Camera technology has come a long way over the years. Adventure travellers now have a long list of durable, compact cameras for adventure travellers to document their travels with. However, there is no one-size-fits-all camera, so narrowing down the options can be overwhelming.
Most cameras do certain jobs better than others, so it’s important to decide what features are most important and what features you can compromise on. If you’re a professional photographer, photo quality will likely take priority. If you plan to do a lot of underwater photography, you’ll need something purpose-built to be waterproof and take clear images of marine life.
What to look for in a camera for adventure travellers?
While it’s up to you to prioritise the camera’s features, we can help you understand what to look for.
Backpackers will likely want something small and compact. This is especially true if you have limited space in your backpack or do a lot of trekking. A bulky, heavy camera is going to be difficult to pack and carry, so compare the weight and sizes of the cameras. Don’t forget to consider the accessories that will go with it.
Durability can be extremely important, especially for adventure travellers. Though you protect your gear as much as possible, there is only so much you can control. If you’ll be facing rain, humidity, and rough travelling, you need something designed to not malfunction at the first speck of dust.
Consider what you’ll be using your camera for. If you don’t plan to sell your photographs, simply using your smartphone might be the best camera option for you. For taking hours of footage, something easily mountable like a GoPro might be your best choice. If you need a wide range of lenses and accessories, look for something versatile.
Our top picks
It’s hard to find a camera better suited for adventure travel than the GoPro HERO9. At only 158 grams, it is one of the lightest options available. A wide assortment of accessories are available that help you mount, waterproof, and improve the durability of the camera depending on what you need.
The action camera was designed with extreme sports in mind. The HERO9 is extremely durable and has a variety of features to ensure you don’t miss the perfect moment. LiveBurst records 1.5 seconds before and after each shot in case your timing is off, and Hindsight takes up to 30 seconds of footage before the recording starts.
The Nikon D3 series cameras have been the go-to for an entry-level DSLR for years. It’s a durable, lightweight camera that provides great specs for the price. It’s easy to use for photographers learning the craft and there are plenty of educational videos on youtube specific to the camera. The camera itself has a built-in Guide Mode to help photographers make the most of the camera.
The Nikon D3500 is not the most high-end option by any means, but it is budget-friendly. It’s light and compact with plenty of available accessories to customise it to your liking.
Olympus Tough TG-6
There are very few options that can outperform the Olympus Tough TG-6 when it comes to durability. This camera was developed specifically for hikers and adventure travellers. It is waterproof up to 50 feet which means you can take it diving with you and never have to worry about whether or not it will survive an accidental dunk in the lake. Most cameras can handle an operating temperature of 0C, but the TG-6 is freezeproof down to -10C. It’s also shockproof to 7 feet, so it can handle falls and bumps.
Panasonic Lumix ZS200
The large sensor in the Lumix ZS200 enables high-quality photos, though results in a somewhat decreased zoom range compared to other small cameras in its category. The live viewfinder performs well even in bright outdoor settings, and the touch screen allows for quick focusing on the subject.
The Lumix ZS200 is one of the best all-around travel cameras thanks to its portability, long battery life, high-quality image and video capture, and multiple features that handle outdoor photography well. However, it can’t handle rough handling and bad weather conditions as well as purpose-built adventure cameras like the GoPro HERO9.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Megapixels: 10MP, 12MP, 108MP
Thanks to advancements in technology, some smartphone cameras are just as good or better than many traditional cameras. Samsung has been leading the way for years with its constantly updated and always impressive Galaxy cameras.
The innovative Galaxy S21 Ultra has a triple lens rear camera for versatility. The high-end specs result in phenomenal photos in most conditions. For travellers concerned about bulk and weight, it’s hard to do better than a smartphone which you carry with you anyway.
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