6 Best Budget Camera for Backpacking: (2024 Best Guide & Reviews)

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by Sharon Advik

Backpacking is a fun activity for nature and wildlife lovers.

For some, it’s an enjoyable way to communicate with the planet personally.

It’s also healthier than staying in a resort and always eating out.

Of course, you have to be prepared.

The best backpackers know they must pack light to relish this activity.

I was in my early twenties, backpacking across the country.

I have always found lifelong nursing wanderlust a perfect way to stretch my budget, try out adventures, and meet new people.

This time, I went solo, with the most significant challenge being documenting this trip.

I had spent a few months saving and had some money left after buying all the usual gear for this trip.

These best budget cameras for backpacking were with me.

Which are the Best Budget Camera for Backpacking?

Here are my recommended top 6 Best Budget Camera for Backpacking:–

Sony ZV-1: (Best Budget Camera for Backpacking)

I backpacked in Palawan, Philippines, to see the sea turtles and white sand beaches.

I knew it would be a beautiful place and I have fun there, so I packed up all my things and Sony ZV-1 and got on a plane.

When we landed at the airport in Puerto Princesa City, we had to take a bus out to Coron Island, where we would spend our first night.

After about an hour on the bus, we arrived at our hostel, Paradise Cove Beach Resort.

It was right on the beach!

We could hear the waves crashing against the shore as soon as we opened our eyes!

The sun rose over the water, shining through palm trees that swayed gently in the breeze.


  • Model: Sony ZV-1
  • Effective Megapixel: 20.1 MP
  • Image sensor: Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • ISO range: 125 – 12800
  • Shutter speeds: 1/2000
  • Storage:  S.D., SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Viewfinder: Pop-up Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer: Advance Video Stabilization
  • Dimension: 105.5 x 60.0 x 43.5mm
  • Weight: 294g

ISO/Shutter Speed

My primary goal was to shoot beautiful landscapes and nature shots, so I set my ISO range at 125 – 12800.

That allowed me to take pictures in low light conditions without using flash.

I also took handheld shots at 1/2000 shutter speed, giving me great images with no blur but still having a natural look.

I used this camera for about 3 days, and it performed well!

Aperture/Field of View

With the aperture of f/1.8 – f/2.8, I took great photos of some of the most beautiful places in Palawan: mountains, beaches, waterfalls, and even underwater!

The underwater shots were incredibly stunning because they captured details like fish swimming by and coral formations that looked like works of art.

The colors were vibrant in every shot I took with this camera, even at night.

I often switched to night mode and continued shooting without missing a beat.

White Balance/Frame Rate

It rains there a lot, and keeping your camera gear dry when hiking through the jungle can be challenging.

The camera offers a 24 fps mode that allows me to get smooth shots while preserving detail in fast-paced action scenes like those on a hike through the jungle.

And it’s got custom white balance so that my stills weren’t tinted by the sun reflecting off leaves, water droplets, or anything else; they were just clear, bright, and beautiful!

Why is this camera the best?

It is a camera that’s been designed with backpacking in mind.

It’s small, lightweight, and has a screen that can be angled upward so you can see what you’re shooting.

That makes it the perfect companion for hikers, backpackers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who want to capture their adventures without hauling around a huge DSLR or mirrorless setup.

The ZV-1 also has a wide-angle lens that lets you take in more of your surroundings than standard lenses.

You’ll feel right there, experiencing everything as it happens, not just seeing it through your viewfinder later.


If you’re looking for a camera that will take great photos and videos but won’t break the bank, the Sony ZV-1 is a perfect choice.

It’s the best budget camera for backpacking, and I love it wholeheartedly!

  • Compact form factor
  • Flip-out touch screen
  • Bright, sharp zoom lens
  • Excellent in-camera audio
  • External mic and flash support
  • 4K video capture
  • Limited touch features
  • No in-camera flash

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100: (Best Budget Camera for Backpacking)

I was looking at the ocean on a beach in Sri Lanka.

