Point And Shoot for hiking

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jenn photo, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. I am a photographer and I have a D300. I love my camera but it is too heavy and bulky to bring with me when I go
    hiking, I would like to buy a good point and shoot from Nikon. I am not sure about what one to buy. I would love some
    advice, It is hard leaving my 300 at home but I am sure you can understand why I would.

    Thank you

  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To be frank, Nikon does not necessarily make the best point-and-shoot digicams.
    Since there is no lens compatibility issues with your D300 anyway, would you consider digicams from other brands such as Canon, Sony, etc.?
  3. I'm a Nikon DSL user, but my point and shoot for the last year has been a Canon G9. Poke around and you will find quite a following, starting with Gordon Buck's blog: http://www.shutterbug.net/equipmentreviews/software_computers/0208whybrid/index1.html

    While it is as capable as any point-an-shoot at producing blown-out highlights and noise, when used with the same care as a DSLR it produces excellent results. I have sold images taken with it to a county tourism bureau - it does just fine at ISO 80 or 100, which of course is fine for hiking outings. On a large screen it is possible, but difficult, to see the difference in image quality from a DSLR image. The G9 is limited at the wide angle end to about 35mm equivalent. The new G10 opens out to 28mm, I believe, while sacrificing the long end a bit.
  4. The D40 with the kit lens or a small/light prime could be an alternative to a P&S. I own a D300, and got a D40 for P&S style shooting on the go.
  5. Hi Jenn,

    When weight is an issue for me I put a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 on my D300 and carry no other lens. A bit heavier than a
    P&S but you get a real camera in the deal. This lens is very light weight! Also innexpensive at $125.00 USD.

    Best of luck in your descision, D
  6. I'd seriously consider the Nikon P6000
  7. I'd go with the advice Douglas gave. Put a Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF-D lens on your D300 and use that if you want to go light weight. No point and shoot can come close to the quality the D300 offers.
  8. The Coolpix 8800 was a very good P&S digicam, but not much more compact than something like a D40 and small zoom. In prints up to 8x10 made from JPEGs I couldn't tell the difference between photos taken with the 8800 and my D2H.

    Today, if I was seriously considering a new P&S, I'd go to the nearest shop and try the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3.
  9. Jennifer: I too hike and have a D300 and a lot of lenses. I found a D40x and put a used 55-200 VR II used on it for hiking. Works great. I fly fish as well, fits nice in my vest. I view it as my P&SDSLR.

    Light and great results. Much better than any P&S I have ever owned. My total bill was under 450.00 USD.

    Good luck.
  10. I love my older Nikon P&S. It only does JPEG, but serves its purpose. Most people can't tell the shots are from a cheaper digicam. I would second Lex's recommendation on the Lumix. I've also been kicking around the new Canon G10, Leica DLux 4, and the Sigma.
  11. I agree with Lex about the LX3. That's probably what I'd get too. But if you need some sort of resistant type P&S, the Olympus tough camera series looks good too with its shockproof, water proof, etc...
  12. Please check this out . http://www.bythom.com/compactchallenge.htm
  13. P6000.
  14. Jennifer, I also have a D300 and do a lot of hiking so yeah, it can get pretty heavy, especially if you load a backpack with gear. I played with the Nikon P6000 and really thought about it as a replacement for my older P&S but there are still a few things that bother me about it.

    Then, a couple reviews came out. Thom Hogan's is mentioned above and other is from Luminous Landscape. Clearly the P6000 is better for you if something real small is your top priority. However, the Canon G10 seems to have superior performance overall but it is larger.
  15. Sorry, forgot the link.........

  16. Thank you for all your suggestions. I have a lot of research to do. I appreciate it.

  17. Hey Jennifer,

    Hope this is not to late, but, I do loads of hiking, and not just day hiking. Week to 10 days, 80-120 mile
    hikes. I also own a D300 and taking this camera on these types of hikes, NEVER!!! Not only weight, but if
    anything happens to it.....No thanks. I take a Nikon Coolpix S2. It is splash proof and the photos are great.
    I would also look at the Pentax waterproof cameras, I belive they are called "Optio" or something like this.
    Waterproof or splashproof for outdoor work is what I look for along with it fitting in my shirt pocket. I have
    done 16x20 prints with my Coolpix S2 and they look very nice. I have found the Coolpix on some websites, but
    Nikon does not make it anymore, so it could be a bit hard to find, but well worth the look.

