Best Backpacking Cameras

by Rishabh Goria | Last Updated: July 5, 2020

Backpacking not only needs gears to protect yourself or give yourself some rest but also needs gears that help you maximize your experience and helps you enjoy the small moments in your life. A backpacking camera is one such gear you need to take with yourself on a trip so that you can cherish those moments in your life. If you are someone who loves photography or is a vlogger and wants a good camera for your channel then you can check the list and gift yourself one.

In this article, we will tell you all about the best camera’s in the market and the best ways you can get them by yourself.

So, let’s get into them.

BEST MIRRORLESS FULL-FRAME BACKPACKING CAMERA


1. Sony A7R IV

This is a dream camera for everyone out there, you might be a vlogger or a normal person this is the best camera out there, yes, it is bit expensive, but it is worth every penny you spend. Once you start taking photos out of it you get the experience of professional photography.

It is also once one of the heaviest cameras on the list, but it doesn’t matter if photography is your main interest. If you want a camera for backpacking, for hiking, for vlogging, it is nearly impossible to beat this. This is one camera for all your needs.

It has a whopping 61MP resolution, but you can achieve 240MP using the pixel shift mode in it. It also comes with the famous AF tracking system. Also, it has the 10fps burst mode along with autofocus, and with its, in-body image stabilization the image quality you get is just astonishing. 

Features:

  1. Full-frame sensor
  2. 61 MP resolution.
  3. 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen monitor.
  4. 10FPS frame rate.
  5. 4K video at 30FPS.
Pros
  • Perfect professional images for all your needs.
  • It is value for money even if it’s expensive.
Cons
  • It might be very expensive for someone with a limited budget
  • It is very heavy to carry, so you might not prefer it for longer trips except if you are passionate enough.

BEST RUGGED BACKPACKING CAMERA


2. Olympus Tough! TG-5

It might be the most expensive camera, but it is best if you are planning to get a rugged backpacking camera then there is none better than this. Yeah, there are other cameras from Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm, Canon, GoPro but it leads in this section. It is waterproof, dustproof, has Wi-Fi, GPS, and is also shock resistant what else do you want in a camera?

It has an aperture of 2.0, the smaller the value i.e., the closer it is to 1 the bigger the aperture and the better photos it can take, for more information you can check out the buying guide. If you are looking for an all-round diving camera then no better than this.

It also has 4K-video support so now you can take 4K videos and play them on your TV and enjoy your shots, recollect memories and have some fun. It also has an underwater housing feature which lets you shoot 45m deep inside the water, but it is only limited to 15m normally.

Features:

  1. 460K LCD Dot monitor.
  2. Focus range: 3.94 inches
  3. Field sensor system with GPS
  4. Waterproof till 50 feet.
  5. Freezeproof to 14 degrees.
  6. IP6X dustproof.
Pros
  • Can shoot 4K-videos
  • A fast lens which allows you to shoot amazing low light pictures
  • You can connect to your phone and post your videos/photos instantly on Instagram or Facebook
Cons
  • It is very expensive.
  • The screen can get scratches so you can get a cover for it maybe.

BEST IN BUDGET CAMERA


3. Panasonic Lumix ZS70/TZ90

                                       If you want a cheaper camera that you can take and get along and is handy as well, Panasonic Lumix is a pocket-friendly camera in which you carry it along in your pocket without a bag or any other equipment and the fun fact is it weighs only 332g.

It also comes with a flippable screen in which you can have a look while shooting a video or while taking a selfie with a beautiful scene behind. The software does wonders here, there are modes for a selfie or a mode where you wave your hand and the camera takes a shot, isn’t it worth buying?

It has a 720mm focal length, huge right? Also, it connects to your phone, so you can upload your pictures to the cloud safely so that even if your SD card gets corrupt you don’t lose your photos/videos.

Features:

  1. Electronic View Finder: 166K dots
  2. 4K QFHD recording
  3. 4K post focus with internal focus stacking feature.
  4. Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n.
  5. 20.3MP MOS sensor.
  6. Plus 5 axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization.
Pros
  • The best point-and-shoot camera at this price range.
  • It can also shoot 4K-videos
  • It can connect to your phone wirelessly too.
Cons
  • It might be slightly big when compared to other cameras.

BEST ACTION CAMERA


4. GoPro Hero7

If an action or adventure is everything for you and wants a small camera that can perform its best and lets you take some amazing shots, then no better than GoPro. All the series of the GoPro camera have been a great change in the whole camera scene, there is not much of a difference in GoPro camera’s but the changes they make are worth every penny.

It is the best action camera out there, some competitors are doing well such as DJI Osmo Action which is another exceptional camera that we will talk about on another day.

GoPro is the perfect camera for you when you are riding or cycling or mountaineering or hiking and is so lightweight you won’t feel the difference. You might also want to look up to some YouTube videos about the images or videos taken by it and trust me they are exceptional.

