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taildragger
10-03-2007, 09:36
Alright, so for all ya'll who do long hikes and photography, what do you do about you're gear.

Currently I usually choose to use my D100 and a nikon 50mm lens, since this combo yields nice pictures, but its heavy, and I have to recharge the batteries.

I really want to know how you guys carry your camera's. What kind of lenses do you take, or do you just one lens? Do you use film or digital (I'm thinking about busting out my film camera for my long hikes in order to save weight, but the nikon FM10 body feels a little flimsy to me)? How hard is it to keep the internals clean while in the field for that long? Do you carry a small digital camer for the quick shot moments (like when your hiking partner is about to do something stupid and you just have to get pictures for blackmail)?

What I'm thinking about doing is using my FM10, load it with some good 100ISO slide film (fuji velvia maybe), my 50mm prime, a wide angle and maybe a macro lense (depending on cost, weight, and my willingness to put up with both. Don't think that I'll be hauling a tripod around, might be able to fashion a monopod out of something on the trail for lower light shots, if not, theres always the backpack and rocks to use.

So, any thoughts and opinions welcome (even the ones about hiking poles and water treatment being unnecessary)

rafe
10-03-2007, 09:54
I just don't see the point of shooting 35 mm film nowadays. Even a $250 point-and-shoot digital can match the image quality. SLRs (both film and digital) are heavy, and a kit of lenses is heavier still.

If you choose a digital camera (my recommendation) take note of the sensor size, as it's one of the main determinants of image quality. Most of the very small and light cameras use a 1/2.5 sensor. Find one that has (at least) a 1/1.8 sensor. Unfortunately, the bigger sensors are only found in DSLRs.

FWIW, I've been carrying a Canon A620. It weighs about 12 oz with its four AA batteries. Those four AA batteries lasted for a 587 mile, 39-day AT section hike. I carried it in a pouch attached to one of my pack's shoulder straps.

This camera isn't current any more. I bought it new, about 18 months ago for a bit over $200. Check out the usual review sources on the web, eg. dpreview.com and Steve's Digicams (et. al.)

taildragger
10-03-2007, 10:01
I'm a little leary about just carrying a point and shoot camera. I've used them before, and having learned photography on a manual camera without a light meter, I've become a control freak and want absolute control over every aspect, that, and there are some cool tricks that I can do with a SLR that I cannot do with a point and shoot.

So, I'm trying to get an opinion from those who do lug the giant cameras (I know Tha'wookie does, and there have got to be others as well)

Keep it coming though, its always cool to here about the wee little cameras and there smaller cmos chips

Midway Sam
10-03-2007, 10:03
I have, in the past, carried my Canon Digital Rebel Xti with a 17-85 IS lens and a 70-300 IS lens. I carried the kit in a Lowepro Off-Trail 2 rigged at my sternum. The weight was tolerable, but I tended to sweat profusely under the bag.

My last hike I left the DSLR at home and took my Nikon Coolpix and loved not having the Lowepro on my chest but desperately missed my DSLR.

I have purchased a smaller Lowepro belt pack that will hold the body and the 17-85 IS and fits nicely on the belt of my pack. I am going to try that config in a couple of weeks.

rwpontius
10-03-2007, 10:08
I carry a D80 with an 18-70 zoom for most hikes. If I expect to see something that requires more telephoto I take a 70-300 VR. I like to protect my gear so I use a case for the camera and 18-70 and a holster when the 70-300 is on the camera. The 70-300 is heavy enough that I tend not to take it as much as I probably should.
RP

grizzlyadam
10-03-2007, 10:30
here is an updated version of a reply i made on an earlier thread about SLRs-

the history of carrying my camera goes as follows:

-in october of 2000 i set off from springer with the slr in my backpack and a point and shoot in my pocket. i took literally no pictures with the slr and ended up sending it home two weeks later.

-in april of 2002 i set off from the roan highlands with the slr attached to a side compression strap on my pack with a small carabiner. this proved to be a decent method for me but i didn't like that the camera wasn't protected.

-in october of 2003 i set off from katahdin with the best system i have found. i use a Lowepro off trail 1 (http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Beltpacks/modular/Off_Trail_1.aspx). i use two small carabiners and some cord to attach the bag to my shoulder straps and thread the belt of the case around my torso (in between my pack and my body) and have no problems with it. the system doesn't bounce and the belt strap around my torso doesn't bother me.

i used this same set up in 2004 on the AT, in 2005 on the NCMST (http://www.trailjournals.com/grizzlyadam05), in 2006 on the AT, and am still using it to this day.

in the off trail 1; i carry my camera body, 4 lenses (21mm, 24mm, 50mm, and macro-90mm), extra rolls of film, a shutter release cable, a small spiral notebook and pen for recording the camera settings of each shot, and two small silnylon stuffsacks for when it rains.

when it does rain, i also have a larger OR stuffsack that i put everything in and then store in my backpack. i don't take any chances.

although it is a little bigger and heavier (1.8 pounds) i also carry a Quantaray - QT-100 Compact Travel Tripod. i have found that this works quite well for those long exposure sunrise/sunset/nightime/moving water shots.

in 2005 i walked the john muir trail and carried 15 (yes, i said fifteen) pounds worth of camera equipment with me. i carried my nikon with 3 lenses (28mm, 50mm, and macro to 90mm); a canon ae1 with a 16mm fisheye lens, and a bronica medium format with a 75mm lens. i would carry one of the cameras in my lowepro bag and the other two in another camera bag in the top of my pack.

heavy but well worth the weight.

a few of the JMT shots can be found at www.trailjournals.com/grizzlyadamjmt or here as well.

that's all for now.

weary
10-03-2007, 10:43
Well, I've been taking pictures for almost 70 years, occasionally professionally, but have never been a very sophisticated photographer. I finally have made the switch to digital, after years of resisting.