    Good luck....

  18. I do have my D70 that I could bring which is lighter but it does not do well in cold temperatures.It is a hike in December in Connecticut and it is overnight on a mountain. Last year when we went it was about 18. I will look into all of the cameras mentioned. I appreciate all your suggestions. Thank you...

  19. sbp


    IMHO, a lot depends on how critical you are of image quality, and how large you intend to print. At ISO's under 200, for reasonably good IQ on prints under 8X10, a Nikon P5100 or Canon G9/G10 produce good results. If you are more critical
    or print larger, I agree with suggestions for a small DSLR and compact lens. You can always leave fresh food home and
    eat MRE's to save weight...:cool:
  20. Because I actually work in the woods, Ive been researching the very same thing. I use a D200, which is also a bit of a brick, and since keeping it somewhat clean and free from damage means keeping it in a protective sling, my reaction time is also affected whenever I am dealing with any action or wildlife.

    I don't know how tough the LX3 is, but it provides a wider angle than most other P&S, plus the larger aperture would also be handy under the canopy of trees, and any other low light situations.

    I just bought a 50mm 1.8 for my camera, and it helps a lot with the tricky light, and it's also a little lighter, but unless I bring an additional, wider lens, (more stuff to carry) I end up mostly with a bunch of close-up shots of faces or flowers, etc. This is probably not helping much. If you ever get it figured out, let me know. I keep going in circles.
  21. Sorry to disagree with almost everyone here but the D300 is not a heavy camera. I do adventure photography for a living and I have no problem carrying it around. I just finished a documentary of the Tahoe Rim Trail (168 miles in 12 days) and I was very happy with my D200 and 18-200mm VR lens as well as a Tokina 12-24mm. I would never take something like a D3 on a trip like that (that's too much weight and camera) but the D300 or 200 is a perfect camera to manage on a long trip. Point and shoots are great but they don't offer me the same flexibility that a D300 or 200 does. The extra two pounds aren't really a big deal, in my opinion. It's not just me. If you look at most adventure photographers out there, all of us are fine with something like a D300. You don't need to carry a lot, but you have to be willing to carry a little bit more than "the average bear" to be ready for that truly exceptional shot. A carbon fiber tripod is also a good bet for saving weight. If your that worried about your camera getting ruined while you're out in the field, consider taking out insurance on it. It's just part of being a photographer. Hell, Ansel Adams used to take a 4x5 up to Half Dome a couple times a year. I'd say we've got it pretty easy.

    Rachid Dahnoun
  22. I use the Nikon 35Ti when I go hiking for fun with friends. Great little camera. No zoom, super sharp prime lens, f2.8, and
    it's a Nikon. SInce you didn't specify if you wanted to use digital or film I thought I would through it out there. I don't really like any of
    Nikon's digital P&S cameras. If you are wanting digital I personally would go with either a Panasonic or Canon.
  23. bmm


    Rachid - while I agree with you as I am now used to DSLR sizes and weights, remember that to the bulk of people a camera can and should be only marginally larger and heavier than their mobile phone, and should unobtrusively fit into a standard pocket. Its wasn't any more than 2 years ago that I was in that crowd. When looked at it from that perspective even a D40 with a small prime is one big, heavy unit.

