The Best Cameras for Backpacking in 2023 – For ALL budgets

Choosing the best camera for backpacking can be tricky when there is so much choice on the market now. It can be really overwhelming trying to choose the right backpacking camera for you.

Trust me, I’ve been there! I can be incredibly indecisive (which stems from being a total perfectionist) and I’ve been the one debating for weeks, months even, over which camera to buy. By the time I finally made a decision, a new model had been released and it was back to the drawing board again!

Does that sound familiar?

But over the years, I’ve taken a fair few different cameras travelling with me and so now I have a good grasp on what is important in a camera for backpacking. Which makes it (slightly) easier to pick!

To make your life a lot easier, I’ve done the research for you. I’ve put together this article with 15 of the best cameras for backpacking in 2020.

I’ve split them into the following categories to help you whittle your choice down:

  • Best compact cameras for backpacking
  • Best action cameras for backpackers
  • Best mirrorless cameras for travel
  • Best DSLRs (that don’t weight a ton) to take backpacking.

Knowing it can still be hard to choose, I’ve also narrowed it down further with winners in each category: Cheapest and lightest, best waterproof camera, most rugged, best for professionals and best in each price range.

It’s a long article so use the table of contents to navigate to the cameras best suited for your needs! Any questions, please pop them in the comments below.

What you can expect from this article…

  • 1 My top 5 picks for the best camera for backpacking
  • 2 Features to look for when choosing a camera for backpacking
    • 2.1 Cost
    • 2.2 Build
    • 2.3 Size and weight
    • 2.4 Waterproofing
    • 2.5 Dust proofing
    • 2.6 Battery life
    • 2.7 Aperture
    • 2.8 Zoom
    • 2.9 Sensor size
  • 3 The Best Cameras for backpackers in 2020
    • 3.1 The best compact cameras for backpacking
    • 3.2 The best action cameras for backpacking
    • 3.3 The best mirrorless cameras for backpacking
    • 3.4 The best DSLR cameras for backpacking
  • 4 The Verdict…
    • 4.1 Which is the best waterproof camera for backpacking?
    • 4.2 Which is the most rugged camera for backpacking?
    • 4.3 Which is the smallest, lightest camera for backpacking?
    • 4.4 Which is the best camera for backpacking for Professional Travel photographers
    • 4.5 Which is the best camera for backpacking under $200?
    • 4.6 Which is the best camera for backpacking under $500?
    • 4.7 Which is the best camera for backpacking under $1000?
    • 4.8 Which is the best camera for backpacking over $1000?
  • 5 FAQ’s about cameras for backpacking
    • 5.1 Where to buy your camera for backpacking?
    • 5.2 How to keep your camera safe whilst backpacking
    • 5.3 How to insure cameras for backpacking

My top 5 picks for the best camera for backpacking

  • Sony A6500 – the best mirrorless camera for backpacking
  • Sony RX100 VII – the best compact camera for intermediate-advanced photographers
  • Panasonic Lumix ZS70/TZ90 – best compact camera for beginners and hobbyists
  • The Go Pro Hero 8 – the best action camera for travel.
  • Sony A7iii – the best camera for professional travel photographers.

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Features to look for when choosing a camera for backpacking


This is often the number one deciding factor when it comes to buying a camera for backpacking. We may all want the professional standard Sony A7iii but with a hefty price tag it’s not affordable for everyone.

I think realistically, to get a camera with really good quality images (better than you can get with your smart phone) you should try to aim to spend at least $300. However, I have included options below this in this article.


Backpacking with a camera carries risks. Your luggage can sometimes take a bit of a bashing on long bumpy journeys or in dusty environments. Therefore the build of the camera is important.

Also, factors like a good grip and well-positioned buttons are also important. I’ve included links to customer reviews so you can check out what people are saying about the build before you purchase.

Size and weight

Backpackers need to travel light and so the size and weight of their chosen camera are obviously important. Often it’s a trade-off between size and weight vs quality of the camera but there are now cameras out there bridging the gap like the Sony RX100 Vii compact camera and some of the smaller mirrorless cameras.


Whilst most cameras are not completely waterproof, a degree of water resistance is important for those times when you get caught unawares in a rain shower.

There are also plenty of completely waterproof cameras out there. They may not produce the same quality of image but they are perfect for active holidays and snorkel or dive trips.

Dust proofing

Similarly, a camera which is dust proof or dust resistant is worth considering if you are looking to take your camera backpacking in the desert or on safari.

