Open main menu

suggested vid /digital camera?

bring it, please!

how uninformed I am with the technology gig!

please suggest some cameras that are:

a.) relatively affordable (I'm a grad student)

(disclaimer: I do so believe "you get what you pay for").

b.) simple-to-use?

c.) durable, packable, & weather-resistant?

I yearn to produce an educational vid of my upcoming summer hike

which can later be transferred to windows movie maker (or a suggested equivalent).

mucho gracias!



Can't say its affordable depends on what you want to spend, but the GoPro series of compact video camera's is the way to go. Water proof, durable, small 2x4x1 inch. The main model comes with all sorts of harness,helmet,chest and other mounts. The cheapest one is $199.99 but for what you want its got to be the best,lightest,smallest,waterproof camera for video out there!

Check em out here:

I shoot a full sized Canon t3 DSLR camera, same size as the 35 mm camera's that digital ones replaced. But its not water proof and fairly large. I paid more than the GoPro costs for mine. But I don't use the video capability much I do landscape photography and macro photography most.

with brand and budget will be better

I'm not sure I even understand the type of camera desired.

Do you want a video camera that will also take still pictures? --or-- Do you want a still camera that will also take video?

The GO PRO HERO is a nifty little video camera, but it really is more of an auxiliary camera that would compliment your gear. Its designed to be worn during active events to capture the action. We strap them to competitors when we practice fencing bouts to get a 'first person' view of the blade action of the bouts. They have helmet mounts, handlebar mounts, chest strap systems, etc. Great for getting those POV shots. But there are a lot of downsides to using a GO PRO HERO as your primary camera system.

If most of your shooting will be still photography with some video, then look at the Panasonic LUMIX line of cameras as well as the new offering from NIKON. The LUMIX line from Panasonic is reasonably priced, has models with weatherproof housing (dropped mine into the deep end of the pool without issues) and will shoot decent video. NIKON just came out with a compact interchangeable lens still camera that is weatherproof that looks like the right ticket for a lot of outdoor photography, and will also shoot video pretty well too.

I'm not really up on too much of the video systems lately since most of my video needs are fulfilled by the various still cameras we own. I do have a small Samsung video camera, its smaller than a GO PRO HERO, costs less, and has been packed around Europe, banged around at fencing tournaments and records in HD but has very limited control features.

take a look at some of the compact cameras with a long optical zoom.  if you are not an amateur/professional photographer who needs an SLR, i think these offer a good and economical combination of portability, capability, and ease of use for hiking.  portable is important for me - if it is too big, i tend to bring it less often and almost never have it handy.  to me, having a camera small enough to keep it within reach helps capture moments that come and go quickly.  these also generally can shoot video and have enough storage to accomplish that, or carry a spare memory card.

canon, nikon, panasonic, sony, fuji, samsung all make good cameras in this class with an optical zoom 20x or longer.  (digital zoom isn't very desirable in my view, it compromises the quality of the photo or video).  20x optical is about equivalent to a big telephoto lense, 500mm telephoto on a SLR. 

all of the 'standard' compact digital cameras with a long optical zoom suffer from a few common challenges, namely they may not work well in extremely cold weather (like anything that is powered by a battery), and durability can be an issue depending on conditions, though a normal amount of care (hike with the camera in a ziplock or waterproof bag of some type, don't smack it against rocks) usually keeps them running.   none of them are as weather and shock resistant as the typical go pro camera.  also, shooting anything at that level of zoom/telephoto means you are more likely to blur the image because the camera is moving a little in your hand.  the small cameras try to deal with that via image stabilization systems; the most precise way to eliminate that is to carry a light monopod or tripod.  

all of the photos below were shot with a canon sx260hs, an earlier version of what is currently available.  20x optical zoom. 





It's difficult to find a "backpacking" camera due to use-issues which generally are not covered by reviews.  Example---how long does the battery last in the camera with the camera shut off?  Does the battery have to be removed at night because it slowly drains even with the camera off? How many extra batts do I need?  How many days does a batt last on a cold winter trip?

EX:  My Panasonic Lumix LX 5 is excellent on batt use, whereas I hear the new upgrade LX7 uses 20% more battery juice.  Not good.  But my main criteria for a backpacking camera is FOCUSED, CLEAR SHOTS.  Many digital cameras seem to produce consistently blurry shots. 