I now use a Panasonic DMC FC7. (though I see an "8" in the stores now). It has a 12X lens and all kinds of digital zoom. And one of the best anti-shake settings according to the reviews. It weighs 15 ounces -- heavy by digital standards these days. But I find it hangs quite comfortable around my neck.

Anyway, in June I took a hand held photo of a wild grizzly 200 yards(?) away in Denali that came out quite well. It won't win any prizes. But it's a better picture than any 35 mm I've owned could have taken.

I've had the camera for a year and have not begun to seriously explore all the possible automatic settings. I shot 1,500 photos during a month in Alaska, most of which came out quite well, despite my increasingly shaky hands.

I have fashioned a monopod by drilling a hole in the top of my 9 ounce wooden pole and embedding a 1/4-20 hex head screw with epoxy. But the anti shake setting on my Panasonic works so well that I rarely use it. I paid a bit over $300 if I remember right. I think they are available for around $250 on ebay.

Weary

rafe
10-03-2007, 10:44
I'm a little leary about just carrying a point and shoot camera. I've used them before, and having learned photography on a manual camera without a light meter, I've become a control freak and want absolute control over every aspect, that, and there are some cool tricks that I can do with a SLR that I cannot do with a point and shoot.

That's cool. I carried a 35 mm SLR while backpacking through most of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. In fact my first digicam ever was a Canon G2, used on a section hike thru Vermont. These days I just can't justify the extra weight. In real-life, I do enjoy photography immensely, but when I'm hiking (especially for long sections) photography takes a back seat to "making miles."

Jim Adams
10-03-2007, 11:26
Taildragger,
Seems that you and I have alot in common. Although I have only used it professionally for a 3 year span, I have a degree in photography and photojournalism from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
In 1990 I carried 2 minolta bodies, 1 with chrome film and the other with b&w. I had a 24mm, a 50mm and a 135mm with macro capabilities, a small flash, a small tripod (3' extended) and a shutter release cable. The AT was part of a year long trip and I shot 16,000 frames of photos on that trip. Most of my shots were landscapes.
In 2002 I decided that I had most of the photos of landscapes that I wanted of the AT and decided that I needed more people pictures so I carried a nikon point and shoot with zoom and used color print film.
This year on the PCT I switched to a cannon digital (not quite as large as a slr) for the first time and shot 2,000 frames on that trip.
Although I liked the instant viewing capabilities of the digital and learned all of the different controls and aspects of the digital, I did miss the abilities of manipulation possible with film. I feel that film will give you a much better finished product in the end.
After all is said and done, I would take the mode of photography that you enjoy the most and are most skilled in...that will give you the best photos!

geek

The Will
10-03-2007, 13:39
I still shoot film--Velvia. I carry a Nikon F80 and a 24-120 zoom.

I purchased an accessory called the "Rib" from Dana Design (this line is now produced by Marmot) and this is where I keep the camera with lens attached. Access is very quick, similiar to a holster concept as the "Rib" is located just left of the midline on my stomach.

For years when traveling and backpacking I would use a 200 speed film, but a few years back I invested in a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod. Now I can carry film in the 50-100 speed range and shoot the quality I like. The tripod weighs about same or even a little less than the camera+lens.

My camera is a tool, and it goes where I go.

Ramble~On
10-03-2007, 14:29
I carry about 5 pounds worth of camera stuff when I backpack and the camera for backpacking is a Lumix 12x with Leica lens...Tracks walking staff/monopod, cable release, batteries, case etc. I keep the camera on my hip or sternum where I can get to it quick inside a LowePro or Tamrac holster.

For dayhiking around the park I'm as interested in taking pictures as I am in hiking so I lug around 30 pounds of camera crap in either a LowePro S&F Vest system or one of several camera packs which double as a day pack.

If I were going to thru hike I would leave the DSLR's at home and pick up one of the smaller 10+ megapixel point and shoots they keep putting out.

The Solemates
10-03-2007, 14:30
I carry a Pentax digital SLR with 18-55mm lens, 80-200mm lens, extra batteries (mine takes AA), lens cleaning kit, and 3 different filters on my hikes. I did not carry this on my thru-hike because I did not have it, and I would not carry it on a long distance thru-hike if I were to do another one. I would instead opt for a small point and shoot. But, I do carry it on long hikes, such as long weekend hikes of 30-50 miles, and I am carrying it on my upcoming "thru-hike" of the Laurel Highlands Trail (70 miles in PA).

I use a Lowe Photorunner and carry it in the front of my navel or so, strapped through my backpack's web-belt, and carry it while hiking. It has never bothered me and it makes for easy access. Unzip and go. I also carry a small waterproof sack and put everything in it, bag and all, if weather turns wet.

My whole set up weighs about 5 pounds.

http://focuscamera.com/product.asp?id=569584049
http://www.seatosummit.com.au/showdetail.php?Code=AUDS1

D'Artagnan
10-03-2007, 14:36
I carry a Pentax digital SLR...

Which Pentax are you shooting? I picked up the K10D this year and I love it. Glad to see another Pentax shooter on WB.