Battery life

Super important for travel photographers who are always on the go! Battery life should always be considered when buying a camera for travel but remember, you can always buy spare batteries which is what I do.

In general, DSLRs have a better battery life than Mirrorless cameras however you pay for that with weight and bulk.


For cameras without interchangeable lenses, the aperture will be important. This is the amount of light the camera is capable of letting in.

Look for the F-number. A very small F-number like F2.8 (or even better F1.8) will let lots of light in making them better at night photography when light sources are limited.

It will also help you create photos with lovely bokeh – that’s when the background is blurred out and only the foreground is in sharp focus – perfect for portraits.

With mirrorless and DSLR cameras, the aperture is determined by which lenses you use. Lenses with a small F-number are generally more expensive.


If you are buying a Mirrorless camera or DSLR this wont matter as it will be determined by the lenses you use.

However, if you are using a compact camera with an inbuilt lens, you want to choose one with a large focal range. This means that you can take both wide-angled photos and also use zoom to get nice close-ups.

I would choose a camera with at least 200mm focal length but any more is a bonus. The Panasonic Lumix ZS70/TZ90 has an absolutely huge focal range so if zoom is important to you, choose this one!

Sensor size

Cameras with larger sensors can record more information within a photo. Therefore it follows that cameras with bigger sensors usually have better image quality.

However, a large sensor will mean a larger camera so it is always a trade-off between size and quality.

Right, so now you know what you are looking for? Let’s have a look at some of the best travel cameras out at the moment…

(Remember you can use the Table of contents to skip to the cameras most relevant to you and your needs.)

The Best Cameras for backpackers in 2020

The best compact cameras for backpacking

Compact cameras are brilliant for backpacking because they are small enough to fit in any backpack without weighing you down. They are ideal for backpackers who want to take hand luggage only or want something small and discreet.

The quality of compact cameras is now incredible and you can often get many features you would normally only expect in a DSLR or mirrorless camera. In fact, the Sony RX100 VII is such a quality camera that many professionals would be happy using it as their go-to compact camera.

The Sony RX100 VII

This compact camera is not the cheapest but is perfect for backpacking. The Sony RX100 VII is super compact whilst also offering lots of manual settings and quality images and video that you would expect with much larger professional cameras.

This would be the perfect camera for backpacking if you want a camera which can take professional quality photos without having to carry a heavy DSLR or mirrorless camera.

  • 24-200mm F2.8-4.5 Zeiss zoom lens – perfect for almost any scenario.
  • 180 degree angled screen – perfect when you need to get low or high to take a picture.
  • Touch screen – useful for manual focusing quickly
  • Capable of taking RAW and JPEG photos
  • Super Slow-Mo – up to 40x
  • Fantastic real-time tracking and eye auto-focus for photos and videos.
  • Super high-quality 4K video with 20FPS
  • The minimal focal length is just 9mm – perfect for macro shots.
  • Not cheap
  • Battery life is only 260 shots so you are likely to need a 2nd battery.

Click here to read Sony RX100 VII reviews Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Camera with 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor (DSCRX100M7)

  • 20. 1MP 1. 0 Type stacked CMOS sensor, Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 24 200 millimeter F2. 8 F4. 5 large aperture high magnification zoom lens
  • 0. 02 sec. High AF speed, 357 point focal plane Phase detection AF and 425 point contrast detection AF
  • Up to 20 fps blackout free shooting, using up to 60 times/sec. Af/AE calculations
  • Ai based real time tracking for stills and movies, and touch tracking. Real time eye AF for human (stills and movies), and for animal (stills only)
  • 4K video with s log3 and Interval Shooting. Microphone jack and vertical position data recording. Active mode image stabilization in 4K video recording, and Movie Edit add on compatible

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The Canon Powershot G7X Mark II

This Canon Powershot G7X Mark II is a mid-range priced compact camera that would be great for backpackers who want a quality camera that takes high-quality shots but doesn’t want to spend a fortune on bells and whistles.

