BEST Backpacking Cameras Guide

BEST Backpacking Cameras Guide

Are you looking for the best backpacking cameras? Do you want a hiking camera to take with you on your next travel adventure? Don’t worry, we are here to help.

Selecting the proper camera for backpacking is no easy task. Besides making sure that the camera has all the capable features to create the final image or video you have envisioned,  you also have to make sure it will survive the act of backpacking itself. 

Your equipment needs to be durable enough to handle being tossed in a backpack and used during inclement weather. The backpacking camera also needs to be compact and not add a lot of weight. There are so many things to consider when selecting the perfect camera for backpacking. 

Below we have created a detailed list of 9 of the best backpacking cameras in the market now. All of these are great candidates for hiking and travel photography but they are further broken down into different categories such as best vlogging, most affordable, best underwater, and so on. 

Want a Quick Tip On The Best Backpacking Cameras?

1. Fujifilm X-T3 – Best Overall Backpacking Camera

2. Canon PowerShot G7 X II – Best Vlogging Camera For Backpacking

3. Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII – Best Compact Camera For Backpacking

4. GoPro HERO8 Black – Best Action Camera For Backpacking

5. Olympus Tough TG-6 – Best Underwater Camera For Backpacking

6. Panasonic GH5 – Best Backpacking Camera For Videos And Cinematography

7. Sony A7 III – Best Professional Camera For Backpacking

8. Sony a5100 – Best Backpacking Camera Under $500

9. Sony a6400 – Best Backpacking Camera Under $1000

Product

description

price

BEST OVERALL BACKPACKING CAMERA

Fujifilm X-T3

FEATURES: 4K video at 60fps, 26.1 megapixel sensor, amazing autofocus, very versatile

WEIGHT: 1.2 lb (including battery)

BEST VLOGGING CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Canon PowerShot G7 X II

FEATURES: 1″ sensor, pocketable, 180° LCD screen, vloggers’ favorite camera

WEIGHT: 0.7 lb (including battery)

BEST COMPACT CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII

FEATURES: 4K video, 1″ high-quality sensor, pocketable, superb autofocus, user-friendly

WEIGHT: 0.67 lb (including battery)

BEST ACTION CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

GoPro HERO8 Black

FEATURES: 4K video, waterproof, 1080p live streaming, amazing stabilization

WEIGHT: 0.28 lb (including battery)

BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Olympus Tough TG-6

FEATURES: Everything-proof (water, shock, dust, crush, …), 4K video

WEIGHT: 0.56 lb (including battery)

BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA FOR VIDEOS AND CINEMATOGRAPHY

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

FEATURES: Incredible video quality, superb image stabilization, 4K video at 60 FPS

WEIGHT: 1.60 lb (including battery)

BEST PROFESSIONAL CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Sony A7 III

FEATURES: Best value-for-money, excellent in low light, image stabilization, amazing autofocus, gorgeous 4K video

WEIGHT: 1.43 lb (including battery)

BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA UNDER $500

Sony A5100

FEATURES: Beginner-friendly, pocket-sized, decent in low-light, affordable

WEIGHT: 0.62 lb (including battery)

BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA UNDER $1000

Sony A6400

FEATURES: Insane autofocus, 24 MP APS-C sensor, user-friendly, lightweight

WEIGHT: 0.89 lb (including battery)

DESCRIPTION

BEST OVERALL BACKPACKING CAMERA

Fujifilm X-T3

FEATURES: 4K video at 60fps, 26.1 megapixel sensor, amazing autofocus, very versatile

WEIGHT: 1.2 lb (including battery)

BEST VLOGGING CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Canon PowerShot G7 X II

FEATURES: 1″ sensor, pocketable, 180° LCD screen, vloggers’ favorite camera

WEIGHT: 0.7 lb (including battery)

BEST COMPACT CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII

FEATURES: 4K video, 1″ high-quality sensor, pocketable, superb autofocus, user-friendly

WEIGHT: 0.67 lb (including battery)

BEST ACTION CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

GoPro HERO8 Black

FEATURES: 4K video, waterproof, 1080p live streaming, amazing stabilization

WEIGHT: 0.28 lb (including battery)

