A majority of people should probably just bring an iphone, but if you’re looking to level up your photography these are the best cameras for hiking and mountaineering in 2023.
If you’re an avid hiker, you know the importance of packing light and only bringing the essentials. Capturing the breathtaking views and memories of your journey is a must, but not all cameras are created equal when it comes to hiking.
When looking for the best camera for hiking, there are a few critical factors to consider:
- lightweight and compact
- durable and weather-resistant
- battery life
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best cameras for hiking and mountaineering to help you capture stunning shots on your next outdoor excursion.
Crave the Planet is reader-supported. When you click on some links and you purchase, I may receive money at no additional cost to you. – Thanks, Morgan
Trust me, a heavy pack can really change your hiking experience.
Quick Verdict: Best Cameras for Hiking and Mountaineering
Short on time? Don’t have time to read the whole article? No Problemo!
BENEFIT: It’s lightweight, yet loaded with features.
My Top 3 Recommendations
- 40.2-megapixel X-Trans 5 HR CMOS sensor in a compact, lightweight body
- Top electronic shutter speed of 1/180,000 sec
- In-body image stabilization (IBIS) system
- 20MP live MOS sensor
- Portable, weather sealed design
- 121-point all-cross-type on-chip phase detection AF
- Compact, in-body 5-axis image stabilization (up to approx. 5.5 EV steps of compensation)
- 50MP tripod high-resolution shot
- World’s smallest and lightest1 full-frame camera with world's smallest and lightest full-frame standard zoom lens.Operating Temperature : 32 - 104 degrees F / 0 - 40 degrees C
- Advanced 24.2MP2 Back-Illuminated 35mm Full-frame Image Sensor
- 4K Movie3 w/ full pixel readout, no pixel binning or crop and HDR4
- 15-stop5 dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO6 50 to 204,800
- 693 phase-detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93% image coverage
- Video capture resolution: 2160p
🧭 Read until the end for my top travel recommendations for hikers and more advice from a physical therapist hiking & travel addict.
You will also like:
➡️ 🗻 Discover the best 2 way radios for the mountains.
➡️ 🥾Take a look at the best hiking GPS watches.
7 Best Cameras for Hiking and Mountaineering
So let’s jump in where I’ll share my personal experience, pros and cons, and expert recommendations for the ultimate hiking camera.
1. Best Overall Camera for Hiking: Fujifilm X-T5 Mirrorless Digital Camera
If you are looking for a high-resolution camera that can produce stunning results, Fujifilm X-T5 is a great choice.
- The X-Trans 5 HR CMOS sensor delivers outstanding image quality.
- The camera is lightweight and easy to use thanks to its classic, dial-based layout.
- It has a powerful in-body image stabilization system that works in five axes, providing up to seven stops of compensation.
- The autofocus system is not as good as other camera lines.
- It is not explicitly mentioned anywhere that if the seller is Camera Canada, they will not accept returns.
- The resolving power of Fujifilm lenses may not be sufficient for this camera.
Fujifilm X-T5 is a highly capable camera that is ready for action. It features a top electronic shutter speed of 1/180,000 sec and a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000 sec, which will stop any subject in its tracks.
The camera can record images at up to 15fps with the mechanical shutter or 20fps with the electronic shutter, making it easy to capture fast-moving subjects.
The camera’s in-body image stabilization system (IBIS) ensures that camera shake is a thing of the past, even in low-light conditions. It works in five axes, providing up to seven stops of compensation, and works with the camera’s subject detection autofocus, which uses deep-learning AI to expertly track animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, planes, and trains.
Fujifilm X-T5 also features Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode, which delivers detailed files like never before. The feature utilizes the camera’s IBIS system to precisely shift the sensor, automatically recording 20 separate frames with one press of the shutter release. Resulting files are combined using Pixel Shift Combiner software to quadruple the camera’s resolution and produce a detail-rich, 160-megapixel file.
The camera’s powerful video functions complement its impressive stills performance. Movies can be recorded internally at up to 6.2K/30p in 4:2:2 10-bit color, plus there’s a 4K HQ mode which oversamples 6.2K footage for superior 4K output.
