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Best Lightweight Camera for Hiking

Hiking is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding outdoor activities. However, one of the issues that many people face when going on a hiking trip is what is the best lightweight camera for hiking. Cameras can weigh a lot more than you think and add significantly to your load.

This article will discuss several lightweight cameras designed for hiking and tell you more about their features so you can find the best camera for your next hiking trip.

Lightweight cameras are designed to be much less bulky and lighter weight than traditional cameras, so you don’t have to worry about lugging around unnecessary weight when hiking.

The best part is that these lightweight cameras can still take high-quality photos in most conditions, making them perfect for any outdoor enthusiast who wants the convenience of being able to take their camera anywhere they go without having to worry about it weighing too much or getting damaged.

We will explore several different types of lightweight cameras that are popular among hikers in this article and talk more about their features so you can find the best one for your next hiking trip.

What are Lightweight Cameras?

Lightweight cameras are made to be much lighter in weight than traditional cameras, so they can easily fit in a backpack or purse. They typically have fewer features and less impressive specs when compared to their larger counterparts. However, most hikers prefer these because they can still take high-quality photos even if they have more advanced options.

On top of being more lightweight, lightweight cameras are usually more durable because they are not made with complicated parts that may be damaged if dropped or mishandled.

What Are Some Types of Lightweight Cameras?

Bridge cameras are top-rated lightweight cameras because they can fit in most backpacks or purses and still take high-quality photos. They also have several zoom lens options so you can get closer to your subject without disturbing them, making them perfect for hikers who enjoy wildlife photography.

A DSLR camera is another good option since they are very versatile and come with many different lenses perfect for outdoor use. Compact cameras are very lightweight but sometimes lack the quality photos of other lightweight cameras. Hence, they are best when used in good lighting conditions when it is easier to obtain high-quality images.

Factors to consider before buying:

Size & weight

The best lightweight cameras are made to be much lighter than traditional cameras, so you won’t have to worry about taking extra weight on your hike.

Durability

Most lightweight cameras are designed with durable materials so they can still take high-quality photos even when they get mishandled or dropped.

Zoom lens

Having a zoom lens is very important for outdoor photography since it allows you to get closer to your subject without disturbing them.

Price

You can find lightweight cameras suitable for hikers of any budget, but it is best to consider the price when looking at options, so you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save a few dollars.

D size batteries

Most lightweight cameras run on AA or AAA batteries, but D-size batteries are the best for hikers since they are much lighter to carry.

Top 10 Best Lightweight Cameras for Hiking

  1. Sony a7R III
  2. Sony Alpha 6400
  3. Fujifilm X-T30
  4. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
  5. Canon EOS R5
  6. Nikon D7500
  7. Canon EOS Rebel SL3
  8. Nikon D3500
  9. Pentax K-1 Mark II
  10. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

1. Sony a7R III

The most impressive feature of the Sony a7R III is that it has 42.4 megapixels which can produce extremely high-quality images perfect for outdoor photography. However, this lightweight camera weighs only 29.8 oz without the battery and memory card, so hikers won’t worry about extra weight while hiking.

Another great feature of the Sony a7R III is that it comes with a wide 24-105 mm lens so you can get closer to your subject without disturbing them, making this camera perfect for wildlife photography when in the wild.

One downside of this lightweight camera is that it only has one memory card slot, so you have to choose between backup storage and easy file transfer if you want to bring along a friend who also owns a Sony a7R III.

The camera’s price is also very high, but that can be expected from such an advanced lightweight camera since it has many features that are usually only seen on larger models.

Pros
  • 42 megapixels,

  • 24-105 lens for close up shots

  • durable body with weather sealing,

  • compact size

Cons
  • Expensive price

  • only one memory card slot

  • the camera is only compatible with Sony lenses

2. Sony Alpha 6400

The Sony Alpha 6400 is incredible for hikers looking for a very lightweight camera but still want the quality high-resolution images that other more advanced lightweight cameras offer. This camera has 24 megapixels which can produce prominent photos, and it weighs only 20.5 oz without any lenses.

The one downside of having such high resolution is that the images file is more significant than other cameras to fill up your memory card faster. To fix this issue, you just have to buy a larger memory card if you plan on hiking for more than one day, so you don’t run out of space.

