View Full Version : Best trail camera

07-22-2004, 12:22
I'm in the market for a new camera and I've made the decision to go digital. (it's tough saying goodbye to film)

What's the best lightweight digital that offers quality photos?

Suggestions welcome.

The Old Fhart
07-22-2004, 12:47
Go to: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3197&page=1&pp=20 to see what others recommend. Check my post #54 in that thread for links to camera review sites.

07-22-2004, 12:56
Personally, I would choose something from the Canon Powershot line (see http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=113 ). I have an older S330 which I love. The newer S400 is a nice point-and-shoot camera. These cameras weigh about 7 ozs but have a lot of advantages:

* very easy to operate
* rugged stainless steel body
* uses Compact Flash cards which run up to 1GB of memory -- you can fit hundreds of pics on a card
* lots of nifty little features like panorama views, etc.

The Canon cameras get good reviews. I took mine on the West Highland and Great Glen trails in Scotland last year and got excellent photos with minimal effort.

This is a good site for camera reviews: http://www.steves-digicams.com/.

07-22-2004, 12:57
[QUOTE=SavageLlama]I'm in the market for a new camera and I've made the decision to go digital. (it's tough saying goodbye to film)

What's the best lightweight digital that offers quality photos?

Suggestions welcome.[/QUO

This is my first post on white blaze. I am planning a thru hike in spring of 2006 when i get out of school. i plan on using a film camera because of the problem of sending the digital pic home. i would like input from others of this idea....Just the trought of hiking the trail is getting me through school. ;)

07-22-2004, 15:44
I had a Canon S400 for me for a couple week section this year and loved it. Batteries seemed to hold up well. Very easy to use. This is coming from someone who takes pictures and not photographs, so I can't really comment too much on the advanced setting. 80% of what I did was just on the auto. About the only time I used manual settings was to set timer or turn off flash. Given the quality of the photographer, I was very pleased with the results of the camera.

07-22-2004, 17:03
A 7 oz compact digital camera that runs on 4 AA batteries and has optional manual controls for all functions (shutter, apperture, focus, flash).

07-22-2004, 18:07
I have the Olympus Stylus 300 and my hiking partner has the Stylus 400 (now there is a 410). We really like these cameras. . . easy to use, very small, lightweight, WEATHERPROOF (well, resistant), good battery life. Oh, and they take good pictures. I would recommend either. I do have a few gripes, however. The small barrel lense, while a critical part of the small size/light weight makes low light pictures often unsatisfactory -- especially using zoom -- when outside of flash range. I also wish that it would use readily available batteries in addition to the rechargeable lithium ion battery pack. This could be a problem. I have purchased an extra battery pack, though, to always have a changed spare. Battery life is very good though. My hiking partner just returned from a 10+ day backpacking trip and took 300+ pictures with just one battery. He finally needed the spare on the last day during the drive home.


07-22-2004, 20:26
I have the 400 and I like mine also same complants as you about battery . I think it takes great pictures. In the woods I use the night scene it seems to work better than landscape.....

Being pretty new with computers I messed up after I downloaded all my hiking trips this past month on to a CD which was great made sure it worked before I deleted the pictures on laptop. And dang the other day I forgot the CD was in my PC drive and I downloaded stupid pictures and now my hiking July 2004 is all gone. Hope my brain keeps on remembering because that is all I have left.


Catsgoing (Cathy From Venice, Florida)

07-23-2004, 01:57
go to www.dpreview.com
you can do excellent side-by-side comparisons of every kind of digital camera and they have extensive owner reviews of each camera. It's probably the most comprehensive site for data comparison of digital cameras. I have gone with the fuji S5000. It's bigger and heavier than the smaller point and shoot models but it has 10x optical zoom so it is great for doing macro and other fun stuff.

07-23-2004, 09:36
Check this out...
As a semi-pro photographer (I earn a part of my living through photography) I am concerned with image quality and reliabilty in that order. Add that to a newly developed appreciation for light weight, a need to function outside the realm of battery chargers and within sometimes high humidity conditions. My current film cameras are both medium and large format. HEAVY. Great image quality and reliability, but...HEAVY. My current digital is a great imaging device for web use and reasonable at 8x10 print size quality, but somewhat large and somewhat heavy. As well, I'm not comfortable using it in high humidity conditions (over 85%) due to it's electronic nature. It's a very high quality device but it's a three year old design so why take a chance.
I started researching yesterday after reading a lot of posts in several threads and found the camera linked above just this morning.
Whats good:
Water resistant technology
Size/weight: 7oz.+/- and looks like a shirtpocket size.
Ability to use third party batteries, AA no less which you can buy anywhere or a pretty standard Li-On for more shots and is lightweight enough to carry as a spare.
4 megapixel CCD which is a reasonable image grabber.
Price: eCost has them for $260.00. Cheap enough to try it as an experiment and if nothing else end up with a great "party" camera.
Whats the Hmmm?
Lack of some user controls. Most non-pros won't mind this, however, as it's point and shoot modes are simple, effective and offer enough variety.
Lens is 37mm-104mm equivalent which is not nearly as wide as I would like.
Lens is a glass element but shows minor distortion at it's extreme settings.
SD cards won't fit my laptop adapter. I have CF cards now.
Low flash power.
Conlusion: It sounds within reason, should survive a thru-hike, simple but has some control features if you want them, not too heavy, and...WEATHERPROOF!
I think I'll try it.
Sorry for the long post, but I tried to cover the relevant issues as I see them.

One other review of the model preceeding the Optio 43 which is more or less the same camera w/ a smaller image sensor.

07-23-2004, 16:34
How is the Nikon Coolpix?


I'm looking for a lightweight digital camera w/ hi-quality photos.

07-23-2004, 17:01
Re: Nikon Coolpix 3200

Specs are almost indentical to Pentax Optio. Even looks similar, very similar, in form factor. They could be twins internally sharing same electronic assembly line. Nikons always had a good rep so it's probably fine. I just have been getting very phobic about dampness and would go the extra $60.00 for the Pentax, all else being equal. That way, no worries pulling it out in the mists of July or August as well as spring snow storms. That said, Pentax does not have the same great rep that Nikon has.

Rain Man
07-23-2004, 17:06
... i plan on using a film camera because of the problem of sending the digital pic home. ....

WHAT??? My daughter is thru-hiking right now and has absolutely no problem mailing me a memory card when she gets to a town.
She/we have two memory cards and just rotate them. She sends me one whenever I mail one back to her, so she always has a card, and I regularly get photos.

WARNING... I had a computer crash in May and lost all her pics from March and April. So, backup on a CD regularly.
Rain Man


Rain Man
07-23-2004, 17:08
* rugged stainless steel body

Are you sure its stainless steel and not just shiny plastic? I'm not sure.

Rain Man


07-24-2004, 02:09
I'm sure. I own the S330. Read about it here: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_reviews/s330.html

08-12-2004, 14:01
I used the Pentax Optio 3.2 WR. Water resistant -- no worries about taking pics in the rain. Uses 2xAA batts. Worked great for me.


08-12-2004, 16:21
I used the Pentax Optio 3.2 WR. Water resistant -- no worries about taking pics in the rain. Uses 2xAA batts. Worked great for me.

I'm looking for a digital that takes AA's because on long trips I don't want to have to re-charge.

How long do your AA batteries last?