EX:  My Panasonic Lumix LX 5 is excellent on batt use, whereas I hear the new upgrade LX7 uses 20% more battery juice.  Not good.  But my main criteria for a backpacking camera is FOCUSED, CLEAR SHOTS.  Many digital cameras seem to produce consistently blurry shots. 


I alternate between an interchangeable lens mirrorless LUMIX GX1 (which is now discontinued but still available from some sellers, a newer GX7 is available) and a shirt pocket size LUMIX TS4 (also discontinued but updated versions available).

The GX1 is an awesome camera, competes with most any SLR for quality and flexibiltiy, but in a slightly smaller, easier to carry format. The interchangeable lenses are of excellent quality and are standardized on the Micro 4/3 format so multiple brands can be used with the camera body. Having multiple lenses gives you all sorts of flexibility but then you are carrying a bit more weight too. The camera takes pretty darn good video too, with a pair of microphones built in for a basic stereophonic recording. But it is NOT a rugged camera so it must be protected from drops, bumps, and water hazards.

The much smaller TS4 is a nice little compact, has a somewhat limited optical zoom, which limits the camera when you need both high resolution and long range. Its a ruggedized little camera that can take drops, bumps and submersion without any worry that it won't continue to work when you dust it off. The TS4 also takes video.

I have and use a Kodak Playsport video camera. It takes very good video as well as nice photos. Battery life is excellent. Bought it for about $129- locally. I highly recommend it as it works well at a reasonable price point.

Tipi kind of hinted at it...but I'm gonna come right out long is your hiking trip? You certainly will want to think a lot about battery-life unless your trips are short in duration and between resupply. For shorter trips I would probably focus on performance and practicality....with a good reputation for handling moisture (moisture has always been something I have struggled with).

On longer trips with larger distances between resupply points battery-life becomes a very important consideration...extra batteries add additional weight and depending on the camera...additional cost. Even with a very efficient mail-delivery system and someone willing to charge batteries back can take quite a number of batteries to have a continuous power supply by mail. In some cases solar-recharging is a practical solution (at additional expense)...but depending on the kind of hiking you plan to do this can be difficult to impossible. For example I tend to hike under thick canopy and try to walk as long as possible (as opposed to as fast as possible)...minus all the days of foul skies on a trip and solar-recharging becomes a bit of a hassle. Honestly...(I am still a graduate student) and one of the best solutions I settled on were cameras which use AA batteries. The rechargeable AA batteries are very affordable...and regular alkaline AA batteries are cheap and ubiquitous. The problem is that there isn't much of a choice when it comes to cameras that use AA batteries...if any choice at all (been a few years since I bought a AA camera). If I was doing a long hike today and cost was really important to me...I would go with a AA camera if I could find one that takes acceptable video and sound at an affordable price...and if possible a good reputation for handling moisture well.

I just bought a Samsung DV100 off eBay.

The trick? It's a refurbished model. 

Instead of paying the ~$100 retail, I got it for around $50.

Performs just as well as it looks (brand new!) and even came with the same box, instructions, and accessories you'd get buying it brand new.

It's small, lightweight, and has a front-facing screen.


I'll unashamedly admit I take a lot of "selfies" on the trail.

Problem is, when I can't see the picture being taken, it takes 5-10 shots to get one halfway decent one I can use. Eats up a lot of battery life and makes for some frustrating file managing when I get home. Now I can frame up the shot as I take it, without wasting battery life or file space.

No, it's not waterproof.

No, it doesn't run on standard alkaline batteries.

I owned a waterproof camera. Took it with me swimming in the Atlantic. Jumped off cliffs with it in Carolina. Beat the living hell out of it, and it ultimately couldn't keep up. Water breached, and it was done. And it cost a big chunk of change I had to eat.

More importantly? When it rained, it wouldn't take a clear shot anyhow because the lens would fog up or get water on it. Ain't no point in a waterproof camera, because you're in the same boat you'd be without one when it rains. 

At least this way, if it gets run over by a car, dropped off a cliff, what have ya - it's only $50 to get another. I don't plan on any of the aforementioned, but it's good to know I'm not going to bleed out financially if hell does break loose.

