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What's the Best Travel Camera for 2013?

Updated on January 14, 2014

Rugged Waterproof Cameras Built for Travel

What's the best travel camera? It's one that's light and compact enough to fit in a pocket or carry-on, rugged enough you won't need to worry about it getting damaged if your suitcase is tossed by baggage handlers, and capable of shooting high-quality photos that you'll be proud to show your family and friends when you return. And on top of that, wouldn't it be great if this camera were waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, dustproof and had a built-in GPS system to geo-tag all of your photos and pinpoint exactly where you shot them?

If this sounds like your idea of the best travel camera, then take a look at these rugged cameras. They're the perfect travel companions.

(Image: Nikon Coolpix AW100. Available on Amazon. See link below.)

best travel camera 2013 - canon powershot d20
best travel camera 2013 - canon powershot d20

Three of the Best Travel Cameras for 2013

Which one is right for you?

The models shown below on this page are some of the best rugged cameras on the market today. New camera models are introduced every year, so what may have been "best" last year may not still be at the top of the rankings this year.

Right now, the Nikon camera shown below is currently the most popular among the three, the Canon is another favorite, and the Pentax is the most economical of the bunch. Take a look at the travel cameras below and see which one is right for you.

(Image: Canon Powershot D20. Available on amazon. See link below.)

Sample Photo from a Nikon AW Camera

Sample Photo from a Nikon AW Camera
Sample Photo from a Nikon AW Camera

Nikon Coolpix AW110 - The best travel camera 2013

If you're looking for the perfect travel camera, look no further than the Nikon Coolpix AW110. With a width of 4.4 inches, a height of 2.6 inches and a depth of a mere 1.0 inches, the AW110 can easily slide into a pocket and be ready for action whenever you are, and at 6.9 ounces (including the battery and memory card), it's light enough not to weigh you down. But don't let the small size fool you.

This camera has one of the highest resolutions (16 MP) of any of the rugged cameras on the market, is waterproof to 59 feet, shockproof to falls from 6.6 feet, dustproof, and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the AW100 offers 5x optical zoom, full 1080p HD video, GPS tagging, a built-in compass, 20 scene modes, and continuous shooting up to 6 frames at approx. 8 frames per second. As if that weren't enough, it also has a sweep panorama mode to capture gorgeous panoramic images on your travels.

The AW110 was just released this year to replace the AW100, which was a customer favorite. With over 500 reviews, the Coolpix AW100 has a 3.8- out of 5-star rating on Amazon. If you're looking for a good travel camera, you won't go wrong with this one.

Nikon COOLPIX AW110 Wi-Fi and Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS (Blue) (OLD MODEL)
Nikon COOLPIX AW110 Wi-Fi and Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS (Blue) (OLD MODEL)

Highlights:

- Water-proof to a depth of 33 feet.

- Shockproof if dropped from 5 ft

- Freezeproof to operating temperature down to 14 degrees F

- 16 effective megapixel CMOS sensor ideal for low light shooting and fast operation

- GPS and e-Compass functions

- Points of Interest (locations, landmarks, etc.) and location information (latitude and longitude) can be added to your photos

 

Canon PowerShot D20 - Another waterproof option

The PowerShot D20 is Canon's latest entry in the rugged camera market, replacing the earlier D10. This new model is another great choice for a travel camera, as it is compact (4.4 x 2.8 x 1.1 in), rugged (waterproof to 33 feet,shockproof to 5 feet) and able to shoot great photos and video with a 12.1 MP CMOS sensor, 28mm wide-angle lens, 5x optical zoom and full 1080p HD video. It weighs a bit more than the Nikon Coolpix above (8.4 oz with battery for the Canon vs. 6.3 oz. for the Nikon), but it's still light enough to go with you everywhere. And with the built-in GPS function, you'll be able to geo tag your photos wherever you go. This camera is too new to have a lot of reviews from average users, but on Amazon, the first reviews are coming in extremely positive - as of this writing, the model has a 4.6- out of 5-star rating.

