OUTDOORS

Best Outdoor Camera: Immortalize Your Memories in The Wild

outdoor camera featured
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Are you in need of a new camera? Does the one you have, not work well for your wilderness adventures? If you find it important to capture your memories when you spend time with friends and family outdoors, then you definitely need to get the best outdoor camera the market has to offer.

Nature has a lot to offer us when it comes to inspiring views, high peaks, deep canyons and whirling rivers, but it’s also a good idea to immortalize these sites so you can look back when you’re old and gray. That’s why it’s wise to get a good camera.

Even though it might seem like a big investment at first, it’s a long term one, and we are here to help out because we know how complicated finding the prefect model is. So, in this article, we will offer advice on how to choose the best model, and what products you should check out before making your purchase.

First off, we are going to start with the features you should know about before you choose your next camera. Then we will virtually shop by showing you some of the best outdoor cameras on the market.

Product NameWeightDimensionsBuilt in Wi-FiSpecific FeaturesPrice
Canon Powershot G7 X Digital Camera3 lb12.1 x 9.1 x 5.3 inYesTripod included, 20.1 MPCheck price on Amazon
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Point and Shoot Camera1.83 lb5.16 x 5.39 x 3.9 inYes8MP post capture, 30 P videoCheck price on Amazon
Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 IV Digital Camera3.5 lb10.3 x 8.4 x 6.8 inYes20.1 MP, tripod includedCheck price on Amazon
Fujifilm X100T Digital Camera1 lb5 x 2 x 2.9 inNoCMOS II sensor, HD videoCheck price on Amazon
Leica Q Full Frame Camera1.3 lb5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 inNo24.2 MP CMOS sensor, 10 FPSCheck price on Amazon
Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR1.9 lb5.8 x 4.6 x 3.2 inNoOptical viewfinder, 1x zoomCheck price on Amazon
Sony Alpha A6300 Mirrorless Camera1.2 lb6.2 x 5.7 x 5.2 inNo4K video, 3 in screen sizeCheck price on Amazon
Ricoh GR II Digital Camera0.6 lb1.4 x 2.5 x 4.6 inNo16 MP sensor, 3 in screenCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Basically, the things you need to consider when hunting down the best hiking camera regard the following features.

Cost

Expensive items are also more technologically advanced and have better features and extras. But, that doesn’t mean the most affordable items are not great when it comes to getting the job done. Picking the right type of camera depends on your needs, and the choice comes between DSLR and Point and Shoot cameras.

Point and shoot cameras are affordable and portable, but are known to have a smaller focus and just medium quality photos with lower resolution videos. Meanwhile DSLR cameras are more expensive and less portable, but they offer a lot as far as high quality photos and resolution and have a better zoom.

So if you’re looking for a proficient camera that captures minute details in all weather and light conditions, get a DSLR. This is especially good if you’re an expert outdoors photographer.

taking pictures with dslr canon camera

But if you just want to make some nice memories for your grandkids, and still get quality images at a more affordable retail price, a Point and shoot is pretty good.

Size

If you’re planning a longer hiking trip, with constant shooting on the go, then smaller weight and dimensions are advisable. On the other hand, heavier cameras come with included tripods, so you can place them on a stand and rest your weary hands.

The size of the camera can determine if it is easy or difficult to hold and use. For minimalists, who like to keep everything light, the size can be a huge determining factor.

Purpose

If you want high-quality photos and are interested in brightness, clarity, and true colors, even in low-lighting conditions, then you should look for gadgets with well-incorporated sensors, wide focal range, and big ISO range.

camera gadgets

If you’re interested in operating your camera remotely and posting photos online fast, check for the built-in WiFi and NFC compatibility. It will give you a chance to use apps that make the camera setting up and sharing of the footage and images, effortless.

Design and Materials

Look for cameras that are rugged and durable, manufactured from good materials like magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Batteries that don’t wear out rapidly are another perk, so look for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. If you get them included in the package, along with a charger, it’s even better.

The design has to be ergonomic, so you have a good grip without your hands tiring too fast, and easy access to the buttons. If your camera is dustproof or rainproof, it’s even better for taking it along on your hiking trip.

Extras

As for extras, you might find it very convenient if your camera includes things such as a case and charger, as well as batteries. Some cameras do come with memory cards, memory card readers and screen protectors. Newer cameras will come with built-in Wi-Fi, USB ports and a tripod.

camera tripods

But, the action cameras are the “extras kings”. Not only that you will get the waterproof housing, but you will get numerous mounts for bikes, cars, body, and so on. This means a lot for making your videos much more interesting as you can choose various shooting angles.