  • Great low-light performance with F1.8-2.8mm lens
  • Tilting touch screen
  • Image stabalization for sharp hand-held images
  • Plenty of manual options
  • Supports JPEG and RAW images
  • No viewfinder.
  • Only 1080P video
  • Limited zoom range 24-100mm

Click here to see Canon Powershot GX& reviews Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Digital Camera (Black) + SanDisk 64GB Memory Card + Point & Shoot Case + Flexible Tripod + USB Card Reader + Cleaning Kit + LCD Screen Protectors – Deluxe Accessory Bundle

  • This Photo4Less Top Value Camera With USA Warranty and manufacturers supplied Accessories Kit includes:
  • Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II Digital Camera (Black) – Sandisk Ultra SDXC 64GB 80MB/S C10 Flash Memory Card – 12-Inch Flexible Tripod with Flexible, Wrapable Legs, Quick Release Plate and Bubble Level (Red/Black)
  • Point & Shoot Camera Case – Hi-Speed SD USB Card Reader – LCD Screen Protectors (Clear) – Tri -Fold Memory Card Wallet – 5 piece Cleaning Kit – Lens Cleaning Pen
  • 20.1MP 1 High-Sensitivity CMOS Sensor – DIGIC 7 Image Processor – 3x Optical Zoom f/2-4.9 Lens – 28-84mm (35mm Equivalent) – 3.0 1.04m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps – Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth – Extended ISO 12800 and 8.2 fps Shooting – Dynamic IS and Time-Lapse Video Function – In-Camera Raw Conversion, Picture Style

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Canon Powershot IXUS185

If you are on a very tight budget then the Canon Powershot IXUSS 185 could be a good shout. For the price, it performs well. But it’s worth considering that low-budget cameras like this offer similar quality to many high spec smartphones now.

That said, smartphones don’t offer much zoom capacity and this little camera reaches a very decent 224mm, suitable for most travel scenarios. It also offers a very respectable 20megapixels.

That said, I personally think it’s worth spending a little more to get superior quality photos from your backpacking camera.

  • 20 Megapixels (this is where you may notice a difference compared to smartphones)
  • A good zoom range 28-224mm F3.2 -6.9
  • 1280×720 video
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Small and slimline – it won’t take up much room in your backpack
  • Image quality is good for price but cannot match the other compact cameras in this article.
  • Wouldn’t perform well at low-light photography

Click here to read Canon Powershot IXUS reviews Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera w/ Image Stabilization and Smart AUTO Mode (Silver), 0.90in. x 3.70in. x 2.10in. – 1093C001

  • 8x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer helps you capture images with flexibility and ease
  • 20.0 Megapixel CCD sensor combines with the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to help deliver stunning image quality.Focal Length: 5.0 (W) 40.0 (T) millimeters (35 milimeters film equivalent: 28 224 millimeters)
  • 720p HD video capabilities.Focusing Range:Normal: 2.0 inch infinity (W), 4.3 feet. (1.3 meter) infinity (T)
  • Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper settings based on predefined shooting situations
  • Digital IS helps reduce the effect of camera shake and subject movement.Operating Temperature:32 104°F / 0 40°C.Compatible with Android devices version 4.0 or later
  • Scene Modes such as Fisheye Effect, Toy Camera Effect and Monochrome provide creative freedom to capture your photos

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Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90

Often when you go travelling you will come across a huge variety of photo opportunities from food photos to photos of the local wildlife on safari. therefore having a wide zoom range is ideal in cameras for backpacking.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 has a very impressive zoom range making it one of the most versatile compact travel cameras on the market right now.

  • 24-720mm F3.3-6.4 zoom – huge zoom capacity
  • Tilting 180-degree screen with selfie-mode
  • 4K video
  • Offers RAW shooting
  • 49 autofocus points which are reliable and fast
  • Offers a viewfinder (albeit a small one)
  • Versatile without the expense
  • Occasional lag on startup
  • Slightly soft at wide angles.

Click here to read Panasonic Lumix Reviews PANASONIC LUMIX DC-ZS70K, 20.3 Megapixel, 4K Digital Camera, Touch Enabled 3-inch 180 Degree Flip-front Display, 30X LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR Lens, WiFi (Black)

  • 20. 3 Megapixel MOS sensor plus 30x Leica DC VARIO ELMAR lens (24 720mm), Plus 5 axis Hybrid O. I. S. (Optical image Stabilizer)
  • 0. 2 Inch 1, 166k dot EVF (electronic view finder) with eye sensor for easier viewing under sunny outdoor conditions
  • 4K QFHD video recording (3840×2160), Plus exclusive Lumix 4K PHOTO and 4K post focus with internal focus Stacking feature
  • Lens barrel mounted control ring enables quick, intuitive operation of important functions
  • Wi Fi plus a 180 Degree front Flip up touch feature enabled screen simplifies selfie photography, and framing for unusual perspectives.Recording file format:Motion Picture: AVCHD Progressive, AVCHD, MP4.Wifi:IEEE 802.11b/g/n

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The best action cameras for backpacking

Action cameras are brilliant for backpacking as they are robust and can be taken anywhere you go be it the desert or the ocean. Here are a few of the best action cameras for backpackers…

Olympus Tough TG6

If you are looking for a tough camera which can survive almost any conditions you throw at it AND something which takes quality photos and video, then the Olympus Tough TG6 is the action cameras for you.

