For hiking and backpacking, you need a camera that is lightweight, durable, and capable of capturing great images. Depending on your budget, there are plenty of options in the compact camera, mirrorless camera, and full-size DSLR categories.
Best Compact Camera For Hiking
There are various types of cameras worth using on a hike, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Digital SLR cameras are waterproof and offer a wider choice of lenses, but they tend to be bulkier and heavier. Mirrorless cameras are lightweight and fast, but do not have an optical viewfinder.
Compact and bridge cameras are convenient because you get everything you need in one camera, but they tend to struggle in the dark because of their small sensors. There are also action cameras that are completely waterproof and light enough to carry around, but again, the small sensor is a drawback.
We have compiled a list of 9 cameras of all types. As such, this list contains a mix of old and new models.
Best Compact Camera For Hiking | Comparison Table 2022
Top Quality | 5 Star Pick | Great Prices
|Compact Digital Camera for Photography, Rechargeable 20MP Point and Shoot Camera with 2.8" LCD 8X Digital Zoom for Kids Teens Elders（Blue）||KIDSCAM||Check Price|
|Digital Camera,2.7K 48MP Compact Camera,2.7 inch Pocket Camera,Rechargeable Small Digital Camera for Kids,School,Children,Adults,Photography with 16X Digital Zoom(32GB SD Card Included,1 Battery)||SEREE||Check Price|
|1080P Digital Camera 30MP Camera Compact Camera 2.7 inch Pocket Camera,8X Digital Zoom Rechargeable Small Digital Cameras for Kids, Students, Teens,Beginners with 32GB SD Card and 2 Batteries||CEDITA||Check Price|
|Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Camera with 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor (DSCRX100M7)||Sony||Check Price|
|Keculbo Digital Camera 30MP 1080P Compact 2.7 inch Pocket Camera,8X Zoom Rechargeable Small Cameras for Kids, Students, Teens,Beginners with 32GB SD Card and 2 Batteries (DC5P)||Keculbo||Check Price|
|Fujifilm X100V Premium Compact Digital Camera Silver with 23mm F2 Lens and 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 Sensor Bundle Including Deco Gear Travel Bag Case + Photo Video Software Kit + 64GB Card & Accessories||Fujifilm||Check Price|
|Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor and 3inch LCD - Wi-Fi, NFC, & Bluetooth Enabled (Silver)||Canon||Check Price|
|Ricoh GR III Digital Compact Camera, 24mp, 28mm F 2.8 Lens with Touch Screen LCD||Ricoh||Check Price|
|Leica D-LUX 7 4K Compact Camera||Leica||Check Price|
Best Compact Camera For Hiking | 2022 Products Overview
The KIDSCAM Digital Camera for Photography is a compact and rechargeable point-and-shoot camera that is designed for kids, teens, and elders. It features a 20 MP resolution for high-quality still images and 1080p video recording. The camera also includes a range of features such as 19 photo effects, face detection, a self-timer, and a flash. It also has anti-shake and USB charging capabilities for added safety.
The camera comes with a rechargeable 800mah battery that provides up to 80 minutes of use per charge. It also features a 3.0-inch TFT LCD screen that allows you to see what you are filming or playing back in real time. The camera is a great gift option for traveling and daily use, perfect for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
The package includes a digital camera, a user manual, a USB cable, and a hand strap. The camera supports SD, SDHC, and MMC memory cards, with a maximum support of 32GB, and a class 10 SD/SDHC card is highly recommended, though it is not included in the package. The company provides 12 months warranty, 30 days no reason to return, and professional customer service and technical support. Customers should note that the camera requires an adapter or converter for international use, and to charge the camera before first use.
The CEDITA 1080P Digital Camera is a compact, pocket-sized camera that is perfect for kids, students, teens, and beginners. The camera has a resolution of 1080p and 30 megapixels, allowing you to capture and record wonderful times with family and friends at any time. It comes with a 32GB SD card and two 750mAh rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
The camera also has a 2.7-inch LCD display screen that allows you to browse your photos and videos clearly. It features 8x digital zoom, 3 continuous shooting, anti-shake, smile capture, self-timer, face detection and built-in flashlight. The camera is easy to operate and navigate, making it perfect for beginners.