Canon PowerShot D20 12.1 MP CMOS Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens a 3.0-Inch LCD and GPS Tracking (Blue) (OLD MODEL)
Canon PowerShot D20 12.1 MP CMOS Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens a 3.0-Inch LCD and GPS Tracking (Blue) (OLD MODEL)

Features:

- Waterproof to 33 feet,

- Can operate in temperatures from 14 -104 degrees Fahrenheit

- 12.1 MP Canon HS SYSTEM with a High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 Image Processor

- 5x Optical Zoom with 28mm wide angle lens

- 3.0-inch Pure Color System LCD for easy viewing

- GPS tracker to record image locations on a map via Canon's software

 

Pentax Optio WG-1 - Another excellent travel camera with GPS for budget travelers

If the rugged camera models above are out of your price range, the Pentax Optio WG-1 may be the best travel camera for you. This model is a slim 1.1 inches wide, 2.3 inches deep and 4.5 inches long and weighs only 5.9 oz with the battery. Customers rate it 3.4 out of 5 stars with over 100 ratings

Pentax Optio WG-1 14 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS and 5xOptical Zoom - Gray
Pentax Optio WG-1 14 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS and 5xOptical Zoom - Gray

Waterproof to 33 feet (so you can shoot underwater), shockproof from up to a 5-foot drop, crush-proof to withstand up to 100KG of force, cold-proof to 14F, and dust-proof, this is one point-and-shoot you're going to have to work hard to destroy. Also tough to beat: advanced features in this high-res 14-megapixel camera that allow you to capture anything from detailed Super Macro shots to HD movies.

 

The best travel cameras are compact, lightweight, rugged, and have built-in GPS.

Want More Options? - Check out these popular models

The models shown above aren't the only options on the market. The list below shows the bestsellers in Amazon's point-and-shoot camera category and is updated daily to show what's hot. These cameras may not have the compact rugged design of the models shown above, but they may have some other features you'd prefer.

Another Photo from the Nikon AW Series

Another Photo from the Nikon AW Series
Another Photo from the Nikon AW Series

Travel Camera Reviews and Comments - Share your thoughts on the best travel camera for 2012

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    • LisaDH profile image
      Author

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      @CynthiaU: For shark cage diving, I actually wouldn't go with any of these. I'd go with a GoPro Hero3 (cheaper option) or a good DSLR or mirrorless ILC in an underwater housing (much, much more expensive option).

      Why? Speed and field of view. A DSLR or mirrorless ILC will focus faster than any of the cameras on this page, and the GoPro can shoot 10 frame-per-second bursts. You're going to want that speed to capture the sharks as they come near the cage.

      You're also going to want an extremely wide angle of view to get as much of the sharks in the frame when they come near. The GoPro has an extremely wide field of view, and either a DSLR or ILC will give you the option of getting an extreme wide angle lens.

      I hope you have fun! Some day I'd love to go shark cage diving.

    • CynthiaU profile image

      CynthiaU 4 years ago

      Very useful information. I was just wondering which waterproof camera I should get for shark cage diving. I'll use this as a helpful guide. Thanks!

    • profile image

      mastholiday 4 years ago

      that's the great lense and useful information about the cameras for travelers. i'll surely buy one of them for my adventurous trip in Leh-Ladakh, India.

    • rainykua profile image

      rainykua 4 years ago

      I'm currently searching for a new camera and this lens is really handy! :) I want a waterproof and shockproof camera with a high megapixel.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      The best camera is going to be the one that feels good in your hands. This lens gives people a wealth of great ideas on what to buy. I'm sure many will find this very useful.

    • profile image

      pluson 4 years ago

      Nice review. Check out my lens! A buying guide for cameras.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for these great reviews...they will certainly help with a decision for my next camera.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      I like Nikon Coolpix, I have one and I am very happy with it!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      I like the waterproof and shockproof cameras.

    • andyphoto profile image

      andyphoto 4 years ago

      The waterproof+shockproof cameras really impress me, I need a backup for my DSLR when hiking in not-so-perfect conditions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      kool. just wow

    • Palitra27 profile image

      Palitra27 4 years ago

      I love small cameras, they are very comfortable to use and hold.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I could have used that Nikon Coolpix on my latest waterfall photography adventure. Waterproof would have been good! Thanks for the recommendations. I'm always in the market for camera equipment that can stand up to my wildest escapades.

    • profile image

      DiddydelDesigns 4 years ago

      Thank you

    • JohnZh LM profile image

      Johnathan K 4 years ago

      nice review!

    • profile image

      travellersguide 4 years ago

      Thank you for listing out the best waterproof digital cameras. I didn't know that there's a Nikon Coolpix waterproof camera just now. :)

    • Sandy Spencer profile image

      Sandy Spencer 4 years ago from Phoenix

      Good info to know. I can see a new camera in my future this year. And thank you for liking my lens "Early Signs of Alzheimer's"

    • profile image

      JimmPlus 4 years ago

      Excellent information and it is only the start of 2013. Keep us updated.

    • drmork profile image

      drmork 4 years ago

      Great lens! I am using the Nikon Coolpix AW110 and it is awesome.