Best Products On Today’s Market

Our selection features only reliable brands, and we strongly advise you to stay away from fakes and flimsy gadgets: you won’t save money in the long-term if you get a bad camera you constantly have to fix or replace.

Canon Powershot G7 X Digital CameraCanon Powershot G7 X Digital Camera

Price: Approx. $650

Weight: 0.6 lb

Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.1 x 5.3 in

Specific features: 1.0-inch 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor, f/1.8-2.8 lens, DIGIC 7 Image Processor, 8 fps, built-in Wi-Fi

Best use: Everyday use, not so demanding scenarios

Description: The Canon PowerShot G7 X Digital Camera is great for any sort of outdoor adventures because it has a compact construction, so you can easily fit it in your backpack.

At 0.6 pounds total weight, it’s light enough so you can hold it in your hands for hours at a time. It also comes with 12-inch tripod from Ritz Gear included so that you can set your camera on a stand.

Apart from a nice looking design, this camera has an increased performance, since it includes a CMOS sensor with dimensions of 1.0-inch and 20.1 megapixels.

With the help of this sensor, you can shoot photos or videos very fast. The lens is very bright, so that you can ignore poor lighting conditions and still take great photos. That’s because the focal range of the lens is f/1.8-2.8.

The processor it uses is a new and improved version, the DIGIC 7. This has the sweet feature of autofocus and pristine images so that your photos can be crystal clear. With a capturing speed of 8 fps in various modes, including JPEG and RAW, you’ll never miss a moment of your hiking trip.

PROS:

  • 2 MP high sensitivity CMOS sensor
  • Selfie-ready
  • 60 fps Full HD video

CONS:

  • May not be good in cold temperatures
  • Lens may not retract
  • Pretty pricey, but still cheaper than other brands

Related: Your camera need to stay clean if you spend a lot of time with it outdoors. The CamKix Professional Camera Cleaning Kit is affordable and comes with a double sided lens cleaning pen, a reusable spray bottle, air blower and more!

Check the price on Amazon

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Point and Shoot CameraPanasonic Lumix FZ1000 Point and Shoot Camera

Price: Approx. $700

Weight: 1.83 lb

Dimensions: 5.16 x 5.39 x 3.9 in

Specific features: 4K QFHD 30p video, hybrid 8MP post capture, 1-inch 20.1MP MOS sensor, DC Lens 25-400mm, F2.8-4.0, LUMIX DFD focusing, WiFi

Best use: Outdoor adventures, sports, pretty much anything that you might need a DSLR for

Description: The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 Point and Shoot Camera is one of the best hiking cameras you can get since it’s fairly easy to carry and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your backpack.

Plus, it’s a very proficient gizmo, with amazing features like good Full HD quality for 30 pixels videos, an 8 megapixels post capture, defocus control, and a good lens for taking clear pictures of your surroundings. The included WiFi is also nice for remote image control, so take that into account too.

Besides, the startup time is next to nil, and your shots can be taken with the speed of light. The autofocus is likewise fast and has an increased precision compared to other items on the market. The fact that the EVF refreshes fast, and is detailed enough is another perk, making this camera appropriate for indoor use as well.

And all that will help you take high-quality photos and videos, without any lack of comfort, since this Panasonic camera has an ergonomic build, both in regards to grip and button placement. Plus, you get the additional dial to choose your image capturing speed, which can either be the timer, or burst.

PROS:

  • 1 MP MOS sensor
  • DC lens 25-400 mm
  • Fast Lumix focusing

CONS:

  • May not retract
  • Ring inside lens can break
  • Bad quality in low light

Related: Having a tripod with you, can be very helpful when getting a great photo. The AmazonBasics 50-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag is 50 inches, light and comes with a carrying bag.

Check the price on Amazon

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 IV Digital CameraSony Cyber-Shot RX100 IV Digital Camera

Price: Approx. $850

Weight: 3.5 lb

Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.4 x 6.8 in

Specific features: 20.1 megapixels, 1-inch CMOS sensor, BIONZ X processor, 24-70mm, f/1.8-2.8 lens, built-in Wi-Fi, 16 fps, lithium-ion batteries, charger, and tripod included

Best use: Family trips, sports, not too demanding scenarios, underwater (if you buy the additional waterproof housing)

Description: The Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 IV Digital Camera is another great result of technological advancement, being able to capture very clear and bright pictures, at amazing speeds. That’s because it has a built-in CMOS sensor of 20.1 megapixels and 1 inch, which will complement the BIONZ X processor almost to perfection.