One great feature of the Sony Alpha 6400 is that it comes with two memory card slots, so you don’t have to worry about losing any files while on your hiking trip.

Another downside to this camera is that it only has one zoom lens, limiting your photography options sometimes when shooting in different lighting conditions or when you want to get closer to your subject while staying longer distances away.

Pros
  • 24 megapixels

  • modern design and durable exterior

  • comes with two memory cards slots

  • price is low compared to other lightweight cameras

Cons
  • only has one zoom lens (16-50mm)

  • image files are larger than other cameras

3. Fujifilm X-T30

If you are looking for a lightweight camera that won’t break the bank and comes with a 24-megapixel sensor, then the Fujifilm X-T30 is a great option. The camera itself weighs only about 23 oz, but if you want to carry around the extra lenses, it will start to consider more like most other lightweight cameras.

One great feature of this camera is that it has Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to transfer your images wirelessly without having to connect the camera with an extra cord, but that is something hikers usually do not bring along on their hike anyway since there won’t be many places the cords can reach.

Another great feature of the Fujifilm camera over other lightweight cameras is that it comes with several lenses you can choose from depending on your photography needs, but again hiking usually only brings one lens if you are not planning on taking many photos throughout your hike.

Pros
  • Price is low compared to other lightweight cameras

  • 24 megapixels

  • comes with several lenses to choose from

  • wireless Bluetooth photo transfer capabilities

Cons
  • lenses can be heavy so it starts weighing more than other lightweight cameras

4. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

This camera is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless model and is an excellent choice for hikers who want to take their photos and video to the next level. Even though it’s similar in size to DSLR cameras, it has many features that make it lightweight and easy for hiking, such as:

Not only does this camera capture 4K video, but it also has a time-lapse function that lets you create short movies quickly and easily. The camera is designed with a quick autofocus feature so you can capture the best action shots while hiking, even in low-light situations!

A 5 axis image stabilization system means your photos will be evident even when you’re out of breath and giddy from hiking! The electronic viewfinder will help you frame the perfect shot without losing focus on your hike or getting distracted by other elements.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is lightweight, durable, and very functional for hikers because it allows them to quickly capture images while they’re on the move.

Pros
  • The camera has a durable metal construction

  • The five-axis image stabilization system

Cons
  • There are only two card slots.

  • It was a bit expensive.

  • The menu could be more user friendly

5. Canon EOS R5

The Canon EOS R5 is a lightweight DSLR camera perfect for hikers who want to capture their outdoor adventures in high quality. It has a durable magnesium alloy construction, tilting touchscreen LCD monitor, and an articulated viewfinder that will help you get the best shots.

You can also add different lenses to your camera depending on what your needs are. This camera is compatible with Canon EF and EF-S lenses. The lenses allow you to take clear, crisp photos from a variety of different perspectives, not to mention they’re great for capturing those perfect shots around the campsite after a long day of hiking.

Pros
  • It has a lightweight build that’s easy to carry around for hours on end.

  • The camera works well in low-light situations and can shoot at speeds of up to 7fps.

  • The touchscreen monitor is very responsive and easy to use, even with gloves on!

Cons
  • It doesn’t have very sturdy construction.

  • It is a bit too bulky for some hikers.

  • The camera does not have built-in WiFi capabilities.

6. Nikon D7500

The Nikon D7500 DSLR camera is the perfect choice for hikers who want to take full advantage of their hiking experience. Many professional photographers prefer this model because it has a lightweight magnesium alloy body and has a tilting LCD monitor that can face up, down, or to the side, depending on your preferences.

This lightweight camera also comes with two memory card slots which can be helpful if you want to save storage space by having multiple cards or save time if you only have one card and need to download images later.

The Nikon D7500 is an excellent choice for hikers who want to add DSLR-quality photos and videos to their collection!

Pros
  • The memory card slots

  • It comes with an external battery charger, which can be helpful when you’re in the backcountry and don’t have access to electricity.

  • The camera has a lightweight magnesium alloy body

Cons
  • It does not come with built-in WiFi capabilities.

  • There’s no headphone jack which can make it harder to monitor audio levels for spontaneous recordings.

7. Canon EOS Rebel SL3

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is a budget-friendly DSLR camera that’s great for hikers who want to take high-quality photos and video while out on the trail. It has a lightweight body and user-friendly features, making it suitable for users of all levels.

