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Messages - RustyTheGeek

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PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 25, 2013, 01:50:34 PM »
Depending on what pictures you want out of the 5DII, I would lean toward something like the 16-35 or 17-40 as a single lens solution.  Anything longer would be hard to use if you wanted to turn the camera around and get portraits or get big wide vistas.  The 16-35 also has the added benefit of working in lower light.  I have the version 1 of the 16-35 and it works great for me on both FF and Crop.  Next I guess would be the 24-105 but after that, you are looking at higher weight and bulk concerns.  Another idea might be a Tamron zoom with VC.  Those lenses are a bit of a compromise on IQ but they are lighter and provide a more versatile zoom range.  I have a 28-300 Tamron superzoom and it works OK for most daytime pictures that I use for scout slide shows, etc.  I've also used the 18-270 on crop bodies with similar satisfaction.  Those Tamron lenses are not weather sealed in the slightest however so keep that in mind with regard to dust and moisture.

I'm looking forward to hearing how things progress for you on this!

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 25, 2013, 01:39:03 PM »
Sounds great jrda2!  I think CC also has a smaller item that attaches to the pack shoulder strap now but I haven't used it and it may not work as well for a large DSLR.  Hard to say.  It might be the greatest thing ever.

For me, Photography and Hiking sort of collide.  They are two loves that tend to conflict a bit.  Photography wants IQ and heavy lenses and cameras + tons of extra stuff while Hiking wants light weight, less stuff and simplicity.  It's a hell of a balancing act!!

Only you can decide what your son will handle, tolerate and enjoy but it sounds like you should load him down with all the camera gear!!    :)  And his water+food!    ;)  And the tent!   :o  And all your snacks!!!   ???  Come on, son!!  Buck up!!  It's only another 3 miles to camp!  This is fun!!

Of course I'm kidding but I hope you share some pictures of the excursion.  It does sound like it will be a lot of great fun and memories.  Are you and your son involved with Boy Scouts at all?  Shameless Plug -> Scouts is a great experience for young men!!

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 25, 2013, 12:49:02 PM »
jabbott, you are obviously living the life!!   :)  And it appears you've got some experience in various types of excursions.

In terms of what the OP is faced with, forgetting photography per se for a moment, what is your opinion concerning what he should do in this situation?  As I mentally add up what he needs to take to make this a nice trip for himself and his son, the weight just keeps going up, up, up with no one to help him carry it!  I don't see much room for the camera stuff.  IMHO, his best option is to just stick with a simple P&S + the necessary batteries, etc.  I prefer the rugged D20 for no worries but I would also say that a G15 or S110 would work great as long as he could keep it clean, dry and not drop it.  Also perhaps the SX50 that is discussed in another thread although he probably doesn't need that much zoom.  I'm trying to avoid the other mini camera "systems" because they cost $1000's of dollars.  I'm attempting to suggest options that require spending less than $500 for another "hiking camera" since he is willing/able to take his 5D2 on other shorter trips anyway.  Most of the small "systems" are fragile too.

And finally, if a small P&S is taken, that leaves more room/weight allowance for some lightweight extension accessories that would make it easy to include both father & son in a lot of great portraits!

Consider both of these items to get the camera out in front of both of them and have a nice landscape shot with them in the foreground...

http://www.adorama.com/TRTPZS.html - Tamrac Zipshot,TR406,Compact, Ultra-Light Aluminum Tripod with Ball Head
http://www.adorama.com/TPXSP1.html - XShot Pocket Telescopic Camera Extender

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 25, 2013, 11:11:38 AM »
Sorry to dominate this thread but as I re-read your original post, it occurs to me that this is just you and your son, no other adults, correct?  Since your son isn't carrying a lot of weight, he must be young.  So this means everything revolves around you.  I gotta admit that this is worrisome due to safety concerns.  You are carrying a lot of weight.  How far from civilization will you be?  If you get hurt, turn an ankle or whatever, what is your emergency plan?  Will you be in cell phone range and how will they get to you if you can't walk out?  I don't want your wonderful father-son experience to become a nightmare.  Make sure someone knows your itinerary and you have check-in times.  I realize you are probably experienced enough to already know this but I'd rather say it rather than assume.  You'd be amazed at how little some people plan a trip they think will be all roses and discover the harsh reality of the outdoors later.  Don't be one of them!  Day hikes are completely different from multi-day trips.  COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!  Different gear, different planning and different mindset!

