What is the best compact digital camera for hiking

best compact digital camera for hiking

It’s absolutely normal for you to want to capture beautiful scenes of nature and do the same with no extra weight as you hit the trail.

Getting a compact digital camera is very essential because of the factors in weight, purpose, and quality.

Getting a good digital camera for the outdoors isn’t science anymore. Going lightweight and durable is the new normal.

Below is a list of the best compact digital cameras for hiking which is also known as the best point and shoot camera for hiking.

I promise not to bore you with the details.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA FOR HIKING

Before going to the importance, you need to understand that there’s no difference between a compact digital camera and a point-and-shoot camera.

Both names are used interchangeably.

  • Easy to use because it is designed for simple operation
  • Best for vernacular photography (that is, quick snapshots without having to be an expert)
  • Point-and-shoot cameras have PASM which stands for a program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes.
  • Has a viewfinder

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA FOR HIKING

This includes weight, lens selection, sensor size, weather sealing, zoom, manual controls, battery life, aperture, etc.

WEIGHT

As long as you are going outdoors, the weight always going to be a key consideration for everything to use.

This is one of the advantages a compact digital camera has over a DSLR or mirrorless camera. It is lighter.

The weight of a compact digital camera revolves around the whole package. Their weight starts from 8 ounces factoring a memory card and a battery.

FOCAL LENGTH/IMAGE QUALITY

The professional quality of your images is highly dependent on the power of the lens of the camera.

We think the higher the number of the lens, the better it’s resolution. For optimal focal length range for landscape is 16mm to 24mm.

WEATHER SEALING

Be wary of moisture and dust. Getting waterproof models of a camera would be fine but unfortunately, point-and-shoot is not weather sealed.

If you were to know if a camera is weather-sealed, you will have to look out for a number of features like rubber seals.

LENS SELECTION

I said it earlier. For a Point-and-shoot or compact digital camera, you have to keep an eye for its specific camera zoom range.

The zoom range is always written in numbers like this; 30x optical zoom, 40x optical zoom.

You also need to understand that the longer the zoom length, the heavier the camera would be.

MANUAL CONTROLS

Manual control gives you more creative control over the images you take. Fortunately, compact cameras do.

BATTERY LIFE

For digital cameras, there’s an official rating that tells you how many photos the fully charged battery of the camera can take.

Compact digital cameras are not the most battery efficient because they use more battery to power the screen and other automatic zoom function.

Hiking long stretches would mean that you may not have access to electricity, so purchasing an extra battery will do the trick.

SENSOR SIZE

Large sensors usually produce better images than a smaller sensor. The size of a camera also hugely determines the sensor size.

APERTURE

There is a hole that light passes through inside the camera lens to hit the sensor, it is called the aperture. Small apertures equal small passage of light and larger apertures equal a larger passage of light.

A camera with a large aperture feature will do well when it is in use in dark outdoor environments. The size of the aperture also determines the zoom length of the camera.

The larger the aperture the smaller the zoom the camera can have.

A balanced aperture and zoom length compact digital camera for hiking are around f/2.8 and f/5.6.

Read: The best hiking shirts for hiking 2020

TOP 5 COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA FOR HIKING

We have compiled the list of the top 5 compact digital camera that you will love. 

Ricoh GR II Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)

Ricoh

Quality
3.5/5
Price
5/5
Our Rating
4.5/5
Weight

Ricoh GR II are lightweight which makes it easier for hikers to carry around. Although it is small and light, it is a pretty powerful camera.

it weighs 8.7 oz which is equivalent to 248 g with the battery and memory card fitted.

Focal Length/Image Quality

Highlight and shadow areas are some of the key aspects where this camera is faulting. although, the camera produces high quality images in a DNG format.

If you’re thinking of getting the processed image as JPEG? then, this is also for you.

Manual controls

This camera has four external controls which you can use to creatively operate the camera; the Shooting Mode dial, the front command dail, ADJ. dial and Up-down dial.

Battery Life

The battery life of this camera is so impressive. If features a CIPA rating of 320 shots on a charge.

It also features a DB-65 lithium-ion battery pack. 

Aperture

This camera has an aperture of f/2.8 which is very large. This means that the camera can effectively blur the background of whatsoever image you are taking.

PROS

  • Fast auto-focus
  • Great image quality
  • Good performance
  •  

CONS

  • QC issues
  • Cramped controls
  • Poor WiFi app and browser

Nikon D3 500 digital camera

Nikon

Quality
3.5/5
Price
5/5
Our Rating
4.5/5

Specification

Weight: 0.86

Dimensions 4.88 x 2.76 x 3.82 inches

Max resolution: 24.7 megapixels

Focus type: Automatic

Nikon is one of the top quality and the most favorite camera for the people who are planning to Hike or travel.