Both F-Log and F-Log2 recording are possible, the latter providing expanded dynamic range of 13+ stops, plus 12-bit Apple ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW can be output via HDMI, to Atomos and Blackmagic devices accordingly.
2. Best Lightweight Camera for Long Treks: OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 Mark III
If you’re an avid hiker and are looking for a camera that can keep up with you, the OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 Mark III is definitely worth considering.
- The 20MP live MOS sensor captures stunning images, even in low light conditions.
- The camera’s portable, weather-sealed design makes it perfect for outdoor adventures.
- The 121-point all-cross-type on-chip phase detection AF ensures that your shots are always in focus.
- The camera’s menu system can be a bit overwhelming at first.
- The battery life could be better.
- The camera’s high-resolution shot mode takes a bit longer to process.
The OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 Mark III is compact, lightweight, and comfortable to carry around on long hikes. The camera’s 5-axis in-body image stabilization and anti-flicker shooting features make it easy to capture stunning shots on-the-go.
The camera’s pro technologies, like 30Fps sequential shooting and 50MP high res shot mode, allow you to take your photography to the next level. The camera is also at the center of an expansive system of lenses and accessories, making it easy to build the ultimate system for you.
3. Best Action Camera: GoPro HERO11
If you’re looking for a high-quality action camera to capture your outdoor adventures, the GoPro HERO11 Black is a great option to consider. With its revolutionary new image sensor and HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization, you can capture stunning 5.3K video and 27MP photos with ease. Plus, the camera is waterproof and comes with a carrying case for added protection.
- Revolutionary new image sensor with expansive field of view
- Unbelievable image quality with 5.3K video and 27MP photos
- Emmy Award-winning HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization
- Expensive compared to other action cameras on the market
- Battery life could be better
- Requires a bit of a learning curve to master all of the camera’s features
The GoPro HERO11 Black is a powerful action camera that offers incredible image quality and stabilization. The new image sensor provides an expansive field of view, allowing you to capture more of the sky and horizon in every shot.
The camera also features HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization, which has won an Emmy award for its insanely smooth footage. This feature keeps your footage straight even if your camera rotates a full 360°.
One of the biggest advantages of the GoPro HERO11 Black is its image quality. With 5.3K video that gives you 91% more resolution than 4K, you can capture the action with crisp detail and cinematic image quality.
The camera also features a water-repelling lens cover that helps eliminate lens flare and other artifacts to make your photos and videos even more stunning.
However, the GoPro HERO11 Black is on the expensive side compared to other action cameras on the market. It also has a relatively short battery life, which can be a downside if you’re planning on using it for extended periods of time.
The camera requires a bit of a learning curve to master all of its features, so it may not be the best option for beginners.
4. Best Value Camera for Hiking: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Mirrorless
If you’re looking for a lightweight camera for your hiking trips, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Mirrorless Camera might be a good option for you.
- The camera has a 20 MP Live MOS Sensor that produces high-quality images.
- You can easily transfer your photos to your smartphone via Bluetooth and OI Share Smartphone app.
- The flip-down monitor and dedicated selfie mode make it easy to take selfies and vlogs on your hiking trips.
- The camera has a limited battery life, so you may need to bring extra batteries on your hikes.
- The camera doesn’t have a built-in flash, so you’ll need to bring an external flash if you want to take photos in low light.
- The camera’s digital zoom is limited to 2.0 multiplier_x, which may not be enough for some users.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Mirrorless Camera is a compact and easy-to-use camera that produces high-quality images. The camera’s 5-axis image stabilization is capable of 4.5 shutter speed steps of compensation, which means you can take sharp photos even when you’re hiking on uneven terrain.
The camera also comes with 16 Art Filters (31 types), including a new Instant Film filter that gives your photos a nostalgic feel. The camera’s flip-down monitor and dedicated selfie mode make it easy to take selfies and vlogs on your hiking trips.
The camera’s battery life is limited, so you may need to bring extra batteries on your hikes. The camera also doesn’t have a built-in flash, so you’ll need to bring an external flash if you want to take photos in low light.
It’s digital zoom is limited to 2.0 multiplier x, which may not be enough for some users.