Additionally, it is a great gift for kids, students, and teens, as it is lightweight and easy to carry. The camera has a fixed focus lens and the playback video has no sound and needs to be played back on the computer to listen to the sound. The package includes a digital camera, two rechargeable Li-ion batteries, a 32 GB Micro SD card, a USB cable, an adapter, a user manual, a camera bag, and a lanyard.
The Sony RX100 VII is a premium compact camera that is packed with features for capturing stunning photos and videos. The camera is equipped with a 20.1MP 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor, which provides excellent image quality and low-light performance. The camera also has a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200 millimeter F2.8-F4.5 large aperture high magnification zoom lens, allowing you to zoom in on distant objects and capture all the details you need.
The Sony RX100 VII has an incredibly fast autofocus system, with a 0.02-sec. high AF speed, 357 point focal plane Phase detection AF and 425 point contrast detection AF. This allows you to capture fast-moving subjects with ease. The camera also has a blackout-free continuous shooting feature, which allows you to capture up to 20 fps without interruption. Additionally, the camera has AI-based real-time tracking for stills and movies, and touch tracking. Real-time eye AF for human (stills and movies), and for animal (stills only)
The Sony RX100 VII also supports 4K video recording, with us log3 and Interval Shooting. It also has a microphone jack and vertical position data recording, which is perfect for vlogging and other video projects. The camera also has active mode image stabilization in 4K video recording, and Movie Edit add-on compatible, which makes it perfect for professional videography.
The camera also has built-in flash, and fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Phase-Detection Points making it a perfect tool for any kind of situation. Overall, the Sony RX100 VII is a versatile, high-performance compact camera that is perfect for photographers and videographers of all skill levels.
The Keculbo Digital Camera DC5P is a compact, pocket-sized camera that is perfect for kids, students, teens, and beginners. The camera has a resolution of 1080p and 30 megapixels, allowing you to capture and record wonderful times with family and friends at any time. It comes with a 32GB SD card and two 750mAh rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The camera also has a 2.7-inch LCD display screen that allows you to browse your photos and videos clearly.
The Keculbo Digital Camera DC5P features 8x digital zoom, 3 continuous shooting, anti-shake, smile capture, self-timer, face detection and built-in flashlight. The camera is easy to operate and navigate, making it perfect for beginners. Additionally, it is a great gift for kids, students, and teens, as it is lightweight and easy to carry. The camera has a fixed focus lens and the playback video has no sound and needs to be played back on the computer to listen to the sound.
The camera is designed for use in the US, Outlets and voltage differ internationally and this product may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination. Please check compatibility before purchasing. The camera package includes a digital camera, two rechargeable Li-ion batteries, a 32 GB Micro SD card, a USB cable, an adapter, a user manual, a camera bag, and a lanyard. Overall, the Keculbo Digital Camera DC5P is a versatile, high-performance compact camera that is perfect for photographers and videographers of all skill levels, especially for those who are just starting out.
The Fujifilm X100V Premium Compact Digital Camera is a high-performance camera that combines the quality and control of a professional camera with the size and simplicity of a compact one. At the heart of the X100V is the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4.
This exceptional 26.1MP sensor uses a back-illuminated design to maximize quality and dynamic range, and features a 23mm F2.0 lens to ensure that every detail from its sensor is resolved beautifully. The quad-core X-Processor 4 ensures images are quickly and smoothly processed, and AF performance is boosted with precision face and eye detection right down to -5EV.
The X100V also features 4K video recording at up to 30fps, and the ability to capture 120fps at 1080p to create super slow motion effects. Additionally, filmmakers can record 10-bit, 4:2:2 color externally via the HDMI port and leverage Fujifilm's advanced color reproduction technology, to apply Film Simulations, like Eterna, to their footage.
The camera also features a hybrid viewfinder which enables image-makers to quickly and easily choose between the 0.52x magnification optical viewfinder (OVF) or the 3.69M dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). Additionally, the two-way tilting LCD touchscreen allows for intuitive touch controls, and built-in Wifi and Bluetooth Connectivity.