BEST UNDERWATER CAMERA FOR BACKPACKING

Olympus Tough TG-6

FEATURES: Everything-proof (water, shock, dust, crush, …), 4K video

WEIGHT: 0.56 lb (including battery)

BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA FOR VIDEOS AND CINEMATOGRAPHY

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

FEATURES: Incredible video quality, superb image stabilization, 4K video at 60 FPS

WEIGHT: 1.60 lb (including battery)

BEST PROFESSIONAL BACKPACKING CAMERA

Sony A7 III

FEATURES: Best value-for-money, excellent in low light, image stabilization, amazing autofocus, gorgeous 4K video

WEIGHT: 1.43 lb (including battery)

BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA UNDER $500

Sony a5100

FEATURES: Beginner-friendly, pocket-sized, decent in low-light, affordable

WEIGHT: 0.62 lb (including battery)

BEST BACKPACKING CAMERA UNDER $1000

Sony a6400

FEATURES: Insane autofocus, 24 MP APS-C sensor, user-friendly, lightweight

WEIGHT: 0.89 lb (including battery)

10 Essential Features Of A Backpacking Camera

When you are looking for a backpacking camera, whether it is for travel or hiking, there are some essential features that you should look for. Having these features will definitely make your photo-taking experience much more pleasant and enjoyable!

Below are the 10 features that make a camera a good backpacking camera.

1. Weight & Size

You can have the best camera in the world but if it weighs heavier than the biggest dumbbell in a gym, will you still carry that with you? Backpacking is all about flexibility and always being ready when the perfect moment presents itself. If you have a heavy camera, you won’t be able to have it in your hand at all times. You will surely miss some amazing photo opportunities.

2. Image Quality (File Formats)

Image quality refers to the types of files the camera is about to capture. Usually, there are 4 levels of image quality (RAW, extra-fine, fine, and standard).

RAW is the type of file that produces the best image quality. If you want to edit and post-process your photos, a camera that is able to shoot in RAW will be your best choice.

The cons to RAW file is that it is bigger in size (memory-wise) and you need a specific program to open RAW files (Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop).

For example, if your photos came out underexposed (too dark), you can bring back the shadows in a RAW photo without sacrificing too many details! That is why I only shoot in RAW.

Luckily for you, all the cameras above have the ability to shoot in RAW.

3. Sensor Size

The sensor is probably one of the most important features of any camera. It refers to the tiny piece of hardware that converts light into the image you see on the camera. The bigger the sensor, the more light it is able to capture and the better it is in low-light situations.

The better the sensor, the more you are able to increase the ISO (camera’s sensitivity to light) without affecting the image quality. By image quality, I refer to the grain and discoloration of a photo.

4. Weather Sealing

If you are backpacking, you will unquestionably encounter inclement weather. Rainstorms, sandstorms, or even extreme heat conditions can destroy a camera. When I am looking for a backpacking camera, I want one that is at least water-resistant. You don’t want one that will melt like butter in the rain. A water-resistant camera (and lens) will still allow you to shoot a little bit before you have to completely safeguard it from the rain. A waterproof camera is completely resistant to water. 

5. Megapixels

Megapixels are often mistaken as the most important feature in a camera and that cannot be more wrong. Megapixels refer to the resolution of the photos captured by the camera.

If the resolution of the camera is 24 megapixels, then the images captured are 6000 pixels by 4000 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio). Just to give you a rough idea of what that is like, the photos on this page are about 1000 pixels by 666 pixels. And if you are looking at the pictures I’m are talking about, it covers more than half your screen. 

That is why megapixels are so overrated. Unless you intend on making a giant print of your photo or looking at it on your 4K television, a photo with high megapixels is usually overkill. 

Besides, a photo with high megapixels takes up a lot of space!

So when picking a camera for backpacking, don’t just focus on megapixels!

6. Video Capability and Quality

If you are an avid videographer or cinematography, you should consider the video capability of your camera. Does it shoot 4K, at what frames per second? 4K is great but if it is only shot at 30 fps, then it will be impossible to do any slow-motion effect on it. Pay attention to the fps as much as the resolution size when considering a backpacking camera for video taking! 

