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Five climber-friendly point and shoots

Inspired by this issue to do more photography? Here are five lightweight cameras you can carry on your most adventurous outings. See page 24 for tips from the pros on how to choose a small camera and get the most from it.

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At a mid–price point, the Coolpix L120 still offers many trick features: 3-inch LCD screen, 14 megapixels, large ISO range, image stabilization, and generous (25–525mm) optical zoom. It shoots 720p HD video and runs on AA batteries—helpful when the nearest electrical outlet is a week away, but it makes the camera kind of a fattie.

Overall dimensions: 3.1” x 4.4” x 3.1” Weight: 15.3 oz. Price: $279.95

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This durable, 10-megapixel camera shoots 720p HD video and has a tilt-out, 2.8-inch LCD screen, image stabilization, and a wide-angle (28–140mm) zoom. Its huge ISO range (80–3200) and fast (f/2.8), versatile lens let you take great photos in both very low and very bright light. The camera can shoot RAW format, and a manual mode allows complete exposure control. Plus, the optical viewfinder lets you see your image if bright light obscures the LCD screen.

Overall dimensions: 4.41” x 3” x 1.9” Weight: 12.4 oz. Price: $499.99

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The lightest and slimmest rig of the bunch, the FinePix Z900EXR is another camera with good features that won’t break the bank. It boasts 16 megapixels, 1080p HD video, a manual exposure mode, 3.5-inch LCD touch-screen monitor, and image stabilization. Because of its relatively slow lens (f/3.9), however, the FinePix falters in low-light conditions.

Overall dimensions: 4” x 2.3” x 0.7” Weight: 4.8 oz. Price: $279.95

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With one of the fastest zoom lenses in its category (maximum aperture f/1.8), the XZ-1 is worth some extra investment. This camera is impressively versatile for a point and shoot, offering both manual exposure and manual focus. It’ll also shoot RAW files—useful if you’re into fancy Photoshopping.

Overall dimensions: 4.4” x 2.6” x 1.7” Weight: 9.2 oz. Price: $499.99

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The slim SX230 calls out to the aspiring climbing videographer. It shoots 1080p HD video and offers a “Movie Digest” mode, which records a short video clip before shooting a still image, then combines a day’s worth of clips into one video. Twelve megapixels, a 3-inch LCD monitor, 28–392mm lens, and image stabilization top off the camera’s features. Even cooler: This camera is GPS-equipped, which means it’ll record when and where your images are taken, and includes mapping utility software that’s compatible with Google Maps.

Overall dimensions: 4.2” x 2.3” x 1.3” Weight: 7.8 oz. Price: $349.99