Best Hiking Cameras of 2020 – Complete Round-up

Want to capture mesmerizing nature while experiencing hiking? Then, having the right camera is essential for you to enjoy both the trail and photography. 

Hiking cameras need to be lightweight with the capability to endure the strains of nature. Without further ado, let's seek the ultimate hiking camera for you!

Comparison Chart of the Best Hiking Cameras

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Sony Alpha a6000

  • Easy sharing of photos through Wi-fi and NFC
  • With 11FPS rate it can shoot 11 photos in a second
  • Capable of shooting even fast moving objects
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Nikon D750

  • Powerful 51-point auto focust system shooting 6.5 frames per second
  • Crystal clear 3.2 inch tilting vari angle LCD screen display
  • Remarkably sleek design keeps the camera slim, compact and lightweight
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Olympus TG-5

  • Best for the Money
  • Waterproof design so no damage from elements
  • Speed lens capture details of fast moving objects with precision
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Nikon D5600

  • You get high quality photos and videos even in low light conditions
  • Comes with an absolutely free cloud storage space
  • Touch screen display allows easy picture pinch and zoom
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

  • iAuto focus mode automatically adjusts settings with environments
  • In-built extra bright flash for dark situations
  • Burst shooting up to 8.5 frames per second
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What Makes a Camera Great For Hiking?

The cameras we selected are contenders for the best hiking camera; however, it is up to you to make the decision. You need to know what exact features you need, paired with the best price range for you, and one of these cameras will get the job done. 

Here is a guide on what features to look out for so you can buy the best hiking camera:

Size and Weight

You need to make sure you select a camera that doesn't add an excessive amount of weight in your pack, and also a camera that you can easily store when not in use. 

Durability

The camera should be strong enough to survive a drop. When you’re going hiking, you’re prone to accidents. Therefore, you need to have a durable unit. Plus, if the model is waterproof, then it will protect it from self-destruction too. 

Sound Quality

You need to have a camera that’s going to be able to capture pictures and videos that would make you proud.  

Good Battery Life

Invest in a model with excellent battery life. Cameras do come with a portable charger, but once you use that up, you can't rely on anything else.

Quick Take - Best Hiking Cameras

Before we dive into our review, here are the best hiking cameras:

  1. Sony Alpha a6000
  2. ​​Nikon D750
  3. Olympus TG-5

Review of the Best Hiking Cameras

Here we have reviewed the best hiking cameras available to make your buying decision easy. We listed the models that capture high-quality photos and are compact enough to fit your backpack. 

Best Overall:
Sony Alpha a6000

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3 MP SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD - Body Only (Black)

PROS

  • Lightweight, compact, and affordable
  • Features 24.3-megapixel image quality
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for smooth file transfer
  • Suggests the best angles and focus on Live Viewfinder 
  • Shoots videos in 1080p and up to 11 FPS with 179 point AF

CONS

  • No weather sealing
  • Battery life leaves something to be desired

What Recent Buyers Report

Users find that this is an outstanding hybrid model that offers the quality of an interchangeable lens camera and ultra-fast shutter speed. It has features that a beginner would want. The Sony a6000 is by far the best camera that is affordable, loaded with features, and excellent image quality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The super-fast camera has a 3-inch, 921k-dot, tilting LCD, and a 24.7-megapixel CMOS sensor, Wi-Fi, 1080 with 60p video, and topping out at ISO 51,200. It can also shoot up to eleven pictures in just one second. It comes with great features like patented Bionz X image processing for more detailed shots.  

Who Will Use This Most

If you are beginning a new hobby or profession as a photographer, then this model makes that journey a little easier. Professionals praise it, too. It's encouraging that this type of camera has such functional Wi-Fi connectivity since this is a big point of attention for many modern photographers.

Bottom Line

Overall, if you are going for a mirrorless camera but want to keep your costs at a minimum, then this reigns as one of the very best choices you can make. The value of what you get at this cost is unsurpassed in its field.