Since the lens has a focal range between 1.8 and 2.8, you’re sure to capture bright photos in minute details, especially considering that the speed you can take them at is 16 fps. The fact that this Sony camera has included WiFi is great, it means you can control your images remotely.

When connected with your smartphone, all the features of this camera can be adjusted with no problems, and you can even start the shots from your phone, which is a real perk.

Apart from that, you’ll get a great user-experience thanks to different other features. Take the big ring at the base of the lens, which can have various functions, including manual focus.

The viewfinder is a real help too, and don’t forget the included extras, like the two lithium-ion batteries. These can be recharged in the field, and the charger is included in the package. Plus, you’ll get a 10-inch Spider tripod to set your camera up if you want to take your time photographing your surroundings.

PROS:

  • Built in CMOS sensor
  • Included Wi-Fi
  • Bright photos

CONS:

  • Connection issues
  • Has battery issues
  • Can stop working out of the blue

Related: If you need an SD card reader, the BSL SD Card Reader is a great one as it works with many phones, cameras and tablets. Under $15, you can get a sturdy reader that will work for a long time.

Check the price on Amazon

Fujifilm X100T Digital CameraFujifilm X100T Digital Camera

Price: Approx. $1,300

Weight: Under 1 lb

Dimensions: 5 x 2 x 2.9 in

Specific features: CMOS II sensor, EXR processor II, electronic viewfinder, electronic shutter 1/32000 sec, 11 modes, full HD movies

Best use: Outdoors

Description: This Fujifilm X100T Digital Camera is the best camera for backpacking since it has a minimal weight of under 1 pound. Its dimensions are likewise compact, so it can fit in any backpack without taking up too much space.

All these characteristics contribute to its ergonomic feel, hence you can hold it in your hands for a prolonged time to capture all the moments you want to remember.

The APS-C sensor works amazingly and can capture images to perfection, making this item feel like a film camera as some reviewers have delightedly noted. Besides, it has a good build quality that makes it feel very sturdy and resistant, though it’s a light enough camera.

When it comes to the auto-focus feature, you’ll be happy to know that’s great from two points of view: precision and speed. This will enable you to take fast and clear pictures, just like with the manual focus mode. The IQ and ISO will help you in that endeavor too, along with the OVF improvements from the previous models.

This camera has 35 mm lenses and f2.0, which work towards getting bright, accurate images and best of all don’t need to be changed. The WiFi works right away, and that’s good to know if you don’t really have a knack for the technical stuff. Therefore, you can control the camera with your smartphone, and download the images fast.

PROS:

  • 8 way focus lever
  • 91 focusing points
  • AF mode, built in ISO dial

CONS:

  • Very pricey
  • Looks cheaper than it really is

Related: Having spare batteries is never a bad idea. Therefore, we recommend investing in the original battery for this camera, the Fujifilm NP-W126S Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery.

Check the price on Amazon

Leica Q Full Frame CameraLeica Q Full Frame Camera

Price: Approx. $4,300

Weight: 1.3 lb

Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 in

Specific features: 24.2 megapixels CMOS Sensor, Leica Maestro II processor, 28mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens, 3.68 megapixels view finder, 10 fps continuous shooting

Best use: Pretty much any given scenario

Description: The Leica Q Full Frame Camera is an amazing gadget for capturing perfect pictures and full HD movies in no-time.That’s because this brand invests a lot in manufacturing top-shelf lens, like this 28 mm, f/1.7 ASPH.

So the pictures you take are impressive and can be captured at a wide enough angle to get all the details and an almost 3D feel.

The contrast feature is something else worth noting because you’ll get the true colors with unique richness. Basically, every image you get is great when it comes to the real feel of color distribution so that the scenery looks lifelike.

When it comes to user experience, Leica is an expert at providing you the best. Navigation through the menus is fast and simple, although it’s not for the wholly inexperienced, first-time users. Apart from that, the manual focus feature is really nice, with a precise focus wheel that will make you forget all about the autofocus.

This is great too, even though it doesn’t have the highest speed in existence, but it does help get good images in low light. The electronic viewfinder is another thing we like because it lets you compose the scene without any noticeable delay.

