9 of the best travel cameras you can buy now

CNN  — 

That mobile phone in your pocket takes pretty decent photos, so no need to get a separate camera for your travels, right?

Actually, wrong. The latest point-and-shoot cameras are still smarter than smartphones and have loads of fun options and easy-to-use settings good for amateurs and pros traveling light.

And most can now wirelessly pair with your phone to get those snaps out quick on social media.

But how easy are they to get to grips with, given that no one wants to spend their vacation with their nose in the manual, bamboozled by jargon?

I played with each of these cameras for a week to create reviews based on how easy it is to learn to use them quickly. For comparison, I put them through the same tests in the same spots.

These include: Wide angle and zoom shots around the Houses of Parliament in London. Detail shots of a decorative London doorknob. Program-mode shots of a horse guard to test the camera’s “quick-draw” skills. A face shot in portrait mode. Silhouette shots by Big Ben to test backlighting. A photo of a girl looking at a computer and a city nightscape to test low-light capabilities. A uniqueness test of special features.

And, of course, a selfie test.

Check out the galleries to compare how the photos turned out. We’ve not done any editing or toning, just cropped them to fit CNN’s format. There’s also some loss of quality caused by optimizing them for the Internet.

Here are nine of the best travel cameras available right now:

Leica TL2

Leica’s gear has been creating a stir ever since it gave us the world’s first small range format rangefinder back in 1924.

Its newest luxurious offering, the TL-2, is a sleek, digital, mirrorless camera which supports interchangeable lenses and comes with a ruggedly stylish and colorful rope strap.

GALLERY: See full-size images

It’s a camera that attracts attention from enthusiasts, even if it lacks one of the signature cool points of a traditional Leica – the viewfinder that allows photographers to emulate the head tilt/shoulder shrug of greats like Henri Cartier