5. Best Full Frame Camera for Hiking: Sony Alpha 7C Mirrorless Digital
If you’re looking for a high-quality camera for hiking, the Sony Alpha 7C Mirrorless Digital Camera is an excellent choice. With its advanced autofocus and high-resolution 4K video capabilities, this camera is perfect for capturing stunning photos and videos of your outdoor adventures.
- The camera is optimized for vloggers and YouTubers, making it easy to capture high-quality video content while on the go.
- The camera supports 4k30p, allowing you to capture stunning, high-resolution video footage.
- The camera features IBIS functionality, which helps to stabilize your shots and reduce camera shake.
- The camera is quite expensive, which may be a barrier to entry for some users.
- The camera’s battery life is not as long as some other models, which may be a concern for longer hikes or trips.
- The camera’s compact size may make it more difficult to grip and hold steady, especially for users with larger hands.
This camera combines portability and versatility with uncompromising performance, the Sony Alpha 7C is an excellent choice. With its compact size and advanced features, this camera is perfect for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who want to capture stunning photos and videos of their adventures.
The camera comes with a range of useful features, including both mic-in and a headphone jack, USB Type-C connectivity, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy sharing and transfer of your photos and videos.
The camera’s full-frame sensor and 24 MP resolution ensure that your photos and videos are sharp, clear, and vibrant, even in low light conditions.
6. Best Point and Shoot: Ricoh GR III Street Edition
If you’re an avid street photographer, you should consider purchasing the Ricoh GR III Street Edition. It’s designed for street photographers who want to capture stunning images on the go.
- The limited edition metallic gray body and bright yellow ring cap make it stand out from other cameras.
- High image quality is achieved with a GR lens with high resolution, high contrast, and high optical performance.
- Quick Shooting: High-speed startup of about 0.8 seconds after the power is turned on allows the photographer quick response to changing scenes.
- The battery life could be better.
- The camera is not weather-sealed.
- The fixed lens may be limiting for some users.
The Ricoh GR III Street Edition is a compact camera that is perfect for street photography. It’s equipped with a high-quality lens that delivers sharp and detailed images. The camera’s quick shooting feature allows you to capture the perfect shot in a split second.
The camera’s metallic gray body and bright yellow ring cap make it look stylish and unique. The camera is also lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry around with you. It’s touch panel LCD monitor provides ease of control during camera set up, shooting, and playback.
In my experience, the in-body image stabilization mechanism ensures that your images are crisp and clear, even when you’re shooting in low light environments. The camera’s macro feature allows you to take impressive close-up images with natural bokeh.
7. Best for Outdoor Vlogging: DJI Pocket 2
If you’re looking for a highly portable camera that can capture stunning photos and videos while hiking, DJI Pocket 2 is an excellent choice.
- Pocket-sized and lightweight, perfect for hiking
- Motorized stabilization for smooth video
- High image quality with HDR video and 8x zoom
- Mediocre battery life, only up to 140 minutes
- Limited storage capacity, no expandable memory
- Expensive compared to other compact cameras
DJI Pocket 2 is equipped with a 3-axis gimbal that keeps the camera steady while you’re on the move, allowing you to capture smooth and steady videos. The camera also features HDR video and 8x zoom, which can provide stunning image quality for your hiking adventures.
The camera weighs only 116 grams and fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, making it easy to carry with you on your hikes. The battery life is only up to 140 minutes, so you may need to bring a power bank with you if you plan on using it for an extended period.
One downside to the DJI Pocket 2 is its limited storage capacity. It doesn’t have expandable memory, so you’ll need to be mindful of how much you’re recording. Additionally, the camera is quite expensive compared to other compact cameras on the market.
When it comes to choosing the best camera for hiking, there are several features to consider. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:
Since you’ll be carrying your camera with you on hikes, it’s important to choose a camera that can withstand the elements. Look for cameras that are waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof.
Size and Weight
Since you’ll be carrying your camera with you, it’s important to choose a camera that is lightweight and easy to carry. Look for cameras that are compact and lightweight, so they won’t weigh you down during your hike.
When it comes to image quality, you’ll want a camera that can capture clear, sharp images. Look for cameras with high-resolution sensors and good quality lenses.
Since you’ll be away from power sources for extended periods, it’s important to choose a camera with a long battery life. Look for cameras with rechargeable batteries and consider carrying spare batteries or a portable charger.
