Our Top 10 Adventure Camera Picks for the Outdoors

The best cameras for outdoor adventures can make your hiking, skiing, and backpacking trips exciting and memorable. You’ll have the ability to take crystal clear photos as well as a wide variety of video clips. Many outdoor cameras even come with the option to share your media via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC directly to your social channels. However, if you want to shop for adventure cameras you need to know the difference between mirrorless, point-and-shoot, and full-frame SLR cameras in addition to a few other things. Not to worry though, in this review we’ll be looking at 10 of the best cameras for outdoor adventure seekers, and telling you why we like each one.

Best Rugged Point and Shoot Adventure Cameras

Point and shoot cameras are ideal for light packers. They are some of the best options for recreational photographers and hikers. While they do not offer the excellent quality that comes with high-end mirrorless cameras or DSLRs, you’d still be able to capture great images while keeping your pack light. These outdoor cameras are also the cheapest and lightest models on the market. So, if you’re on a budget, the best point and shoot cameras for outdoor adventures are your best options. Here are five of the top products you can choose from:

1. Olympus Tough TG-6

Pros:

  • Tough and rugged build
  • 4K video
  • Excellent Microscope mode

Cons:

  • Small sensor
  • No full manual control

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the definition of a rugged camera. Crushproof, waterproof, and shockproof, this outdoor camera allows you to capture images in the sea with no issues. Whether you’re covered in sand or you mistakenly drop it on concrete, the Tough TG-6 will always remain whole and functional. Want to take pictures in the cold winter? Not to worry, this Olympus adventure camera has you covered. The only cons here are the small 12MP sensor and the fact that it isn’t fully manual controlled.


2. Sony RX100 VII

Pros:

  • Shoots 4K videos and captures RAW images
  • Comes with an electronic viewfinder
  • Image sensor and lens are high-quality

Cons:

  • Not ideal for heavy usage
  • It may be too expensive for most outdoor adventurers

The Sony RX100 VII is our favorite adventure camera in the point-and-shoot category. Endowed with an extra-large image sensor and a top-of-the-line Carl Zeiss lens, this outdoor camera has the capability to shoot 4K videos and capture RAW images. While it’s a tad expensive -as it sits in the $1000 price range- there’s no denying the functionality and incredible flexibility that comes with it.


3. Canon PowerShot G7 Mark II

Pros:

  • Cheaper price tag
  • Fast aperture
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

Cons:

  • Shorter telephoto reach
  • No electronic viewfinder

If you feel the Sony RX100 VII is too expensive for you, this Canon camera is the next best thing you want to choose. Selling at about half the price of the Sony above, this adventure camera comes with a faster f/1.8-2.8 lens and the same image sensor size as what you get on the RX100 VII. However, you miss out on an electronic viewfinder and get a much shorter telephoto reach. Its built-in Wi-Fi helps you share your moments easily across most social networks.


4. Ricoh GR III

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Huge sensor
  • Excellent for one-handed shooting

Cons:

  • Fixed focal length
  • No built-in flash
  • No eye-level viewfinder

The Ricoh III might not be as popular as the Sony or Canon cameras above, but that doesn’t erase the fact that it’s an awesome adventure camera. Designed with a large APS-C image sensor, which is often found in high-end DSLRs, this outdoor camera produces excellent images with minimal noise. It’s often used by landscape photographers and hikers. The dynamic range on this camera is also great and the design allows for one-hand shooting. However, it has a fixed focal length, no eye-level viewfinder, and no built-in flash.


5. Fujifilm XP140

Pros:

  • Tough and rugged
  • Comes with a zoom lens
  • Moderate price tag

Cons:

  • Shoots 4K videos at 15p
  • No RAW or manual shooting

Tough, rugged, and pretty, the Fujifilm XP140 is one of the best outdoor cameras for outdoor adventures you can buy. It’s capable of surviving 25m underwater, sub-freezing temperatures, and even a 1.8m drop on concrete. However, toughness isn’t the only thing there is to it. This camera delivers UHD 4K videos and high-quality images in different lighting conditions. Versatile and easy to use, this outdoor adventure camera even features scene recognition modes to help you make the most out of different conditions. It’s also one of the cheapest outdoor cameras as it sits in the $200 price range.


Best Mirrorless Adventure Cameras for the Outdoors

Mirrorless cameras often feature sensors that are similar to those found in DSLRs. They are smaller than DSLRs, but larger than point-and-shoot cameras. Many professional landscape photographers use mirrorless cameras due to their compact size and low weight. However, it’s important to note that these outdoor adventure cameras are usually in the same price range as DSLRs or have a slightly higher price tag.


6. Sony Alpha A6400

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Shoots 4K videos
  • Excellent performance

Cons:

  • It would perform better with better lenses
  • No electronic viewfinder

The Sony Alpha a6400 is a lightweight adventure camera that’s ideal for serious backcountry excursions. This outdoor camera features an APS-C image sensor that provides higher performance than what you’d get on any point-and-shoot camera. It is weather-sealed and shoots excellent 4K videos. However, if you’re a professional or you simply want the absolute best, you may need to spend more money to get better lenses.


7. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

Pros:

  • Portable and weather resistant
  • Shoots 4K videos at 30fps
  • Built-in image stabilization

Cons:

  • The battery could be better

Looking to get the best image quality while enjoying excellent protection from weather elements? Look no further than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. This camera takes precedence over the E-M1 Mark III when it comes to outdoor photography. You get a weather-resistant build, built-in image stabilization, and a price tag that isn’t as steep as the E-M1’s. And if you feeling like making the camera more versatile, there are a wide range of lenses available to boost your shots.


8. Sony Alpha A7R IV

Pros:

  • Excellent functionality
  • 4K capability
  • Great image stabilization

Cons:

  • High price tag

This camera from Sony is one of the best cameras for outdoor adventures you can buy. Packing a 61-megapixel image sensor, this adventure camera features built-in image stabilization, touchscreen functionality, and the ability to capture 4K videos. To make things even better, the Sony Alpha A7R IV weighs just 23.5 ounces, which means that it won’t weigh you down on your backpacking or hiking excursion. If the steep price tag won’t be a problem, this is one of the best cameras for adventure you can buy.


9. Fujifilm X-T3

Pros:

  • Great image stabilization and autofocus
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • Value for money

Cons:

  • Expensive price tag

Fujifilm cameras are known to offer the best color renditions on the market, and the Fujifilm X-T3 brings this to a whole new level. Weather-sealed and stable in-hand, this outdoor camera shoots incredible stills and excellent 4K videos. You get 16 film simulation modules and a large viewfinder that helps you keep your subject in view. It also takes great pictures in low-light and has excellent auto-focus. If your budget is in the $1,500 range and you want the best outdoor camera for the money, the Fujifilm X-T3 is a great option to choose from.


10. Nikon Z6

Pros:

  • High-quality build
  • Excellent ISO performance
  • 4K video looks great

Cons:

  • Battery life isn’t the best
  • Autofocus may be a bit laggy

The Nikon Z6 is another top-of-the line mirrorless camera that’s awesome for outdoor photography. This outdoor camera features a rugged build, and the menus and controls are similar to what you’ll find on Nikon’s DSLRs. You get a high-resolution electronic viewfinder that’s incredibly clear and crisp. The touchscreen is quite responsive; however, there’s no touchscreen autofocus. The Nikon Z6 does well in a wide variety of lighting conditions, but doesn’t produce the best pictures in low-light. It’s capable of shooting 4K videos in 30p and FHD videos in 60p. All in all, this is one of the best cameras for outdoor adventures.

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