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 25, 2013, 10:45:36 AM »
No offence to anyone posting to this thread but I think you are going to find that avid hikers are going to urge you to go minimal while the photographers without much hiking experience are going to offer advice about all the lenses you should take.  I would NOT take more than two lenses and even then I think you are pushing your luck due to the situation you are in, having to carry gear for more than one night for more than just yourself.  Keep in mind that jabbott mentioned that he only carried 20 pounds.  I'm guessing half of that was photo gear and the other half was snacks, water and weather gear.  He obviously had sherpas or porters or whatever you want to call them.  That sounds like a BLAST!!  All the fun, none of the weight!!

I really hope you have a great time but I also hope you do your due diligence and test hike everything ahead of time.  Please let us know what you learn as you prepare, what you finally decide and keep tossing out those questions!!

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 25, 2013, 10:25:33 AM »
Sorry in advance for the length.  Hopefully you will find some value from the following info, take it or leave it...

Since it appears this thread is leaning toward taking the DSLR and having it out and available the entire time, not just during stops, I experimented with and tested using the Cotton Carrier for hiking with the DSLR.  It works well because of several reasons.  It doesn't swing.  It doesn't bounce.  It doesn't hang out, swing or hit the ground if you lean over.  It also provides the nice counter weight in front.  It isn't attached to your main pack so when you need to remove your main pack, it doesn't go with it.  This is a big issue because if you are removing a 40-70 lb backpack, once you start the process of removing it, it's likely going where you planned to put it, with or without the camera going along for the ride and into the dirt.  It's bad enough forgetting to disconnect the pack chest strap and strangling yourself but if there's a camera involved, then you are really having to deal with unexpected issues and you could possibly pull a muscle or something trying to deal with a heavy pack and protect a camera as you are in the middle of the removal process.

Also, depending on where you are hiking, sudden weather like rain could be an issue and so you should have something handy to cover the DSLR regardless of how you keep it attached.  Ditto for when you are drinking, eating, or whatever.  And if it's hot, you will be sweating and that can drip on the camera.  The Cotton Carrier comes with some kind of cover thing as an option I think.

I'm not timid by any means taking a DSLR into the outdoors.  I pretty much assume, expect and am braced for a potential loss or damage event on every trip.  But I do my best to think ahead and use a system that hopefully prevents most common forms of damage or abuse.

Perhaps consider a hiking/pack umbrella.  They make a few that are very light, flexible and durable that you can attach to your pack straps and will not require your hands.  This allows you to stay dry underneath in light or non-windy rain or snow.  (Horizontal monsoons, not so much!)  I considered and briefly tested this also for taking DSLR pictures on the go.  The umbrella also helps keep you from sweating your a$$ off from wearing rain gear for hours during misty and drizzly conditions while you hike.  The links below show two different products and the youtube video gives a decent idea of what using one would be like.

GoLite Umbrella Review Small | Large

I spent months trying out different methods of using the DSLR and hiking.  IMHO, it's not the weight or even the risk to the equipment that bothers me.  It's the logistics of keeping up with it, packing/unpacking it, making room for it along with the other stuff.  Things like ultralight stools, a pillow and camp shoes are a godsend on a long expedition style hike.  Everything contributes to the list of stuff you have to manage and carry but they are servicing the primary purpose of the activity, hiking and maintaining your body as it endures the challenges you demand of it.  Don't forget, you have to carry enough food and water for whatever duration necessary.  And you also said you are carrying for the family too.  I don't think you will be able to use any kind of ultralight pack.  They are all designed for 35 lbs or less.  You will likely need something like a Kelty RedCloud 90 or 110!  For this reason, I like the P&S rugged cam for totally carefree hiking and then the DSLR to satisfy my IQ needs while stopped.  At that point, take the 40/2.8 or my favorite, the 16-35/2.8.  (The 17-40 would also be great but only f4.)  Maybe a 28/1.8 or other fast but light prime for very low light like campfires.  Consider the LensCoat DSLR Cover for keeping the DSLR protected in the pack and put that in a heavy duty ziplock.  http://tinyurl.com/b8n7n8r

FLASH - You are using a FF body so you will need fill flash.  Yes, you will.  Get a Sunpak RD2000 with the StoFen Diffuser made for it.  Put some foil in the diffuser to direct the light more forward.  Gaffer tape the diffuser to the flash.  Aim the flash up at an angle for better results indoors, in shadows, etc but remove the diffuser in total bright sun.  Use Energizer Lithium AAs for long life and very low weight.  Expect about two days from each pair assuming you run the flash about 1-2 stops down like I do. 

