Should I Get a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera for Travel?

DSLR cameras range from consumer grade options up to high end professional models. They also range in size and weight, but ALL of them bulk down your pack quite a bit (especially with multiple lenses and extra gear). It can really start to wear you down and make long hikes/travels start to sound like a trip of exhaustion for some. Not carrying a pro DSLR on an adventure is not an option for some of us when we know there are great shots to capture. Well, at least that was the mindset until a few years ago.

Technology just gets better and better as time goes on, especially in the camera industry. In the recent years, an astonishing amount of photographers have switched from the big DSLR’s to the newer mirrorless cameras. To keep it short, these compact cameras pack the same punch or better than most of the bigger DSLRs on the market today – and that is a great thing for the traveling photographer!

So What Makes Mirrorless Better?

Just about everything! No, seriously. There is a reason why so many photographers are switching over to mirrorless, specifically the Sony Alphas like the a7 and a6000 series. They are smaller, more light weight, and have features that you just can’t get with a DSLR and there is NO sacrifice of image quality.

Cameras I Recommend for Traveling:

Below is a list of cameras that every traveling photographer should have on their wishlist or in their bag. Trust me, it will make your life much more enjoyable when you cut down the size and weight of your gear.

Sony A6000 series

I consider these to be the perfect mix of size and performance. They are an APS-C sensor interchangeable lens camera with super fast autofocus and a healthy selection of lenses. There are currently three models available. The original A6000, the A6300, and the A6500.

The A6000 is a few years old, but don’t let that bother you. I consider it the best bang for your buck camera you can buy, even today! If you’re on a budget, starting out with this and a few of the affordable and compact prime lenses available in E-mount – you’re on your way to great quality imagery!

A6000 Details / Price


The A6300 is the next step up, offering a newer sensor with better autofocus and ISO performance, faster frame rate, 4k video, and some other great updates like weatherproofing.

A6300 Details / Price


The A6500 came out shortly after the A6300. The big upgrades here were adding in-body image stabilization and a touch to focus feature on the LED screen.

A6500 Details / Price


More Interested In Full Frame?

Sony has that too! The A7 series cameras pack a powerful punch with the full frame sensors in a compact body. I am amazed by the performance and image quality of these, after using them for the past couple years there is no way I could ever go back to a DSLR. They feel unnecessarily HUGE!

The A7ii is my favorite of the series, It’s the first to have the in-body image stabilization and is the best value for a full frame mirrorless camera. There is also the A7sii which is geared towards low light shooting and the A7rii which is a megapixel monster. You can view their specs and pricing below.

Are you an ultralite traveler?

If these options are still too much to to carry, or you’re looking for a backup/secondary camera, Sony is there for you again! No, Sony doesn’t sponsor me (I wish), they just know how to make a damn good camera system. The RX100 series is point and shoot, but don’t let that fool you! It is a power house with full manual control and shoots RAW. The RX100 has many versions so you should be able to find one that suits your budget.

RX100 V Details / Price


If I haven’t convinced your on Sony, don’t worry. They aren’t the only manufacturers of quality mirrorless cameras. Olympus, Fujifilm and Panasonic all make great competitive options while Nikon and Canon are still struggling to step up their game.

So the question now is, what are your needs? What do you want out of a camera? How much or how little do you want to travel with? These are the things you really need to decide on before you pick a camera system. In the end, all of these options will give you a fantastic image to work with, and we all know at the end of they day its not the camera that gets the good shots, its the photographer!