7. Professional Settings (Manual Mode)

If you are a professional photographer or want to dive deep into the photography world, you will need settings that compliment your compassion. I am talking about manual mode. The mode that allows you complete control over shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and much more. The manual mode gives you absolute freedom and helps you create the exact photo you had pictured in your mind. 

If you are a beginner, chances are you won’t touch the manual mode and other shooting modes will suffice, such as the aperture-priority mode or the shutter-speed priority mode! But it is a good thing to have if you want to take your photography to the next level!

8. Lens Selection

Buying the perfect backpacking camera is only half the battle. The lens you put on a camera is as important, if not more important than the camera itself. Many of the camera suggestions I have made allow you to change lenses depending on the situation.

For example, a wide-angle lens (usually under 35mm) is perfect for capturing landscapes. While a telephoto lens (85mm and greater), is perfect for capturing things far away from such as wildlife. You don’t want to use a wide-angle lens to capture lions in a safari because you could become their dinner.

9. Usability and Ergonomics

Is the camera easy to use? Does it feel good in your hand? Is it comfortable to hold on to for a long duration? Your camera should be an extension of you and never feel like a puzzle you have to figure out. 

The ergonomics of a camera should be on point. The buttons are never too cramped. They are easily accessible without having to use two hands or change your hand position. The camera can be in your hands for the majority of the day when you are backpacking. You need a camera with great handling!

10. Electronic Viewfinder or Optical Viewfinder

Viewfinders refer to to the part of the camera used for framing and composing. In traditional DSLR cameras, it is via the optical viewfinder (the little glass piece at the top of the camera where you look through). In a mirrorless camera, it is usually via an LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder. 

Electronic viewfinders, or EVF, are much more useful for a beginner. When you look through an EVF, you see the final image as it is. Any adjustments you make with the settings of the camera, it is reflected immediately in the EVF. Increase the ISO, the image you see through an EVF gets brighter. It is like god mode in comparison to using a traditional optical viewfinder.

When you look through an optical viewfinder, you don’t know what the final image is going to come out. It hasn’t been processed by the camera yet. 

EVFs are much more beginner-friendly than optical viewfinders and will help you learn photography!

The 9 Best Cameras for Backpacking

1. Fujifilm X-T3

Best Overall Backpacking Camera

The camera that has everything you need plus a little more

Weight: 1.2 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 23.5mm×15.6mm (APS-C)

Megapixels: 26.1 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

The Fujifilm X-T3 is one of the best backpacking cameras for both stills and video. It is the perfect balance between portability, affordability, and capability. That is why we consider it the best overall backpacking camera.

With a rugged magnesium alloy body, the camera is sealed against moisture and dust. The camera also has analog controls for exposure compensation, shutter speed, and ISO. You will never feel like you are out of touch with your camera.

Other features include one of the finest EVFs, bluetooth-support WiFi for easy image sharing, and buttons and dials that are easily customizable.

pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact for The Features It Offers
  • Great Dynamic Range for an ASP-C Sensor
  • 4K Video at 60 FPS
  • Weather-Sealed
  • User-Friendly

Cons

  • Average Battery Life
  • No In-Body Image Stabilization
  • Low-Light Performance Below Average

An affordable and rugged camera that packs a lot of features, the X-T3 is the ultimate camera for backpacking. If you are looking for a travel camera, look no further. If you are looking for a hiking camera, look no further as well. The FujiFilm X-T3 is the camera you need for your next adventure!

2. Canon PowerShot G7 X II

Best Backpacking Camera For Vloggers

Vlogging has never been so easy with this Canon camera

Weight: 0.7 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 1″ sensor

Megapixels: 20 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

The Canon PowerShot G7X II is vloggers favorite camera and it is easy to see why. Pocketable, lightweight, great video quality, and with a 180-degree tilting screen, the Canon G7X II hits many of the essential features to be a great vlogging camera. The camera comes with a built-in versatile 24-100mm f1.8-2.8 lens for your everyday backpacking needs.