Features:

  1. Enables live streaming in 720p.
  2. Applies noise reduction and HDR for image optimization.
  3. 4K 60 videos + 12MP photos.
  4. Voice control – Control your camera with voice commands, take a photo, turn it on, turn it off.
  5. Gimbal like stabilization.
  6. Timewarp helps you to take amazing time-lapse videos.
Pros
  • Perfect Image Stabilization
  • You can connect it to your phone and transfer images instantly.
  • It is waterproof and dustproof as well.
  • It is super lightweight and takes amazing photos.
Cons
  • it is expensive than other Action Cameras

Note: You can also check out GoPro Hero 8 or other Go-Pro cameras for more variety and surprises.


HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA?

There are hundreds of camera’s out there which are best in their terms, yet people like us want to get the best camera in our budget which has got everything, in terms of image quality, it needs to take good videos, good time-lapse, it must have got good lenses, a good tripod for stability and much other stuff, but we need to understand that any camera would not have everything, it might lack in one or two features which every camera would, so with those features in an exception you want the best camera out there in your budget.

Some might say GoPro is the best, some might argue Sony is a better choice for camera’s, some might be a fan of Nikon or Canon, it depends on you how you handle all these people and get yourself a good camera which is value for money as well as has good reviews, good features and has got some amazing image quality as in the sense only that matters.

Now if you are going for backpacking then for sure there might be places which you want to capture as a part of memory, or there can be some great moments that you can capture and store them with you as a part of remembrance for the trip. You might also want to upload some videos on your YouTube channel if you are a vlogger and then a camera is a must, but a one which takes some beautiful portraits or some amazing images so that you can improve your photography skills too.

So now we are going to discuss some most important factors that are required to get the best camera from the market, in short, a buying guide which will guide you properly to get a good backpacking camera for your trip. Also, you might be thinking the more expensive the camera the better it is, it might be true but sometimes even cheaper cameras do wonder if you know how to take a good picture, so let’s dive right in.

  1. Weight and Size:

                                  Weight is the most important thing when you are on a trip because you need to keep a lot of things in hand and some in your bag, there are so many backpacking gears needed for the trip so that you need to balance weight and remove some of them which make it easy for you to travel which is to hike or camp or trek. If the image quality is the priority for you then you need to adjust in weight because some cameras are slightly heavy.

Keep in mind that for small cameras, the sensor is also small which does not have a good low light sensor, so if you want a camera so that you can take good sunny pictures then you can get a smaller sensor, but if you also want to take great night time photos, night-sky time-lapse then you need a camera with better low light sensors for which you might need a bigger camera.

Also, you can fix lenses to the camera for better pictures and better videography, that might also increase the weight and you might also use a tripod for stability in the pictures, which means an increase in weight, but if you are a vlogger then this is a must equipment for you, and if you are interested in photography then you might need all of these equipment’s for better photos and videos, so most of the people prefer to carry a camera bag with all these equipment’s so that you do not lose any of them. Also carrying a bag is a safer option than carrying all the equipment alone so try to get a back to assemble them in the bag and keep them in your backpack so that it will be easy for you to carry.

                       The most important thing to look at in a backpacking camera is durability. If you are someone who is a fan of adventure sports then for sure you need a camera that is durable and can be used for a long time, and being electronic stuff it can get damaged easily, also some expensive camera’s might not, and are durable and long-lasting but some cheaper cameras are not durable, so you need to take care of it, this doesn’t mean that you need to get expensive cameras for your trip but you need to get decent cameras that work.

My decent camera we mean that you can get waterproof cameras, which are weather-sealed, and which are covered or have a full metal body. Being durable also means that the battery life of the camera is good enough, so it doesn’t drain when you need to take a good shot. You can also get hard cases for the camera so that you can protect it when it falls.

                                 You need to take such cameras which can perform in any weather. It needs to mud, dust, waterproof or resistant so that you need not lose your data/camera if it falls in water or dust.

The body of the camera is also covered using rubber so that it doesn’t get affected by dust or moisture. For mid-range cameras and DSLRs weather sealing or proofing might not be available and is also available for all the full-range models.

You can also buy waterproof cameras to shoot underwater up to depth.

                                                  Connecting your phone to the camera is also very important so that you can access all the photos and videos which you have taken over time. If you are not able to connect it then you might not want to buy it because then you need to carry your laptop to access the photos, edit them, post them on the internet. You would not want to increase the weight on this trip so it’s better to look for a camera that connects to your mobile phones. Also, connecting to the mobile phone helps you back up images so that you don’t lose them once the SD gets corrupt.

                                           The most important question when we buy a portable device. Battery life is one of the most important factors to consider while getting a camera although many devices out there have good battery life, the battery life of the camera depends on the number of images you take and the time it is on obviously. You can take an extra battery with yourself so that if one battery drains you have another ready to plugin and continue the photoshoot.

