View Full Version : Digital Camera
I've been seeing more and more digital camera use. I like the concept, and the cameras are getting really compact and light (I saw a 3.5 oz one yesterday) but have a couple of questions regarding their use on a thru hike.
First, how do thruhikers deal with downloading the pictures? Second, how do you deal with the battery issue? Just carry a lot of batteries, and bounce a box with extras? I imagine finding the specific battery for a specific camera could be a problem.
Where did you see the 3.5 oz camera and who makes it?
I'm looking for something in that weight category, but it has to have a small LCD preview screen, at least 2 megapixels, and ideally some form of physical zoom.
I've been thinking about using a digital camera too. Here's the basic plan I will use:
Buy several flash memory cards. Start out with 2 of the cards in my pack. Take lots of pictures to the first maildrop. At this maildrop send my 2 flash memory cards back home to my transcriber/wife. Also, in this maildrop will be 2 more flash memory cards. When the flash memory w/ my pictures make it home to my wife she'll download the pictures off the flash cards and then send these same flash cards back to me on my next maildrop.
Just keep cycling the same 4 (or 6) flash cards through the maildrops for the entire hike.
That parts not the concern for me. What i'm trying to do is find a brand of digital camera that's light, rugged, and doesn't go through batteries like a hungry hiker through cheese.
What's this 3.5 0z. camera you found?
I'm not sure who made it. I saw it in costco. I have to stop by there for something on my way home, so I'll look at who makes it. It does have an optical zoom (3x?) and is 3.something megapixels if I remember right. It's spendy though ($350?)
I'll post the info under this thread tomorrow.
See below, camera reviews,
One of the best sites I have found for digital camera reviews, is very bottom below.
The internet reference below is to the Canon G3,.... most hiking folks (I agree...but am only a sectional hiker) would consider the G3 to heavy at 17 oz. (Canon S400 is 7.0 0z )
The Canon G3 is considered a state of the art camera with regard to digital cameras within its class if one accepts reviews from national publications. I plan to use it on my October 03 hike.
The Canon S400 has almost exact quality pictures at 7 0z, and purported to be the size of a pack of card.. but for only $90.00 more with the G3, you get the versatility of over-the-top software, manual lense and F stop appeture and lense control as well as the bonus.... for the creative photographer... additional wide lenses (at extra cost), bigger add on memory card etc.....
For your particular question(s), I would suggest refining the link below to your personal preferances.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canyou get ong3/
The 3.5 oz digital camera that I mentioned is the Pentax Optio S.
Pretty impressive little camera. Officially weighs 4.1 oz with battery. 260 shots on one battery, and the battery is light! One media card will hold something like 160 shots, so with two media cards and two batteries, you should make it to the next bounce box to recharge the batteries and send home the media cards and pick two new ones up.
3x optical zoom, small LCD display, movie mode and a sound recording mode (you can do an audio only record or record an audio track with each picture. This sounds INVALUABLE on a thru hike!).
It is not weather resistant, not one bit. I'm a little worried about that, but I think that if I am paraniod about it, it will be fine.
Seriously thinking about getting it, even just for day hiking and our week long backpacking we do regularly. It will save us a decent amount of weight, and I really am interested in the movie and sound recording feature.
The price tag is the real handicap at almost $400. Ouch. The Costco one comes with a media card, and a few extra goodies that don't come with the regular camera, and it's a bit cheaper. It's worth it to me, since they have a no questions asked return policy.
The review looked pretty good. Nice link Penscal
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted
the problem with digital camera is battery life..canon comes with a really good lithium ion battery..unfortunately, they have to be charged...no sockets, no camera...so thats out...regular batteries are easily available, but they drain sooner...i'd probably go for that. canon G3 is an excellent camera(i own it)..but weight is not the only issue..they come with over 4 megapixels..which means that you need more memory cards. secondly their lithium ion batteries need to be recharged...thirdly its a semi pro camera and the its entire advantage over the other cheaper canon digitals around the same resolution is that it has a hotshoe that's compatible with the same set of flash lights you use for your canon SLRs....not worth the hassle on the trail(but boy! the G series are a beauty..i'd strongly recommend it off the trail....nikon is for those with money to burn..canon is for photographers...hehe) ...someone suggested an old fashioned manual slr with a 50mm lens and film. apparently, i can make every picture 'count' this way....:p well..doh!....AS IF.... :D
I'm going to go with the Cannon G3, only on trail these days about 30 days a year, doing 2 to 4 day sections, over the course of the year and depending on weather in particular season.
I''ll deal with the exta 8 ounces over the Canon S400 in that I will be using the G3 extensively off trail, and again, can't beat the software and manaul flexibility that comes with G3 and only cost $90.00 more at certain sites online. Canon S400 is great, like the small size and weight, but lacks the additional flexibility I am looking for.
