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Question

Buying Sale Camera For Hikes and Fun

Hey,

Just looking to take some hobby photos on my hikes and random adventures. Looking to also learn more about quality photography.

There are 2 strong deals right now that are going to expire soon on cameras in my local brick and mortar shops.

Nikon D3400
and
Canon EOS M3

One is a DSLR and ones a Mirrorless. I have read a bunch of reviews about both and it seems like the Nikon might take better pictures overall. Was wondering if there was a clear winner from the perspective of people who own these cameras as to which would be a better hobby camera.

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Clarification Request
Many are hard pressed to plunk down for these. Why?

In reply to: Buying Sale Camera For Hikes and Fun

Smart phone cameras.

That out of the way, the mirrorless could be my next choice as it dispenses with the DSLR noises and mirror swing but only if I get the viewfinder.

dpreview has articles and sample pictures ready.

All Answers

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Answer
Camera for hiking

In reply to: Buying Sale Camera For Hikes and Fun

I hike over 1,000 miles a year, always with a camera but seldom with my Nikon DSLR. It's just to bulky and expensive for the purpose. I've carryed a "pocket size" Nikon, the S6500 in a small soft case, for the past few years. It takes very good quality photos; not quite DSLR quality but miles ahead of smart phone camera. The only thing I miss is the ability to attach a filter. The small size is worth it.

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Answer
Pocketable compact with zoom

In reply to: Buying Sale Camera For Hikes and Fun

While there is nothing wrong with either of the cameras you mention as hiking companions, I suggest that instead you go with a small, lightweight compact digital camera with a decent zoom lens. Unlike the ones you mentioned (or similar models), the compact camera can fit into a pants pocket; that keeps it out of your way until you need it, and offers a bit more protection than having it hang in front of your chest on a neck strap. A compact camera is going to be lighter, too -- you know how important that can be when you're hiking. It will also cost a lot less, unless you go for a high-end compact (which can cost much more than either of the two you're looking at); if you bang it on a rock, it won't hurt your pocketbook as much.

Which particular camera you should get depends on your particular requirements and budget; if you hike in mountains you might want a superzoom camera that will let you grab shots at considerable distance, but otherwise one with a 3x or 4x zoom might be a better choice. If you take really long hikes or otherwise will be away from AC for recharging, you might consider a camera that takes AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable) instead of a proprietary battery, and carry spares.

The downside to most affordable compact digitals is that you have even less control over exposures than with a beginner-level DSLR (like the D3400) or MILC (like the EOS M3). At the same time, both these cameras are really designed to do most of the work for you, making them only a little more versatile than a compact camera. This is especially true if you use the "kit" lenses that typically come with them.

A more expensive camera won't make you a better photographer, and the extra "fuss factor" may actually get in your way. Taking lots of pictures *will* improve your skills, even with a simple point-and-shoot camera.

But if you really want one of the two in your post, go with the Nikon D3400. It has the look-and-feel you're probably craving, and the range of lenses available is enormous. A good lens is more important to most serious photographers than a more-expensive camera body; and the lenses you buy for the D3400 will fit other Nikon DSLRs with the APS-C image sensor format, if/when you're ready to upgrade.

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Reply to pocketable camera

In reply to: Pocketable compact with zoom

Thanks so much for the indepth answer. I think your right about the dslr craving Happy I actually went and got hands on with both of them. The eos wasn't as small as all the reviews would have you believe and the nikon wasn't as big. I will probably go for the Nikon as it has lots of after market attachments and the guide will help me learn to take better photos. Thanks for taking the time to write all that up Happy the compact would of been a great option but I don't feel it would of given me the feel a smartphone couldn't.

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My pocket camera

In reply to: Pocketable compact with zoom

I agree with most of what you've said, but I'll point out that my Nikon S6500 does fit in a pocket nicely. But I never do that. With the small soft case, I sometimes carry it with the strap around my neck, but still in the case- the strap sticks out the opening where the case's zipper isn't quite closed. If for some reason I needed to replace this camera, I'd go the same route again; it works great.
By the way, although I seldom pack the DSLR (it's saved for when I expect more spectacular scenery), I have a very snug-fitting soft case that's still a bit of a challege to fit in my backpack along with everything else.

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Answer
Go with the DSLR

In reply to: Buying Sale Camera For Hikes and Fun

I'm a long time Canon fan (back to film) but given the choice of the two cameras you mention, I'd go with the Nikon DSLR. Whichever you choose, you are going to be carrying a fair amount of weight, in the lenses, if nothing else. But the killer for me on the Canon mirrorless is the lack of an optical viewfinder. While EVF is way better than the touchscreen, often as near as impossible to see in bright sunlight, it can't hold a candle to a genuine optical VF. The same issue kills mobile phone cameras for me also, although my LG G4 has a full manual operation, it doesn't help when I can't see the screen.

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