Uncle Silly
10-10-2007, 14:15
I gotta say, I love my manual 35mm film cameras, but I love my musical instruments more, so I usually forego the camera on long distance hikes. I do break out the SLRs for weekends and short hikes. I've got a good 18-70mm, a great 50mm, and a great 70-300mm, as well as a nice collection of filters. Overall it's too much to take on long trips (I just can't pare down to a single lens). A digital point-and-shoot camera would be OK for long distance trips, but really doesn't give me the options my SLR setup has, and I can't afford to replace my SLR setup with the equivalent in digital right now. So for the shots I want, film is really my only choice at the moment.

faarside
10-10-2007, 14:26
There was a time when I racked my brain over this (as I was an avid 35mm SLR user); however, I eventually could no longer resist the high quailty, small size, low weight, and economy of the newer digital cameras. I currently use a HP PhotoSmart M22v. Runs one heck of a long time on 2 AA Lithium's, and I can shoot tons of high quality pics on a single 2MB SD card. It's also "weather resistant" (I would'nt use it during a torrential downpour, but a little drizzle or dampness doesn't seem to bother it).

c.coyle
10-10-2007, 14:41
I'm with you, Taildragger. I ditched my SLR about 4 years ago due to the bulk and weight, but I do occasionally miss the control that full manual gives. Interchangeable lenses aren't that important to me. I wonder if there are low-priced digital point & shoots with true full manual (set aperture and shutter speed).

The Solemates
10-10-2007, 14:47
I'm with you, Taildragger. I ditched my SLR about 4 years ago due to the bulk and weight, but I do occasionally miss the control that full manual gives. Interchangeable lenses aren't that important to me. I wonder if there are low-priced digital point & shoots with true full manual (set aperture and shutter speed).

i think some of the panasonic lumix cameras have pseudo-manual control such as this

The Solemates
10-10-2007, 14:48
Which Pentax are you shooting? I picked up the K10D this year and I love it. Glad to see another Pentax shooter on WB.

mine is basically the older version of the K10D, which is the *ist DL

The Solemates
10-10-2007, 14:50
mine is basically the older version of the K10D, which is the *ist DL

the *ist DL is the lightest weight, smallest (yet negligble sacrifice on quality) SLR you can buy (at least it was when I bought it)

shelterbuilder
10-10-2007, 16:24
When you read this post, you'll all think I'm nuts - and you may be right.:D

For years, I've been somewhat fearful of carrying my "good" SLR's out into the elements - I've ruined too many expensive cameras that way. But my wife and I enjoy heading out to the flea markets and garage sales , and I've always been able to pick up reasonably good, small 35 mm cameras from the 50's and 60's for just a few bucks. For anyone who learned photography in the "old school", it doesn't take very many rolls of film shot around town to re-learn the manual aspects of a camera like this - and it gives you the ability to "play with the controls", which is something you can't do with digitals.

The brand names are from companies that have long since gone out of business - the camera that has seen the most trail miles with me was made by Ciro, in Delaware, Ohio. Paralux viewfinder, f3.5, 1/10th-200th second shutterspeed, hot shoe - a rugged little camera that only weighs a little more than a pound. No extra lenses, so you can't pull that bear in any closer, but for camp shots and scenery, it's great. If you shoot a slower speed film - for which these cameras were designed - the color saturation is fantastic, and enlargements aren't grainy. And if you drop the camera into a creek, or over a cliff, you're not out hundreds of dollars. (I carry mine in a heavy-duty zip-loc bag inside of a small padded camera bag attached to by pack's hip belt.)

Cuffs
10-10-2007, 17:08
Canon G7, in a waterproof waist pack, worn in front...

rafe
10-10-2007, 17:25
Bunch of dilettantes. You're not serious about photography unless you schlep one of these... :)

ChinMusic
10-10-2007, 17:28
Canon Mark IIN, 17-40mm f/4L

Hangs around neck with belly-strap. Looking for a better way to carry it, as it pulls on my neck too much and my body heat fogs up the viewer.

The Mark IIN is mostly for my sports photog hobby. I would NOT recommend it for backpacking. Wayyyy too heavy, but it takes nice images. My top choice in a camera body would be the Canon 5D and its 1.0 crop factor. It's much lighter in weight but I cannot justify two bodies of this level, so I lug the Mark IIN.

weary
10-10-2007, 23:50
i think some of the panasonic lumix cameras have pseudo-manual control such as this
There is nothing "pseudo" about my Panasonic Lumix 12. The 12 refers to the optical telephoto. there's also another six digital. And with the built in anti-camera movement I can shoot hand held at 48X and still get interesting photos.

I can set any shutter speeds or f stops I want. I rarely bother however. I just chose one of the 100 or so automatic settings. For tricky snow and beach shots, for instance, I choose a special snow setting. If I'm still in doubt I can choose snow and have the camera automatically shoot three shots at once. One at normal settings, and two at exposures over and under the normal.

If anything the camera is too sophisticated. It offers at least 100 automatic exposure combinations, as well as those I set myself. I haven't begun to explore all the combinations available. It even takes videos, complete with sound.

It's all quite amazing for a camera that weighs less than a pound, complete with batteries. No. It doesn't compete with a good 35mm film camera with 2-3 thousand dollars worth of lenses. But at around $300, it's an ideal hiking camera.

Only a digital camera far more expensive than mine can compete, picture quality-wise with a film camera in the hands of a skilled photographer. But a digital, I've found, is also a powerful learning tool. I can make dozens of exposures of a scene, and get instant feedback on which combination seems to work the best.

Weary

ChinMusic
10-11-2007, 00:40
Digital gives one options not available with film. An example of that is the following shot using HDR. One could not get the details in the shadows without and elaborate array of neutral density filters. With HDR, it's shoot and play on the computer later.