The beach was called Unawatuna, one of those places where you couldn’t tell if you were looking at an ocean or a lake.

It’s both: a lagoon that opens up into the Indian Ocean.

The water is so transparent that you can see straight to the bottom, and fish swim around just below the surface; it’s like they’re right there in front of your face!

And then there are these waves like I’ve never seen before.

They come rolling in from the ocean, crashing against the shore, and then rushing back out again with incredible force and power.

They were so strong!

I brought along my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 to capture every exciting moment.


  • Model: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100
  • Effective Megapixe99l: 20.1 MP
  • Image sensor: 1-inch MOS Sensor
  • ISO range: 80 – 25600
  • Shutter speeds: 1/16000
  • Storage: S.D., SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Viewfinder: Electronic Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer: 5-Axis Hybrid Stabilization
  • Dimension: 110.5 x 64.5 x 44.3mm
  • Weight: 312g

ISO/Shutter Speed

It was a bright, sunny day, and I was looking for a nice spot to take photos.

I found this place where the beach meets the jungle.

Palm trees and flowers were everywhere; I just wanted to capture it on camera.

Thankfully, the ISO range worked for me; it goes from 80 up to 25600 and works phenomenally with a 1/2000 shutter speed; even when there’s not much light available, you can still get some perfect shots without sacrificing quality!

Aperture/Field of View

I adjusted my aperture at f/2.8 and started snapping mesmerizing views around me.

It was a beautiful beach town where you could get fresh seafood and enjoy a walk on the beach.

My friends and I stayed at an Airbnb near the beach and spent a day exploring.

I took photos of all the little shops along the way and some shots of my friends hanging out by the water.

White Balance/Frame Rate

The camera features a 9.9 fps burst rate and an automatic white balance adjustment that allows me to capture stellar stills even when the light changes quickly.

The details in my frame were crisp and clear, showing off the beauty of this area of Sri Lanka.

I also took some beautiful portraits of the dolphins during this trip.

Why is this camera the best?

The ZS100 is a small point-and-shoot perfect for carrying around your pocket or bag.

It has a 20MP sensor with a high ISO range (up to 25600), making it great for taking low-light photos.

With its 4x optical and 10x digital zoom range, you can get close to wildlife or far away from cityscapes without carrying extra lenses around on your travels.

It also offers built-in Wi-Fi connectivity so you can wirelessly connect your phone via a “Panasonic Image App” app to transfer photos or videos directly from the camera to your phone.


That is it if you’re looking for a camera that can withstand the elements and deliver high-quality images.

It’s the best budget camera for backpacking.

  • 20MP 1-inch image sensor.
  • 10x zoom range.
  • Quick autofocus and 10fps burst rate.
  • Raw and JPG capture options.
  • Touch screen.
  • Solid high-ISO performance.
  • Good macro capability.
  • Soft edges at wide angles.
  • LCD is fixed.
  • EVF is relatively small.

Ricoh GRIII: (Best Budget Camera for Backpacking)

The Kathmandu Valley is the heart of Nepal.

It’s where you’ll find its most famous sights, like the Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa.

But it’s also where you can feel the pulse of daily life in a way you won’t find anywhere else in the country.

You’ll hear people speaking in their native languages, Nepali or Tibetan, and see them going to work and taking care of their families.

I was there for five days backpacking with my friends, and we stayed at a hostel right in the middle of Thamel, where most tourists visit Kathmandu.

We rode tuk-tuks everywhere we needed: checking out museums and temples, hiking up mountains, and eating at local restaurants and markets.

It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life! And Ricoh GRIII was there with me.


  • Model: Ricoh GRII
  • Effective Megapixel: 16.9 MP
  • Image sensor: APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • ISO range: 100 – 25600
  • Shutter speeds: 1/40
  • Storage: S.D., SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Viewfinder: Mini External Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer: 3-Axis Image Stabilization
  • Dimension: 109.4 x 61.9 x 33.2mm
  • Weight: 257g

ISO/Shutter Speed

I shot with an ISO range of 100 – 25600 and a 1/2500 shutter speed.