Runner-up:
Nikon D750

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

PROS

  • Shoots videos in 1080p and 60 FPS quality
  • Comes with environmental sealing on its body
  • Has a built-in wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity feature
  • Has a tilting 3.2" LCD screen with a resolution of 1,229k dots
  • Features a 24.0MP Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm ) sized CMOS sensor

CONS

  • Misses some manual control features
  • Wi-Fi remote function needs improvement 

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers are pleased with the great features any photographer would love to have in a single body. It has a good number of pixels for anything to print, is reliable and well built. 

Moreover, the focus is impressive, and the model promises a dynamic range, clarity, speed, and low light capability. This model is a real gem, and buyers highly recommend it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Its 24.3MP FX-format CMOS image sensor pairs with EXPEED 4 image-processing for fast frame rates. It promises a low noise, wide ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable up to ISO 51,200), and full HD video with high-definition. We also like that it features reduced noise at high ISO sensitivities, minimal moiré pattern and, false colors.

Who Will Use This Most

When it comes to this model, the AF performance and image quality are professional-grade. An enthusiast, hobbyist, or even a professional photographer would be happy with the results as it is capable of creating in the right hands. 

However, if you haven’t ever handled a DSLR before, the D750 may be intimidating with all the buttons, menus, and dials. 

Bottom Line

In all, this is an ideal companion as it has an array of powerful features in an incredibly compact frame. The camera does not make any compromises when it comes to performance, with an impressive 24.3 megapixels, EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, and shoots 1080/60p videos.

Best for the Money:
Olympus TG-5

Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Red

PROS

  • Can also shoot RAW files
  • Has a travel-proof design, and is incredibly durable
  • Lower resolution 12mp sensor for better noise performance
  • Applies fairly aggressive sharpening to the images in-camera
  • Macro shot ability can get a high definition of the quality image

CONS

  • The interface takes a while to get to know well
  • Transferring pictures from the camera to a smartphone is fiddly

What Recent Buyers Report

Many customers recommend this model as it works excellent underwater and on land. It's very feature-rich and easy to use. Despite the low megapixels, the images turn out to be exceptional. Most of the photos taken are very clear, with true-to-life colors.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The camera's pixels are densely pack in on a relatively small sensor, so the noise performance is a bit better. That's not forgetting the TG-5's ability to shoot raw files.

The camera features macro modes, enabling you to capture all the details in a single click. Plus, you can download the companion app that comes with the model, and your shots will upload to your phone automatically. It is not only water-proof but also crushproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and dustproof, making it the best option. 

Who Will Use This Most

The TG-5 is useful for outdoor types. It is for individuals who need to travel light while hiking, climbing, skiing, yachting, or kayaking. Overall, it is an excellent camera for an avid traveler, seeking for a tough camera.

Bottom Line

Olympus TG-5 has a wide range of versatile features and modes. It is an incredibly tough camera and the most advanced, robust model for travel. It best suits for more extreme adventuring. It’s genuinely the one you need!

D5600 DX-format Digital SLR Body

PROS

  • The kit lens is also fully weather-sealed
  • Has a compact and lightweight camera body
  • 24-megapixel DSLR produces excellent images 
  • Sports quick-and-easy SnapBridge sharing tech
  • CheckTouch screen & touch AF quality are excellent

CONS

  • No dust and mud protection unit for external dirt

What Recent Buyers Report

Most customers believe this is an excellent choice. It connects to SnapBridge with no issue, and the pictures transfer flawlessly.

Moreover, they enjoy the LCD screen to take images high up or down low and love the touchscreen too. It has great size and low weight. It offers excellent quality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the latest features in this model is the addition of SnapBridge; it allows the camera to stay always connected to a smartphone or tablet using the free SnapBridge app which is accessible with iOS and Android. Plus, with a full battery charge, the Nikon D5600 can capture up to 800 shots.