Besides these design particularities, the materials are worth some emphasizing too: they’re light, yet resistant, and provide an ergonomic feel: that’s what a well-crafted aluminum-magnesium alloy does.

PROS:

  • 2 MP full frame
  • LCD touchscreen monitor, 3 inches
  • Built in Wi-Fi with NFC

CONS:

  • Very expensive

Related: Since you will use the Leica to create beautiful videos and photos, you will need a picture book for photos. But, what about videos? You can actually combine photos and videos in the Fding 8-inch Hi Resolution LED Frame, and let it play automatically all the time.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLRNikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR

Price: Approx. $1,900

Weight: 1.9 lb

Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.6 x 3.2 in

Specific features: 100-51,200 ISO range, 20.9 megapixels optical sensor resolution, 1x optical zoom, optical viewfinder, 1080p video resolution

Best use: Professional photography

Description: The Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR is small, but technologically savvy, with improved performance. That’s because it takes crystal clear pictures, with amazing resolution and at fast speeds.

You can photograph or make high-quality 1080p movies, even when the lighting isn’t in your favor since its ISO range is between 100 to 51,200. And you don’t need to confine yourself to a wilderness scenery, since the urban environment and the indoors can be captured to perfection too.

That’s because it has a high resolution, courtesy of its built-in DX sensor. The DX lenses are an additional contributing factor to the high image quality, and the 20.9 MP CMOS sensor captures minute details, with no chromatic aberration.

The lenses are responsible for producing clear and bright images of both portraits and scenery, wherever you may be. The 10 fps speed is a real perk too, because it explains the high speed of this camera, helping you capture everything you’re interested in with no delay.

And don’t forget the auto focus option which has 153 points to get well-balanced photos and videos. When it comes to design and materials, this camera is the epitome of sturdiness and durability, which renders it one of the best hiking cameras.

The ergonomic feel is further improved thanks to a magnesium and carbon fiber construction, that makes this camera work in extreme conditions since it’s resistant to both dust and rain.

So even if it’s raining and dark, the Nikon D500 will get great images you can post online in no time thanks to its built-in WiFi that helps you operate the camera directly from your smartphone.

PROS:

  • Has package options for portrait and prime lenses as well as macro lenses
  • 9 MP DX formatted CMOS
  • Expeed 5 processor

CONS:

  • Auto focus problems
  • Can stop powering off

Related: If you need batteries for your camera, then you should look into the Streamlight CR123A Lithium Batteries, that come in a 12 pack. They are waterproof and have an anti-roll face cap.

Check the price on Amazon

Sony Alpha A6300 Mirrorless CameraSony Alpha A6300 Mirrorless Camera

Price: Approx. $950

Weight: 1.2 lb

Dimensions: 6.2 x 5.7 x 5.2 in

Specific features: Fast auto-focus, 24.2 megapixels CMOS sensor, 11 fps continuous shooting, Full HD video resolution, magnesium alloy construction, 100 expanded ISO, 3-inch screen size

Best use: Professional photography and videography, as well as aerial photography and videography

Description: The Sony Alpha A6300 Mirrorless Camera has a compact design and a minimal weight, so you can practically carry this in your pocket – or almost. What we like best about this camera is its fast auto-focus which enables you to get every detail you need and take speedy shots.

The CMOS sensor also contributes to this, as it’s 24.2 megapixels, which makes it great for both speed and accuracy. And since you’re looking at 11 fps continuous shooting, you’re sure that not a moment from your wilderness experience is lost when you’re taking photos.

The 100 expanded ISO is big enough in order to help you get minute details and pristine images even in low light, which is great for capturing that perfect sunset.

Furthermore, the movie resolution is quite outstanding too, because it’s Full HD. The 3-inch widescreen is another point in favor of the Sony Alpha seeing as it’s pretty large. The magnesium alloy construction, along with the rugged feel and at-hand buttons contributes to providing an ergonomic feel, and a real class A gadget.

PROS:

  • World’s fastest auto focus
  • 2 MP APC-C Exmor CMOS
  • Weather sealed

CONS:

  • Overheats
  • Microphones can quit working

Related: Since you will be creating great videos with this camera, and videos “eat” memory on the memory card, you will need a high-quality memory card. We recommend the best model in the photography world, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB SDXC UHS-I Memory Card. It’s affordable, has enough capacity for hours of videos, and is Class 10, meaning that it can handle your Full HD videos easily.

