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backpacking camera
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Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
backpacking camera on 10/02/2012 14:30:25 MDT Print View

I need a new point and shoot camera for backpacking, because the old one has taken enough abuse that the lens cover no longer operates and there are missing pixels on the video screen. I take a lot of zoom photos, a lot of macro photos, but I am not a fantastic photographer, and wouldn't know what to do with a SLR camera if I had one. I just basically want a little P&S that I can take some decent pictures with.

If you had to choose between a shock-proof, water-proof, built tough camera with only 5x zoom, and a regular P&S camera with 10x zoom, which would you buy? Buying a camera that's built tough makes sense for backpacking, but my current camera has 7X zoom, and I don't think I'd be satisfied with less. The way that technology goes, by the time I've beaten up a digital camera, the electronics have gotten so much better, I don't know if I'd want a camera that takes a lot of punishment and will last forever--now I've got a good excuse to buy a new camera.

I'm looking at Sony WX-150 and their DSC-TX20/L. My previous camera is an Olympus Stylus 7010. Any other suggestions? I'm not looking to spend more than $400.


Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Cano on 10/02/2012 14:54:27 MDT Print View

We've used our Canon Powershot 780si for years now. Works like a charm, and is very small and lightweight.

And you judge the photos on our website:

Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Lumix DMC-ZS7 on 10/02/2012 14:59:43 MDT Print View

Have and love this camera. Quality Pics, rather light, extremely fast boot, good battery life, built-in GPS if it is important.

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Re: backpacking camera on 10/02/2012 15:17:21 MDT Print View

I personally use either a Sony RX100 or a Canon 7D for photos while backpacking, but if I had to choose between a compact superzoom and a built-tough compact, I think I'd opt for the built-tough model every time.

I'd prefer not having to worry about storage over the extra telephoto; a waterproof/shockproof camera would allow for easy access to the camera in pretty much all conditions.

Joshua Thomas

Locale: SE Michigan
Camera on 10/02/2012 15:39:40 MDT Print View

I have a cannon S95 for sale if interested; used for 3 weeks on a backpacking trip and works great ;

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: backpacking camera on 10/02/2012 16:25:57 MDT Print View

Personally, usually, I use as my point&shoot, video camera, voice recorder, GPS, . . . .oh, you see it coming. . . my smart phone.

But on a Grand Canyon white-water rafting trip, I let an uber-serious photog friend do all the research and then got what he got (well, he got three cameras, but for a on-the-water, in-the-rain, more-than-point-and-shoot) a Pentax Optio W60 which it waterproof (to 10 feet / 3m I think), 10 megapixels, 5mm-25mm, drop-resistent, and has a flash and a ton of modes and features (timer, video, delay, various focusing and lighting options, etc). $150ish, I think.

That was 4 years ago, so that same camera is now probably even cheaper on ebay, or the newest version has even more features.

I brought a solar panel, invertor, charger, and offered everyone charging for their devices. I'd never do that BPing, and I wish I hadn't on the raft trip. Babysitting a solar camera is tedious and it takes quite a while to charge the battery. Since then, I've gotten on ebay, found a Taiwan seller of aftermarket (pre-market?) batteries for the camera and ordered a handful. They are $1-$2 each, often with free shipping so it is MUCH cheaper and lighter to carry 2 or 3 extra batteries than to carry a solar charger. On a super long trip, you could mail another one to yourself every few weeks.

P.S. if you take photographs as if you're shooting film (i.e. the 3 to 6 best shots each day), your digital camera battery will last, oh, about 1000 miles. If you practice the "Mongolian Horde Principle" of taking hundreds of shots each day, then you can need more batteries and memory cards.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: backpacking camera on 10/02/2012 16:52:22 MDT Print View

Also check out the Panasonic Lumix line of cameras. I have the ZS7, a camera I've been happy with as a point-and-shoot.

Paul Ashton
(PDA123) - F

Locale: Eastern Mass
Camera on 10/02/2012 17:07:12 MDT Print View

I use an Olympus VG 140 which has a 5x zoom and 14 megapixels and cost under $100. Very surprised at the quality. Only problem is on bright days, it has no viewfinder and the screen is useless in bright light. Has a SUB rechargeable battery which I find convenient. It's also a video and voice recorder BTW. Tiny and damp proof
You can see some snaps on my facebook page (paul ashton)

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Try this for information on 10/02/2012 17:53:25 MDT Print View

Seems like a fairly useful site as it is oriented towards the outdoorsy types

The all weather point & shoots (ruggedized) will survive longer if you are prone to sloppy camera care (consider how your cameras have fared). But if you are careful with equipment, then there are some really good $300'ish cameras now.

Edited by BurnNotice on 10/02/2012 17:56:56 MDT.

