View Full Version : Camera recommendations

10-27-2014, 15:25
I'm trying to decide what camera to buy that takes good quality pictures, is light, and has a long battery life. I would use my phone but it's turning in to a piece of crap and I don't want to risk buying and taking a new phone since I may have dropped a previous iPhone into a river while on a backpacking trip :p

Anyone have any good suggestions?

Feral Bill
10-27-2014, 15:39
How ambitious are you, photographically speaking?

10-27-2014, 15:41
If it were me I'd buy a new phone and try to be more careful. :)

If you're accident prone a camera will break just as easily as a phone and since your phone is turning into a piece of crap it'll have to be replaced anyway, right?

10-27-2014, 16:12
I use the Canon ELPH 110 for all of my trip report video's and pictures. Good battery life, great mic quality and batteries are cheap.

10-27-2014, 16:30
I'm trying to decide what camera to buy that takes good quality pictures, is light, and has a long battery life. I would use my phone but it's turning in to a piece of crap and I don't want to risk buying and taking a new phone since I may have dropped a previous iPhone into a river while on a backpacking trip :p

Anyone have any good suggestions?

Feral Bill has a good question, how ambitious are you relative to photography? Are you using filters or other sophisticated gear, or are you more interested in something that is point and shoot to take a fast picture of people and places? These two questions will send you to two different places in the camera market.

If cost is an issue, there are any number of camera brands that can be used, from inexpensive pocket snapshot types with few options around $60 - $120, to more expensive cameras with more sophisticated options from $150 - $500. Then there are the more serious complex DSLR cameras that run from about $1,000 and up.

The costs of these cameras would will also necessarily include power source and image management. If you will have an iPad/Tablet you can down load photos daily or every few days to conserve card space. If not you will need to have several SD cards to download during resupply or send home for later downloading. SD cards run from about $5 for 4GB, to around $16 for 32GB, around $40 for 64GB. Average image size on the midrange cameras is between 2 and 3 MB, so card size needs to be assessed accordingly. Several of these cards would be very light as opposed to an iPad/tablet and far less costly.

Batteries can last a while with modest camera discipline when you are using it, however battery drain can be unpredictable even in the best circumstances never mind in extreme cold and hot weather. Weight of a spare set or two of batteries may be equal to the weight of a solar charging device unless you will bring one anyway to use on other electronics.

Most of the cameras I see being used are mid range type, not too expensive but having enough options to make them worthwhile. They are easy to care for, can take some abuse, and are fairly easy to replace if damaged.

10-27-2014, 16:38
You might possibly be interested in this thread from about a month ago.


10-27-2014, 17:22
Ricoh GR: APSC size sensor (same as many DSLRs), Small, Light, EXCELLENT user interface, RAW image files, All the photo control of a DSLR, Great Image Quality, Wide-angle lens, what most of us use for landscapes anyway.

Used it for John Muir Trail hike a couple of months ago and couldn't be happier. Get an extra battery and you will be good to go.

10-27-2014, 18:13
Sony DSC-RX100 is the camera I've got my eye on right now. My priority is small size and weight. I want a camera I can carry on my pack's shoulder strap so it's always accessible -- but not obtrusive.

There are three versions of this camera, the original, II, and III. The original (which I gather dates from 2012) can be had for about $350. Sensor isn't quite APS-C but quite large compared to other cameras in its size/weight class. Zeiss lens.

10-27-2014, 20:10
I can remember back when I backpacked the Grand Canyon. I used a 110 Pocket Instamatic and actually got some great pictures. For my upcoming Thru Hike, I plan to get a Fujifilm Finepix XP75 Digital Camera (http://www.walmart.com/search/?query=552069112) . Yes it is a point and shoot but it is simple Waterproof, Dust-proof, Freeze-proof, Shockproof; for $200.00.

10-27-2014, 20:14
Try this link (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Fujifilm-16.4-MP-FUJIFILMXP75/35511646) instead.

10-28-2014, 08:53
Thanks all! I do like photography but I'm not trying to sell these photos or anything I just want some nice shots for myself and to share with family and friends. One of the smaller Canon cameras is probably right up my alley but yalls recommendations definitely help! Much appreciated

10-29-2014, 20:06
Hey snowcone and the rest! I used a Canon G12 from Georgia to Harpers Ferry and a Fuji finepix waterproof camera for the other half and I definitely wish I had used the G12 the whole way. I packed it in a camera bag and in a waterproof bag on the rainy days which is part of the reason I have no rainy day picks from the first half. I was really careful with the camera which slowed me down a little but not too bad. I got super pics from the Fuji P&S but I like the Canon pics better. Journal everyday and take lots of pictures so you can remember your epic adventures in years to come.

10-29-2014, 20:14
Don't forget to check out the Olympus "tough" line

10-30-2014, 10:14
I carried an Canon EOS T1i (a very-very back-up body for my typical photography work) hooked to my hip belt from Springer to Katahdin. It was readily accessible, I shot everything in RAW, as the crop sensor wasn't ideal, but I was later able to get the most from the images simply because I had the file size to play with. Weight with the plastic kit lens was ~2lbs.

I can't imagine having hiked with anything less.

There's also the relatively new Canon SL1 which is the smallest dSLR in the Canon line-up, perhaps even the smallest between the big players in the market.

10-31-2014, 05:40
I have a Nikon D5000, Nikon D610 and an iPhone. The D5000 with a zoom is relatively small and takes greats shots. The D610 is a brute and takes incredible photos. But either one of these takes a concerted effort on my part to carry them into the woods. I'm thinking about taking some autumn photos today with the 610 when I take the dogs for our daily 5 mile hike. But I have to decide if I want to "be a serious photographer today". On the other hand I always have my iphone. If you use proper technique the iPhone takes wonderful photographs. You can also put them through some software to "tweak them" if need be. On my iPhone I have fantastic photography apps e.g. 360, B&W, Camera+, and many others. It is just plain fun and isn't that what photography is all about.

11-03-2014, 23:26
I thru-hiked with an Olympus TG-1. I bought two spare batteries but never had to go to the 3rd battery and rarely had to go to the 2nd (only a few times when I forgot to recharge when I was in town).

It is waterproof and shockproof. I kept it in my pocket making it easily accessible. While at a hostel, I put it on the door sill to recharge it (extension cord plug was up that high) and someone else came behind me to try the same. Well, they knocked my camera and it fell 4 ft to a table, bounced off, and landed on the concrete floor. No damage.

The pictures were fantastic. I took over 6000 pictures (wish I took more). I used three different SD cards to store the pictures and once mailed two home where my brother downloaded the pictures then mailed the SD cards back to me.

The camera has a GPS too. The only thing about GPS cameras is that occasionally you've got to sync them to the satellites. This could take up to two minutes, but it wasn't that often I had to do that. It was a minor issue.

I highly recommend this camera and strongly advise against using a cell phone to take pictures. I think that would deter you from taking pictures you want because your battery is low or even dead. Cell phone batteries die much faster, always faster than you'd like.

Good luck on your thru-hike!


p.s. I buy the batteries online, not in the store. So much cheaper that way. I think they cost me $9.00 each.

11-05-2014, 18:21
I thru-hiked with an Olympus TG-1.

The TG-3 is my go to camera for all the reasons xrayextra pointed out.

The other good point is that the battery can be recharged in the camera from a battery pack, I carry a 15000 mAh Anker.