While I like to hike light, a recent gear upgrade has added some very justifiable extra weight in my pack. This past December I got a new camera and I’ve spent the past 8 months using it. I am a relatively clumsy hiker and will admit to have dropped an older camera on a rocky trail in Maine. I’ve always wanted to be able to take amazing photos while hiking and backpacking, but didn’t want to deal with a bulky and very expensive camera.
After much research I decided to purchase a mirrorless camera. I wanted to advance from a basic point and shoot. I really enjoy learning new techniques and shooting in manual mode. A mirrorless camera offers many of the advantages of a DSLR camera, including interchangeable lenses, big sensors, and many more advanced controls, but it is a smaller, lighter body without the mirror mechanism.
A mirrorless camera does weigh more and isn’t as easy to stow compared to a point-and-shoot, especially if you purchase multiple lenses. I will say that the photo quality makes these disadvantages easy to live with.
I’ve found this to be a great intermediate level camera. While it can’t produce some images as wonderfully as well as a high end DSLR it has been able to capture much higher quality images for me. I’ve also enjoyed shooting the majority of my photos on manual mode which has added to my experience.
When I am not shooting manually I put on superior Auto which chooses a mode depending on what your subject is. I also love the fact that the screen flips up to easily take self portraits. It’s a great option to have when solo hiking!
If you’re looking to buy, the Sony Alpha a5000 is what I went with. If you want to spend a little more there are also two newer options: the Sony Alpha a5100 as well as the Sony Alpha a6000. These cameras offer more megapixels, resolution, and the a6000 does have a viewfinder which is nice to have on extremely bright days.
As an avid hiker this camera has already served me well as I am able to capture my experience better than I had before and it’s not cumbersome in price or weight. Eventually I will put enough money aside to get a couple more lenses as I am just using the kit lens. The ideal lenses for my adventures to add to my kit would be a macro lens and maybe in the next 10 years I could afford this 18-200 mm zoom lens.
Right now I am very happy with the camera as I have the opportunity to take more control of the images I create. I hope to continue to learn more techniques to get more great shots. Night photography is definitely next on my list!
Disclaimer: Allison purchased this camera with her own funds.
Last modified: September 1, 2017