Last thing - Trekking Poles.  Get Aluminum so they bend instead of snap/shatter like carbon fiber does.  Leki has some (Aergon) that you can install their 1/4-20 bolt inside of the hand grip.  Or get a trekmount to fit on any pole which is what I did.  http://www.trekmount.com/  But of course, what will you do with the trekking poles when you want to grab the camera to take pictures?  Again, grabbing the P&S on my left shoulder  strap while still moving on the trail one handed is easier then having to stop the group, remove the poles and lean them somewhere (where they fall over anyway) and use two hands to manage the DSLR.  I actually rigged up two super magnets high up on my pack to hold the trekking poles so I never had to deal with them when I took pictures and no one else had to be bothered helping me.

In conclusion, I would like to implore you to do some "shakedown hikes" where you try out several different methods and ideas before you go on the actual trip.  And I don't mean walk up and down the street.  I mean hike up and down hills in similar conditions/weather and go for at least 3-4 miles.  You need to know how it feels after you are tired and you need to be sure your feet/boots can handle the extra weight, etc.  Anyone can hike for 3 miles no problem.  But once you hit 5 miles, you start to discover where the problems are.  Blisters on feet, wear points on hips or other areas and you start to ever so slightly question why you brought something or other.  You might decide that DSLR in front of you is an annoyance and not worth the trouble.  That's why I have a weatherproof P&S hanging on a supermagnet while on the trail.  No fuss, it can get wet, dropped, used one handed, etc with zero worry or annoyance.

Good luck and have a great time with your family!!  That's JOB 1!

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 24, 2013, 11:40:12 PM »
I considered the G1X for hiking but when you consider the high price for what it is and then actually pick one up and hold it, you will likely blow off the G1X due to value concerns and the sheer weight of the thing.  And buying any other 4/3 or other system means a LOT of money for this purpose.

I can't get away from the fact that when hiking, you will have to deal with dirt, moisture, humidity, impacts, etc.  To mitigate disaster, you will have to manage/pack/cushion/make space for the camera, lenses, etc more than in other settings.  In short, take the 5D2 + 40mm/2.8 if you must but store/protect them in your pack while hiking.  Don't worry about them.  Keep a P&S like the rugged D20 on your pack shoulder strap within easy reach with a carabiner or something for all the spontaneous shots while you're on the trail with the family and being active.

When stopped for long periods or when you are camped then pull out the DSLR and enjoy the higher quality.  It's up to you how much you take but just remember the proper priority order....  you are backpacking with the family and taking pictures.  You aren't on a paid photo shoot with the family tagging along for fun.  One is secondary to the other.  Don't forget which one is which!

PowerShot / Re: Advice on P&S
« on: January 24, 2013, 07:23:23 PM »
I'd have a look at the SX50 HS (review).  It's a bit over the price stated, but meets the needs - long zoom, decent low light, manual controls, and shoots RAW (if your friend wants to put time into post processing).

Else, consider an S100 - large sensor for a P&S, decent in low light, pocketable (but only 120mm FF-equivalent).

I have considered (and still consider) buying the SX50 for hiking instead of taking a DSLR.  It's nice to hear some endorsements of it.  I need to go play with one at my local store and maybe even pull out my wallet.  I'm glad this thread came up.  Here goes the CR Forum again, costing me money!!   :D

PowerShot / Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« on: January 24, 2013, 06:56:31 PM »
Lloyd makes some very good points.  I hike with scouts on both short trips and long expeditions.  Weight is always a concern.  Being comfortable, safe and well hydrated is more important than camera equipment, esp if you are with your family.  I really wanted to take my DSLR + 16-35/2.8L, etc to last summer's 10 day trek to Philmont.  I opted instead for my small P&S Canon rugged D20.  I hung it off my shoulder strap with a super magnet and took over 1000 pictures with three batteries.  The pictures were not DSLR quality but I had a great time and I didn't have to spend a lot of mental and physical energy managing all the photo equipment.

I can't stress enough that unless you are a seasoned veteran hiker and you know exactly what you are doing and what to expect, I would NOT take a lot of photo gear on your trip.  You run the risk of being miserable.  And since I am not a landscape photographer, I really have to question the need for a lot of landscape pictures.  Take pictures of your family and all your activities together.  As Lloyd says, the landscape isn't going anywhere but these moments only happen once and then they are gone!

Have you considered the Cotton Carrier?