However, due to its small 1″ sensor, the Canon G7X II is not the best camera in low light situations. Under the ideal lighting situation, the camera does produce great photos. 

pros

  • Pocketable
  • 180° tilting 3″ LCD Screen
  • 1080p At 60 Frames Per Second
  • Easy To Use For Vlogging

Cons

  • No EVF, Just an LCD Screen
  • Below Average Battery Life
  • Hit-or-Miss Autofocus
  • Not Good in Low Light

The Canon G7X II is a budget backpacking camera for vloggers. Outside of vlogging, the camera lacks in many different aspects. But if all you do is vlog and take the occasional photos, the Canon G7X II is perfect for you. It is also a great second camera that you can carry with you whenever you want due to its compactness!

3. Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII

Best Compact Camera For Backpacking

The Sony ultra-compact camera that gets the job done

Weight: 0.67 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 1″ Sensor

Megapixels: 20 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

If you are looking for the most capable pocketable camera, look no further. The Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII is an ultra-compact award-winning camera that excels over some bigger and pricier models.

My favorite feature of the Sony RX100 VII is the amazing autofocus system. Using the same technology as Sony’s flagship model (Sony a9), you will never take another out-of-focus shot again. Combined that with the high-quality 24-200mm lens, photographing moving objects such as animals from far away has never been easier. 

Weighing 0.67 lb including the battery, the Sony RX100 VII is a camera you can have at all times with you. It is not a bulky backpacker camera that will capture a lot of attention when you are traveling in a foreign country. Its size is deceiving considering how much power it has. 

pros

  • Top-Of-The-Line Autofocus System
  • High-Quality Zoom Lens For Every Occasion
  • Excellent Image Stabilization
  • Beginner-Friendly EVF
  • Good Dynamic Range
  • 4K Video

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No Weather Sealing
  • Not Good in Low-Light Situations
  • Below Average Battery Life

The Sony RX100 VII is the ultimate compact camera for backpackers. Whether you are traveling, hiking, or exploring the streets, this camera will deliver the results you want. Its only downside is the lack of performance in low-light situations, which is to be expected considering the compactness and sensor size of the camera. 

4. GoPro HERO8 Black

Best Action Camera For Backpacking

The king of action camera for adventure-loving backpackers

Weight: 0.28 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.63 mm)

Megapixels: 12 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

Ever Since GoPro’s initial release in 2004, their cameras have been dominating the action camera category. The newest GoPro flagship, the GoPro HERO8 Black, continues the legacy.

A tiny rugged 0.28-lb camera, the GoPro is the perfect travel companion for backpacking! Its waterproof capability (up to 10m underwater) allows any backpackers to take it for a swim or even shallow diving.

Its newest model includes a 1080p live streaming features for those that want to share the action on the spot.

The most impressive feature is the Hypersmooth 2.0, a feature that minimizes camera shake when you are shooting video without a gimbal. It doesn’t matter if the camera is handheld while you are hiking up the Andes or mounted while you are mountain biking, you won’t see any camera shake with this new GoPro feature.

The Hypersmooth 2.0 feature alone is worth the purchase.

pros

  • Incredible Stabilization Feature (Hypersmooth)
  • 4K at 60 FPS or 1080p at 240 FPS
  • Waterproof Up to 10m
  • 1080p Live Streaming
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Low Photo Quality (Worse than some Phone Cameras)
  • Poor Low Light Performance
  • Average Battery Life

The GoPro HERO8 Black is the perfect camera for action-loving backpackers. Its forte is definitely its video making capability and its stabilization. At 0.28 lb, it is one of the most compact cameras in the market!

5. Olympus Tough TG-6

Best Underwater Camera For Backpacking

A seriously rugged camera prepared for any challenges

Weight: 0.56 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.63 mm)

Megapixels: 12 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

Are you a backpacker looking for the most rugged camera out there? Look no further. The Olympus TG-6 is one of the best rugged and underwater cameras in the market right now!

The TG-6 is waterproof up to 15m, shockproof from 2.4m, crushproof to 220 lbs, and dustproof. If you find someone annoying while backpacking, you can throw this camera at him or her without damaging your camera!

But how do the images look? Rugged cameras aren’t typically known for their image or video quality but the TG-6 surprised us in both categories. Not only is the camera beginner-friendly and easy-to-use, but it produces some crisp and vibrant photos, especially underwater.

Underwater photography has never been so easy with the Olympus TG-6 and its 25-100mm f2.0 – 4.9 lens.