    • Fart Pickins profile image

      Fart Pickins 4 years ago

      We've always liked our Coolpix camera and the blue one you have up there is awesome! I love the color blue and this one is waterproof and has wi-fi capabilities. Perfect for our next trip to Disney World!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I saw that Canon Powershot in action down in Dominican Republic last month. It delivered beautiful digital photos!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I saw that Canon Powershot in action down in Dominican Republic last month. It delivered beautiful digital photos!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I saw that Canon Powershot in action down in Dominican Republic last month. It delivered beautiful digital photos!

    • profile image

      mistaben 4 years ago

      Excellent Collection of Travel Cameras. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      my Samsung SIII is my travel camera. :)

    • worldflashpacker profile image

      worldflashpacker 4 years ago

      Still searching for a camera that won't break, since starting my world trip in 2011.

    • BestHDCameras profile image

      BestHDCameras 4 years ago

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      BestDealsOutThere 4 years ago

      This is a great lens and also check out mine its best cameras of 2013 u wont be dissapointed :)

      http://www.squidoo.com/top-cameras-of-2013-to-buy

    • profile image

      ljupcoc 4 years ago

      Great info I was about to buy a camera for the season. You've helped me a lot:) Thanks!

      www.bookinghotelin.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This year i will try to buy one good waterproof camera , because I want make pictures under water on the sea, it is so great place under the water, even can imagine what is all down there. Thanks for share.

    • profile image

      traveldestinations 4 years ago

      Gave our daughter a Nikon Coolpix AW100 camera for Christmas. Nice selection.

    • profile image

      mumsgather 4 years ago

      I would love to have a smart camera with wifi. It'll make lens creation even more fun don't you think?

    • CharmerA profile image

      CharmerA 4 years ago

      Canon PowerShot SX260 is good camera. Great lens.

    • CharmerA profile image

      CharmerA 4 years ago

      Canon PowerShot SX260 is good camera. Great lens.

    • CharmerA profile image

      CharmerA 4 years ago

      Canon PowerShot SX260 is good camera. Great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've been using the Nikon AW100 for a year for my survey work. Rugged, accurate and fast GPS function; good quality pics and HD video. A bit weak in low light situations, but overall a good little machine that can take a lot of abuse. I've recommended to several people.

    • salele profile image

      salele 4 years ago

      I love the look of the Canon D20. Beautifully designed. wish i had one.

    • Johnni Mac profile image

      Johnni 4 years ago from Western United States

      Thank you for this selection of travel cameras. It's not always possible to pull out a bunch of camera equipment when traveling.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i will pick The Canon Power shot D20 .......great lens thanks for sharing

    • chas65 profile image

      chas65 4 years ago

      If it will not fit in a pocket easily, I will forget to use it.

    • worldflashpacker profile image

      worldflashpacker 4 years ago

      I'm travelling around the world, and my camera just broke so this advice is great.

    • globaltravelgui1 profile image

      globaltravelgui1 4 years ago

      wow , can take picture underwater XD

    • LizardKing3 profile image

      LizardKing3 4 years ago

      Lots of great cameras here

    • molhambakir lm profile image

      molhambakir lm 4 years ago

      wow!! that's smart. is there a pro cam for canon ?

    • profile image

      plakaki 5 years ago

      Olympous is the best! i took the best pictures on my vacations to lefkada rooms

    • Alenkita1 profile image

      Alenkita1 5 years ago from Slovenia

      Bought a brand new Olympus, worth its money. Great lense for photographers, keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      You have some great travel cameras to choose from here.

    • eTravelSense profile image

      eTravelSense 5 years ago

      Just bought the Coolpix AW100 and can't wait to use it snorkeling in Australia later this year!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a solid lens. I have a Canon PowerShot D10 that I use for travel photography. I love it!

    • mueedahmad profile image

      mueedahmad 5 years ago

      The excellent collection of cameras had been introduced in this lens to capture the eye-catching beauty of the world to make immortal way of joy and happiness.

    • mueedahmad profile image

      mueedahmad 5 years ago

      The excellent collection of cameras had been introduced in this lens to capture the eye-catching beauty of the world to make immortal way of joy and happiness.

    • moanaparker lm profile image

      moanaparker lm 5 years ago

      Excellent Collection of Cameras.

    • profile image

      swathymenon 5 years ago

      nice lens and a good collection of cameras ...i like canon

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Nice selection of cameras! Well done

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 5 years ago

      Great travel cameras. Thanks for your reviews of them.

    • profile image

      anilsaini 5 years ago

      cool cameras

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      I am trying to decide on what new camera to buy, so this review helps.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 5 years ago

      I'll be coming back to this before my next trip!