  • Fast F2 lens
  • Great image quality
  • 3 white balance modes specifically for different water depths.
  • 4K video
  • Waterproof to 15M, Freeze-proof to -10 degrees, dust-proof and fall-proof to 2.1metres.
  • Offers JPEG and RAW shooting
  • Fantastic macro (close up) capability
  • WIFI and GPS
  • Slow-Mo modes.
  • A little pricier than other action cameras but similar price to the Go Pro.

Click here to read Olympus Tough TG6 reviews Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera, Black

  • Waterproof (50 feet / 15 meter), dust proof, shockproof (7 feet / 2. 1 meter), crush proof (100kgf), freeze proof (14 degree Fahrenheit/ -10 degree Celsius), anti fog
  • High resolution F2. 0 lens, maximum 8x zoom, true pic VIII, back illuminated CMOS Image Sensor
  • Variable macro system comprised of 4 macro shooting modes, magnified shooting up to 1 centimeter from the end of the lens
  • 5 underwater shooting modes including underwater microscope, 3 underwater white balance modes.Image File Format:JPEG, RAW
  • 4K movie and full HD 120 fps high speed movies can be recorded.Max. recording time: 20s

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Fujifilm XP 140

This Fujifilm XP 140 action camera is best for those who want a waterproof camera on a budget.

  • It is waterproof to 25M, freeze-proof to -10 degrees and shock-proof
  • 16.4 Megapixels
  • 28-140mm f3.9-4.9
  • 4K video
  • No manual or RAW mode
  • Screen not very bright
  • Image quality very reasonable for price but is outdone by the more pricey Olympus Tough TG 6.

Click here to read Fujifilm XP 140 reviews Fujifilm FinePix XP140 Waterproof Digital Camera w/32GB SD Card – Yellow

  • Is 100-12800, allowing for lots of light and extremely fast shutter speed
  • Waterproof to 82 ft. , shockproof up to 5. 9 ft., freeze proof to 14º f and dustproof
  • Smile shutter – The new feature automatically takes the photo. When you select “smile shutter” you will no longer miss the perfect photo
  • 4K/15P video – capture the world around you in ultra-high definition with the 4K movie capability at 15 frames per second
  • Bluetooth capability – the newly installed Bluetooth low energy technology allows automatic and instant image transfer to smartphones and tablet devices by easy pairing registration. The technology also Syncs the time and location information from your device and attaches it to your images.

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Go Pro Hero 8

The Go Pro Hero 8 is one of the most popular action cameras for backpacking with good reason. Firstly, it is tiny meaning it will fit in the smallest pocket of your backpack or hand luggage.

It also comes with lots of different mount options so it’s perfect for filming all the action be it ziplining, skiing, diving or mountain biking.

The image quality is incredible and the image stability is fantastic. It’s almost like using a camera mounted on a gimbal for smooth footage. I love my GoPro and it’ll always be my go-to action camera when I travel.

  • Improved microphone over GoPro Hero 7
  • Has its own app
  • Supports live streaming
  • Image stabilization is in a league of its own
  • Multiple time-lapse options
  • Super wide angle options
  • Capture presets option with easy switching between them.
  • Poor low light performance.

Click here to read Go Pro Hero 8 reviews GoPro HERO8 Black – Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 1080p Live Streaming Stabilization

  • Streamlined design: the reimagined shape is more pocketable, and folding fingers at the base let you swap mounts quickly. A new side door makes changing batteries even faster, and the lens is now 2x more impact resistant.
  • HyperSmooth 2.0: Smooth just got smoother. Now HERO8 Black has three levels of stabilization—On, High and Boost—so you can pick the best option for whatever you do. Get the widest views possible, or boost it up to the smoothest video ever offered in a HERO camera. Plus, HyperSmooth 2.0 works with all resolutions and frame rates, and features in-app horizon leveling.
  • TimeWarp 2.0: Capture super stabilized time lapse videos while you move through an activity. And now, TimeWarp 2.0 automatically adjusts speed based on motion, scene detection and lighting. You can even slow down the effect to real time—savoring interesting moments—and then tap to speed it back up.
  • LiveBurst: Record the moments 1.5 seconds before and after your shot, so you can choose the best single frame for the perfect photo—or an awesome shareable video.

