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Hiking Camera - How to Choose a Camera for Your Hiking Trip

Whether you’re a professional photographer or not, it’s always good to take a camera when go hiking or backpacking. So, how to choose camera for your hiking trip, check this article and figure it out.

By Niko | @mycoollife

Updated on Oct 09, 2019

One of the greatest things for hiking is that you can explore and enjoy beautiful natural landscapes along your way. It would be better to record your amazing hiking trip experiences with photos (or videos).

Nowadays, many hikers prefer to take photos using mobile phones directly. Indeed, mobile phone camera is very convenient, and most of them can ensure high-quality photos. However, mobile phone camera has some drawbacks as well, for example, many mobile phone cameras are not water-proof, or if you use the camera very frequently, your mobile phone battery will drain very fast. So, why not get yourself a hiking camera? In this article, let’s discuss what features need to be taken into consideration, and how to choose a camera for your hiking trip.


Camera Weight & Size

When you choose a camera for hiking, the camera weight & size actually is one of the important features to consider. That’s because you may need to carry your backpack and gears to hike different trails all the time, so you’ll have to carefully choose what essential hiking gears to bring, and pack as light as possible.

Based on this factor, there is no need to consider choosing a bulky DSLR, with which you’ll always have to bring heavy interchangeable lenses or tripods (unless you are a true DSLR lover, and you don’t mind carrying this big thing to walk all the time). Now, many small sized cameras can produce very high-quality photos & videos, and they can be put into your pockets of the jacket or pants. They are perfect for hiking or backpacking use, easy to carry and easy to use.


The hiking condition is usually tougher, so you need to put emphasis on the weatherproofing features when you choose a hiking camera, especially waterproofing feature. Most of you go hiking in the mountains or some trails near rivers or ocean. If it gets water inside, your camera stops it from normal functioning completely, and you might lost all your precious photos. Accordingly, it’s good to choose a weatherproof (better be waterproof) hiking camera, which always has rubber seals and additional features to protect the camera from dust and water.


Specifications: Zoom, Aperture & Sensor Size

For choosing a hiking camera, you’d look into some technical features as well. Camera providers advertise their products, and you’ll easily be confused. In fact, many cameras offer pretty similar features, you just check these technical specifications: zoom, sensor size and aperture when considering a camera for hiking.

·         Optical Zoom: the larger the number, the more the camera will be able to zoom in on far away objects.

·         Aperture: the aperture is the hole inside the camera lens which light passes through to hit the sensor, and larger apertures allow more light through.

·         Sensor Size: as a very important component inside the camera, the sensor saves the light hit information as a digital image. A bigger camera fits a bigger sensor and can produce better photos.

While, the truth is the longer zoom length, the wider aperture and the bigger sensor size result in a larger and heavier camera. Taking the camera size and weight into account, it all comes down to compromise, and you need to find the balance.

Battery Life, Storage & Price

In terms of battery life and storage, you don’t consider the two aspects too much. Some of you may worry about the battery life since you take 1-2 whole day hike, and it’s hard to charge the battery outdoors. You can prepare some back-up batteries to solve this problem. Likewise, bring some extra SD cards to save more photos.

Tips: Compared to DSLR cameras, compact hiking cameras use up more battery as a rule. That’s because DSLR cameras has the optical viewfinder, while compact cameras have to power the screen and motorized zoom function.

Ok, what’s one of the biggest determinants when you choose a hiking camera? Yes, your budget. Cameras are available in a very wide range of prices. If you only need a camera for hiking or backpacking, there is no need to invest thousands of dollars to get a camera with an ultra high-end system. In general, $400 to $1000 range is appropriate for a hiking camera.

Of course, choose a camera for hiking is an individual decision, and you can have some other factors to consider. The most most important thing is to figure out your needs before making the purchase.


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