The Best Hiking Cameras of 2018   Recently updated !


Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera

Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera

Hiking is much more than just a sport; it’s also exploring nature and observing astonishing landscapes and natural phenomena. To keep the memories of the amazing things you will experience on your hiking and backpacking trips alive, it is good that you have a camera with you. There are many cameras available, but not all are appropriate for hiking and backpacking. A hiking camera should be light and compact so that it doesn’t make your backpack heavy or take too much space in it. However, it should also make high-quality photos. Since hiking is no walk in the park, a hiking camera should also be robust enough to withstand shocks and harsh weather conditions.

Here we reviewed the best hiking cameras currently available to make your buying decision a little easier. We only listed cameras that make high-quality photos but are at the same time compact enough for backpacking and hiking.

1. Buying a Hiking Camera – What is important?

Size:

You will probably want to keep your camera within easy reach while you are hiking, because you might only have a few moments to get the perfect snapshot of animals, birds or other moving objects. The best way to do that is to put it in your backpack’s hip belt pocket, your jacket’s pocket or the side pocket of your pants.  You can only store the camera in one of these pockets if it comes in a convenient size.

Weight:

Nobody wants to carry heavy stuff while hiking and therefore we only listed lightweight cameras in this selection. The heaviest camera in this review weighs around 11 ounces (300 grams).

Durability

A hiking camera should offer protection against abrasion and shocks. Manufacturers make cameras robust by using sophisticated materials. All cameras in this selection provide great durability.

Image quality:

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

2. The Best Hiking Cameras Review

Best Hiking Cameras

Best Hiking Cameras

The Best Hiking Cameras – List

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

Comparison

Feature/Product Olympus TG-5Panasonic DMC-ZS50K LUMIX 30XSony Alpha a5100Canon PowerShot G7 XCanon D30
Size4.4 x 2.6 x 1.2 in. 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 in. 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in. 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.6 in. 4.3 x 2.7 x 1.1 in.
Size (Metric)11.3 cm x 6.6 cm x 3.2 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 8.71 oz.8.57 oz.9.98 oz.10.7 oz.7.69 oz.
Weight (Metric)250 g243 g283 g304 g218 g
Megapixels12 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)
ISO100-1280080-6400100–256001224-12800100-3200
Image StabilizationSensor-shiftOptical Supported on lensOptical Optical
Zoom4x Optical Zoom, 2x Super Resolution 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 life340 images300 images400 images210 images300 images
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera

Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera

1. Olympus TG-5

Suitable for:

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

The Olympus TG-5 camera is well-made and designed for harsh conditions. The camera features a very robust construction which can withstand up to 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of pressure. The camera is also drop-resistant from up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) high and works without a problem in cold conditions (as cold as 14 F) and even under the water. It also has 2 features every hiker will appreciate – a built-in GPS receiver (it supports GLONASS as well) and a digital compass. The GPS receiver does not only add location data to your photos, but it also provides you with information about your current altitude. The digital compass helps you with navigation by showing your current bearing. The Olympus TG-4 Tough can be also connected to other devices because it has a build-in Wi-Fi modem. You can for example connect the camera to your Smartphone and operate it from a distance. This convenient feature allows you to adjust zoom, focus points and some other settings directly from your Smartphone. The images taken with this robust camera are sharp and high-quality. The macro mode is very good, and the auto focus feature reacts quickly. For those who want more than just standard features, the Olympus TG-4 Tough offers a variety of settings to make your images even better.

 

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 camera is not explicitly intended for sports, but since it is lightweight and conveniently sized it is perfect for hiking, mountaineering and similar activities. The camera is equipped with the 30X Zoom Leica Lens which allows you to take astonishing photos even from a distance. A low-light environment is also not a problem because the camera features High Sensitivity MOS sensor which increases the image quality and keeps the energy consumption low. The optical image stabilizer provides good anti-blur touch. This is very useful because it is often hard to have a steady hand while hiking. Also, images of moving objects are focused and sharp. The Panasonic camera also 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 in very sunny weather. The camera is equipped with an eye sensor and therefore automatically switches between the LED screen and the live view finder.

 

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 camera is also not explicitly intended for outdoor sports, but because of its convenient size and low weight, it is more than suitable for hiking and mountaineering. It is perfect for those who would like to take top-quality photos and care less about robustness. The Sony Alpha a5100 camera features an accurate and fast auto focus, superb performance in low light conditions and makes 24-megapixel high resolution images and full HD videos. 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. The camera has also a flip-up touch LED screen which makes taking selfies simple and accurate. Since the Sony Alpha a5100 camera is equipped with a sophisticated networking technology, you won’t have to carry the cables with you while you are backpacking – you can simply transfer the images to your Smartphone using Wi-Fi. To quickly pair your Smartphone with the camera, you can also use NFC (Near Field Communication); it doesn’t get much simpler. The Sony Alpha a5100 is a great camera and we would recommend it to those who prefer photo 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 videos. The CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 processor are among the latest Canon’s innovations and together they produce sharp high-resolution images – even under bad light conditions. The optical zoom allows you to make clear images from the distance. The camera is also equipped with an optical image stabilizer which makes images sharp when the zoom feature is used. The Canon PowerShot G7 X has a built-in WiFi modem 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 and ergonomically shaped camera that is made 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 drop-resistant from up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) high and it also works without a problem in extreme cold – temperatures down to 14 F.  For those who don’t want to dig deep into settings, the camera has 32 predefined shooting situations for high-quality images. The built-in GPS receiver will also add location data to your images. Unfortunately, the Canon D30 doesn’t have wireless connectivity which is probably the biggest downside of it. However, the Canon D30 is a great choice for those who want 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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