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Topic: Camera, Best for backpacking< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 2:52 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

After resisting, I've decided to cave and take a camera on my next trip.  I used to spend most of my free time as an amateur photographer, but I sold my DSLR (Canon Mark I, really miss that camera) a few year ago when I needed a new computer for business and school.  I've never used a point-and-shoot, so I'm looking for advice.  

I don't want to spend more than $200 on the camera itself, and that price needs to balance with quality and weight.  Recommendations?

Thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 3:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Having used a DSLR, I don't think you will be impressed with the  run-of-the-mill point-n-shoot's.  What I would recommend is look at reviews of "the best" or "editor's choice" models dating 2-3 years back -- and pick from there.  You should get much more bang for your $200 bucks then picking from current models.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 4:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I used to carry a long zoom P&S.  I've had a few by Nikon, Panasonic and Canon.  Now I don't want to carry the weight.  18x optical zoom was pretty nice for 1-2 lb camera.  I heard there are some even bigger zooms now upwards of 40x.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 4:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I love photography and I'm picky about image quality.  For wildlife I have a Canon DSLR and had a 500mm f/4 which I recently sold for a "smaller" 300mm f/2.8 IS.  Obviously that stuff is too heavy for backpacking.  I went with a Canon SX40 IS superzoom on my last trip, but it was still kind of heavy and bulky, and very difficult to keep at the ready while moving.  Most of the time it was in my pack, and inconvenient to stop and get out.  I knew I had to get something smaller, but I still wanted something that was capable of getting wildlife shots.  

After quite a bit of research I went with a Canon sx280 hs.   It is a pocketable camera, but has a 20x zoom (24-500mm equivalent) with image stabilization.  It will fit in my backpacks hipbelt pocket and weighs 8oz with battery.  You are going to have to accept some compromises with any camera with a small sensor and large zoom range but I'm very happy with it so far.  I think it will make an ideal backpacking camera.  It's $254 at Amazon.  The sx260 hs the previous model that is nearly identical is $226.  The last 5 pictures in my Sequoia Gallery were taken with my sx280 hs, including the shot of Alcatraz from Fisherman's Warf.  I was surprised how good that shot turned out with the haze and harsh lighting..


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 5:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Jul. 13 2013, 12:00 pm)
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Having used a DSLR, I don't think you will be impressed with the  run-of-the-mill point-n-shoot's.  What I would recommend is look at reviews of "the best" or "editor's choice" models dating 2-3 years back -- and pick from there.  You should get much more bang for your $200 bucks then picking from current models.

I see it the opposite. Who needs perfection? I am quite satisfied with any cheap camera that's anywhere near reasonable.

I use a Pentax WG-II GPS camera for backpacking. A tough camera that will get the job done well enough, but it's still a bit pricey.

-Don-  SSF, CA


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 5:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've had good experiences with a couple of Canon ELPHS the most recent being the SX230 HS I bought last year, a decent optical zoom which is nice for either modest wildlife or isolating landscape features along with image stabilization to allow for a bit lower available light shooting, plus it has HDR which gives a tad nicer high dynamic range shooting situations which I often encounter out high where there's dark shadows and bright rock.

Does it yield the image quality of my Nikon DSLR? No but it's a fraction of the weight and a tiny fraction of the price.

The one caveat is in that size range the batteries are often proprietary rechargables and that means carrying some extras on multi day trips. Not a huge burden as the batteries are small enough and cheap enough but it's an issue.

Within your price range another Canon that looks interesting might be the Canon A4000 IS, not as much optical zoom reach as the Powershot series but not bad and image stabilization is a nice feature. frankly while I used to be intrigued by geotagging that feature has tended to be a battery drainer for me so it's off my list.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa....4000_is