Plan on keeping it bagged up in the rain, and taking the best care of it I can otherwise. Relieved, more than anything, that I won't have to see my arms in self-taken shots anymore. Worth the fifty bucks alone, right there.

My $0.02.

extremely instructional beta.

WORD, y'all. :)


disabling some features on a camera can save battery life.  particularly the GPS feature if your camera has one, and the flash. 

The Panasonic Lumix Cameras are excellent. I have two, [DMC-TS3 & DMC-ZS8] that I use virtually daily for my work as a home inspector which is ruffly equivalent to the use they get backpacking/camping/paddling. I am out in the elements every day, crawling under houses, up on roofs, through attics etc. Winters down to 10 below without the windchill, humid, scorching Summers, raining like mad. The ZS8 is a wide angle/long, 16x optical zoom which is the one I favor for hiking/camping but is not as durable as the TS3 which is waterproof to 40 ft, ruggedized/shockproof, but the zoom just doesn't cut it for hiking, though it's great at the lakes.

It's difficult, maybe impossible to kill these things and they take really excellent pictures and HD video. I bought the ZS8 maybe four years ago, have taken easily over 10K images with it, dropped it from over ten feet high, which dented the corner of the case pretty good, but turned it on and everything worked perfect. I've gotten it soaking wet several times, the inspiration for getting the TS3, and while it didn't like the water, dried with no issues at all.

Aside from that, one thing I have really come to appreciate the past couple years is that they are really easy to service/repair yourself if you are even remotely handy. The ZS8 has been subject to getting dirt inside between the lens and sensor due to the tele lens design but I looked up a simple tutorial, and took it apart on the picnic table of a campsite and cleaned it out. The video screen eventual went bad..., well, I put a screwdriver through the wire harness while taking dirt out of the sensor the second time...  but I got a new display on ebay for like $28.- and replaced it in about 10 minutes. It's not like a constant problem getting the dirt in there, but it can happen. The past several years I've shoved it inside of walls, furnaces and up chimneys with all kinds of crap falling on it and only had to clean it three times.

Battery life is excellent. I go out for a week or so, with just two batteries and come back with 6-8 hundred pictures and a couple dozen videos. I am going to get a third battery soon cause I have drained both on occasion. Definitely only get the OEM Panasonic batteries, all the aftermarket batteries I've been duped into buying suck big time.

One of the best features it has is the image stabilization is the best I've seen on any camera I've used. The HD video feature is excellent and I really like the wide aspect ratio.

I'm sure these are both older models now, but still excellent cameras and can be bought pretty reasonably used.

For waterproofing in the canoe I got a pelican case for it that fits perfect.

This video shot with the ZS8. zoomed in from a distance, while bobbing in the wave in a canoe.

In fact, all the images from this trip report were shot with it.


By comparison, I've had numerous Nikons over the years, think I'm done with them now, especially in the realm of small, compacts. Bought my wife a Canon Powershot SX120 about six months before getting the first Lumix. It's a good camera, solid build, nice features but the image stabilization is no where near as good as the Lumix and at high zoom, it matters.

If you are looking for inexpensive and user friendly, I recommend the Pentax Optios. The newer ones have more bells and whistles which use more power. I have a W30 which shoots decent video with sound and decent stills. As a working pro, it has satisfied my needs for a small waterproof and easily understood camera. The latter is one thing to consider. Many cameras have involved programs with many features that are sometimes difficult change on the fly. My go to camera is a Canon 5D Mark II which also shoots great video. Sound is not very good with it, however. I've found the Canons a bit more user friendly than the the Nikon digitals originally were. Nikon is better now, but I still prefer the Canon system. The Rebel is their lower priced SLR. If you are going for an SLR, I recommend metal lens bodies. The plastics are lighter, but not a durable.

still researching.

I'm relatively new to photo/video-graphy.

ie.this endeavor is three parts experimentation, two parts educational, and one part entertainment. (proportions may be distorted. emphasis on the foremost)

trip is ~16 days, though I purchase with longevity in mind.

can anyone speak to the canon A4000?

'twas recommended to me.

budget is thinning by the day, ebay looking the most appealing :)




October 31, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply