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Author Topic: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...  (Read 13531 times)

EdB

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2013, 10:43:20 PM »
Nothing beats the Sigma Merrills for lightweight and image quality. Is it slow and clunky? You bet but who needs speed for landscapes? For a thousand bucks you get a camera that arguably beats FF and take the other 500 and buy batteries and memory cause your going to need it.

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2013, 10:43:20 PM »

bholliman

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2013, 10:49:12 PM »
....and do not worry, my son will be in plenty of the pics.  I can just hear him now...."oh come on Dad, do I have to be in another picture?!"
Hate to think how many times I've heard that...  :)  But my son seems to enjoy looking at the pictures later.

Just curious - no one out there thinks the G1X is a good option compared to the 5DII with a 40mm - the main benefit being you get some different focal lengths with the zoom lens of the G1X.  I have read that the IQ of the G1X is comparable to the 7D.

The G1X has a nice sized sensor and really good IQ, should be a good, light weight option.  Smaller and lighter than your 5D2+40mm or 50mm and its gives you much greater focal length flexibility with only a minor hit in IQ (although I think TrumpetPower will disagree with me on this point).  I don't know much about the non-Canon options you listed, but I'm sure others will offer input.

Edit:  Size and weight of Canon options:
5D2+40mm = 6x4x3", 33.2 oz.
5D2+50 1.4 = 6x4x4.5", 38.8 oz.
G1X = 4.6x3.2x2.5, 17.3 oz.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 10:56:15 PM by bholliman »
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aroo

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2013, 10:53:06 PM »
Do people on this thread tend toward weather sealed camera systems for long backpacking trips? I'm thinking about this same question right now for a trip this summer.

I've had great luck with weather in the past and photographed landscapes extensively with S60 and S70 powershots, which are old and huge.  A few years agoI bought a rebel, 18-55, nifty fifty, and 55-250. It's very light and versatile, you could get similar for under a thousand dollars today. I imagine it's a tall step down in IQ from a full frame camera, but the functionality is there and today's lenses have video focusing.

Recently I've had a 7D on some hikes where I was glad to have an L lens because it rained and snowed while I was photographing landscapes.

So with a 5D2, does a 40mm have enough weather sealing for a long trip?

bholliman

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2013, 11:16:55 PM »
Do people on this thread tend toward weather sealed camera systems for long backpacking trips? I'm thinking about this same question right now for a trip this summer.

I've had great luck with weather in the past and photographed landscapes extensively with S60 and S70 powershots, which are old and huge.  A few years agoI bought a rebel, 18-55, nifty fifty, and 55-250. It's very light and versatile, you could get similar for under a thousand dollars today. I imagine it's a tall step down in IQ from a full frame camera, but the functionality is there and today's lenses have video focusing.

Recently I've had a 7D on some hikes where I was glad to have an L lens because it rained and snowed while I was photographing landscapes.

So with a 5D2, does a 40mm have enough weather sealing for a long trip?

I've taken my 7D a several hikes when we have been rained on.  7D's are supposed to be pretty well sealed, but I'm reluctant to give it a good test.  :)  I keep the camera and lens(es) inside a sealed plastic bag in a weather resistant backpack when it looks like wet weather is moving in and just take them out briefly for shots of rainbows or whatever when its raining. 

When there is a good chance for rain on a long hike, I will leave my EF-S 15-85mm lens in the tent/cabin since I don't know how well sealed it is (and don't want to find out the hard way).  I'll take the 24-105L instead which I know is weather sealed, even if it means giving up some focal length at the wide end on the APS-C body.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 11:19:24 PM by bholliman »
Bodies:  6D, EOS-M (22/2 and 18-55)
Lenses: Rokinon 14mm 2.8, 35mm 2.0 IS, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8L IS Macro, 135mm 2.0L, 24-70mm 2.8L II, 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, Extenders: EF 1.4xIII, EF 2xIII ; Flash: ST-E3-RT, 600EX-RT (x3)

sanj

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2013, 11:19:36 PM »
Lovely replies in this thread.

It shows that people on this forum can be warm and helpful when they feel like it. :)

RustyTheGeek

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #20 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!
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

jabbott

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2013, 01:15:11 AM »
Last November I hiked 129 miles over two weeks in Nepal to the base camp of Mount Everest, and I brought a 5D3, 17-40 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L IS with me in a Lowepro Photo Sport 200 pack.  The gear worked great, was weather-sealed and provided excellent image quality with a manageable weight (5 lbs).  My pack was only about 20 pounds fully loaded though, which I'm guessing is considerably less than yours if you are hiking self-supported.  If I had to carry much more weight, I would definitely slim down by getting rid of the 70-200 first.  That would bring it down to 3.3 lbs.  The Shorty 40 looks nice but when I'm hiking I tend to shoot wider than 40mm...  I gravitate towards the 17mm end of the 17-40.  I would likely just bring the 17-40 as the single lens and be done with it.  I have been considering the Fuji X100s as well, but not for hiking due to the longer focal length.  That's just my preference however...