The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a compact digital camera with a sleek silver design. It features a 20.1 megapixel high sensitivity CMOS sensor and a Digic 7 image processor, allowing for high-quality images with a resolution of up to 20.1 MP. This camera also has a variety of special effects, including Fireworks, Fish-Eye Effect, Handheld Night, Miniature Effect, Portrait, and Toy Camera Effect, which can be easily accessed through the camera's touch screen panel.
The PowerShot G9 X Mark II also boasts a variety of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth, making it easy to share your photos and videos with friends and family. With a 3x optical zoom and a 3-inch LCD screen, this camera is perfect for capturing all of life's special moments. The camera is also ultra-slim, lightweight and pocket size, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.
Additionally, the PowerShot G9 X Mark II is compatible with a range of iOS and Android versions, including 8.4, 9.3, 10.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 7.0 and 7.1. Operating Temperature range is 32-104°F/0-40°C and Maximum Aperture is f/2.0 (W), f/4.9 (T). With its compact design and advanced features, the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a great choice for photographers of all levels.
The Ricoh GR III is an ultracompact digital camera with a sleek black design. It features a 24.24 MP CMOS sensor with an accelerator unit, which helps achieve remarkable image quality. The camera also has a 3-axis, 4-stop shake reduction feature that ensures sharp images even in lower light conditions. Additionally, the GR III is compatible with multi-tone 14-bit RAW image recording, allowing for greater flexibility in post-processing.
The GR III also boasts a 3-inch Air gapless capacitive touch LCD screen, which makes controlling the camera even easier with complete menu control as well as focus and shutter release. The camera is also compatible with a variety of operating systems, including Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7, as well as MacOS 10.14, 10.13, 10.12, OS X 10.11, and OS X 10.10.
The GR III features a hybrid AF system that combines a contrast type AF mechanism, which is superior in focusing precision, with a phase detection type AF mechanism, which assures high-speed focusing operation. This allows for faster, more responsive auto-focus operation.
The camera also provides wireless LAN functions for easy pairing with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. By installing the dedicated Image Sync application on a mobile device, the user can display a Live View image on the device's monitor, release the shutter and send various commands from the device.
It also supports Full HD movie recording (1920 x 1080 pixels, 60 frame rate) in the H.264 recording format and is compatible with Pentax AF 201, AF360 FGZ II and AF 540 FGZ II Flashes. The GR III is the ultimate snapshot camera for the times and always in the heart of photographers.
The Leica D-LUX 7 is a compact digital camera with a sleek black design. It features a 17 MP Four-Thirds sensor, which allows for high-quality images even in low light conditions. The camera is also equipped with a 24-75 mm f/1.7-2.8 Vario-Summilux lens with O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) which makes it versatile all-purpose zoom. This allows for easy use under any light conditions and the ability to capture a wide range of subjects.
The D-LUX 7 also boasts a 3-inch 1.24 million dot touchscreen LCD which enables quicker operation of settings such as autofocus. The camera also has a compact and sturdy design with a full metal housing, which makes it durable and easy to handle. Additionally, it has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity allowing for easy sharing of images and videos.
The D-LUX 7 is also capable of shooting up to 11 fps and recording Ultra HD 4K video. It also includes 4K photo capture and post focus mode, which allows for even more creative options when capturing images. The camera also has an integrated electronic viewfinder, which helps with composition and framing. With its advanced features and compact design, the Leica D-LUX 7 is a great choice for photographers looking for high quality and versatile compact camera.
How To Choose The Best Compact Camera For Hiking in 2022 | Ultimate Guide
In pointing photography, pay attention to the zoom range shown. Most have a wide end of 24mm or narrower. The Olympus TG-870 is an exception at 21mm, but I prefer cameras with larger sensors for hiking. The standard 24mm is usable but not ideal for landscape photography and is a point-and-shoot compromise.