I expect at a discounter like B&H you could get the camera, a reasonable sized memory card and a spare battery for within your budget.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 10:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i have been using a cannon s100 and like it a lot it is a hair above your budget but i think it is definitely worth looking into.
They do go on sale from time to time. also i believe canon has a trade up program where they will take a used or broken cannon camera in and give you a discount on a new camera.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2013, 10:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm going the opposite way. I've carried P&S cameras for years but was frustrated with the picture quality. Most of the time, if I'm taking pictures now...I want them to be damn good. I have been hauling a DSLR and three lens in my pack and I'm completely satisfied with the weight. If I were going on a small group hike, I'd bring my P&S but for "real" photography, the weight is worth it. After looking at the photos that come out of my (wife's) camera, it's hard to look back at my old one.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 14 2013, 7:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think if you could increase your budget some a PS might still meet the requirements.  I used to carry a Nikon D90, then on a canoe trip it had a dry bag malfunction. Then I switched to a Panasonic GF1. That was nice. But still a bit large. Then I read about the Sony RX100. Perfect so I sold the GF1 on eBay and bought two of them. One for my wife and one for me.

This thing is great. I like RAW normally and my wife shots High Res JPG. On our last trip I started post processing photos and came to the conclusion that the JPG were near perfect. In fact I will switch to JPG now since it will save me time on post process. Or I might shot both JPG+RAW

Anyway I know you said $200 or less. That will be tough to get what you want. Hey if you really want to get crazy you can go with the Sony RX1 but then you need to increase your budget by a factor of 10


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 14 2013, 10:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Photography is a big hobby of mine.  I have a DSLR (Canon 60D), a small "superzoom" (Canon SX 40) and a waterproof point and shoot (Nikon AW 200).  Unless the trip is specifically for photography, I carry either the SX 40 or the AW 100.  I bought the AW 100 for backpacking and kayaking.  The quality of the images is very, very good.  To me, it's a perfect point and shoot for the outdoors.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 14 2013, 12:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(eggs @ Jul. 14 2013, 7:05 am)
QUOTE
I think if you could increase your budget some a PS might still meet the requirements.  I used to carry a Nikon D90, then on a canoe trip it had a dry bag malfunction. Then I switched to a Panasonic GF1. That was nice. But still a bit large. Then I read about the Sony RX100. Perfect so I sold the GF1 on eBay and bought two of them. One for my wife and one for me.

This thing is great. I like RAW normally and my wife shots High Res JPG. On our last trip I started post processing photos and came to the conclusion that the JPG were near perfect. In fact I will switch to JPG now since it will save me time on post process. Or I might shot both JPG+RAW

Anyway I know you said $200 or less. That will be tough to get what you want. Hey if you really want to get crazy you can go with the Sony RX1 but then you need to increase your budget by a factor of 10

That Sony is a great looking camera!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 14 2013, 6:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(HikeClimbBike @ Jul. 14 2013, 10:36 am)
QUOTE

(eggs @ Jul. 14 2013, 7:05 am)
QUOTE
I think if you could increase your budget some a PS might still meet the requirements.  I used to carry a Nikon D90, then on a canoe trip it had a dry bag malfunction. Then I switched to a Panasonic GF1. That was nice. But still a bit large. Then I read about the Sony RX100. Perfect so I sold the GF1 on eBay and bought two of them. One for my wife and one for me.

This thing is great. I like RAW normally and my wife shots High Res JPG. On our last trip I started post processing photos and came to the conclusion that the JPG were near perfect. In fact I will switch to JPG now since it will save me time on post process. Or I might shot both JPG+RAW

Anyway I know you said $200 or less. That will be tough to get what you want. Hey if you really want to get crazy you can go with the Sony RX1 but then you need to increase your budget by a factor of 10

That Sony is a great looking camera!

+1 to that.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 14 2013, 9:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been using panasonics micro 4/3 system since it's inception. Love it. Half the size/weight of even a small dslr system and nearly the same image quality as your entry level dslr. To me, image quality is worth the weight, especially to get things like long shutter shots, etc. M4/3 is a good compromise.