    Jennifer - I've had a succession of the higher end Canon IXY / IXUS / Powershot [what they are called depends on where you are in the world] ultra-compact models and have really liked them, especially the ones with inbuilt IS. One of those and a gorilla-pod is what I used to take travelling and camping and basically everywhere before my SLR days.
  24. If you are really seroius about IQ, consider picking up a used Olympus Stylus Epic. Loaded with Kodak 400UC/Kodachrome 64/Kodak Ektar 100/Vlevia 100 it will blow the pants off anything else in a similar size. Fits in the palm of your hand, with an SLR quality 35mm f2.8 lens.
    I recently got back from the Porcupine Mountains, and carried a new Panasonic FX150 15MP digital that shoots RAW + a Stylus Epic loaded with Kodachrome 64.. The Epic quality was in a class by itself. I extrapolate this to a G10 also, as it has only marginally better IQ than the Panasonic (I tested both, bought the FX150 due to very similar IQ but much smaller size). The drawback is no zoom, but maybe not so critical for landscapes/people shots.
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As a moderator here, I would like to remind everybody that this is Jennifer's thread.
    As long as she feels that the D300 is too heavy FOR HER, that is the end of that part of the discussion.
    I go hiking with a 500mm/f4 in my backpack, but mentioning that does not help Jennifer a bit.

    I would appreciate it if people stop making those unhelpful comments. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
  26. I, too, have a big SLR setup. But now days, when I hike and climb, I take the Canon G9 with me. Love it. (Wish the higher-iso settings were smooth like a DSLR, but the quality/size are spectacular.)

    All the photos in the following gallery are from the Mt Whitney's Mountaineers Route -- there's some nighttime slow shutter shots in there, too: http://picasaweb.google.com/taudep/MtWhitneyMountaineerSRouteClimb2008
  27. Also if your camera not performing in the cold is an issue, you need to always remember to keep your batteries on your person (in your inner layer) or in your sleeping bag at night when you're not shooting. Good luck.

    Rachid Dahnoun
  28. The new Canon SX10is has a 20x zoom that is the P&S I'm getting
  29. Hi Jennifer, Check out the Canon G9. I have no experience personally, but here's a helpful link: http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles1207/dw1207-1.html Good luck! Jason
  30. After all these wonderful responses and suggestions, I wrote all of the cameras down and took out, luckily we save them, Consumer Reports and I think that I am going to go with the Canon G9. It seems to be the one that more people will suggest and Consumer Reports gave it a great rating. I thank all of you for all the links, suggestions and help. Now I have to make sure I have the gear to stay warm up there this year!

    Thank you!!
    Jenn :)
  31. I've never had a P&S that I liked.

    I often go hiking with a Nikon D50 and a 50mm F/1.8. I have walked literally hundreds of miles with it. Very light and affordable. $100 bucks for the lens about $200 for the body.
  32. The Canon G10 would be my choice, hands down. It shoots in RAW in addition to JPG (if desired), in addition to already having Canon's unparalleled image quality and a reasonable focal range in the fixed lens. I would have one of my own if only I could afford it.
  33. Jennifer I'm a dedicated Nikon user but am not ashamed to admit I own a Canon G9. Nikon has chosen not to be competitive at this level. Keep the camera set at ISO 80 and shoot raw. The results are great. It's the one camera that goes everywhere with me. You might want the G10 if you don't need the 210mm reach of the G9.
  34. Here's another vote for the Olympus Stylus. That little film camera was a classic. And I think there is still a niche for film in adventure photography, when your valuable digital camera is at risk. Digital cameras have front-loaded costs, with a much more expensive outlay compared to film, but less in ongoing costs for developing. If you drop your film camera in a river, you replace a relatively inexpensive body. If you drop your digital, you pay more....

  35. Take a look at Sigma DP1. Small body, good lens, big sensor...
  36. On the Luminous landscape site I recently read an article in which a landscape photographer compared images from his Hasselblad H2 with P45 digital back and his Canon G10. The conclusion is that up to A3 prints, the difference can hardly be seen. Only when you do partial enlargements or big blow ups, the differences are obbious.
    This is the link:
  37. Has anyone mentioned the new micro 4/3 format? Something like the Panasonic G1 sounds like a winner from the
    size/weight perspective. I know there isn't much on them as they are not quite available yet, but it sure sounds like
    something to keep an eye on!
  38. I love to hike and agree entirely about not always wanting to carry the bulk of a serious SLR and heavy lens. Not liking compacts, I have settled on a D40 with Nikon 45mm f/2.8 AI-P pancake lens as a hiking camera. The body is somewhat smaller than the pro models, but the lens is tiny compared with almost any other Nikon. The resulting combination is about the size of a 35mm film compact and only slightly larger than a large compact digital. It fits in my overcoat pocket. Even the superbly-designed lens hood only adds a few mm to the total length; without the hood, the lens barely protrudes forward of the grip.

