Hiking is more than just an activity that you engage in to stay physically fit. It is also a great way to have fun with family and friends. It is a chance to get up close and personal with nature. It allows you to discover beautiful landscapes and lush greenery. The next time you hike, take the memories with you, which is possible through having the best camera for hiking.
A hiking camera must not only be able to capture the images as they unfold in front of you. It should be more than just resolution and color. The right camera should also be compact and lightweight. It will also be good if it is rugged and waterproof. If you have no idea which one will make a great pick, read on and we’ll list down some of the top options that are worth considering.
- Our Top Picks for the Best Camera for Hiking
- Essential Considerations when Choosing a Hiking Camera
- Tips for Taking Hiking Photos and Videos
Our Top Picks for the Best Camera for Hiking
Here is a quick rundown of some of the best brands and models of cameras that you can bring on your next hiking trip.
Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Camera
While this may not necessarily be a camera that is designed specifically for sports, it is compact and lightweight, which makes it perfect for hiking. It has an optical image stabilizer, which will prevent blur. This will come handy when you are walking on your hiking path and taking videos. There is also a 30x zoom, allowing you to capture your subject even at a distance. It has a Leica 24mm DC Vario-Elmar lens. Even in low-light conditions, the performance is impressive. Meanwhile, with the built-in viewfinder, you can easily see the view even when there is glare from the sun.
Sony RX100 Compact Digital Camera
This is another compact and lightweight camera that can prove to be an excellent option when you are hiking. It has 20.1 megapixels. It is equipped with a powerful one-inch Exmor CMOS Sensor, which allows it to capture more light and reduce noise. The camera can shoot full high-definition videos at 1080/60p at a frame rate of 60 fps. It also provides you with full control of how to take photos and videos, allowing you to be as creative as you want. Lastly, with the wide range ISO sensitivity, you can capture images that will look and feel more natural.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Digital Camera
This is a small but powerful camera that is also perfect for hiking. You can shoot still photos at a resolution of 20.2 megapixels. For the videos, on the other hand, it has a shooting capability of 1080/60p. There is also a 3-inch touchscreen panel with an intuitive interface. There are manual controls in strategic locations, allowing you to play with it and explore with your creativity. The one-inch sensor is also exceptional, especially in the reduction of noise and the improvement of brightness.
Nikon W300 Waterproof Camera
With its tough body, the camera is waterproof at a depth of up to 100 feet. While this is a popular choice for an underwater camera, this will also be an exceptional choice for hikers. It is built to withstand the tough conditions of the external environment. It is freeze-proof at a temperature of up to 14 degrees. It is also shockproof and dustproof. It has a 16-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor for taking bright, crisp, and vivid videos. It also has five times optical zoom to capture the action even when you are at a distance. Lastly, it shoots 4K Ultra HD videos with Stereo Sound for an incredible audio.
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera
This is one of the toughest hiking cameras that should be part of your list of choices. It is drop-resistant at a height of up to 7 feet. It can also withstand a pressure of up to 220 pounds. Even if you are hiking during a cold weather, there is no need to worry as it can resist a temperature of up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. There are two features that will make this the perfect camera for hiking – the digital compass and built-in GPS. With regards to its shooting capabilities, it can shoot photos at a resolution of 12 megapixels. It also has a high-speed lens that can take videos in MOV format. There is also built-in Wi-Fi, which will allow you to easily connect the camera to your phone.
Sony A7R Mirrorless Camera
If you are a professional photographer who enjoys taking photos when hiking, this high-end camera can prove to be another exceptional choice. It can shoot at 42.4 megapixels. This has the highest resolution from the ten cameras that we listed on this guide. It has a 5-axis in-body image stabilization technology for the best shots without the blur. It also comes with a durable and ergonomic body, which is why it is good for hiking, despite the fact that some might find the body to be quite chunky.
Ricoh GRII Digital Camera
If you are looking for a budget-friendly hiking camera with excellent features, this is one option that should be on the top of the list. Its battery is good for taking up to 320 still photos and 190 minutes of video playback. It has a 28mm GR lens and a CMOS image sensor. There is also a built-in Wi-Fi, which will allow you to easily transfer files. Meanwhile, with the 3-inch LCD, you will be able to conveniently see the subject that you are shooting.
Nikon D810 FX Format Digital SLR Camera
Be warned! This is not a camera for everyone. It has a steep price and it is not the easiest to use, especially for someone who does not have expert knowledge in photography. This is the camera that you should choose if you are a professional photographer. It shoots still images at 36.3 megapixels, which is higher than any of the cameras that are mentioned in this post, except for the Sony A7R. It is powered by an EXPEED 4 image processing engine. It has a 51-point AF system and ISO range of 64 to 12,800.