Look for something like the gx1 could probably be had for cheap.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 15 2013, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i've been using a CanonPowershot (it's an A540 or something... not even sure what that compares to now) for 8+ years and it's been a great little camera... suprisingly good with macro. i've been casually looking for a replacement and i've been dissapointed to find that not very many use simple AA or AAA batteries these days. we never use my wife's P&S camera in the backcountry anymore just because the damn battery never lasts through the night, even when it was still new.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 15 2013, 1:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Total plus one on those damn proprietary batteries. I sympathize on tiny cameras where they have to squeeze in the power but evenso I do wish I had standard choices. Heck even on my DSLR the external pack is by default a rechargeable proprietary rather than a gang of standards as it was with my last SLR (though I'll grant the internal is big enough so I'm rejecting the external on the weight basis). Though price-wise those 8 lithiums cost about as much as a proprietary rechargeable...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 15 2013, 2:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm in the same boat.... so I bought the Canon SX260 and an extra battery - liked all the features it offered.  BUT... took it to the lake for the day and after shooting maybe a dozen pics and 3-4 2-3 minute video the battery light was flashing!!!
Yes, the battery was COMPLETELY charged when we started in the morning - it had fully charged the evening before. No it was not left in a hot car nor was it an overly hot day - mid to upper 70's.
Battery indicator came back to 100% after I shut it off and turned it back on, but that was it for me.... I HATE proprietary batteries!
I returned it the next day and purchased the Canon SX160 which takes AA batteries. I haven't had a chance to use/test the SX160, but hopefully it will fit my needs.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 15 2013, 2:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If the SX160 has a geotagging feature be warned that's a huge battery drainer if it's set to continuous tracking. If the continuous is turned off the gps radio wakes up only when you power up the camera and that still tags the images (though there can be a lag in bad reception locales such as when surrounded by high buildings in a downtown such as NYC) but doesn't kill the battery in my experience with a SX230 HS anyway. Which with continuous on gives me maybe four or so hours of battery without regard to how many shots I take.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 15 2013, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This Canon A1400is an inexpensive, compact P&S that uses AA batteries and even has an optical viewfinder. Takes great pics.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa....t_a1400


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 16 2013, 11:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Go on e-bay and see if you can find a Nikon Coolpix 4200 (not S4200).  Very small point-and-shoot with a real optical viewfinder, 3x optical zoom, and it will take either 2 AA or a lighter CRV-3 lithium battery.  Weighs practically nothing and the pics are very sharp up to about 8.5X11".

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 16 2013, 8:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 15 2013, 1:37 pm)
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Total plus one on those damn proprietary batteries.

Agreed. One reason I've held on to my many years old canon s5... Since I like everything to run on AA. However my dslr has quite a good battery that's lasted every trip I've ever taken. Think it's rated over 1000 shots if memory serves.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 16 2013, 9:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Adirondackiteer @ Jul. 16 2013, 5:10 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jul. 15 2013, 1:37 pm)
QUOTE
Total plus one on those damn proprietary batteries.

Agreed. One reason I've held on to my many years old canon s5... Since I like everything to run on AA. However my dslr has quite a good battery that's lasted every trip I've ever taken. Think it's rated over 1000 shots if memory serves.

That's my hope for my upcoming trip. Though I've got a spare for the DSLR as well as an extra card.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 16 2013, 11:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(05kas05 @ Jul. 13 2013, 10:21 pm)
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i have been using a cannon s100 and like it a lot it is a hair above your budget but i think it is definitely worth looking into.

+1

Small compact camera with great features.  Pretty expensive for a p&s though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2013, 12:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well maybe since it's discontinued there'd be deals.

The replacent is almost double the OP's range

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c....ra.html
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2013, 9:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you all so much for the many replies.  Ispent a lot of time following up on folks' suggestions.  It seems that there is no definitive answer.  

I ended up going with the Canon SX260 for it's size, weight, and 35mm focal length equivalents (25-500mm).  I figured if I was taking a DSLR, the question would be what lens to take, and I'd take something very versatile even if it wasn't the highest quality.  I went a little over budget, but not much, and I may post some photos from it when I get back in September along with a brief review.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2013, 3:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I expect you'll be happy with it. The previous version, the SX230 HS was my main camera for two weeks in Yosemite last August and it did just about everything I wanted. That optical zoom with image stabilization worked like a treat.

A bit confused by very high contrast shots as can be expected, there's not much that can deal with dark conifers and high elevation sunlit granite in the same scene right out of the box.

Geotagging can be fun but I find the battery drain of turning on continuous tracking to shorten the GPS lock time not to be worth it.
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