clippy once, so that was a relief. Oh yeah, it has a Zeiss logo on it too, which we are guessing means that Zeiss sold Nokia the rights to put their logo on it. As good as it, it’s missing a certain something that number 5 and 4 have.

6. Sony Xperia Z3

You can take this camera into the swimming pool. Try that with the Canon 1D. ‘Nuff said.

5. iPad

For several years, the iPad has been the camera of choice for world travelers. While not entirely compact, it’s thinness allows it to be tucked into places where other cameras won’t fit. An even smaller iPad Mini is also available, it’s primary compromise being a smaller (but still wondrous) electronic viewfinder. Still a good option, it’s been supplanted by our next camera.

4. iPhone 6/iPhone 6+

No travel camera list is complete without the iPhone. All one needs to do is visit the local tourist trap to see what kind of impact the iPhone has had on the compact camera market. The newest kids on the block, the iPhone 6 features a better lens and sensor than ever. And the viewfinder is bigger and even bigger on the phab 6+.And connectivity continues to make the iPhones perfect travel cameras–taking a selfie and posting on Instagram is as easy as one, two, filter, three! Oh, and they make phone calls too.

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

Selfie at the Oscars. Selfies at the White House. Very few cameras have those kinds of credentials.

2. Flip Phone

Yeah, some people still rock these things.

1. Kodak Fun Saver Single Use Camera


There’s a refreshing minimalism to these fixed focal length, fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed cameras that’s sure to effect your travel photography. With a limited number of exposures, you won’t waste time on food photos and other useless photos that litter Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. The dual aspherical element 30mm F10 lens projects photons to the only full frame camera in the list.


It truly is a golden age of photography with so many high quality options to choose from and so many ways to share. You really can’t go wrong with any camera on this list. But this is a Top 10 list, which means that there has to be losers and just one winner. Ultimately we have to choose the full-frame Kodak Fun Saver Single Use Camera. Because full frame.


Available at fine pharmacies and tourist traps everywhere.


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