The Best Hiking Cameras


Olympus TG-3 Tough

Olympus TG-3 Tough

Hiking is much more than just a sport; it’s also about exploring nature and observing astonishing landscapes and natural phenomena. In order to keep the memories of the amazing things you will experience on your hikes, it is practical that you have a camera with you to take photos. There are many cameras available, but not all are appropriate for hiking. Hikers make every effort to reduce excessive weight and to save space in the backpack for indispensable gear. Therefore, a hiking camera should be light, small and at the same time able to make high-quality pictures. Because hiking is no walk in the park, a hiking camera should also be robust enough to withstand harsh conditions.

Here we reviewed the best five hiking cameras currently available to make your buying decision a little easier.

1. Buying a Hiking Camera – What is important?

Size:

You will probably want to keep a camera within a reach while hiking, as you might only have a few moments to get the perfect snap shot of animals, birds or other moving objects. The best way to do that is to store it in the hip belt pocket of your backpack, your jacket pocket or the side pocket of your pants.  This is only possible if the camera comes in a convenient size.

Weight:

Nobody wants to carry heavy stuff while hiking and therefore we only selected lightweight cameras.

Durability

Hiking camera should be protected against abrasion and shocks. Manufacturers use special materials to achieve that. All cameras listed here offer decent robustness.

Image quality:

Those who are familiar with photography know that there are always tradeoffs. If you want the best image quality possible you will definitely need a bulky camera. In this review we selected cameras that offer the best ratio between compactness and performance.

2. The Best Hiking Cameras Review

The Best Hiking Cameras

The Best Hiking Cameras

  1. Olympus TG-3 Tough
  2. Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30X
  3. Sony Alpha a5100
  4. Canon PowerShot G7 X
  5. Canon D30

Comparison

Feature/Product Olympus TG-3 ToughPanasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30XSony Alpha a5100Canon PowerShot G7 XCanon D30
Size11.2 cm x 6.6 cm x 3.1 cm11.1 cm x 6.5 cm x 3.4 cm11.0 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.6 cm10.3 cm x 6.0 x 4.0 cm10.9 cm x 6.8 cm x 2.8 cm
Weight 247 g243 g283 g304 g218 g
Megapixels16 12.124.320.212.1
ApertureWide: f2.0, f2.8, f8.0 Tele: f4.9, f6.3, f18.0F3.3 - 6.4 / Multistage Iris Diaphragm (F3.3 - 8.0 (W), F6.4 - 8.0 (T))f/3.5 - f/22 (W) / f/5.6 - f/36 (T)f/1.8 (W), f/2.8 (T)f/3.9 (W), f/4.8 (T)
ISO100-640080-6400100–256001224-12800100-3200
Image StabilizationSensor-shiftOptical Supported on lensOptical Optical
Zoom4x Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom30x Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom2x Smart Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom4.2x Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom5x Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom
Screen3.0”3.0”3.0”3.0”3.0”
Battery life380 pictures300 pictures400 pictures210 pictures300 pictures
Olympus TG-3 Tough

Olympus TG-3 Tough

1. Olympus TG-3 Tough

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use
  • Diving

The Olympus TG-3 Tough is a high-quality camera which is designed for extreme conditions.  It features an extremely robust construction which can withstand up to 100 kilograms of pressure. The camera is also resistant to drops from up to 2.1 meters and works without a problem in cold conditions (as cold as -10 C) and even under the water. Additionally it has 2 features every hiker will appreciate – a built-in GPS receiver and a digital compass. The GPS receiver does not only add a location data to your photos but it also provides you with information about latitude, longitude and altitude. The digital compass additionally helps with navigation by showing you your current direction. The Olympus TG-3 Tough can also be connected to other devices because it has a build-in WiFi modem. You can for example connect the camera to your Smartphone and operate it on distance. This powerful feature allows you to adjust zoom, auto focus points and some other setting directly from your Smartphone. The images taken with this robust camera are sharp and in general high-quality. The macro mode is very good and the auto focus feature reacts very quickly. For those who want more than standard features, the Olympus TG-3 Tough offers a variety of settings to make your images even better. We would recommend this camera to everybody who wants a reliable piece of gear for the ultimate hiking trips.