Some additional features to consider include:
- GPS: This can be useful for tracking your route and geotagging your photos.
- Wi-Fi: This can make it easy to transfer photos to your phone or other devices.
- Optical zoom: This can be useful for getting closer to your subject without having to physically move closer.
Consider your needs and preferences when choosing a camera for hiking. By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to choose a camera that will meet your needs and help you capture great photos on your hikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of camera would be best for a hiking trip?
When it comes to hiking, you need a camera that is lightweight, rugged, and easy to carry. A mirrorless or compact camera with a weather-sealed body would be ideal. It should also have good image stabilization, a decent zoom range, and the ability to shoot in RAW format. Check out the Fujifilm X-T5.
What is the best camera for ultralight hiking?
For ultralight hiking, you need a camera that is small and lightweight. A compact camera or a mirrorless camera with a small lens would be perfect. Look for a camera that has a built-in lens, as this will save you weight and space.
Which Olympus camera is best for hiking?
Olympus has a range of cameras that are perfect for hiking. For those who want a mirrorless camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a great choice.
What cameras do mountaineers use?
Mountaineers need a camera that is durable, lightweight, and weather-sealed. A mirrorless camera or a compact camera with a weather-sealed body would be ideal. Look for a camera that has good image stabilization and a decent zoom range.
What are the top-rated waterproof cameras for hiking?
The top-rated waterproof cameras for hiking include the Olympus Tough TG-6, the Nikon Coolpix W300, and the Panasonic Lumix TS7. All of these cameras are waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof, making them ideal for outdoor adventures.
What features should I look for in a camera for National Parks?
When visiting National Parks, you want a camera that can capture the beauty of the landscape and tell a story. Look for a camera with a wide-angle lens, good dynamic range, and the ability to shoot in RAW format. A camera with good image stabilization and a decent zoom range would also be useful.
Final Verdict: Best Performance
Let’s face it, you pay for what you get. You’ve got many options, but if you’re really interested in performance I highly recommend you consider this one.
- 40.2-megapixel X-Trans 5 HR CMOS sensor in a compact, lightweight body
- Top electronic shutter speed of 1/180,000 sec
- In-body image stabilization (IBIS) system
More Buying Guides for Hikers
At Crave the Planet, I’m all about honest and relatable reviews of outdoor products. As a physical therapist, hut to hut hiker, downhill skier and mom, I’m constantly trying new gear to make my outdoor experiences more comfy and fun but with science in mind.
I’ll be real with you, I don’t do every outdoor activity. But, who does? I’m just a regular person who loves exploring the planet. Perfectionism is my enemy and I hope to help you ditch that vibe too.
My review process involves testing each product in real-life outdoor situations, but if it’s a really horrible day I’ll probably find a hotel in the valley. I’ll let you know what worked for me and what didn’t, so you can make informed decisions about your gear choices.
I don’t do sponsored reviews or take payment for my reviews. All comments are based on my personal experience. Sometimes I’ll test something and then send it back for a refund. Usually there’s a hefty fee. Bummer. So, if you’re looking for a relatable and honest take on outdoor gear, you’re in the right place.
More Hiking & Outdoor Gear Resources
Here’s more awesome gear to empower your journey. I have written in-depth comparisons of products that make hiking and exploring the Great Outdoors safer and more fun, especially if you’re a beginner (or like me, a little rusty in the knees).
Physical Therapist Curated Gear Guides for Hikers
- 🧎 Make your knees feel better while hiking and walking: Best Knee Braces for Hiking
- 🌳Make the downhills stop hurting and hike with more confidence Best Trekking Poles Review
- ⌚ Never get lost on the trail and navigate the wilderness safely with My Review of the Best Compass for Hiking
- ❄️ Go hiking on uneven terrain safely: The Best Hiking Boots with Ankle Support
- 🥾 Don’t get lost in the backcountry during a big hike: My Review of the BEST PLB – Personal Locator Beacons
My Guides to Bucketlist Hikes in Europe
(That I’ve personally done and loved.)
If you’re an avid hiker, you know that photos are an important part of the experience. I hope this list of the best cameras for hiking and mountaineering helps you capture memories of a lifetime.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.