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The best mirrorless cameras for backpacking

Mirrorless cameras are a great option for backpackers with an interest in travel photography. They are lighter than DSLR cameras but these days offer similar results. Many professionals have now switched to using mirrorless cameras especially for travel photography.

Unlike the compact cameras previously mentioned, these mirrorless cameras all have interchangeable lenses and full manual control options.

Sony A6000

Even though this camera was first launched 6 years ago in 2014, the Sony A6000 is still a great contender for best mirrorless camera for backpacking. Whilst it has since been outdone by the newer (and more pricey) Sony A6500, it remains one of the best value mirrorless cameras on the market. At that price point, it can’t be beaten!

  • Exceptional value for money
  • Small and sleek weighing in at just 344 grams
  • Great autofocus with 179 phase detection Autofocus points
  • 11FPS burst shooting with continuous autofocus
  • 24.3MP
  • No 4K video
  • No touchscreen
  • Slightly grainy at higher ISO’s

Click here to read Sony A6000 reviews Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3MP SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) w/16-50mm Power Zoom Lens

  • 24 MP APS C CMOS sensor and Focus Sensitivity Range: EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent with F2.8 lens attached)
  • ISO 100 25600 (expandable to 51200). Lens compatibility: Sony E mount lenses
  • Hybrid AF with 179 point focal plane phase detection and 25 contrast detect points
  • Up to 11 FPS continuous shooting. Battery Life (Still Images): Up to 360 shots.Metering Type:1200-zone evaluative metering
  • 3 inch tilting LCD with 921,000 dots.Viewfinder Type: 0.39 in type electronic viewfinder (color)
  • In the box: Rechargeable Battery NP FW50; Shoulder strap; Eyepiece cup; Micro USB cable

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The Sony A6500

The Sony A6500 is the newer version of the Sony A6000. As a result, the price point is a little higher but as both are exceptional cameras, they deserved a place on this list.

  • All the same Pro’s as the Sony A6000 above but also;
  • 4K video
  • Touchscreen
  • Slightly more pricy than the A6000 but worth it if you think you’ll be suing it for video often.

Click here to read Sony A6500 reviews Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 2.95″ LCD (Body Only)

  • 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor w/ advanced processing up to ISO 51.200
  • Wide 425 phase detection AF points, Fast 0.05 sec. AF acquisition
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization steadies every lens. Silent Shooting. Noise Reduction :Long exposure NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec., High ISO NR: Normal/Low/Off
  • 11fps continuous shooting to 269 frames at 24.2MP w/ AE/AF tracking
  • 4K movie w/ 2.4x oversampling4, full pixel readout, no pixel binning

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The Nikon Z50

The Nikon Z50 is new to the market and offers very good value for money. It’s a decent all-rounder at a decent price. The 15-50 mm kit lens it is often sold with is also very good quality.

  • 20.9 megapixels
  • 3.2 inch 180-degree tilt touch screen with selfie-mode
  • 11FPS shooting
  • 4K video
  • Weights under 400g without a lens
  • Timelapse and Slo-mo options


  • Only 1 card slot
  • Battery power only 300 shots
  • No inbuilt camera stabilisation so you may want to consider lenses which have stabilisation instead.

Click here to read Nikon Z50 reviews Z 50 DX-format Mirrorless Camera Body w/ NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

  • Camera features a 20.9 MP DX CMOS sensor and EXPEED 6 engine
  • Durable construction and weather sealing
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for simple sharing of images
  • Flip down LCD for self portrait mode. Lcd is touchscreen too.

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The Fujifilm X-T30

The Fujifilm X-T30 is a popular choice amongst many backpackers. It offers impressive 30fps continuous shooting, is compact and offers 4k video.