The Olympus TG-6 also offers great macro photography features, allowing the user to focus on subjects as close as 1 cm away from the lens.

pros

  • Great Image and Video Quality 
  • 4K Video at 30 FPS
  • Rugged And Waterproof Up to 15m
  • Beginner-Friendly
  • Affordable
  • Macro Photos

Cons

  • Poor Low Light Performance
  • Better Options If You Focus of Land Photography

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the king of compact cameras for underwater photography. Its ruggedness and portability allow you to carry it wherever you go and not worry about damaging it. However, it is the king of waterproof cameras and that is all. Don’t expect it to excel when you are shooting on land.

6. Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

Best Backpacking Camera For Videos and Cinematography

A camera filmmakers will certainly fall in love with

Weight: 1.60 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: Micro Four-Thirds

Megapixels: 20.3 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 is the perfect camera for professional videographers.

One of its new features is color subsampling at 4:2:2 with a color depth of 10-bit, a feature that produces more vibrant and rich colors in videos. Without getting too technical, this camera has features for videos that completely blow out its competitors.

The Panasonic GH5 is also a decent camera for stills (photos). Though if you prefer taking stills, I would recommend you to look at other alternatives such as the Sony A7R II. 

pros

  • Amazing Video Capabilities
  • 4K Video at 60 FPS
  • Great image stabilization
  • Weathersealed

Cons

  • Relatively Bulky
  • Stills (Photos) Could Be A Bit Better
  • Low Battery Life
  • Low-Light Situations Can Be Problematic 

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 is a camera for professional videographers looking to capture some stunning footage. The capabilities of this camera are unmatched by any others at this price point. Though it still takes decent photos, you won’t be amazed by its image quality. 

7. Sony A7 III

Best Professional Backpacking Camera

The Sony mirrorless camera with the perfect balance of price and capability 

Weight: 1.43 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: Full Frame

Megapixels: 24 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

The Sony A7 III interchangeable mirrorless camera is one of the best backpacking cameras in the market. Perfectly balanced among price, portability, and capabilities, the Sony A7 III is a camera that can handle anything.

Low-light situations? Don’t worry, the A7 III has a full-frame sensor. Videos? The camera shoots high-quality 4k videos. 

On top of all those features, the Sony A7 III has 5-axis image stabilization, excellent dynamic range, great sharpness, and an amazing autofocus system. 

You cannot go wrong picking the Sony A7 III as your backpacking camera.

pros

  • Excellent in Low-Light Situations
  • In-Body Image Stabilization
  • Great Dynamic Range
  • Amazing Autofocus System
  • Good Battery Life

Cons

  • Relatively not too compact, especially after putting on a Sony lens
  • Pricey (but worth it!)

The Sony A7III is a camera for someone ready to take their photography and videography to the next level. Featuring amazing specs throughout, the A7 III will guarantee you the results that you want. I highly recommend this camera for backpacking!

8. Sony a5100

Best Backpacking Camera Under $500

A beginner-friendly mirrorless camera perfect for backpackers just getting in photography 

Weight: 0.62 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 23.5mm×15.6mm (APS-C)

Megapixels: 24.3 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

At under $500, the Sony a5100 is one of the most affordable compact cameras in the market. The Sony a5100 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera perfect for beginners that just started diving into the world of photography.

The camera features in-camera guides, which are a bunch of tutorials that teaches beginners the basics of photography.

Other than its didactic features, the humble a5100 offers the balance between image quality and portability. It is easy to use and the image quality is surprisingly well for a compact camera. The 3″ LCD screen tilts 180 degrees for anyone that is into self-portraits.

It is the best camera for backpacking you can buy for under $500.

pros

  • Very Compact
  • Great Autofocus System
  • Beginner-Friendly
  • 3″ LCD 180° Tilting Touchscreen

Cons

  • No Image Stabilization
  • Below Average Low Light Performance
  • No EVF
  • Not Weather-Sealed

The Sony a5100 is a very affordable mirrorless mirror for backpackers that want to learn photography. Its beginner-friendly features help you create the shot you had in mind. It is a no-frills budget camera that will get the job done but don’t expect exceptional performance.