I knew that if I wanted to capture the moody shots I had in mind, I’d need a camera that could handle low light at high speeds, and this one certainly did.

And with a 1/40 shutter speed, even though it was pitching black outside and there were no lights inside the temple (except for some candles), you could see everything!

Aperture/Field of View

I went on a trek up Swayambhunath Mountain, known as the Monkey Temple because it’s where monkeys hang out and people come to feed them.

I seized some great photos of the monkeys hanging out in their natural habitat and even got some exquisite footage of them doing human-like things like playing cards or holding hands while they walked together.

The f/2.8 aperture ensured enough light was coming in for me to see everything clearly without using a flash.

White Balance/Frame Rate

The weather was like spring all the time, so it was not too hot or cold, which made it easier to shoot beautiful nature scenes like the mountains, rivers, and villages.

The camera was always ready to capture the action, whether it be monks in orange robes or a rainbow in the sky.

With a 6 fps shooting speed, it kept up with my subjects’ movements without missing anything important.

And with color temperature enhancement, the colors were so vivid they looked like they were popping off the screen!

Why is this camera the best?

This little guy weighs 257 grams, making it easy to carry around as you travel from place to place.

It also has an excellent pop-up flash, which means that if you’re out in the wilderness and it gets dark, you can still snap some pictures without worrying about setting up any extra lighting equipment.

But what makes this camera stand out is its ease of use.

The menu is simple; you won’t need any instruction manual or tutorial to learn how to use it.


Whether you’re just starting as a beginner photographer or want something small enough to fit into your pocket but still provide all the power of a camera, this is the best budget camera for backpacking.

  • Pocket-friendly design.
  • APS-C image sensor.
  • Superb controls.
  • 28mm wide-angle lens.
  • Snap focus capability.
  • Raw capture.
  • 21mm wide-angle adapter available.
  • Excellent Wi-Fi remote control.
  • Wi-Fi implementation can use some improvement.
  • No EVF option.
  • Doesn’t include an external charger.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 180: (Best Budget Camera for Backpacking)

I had been waiting for a trip to Bogota, Colombia, for years.

I had heard from friends that it was the perfect place to backpack: beautiful, affordable, and full of culture.

I was ready for the thrilling adventure.

I arrived in Bogota after a long flight from New York City.

It was late at midnight, and I was exhausted, but when I stepped off the plane into the airport terminal, I could hear music playing loudly through the terminal speakers.

The music sounded like salsa or merengue, something very Latino and lively, and it made me instantly feel happy.

The airport was bustling with people everywhere; it felt like there were hundreds of them walking around me!

I was all ready to experience Canon PowerShot ELPH 180.


  • Model: Canon PowerShot ELPH 180
  • Effective Megapixel: 20.0 MP
  • Image sensor: ½.3” CCD Image Sensor
  • ISO range: 100 – 1600
  • Shutter speeds: 1-1/2000
  • Storage: S.D., SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Viewfinder: OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer: Optical Image Stabilization
  • Dimension: 95 x 54 x 22mm
  • Weight: 126g

ISO/Shutter Speed

I set my camera to iso 100 and 1/2000 shutter speed to take pictures in low light and not be too blurry.

I started taking pictures at night at Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota’s main square.

It was very crowded with people, and street performers played music on their instruments.

The photos were of excellent quality, with good focus and color saturation throughout all parts of the frame without any noise or graininess.

Aperture/Field of View

I found myself wandering for hours through different neighborhoods and areas of town, from the bustling Plaza de Bolivar to the more secluded Enrique Olaya Herrera National Park, and everywhere I went, my camera captured all those moments perfectly!

It was like having an extra pair of eyes on hand while I walked around, taking in all these new sights and sounds.

