Help Choosing a Camera for Backpacking

iPhone4 as my primary camera

I've been using my iPhone4 as my primary camera for the photos taken on my blog for the past 18 months now and am really quite impressed with the quality and clarity of the pictures it takes. I don't bother taking my old camera, a Nikon Coolpix S51, with me anymore on trips because the iPhone does such a good job at taking photos.

As good as the iPhone4 is, there are things it simply can't do. It can't take good macro photos - unless I buy one of those quirky little lenses -  and it can't take a good action picture. My Nikon compact camera isn't any good for those things either. I've reached the point where I'm ready to take the plunge and buy a 'real' camera, but I'll openly admit that I have little to no clue about cameras.

GORUCK GR1 Rucksack

So here's where you can help me. I know what I want the camera to be able to do, but I don't have the necessary experience to know how to choose the right one. I can compare the features as well as anyone else, but I lack an understanding of the fundamentals of camera functions. I'm f/stop challenged!

Criteria for my next camera:

  • Compact (lightweight would be a bonus)
  • Simple to use
  • Fast/rapid shooting modes
  • Built-in flash (hot shoe if possible)
  • Macro shooting
  • High speed photos
  • HD video

I'm sure all of the camera geeks among you are rolling your eyes right now and cringing at my lack of both photographic terminology and specific needs. I told you I was challenged.

I'm very intrigued by the Panasonic Lumix cameras with their four thirds interchangeable lens system, I just don't know if those would be over kill for what I need?

So there you have it, I clearly need all the help I can get. I'm willing to answer any follow up questions (leave a comment below) you might need to ask me in order to help guide my decision, but warn you that I may have questions for you too.

Could a UL Gear Exchange Work?

Cleaning Out My Gear Closet | Free Stuff