Everyone on this green earth enjoys memorable moments in their lives. Freezing these moments in time through pictures is a joyful way to capture that feeling and reminisce. A person going for a hike will see and experience many things worth capturing. For this, one will need the best hiking camera.
Thanks to a large number of options in the market, there is not one single best hiking camera. What a person identifies as the best camera for hiking or camping will differ from individual to individual. This decision depends on many factors like the price, the features, and the brand.
It can be a daunting task to find the best hiking camera from all of the available options. This article has a ranked list of the best hiking camera and best camping cameras to make an informed purchase decision.
What makes a camera ideal for hiking?
Before diving into the different options, it is crucial to know what makes a camera good for both hiking and camping. After all, buying a camera is not a purchase someone will make every day.
It will be a waste of money and effort if a person cannot use the camera they bought for outdoor activities.
Readers can view this segment of the article as a buying guide for the best camping camera that will satisfy all their needs and requirements:
Cameras come in many different price ranges. Everyone can find the best hiking camera for themselves with the numerous price options in the market. If a person is on a budget and would like to keep the price as low as possible, there are excellent camera models that they can find at just $400 US dollars.
In case a person can splurge a bit more, there are even more options for them. However, it is best not to spend too much on outdoor cameras because travel insurance will not cover most of the pieces of equipment.
Moisture and dust protection
Hiking and camping are outdoor activities upon which the weather will have a significant impact. Make sure that the camera under consideration has water and dust resistant buttons and joints. Full frame models of mirrorless cameras and DSLRs usually have weather sealing. This feature means that a person can use them even when there is light rain.
However, one thing to note here is that even the best camera for rain will not survive long durations of use in heavy rain. Some water-proof cameras are available in the market, but they do not produce the best images. Hence, they fail to reach the top of the best camera for hiking list.
Selection of lenses and the best focal length
The best hiking camera will have a wide-angle lens that can capture full views with excellent quality. Getting a 35mm lens will be an excellent choice if anyone wants to shoot the best nature scenes. For DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, a corresponding lens of the same size is necessary.
Wide-angle lenses add to the price and cost of a camera but are sure to produce some of the best and most precise pictures. Make sure the lens matches the camera. As for the focal length, 16mm to 24mm will be the best choice. The base of this number is on the fact that most hiking pictures are of the landscape and scenery variety.
DSLRs can capture some of the best pictures possibke. However, they are usually bulky and difficult to carry around. And if a person wants to go on a camping trip, the best hiking camera will be a light one. Unless, of course, the person is going on a hike for the sole purpose of taking pictures.
There are many cameras in the market which are lightweight, compact, and can create clear pictures even without any extra equipment or lenses. The best camping camera will fit into a person’s bag with ease.
Ease of access or accessibility is another vital point that many people seem to forget while buying the best camping camera. Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have complicated setup procedures that only professionals have the time and patience to follow.
Ultimately, some moments come in an instant and leave almost as quickly. In such cases, one will need a quick shot that elaborate setups might not catch. So, make sure that the camera of choice is easily accessible and can capture fleeting moments as they pass by.
Good battery life
The best camera for hiking is one whose battery can last for a long time. There is nothing more unfortunate than the camera’s battery dying in the middle of a trip without any backup. Comparatively, DSLRs have a better battery life than mirrorless cameras and other compact cameras.
Regardless of what type of camera a person buys, always charge them overnight before the start of a trip. Also, carry extras or backups in case the original runs out.
There are some views and objects that will need more zooming capacity than others. For example, if a person likes to take pictures of wild animals and birds, they will need more zooming power than a person who captures sceneries.
Zoom depends on the focal length of a camera. An average of 30x zoom on point-and-shoot cameras is the best choice for wildlife photographers.
The List of Best Hiking Cameras
1. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Review
The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 will not disappoint with its clear and vibrant pictures. Many people consider this camera to be the best camping camera because of its compact size, its features, its performance, and its price.
One vital property of the best hiking camera is to produce vibrant pictures without needing any extra piece of equipment to make that perfect shot. The sensor on this camera is a 1-inch wide MOS sensor with 20.1 megapixels. This feature allows it to take wide pictures without a problem.
It comes with a 24-400 mm LEICA DC lens and an aperture size of f2.8-4.0. Taking sharp videos is easy because the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 allows for 4K video recording.
Regarding zoom, the intelligent zoom and extra optical zoom are 32x and 22.4x (3:2/10M (M)) or 32x (3.2/5M (S)) respectively. A zoom speed of 5 makes it possible to take quick shots at far objects.