Thanks to my camera’s versatile aperture that could be adjusted to f/3.2 and f/6.9.

White Balance/Frame Rate

Bogota, Colombia, is a city that knows how to make you feel small.

Whether it’s the sheer size of the buildings, the depth of the canyons that run through the city’s center, or just the number of people who live there, it’s hard not to feel dwarfed by Bogota.

The shots came out sharp and clear at 0.8 fps speed, with accurate colors and a nice balance between highlights and shadows.

The autofocus worked well in low light and was quick enough to capture all my adventures throughout the city.

Why is this camera the best?

This little guy is about as good as it gets for its price range, and it’s worth more than its weight in gold when you’re backpacking.

It has a small, lightweight design that makes it easy to carry around without feeling like you’re lugging around a brick.

It also takes excellent photos and videos in any light, so no matter what time of day or night it is when you’re on your journey, you’ll always have amazing shots to add to your album.

The lens on this camera is also pretty impressive.

It’s an 8x optical zoom lens with image stabilization.


The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is the best budget camera for backpacking because it’s small and light, has a long battery life, and takes excellent photos.

  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • 20.0MP – High-Resolution Sensor
  • 126g Light Body
  • 224mm Good Tele Lens
  • No Touch Screen
  • No Built-in Viewfinder
  • No RAW Shooting

Nikon Z6 ii: (Best camera for Backpacking)

It was a cold and windy day in Iceland.

The sun was out, but the air was chilly, and I could feel the icy breeze on my cheeks as I walked from my hotel to the bus stop.

I had just arrived at Reykjavik Airport after a long flight from the U.S., and now I was about to embark on an even longer journey: backpacking around the island for two weeks.

I sat on the bus and watched as we drove through the city, passing by colorful houses with wooden siding and red roofs.

Everyone seemed to know each other; they greeted each other warmly as we passed them by, waving and smiling.

I was thrilled to capture my experience with the best budget camera for backpacking, the Nikon Z6 II.


  • Model: Nikon Z6 II
  • Effective Megapixel: 24.5 MP
  • Image sensor: Full-Frame BSI CMOS Sensor
  • ISO range: 100 – 51200
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8000
  • Storage: S.D., SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Viewfinder: OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer: Five-Stops Stabilization
  • Dimension: 134 x 100.5 x 69.5mm
  • Weight: 615g

ISO/Shutter Speed

The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable at best, so it was important for me to have a camera that could handle anything from rainy days to bright sunshine.

The Z6 II did not disappoint!

With its fast 1/8000 shutter speed and a high ISO range of 100 – 51200, I was able to capture a landscape that was so varied and dramatic, with mountains rising out of the ocean and glaciers sliding down from the hills.

It is the perfect camera for backpacking as it’s small and lightweight.

Aperture/Field of View

It was a rainy day.

I had been photographing all day.

I wanted to take pictures of the rain falling behind some rocks, but the light changed dramatically as I walked toward them.

The raindrops formed a rainbow in the light coming through the clouds above me.

It was beautiful!

I quickly switched my camera into Aperture Priority mode and took several shots before the light changed again.

White Balance/Frame Rate

The landscape was so different from what I was used to seeing in California. So many things were happening simultaneously: glaciers crashing into the ocean, waterfalls pouring over cliffs, hot springs bubbling up between lava fields.

I wanted to capture all these moments as they happened, but I also wanted to document my journey, the people I met along the way, and the campsites we set up each night.

I used my camera’s back-to-back 14 fps shooting speed and custom white balance.

Why is this camera the best?

Regarding cameras, you don’t need to spend much money to get the features and quality you want.

The Nikon Z6 II is an excellent example of this.

It’s got a 24 M.P.

The sensor has an APS-C format, which means it can zoom in on your shots without compromising quality.

You also get 4K video recording and up to 14 fps continuous shooting.

And while it might not be waterproof or dustproof like some other camera models, it’s still durable enough to withstand the elements.


