Five best pocket-size cameras to take on your travels
Summer is out! Those who are itching to take a trip out of town or hankering for a thrilling off-road adventure or even an underwater deep dive will want to capture all their exciting moments on camera. Afterall, if you don’t get to show it off on social media, did it even happen at all? For that, we’ve listed the best compact, pocket-size cameras in 2022 that are perfect for vlogging your adventure on-the-go.
As substitute for bulky DSLR or mirrorless digital cameras, but notches ahead of your handy smartphone, these pocket-size cameras are perfect for those wanting to travel light, but still look for high resolution playback for any weather and occasion. Small enough to slip into your pockets and easier to fiddle with than your smartphone, these are the pocket-size cameras to get for your next travel.
Best Overall: GoPro HERO 10 Black
The Specs: Starting at the top of the list is the Hero 10 Black by action camera specialists GoPro. Although we had hoped to find a worthy contender to trump the coveted Hero 10 Black, to the surprise of none, it remains at the top of the best action camera and pocket camera for travels. Versatile to the max, it can suit any occasion or situation, from high-intensity sports videos to underwater diving shots, or simply travel vlogs and day-to-day video journaling.
It shoots in 5.4k 23MP at 60fps and can dive underwater up to a depth of 33ft. It boasts an amazing HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization in all modes and performs brilliantly even in low light. It features a wide and extra wide angle lens that captures video and images in professional quality and also offers timpe lapse and slow-mo modes. It captures stills of 19.6MP videos as well as snap 23MP photos in its dedicated photo mode. It is also powered by a new GP2 processor that allows for smoother video playback, especially on its improved front-facing screen.
The Cons: Despite the impressively clear resolution of its specifications, the one flaw that we can point out is that its colour contrasts and range of colour profiles fall flat on details and its built-in microphone could have been made to sound more detailed.
The Verdict: With a shock-proof case that is mountable to a wide range of different accessories, and full-automatic feature, this action / pocket camera is the perfect companion for adventure-seekers and beginner vloggers. It even allows for cloud connectivity for easy and instant sharing.
Most Compact: DJI Osmo Pocket 2
The Specs: Ultra-compact and light weight, the Osmos Pocket 2 by drone experts DJI has put out a pocket-size vlogging camera perfect for capturing memorable moments on your travels or day-to-day. Despite its miniature size, it packs impressive specs. Most notably, its impressive image stabaliser, thanks to its built-in 3-axis stabilization and ActiveTrack 3.0 technology which captures clear and focused movements while on-the-go.
The device shoots in a 4K wide angle in 24fps with a pretty clear built-in microphone. It also features various shooting modes such as, time lapse, slow-mo, and even a story mode that offers video and music templates for short film compositions — simplifying video production and photography while on-the-go. It firmware technology also allows for users to seamlessly switch from video to photo mode with a simple click of a button, perfect for those who love collecting snapshots of their travels and experiences.
The Cons: Although the device offers a myriad of shooting modes to choose from, its quality and functionality can be limited depending on which mode you’re in. For example, active tracker and face tracking isn’t available in 4K mode and the ability to zoom in on slow-mo mode is absent.
The Verdict: There’s not a lot to complain about with the DJI Osmos Pocket 2, but if there are any drawbacks to this is, it would be that it does not compare to the image and video quality you would get from a DSLR, which isn’t surprising given the size of this pocket camera. Although there could be some improvements on consistency of quality throughout the different shooting modes, overall it is a great pocket-size camera to take on travels for day-to-day journaling, vlogging and easy editing.
Best All-rounded 360 Cam: Insta360 One X2
The Specs: Never miss a shot because its 360 lens captures EVERYTHING, allowing for efficient, effortless, and stress-free video editing. It shoots in an impressive 5.7K quality in 24fps in a more dynamic range of colour profiles and modes, such as stable cam, 150-degrees wide angle, selfie mode, stable cam mode and of course 360-degree mode.
It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and holds comfortably in the hand, and with instant connectivity to your smartphone and a dedicated editing app, sharing memorable adventures and amazing video content with friends and family is made even easier. Did we mention that this camera is also IPX 8 waterproof up to 8 meters underwater without a case?
The Cons: The only drawback is that its firmware can be a little laggy when switching from one mode to the other, and has been criticised for occasionally freezing in between modes. And although the battery life is a vast improvement from its predecessor it still only captures about 60 to 80 minutes of high resolution video. For this we suggest to pack extra batteries.
The Verdict: Nonetheless, the strengths definitely outweigh the drawbacks with this pocket-size camera. Making this a versatile action camera that boasts the unique feature of a 360-angle for an immersive throwback of every moment.
Best for Beginners: Akaso Brave 7 LE
The Specs: The Specs: The Akaso Brave 7 is the brand’s most expensive model to date, but still it is one of the most affordable action cameras on the market that will still offer decent quality videos and photos. It shoots 4K videos in 30fps and 20MP photos. With a 6-Axis Image Stabiliser, its video quality isn’t the best on the market right now but it does score points above brands like GoPro and DJI in areas like battery life and convenience.
It is IPX 7 waterproof without a case, and can dive 1 meter underwater (farther with a waterproof case) and has the feature of switch shooting modes while underwater with its touch-screen dual screen, which most action cameras don’t. With this device you can also choose to shoot in time-lapse and slow-mo in 60fps HD mode for all those high impact action moments.
The Cons: A major drawback to the camera, especially for those who enjoy narrating their day-to-day and travels is that, although it is built in with an internal mic, the audio clarity and quality is not comparable to that of GoPros or Camcorders, and it does not support external mic.
The Verdict: Overall, the Akaso Brave performs well and comes complete with several accessories and mounts upon purchase, which makes it much more affordable than that of GoPro and DJI models, although it is the brand’s most expensive model to date. It will serve well for beginners and those who prefer convenience.
Best for Photos: Ricoh GR IIIx
The Specs: For a compact substitute for a DSLR, Ricoh has put out a pocket-siz camera that makes one-handed shooting comfortable and effortles. It shoots 24.4MP through an APS-C sensor and 40mm high-resolution GR fixed lens.
It fits comfortably in the pocket and scores high for its portability, convenience and quality that serves street photographers and photography enthusiast a golden balance between high resolution cameras and mobile phones. Those who enjoy everyday photo journaling will find themselves reaching for this gadget more often their smartphone.
The Cons: Although its 24.4MP and APS-C sensor gives the camera great image quality, the auto-focus for video is not great, especially compared to the other action cameras presented on the list. Aside from that, the shooting modes and settings are pretty basic and the battery capacity doesn’t boast a very long lifespan, but like the Insta360, you can always buy extra rechargeable batteries.
The Verdict: Although the Ricoh GR IIIx is more limiting than most DSLRs, it is certainly more compact. It also boasts sharp images in high resolution and high contrast in 35mm format, although its auto-focus doesn’t perform well on video, which may be a deal breaker for those on the market for vlogging cameras.