Another added feature of this fantastic camera is its ability to focus on moving objects almost at lightning speed. Through the Light Speed AF incorporated with LUMIX DFD Focus technology, the camera can calculate the distance between the user and the moving object. And focus 275% faster than the DMC-FZ200.
As for recording videos in rough terrain where some tilts and movements are inevitable, the HYBRID O.I.S, along with 5-axis correction, can correct the mistakes up to a certain extent. It can detect the horizontal line of an image and maintain it throughout the whole video.
Taking pictures outdoors is not only about sceneries and wildlife. Sometimes, delicate flowers and plants catch a person’s attention. One can capture all these little details thanks to Panasonic Lumix FZ1000’s macro photography abilities, as close as 3cm.
This camera’s ability to handle low light conditions and large sensor have struck a chord with many photographers. It can connect with a smartphone through the Panasonic image app and use the smartphone as a remote control. This way, a person can take pictures using the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 through their phone.
2. Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Review
The thing about outdoor photography is that portability and accessibility play a significant role. The best camera for hiking is one that is compact and light. With the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180, a photographer will hit these marks with flying colors, literally.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is an excellent point and shoot camera that captures pictures of reasonable quality. If readers need another reason why this camera is on the list, it is the super affordable price of the device. Buying a decent camera will not burn a hole in anyone’s pocket.
With an 8x optical zoom and O.I.S, capturing pictures is as easy as it can get. A person can record 720p videos with this product. Although this number might seem unimpressive, it is still pretty good for its price and size.
It comes with an auto setting that will adjust the colors and lighting according to different shooting conditions and situations. The shooting range is 28-244mm, which is an equivalent of 35mm. Sometimes, the need to blow up or crop an image may arise. In such cases, the 20-megapixel sensors will make sure that the quality of the image does not reduce.
There is also a DIGIC 4+ image processor feature that can enhance a picture in various ways without needing to tweak it manually. Another distinctive feature of the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is its ECO mode. Here, once turned on, the camera will go into sleep mode, which a person can wake up by pressing a button.
3. Nikon D5500 Review
If a person is willing to spend a little more on the best camping camera by Nikon, the D5500 will be the best choice. It is a compact DSLR that will help a photographer capture some of the cleanest and sharpest images possible.
It has a 24.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor and allows the user to take pristine videos at 1080/60p. With these specifications, one can take videos of fast-moving subjects and also create slow-motion effects. This little camera allows the photographer to experiment with creativity.
The monitor is 3.2 inches diagonally and displays captured moments in a Vari-angle touch TFT-LCD screen. It also comes with eye sensor control. For storage, there are three options: SD, SDHC, and SDXC.
The ISO sensitivity stands at 100-25600, and shooting speed at full resolution is five frames per second. A user can fit AF-S and AF-I CPU lenses to it. On these lenses, the autofocus feature will be available.
The fastest and slowest shutter speed of the Nikon D5500 is 1/4000 of a second and 30 seconds, respectively. The self-timer settings are 2, 5, 10, and 20 seconds. There are seven exposure modes and 18 scene modes amongst which a person can select.
As for the focus modes, there are eight of them, and the maximum number of focus points at one go is 39. A person can lock the focus on a subject by pressing both the AE-L and AF-L buttons.
The battery capacity of the D5500 is comparatively high, allowing for 820 shots a full charge. The battery is either an EN-EL 14a or EN-EL 14 rechargeable li-ion battery and comes with a quick charger.
This camera has a very high user rating on the official Nikon website, and many people like it for its excellent performance. The price of the D5500 is also quite reasonable considering its many features, including how light it is and its high dynamic range.
4. Olympus TG 5 Review
Moisture is one of the worst enemies of a camera. However, for people who like hiking, rain and bad weather are two things they cannot avoid. But who said perfect pictures are only for good days? With the water-proof Olympus TG 5, a person can wave moisture goodbye and say hello to the best camera for rain.
This camera is not only the best camera for rain but also an excellent option because it is shockproof and crushproof. What this means is that dropping the device from as high as 7 feet will not damage it. Putting weight as heavy as 220lbs on it will not crush this durable camera. Regardless of its abilities, it is best not to go around dropping it or putting heavy loads on it.
On top of those features, this camera will work perfectly even in icy weather conditions as low as 14-degree Fahrenheit. That is -10-degree Celsius. The Olympus TG 5 is dustproof too. It weighs only 250 grams (approximate weight) and has the dimensions of 66mm H x 31mm W x 113mm L.
The lens on this camera has a base aperture of f2.0, which is ideal for capturing perfect shots in action. Low-light settings are also not an issue thanks to the dual quad-core TruePic VIII Processor. With this feature, a person can get bright pictures, even in the most challenging low-light conditions.