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b186/ChinMusicIHSS/Backpacking/Glacier2007/1024/Glacier07282_0_1_tonemapped.jpg

canerunner
10-12-2007, 08:25
Bunch of dilettantes. You're not serious about photography unless you schlep one of these... :)

In the late 70's and early 80's, I backpacked with an 8x10 view camera. I hauled it all over the Georgia and North Carolina mountains, and took it to Cumberland Island with me for a week. It was a (fairly) light wooden camera, and I didn't take many shots (film was about $3.50 a sheet in the late 70's), but I had a ball doing it.

You tend to hike at a more liesurely pace! ;)

I would camp with minimal equipment just because the camera and tripod weighed so much. I guess my average pack weight on those trips was over 60 pounds (!!) including food and everything.

Danged good thing I was young and strong then! :D

rafe
10-12-2007, 08:50
Canerunner, I presume you've seen David Muench's photos of the A.T.? There's also a guy named Jerry Greer who hangs out on the L.F. forums and has contributed many images to the ATC calendars over the years.

I'm determined to get this camera onto the AT some day, but haven't really figured out the logistics yet. It'll have to start with a simple overnight trip.

4x5 sheet film is about $1 per sheet, but processing is another $2 per sheet (for C41.)

taildragger
10-12-2007, 10:11
Bunch of dilettantes. You're not serious about photography unless you schlep one of these... :)

If I had one it would hike with me. In fact, I think that it would become attached to me

canerunner
10-12-2007, 19:24
It really helped me that I had a couple of other photo-lunatic friends that hiked with me. At least I didn't have to carry everything by myself. They carried their cameras as well, but we shared a tent, cooking equipment, etc., etc.

I have admired Muench's work for a while. He does very nice work. I worked in the Weston/Adams method of photography a bit, and have a good collection of pretty good work. At least I think so. I never really tried to commmercialize my stuff, though.

I worked as a commercial/industrial photographer for a number of years, and worked in and managed photo labs for a long time. I finally got burned out after about 20 years of doing it. I saw people selling stuff that was worse than a lot of images that I threw away.

I still have my Hasselblad and all of the accessories, but mostly work with a Kodak Z712 digital zoom camera now. It has a very good Schneider Variogon on it, and pretty respectable image stabilization. That, coupled with the fact that it gives me full manual control makes it very workable for me. The only thing I miss is a PC flash contact. It has a built in flash and no hot shoe. Of course, I don't do a lot of tabletop work anymore, so it's not a big deal. I can still use the flash to trigger my studio flash via a slave cell.

BTW, the Z712 is WAY lighter than any view I ever used! ;)

canerunner
10-12-2007, 19:41
If I had one it would hike with me. In fact, I think that it would become attached to me

If you're really interested, Bender Photographic (www.benderphoto.com) has the best value/performance view cameras available anywhere I've found. Their 4x5 kit is only about 3.5 pounds (plus lenses, etc.), and the 8x10 is about 5.75 pounds.

These are available as a kit, but are easy to assemble. I'm actually thinking about building one of them to work with. I may do the 8x10, as I prefer to just contact print the negatives anyway. that removes the need for an enlarger. :D

shelterbuilder
10-12-2007, 19:51
If you're really interested, Bender Photographic (www.benderphoto.com (http://www.benderphoto.com)) has the best value/performance view cameras available anywhere I've found. Their 4x5 kit is only about 3.5 pounds (plus lenses, etc.), and the 8x10 is about 5.75 pounds.

These are available as a kit, but are easy to assemble. I'm actually thinking about building one of them to work with. I may do the 8x10, as I prefer to just contact print the negatives anyway. that removes the need for an enlarger. :D

You'll think that I'm crazy when I tell you this, but when my Dad was growing up back in the 30's and 40's, they didn't have a lot of money, so he built himself an enlarger, and used the 4x5 view camera that he had as the enlarger head. In the 60's and 70's when I got interested in photography, that was the enlarger that I learned on!

c.coyle
10-12-2007, 20:31
Hey, it's only 2 megapixels, but the price is hard to beat (http://www.blowoutcameras.com/product/Fujifilm-FinePix-2600-2MP-Digital-Camera-w-3x-Optical-Zoom-10409-ad-froogle.html). (This site is a slooowww loader).

TDale
10-13-2007, 12:15
Canon G7, in a waterproof waist pack, worn in front...


Had my G7 a few months now and am getting really happy with it. I found a nice M-Rock bag that's got multiple carry options to hold it and all the necessaries.

A few from the G7: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tdale/sets/72157600702203619/

Uncle Silly
10-13-2007, 12:55
Hey, it's only 2 megapixels, but the price is hard to beat (http://www.blowoutcameras.com/product/Fujifilm-FinePix-2600-2MP-Digital-Camera-w-3x-Optical-Zoom-10409-ad-froogle.html). (This site is a slooowww loader).

Umm. Sure, if you're shopping in 2001, its a great price. (They're listing "list price" as $350 and their price as $70.) But it's 2007, and I'm pretty sure, if you go to Walmart, you'll find their cheapest digital camera (a) isn't much more than $70 and (b) is a heckuva lot better than 2 megapixels.

Actually, I'm wrong about (a). Wally-world's got better-than-2-megapixel cameras for $50: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5640635

Caveat emptor. Prices that are "hard to beat" are often actually not. I hope no one followed that link and actually made a purchase.

rafe
10-13-2007, 12:58
Could be just me, but I wouldn't skimp on a camera. My time on the trail is precious. A camera is just "a thing."

c.coyle
10-13-2007, 13:34
Umm. Sure, if you're shopping in 2001, its a great price. (They're listing "list price" as $350 and their price as $70.) But it's 2007, and I'm pretty sure, if you go to Walmart, you'll find their cheapest digital camera (a) isn't much more than $70 and (b) is a heckuva lot better than 2 megapixels.

