If you’re planning on taking snapshots of the local flora, fauna, and scenic landscapes as you hike, consider these three great digital cameras for hikers. Even if you’re a professional photographer, you should leave the professional gear at home, because it will burden you throughout your hike. If you’re not struggling with the weight, you’ll likely be hiking slowly to keep the camera from dropping, or taking pains to keep it from bumping against rocks or other terrain. Great cameras for hiking are fairly inexpensive, user-friendly, lightweight, and capable of a range of ISO speeds to capture varying light levels and activity.
If you’re an avid adventurer who enjoys hiking through rugged terrain, the Olympus Tough TG-310 may be the ideal camera for your lifestyle. All cameras in the Olympus Tough Series are waterproof, shockproof, and freeze proof. The TG-310 weighs just 5.5 ounces and can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water, survive five-foot drops, and withstand temperatures below freezing. Specifications include a 14-megapixel sensor, 3.6x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom, and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. Zoom, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance can be adjusted automatically, or you can manually set them using preset options. In addition to traditional photographs, this innovative device shoots 3-dimensional images, and 720P HD video. It also uses “Eye-Fi” technology that lets you email or upload photos to a computer. Olympus Tough TG-310 retails for just $199.
Available in black or purple, the Pentax Optio WG-1 is designed to accompany intrepid adventurers on treks into extreme locations. The impressive WG1 is waterproof, crushproof, shockproof, dustproof, and cold proof. Submerge it in up to 33 feet of water, hit it with up to 220 pounds of force, drop it five feet, bring it to the Sahara desert, or take it with you to the snowy arctic. The camera takes still photos, shoots 720p HD videos, and has a built-in macro lens for capturing extremely sharp details. The camera features a 14 megapixel sensor, 2.7-inch LCD screen, built-in storage, and allows for adjustable shutter speed, ISO, and focus. It also comes with a hiking strap to clip to your clothes or backpack. You can purchase this camera for $299.95.
Ideal for serious photographers (as opposed to serious adventurers!), Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 is perfect for photographers who enjoy hiking and are looking to capture professional-quality images of their travels. The camera incorporates a 13.1 megapixel MOS sensor, and an interchangeable lens system. The camera arrives with a 14 mm lens kit with a focal length of 2.5, and you can purchase additional lens kits that include zoom lenses, fisheye lenses, and 3-D capable lenses. The camera also shoots 1080/60i AVCHD video. The advanced features allow beginning photographers to auto detect all settings at the touch of a button, and gives advanced photographers the option to control focus, ISO, shutter speed, and color temperature. Weighing in at only 16.75 ounces, it’s Panasonic’s lightest camera. The Lumix DMC-GF2 retails for $699.95, which is a fairly good price for a non-entry level camera capable of shooting professional quality images.