I still contend (as I mentioned way back) that Canon knows more about the 5D3 than probably any other camera.  It's supposed to be their "big deal" camera designed for everyone and destined to follow the 5D2 in rocking the world of every pro and enthusiast that has a high credit limit.  They took their time developing and testing all the prototypes with pro beta testers in every situation.  I think they know and have known every strength and weakness of this camera since it was in early beta.  The fact that we are experiencing what they likely knew all along is somewhat meaningless to them and they probably plan to respond when they have something they think is considered progress on the problem and what we would like to hear.  In fact, if a firmware update can fix or improve the problem, the future April firmware date may be a deadline to keep the engineers engaged and motivated to fix the problem (among others).

Of course, this is all just an assumption on my part but I really have a hard time believing that Canon is so clueless about their own cameras that they need a user forum to explain the limits and flaws of something they designed, built and extensively tested (for years) themselves.

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Canon 6D - Meike grip on ebay for under $40
« on: January 24, 2013, 09:22:03 AM »
I decided to order one.  Because I don't have enough stuff piled up laying around in my way already.   :P

Pricewatch Deals / Re: What is the best place to sell your equipment?
« on: January 23, 2013, 11:10:18 PM »
I'm not a huge CraigsList veteran but I've listed a lot on eBay every since '98.  It used to be fun and profitable.  Now it is a huge scam.  The eBay+PayPal Buyer Protection system is a huge risk and ripoff for the seller.  I wouldn't risk anything on eBay that you don't mind losing and having to issue a full refund to the buyer no questions asked after the scammer buyer reports any number of complaints.  It's criminal how bad they treat the sellers now.  Treat eBay literally like a garage sale and expect a certain amount of theft and loss.  And if you don't have the money in your PayPal account  to issue a refund, PayPal will do it anyway and put your PayPal account into negative balance and then sic the Credit Agency Gestapo on you.  It's essentially legalized online highway robbery.  You've been warned!

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: I love big gear
« on: January 23, 2013, 06:41:45 PM »
I've been thinking about getting a proper rucksack camera bag for a while now. I've had a Billingham 335 for about 17 years now but I don't use it as it is too conspicuous to carry around.

For this reason, I've been using an old sports rucksack with a sweater in it for padding. It's not ideal, but at least it doesn't advertise its contents.

The Lowepro bags seem the least like they advertise what's in the bag, but is there anything that really doesn't look like a camera bag at all out there?

Totally agree.  Packing thousands of dollars worth of heavy camera gear in a dedicated photo backpack only seems to accomplish two things...

-  Advertise a lot of expensive camera gear is here
-  Guarantee that you'll be doing nothing other than shooting pictures since there is no room for anything else

I typically use normal daypacks or backpacks and put the camera gear in individual protection, whatever that might be.  Lens cases, fleece jackets, clothes for the hike, whatever.  I need a backpack that is a backpack, not a lens case with straps.  I'm almost always doing more on the trip than just taking pictures and I hate advertising that I'm carrying even more equipment as expensive as the camera I have in my hand.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Kenrockwell comments on Canon 6d
« on: January 23, 2013, 05:39:14 PM »
Wow.  At first I was thinking about Scotty on the new Star Trek exclaiming on the bridge (after Kirk and Spock fight) that he likes this ship, it's exciting!  Then as I read further I found a new and deeper appreciation and respect for Paul's attitude and posts, among others'.  But finally here at the end I just wish I had a bit of my life back.

And FWIW, KR is fine.  He's just Ken.  Take him or leave him.  He seems to mean well.  When he cracks me up, that's great.  Some of his info is helpful.  The rest I just ignore or take with a grain of salt.  My brain has had that ability all my life.  Enjoy the best, leave the rest.  Try to wear a smile and keep moving forward.  Have compassion and patience.

No one is perfect but some are not content to see that simple fact stand on its own and for some reason must expend energy pointing out and judging others' imperfections while inadvertently but simultaneously exposing their own.  Amazingly, this behavior is self perpetuating and all consuming and as it continues, like a tar baby it simply gets more and more ugly and inescapable.  What started out as curious and interesting to watch ends up just being sad and pathetic.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon 5d Mark III Eyepiece cover
« on: January 23, 2013, 04:01:33 PM »
Ditto on black gaffers tape.  I use it for several unorthodox things.  I have thin ~3/8" strips of black gaffers tape around all my L lenses to protect/hide the red ring area from thieves and scuffs.  I use it over some of the lens slide switches when they rub my leg as I carry them hanging to the side and they get switched without my knowledge.  I use it to protect other parts of the camera.  I use it to hide the Mark III logo on my 5D3.  I use it to hide the Tamron logo on all my lens caps.  I use it to provide rubbery grip areas on my S95. 

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