It is because of its robust in ergonomics design and versatile get.

You might want to upgrade the lens that comes with the kit, but the lens has a range of 18 to 140 millimeters.

It is a perfect and impressive candidate for the digital camera that you can use while hiking.

It absolutely serves the purpose of landscape photography, and also the light weight of this camera is the cherry on top.

It comes with a Kit lens of 8-55 millimeters, and it can also provide some exceptional photos, but it is better if you upgrade the lens to a better version.

You can take night portraits and use the auto flash to take the photos.

Also, the close-up photos super perfect for this camera; Moreover, there are special effects modes available for better photo illustration and incredible miniature effects as well.

You will never be disappointed if you get this incredible camera.

PROS

  • Long lasting battery
  • Versatile

CONS

  • Memory sold separately

Sony RX100 VI 20.1 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera

Sony

Quality
3.5/5
Price
5/5
Our Rating
4.5/5

Specification

Weight: 0.66 lbs

Dimensions: 4.00 x 1.70 x 2.29 inches

Screen size: 3 inches

People always appreciate the quality of Sony, and when you are particularly looking for a camera that you can use while hiking, then this Sony digital camera is the most premium option.

The price point of Sony maybe a little higher, but the quality is absolutely perfect.

It comes with an impressive zoom range of 24 to 200 mm, which makes your photographs a lot better. Moreover, there is a sensor of 1 inch, and the range is 20 Megapixel.

For better functioning, it comes with a fast sensor and the lengths of 24 to 200 millimeter F/2.8-45.

The Sony camera is compatible with shooting a 4K video and also has some amazing high and specifications that help with just perfect image quality.

It is a compact camera that is great for hiking.

You would definitely love all the high-end specifications of this Sony camera.

PROS

  • Fast Sensor
  • Great picture quality

CONS

  • Pricey

Olympus TG 5 waterproof camera

Olympus

Quality
3.5/5
Price
5/5
Our Rating
4.5/5

Specification

Weight: 0.55 lbs

Dimensions: 4.40 x 1.30 x 2.60 inches

Screen size: 3 inches

 When looking for a compact digital camera that is also beyond amazing in terms of waterproofing, then this Olympus tough camera is the perfect option for you.

It is just wonderful in every aspect that you might be looking for while you are planning to take a digital camera on hiking.

This camera comes with the sensor of 12 megapixels, and also for better photography in the low light, it has improved low-light performance.

This Olympus camera has the zoom range of 25 to 100, and also it comes with an f/2.0 lens.

If you are wondering how waterproof this Olympus camera is, then you should know that it is waterproof up to the range of 50 feet, and, also, it is Crushproof up to the range of 220 lbs.

This Olympus camera is our really tough camera that is not only great in terms of functioning, but also the performance in the cold weather is incredible as well.

However, you might want the sensor to be much better for a much better image quality.

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Improved low-light performance

CONS

  • Short battery life

Nikon D850 FX Format Digital Camera

Brand name

Quality
3.5/5
Price
5/5
Our Rating
4.5/5

Specification

Weight: 2.02 lbs

Dimensions: 5.80 x 3.10 x 4.90 inches

Max resolution: 47 megapixels

Focus type: Auto and manual

We have another one from the Nikon range, and it is the last one on the list, but trust me it is another one of the best quality digital camera that is perfect for hiking.

It is also known to be the best camera for HIking.

This camera comes with a 47-megapixel full-frame sensor, and the dimension is 5.7 X 4.9 X 3.1 inches.

This Nikon camera may not be the most lightweight option, but the photo quality is impressive and has a total weight of 2.01 lbs.

Nikon D850 is capable of up to 9 FPS continuous shooting with incredibly full performance.

Also, it can help you with the 8k and 4K timeless movies as well.

The Ultra HD video recording and the slow-motion features are some other impressive features that you would love about this Nikon camera.

This Nikon camera may not be the most compact option, but the quality and the features are outstanding.

PROS

  • Performance Camera
  • Great picture quality
  • Dynamic Range

CONS

  • Very costly

Conclusion

A brief review of the top 5 compact digital cameras can help decide which one of these is the perfect option.

I would recommend you to get the Sony RX 100 VI digital camera that is absolutely perfect in terms of size, performance, versatility, and much more.

However, check out the other aspects of the camera before you purchase one. Check the sensor, zoom range, price, lens, and performance in low light.