  • 4 K video
  • 30 FPS continuous shooting – perfect for sports and action shots
  • Small size
  • Impressive image quality
  • Good autofocus
  • 26.1 megapixels
  • 3 inch tilting touchscreen
  • No inbuilt image stabilisation

Click here to read Fujifilm X-T30 reviews Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XF18-55mmF2.8-4.0 R LM OIS Lens-Silver

  • 24.3MP X Trans CMOS III APS C sensor with no low pass filter and X Processor Pro
  • 5.0Fps Live view shooting, start up time of 0.4sec, shutter time lag of 0.050sec And shooting Interval of 0.25sec
  • 3.0 inches tilting Touchscreen panel for operation at almost any angle; Weight (approx) excluding caps and hoods 310 grams
  • 4K video using the x series famous film Simulation effects (including ACROS); you can output recorded video to an external monitor via the HDMI port and input audio from an external microphone
  • Af c custom settings for moving subjects; Advanced SR AUTO mode; Wireless transmitter: IEEE 802.11b / g / n (standard wireless protocol)

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The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a particularly small mirrorless camera making it perfect for backpacking. However, the compromise is that to make it this small, it has a slightly smaller sensor. But it has brilliant image quality and is packed with fancy features.

  • 30FPS continuous shooting
  • Smaller than most mirrorless cameras
  • Rugged
  • Fast
  • 4K video
  • Packed with features
  • Inbuilt body stabilisation
  • Slightly smaller sensor which is the trade off for its size.

Click here to read Olympus OM-D EM-5 Reviews Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Body Silver

  • 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-Res shot

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The Sony A7iii

I had to mention this camera as it’s the one I personally use when I go backpacking! It takes stunning photos and is a camera used by many professionals. However, it is larger and heavier than the Mirrorless cameras mentioned above.

Whilst it is slightly smaller than my previous DSLR, it weighs about the same as an entry-level DSLR making it not the easiest camera to backpack with. The professional lenses that you will want to pair it with are also very heavy.

If you are a professional photographer or an advanced hobby photographer, you may want to consider the Sony A7iii. For anyone else, the size and weight (and cost) will probably put you off.

  • Full frame large sensor
  • Unrivalled image quality – this camera is popular with professional photographers
  • Lighter and smaller than an equivalent DSLR professional standard camera
  • Inbuilt body 5 axis stabilisation
  • 693 point autofocus system
  • Impressive 15 stop dynamic range
  • Being a full-frame camera it is understandably heavier and larger than other Mirrorless cameras mentioned above.
  • Expensive

Click her to read Sony A7iii reviews Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera Optical with 3-Inch LCD, Black (ILCE7M3/B)

  • Advanced 24.2MP BSI Full frame Image Sensor w/ 1.8X readout speedAdvanced 24.2MP Back Illuminated 35 millimeter Full frame Image SensorSony test conditions. Compare to the 7 II
  • 15 stop dynamic range, 14 bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800. Compatible with Sony E mount lenses. Can be connected via Bluetooth with smartphones featuring (as of the date of release)- Android (Android 5.0 or later, Bluetooth 4.0 or later), iOS (Bluetooth 4.0 or later)
  • Up to 10fps Silent or Mechanical Shutter with AE/AF tracking. Battery Life (Still Images): Approx. 610 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 710 shots (LCD monitor), Battery Life (Movie, continuous recording): Approx. 200 min (Viewfinder) / Approx. 210 min (LCD monitor)
  • 693 phase detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93 percent image coverage. Focus Sensor: Exmor R CMOS sensor

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The best DSLR cameras for backpacking

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is currently the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market as of January 2020. Perfect if you still prefer using a DSLR but don’t want the added weight when you travel.

  • Excellent battery life
  • Small and compact compared to most DSLRs
  • 24.1 Megapixels
  • Built in flash
  • 4K video and timelapse
  • Good built-in microphone
  • No GPS
  • Autofocus is not as good as other cameras in price range

Click here to read Canon Rebel SL3 reviews Canon EOS Rebel SL3 DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 is STM Lens with Altura Photo Advanced Accessory and Travel Bundle

  • INCLUDES: Canon EOS Rebel SL3 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black) + AirBag Packable Bag and Camera Insert + SanDisk 64GB C10 Ultra UHS-I SDXC Memory Card + Altura Photo Mini Tripod with Pistol Grip + Altura Photo Rapid Fire Wrist Strap + Altura Photo Hard-Shell Case + Altura Photo Accessory Kit + 3 Sizes MagicFiber Microfiber Lens Pouch
  • FEATURING a 24.1MP APS-C-format CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor, high-resolution stills and UHD 4K video recording are possible, along with a wide ISO 100-25600 sensitivity range to suit working in a variety of lighting conditions.
  • CANON accessories included: Canon EOS Rebel SL3 DSLR Camera (Black) + EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens + LP-E17 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack +LC-E17 Charger + RF-3 Body Cap + Eyecup EF + EW-400D-N Neck Strap + Limited 1-Year Warranty