9. Sony a6400

Best Backpacking Camera for Under $1000

An affordable award-winning compact camera that will become your best backpacking friend

Weight: 0.89 lb (including battery)

Sensor Size: 23.5mm×15.6mm (APS-C)

Megapixels: 24 MP

Price: Check Latest Price Here

The Sony a6400 is for backpackers that want the capability of a big full-frame camera in a small body. Weighing in at 0.89 lb, this camera surprisingly contains more features and power than expected.

Similar to the Sony RX100 VII above, the a6400 has one of the best autofocus systems in the market because it uses Sony a9’s (Sony’s flagship model) real-time tracking hardware.

The image quality from this small mirrorless camera is quite impressive and so is its 4K 30 FPS video. The 3″ LCD screen tilts 180° up and makes it easy to take selfies for solo backpackers.

The built-in high-quality EVF is one of my favorite features on this affordable mirrorless Sony camera. It allows you to frame your photos better before pressing the shutter!

pros

  • Compact
  • Great EVF
  • Amazing Autofocus System
  • Good Battery Life For Mirrorless Cameras

Cons

  • No Image Stabilization
  • Low-Light Situations Can Be Problematic

Not only is the Sony a6400 a great compact camera for backpacking, but it is also one of the best value-for-money cameras in the market. Any beginner to immediate photographers will appreciate the user-friendly features of the camera. It is a great overall camera for backpacking, travel, or daily needs. 

Picking the perfect backpacking camera is no easy task. I hope this post has at least given you insights into which camera suits you the best!

Any question? Leave a comment! 

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

Photographing Volcano Fuego – How to Get the Best Photo on Your Acatenango Hike

Photographing Volcano Fuego – How to Get the Best Photo on Your Acatenango Hike

One of the most important parts of traveling is definitely capturing the memories. However, there are times where what we see is nothing like what the photograph captures.

One of the most difficult scenarios is night photography, especially astrophotography. Here, I will show you one of my personal examples that I had the pleasure to photograph and the difficulties I had encountered.

A lot of people photograph Volcano Fuego in Antigua Guatemala, but a lot of people are not satisfied with the results, especially after having to climb Volcano Acatenango for 6 hours to capture Volcano Fuego.

Here you will find everything that is required to capture a volcano erupting with the stars, including settings, preparations beforehand, gears required, and of course the editing process. 

Gears Required to Capture a Volcano Erupting

Camera Body For Photographing Stars and Volcano

A lot of people think that the camera body itself will make a huge difference in the quality of the photo you take, but this cannot be farther away from the truth.

In the case of astrophotography (or photographing stars) and capturing a volcano erupt, having a full-frame camera body is very helpful.

What does it matter to have a full-frame camera? Because the sensor will usually be better on a full-frame camera. And that means your camera will be more usable in low-light situations.

THE BUDGET OPTION

Sony Alpha A7II Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera w/ 28-70mm Lens

Light, portable, and full-frame, this is my current camera that I use for traveling. It has everything a photographer needs, A tilting screen, in-camera stabilization which reduces camera shake at low shutter speed, and much more.

The camera also features an electronic viewfinder, which means what you see on the screen is what the picture going to come out to be. It really feels like you are cheating.

The autofocus is great and rarely misses which 24.3 MP. This is everything that I need.

THE MORE EXPENSIVE OPTION

Sony A7III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch LCD

This is the upgrade from the Sony A7II above. Everything from the sensor to the dynamic range of the camera is better than its predecessor.

It still has all the pros of its predecessor being a light-weight portable camera.

If you want the best of the best, this is the one I would recommend. However, it is not necessary to capture the photo of a volcano erupting with the stars.

Lenses For Photographing Stars And Volcano

If I had to rank the importance of a lens, I would rank it at number 2. The number 1 being skills and proficiency of the camera and number 3 would definitely be the camera body.

Many people think that the camera body is the most important item but that cannot be farther from the truth. Here are the lenses that I recommend for your astrophotography and traveling needs.

Note: These are lenses that fit on the cameras I recommended above. If you are using these lenses with other camera bodies, make sure it fits!

THE ECONOMICAL JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES TRAVELING LENS 

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 for Sony Mirrorless Full-Frame E Mount

The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 is literally my bread and butter. The focal lengths are so flexible that it is so perfect for traveling. In our case, the 28mm at f/2.8 was just perfect enough for me to capture the stars and the volcano.