Actually, I'm wrong about (a). Wally-world's got better-than-2-megapixel cameras for $50: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5640635

Caveat emptor. Prices that are "hard to beat" are often actually not. I hope no one followed that link and actually made a purchase.

All good points, U.S., but one might want to consider a brand name over an off brand like this. And, the user comments on your link are less than glowing (I think I'm being kind) for the Walmart camera.

The megapixel count is something that should be considered, but it isn't the most important spec for a digital camera. Almost all of my photos here were taken with a 3.1 mp camera. On my 19" monitor, I can't see any difference between them and shots taken with my current 6.1 mp camera, except in low light shots, and I think other specs come into play in that situation.

Just getting it out there.

Uncle Silly
10-13-2007, 17:23
All good points, U.S., but one might want to consider a brand name over an off brand like this. And, the user comments on your link are less than glowing (I think I'm being kind) for the Walmart camera.

I don't disagree; I honestly wasn't recommending the camera I linked to, just providing a quick price+feature comparison. I didn't even look at the user comments. If you peruse the Wallyworld selection, you'll find modern name-brand cameras (HP, Kodak, etc) that are very near the price point of the camera you originally linked to. In fact, if you break it down to a $/megapixel rating, you'll do better with the Wallyworld selection than your bargain site.

Your original link didn't claim it was a great camera; you only said the price was "hard to beat", and I'm only pointing out the absolute fallacy of your statement. It's not a hard-to-beat price. It's a price for complete suckers.

Ramble~On
10-14-2007, 03:21
There is nothing "pseudo" about my Panasonic Lumix 12. The 12 refers to the optical telephoto. there's also another six digital. And with the built in anti-camera movement I can shoot hand held at 48X and still get interesting photos.

I can set any shutter speeds or f stops I want. I rarely bother however. I just chose one of the 100 or so automatic settings. For tricky snow and beach shots, for instance, I choose a special snow setting. If I'm still in doubt I can choose snow and have the camera automatically shoot three shots at once. One at normal settings, and two at exposures over and under the normal.

If anything the camera is too sophisticated. It offers at least 100 automatic exposure combinations, as well as those I set myself. I haven't begun to explore all the combinations available. It even takes videos, complete with sound.

It's all quite amazing for a camera that weighs less than a pound, complete with batteries. No. It doesn't compete with a good 35mm film camera with 2-3 thousand dollars worth of lenses. But at around $300, it's an ideal hiking camera.

Only a digital camera far more expensive than mine can compete, picture quality-wise with a film camera in the hands of a skilled photographer. But a digital, I've found, is also a powerful learning tool. I can make dozens of exposures of a scene, and get instant feedback on which combination seems to work the best.

Weary

I backpack with a Lumix. I am able to have complete manual control and unlike Weary, I rarely use the automatic features. This may be more camera than most people would want to take backpacking but it works for me. Taking more expensive cameras and lenses on backpacking trips makes me nervous.

woodsy
10-14-2007, 08:00
If some of you would post pictures in your gallery, we could see if your cameras are all you crack them up to be.
I'm just an amateur but my compact Kodak C875 8 megapixel 5X optical zoom and video makes me look like a pro sometimes.
For $200.00, it was a bargain but still learning how to use it correctly.
Here's a recent foliage tour (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=19225&c=563%5D%5Bimg%5Dhttp://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/7/9/1/4/100_1349_) picture from Bigelow Mtn.
I use Lithium batteries and a 1.0 GB card, and take lots of pictures when out and about.
Lots more C875 photos in my gallery. Not all perfect, yet.

warraghiyagey
10-14-2007, 08:23
If some of you would post pictures in your gallery, we could see if your cameras are all you crack them up to be.
I'm just an amateur but my compact Kodak C875 8 megapixel 5X optical zoom and video makes me look like a pro sometimes.
For $200.00, it was a bargain but still learning how to use it correctly.
Here's a recent foliage tour (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=19225&c=563%5D%5Bimg%5Dhttp://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/7/9/1/4/100_1349_) picture from Bigelow Mtn.
I use Lithium batteries and a 1.0 GB card, and take lots of pictures when out and about.
Lots more C875 photos in my gallery. Not all perfect, yet.

How about let me use it (for about ayear) and I'll send it back to you with instructions on how to 'use it correctly.:p

woodsy
10-14-2007, 08:30
How about let me use it (for about ayear) and I'll send it back to you with instructions on how to 'use it correctly.:p

Yeah no kidding, i mostly point and shoot on Auto, it's called smart scene:D
I did my first panoramic 3 photo stitch yesterday, successfully!:banana
I'll try pulling it up for a view.

warraghiyagey
10-14-2007, 08:37
Yeah no kidding, i mostly point and shoot on Auto, it's called smart scene:D
I did my first panoramic 3 photo stitch yesterday, successfully!:banana
I'll try pulling it up for a view.

Sweet, let's see it. Oh and what's the subject of said panoramic? Just wondering what part of Maine you've been trapseing around lately.
Isn't it funny that the one setting that you can use with the least knowledge about the camera is call 'smart scene'?:clap

woodsy
10-14-2007, 08:48
Isn't it funny that the one setting that you can use with the least knowledge about the camera is call 'smart scene'?:clap
Cause it's smarter than me:rolleyes:

Painted Turtle
10-14-2007, 09:52
After 20+ years of hiking I have gone the whole route. Pentex SLR 35 (slides), Point and shot (slides), Point and shot (prints) DSLR Rebel 6meg), Point and shot(digital) and now back to DSLR Rebel 6MPG.

I have tons and tons of slids from years of using my Pentex 35. Slides that are doing nothing. With digital I have all sorts of fun during and after with CS2. Which brings me to my next statement.