When purchasing a lens for a mirrorless SLR or DSLR camera, look for the 35mm equivalent. Most APS-C sized DSLRs and mirrorless cameras come with an 18-55mm kit lens, for example, Nikon comes with a 27-82.5mm and Canon comes with a 29-88mm. This means that to get the best hiking photos, you will almost certainly need to add a true wide-angle lens. Yes, it will increase cost and weight, but the end result should be far superior in terms of field of view and image quality. For more on this subject, including camera and lens matching, see our in-depth review of lenses.
Whatever camera you choose, its small components, made of metal, plastic, and glass, will need to be carried in a bag wherever you go. That's why hikers and backpackers are always looking for ways to reduce the weight of their cameras while still getting the image quality they seek.
The Point and Shoot are the lightest of any camera, weighing in at about 8 ounces, including batteries and memory cards. It also, as mentioned, has the smallest sensor and lens, which is not the size that landscape photographers prefer. Mirrorless cameras start at about 12 ounces for the camera itself (Sony Alpha a6000) and go up to about 23 ounces for the full-frame Sony Alpha a7R III when interchangeable lenses are included. Digital SLRs are the heaviest, ranging from 14 ounces (Canon Rebel SL2) to 32 ounces (Nikon D850). It depends on the lens and the number of lenses you choose.
Water resistance is one of the factors to consider when choosing a camera for hiking and backpacking. There is no universal standard, but generally, the seals and buttons on the camera body are sealed with rubber to reduce exposure to moisture and dust. Even if the camera is waterproof, water will eventually get in, and while it is not recommended for shooting in heavy rain, it can be very effective in light to moderate rain. If you are a professional photographer shooting outdoors, this camera is almost a must-have.
With the exception of "rugged" waterproof models that are fun but not optically competitive, compact cameras are not waterproof. Even high-end compacts like the Sony RX100 V don't have this feature. SLR and mirrorless cameras offer waterproofing on some mid-range models and almost all full-size models. Because of the importance of this feature, we have included water resistance in the comparison chart in this article.
The Best Focal Lengths for Hiking
For outdoor photographers, the lens is just as important as the camera itself. For example, it would be a mistake to buy a DSLR or mirrorless camera with only an 18-55mm kit lens and expect professional-quality landscape photography. In most cases, you will need a wide-angle lens, a zoom lens, or a high-quality lens that works well at the wide end (most kit lenses are quite marginal in this regard).
Since most of my hiking photos are landscapes, I find that a focal length of 16-24mm works best. Wider focal lengths require a wider spread and strategic use of the foreground (the header photo in this article was taken at 14mm, which has both of these characteristics, but is very difficult to shoot at ultra-wide angles). As you approach 24mm, you lose the dramatic aperture that makes landscape photography so appealing. I prefer the 16-24mm range for hiking, although people and animals are usually photographed at normal and telephoto focal lengths.
This section discusses a number of technical specifications that should be considered when purchasing a camera. The first of these is the level of zoom offered by the camera.
When purchasing a compact camera, optical zoom is usually indicated by a number, such as 3x optical zoom or 40x optical zoom. The higher the number, the more you can magnify distant objects.
For greater photographic freedom, we generally recommend a camera with at least 3x optical zoom. Those who like to photograph wildlife will need a much larger zoom, from 10x to 40x.
If you are considering a camera with interchangeable lenses, such as a mirrorless or SLR camera, the zoom of the lens is indicated by a number called the focal length. The smaller the focal length of the lens, the smaller the zoom, and the larger the focal length, the larger the zoom.
For general travel use, lenses from 18mm to 200mm are recommended and can cover most situations. If you do not take many pictures of distant subjects, lenses from 18mm to 70mm are sufficient.
In general, the longer the zoom lens, the heavier the camera. In other words, zoom and weight are two factors that must be balanced against each other.
One side of the exposure triangle in photography is the aperture. The aperture is the hole inside the camera lens through which light passes to reach the sensor; the larger the aperture, the more light can pass through.
The larger the aperture, the more light can be let in, and the better the performance will be in low-light situations. This makes the lens more useful in a variety of shooting situations, such as indoors or in dark outdoor locations.
Versatility is essential for cameras that are expected to be used in a variety of shooting situations, such as backpacking and hiking.