GoPro 6 Black
The list of the top-rated hiking cameras will not be complete without a mention of a GoPro. The Hero 6 is a compact camera that does not need a cover to protect it from the rain. It is already waterproof even without the housing. It is small but powerful. You can easily shoot 4K60 and 1080p240 videos with this sports camera. It is powered by a GP1 chip, which makes its performance hard to match. It also has an advanced stabilization feature to prevent your videos from being too shaky even if they are shot when you are moving.
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 HD 4K Action Camera
A small and feature-packed camera. This is exactly what you can expect from this action camera. It is bundled with almost all the accessories that you will need to shoot outdoors, including when you are hiking. For instance, there is a chest harness and a wrist strap. It also has a cleaning kit to keep it working at its best. As for the technical details, it has 3-axis image stabilization and can shoot videos at 4K/30fps. It also has an innovative voice control, which will provide you with an easy way to have it controlled. Best of all, it has a waterproof case. There is no need to worry even if it rains while you are hiking!
Essential Considerations when Choosing a Hiking Camera
While you will surely be overwhelmed with the abundance of the options, this does not mean that you can choose just any model. To make the right choice, here are some of the most important factors that you have to take into consideration:
- Weight and Size: Especially if you are not a pro, choose a camera that is lightweight and compact. When hiking, your goal is to take off anything that could be a burden, which is why you should stay away from bulky and heavy cameras.
- Weather-proofing: No one knows what will happen when you are out there and having fun on the trail. It might rain all of a sudden. The least that you would want is for the camera to be wet and damaged. If it is not waterproof, at least, use a case or a housing that will protect it from the rain.
- Battery: You do not want to have a camera with an unreliable battery. It will be best to choose one with a lithium-ion battery, although they can be more expensive. They will hold a charge for a longer period.
- Wi-Fi: You will also benefit from choosing a camera that comes with a built-in Wi-Fi. The latter is important when it comes to the transfer of files. You do not need to have a cord as you can do it wirelessly.
- Ease of Use: The hiking camera also needs to be user-friendly. The buttons should be in strategic positions. The screen should be easy to view, regardless if the sun is at its peak. Having a viewfinder will also be nice. Having an LCD and a touchscreen display will also be good.
- Image Quality: At the end of the day, this is perhaps the most important as this will determine the output. Look at the technical details of the camera, such as the lens, resolution, and video shooting capabilities. Optical image stabilization will also be an important consideration.
- Warranty: As with any equipment that you will buy, pay attention to the warranty offered by the manufacturer, providing an assurance that the hiking camera will be covered against defects and problems in craftsmanship.
Tips for Taking Hiking Photos and Videos
Now that you know how to pick the right camera, before we end this post, allow us to give you some practical tips for taking photos and videos when you are hiking:
- The most important is perhaps to know your goal. You need careful planning, especially if you are taking photos professionally. Research the hiking trail and the scenery that you can expect so that you will be prepared.
- Invest in a tripod. It can be burdensome to carry with you when you are hiking, but it will definitely improve the quality of your shots. It will be good for taking motion shots and time lapses. This will also prevent photos and videos from being blurry as it acts as a stabilizer.
- Do not forget to bring a spare memory card and battery, especially if you will be hiking for a couple of hours or days. Nothing can be more frustrating than running out of memory or battery when a beautiful sunset or sea of clouds unfold right in front of you.
- Use your editing skills. It is hard to take the perfect shot right there and then. The good news is that there are many photo editing apps that are also user-friendly, allowing you to make adjustments for the photos look better.
- Always keep the camera in your hand or at least, in a part of the bag that is easy to access. This will make you prepared for whatever you can see, such as when there are wild animals that are crossing your hiking path.
- Do not be afraid to add human elements. While landscapes are beautiful, adding people as the subject of the photo will make it more meaningful. They will add personality and interest to the landscape.
- Safety should be a priority. If possible, go with a guide, especially when hiking in an unfamiliar territory. Be sure to follow the rules. Do not go in areas that are off-limits just to be able to take a good shot. Your life is more important!
Planning a hiking trip anytime soon? Do not forget to bring a camera that will capture and preserve the memories. Whether you are a casual or professional photographer, a camera will be an important tool to make precious memories. Limit your choices to the products mentioned above, and for sure, you will not end up with regrets.