Not one mention of shooting RAW? Or did I miss it? Like I have said I have used point and shot digitals (Cannon S3 mostly) but found RAW just offers to much more to not have it. So I went back to my old Cannon Rebel digital. Down side of this is the Cannon kit lens are, in plain english, ****, but the Rebel is small and light. Easy to hang from my shoulder straps and with a photograhers harness around me to keep it from bouncing. I am now looking to upgrade and have it down to two cameras. The Cannon XTi or the Nikon D80. The Cannon is a little ahead because of size and weight, but I MUST get a new lens. Looking at the "L" 24-105 IS Cannon lens. I have a little garilopod for a tripod and I carry a circular Polarizer, a lens cleaning kit and a close-up filter. The Nikon kit lens are a little better then Cannon but still need replacing. I figure the Cannon will cost $600.00 body and $1050.00 lens. The Nikon will cost $900.00 body, lens ????? have not found one I like yet. I have set up three ring binders and do a type of scrap book of each hike. A thing that I really really regret I did not do in the years past. I did ME, NH, and VT in my slide years with little to no documentation. Now I am sorry. The camera weight is worth being able to open up something and see photos that are sharp, good light, good tone and not something that leaves you scrating your head.

Please no coments about my very bad spelling :) opps not spelling errors thay are just typos. :)

rafe
10-14-2007, 10:01
The problem is that many of the new, light digital P&S cameras are no longer supporting RAW format; it's like you have to be using a DSLR to get RAW. My very old Canon G2 had RAW support :-? but my "new" Canon A620 doesn't.

rafe
10-14-2007, 10:07
If some of you would post pictures in your gallery, we could see if your cameras are all you crack them up to be.

Here's a few (on my own website) from recent section hikes, taken with the Canon A620. There's also an album of pix from last fall's vacation in New Mexico (nice colors, bigger mountains.)

www.terrapinphoto.com/cpg143 (http://www.terrapinphoto.com/cpg143)

The main website (www.terrapinphoto.com (http://www.terrapinphoto.com)) has its own separate A.T. gallery; most of those pix are from film.

The Old Fhart
10-14-2007, 11:25
Every decision you make on what camera to use is a compromise. I found 4x5 way too limiting to take hiking although on the photo edu-trips to the summit of Mt. Washington in winter that I help with, the instructor (http://www.peterbosco.com/personal.html) uses a large format camera in those brutal conditions.

Because I have used Pentax 35mm film cameras for decades and have lenses from 8mm through 600mm, when I switched to a digital SLR it made sense for me to go with the Pentax DSLR body which could use all my existing lenses. Also because the SR (shake reduction) is built into the camera body, every conventional lens I use becomes an 'image stabilization' lens.

If you are going digital and want higher quality one thing to consider is the size of the imager that captures your photo. Point and shoot cameras have much smaller imagers and when taking photos that have dark areas, or night shots, there is significant 'noise' present that makes the black areas look like colored specks when viewed up close. DSLRs have larger imagers and far less noise. Canon is one manufacturer that makes a few digital bodies with an imager the same size as a 35mm frame (24x36mm) while most companies make cameras with imagers about 2/3 that size. What this means is that the lens you use will give a different equivalent focal length when compared to 35mm film cameras. For instance, an 18-55mm digital lens is equivalent to about 28-80mm in 35mm format. When using a 35mm camera lens on a digital this means that you have to multiply the focal length by about 1.5 to get the digital equivalent so a 500mm film lens becomes a 750mm on a digital.

For hiking with a DSLR it might make sense to use one of the new wide-range zooms like the Tamron 18-250mm lens so you will only need to take one lightweight lens on a DSLR. Every time you change lenses there is a chance of getting a speck of dirt or dust on the imager and that will show up in every single shot. The all-in-one digital cameras with non-interchangeable wide zoom range lenses are sealed so this isnít a problem, although you will have the inherent noise problem caused by the smaller imager in these cameras. The down side is the price on this lens is about $500 and it is slower (f6.3 @250mm) than some other lenses.

This may be TMI but Iíll end by saying if Iím just going out for a short hike and picture taking isnít the primary goal the camera I take is a tiny (about 2Ēx3.5Ēx 1Ē ) Panasonic FX-9 6MP 3X zoom with image stabilization that does an excellent job. If you want to compare and get reviews on almost any digital camera made, go to Steve's Digicams (http://www.steves-digicams.com/hardware_reviews.html).

rafe
10-14-2007, 11:53
There's no serious question that a DSLR will (or can) produce better images than a point & shoot, at least on a purely technical basis. But there's always a price to be paid. If one is in gram-weenie mode a bit it's hard to justify a DSLR kit.

As with all my other gear, my "weight threshold" for a camera has been in decline over the years. In '90 I carried a Ricoh SLR. In '02 it was a Canon G2. Now it's the Canon A620, and it's still at least 8 oz. heavier than some of the alternatives.

(Oh, and the bit about the view camera wasn't meant to be taken seriously, though I really do intend to take some pix on the AT with it, some day.)

Ramble~On
10-14-2007, 14:53
After 20+ years of hiking I have gone the whole route. Pentex SLR 35 (slides), Point and shot (slides), Point and shot (prints) DSLR Rebel 6meg), Point and shot(digital) and now back to DSLR Rebel 6MPG.

I have tons and tons of slids from years of using my Pentex 35. Slides that are doing nothing. With digital I have all sorts of fun during and after with CS2. Which brings me to my next statement.