    Image quality is excellent. The lens is sharp and clear and doesn't seem to distort. It vignettes a little at 2.8; otherwise there are no defects to speak of. Bokeh is pleasant; although not the best ever, it's better than any compact. Low light ability is fine. The body may not be a solid metal d300 but it's a lot tougher than most compacts; the lens is extremely well made and robust, with very smooth and precise focusing action. This makes it nice to use, which I think is a major factor in making me glad I brought the camera along! The controls are much easier than a compact and the battery life is enormous. I have a viewfinder magnifier fitted, a DK-17m on a little adaptor, which gives a big clear life-size view; it's not necessary, but definitely recommended.
  39. Jennifer, the Canon G9 is discontinued in favor of the newer G10, which looks pretty amazing. As an aside, I recently traveled to London and bought a little Panasonic DMC-FX35. It is absolutely tiny and produces a decent enough photo for a point and shoot. I can carry it in the front pocket of my trousers if I want to (though I usually try to leave it in the case in my jacket pocket). It has a very wide angle lens, equal to a 25mm in 35mm format. And the stabilisation, coupled with ISO as high as 1600 (total noise city, but you can limit the high ISO down to 400). So far I love this little camera when I don't want to lug "the big Nikon" around.
  40. Jennifer... No matter which camera you choose, you still need a support for it in low light. A tripod is difficult to manage, as well as heavy. There are some hiking poles that have a camera mount, but they tend to be long and won't stick into the ground, more like a monopod. I have taken a typical aluminum hiking stick and tapped the top to receive a very small ballhead, available from B&H, and it works great. The stick is height adjustable and sticks into the ground for hands free use. Now, it will still sway in a strong wind, but you have to work around that. Just $.02 more to think about... good luck! Mike
  41. I owned an Olympus PS and found its lens quality outstanding...
  42. I bought the DP1 to take hiking with me, its perfect for landscapes, image quality is excellent, it fits in a
    pocket. I rarely use my D200 now. Maybe an expensive option, but I recommend it.

    The Canon G9 or G10 may also be good choices. Regards
  43. Sorry to answer a question with a question, but I have been thinking about this same thing recently and decided my Canon Elph series isn't enough and my D200 with several lenses is often too much when I'm hiking.
    I've decided I'm going to start taking my seldom used D70 when hiking, but would like to have one lens to use with it since my current lens line-up is heavy with 2.8 zooms and prime lenses.
    I'm skeptical of the Nikon 18-200. What are people's experiences with the 18-105VR DX or 18-135 DX compared to the 18-200? Or is there a better idea?
  44. Also a Nikon dslr user, but my P&S is a G9. You will never get the quality of a dslr out of it, but otherwise it is a great little camera. There are times when any dslr is intrusive or undesireable. For my kids I bought Olympus models that were water resistant as well as shock, and I believe freeze resistant. They love them, and so far about a year old they are doing well. IF you goal is to have a memory kept, a P&S is fine, if you expect to shoot low light images you will be better with a compact lens on a small dslr, only you can choose. Once can't have enough cameras, I keep both the P&S and a smaller dslr for those reasons...the right tool for the right job....ymmv, If I was buying today, it would be a G10 or if that was too big the LX3...
  45. One more vote for the Olympus Stylus Epic. Full frame image quality, spot metering and always ready when you are.
  46. Another non-Nikon option is the Ricoh GR Digital II. It has the equalivent of a 28mm lens (F2.4) - but no zoom. It is very compact as a result. The lens is very sharp, perfect for landscapes.

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