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Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 is the newer version of the DSLR I used to use when I was backpacking. I had the Nikon D5500 and loved it so I can imagine the D5600 is even better. It is very easy to use and produced lovely photos. As DSLR’s go, it’s not too bulky so it’s manageable as a camera for backpackers.

  • Very easy to use
  • Great image quality
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • As DSLR’s go, it’s not too bulky
  • Easy camera to learn photography on
  • Nice grip


  • No 4K video

Click here to read Nikon D5600 reviews Nikon D5600 DSLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED

  • 24.2MP DX Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2 inches 1.037m Dot Vari Angle Touchscreen
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi Fi with NFC
  • Lens Compatibility at a Glance Autofocus is available with AF S, AF P, and AF I lenses
  • Nikon D5600 DSLR with 18 55millimeter vr lens

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The Verdict…

Which is the best waterproof camera for backpacking?

The Go Pro Hero 8 is the best waterproof camera for backpacking. It’s tiny and is light as a feather but powerful taking beautiful images and stunning smooth videos. If you prefer a more traditional camera, then the Olympus Tough TG6 wins.

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Which is the most rugged camera for backpacking?

The Olympus Tough TG6 is the most rugged camera for travel. It lives up to its name being waterproof, freeze-proof, dust-proof, crush-proof and drop-proof.

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Which is the smallest, lightest camera for backpacking?

The Sony RX100 VII is the best compact camera for travel with many of the features you would expect in a professional camera but packaged in a tiny compact camera.

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For those seeking a more affordable camera then the Panasonic Lumix ZS70/TZ90 is the best compact camera for backpacking.

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Which is the best camera for backpacking for Professional Travel photographers

If you are a professional travel photographer then you can’t beat the Sony A7iii with its impressive 15-stop dynamic range, its inbuilt body 5-axis stabilisation and 693 autofocus points.

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Which is the best camera for backpacking under $200?

The Canon Powershot IXUS185/Elph180 is the best budget compact camera for backpackers. For its low price point, you get a surprising level of image quality and a decent zoom. It’s also small and slim making it a great pocket camera.

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Which is the best camera for backpacking under $500?

With its impressive zoom range, the Panasonic Lumix ZS70/TZ90 makes a great mid-budget travel camera. Suitable for virtually any style of photography from street photography to wildlife photography on safari trips.

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Which is the best camera for backpacking under $1000?

The Sony RX100 VI is one model below the Sony RX100 VII and is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper bringing it under the $1000 mark.

It is very similar in terms of quality but does not have a microphone input. It also has slightly lower ISO sensitivity and shoots at 24FPS instead of 90FPS in continuous shooting mode.

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Which is the best camera for backpacking over $1000?

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 MarkIII is a great little camera because it is both smaller and lighter than your average mirrorless camera but with a similar level of image quality. It has in-built stabilisation and offers 4k videos plus heaps of fancy features.

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FAQ’s about cameras for backpacking

Where to buy your camera for backpacking?

I usually buy my cameras and tech gear on Amazon. This is mostly because I’m impatient so I usually make use of Amazon Prime so I can get going with my new camera straight away!

I also find Amazon’s prices are rarely beaten.

On one occasion, a lens did not arrive (the delivery guy left it on my doorstep!) But I rang them up and a new one was delivered the very next day so I was a happy customer.

How to keep your camera safe whilst backpacking

I highly suggest investing in a theft-proof camera bag to help keep your camera safe whilst backpacking. You can see a selection of camera bag options in this post about anti-theft travel bags.

How to insure cameras for backpacking

Make sure when you get your travel insurance that your camera is covered. Many travel insurance companies will only offer a small amount of money for stolen tech which doesn’t come close to covering the actual cost.

Nomads offer upgraded travel insurance which will insure you for up to $3000 which would be sufficient for most cameras.

Get Travel camera insurance with Nomads here.

Hopefully this article has helped you make a decision about which camera to get for backpacking?

If you have any questions, just pop them in the comments below.

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