I have one recommendation for carrying photo gear while hiking...  the Op/Tech reporter/backpack straps (available here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/485766-REG/OP_TECH_USA_1301652_System_Connectors_Reporter_Backpack_Set_of.html) work amazingly well.  They allow you to keep the camera in front of you while hiking, with the weight distributed along your backpack straps instead of your neck like a traditional strap.  For long distance hikes it's a lifesaver.  I had to get the System Connector Extensions (regular length, not extra long) to work well with the Photo Sport 200 pack.  I used these on the Everest Base Camp hike and in retrospect I can't imagine doing that hike (or any hike now) without them.  These might allow you to still bring your 5D2 with you.

In case you are interested, here is a link to my Nepal photos...  the first set are from Kathmandu where I had the 50mm with me, but after that it was 17-40 and 70-200 only:
https://picasaweb.google.com/101523717119396165775/2012NepalTrip02
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 09:47:41 AM by jabbott »

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2013, 01:15:11 AM »

aroo

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2013, 01:44:31 AM »

In case you are interested, here is a link to my Nepal photos...  the first set are from Kathmandu where I had the 50mm with me, but after that it was 17-40 and 70-200 only:
https://picasaweb.google.com/101523717119396165775/2012NepalTrip02

Wow awesome! It'll take a while to get through all these great images. Is that the 70-200 w/o IS?

jabbott

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2013, 09:48:24 AM »

In case you are interested, here is a link to my Nepal photos...  the first set are from Kathmandu where I had the 50mm with me, but after that it was 17-40 and 70-200 only:
https://picasaweb.google.com/101523717119396165775/2012NepalTrip02

Wow awesome! It'll take a while to get through all these great images. Is that the 70-200 w/o IS?

It was the 70-200 f/4L IS.  I just modified my earlier post to mention that.  Whoops!   :)  I should also mention that I geotagged the photos so from the right side of the PicasaWeb page you can view them on a Google Map or in Google Earth.  Viewing them with Google Earth works well because you can see the terrain we hiked.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 09:52:14 AM by jabbott »

RustyTheGeek

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #24 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.

http://www.euroschirm.com/schirm/Swing_handsfree/index.cgi?session=7ia8cnFV4uTpH&sprache_land=usa
http://www.golite.com/Chrome-Dome-Trekking-Umbrella-P928.aspx
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!
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 10:35:03 AM by RustyTheGeek »
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

AprilForever

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2013, 10:29:34 AM »
5D mk II and 40mm. Add 70-200 f4 non IS. And, for UWA, 17-40? This would work smashingly.

Or, a 7D, a 15-85, and you could be very good to go. Add in a 70-200 f4 non IS. Put that 40mm lens in there too. Know, however, that you will be seeing a different view between the two cameras. Canon just doesn't do equivalence... yet...

Alternately, for both, the 70-300 L also. 
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RustyTheGeek

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #26 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!!
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

RustyTheGeek

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #27 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!
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2013, 11:11:38 AM »

RLPhoto

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2013, 11:13:37 AM »
G1x or G15 for long, multi-day trekks for weight and whatever you want for day hikes.

JPAZ

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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2013, 11:25:17 AM »

I have one recommendation for carrying photo gear while hiking...  the Op/Tech reporter/backpack straps (available here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/485766-REG/OP_TECH_USA_1301652_System_Connectors_Reporter_Backpack_Set_of.html) work amazingly well.  They allow you to keep the camera in front of you while hiking, with the weight distributed along your backpack straps instead of your neck like a traditional strap.


+1 on this.  A recommendation, though.  The Op-tech straps are almost perfect but the clips on the end to your backpack straps can open.  I got very small carabiners that I also fasten at this end as insurance.

My setup is an F-Stop Loka pack with the reporter straps holding my ThinkTank holster.  I keep the camera in the holster for protection but it is right on my chest for easy access. 

I also heartily agree on the umbrella.  I do use hiking poles but my camera is in my holster (and there is a raincover with this holster) while a small folded umbrella is hanging within easy reach.

Did a 14 day trek in Northern Nepal with this setup.  BUT, frankly, my wife was much happier with her NEX-7 in a little fanny-type pack at her waist........Everything is a trade-off.

JP
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 11:28:12 AM by JPAZ »
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Re: A camera for backpacking into the wilderness...
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2013, 11:25:17 AM »