We have added a list of battery life of few cameras you can check this out.

  1. Sony Alpha a6300 –— 400 images
  2. Fuji X-T2 with 12-55 mm lens –— 340 images
  3. Ricoh GRII –– 320 images
  4. Nikon W300 Waterproof Underwater Digital Camera –— 280 images
  5. Canon Power shot SX720 –— 250 images.
  6. Olympus OM-D-E-M5 Mark II —- 310 images.
  7. Image quality:

                            This is another important thing to take care of, the image quality of the camera, as mentioned the smaller the camera the lesser the sensor which doesn’t perform well in low light but works great on sunny days.

Also, we have set up the list already according to the image quality so you need not worry about the camera’s which perform better but if you are here only for buying guide then you need to take care that you get cameras with large sensors so that the image is crystal clear and you can edit it to make the perfect post for your Instagram.

Also, you need to understand terms like ISO performance, color correction, resolution, sensor size where ISO performance is the right amount of brightness or darkness in your photo, whereas color correction means improves colors in your photo, adding more colors, removing colors, decrease the brightness of some colors, and stuff, the resolution is the pixels in your camera, what resolution you would like your image to be if you are taking a shot for your Instagram post, these can be HD or FHD or 4K in case of videos.

            If you are looking for a camera in your budget then you can go for some cameras below $300, they might be good enough for your Instagram photos or you can also spend more but once you get a camera you might overspend to get all the accessories required such as the tripod, the lenses, the camera hard case, the gimbal, and many more so its better to plan when to get these things, so that your budget doesn’t get affected.

You might also get insurance in case of any theft or accidental damage so that you do not need extra money to get a new camera but remember there must be a valid proof to claim the accidental damage which is caused by dropping the camera down or water going in it or by any other means you can reach out to the manufacturers manual while buying the insurance to understand it better.

                  Now the other thing to understand about the camera is the aperture or the exposure triangle of the camera. There is a small hole in the lens of the camera when the light passes through it and hits the sensor and then the image is recorded. So, the whole point of telling this is the larger the aperture the more light can go through it and the better image you get, this would be helpful during night time as during the night or if you are shooting indoors.

You might also know that versatility is the key during backpacking. You have so many things to shoot, too many things to capture and the ideal aperture for a camera can be somewhere around f/2.8 with a minimum of f/5.6 because the larger the aperture the less zoom the camera has.

The thing to notice here is, in the f/value, the value must be closer to 1 which means the value closer to 1 the bigger aperture the camera has, for example, f/5.6 has a smaller aperture than the f/2.8 camera.

If you want a camera with a wide aperture and more zoom, then you need a bigger lens which might not be the intention here as we are only going for a backpacking trip.

                      You might be wondering why there is a difference in camera sizes out there, why only bigger cameras produce good quality images?

Because bigger cameras have bigger sensors in them so when the light hits on the sensor through the aperture this sensor saves the light info with the digital image of the whole place from where the light is coming in. This means it’s not the camera size that matters it’s the sensor size that matters, so to fit that sensor in the camera, the camera’s body size increases gradually.

So, coming to the cost of the product, larger sensors mean more money and a bigger camera body and larger lenses. It depends on you which sensor you want but understands the why behind it because that is most important.

  1. Manual Controls:

                                  These things are very important when you want to buy a camera and another important thing to note down is whether it has manual control or is it automatic. By controls, we mean that whether you need to set the ISO, auto-correction,shutter speed, focal point, etc., by yourself or as in an automatic camera the camera automatically set’s these settings, you can also change them but it sets them according to the lighting and the colors while taking the image.

In an automatic camera, you need to choose the focus of the lens so that it can focus on that thing and blurs the background as in portrait mode for manual controls, or else keeps the focus on that thing for you to take a better picture.

Low-end cameras and smartphones do not offer manual controls but if you are choosing mirrorless or high-end DSLRs then you can get only one lens to save space and weight.

  1. Other features:

                             If we start talking about what features a camera should have that would be another article, but instead we can mention them here, so you might want to take a touchscreen camera, or a camera that has access to Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth or another which has Image stabilization which is an important factor, as it helps to stabilize photos when you take a moving shot, or you might be looking for a camera that can take a 4K video, or a flip screen to check what image/video is being shot, these features are your preference you can choose cameras which have these if you want to spend extra or else just get a camera which would fulfill your needs to capturing perfect moments during backpacking.

Conclusion:

There are many more things to learn about cameras apart from the buying guide, but you can trust this buying guide and follow it to get the best camera available in the market. Photography is a skill that many people are interested in and want to excel in it so getting a camera is the first step to it and for backpacking, a camera might be the best equipment you might want to carry to capture those splendid moments and remember them. For a start, Panasonic Lumix might be a good option or you can choose anyone from the list. Check it out and let us know which one you liked.

Happy Journey!