Check the price on Amazon

Ricoh GR II Digital CameraRicoh GR II Digital Camera

Price: Approx. $560

Weight: 0.6 lb

Dimensions: 1.4 x 2.5 x 4.6 in

Specific features: 3 lithium ion batteries included, 16 megapixels optical sensor resolution, 1x optical zoom, 1080p video resolution, fixed LCD viewfinder, 3-inch screen

Best use: Outdoor family trips, holidays, hiking, camping

Description: The Ricoh GR II Digital Camerais another of the best options for backpacking with just 0.6 pounds of weight. Firstly, you can note the built-in WiFi which helps you control this gizmo remotely from your smartphone or from a tablet.

The incorporated WiFi works great since it’s efficient in downloading files so you can post them online as you shoot. Besides, since the Ricoh GR II is NFC-compatible, you’ll find it easy to pair this camera with mobile devices.

If you’re looking for high-sensitive shooting, you’ll be glad to know that the GR engine V included in this item will help you take pristine images with no chromatic aberration. The high resolution and true colors can also be explained by its anti-aliasing and filter-less construction, as well as by its 16 megapixels optical sensor resolution.

You’ll be able to capture both JPG and RAW images, and these will look great thanks to the 1x optical zoom and the fixed LCD viewfinder. The videos captured are HD, at a high 1080 pixels resolution and 30fps continuous shooting.

Basically, it’s the perfect gadget speed-wise, because of its great mobility that comes courtesy of both portability and fast operation, that can be done with just one hand. Besides, the menus are easy to navigate through and pretty simple to use, so you won’t lose any time with that either.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Built in Wi-Fi
  • High sensitivity shooting

CONS:

  • App and Wi-Fi don’t work well
  • Not an outdoor friendly screen
  • Indoor photos are dark

Related: The Manfrotto Video Head is a handheld mount that has a pan fluid drag system. It has a 15.4 lb weight capacity and has easy link connectors for attaching accessories with ease.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

We have reached the end of our article. That being said, it’s worth noting that we’ve reviewed cameras with quite different retail prices that cover a wide range. We hope that one of the ones here will catch your eye and will work perfectly for you!

holding a camera

You’re probably wondering if it’s worth buying a couple of hundred dollar camera as opposed to getting a few thousand one. But apart from your budget, your purpose and needs play a significant part too.

These items are all produced by trustworthy brands, with a good reputation and outstanding reviews, which is why a less expensive gadget isn’t necessarily bad: it just has fewer extras and fewer functions, but it’s still useful for basic needs.

So let us know, which sort of camera do you plan on getting and why? What are you planning to photograph? Are you a passionate outdoors photographer? The comment section is right below and we love hearing from you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    In all cases, I am contented with my old dslr which is a canon rebel XT. I’m not that fond of photography but it would make your trip more fun when you a camera with you. For me, savoring the moment is more important than capturing it. At the end of the day you can always reminisce the moments you had. 🙂

    • Dennis Owens

      The Canon Rebel XT is one of the preferred models of today. Very versatile, not very heavy or bulky, and captures great images. It allows you to take a piece of your own adventure and take it wherever you go.

  • Euan Percival

    I’m an avid, though, amateur wildlife photographer and wanted a camera that was not only powerful but small enough to carry with me on day hikes. After a few months of research, I eventually settled on the Nikon D500 and so far I’m happy with it.

    I haven’t fully had the opportunity to put it through its paces, having only used in on a handful of occasions, however, the quality of this camera is immediately evident.

    The camera’s auto-focus is surprisingly fast, and the 10 frame-per-second shooting is fantastic. On my most recent hike, I took around 300 images, and the ratio of good to bad shots is certainly better than it was with my Canon EOS 70D.

    Finding a quality camera that doesn’t cost as much as a second-hand car can prove somewhat challenging, however, so far, the Nikon D500 has proven to be a great investment.

    • Dennis Owens

      The Nikon is a good camera, and with a wide range of models, you’ll definitely find something that is the most compatible with your needs. The D500 is a good choice and reasonably priced as well.

  • Roy Smith

    If you want an awesome compact camera with superb image quality, go for the Ricoh. The Wi-Fi connection to my phone works like a charm with the Ricoh app. When you travel, just put it in your pocket and take it out whenever you want to. It’s extremely fast in operation and almost all settings can be done with one hand. I love its simplicity.

    • Dennis Owens

      Ricoh is a reliable brand that has been around for several decades already. They are also exerting efforts to revolutionize the brand, and most of their models are quite compact and will not take too much space, yet has the ability to capture vivid pictures.

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