I am not going to go in-depth about the sharpness and the chromatic aberrations and etc, there are better websites for those. This lens scores really well on all the categories.

More importantly, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 is one of the best value-for-money lenses in the market.

THE IDEAL WIDE-ANGLE LENS FOR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY 

Sony 16-35mm GM Wide Angle Zoom Lens

If money wasn’t a problem and weight and portability weren’t as well, my weapon of choice for astrophotography is definitely the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens. This lens offer much more flexibility than the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 at astrophotography.

This lens is the top of the game at what it does.

If you are looking for the best-quality photo at no matter the cost, I would recommend this one to you.

Otherwise, there are others that will suffice.

Tripod For Photographing Stars And Volcano

When it comes to a tripod, I am looking for one that is lightweight and portable. Not only does it have to be lightweight, it also needs to be able to hold the weight of your equipment (Lens+Camera Body).

Ideally, it is a minimal tripod with the basic function, I don’t need one that pans or anything.

Again you are probably hiking hours to these destinations, so you don’t want anything too bulky. 

LIGHT-WEIGHT TRIPOD FOR EQUIPMENT < 8.8 LBS (4 KG) 

MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Backpacker Travel Tripod

The MeFOTO classic aluminum backpacker travel tripod has everything you need but at half the weight of the other tripod.

When I first bought this tripod 3 years ago, I thought it was poorly made due to the weight. But now it has become one of my best travel companions. Light and portable, I could bring this thing on any hike that I want.

Make sure your equipment is less than 8.8 lbs (4kg) before purchasing this. Or else, it might not be able to support it. 

LIGHT-WEIGHT TRIPOD FOR EQUIPMENT < 17.6 LBS (8 KG) 

MeFOTO Classic Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod

The MeFoto classic aluminum roadtrip travel tripod is an upgrade from the MeFoto backpacker travel tripod. It is very similar in design except that this one weighs a little bit more and can support double the weigh.

You want to get this one if your equipment is very heavy, otherwise, the other one will suffice.

The MeFOTO Roadtrip Travel Tripod goes for $142 on Amazon.

Settings on Your Camera Required to Capture a Volcano Erupting and the Stars

Now that we have the equipment and the logistic part of the problem solved, we are going to look at the technical aspects of photographing a volcano erupting and the stars.

The settings I had used to capture my picture was:

ISO 2500, 28mm, 20 s @ f/3.2

You might be able to just copy the settings, you might not. It depends on how much ambient light you have (how much light is the moon emitting, surrounding light, and more).

But don’t worry, I will teach you what those numbers mean and how you can find your perfect setting to get the perfect picture.

ISO For Capturing Volcano Erupting and Stars at Night

Ideally somewhere from ISO 800-3200

ISO determines the sensitivity of your camera to light. The higher the number is, the more sensitive your camera is to light.

So it must be a good thing that the ISO can go up to 51200 or however high it is? True and false.

After a certain ISO, the grain in the photo will be out of control and unusable. For a full-frame camera, ISO 3200 is usually when you can see the grains. So the lower your ISO, the less grain/noise you will have. 

Also, ISO is very important in reducing discoloration in your image. If you take the same image with 100 ISO and 12800 ISO, you will notice there is significantly more noise in the 12800 ISO one. The color in the images will also be different. The one with 12800 ISO will look very different, not anything close to the original colors with the human eyes.

But If you lower it too much to ISO 100, you won’t have enough light to capture the stars and volcano eruption.

Hence, I recommend an ISO 800- ISO 3200 for your volcano erupting with stars photo.

Aperture For Capturing Volcano Erupting and Stars at Night

AS LOW AS POSSIBLE (PREFERABLY AROUND F/1.8-F/4)

Aperture or f-stop is a term for measuring how wide your lens open and hence how much light your lens allows in. The wider the aperture, or the lower the f-stop number, the more light it allows in.

If you have seen numbers like f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4, those are the f-stop numbers.

Another thing to know is that aperture determines the amount of lens blur you will get. The lower the f-stop number, the more it will be (f/1.8 will give a lot of lens blur).