The touchscreen LCD monitor comes with an articulating feature to get the perfect shot every time. Like the previous Canon model, this camera operates on an 18-megapixel image sensor ideal for high-quality images and video footage.

This DSLR works well in low-light situations, making it possible to capture clear photos even when there’s not a lot of natural lighting, or you’re caught out after dark.

Pros
  • It has a lightweight body that makes it easy to carry around in backpacks or on straps.

  • The camera has an 18-megapixel image sensor

Cons
  • There are only two card slots, which can be limiting for some hikers.

  • It does not come with built-in WiFi capabilities.

8. Nikon D3500

The Nikon D3500 is a DSLR camera perfect for the photographer who wants to take high-quality photos on an affordable budget. It has a lightweight body, 18-megapixel image sensor, and tilting monitor, all of which amateur photographers have come to appreciate.

This model also comes with two memory card slots which can be very useful for hikers who want to save storage space or take high-quality photos with multiple lenses.

Pros
  • The camera comes with two memory card slots

  • It has a lightweight body that’s easy to carry around all day long.

  • The image sensor is an 18-megapixel image sensor which is great for high-resolution photos.

Cons
  • The camera only has one card slot, so it may not be the best choice for hikers who want to take multiple images without downloading or transferring them.

  • It does not come with built-in WiFi capabilities.

  • There is no headphone jack which can make it difficult to monitor audio levels while recording.

9. Pentax K-1 Mark II

The Pentax K-1 Mark II camera comes at an affordable price tag and has great user-friendly features for amateur and professional hikers alike. The weather-resistant and dustproof body and tilting monitor make it easy to take the perfect shot no matter how rough conditions get on the trail.

This model also has built-in WiFi capabilities, which allow you to connect your camera to a smartphone or tablet using the downloadable Image Transmitter App. The app enables you to control aspects of your camera remotely, making it easy for hikers who want to frame shots without carrying around their DSLR at all times.

The camera has an anti-aliasing filter which can make photos look a bit more crisp and clear. This filter can be beneficial when photographing landscapes at a distance because it reduces the amount of aberration that appears in photos when you zoom in.

Pros
  • The camera has a weather-resistant and dustproof body.

  • It has an 18-megapixel image sensor.

  • The camera comes with built-in WiFi capabilities

Cons
  • There are no card slots.

  • The monitor does not come with an articulating feature which makes it difficult to take high-quality selfies.

  • It does not come with a headphone jack which means you cannot monitor audio levels while recording.

10. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a professional DSLR camera that comes at an affordable price tag and has great user-friendly features for amateur and professional hikers.

This model can capture high-quality images even in low light situations, making it perfect for taking photos of the stars or landscapes at night. The camera does not have built-in WiFi capabilities, but it can easily be paired with a smartphone or tablet using the Canon Connect App.

Pros
  • The camera has a lightweight body that makes it easy to carry around in backpacks or on straps.

  • It has a 24-megapixel image sensor which is perfect for taking high-resolution photos.

  • The camera has a headphone jack that enables you to monitor audio levels while recording or taking photos.

  • It comes with built-in WiFi capabilities.

Cons
  • There is no weather-resistant body, so it does not have the same durability as other models on the market.

  • There are only two card slots, which can be limiting because you cannot take as many high-quality photos.

  • It does not come with a tilting monitor, making it challenging to capture selfies and other types of low-angle shots.

Conclusion:

Although you can’t always rely on your phone to take the perfect shot, it may be tough to capture that iconic photo of yourself or your friends in front of beautiful landscapes if you don’t have a DSLR with you. The ten best DSLRs for hikers included in this list are all great choices because they are lightweight and easy to carry, have high-quality image sensors for taking crisp photos, come with multiple card slots so you won’t run out of storage space while trailblazing. And have user-friendly features that make them ideal for amateur or professional hikers.

When choosing a DSLR camera for hikers, it’s important to consider the unit’s overall weight, whether or not it has WiFi capabilities, and if there are multiple card slots. Our list includes ten cameras that come at different price tags, so you should be able to find one that suits your hiking budget.

Each of these models has different strengths and weaknesses, so it’s worth reading up on each one to make an informed decision when choosing a DSLR camera for hiking. We hope the information we provided in this article was helpful and that you find yourself taking great photos during your next hike!

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