The effective pixels of this camera is 12 megapixels, and the sensor is 1/ 2.3” BSI CMOS. The lens comes with an anti-fog dual-pane making it the best camera for rain and moist conditions. With a 35mm equivalent focal length, a person can capture wide and clear pictures of sceneries.
5. Sony RX100 VI Review
Sony is always at the top of its game with almost every product that they release. The RX100 VI is an exemplary product that proves this statement. It is probably the best hiking camera for those who are willing to spend a few extra bucks.
What sony aimed at doing with this camera is cram in all the features that make up the best camera for hiking into a compact body. There is a new lens system called ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T 24-200mm lens with aperture size 2.8-4.5. What this system does is enable the user to get exact and high-resolution pictures with ease.
Another cool feature is the Optical SteadyShot that stabilizes the view even in low-light and long-range shots. This technology’s equivalent in terms of shutter speed is 4.0 stops faster. The ISO sensitivity range is 80-12800. It can also reduce the noise in a picture.
With the BIONZ X, the captured images will have enhanced perceived resolution and further reduction of noise. This image processing engine allows the camera to detect faces and eyes quickly. There is also an increase in AF/AE detection.
The autofocus feature is one of the fastest ones for any camera, at a speed of just 0.03 seconds. It also comes with eye AF that detects the movement of the eye in real-time to enhance portrait photos. The continuous shooting feature can capture up to 233 continuous shots up to 24 frames a second.
The Sony RX100 VI can shoot amazing and bright videos at 4k resolution. The autofocus can fixate on fast-moving subjects so that the videos come out clean and stable. A person can change the focus to another object of interest by merely pressing on the monitor.
6. Sony Alpha a6300 Review
Another hit by Sony is the a6300. The a6300 takes mirrorless cameras to a whole new level. As predicted, the price of this camera may seem hefty to a few buyers. However, everyone knows that sometimes, the features and quality of a product justifies its price, which is precisely the case with this camera.
The autofocus on the Alpha a6300 is unparalleled. Sony introduced the fresh 24.2 MP Exmor CMOS image sensor with copper wiring to allow higher efficiency in collecting light. Thanks to the copper wire, there is potential for the a6300 to record 4k videos.
The ISO sensitivity range has a maximum of 51200, which helps in shooting pictures without graininess or noise. This amazing premium camera can detect up to 425 phases of auto-focus points. Users can focus on moving subjects more accurately throughout the entire frame.
Continuous shooting is a necessity at times, especially with wildlife photography. Since the photographer cannot control where the animal or bird moves, multiple back to back shots are the only answer to get the perfect picture. With the high-speed continuous shooting feature with live-view, one can shoot up to 11 frames per second or eight, depending upon preference and situation.
The image processing system of a camera must be high to allow for high resolution and more detailed pictures. This picture enhancing is exactly what the high-speed BIONZ X image processing system does to the pictures a person captures using the Alpha a6300.
Most cameras have excellent features, but the loud shutter sound spoils the whole experience. With the a6300, a person can enjoy a silent shooting experience while out in nature. There is an option to turn this feature on and off as a person pleases. It is also dust and moisture resistant making it the best camera for rain when it comes to Sony cameras.
7. Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Camera Review
The Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera is another excellent product that provides more features and quality than its price would suggest. It is a high-end camera that has the ability to capture the most realistic scenes and moments. Although it is not a product amateur photographers usually go for because of its price, with this camera, world-class pictures come almost effortlessly.
The number of effective pixels on this device is 26.1 megapixels. In addition, the image sensor is a 23.5mm x 15.6mm APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4. This new back-illuminated sensor uses a filter that removes any ingenuine color to produce images with realistic colors. The Fujifilm X-T3 is weather-resistant, which makes it the best camera for rain in this price range.
This camera weighs only 13.5 ounces making it the best camping camera for capturing pictures with excellent colors. While hiking or camping, it is difficult to carry heavy camera equipment. Some cameras might need all this extra equipment to shoot the perfect picture, but this is not the case with the X-T3.
The EVF on this camera has a 3.69 million dot resolution along with a magnification ratio of 0.75 x. With these features, there is no chance to miss the movements of a moving subject. What makes this camera better is that the lag regarding display time is just 0.005 seconds with a refresh rate of 100fps. All these are available on the boost mode.
Carrying a portable camera is necessary if anyone wants to capture moments that will never come back. Everyone would want their hiking photos to be vibrant and as clear as possible. Hiking is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have, and therefore the perfect event to have a good camera for. The list of cameras given above have different features and stand out in different ways.
There might not be one single best hiking camera for everyone because everyone has different needs. But with the help of our guide on what makes a camera good for hiking, a person can get an idea about what they need.