Evan Chartier
Pentax Optio Wg1 on 10/02/2012 19:43:25 MDT Print View

I bought the Pentax Optio Wg1 about a year or so ago, and I love it! Its been with me on a lot of trips from a weekend to 3 months. It has 5x zoom. The macro is good, but the microscope mode is really amazing. Ive gotten some awesome shots from it looking at bugs, leaves, bark, things you cant really see with your eyes. My brother is huge into photography (he is regularly published and owns his own business) and he recommended that one to me. I got it on Amazon for less than 200 bucks. (I see one for $162 right now on amazon). Ive been happy!

a b
Pentax Optio 33WR on 10/02/2012 19:52:47 MDT Print View

My camera is a Pentax optio 33WR.
It is 9 years old and still kickin'
3.2 mega pixels are big enough for 4X6 prints and sharing on the net.
Takes AA batteries.
Water proof enough to use in the rain.
The zoom sucks compared to the newer cameras.
I wish i could do longer than 4 second timed exposures. I would like to take moonlit scenes and star trail/landscape pictures.
This would be a valid reason to get a new camera i guess.

I would buy a new camera but this one is still working.

Wes Kline
(weskline) - F

Locale: Adirondacks
TG-1 on 10/02/2012 20:13:19 MDT Print View

I have an Olympus TG-1, and like it quite a bit.
Here's a pic from it:

Works great for probably up to 8x10 images. The sharpness isn't great at 100%, if you are a pixel peeper, but I think in general it looks pretty good for a point and shoot. Wish it had raw, but that's the way it goes.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Panasonic Lumix Lines on 10/02/2012 20:40:41 MDT Print View

I had a Lumix FH20 and I was quite pleased with the camera. I got it on sale for just over $100, however, I was not as protective of it as I should have a small scratch on the lens after about 2 years of use, and well...I tried to buff it out and made it worse... The only thing I did not like about it was that I could not zoom in or out while videoing...other than that though, it was great. The battery life was excellent, although I did pick up a spare when I bought the camera. I always carried it, but very rarely needed it. One battery would get tons of HD videos and photos...

I replaced it with the Lumix SZ7 (not to be confused with the ZS7). The camera cost's less than the FH20, but I still paid more for the SZ7 than I did the FH20. The specs seemed pretty good on the SZ7, and it did in fact zoom while videoing. However, now that I have it, I am not as happy with it as I hoped I would be. The autofocusing while videoing seems to constantly try and focus on anything that moves, so the picture seems to go in and out. I have turned off all that I can, but it still does it too some degree. Also, the battery life absolutely sucks! I also bought a spare for this camera too, but they are smaller. The 2 batteries I have for the SZ7 will not last near the same amount of time that 1 of the batteries from my FH20 will...I really need to pick up a 3rd to get the same amount of time as I did with 1 from the other. And the batteries are not interchangeable. The FH20 are fatter and will not fit in the SZ7. As well, the battery has to be charged in the SZ7 via a really is stupid...

So, I am going to hang with this one for a while, but will save up for the Lumix GF2. I actually got to use one of these on a hike with Brian Green. I loved it. It was very similar to my FH20, but just better. And the battery life was the same as on the FH20... The GF2 can also change out lens', so if you wanted to get a little more technical than with a plain 'ole P&S, this one would allow a little bit more. But the pictures are awesome with the camera...

So, the GF2 would be my pick...

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: backpacking camera on 10/03/2012 07:08:19 MDT Print View

Go waterproof.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Olympus TG 1 on 10/03/2012 11:45:16 MDT Print View

I just bought an Olympus TG 1 camera and love it.

1. Waterproof to 40 ft. W/ an audible alarm at about 35 ft.
2. high speed f2 lens (!) for excellent low light photos
3. GPS for tracking or geo-tagging photos and E compass
4. add-on lens adaptor for 40.5 mm filters, wide angle lens and 2X telephoto adaptor for the optical 4X built in telephoto. (More digital zoom is also built in) This adaptor screws on OVER the waterproof lens.
5. 6 frames/sec. "Sport" mode
6. Good video capabilities (Full HD [1920x1080 pixels] HDMI output in 1080 P)
7. MANY special effects options in the menu
8. 32 GB SD card
9. "drop-proof" from 6 ft., crush proof to 220 lb. ft.
10. waterproof lens coating

...and the list goes on. This camera is almost "Boy Scout-proof"

Professional reviewers say this is THE best waterproof point-and-shoot camera on the market. It had better be for $400. Not an UL camera but extremely capable.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/03/2012 11:53:15 MDT.

Richard Fischel
i'd stretch the budget a little and go with the new on 10/03/2012 14:33:54 MDT Print View

Canon PowerShot G15.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Olympus TG 1 on 10/03/2012 14:51:21 MDT Print View

I have oly tg1 for when it is raining or I just don't want to tote the dslr.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE: "backpacking camera" on 10/03/2012 15:11:15 MDT Print View

plus 1 for the Olympus TG 1

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Olympus TG 1 on 10/03/2012 18:25:27 MDT Print View

Eric, thanks for the info. Very helpful. But I had to laugh at:

> 1. Waterproof to 40 ft. W/ an audible alarm at about 35 ft.

Because, on a hiking trip, when I'm 35 feet underwater, it could be very helpful for my camera to tell me that I should start for the surface?!?

Okay, I realize that feature is probably for SCUBA divers, but still - using a camera as a depth alarm just amuses me.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
depth sounder on 10/03/2012 18:37:53 MDT Print View

"Because, on a hiking trip, when I'm 35 feet underwater, it could be very helpful for my camera to tell me that I should start for the surface?!?"

Thank you David. I needed that!