Who Will Use This Most

Since this is an excellent choice for beginners, all types of beginner-level photography are possible with this camera. For portrait and sports photography, you can get extra advantages because of its built-in optical viewfinder & fast max shutter speed. It is also perfect for travel or nightlife photography. 

Bottom Line

This 24-megapixel DSLR delivers excellent image quality. With Nikon’s SnapBridge functionality, sharing the pictures you took becomes incredibly easy. This is a DSLR that is the most suitable for those just starting out. 

PROS

  • Includes an electronic viewfinder
  • Design is lightweight and compact
  • Features a five-axis image stabilizer
  • Comes with high-speed image autofocus 
  • Produces incredibly good image quality for its class

CONS

  • Does not have weather sealing
  • Navigation screen can be confusing

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers report the camera feels sturdy and robust, and the controls are in the right place. Olympus is a good option for travelers or backpackers who are seeking a durable, extremely portable camera that still takes high-quality images. Reviewers like how this model is versatile and produces professional quality images.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like that this model comes with a whopping 16 megapixels of resolution for exceptional images. It includes a 5 Axis image stabilizer to make images sharper. It also has an electronic viewfinder that heightens magnification power. Moreover, it comes with high-speed image autofocus and an 8.5 FPS high-speed burst shooting function.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a beginner to photography or are a photo enthusiast looking to maximize your creativity, this is the best choice for you. It provides flawless image quality due to its image stabilization in a compact profile with intuitively placed controls. It II is also great for explorers and street photographers. 

Bottom Line

In all, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is a powerful compact system with an extensive feature set that comes with a proper viewfinder, a tilting touchscreen, and shooting modes. It produces images that look good throughout the sensitivity range with pleasing colors, excellent exposure, and well-controlled noise.

Pros and Cons of Hiking With a Camera

Hiking with a camera has unbeatable benefits, but at the same time, it has a few limitations. Let’s go over both the aspects so that you can make an informed decision. 

Pros

First, let’s look into the advantages: 

Environmental Protection

You won’t want your camera to be damaged while you are on an adventure. Hiking cameras usually come with a weather seal to protect from both water and dust. 

Long Battery Life

Battery life is a crucial consideration for hikers as you may be away from a power socket for an extended time. A good hiking camera has a powerful battery that should help you get through up to a week of travel. 

High-Quality Images

The quality of the final image is vital. Travelers want to make sure they have a camera that can take pictures that accurately display the places they visited. Hiking cameras produce sound quality images.

Cons

Now, let’s see the limitations so you can decide accordingly: 

Requires Skills to Operate

You will have to learn tips for your photography to reap the rewards. It takes time and energy to master the skills. Tips help to avoid making mistakes and get great shots while having a good time hiking. 

Conclusion

We hope this guide to the best camera for hiking and the tips we mention help you make an informed decision. It is crucial to choose the right hiking camera to create memorable images. Remember to invest in a model that produces quality images. It should be lightweight to carry around and must have protection features.

People Also Ask

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you enjoy the experience of taking photos while out hiking and living the adventure. 

How Do You Carry a Camera While Hiking?

It is all about easy access. Make sure your camera and gear are accessible while hiking. The best way you can make it available is by using camera straps attached to your backpack. You must pack light. Consider investing in light and appropriate gear you would need during hiking. 

How Do You Carry a Gimbal When Hiking?

Attach your gimbal to a chest-mount while hiking, so you can quickly be ready to use it. After using it, the gimbal can rapidly fix back to the chest-mount. Chest-mounting the gimbal helps to make it possible to film enhanced videos in challenging terrain. 

How Many Megapixels Do I Need For Landscape Photography?

For landscape photography, a camera with 16 megapixels (MP) is best for most users. There are hardly any models sold that have less than 16 megapixels. Moreover, with 16 MP, you can create an A2 print with high-quality.

What Time is Best to Take Pictures Outside?

The perfect time to take outdoor photos is mid-morning and afternoon because the sun isn't directly over your subject, and you don't have to worry too much about the harsh shadows that look unappealing. You should avoid taking pictures at high noon.