 

Pros:

  • Robust
  • Waterproof
  • WiFi
  • GPS

Cons:

  • /

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Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30X

Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30X

2. Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30X

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

The Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30X is not particularly designed for sports but since it is light and conveniently sized it can easily be used for hiking, mountaineering and similar activities. The camera is equipped with the 30X Zoom Leica Lens which allows you to make astonishing photos even from a great distance. A low-light environment is also not a problem since the camera features High Sensitivity MOS sensor which drastically increases the image quality and keeps energy consumption down. The optical image stabilizer provides great anti-blur performance. This is a brilliant feature because it is sometimes hard to have a steady hand while hiking. Also the images of moving objects are focused and sharp. Additionally the camera features a control ring and live view finder. The control ring comes in handy because it is mounted on the lens and allows you to control the exposure, zoom and focus. The live view finder is convenient when the LED screen is hard to use, for example under bad light conditions. The camera is equipped with an eye sensor and therefore automatically switches between the LED screen and the live view finder option. Even though the Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30X is not explicitly designed for sports we would recommend it to every hiker who wants to make top-quality pictures on his hikes.

 

Pros:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • WiFI
  • Images/videos quality

Cons:

  • Price

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Sony Alpha a5100

Sony Alpha a5100

3. Sony Alpha a5100

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

The Sony Alpha a5100 is also not particularly built for sports, but because of its convenient size and low weight it is more than appropriate for use on hiking and mountaineering trails. It is perfect for those who would like to take top-quality images on their trips and are willing to give away robust design in order to do this. The Sony Alpha a5100 features an accurate and fast auto focus, 24 megapixels high resolution images, full HD videos and superb performance in low light conditions. The camera is very easy to use on trails since it is sized to fit in one hand and has a conveniently placed zoom lever. Additionally the camera has a flip-up touch LED screen which makes taking selfies simple and accurate. Since the Sony Alpha a5100 is equipped with a sophisticated connectivity technology, you won’t have to carry cables with you on hiking trips. You can simply transfer the images to your Smartphone using WiFi. To quickly pair your Smartphone with the camera, you can use NFC (Near Field Communication) – as simple as it can get. The Sony Alpha a5100 is a great camera and we would recommend it to those who prefer image quality over robustness.

 

Pros:

  • WiFi
  • NFC
  • Touch screen
  • Image quality

Cons:

  • Price

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Canon PowerShot G7 X

Canon PowerShot G7 X

4. Canon PowerShot G7 X

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use

The Canon PowerShot G7 X is an extremely compact camera which fits perfectly in hand. It features a 20.2 megapixels CMOS sensor, DIGIC 6 processor, 4.2x optical zoom and full HD video recording. The CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 processor are among the latest innovations in technology from Canon and together they produce sharp high resolution images – even under bad light conditions. The optical zoom allows you to make clear images from a distance. Additionally the camera is equipped with an optical image stabilizer which assures the clarity of the images when the zoom feature is used. The Canon PowerShot G7 X has a built-in WIFi modem with the NFC for sharing images. When it is paired with a Smartphone you can also control the camera’s shutter, self-timer, flash, and zoom directly from your Smartphone.

 

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • Image quality

Cons:

  • Battery life

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Canon D30

Canon D30

5. Canon D30

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Everyday use
  • Diving

The Canon D30 is a robust ergonomically shaped camera which is build for outdoorsmen and other adventurers. The camera can be used up to 25 meters below the water and has a well-protected casing which will withstand harsh conditions on hiking trails. It is shockproof to 2 meters and the camera also works without a problem in extreme cold – down to -10 C.  For those who don’t want to dig deep into settings, the camera offers 32 predefined shooting situations which assure quality images. The built-in GPS receiver will also equip your images with location data. Unfortunately, the Canon D30 doesn’t offer wireless connectivity which is probably the biggest downside of it. However, the Canon D30 is a great choice for those who need a budget camera to keep their memories alive.

 

Pros:

  • Ergonomically shaped
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • No wireless connectivity
  • Image quality in comparison to other products in the review

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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