Depending on the lens that you have, you might only be allowed to go down to f/2.8, or f/4, or even f/5.6. That is why it is important to have the right lens. Any of the lenses I recommended above will do the job.

I had chosen an f-stop of f/3.2 and a focus on the background of the volcano erupting so that I would get lens blur on the person in the foreground. That way its easier to keep your eyes focused on what’s more important, the volcano erupting. 

Shutter Speed For Capturing Volcano Erupting and Stars at Night

AS LOW AS POSSIBLE WHILE GETTING THE PROPER EXPOSURE (15s-25s)

Shutter speed is the last bit of the exposure triangle (ISO and Aperture being the other two points). Together, they make up the exposure (or brightness) of your photo.

If it is a still object and you have a sturdy tripod, theoretically you can have as long as a shutter speed as you want without getting any blur.

But wait a second, the stars are constantly moving very slowly due to the earths rotation. How will that affect the photo?

The truth it, depending on the focal length of your lens, you cannot have your shutter speed for too long.

How long is too long? Adjust your focal length to the desired composition, take a photo with a certain shutter speed, then examine the photo after. When you zoom in, do the stars look blurry? If it does, lower your shutter speed either by lowering your f-stop or increasing your ISO.

The lower your focal length, the longer your shutter speed is allowed to be.

For that reason, I recommend anywhere from 15s – 25s as your starting point.

 

Framing and Composition

Usually, I frame my pictures in two ways, the most important subject in the middle with balancing elements of the sides(thirds or so). I wasn’t able to do that here in this photo because there were only two elements, the person and the volcano.

I would have to put both of the subjects in the middle of the photo, which would cover part of the volcano.

So to balance the photo, I had to put both subjects on the thirds of the photo. One on the left third and one on the right third. Then I purposely blur out the person by using a low f-stop to keep the reader’s eyes on what is the most important, the volcano. 

Color Theory

Colors that are primary in this photo are red (subject 1, person), orange (subject 2, volcano), and blue-greenish (background, sky).

If you look carefully, you will see hat the three colors form an isosceles triangle on the color wheel. This color palette is called the split-complementary color scheme and is one of the color palettes that will be very pleasing to the eyes. The sky color was changed in post-processing to achieve that color, and the color of the subject(jacket) was carefully picked out. 

The Final Step: Post-Processing

After you have your desired photo, you want to post-process and adjust it to what you had visioned. For post-processing, I use Adobe Lightroom for overall adjustments and Adobe Photoshop for more micro-adjustments. Here I will list out the steps to achieve the final picture.

Step One: Create the Composite (If Needed)

This part is could be skipped if you already have every element of the photo you want. For me, I was very unlucky and wasn’t able to pose and get the volcano to erupt at the same time (Volcano erupts every 30 minutes to hours).

For that reason I have two separate photos, one of me posing, and one of the volcano erupting.

Keep in mind that you cannot move your tripod at all or you won’t be able to composite (“overlap”) these photos.

Here is a tutorial on how to do create a composite by blending in one photo into the other.

Step Two: Global Adjustments Using Adobe Lightroom

It’s very important to have a goal in mind before you start editing. My goal was to create the color composition underlined in the Color Theory section, which consists of three colors: red, orange, and greenish-blue.

The other important part was to adjust the “brightness” of the stars to make it “pop” more.

Step Three: Export to Adobe Photoshop and Eliminate Distractions

Your image is very close to being done! If you are satisfied with what you have, your job is done.

But when I looked at the photo, my eyes are inevitably drawn to the chimney-like object next to the subject’s foot. I cannot help but look at that first in the picture.

So to remove any object that you do not want, Adobe Photoshop is your best weapon of choice. Check out this tutorial on how to remove anything on Adobe Photoshop!

Step Four: Export Your Photo and Share on Social Media!!

Show off the fruits of your labor!! Upload the photo onto your social medias and share with your friends!!

For those interested in seeing the final image, here’s the link to the photo of volcano Acatenango erupting on my Instagram.

–Don’t forget to share this post if you found it helpful!! Any additional questions you can contact me via the Contact page or through my Instagram. 

–Want to know how you can climb Volcano Acatenango? Check out this guide I’ve written on hiking Volcano Acatenango.

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Volcano-Acatenango Erupting