The disadvantage of large apertures is that they often limit the zoom of the camera. Achieving a long zoom with a large aperture lens requires a very heavy and large lens, making it unsuitable for hiking and backpacking.
For hiking and backpacking, a lens with an aperture of around f/2.8 is ideal and should be at least f/5.6.
The closer the number is to 1, the wider the aperture. However, many zoom lenses have a maximum aperture of about F5.6, which allows much less light through.
Again, it is all a compromise. If you want a long zoom lens with a large aperture, it will be expensive and heavy. If you want a lightweight lens with a large aperture, it will not zoom as well.
To learn more about aperture and how it affects your images, see our guide to the Exposure Triangle.
You may be wondering why cameras come in different sizes and why larger cameras produce higher-quality images.
One of the main factors is that larger cameras can accommodate larger sensors. A sensor is a component inside the camera that is exposed to light and records that light information as a digital image.
Larger cameras can be equipped with larger sensors, and as a general rule, a larger sensor produces better images than a smaller sensor. This is because a larger sensor can capture more light, especially when shooting in dark areas.
Of course, the disadvantage is that a larger sensor is more expensive to manufacture and requires a larger body to accommodate it. It also requires a larger lens. In other words, a larger sensor is usually heavier and more expensive than a camera system with a smaller sensor.
Again, it is up to personal preference as to what is important to you, whether it is price, weight, or image quality.
Battery life is important to hikers and backpackers. Battery life should be a consideration, especially since you may be away from an electrical outlet for extended periods of time.
Most cameras have a nominal value indicating the number of pictures that can be taken on a full charge; a single full charge can yield about 200 pictures on the low end and about 1,300 on the high end.
In general, SLR cameras are the most battery-efficient because they can take pictures through an optical viewfinder and do not require a power supply for the monitor. Even an inexpensive DSLR camera should be able to take 600 to 1,300 pictures on a single charge.
Mirrorless SLR and compact cameras generally consume more battery power. This is because they must supply power to the screen and motorized zoom function. This consumes a lot of battery power.
Of course, you can always carry a spare battery, but it will be heavier. We suggest trying to find a backpacking and hiking camera that will take at least 400 photos on a charge, or use a very small battery to make up for it. Of course, this will depend on the number of photos you want to take, but for a week-long trip, this should be sufficient.
You should also consider whether the camera allows manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc., focus points, etc., and whether it can shoot in RAW.
If you want more creative control over your images, manual control is a must. If you want to let the camera do the work for you, then manual controls are not as important.
We prefer cameras with full manual control, but of course to each his own. It's not a major differentiator specifically for hiking and backpacking, but it's something to consider.
In general, smartphones and low-cost compact cameras do not have manual controls, while high-end compact cameras and all SLR and mirrorless cameras have manual controls.
Of course, there are many other features that may or may not be important in choosing a camera. For example, you may need a touch screen or a screen that rotates and tilts with respect to the camera body.
The camera should have WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS beacon capabilities. It may be desirable to have specific dials to control different functions. You may want a camera with image stabilization or one that is optimized for video.
If video is important to you, you may want a camera that supports high-quality 4K video and an autofocus system to track your subject. Also, if you are shooting on your own, a rotating screen would be very useful for video. Other features, such as support for an external microphone, are helpful to get better sound quality to match the video.
These features are less important, especially when choosing a camera for hiking and backpacking, but of course, your needs will vary. So if you really want a camera with a particular feature, make sure to prioritize that feature in your final decision.
Best Compact Camera For Hiking | Video explanation
The best camera is the one you always have in your hand! These fancy features and comparisons mean nothing if your camera is designed to be stored in a backpack.
These cameras are useless if you don't have them hanging around your neck all the time while hiking.
I also don't think much of special bags (that you can attach to your shoulder strap). By the time you turn on your camera, you've already lost precious seconds. Those few seconds and the extra obstacle are more daunting than you think.
Those few seconds and the extra obstacle are more of a deterrent than you think. In nature photography, of course, appreciating the moment is often an obstacle! In such a situation, is it really worth spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a camera that is only used occasionally?
Again, the "best camera" is probably the one on your smartphone that you probably already own and will have on hand when the perfect scene comes along.