Not one mention of shooting RAW? Or did I miss it? Like I have said I have used point and shot digitals (Cannon S3 mostly) but found RAW just offers to much more to not have it. So I went back to my old Cannon Rebel digital. Down side of this is the Cannon kit lens are, in plain english, ****, but the Rebel is small and light. Easy to hang from my shoulder straps and with a photograhers harness around me to keep it from bouncing. I am now looking to upgrade and have it down to two cameras. The Cannon XTi or the Nikon D80. The Cannon is a little ahead because of size and weight, but I MUST get a new lens. Looking at the "L" 24-105 IS Cannon lens. I have a little garilopod for a tripod and I carry a circular Polarizer, a lens cleaning kit and a close-up filter. The Nikon kit lens are a little better then Cannon but still need replacing. I figure the Cannon will cost $600.00 body and $1050.00 lens. The Nikon will cost $900.00 body, lens ????? have not found one I like yet. I have set up three ring binders and do a type of scrap book of each hike. A thing that I really really regret I did not do in the years past. I did ME, NH, and VT in my slide years with little to no documentation. Now I am sorry. The camera weight is worth being able to open up something and see photos that are sharp, good light, good tone and not something that leaves you scrating your head.

Please no coments about my very bad spelling :) opps not spelling errors thay are just typos. :)

I got an XTi when they came out with them and I am very happy with it.
The body may be the brain but cameras are all about the "eye" and that means len$e$. If you're going to have a 10+ MP camera than why would you shoot anything other than RAW ? or atleast large 10+.
Shooting in any format smaller is wasting the money you paid for the camera cause you aren't getting the MP's out of it you paid for.
There are many camera comparisons between the D80 and the XTi all over the web. A few years ago along the sidelines of football games all you saw were the black Nikon lenses...today you see more and more and more and more White Canon lenses....why? and in talking about this in great detail with die hard Nikon users...The new Canon lenses are blowing away the Nikon. They are faster focusing...(period) and the IS and quality of the "L" series lenses is something that Nikon will have to catch up to.
I have no loyalty to either and use both but when you're talking about a single lens costing anywhere between $1500 and $8000 I'm only going to be buying one brand...and that means using one brands bodies.
The comparisons i researched between the D80 and XTi left me with the impression that they are both very good...each has some areas which best the other but overall it's about a tie. So, looking at lenses between the two..........Canon comes out ahead but that's my opinion. I'm happy with my Xti but i still wouldn't want to backpack with it...or any of it's lenses.
I do carry it on dayhikes and overnighters but those are more photo specific hikes than backpacking where I'm pretty much hiking nothing but camera stuff.

Painted Turtle
10-14-2007, 15:44
Thats what I am saying the only way to go is to shot RAW and it doesn't matter if it is a 6 MP or a 10 mp. You can do so much with RAW. A simple program like Elements works wonders, learn how to use CS and wow. And as I stated and as you know it is all in the lens.

There is really no weight to it but it is a lot of money to carry around with you. The least little sign of bad weather and it gets double bagged and put away.

Painted Turtle
10-14-2007, 15:50
PS::
Cannon now makes a point and shot that does RAW and it is getting good reviews. "G9"

http://www.dpreview.com/

Painted Turtle
10-14-2007, 15:52
OH boy am I a dummy I have been reading the posts and noticed I spelled Canon wrong.daaa :-)

rafe
10-14-2007, 17:29
The least little sign of bad weather and it gets double bagged and put away.

That's a bit unfortunate. Some of the best photos are taken just before or after bad weather.

woodsy
10-15-2007, 14:55
This is a panoramic (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=19252&c=683%5D%5Bimg%5Dhttp://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/7/9/1/4/100_1551_)3 photos picture auto stitched by my Kodak C875 camera. Off AT. Many digital cameras have this feature, just a matter of learning how to use it.:)
These are 3 megapixel photos stitched. FWIW, almost 180 deg.

horicon
10-15-2007, 15:04
All my "old" Photos where taken with a Pentex K100. Stopped using it and sold it. I now use a "newer" penttex and a digital Camera (Kodak)

taildragger
10-16-2007, 09:20
If some of you would post pictures in your gallery, we could see if your cameras are all you crack them up to be.
I'm just an amateur but my compact Kodak C875 8 megapixel 5X optical zoom and video makes me look like a pro sometimes.
For $200.00, it was a bargain but still learning how to use it correctly.
Here's a recent foliage tour (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=19225&c=563%5D%5Bimg%5Dhttp://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/7/9/1/4/100_1349_) picture from Bigelow Mtn.
I use Lithium batteries and a 1.0 GB card, and take lots of pictures when out and about.
Lots more C875 photos in my gallery. Not all perfect, yet.

I typically don't notice any difference with smaller images, its when I blow up, use filters, or try playing tricks that I notice the difference, all of which I am prone to doing.

jettjames
10-16-2007, 23:22
i carried a 20d and the 24-70 lenes with me on my thru attempt this year. i called it my 7 lb burden. i kept it in a fanny pack in front. i carried it because I like many of you am serious about my photography. I am a professional photographer. it is all i do, all i have ever done. thought i would want/need it.

what i noticed is that the photos i took are not up to my standards. when hiking and trying to put in miles, you are at great places in bad light, bad places in good light, or just too dam tired to care.

when I head back out next spring it will be with the new canon G9, shoots raw and is awesome. a G7 would do too.

and take more snapshots. everynite. everyone you meet. every campsite. just do it, you'll like it when you are done.

pt

rafe
10-16-2007, 23:32
what i noticed is that the photos i took are not up to my standards. when hiking and trying to put in miles, you are at great places in bad light, bad places in good light, or just too dam tired to care.