If you’re looking for a camera that’s easy to use, then the Z6 II should be at the top of your list.

It has an intuitive design, and all its buttons are within reach, so you don’t need to spend time trying to find what you need.

  • 24MP full-frame image sensor
  • 5-axis in-body stabilization
  • Phase detection autofocus
  • Up to 14fps continuous drive
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Strong 4K video toolkit
  • Limited third-party lens support
  • Full-frame 4K limited to 30fps

Sony A7iii: (Best Camera for Backpacking)

There is nothing like the thrill of being alone in the wilderness.

You can hear your heartbeat as you hike up the side of a mountain and feel your muscles burning as you carry your backpack through a dense jungle.

I was backpacking in Koh Lanta, Thailand, when I found myself at the base of a cliff that rose above me like a great wall.

It was covered in moss and vines, so I knew the man had not climbed it for many years, and yet there were no signs that animals had passed this way either.

It took me three days to reach the top; each night, I would take shelter under boulders or fallen trees as clouds gathered overhead, but eventually, they dispersed, and the sun broke through again to warm my body before starting my climb back down into the valley below.

The Sony A7 III ensured the preservation of this wild experience.


  • Model: Sony Alpha A7 III
  • Effective Megapixel: 24.2 MP
  • Image sensor: Full-Frame Back-Illuminated CMOS Sensor
  • ISO range: 100 – 51200
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8000
  • Storage:  S.D., SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
  • Viewfinder: OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Image stabilizer: 5 Axes of Stabilization
  • Dimension: 127 x 96 x 74mm
  • Weight: 650g

ISO/Shutter Speed

The air was crisp and cool, and I could see my breath as it floated out into the world.

The sun was setting, and I had to get my shots before it got too dark.

I looked at my camera and ensured it was set to ISO 100.

I didn’t want too much noise in my images from this high-ISO setting, but I also wanted to ensure that I’d have enough light to work with shutter speeds that wouldn’t be able to keep up with the movement of my subject: the clouds.

Aperture/Field of View

There were no trails; I had to climb over boulders and around trees to get from one part of the mountain to another.

The weather was hot during the day, but it got cold at night, and I slept outside!

With such low temperatures, little light came through the trees at night when I set up camp or cooked dinner.

I didn’t have any trouble getting good shots because of the wide aperture on my camera.

It seized every memorable moment that still filled my heart with warmth.

White Balance/Frame Rate

As I approached the peak, I knew this would be worth it.

The moment I saw the view from up there, I knew why people love hiking so much: it’s something you don’t get to see every day, making you feel like a part of something bigger than yourself.

My camera allowed me to shoot quickly at 10 fps, so I never missed a shot, and its custom white balance meant that my photos always looked great, even in challenging lighting conditions.

Why is this camera the best?

It’s small and light.

It’s an impressive sensor that can capture stunning images in low light and high-contrast situations.

It features built-in image stabilization to help you get better shots when moving around.

The A7III is excellent for backpackers who want to take photos on their trips without carrying a bulky camera.

Its compact design makes it easy to stow away in your pack.


The battery life on this best-budget camera for backpacking is excellent.

It will last up to 710 shots per charge, so if you use it sparingly throughout your trip, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice.

  • 24MP full-frame BSI sensor.
  • 10fps with tracking.
  • 5-axis stabilization.
  • 4K HDR video.
  • Silent shooting is available.
  • Tilting touch LCD.
  • Dual SD slots.
  • Vastly improved battery.
  • Focus joystick.
  • Flat profiles are available.
  • Only one card slot is UHS-II.
  • No in-body flash.
  • No PC sync socket.


All the cameras we will discuss in this article are all right, guys.

Do you guys have any experience with these cameras? What are your thoughts on them?

Which is your Best Budget Camera for Backpacking?

Is there a camera you love to use for hiking that I didn’t mention in this article?

Would you please leave your thoughts and comments below?

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Best Cameras for Hiking and Backpacking:

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