Oct 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm #1294649
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
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.
THanks.Oct 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm #1917575
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
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:
backpackthesierra.comOct 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm #1917578
Have and love this camera. Quality Pics, rather light, extremely fast boot, good battery life, built-in GPS if it is important.Oct 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm #1917582
@dianodaLocale: Chicago, IL
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.Oct 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm #1917591
@jdthomasLocale: SE Michigan
I have a cannon S95 for sale if interested; used for 3 weeks on a backpacking trip and works great ;Oct 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm #1917605
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
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.Oct 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm #1917613
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
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.Oct 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm #1917615
@pda123Locale: Eastern Mass
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)Oct 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm #1917630
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.Oct 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm #1917654
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!
EvanOct 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm #1917657
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.Oct 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm #1917663
I have an Olympus TG-1, and like it quite a bit.
Here's a pic from it: http://500px.com/photo/11854307
Works great for probably up to 8×10 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.Oct 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm #1917672
Chad “Stick” PoindexterParticipant
@stickLocale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
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 been…got 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 cable…it 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…Oct 3, 2012 at 6:08 am #1917744
Go waterproof.Oct 3, 2012 at 10:45 am #1917806
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
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 [1920×1080 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.Oct 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm #1917852
Canon PowerShot G15.Oct 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm #1917855
I have oly tg1 for when it is raining or I just don't want to tote the dslr.Oct 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm #1917859
plus 1 for the Olympus TG 1Oct 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm #1917922
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
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.Oct 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm #1917923
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
"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!Oct 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm #1917928
but still – using a camera as a depth alarm just amuses me.,
That alarm is the camera telling you "Help I'm about to flood"
A common problem with cameras failing underwater is because the owner fails to stay within the specs, particularly when surfing , folk forget about the effect of water pressure.Oct 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm #1917934
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Yeah, my Toyoview 4×5 never was worth a hoot for surfing photos….Oct 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm #1917938
Get a camera with image stabilization. When you are walking uphill to the peak, or stop on your hike and don't want to sit down for 10 minutes before taking a picture of the vista, image stabilization will help you take a non-blurry picture.
At this point in time, unless you plan to do underwater photography stay away from the ones with that feature, while they are fun for that purpose, they usually take inferior pictures. Same with extra robust.
Use a lens shade so that light from the sun does not hit the front glass element of the lens. Think of driving in the late evening where you can't see anything as you drive into the sun. Your camera has the same problem. They try to mitigate the problem with all sorts of coatings, but the best solution is still to hold your hand between the sun and the camera lens, or use a lens shade.
During daylight, use a polarizing filter. When you look at photos on websites your will see lots of two types of images and a few of a third type of images. The first type will have deep green trees and a white sky. The second type will have a brilliant blue sky, and black trees. The third (rare) type will have a blue sky and brilliant green trees.
The secret to having both a blue sky and green trees is to use a polarizer. You need a "circular polarizer" due to the way that cameras focus. Get a multicoated one or you end up with strange colors. The polarizer needs to be bigger than the front element of your camera, so you can probably get a fairly small one. Step one is to look though the polarizer in the direction that you are going to take your picture. Now rotate the polarizer until the sky gets the darkest. Now put the polarizer in front of the lens and take the picture.
Try it a bit, watch some youtube videos on using a polarizer too. You should see an immediate boost in the quality and saturation of your pictures.
-MichaelOct 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm #1917944
Personally I have 3 cameras.
An iphone 4s which is better than most of my compact cameras before 2007. If you have one I would recommend getting a polarizing filter, and trying to use that as your camera. It's main drawback is that it does not do optical zoom, though there are a couple of lenses available, though most of them severely degrade the image.
I have a canon S100, which is almost the same as the S90, S95, S110 except that mine has a GPS built in, so that there is one less step when I am post processing the pictures. I get about 800 pictures per memory card, and 200 pictures per battery. I have 4 batteries(they cost 6 to 11 each on amazon), and combined the 4 batteries weight about the same as 2AA. I shoot in RAW, which preserves all of the quality, then after I have made all of the corrections, and cropped, I export to jpg.
I have a canon 50D. Which is a dSLR and a beast, I will bring it on day hikes with a few spare lenses, or to scenic places. I will carry an ultrapod2 and 2 feet of velcro rolled up (it makes any tree a tripod) with me on hikes, but I leave most of the heavy stuff for trunk or studio use.
The iphone takes decent pictures. They look pretty good. But… when you try and zoom in, or you want to crop, you are not left with much. The S100 in this regard is fantastic. But it does not have enough reach for much of what I want to shoot, so I have an SLR. I have tried a variety of the super zoom cameras, and was not satisfied with the optical quality. The S100 is 24mm on the wide end, which is usually wide enough, 120mm on the telephoto end. If the 120mm is not enough telephoto, then i can usually solve that by walking closer (with the exception of wildlife).
I also carry an polarizer filter to use in front of my camera lenses when shooting outdoors, and a lenspen to make sure that the lenses don't have crud on them. When I am hiking I also take an ultrapod2, and a small roll of double sided velcro. The combination makes rocks and trees into decent camera supports.
I am not sure if my reasoning for which cameras I have helps you, but I wanted to give you a bit of the reasoning for the gear that I carry.
If you go ultralight, get an iphone(the ipad camera is inferior), it will also become your gps and your flashlight.
For reviews of small cameras check out dcresource.com. One of the features of that site is that he holds the camera in his hand, and take a picture of it. He has been doing the site for about a decade, so you can compare "in hand" as it were the differences in size between different cameras is.
-MichaelOct 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm #1917981
It takes 8 days of 12 hours a day direct sunlight to equal the amount of energy in a lithium battery. I did the calculations last year. This is with a $30 lithium battery about the size of an iphone, but a bit thicker that charges and discharges of of USB. I matched it to a very good solar charger that was attempting to be ultralight, and had fold out flower panels to concentrate the light, the solar panel with circuitry would hold in it's battery 1 day of sun (you would charge your device overnight) for around $130. Solar might be worth it if you were going to be away from civilization for 20 days at a stretch.
it is 33 on amazon, 29 at frys.
capacity is 2400mah, smaller than an iphone, 3x the battery capacity of an iphone, and it charges and discharges off of usb, which is the new universal device charging port.
And in my opinion the best chargers are apple's phone "plug" chargers, they are minimal size and weight, while still being electrically robust enough that they don't keep dying (I tried about 15 Chinese variants).
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