Thanks for the feedback.
after i posted that, i went window shopping..i was impressed by the canon a70 and canon s300 for a hundred bucks less(At 199.xx), but with fewer features...the appeal being the regular batteries used as opposed to the lithium ion(?) batteries for the G series. also...they are both around 3.xx mega pixels...the digitalzoom makes satisfactory macros too..i was quite impressed...
good luck to you...a g3 is a great camera with the hotshoe attachments and all..more prosumer than for mere record keeping...good choice..it will serve you for many years even after the AT adventure..:)
If I haven't shared this with you check out the website, you can do side by side comparisons, seems to me you just can't do toooo baaaaad going with a Canon digital, the S series you mentioned seems pretty cool to.
If I can do my October trip, i will turn you own to what the G3 can do on the trail. I can get one for $466.00 on line, new and with all the bells and whistle.
Good luck to you and will be talkin back at ya shortly.
I've got a Olympus C3040 Zoom which I bought 2 years ago and plan to take on my thru-hike next spring. It may not be the lightest camera out there, but it's light enough for me and my budget won't permit me to purchase another one just yet.
One great thing is that it uses SmartMedia cards (up to 128M), which my Nomad II MP3 player also uses. So I can trade in music for photos if the need arise.
My biggest problem is that my family is not very good with computer stuff, so I'm wondering whether they will have a problem with downloading photos. I'll have to purchase the SmartMedia reader well in advance to make sure they know how to use it.
Not an insurmountable obstacle though <g>
HA! We just bought a digital camera that also uses the same memory card as our mp3's. Same issue about our immediate family not handling the downloading. However, I have noticed that the local costco now offers to put the pics from a memory card (many different types) onto a CD which one could then mail home. Now, there aren't a lot of costco's on the trail, but I remember reading somewhere that walmart is starting to have this capability.
Can anyone confirm that? It so, it's a GREAT solution...
Considering what SmartMedia cards weigh, I could probably get away with carrying 5 or 6 of them and never having to send them home.
However I will purchase a card reader and instruct my family on how to use it. Simple enough.
WallMart does sound like a plan though. I'm sure I could find out where they all are, then mark them on my AT maps.
Remind me in about 2 months when I get into that stage of planning.
i was also thinking of taking a DC with me. i have a sony dsc s75 already. weighs soo much for the trail, so was looking at a smaller one. It would have to be compact flash, as you can now get 2gb cards.. (too expensive tho), but 256mb cards are cheap.. a 256mb card should hold about 256 shots at 1600x1200, 384 at 1280x960 or really low res you get 3040 (yes 3040) at 640x480, but 640x480 is probably a tad too small to get quality prints from. I dont get printed anything under 1280x960.
the biggest drawback would be trying to recharge it. most have inbuilt batteries..
if you disabled the inbuilt flash, youd get a good battery life.
i should also add, even at 3x optical zoom (i never use digital zoom), it aint very far at all :), unless the subject is right in front of you, the CCD (the cameras internal mechanism) has a very hard time of working the picture...
currently I am looking at;
downside is you need the cradle to recharge but it weights next to nothing as well..
since i'm not going till next year, i'm going to wait till near the start of my hike before I get another DC to take with me. things will have changed a bit in 7/8 months time i rekon...
as an example, my sony at max optical zoom (not using dig zoom)
that fountain (in edinburgh, scotland), taken on sunday, was about 100 meters away from me. that image was downsized to 800x600 (gotta click on it). beyond that point, detail drops of markedly...
the above is another example, the courtyard is 100meters-ish long and you can see the detail drop off at the end of it. but then again, you wont see this on a print, unless you get it blown to A4 size or something. regular photo size prints will have a sharp image.
so if you think you'll be taking huge panoramic vista sweeps :) you might want to think of a real SLR and zoom lens.
for taking trail shots of people and plans and scenery right in front of you, any old digital camera will work just fine... you wont need anything fancy or expensive.
it all comes down to getting the bastard charged, which means town stops and getting someone to let you use a wall plug for several hours while it charges up...
also a lot of places now will put your digital camera images onto a CD for you, or print them as real prints. I use an internet print service here in the uk, its a Fuji lab. i just select my pics and teh software sends them to fuji then i get a nice package back in the mail.
i will also add, i'd avoid anything using smartmedia. they are WAFER thing. as thin as a bit of paper. you can break these without any trouble.
more rugged is compact flash (it also comes in the biggest sizes) and memory stick, then SD/MMC. SMC cards are very very flimsy. a slight bend and thats it, life over for them.
I'm stuck with SmartMedia so I'll have to deal with it.
I will send them back home for downloading, thus reducing the chance of losing photos to breakage of the card to a minimum.