I recall the thread about this same subject, prior to your hike, where I tried to talk you out of carryng that "burden." It's difficult to combine serious thru- or section-hiking with serious photography. For this summer, I settled on an 11 oz. burden (and one that could live in a pouch on a shoulder strap.)

I'll bring the big guns back to the trail under more favorable terms... most likely on day hikes or short overnights. But not when I'm under pressure to make miles.

weary
10-17-2007, 00:38
i carried a 20d and the 24-70 lenes with me on my thru attempt this year. i called it my 7 lb burden. i kept it in a fanny pack in front. i carried it because I like many of you am serious about my photography. I am a professional photographer. it is all i do, all i have ever done. thought i would want/need it.

what i noticed is that the photos i took are not up to my standards. when hiking and trying to put in miles, you are at great places in bad light, bad places in good light, or just too dam tired to care.

when I head back out next spring it will be with the new canon G9, shoots raw and is awesome. a G7 would do too.

and take more snapshots. everynite. everyone you meet. every campsite. just do it, you'll like it when you are done.

pt
Good advice. I'm not a great photographer. I've tended not to take the time or the expense to shoot a lot of film, though the latter is much cheaper now that digital has become sophisticated enough for quality work. My greatest single expense in 1993 was the expense of buying and processing 80 36-exposure rolls of slide film. But regardless, my 35 mm slide shows of the trail went over pretty good. I've shown them 25 or 30 times -- twice to one senior citizen group.

I tend to show my slides pretty fast, most for only four or five seconds. which helps keep people from being bored.

So far the camera that works best for me is the Panasonic Lumix FZ7. At 15 ounces it's not too heavy hanging from my neck, has a reasonably good lens, a Leica 2.8-3.3, 12X zoom, which is the equivalent to a 35 mm zoom of 36 to a bit over 400 optical.

Weary

ChinMusic
10-17-2007, 01:10
jettjames - I do sports as a serious hobby (Mark IIN, primes, etc)

I took my Mark IIN, 17-40, and a small tripod with me to Glacier National in August and played around with HDR. We had a LOT of smoke in the area due to forest fires but I was still pleased at many of the images.

Here's the slide show under 800 pixel wide: http://s19.photobucket.com/albums/b186/ChinMusicIHSS/Backpacking/Glacier2007/800/?action=view&current=Glacier07459_7_8_tonemapped.jpg&slideshow=true&interval=3

taildragger
10-17-2007, 08:37
Alright, wellI think I'll just keep with the D100 and maybe go with a different lens (that tokina 18-200 just doesnt focus well enough at times) and try to cut weight.

I'm thinking that this will be fun since I'll be on the PCT, if I try the AT or a large section of the AT in the future I'll probably carry a point and shoot, its just real hard to get good enough light at a good point on the AT (at least thats been what I've noticed with this below the timberline hiking).

Thanks all for the advice.

One last thing, anyone know of a good lens that would be a wide angle and moderate zoom, maybe something in the 18-150 range? I have a feeling that I'd rather have a wider angle combined with a faster aperture, but then again, that changes with every other scene right?

Powder River
11-06-2007, 21:14
I'm an avid photographer and have been known to carry 15+ lbs of gear on day hikes with me, but for my thru-hike next year I just got a new Canon G9. I LIKE the fact that it isn't AA (lighter, smaller, faster to switch to pocket and back when its cold) and it is actually a very high quality cam. It's the only non-DSLR Canon makes these days that makes RAW files, and I plan to keep the setting on RAW+jpeg the entire trip. I've yet to figure out how I'm going to handle the storage issues that creates, but hopefully I'll come up with something. (a 2 GB card records about 95 pictures on that setting)

I will keep it in a small lowepro case clipped to my belt.

I am also taking along a small Ultrapod I tripod that can be strapped to my hiking pole for a monopod. Altogether my camera setup will weigh about 22 ounces.

oops56
11-06-2007, 22:25
Just fix your camera to take a smaller picture to save .mine i got a 1 g card it take 730 picture.

Powder River
11-07-2007, 01:07
Just fix your camera to take a smaller picture to save .mine i got a 1 g card it take 730 picture.

That of course would be a wonderful option, but part of the whole point of the G9 is to take RAW. Each raw file is around 12mb, but it is a wonderful tool because it can be manipulated in photoshop infinately more than a regular jpeg. It also carries much more dynamic range and you can fix a myriad of issues you may have missed when you took the shot, which otherwise would be locked into a jpeg image. I will use the raw+jpeg setting (two files each shot) because I also want the ability to quickly post the jpegs to a blog or picture site, and for others to be able to use the files instantly. This all adds up to about 18-20 mb per shutter click, and maybe 200 pictures per 4 gig card. This will be a challenge as I hope to have about 15 GB of total card capacity, but I will need a system to unload them at least once maybe twice during the trail.

That being what it is, it is never a good idea to turn down the image size setting in a digital camera. Especially with just jpeg, I ALWAYS capture at the highest resolution and least amount of compression setting. You just never know when you take that one shot that you wanted to print bigger than a 4x6 or even 8x10. Memory is dirt cheap these days, and cards weigh something like 0.07 ounces. Memories however, are priceless and you can never produce the same picture twice. Even if one out of a thousand ever gets printed it is better to have the full size files. :-?

taildragger
11-07-2007, 09:12
Alright, so I am reconsidering my options. What about bringing a Canon G6, I still have RAW capabilities and the camera should getting less expensive. Would this camera be worth it, or would I be better off to try and save for the G9?

I really want the RAW capability, I can really see the difference in images when I use my D100 between RAW and JPEG (HUGE difference)

Are there any other cameras out there that shoot in RAW format? Also, if they use CF cards that would be really nice since I already have some memory for them, and can use them in the D100