It is not a secret to anyone that day by day the cameras built into our phones are improving more and more.
And that is just an extra to all the functionalities and advantages offered by a good mobile to a hiking and nature lover: communication, maps, GPS, the possibility of hearing some music to break the monotony of the walk and much more.
Mobile vs Digital camera
We are going to start from the base that the best camera is the one that you have in hand to catch that moment that you want to immortalize. You can carry the most professional camera in the world and find nothing worth portraying.
The image quality that a mobile offers today is comparable to mid-range cameras in many situations. Also the mobile has greater capacities to process images and apply several filters that give an attractive final result.
However, cameras built into mobile phones will always have two fundamental shortcomings: the size of the sensor and the size of the optics.
When the light conditions of the scene are good, all cameras take good pictures. But as soon as the conditions are not so perfect, the size of the sensor and the diameter of the lens start to influence. Here, the compact mid-high range that give you manual control are better, because they allow you to handle optical factors such as aperture control, focal length, zoom, etc.
All this without adding too much weight to your backpack, as any hiker will appreciate.
As your camera becomes more professional, it will begin to weigh you in the backpack. And it is not only the camera, but the tripods, accessories, replacement lenses and other stuff, otherwise sensitive and in need of protection against shocks, ambient conditions and much more.
So the first question you should ask yourself is if you want to enjoy the ride or take professional nature photos. Starting from your answer, you have many options to choose from beyond a mobile phone with good optics.
360 ° cameras
This little gadget has come to revolutionize the way of hiking and taking nature photos, because it allows you with a simple touch to create quality images of immersive environments.
The 360 cameras have fisheye lenses with wide angles, which provide images of more than 180 degrees wide. Any 360 camera with more than 10 MP will offer you excellent nature photos, especially if they have more than one lens that allow you to really take a panoramic view.
They usually do not have much weight, are quite ergonomic, bring their own storage space and even, some of them, allow streaming or submerging. Prices range depending on the added capabilities, from about 50 euros the simplest to about 3000 the truly professional ones.
On a higher step in terms of commitment to the activity to which they are intended, are the sports cameras. The concept in this case is rather a camera that gives us the perspective of who performs a sports activity, following the entire process, usually on video, so that we can relive the experience later.
These devices are more exposed to the rigors of the trip, so they generally have a superior resistance to impacts, humidity and other inclement weather, while they have stabilization systems to generate a clear and stable image. Some are submersible and broadcast live.
If what you want is to take nature photos not only to immortalize your escapades, but even as a way of life (professional nature blogger, journalist photo or professional nature photographer), you must have a camera that faithfully reflects your professionalism.
There are many options here, including SLR cameras (such as the Canon EOS 250D (Rebel SL3) or Nikon D7500) or EVIL or mirrorless cameras (such as Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II). Both types of professional camera have comparable features, including the possibility of changing the lenses, but keep in mind for nature photos you will need a telephoto lens that reaches an equivalent focal length of at least 300mm.
Even a high-end compact camera can give you good results, as long as you intend to gain mobility and lose weight to load at the expense of a little quality. The Panasonic Lumix FZ300, for example, is a very good option in that department. You may also want to get a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX90, perhaps the smallest compact camera in the world with 30x optical zoom.
Drones with camera
The time has passed when camera drones looked like simple toys. Its incredible possibilities have been widely demonstrated by travel bloggers and professional photographers to give a different perspective to nature photos, so it’s worth as a tool cannot be neglected.
Of course: some parks and national reserves prohibit its use, limit it or require permits to fly drones, especially if its presence alters the tranquility of the fauna of the area, such as migration sites or grouping of birds. Before packing your flying photographer, you should investigate whether it is lawful to use it.
The other impediment of this type of device is that its volume and weight may limit the feasibility of its use in practice. However, it cannot be denied that the results obtained with the use of drones can silence any objection when using them.
And you, what is your favorite camera to take nature photos? Tell us in a comment, so that the entire Walkaholic community learn from your experience and take pictures like professionals.
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