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best camera for backpacking trip?
Hi,.

Hopefully someone can help! I need to buy a camera for a long trip (1+ years), so need something light weight but good quality. I used to have a SLR, and loved the control it gave, but I won't have room in my bag for different lenses etc. I'll be taking a wide variety of photos, landscapes, night time, indoors, etc etc as you do when travelling, want to capture every memory as good quality as possible, but not be weighed down by equipment. Also, don't want a very expensive one as there might be risk of it getting stolen. And also, I need to transfer the photos straight to something other than a computer, as I won't have my laptop with me on my trip..

So basically, I need: lightweight, relatively inexpensive, DSLR (not essential, but like to play with the pics while taking them), and ability to save photos straight to a storage device without a computer. Any suggestions welcome!.

Thanks!Bec ..

Comments (18)

Do you have storage device already?.

If not DSLR, check Canon G9. On Ebay you can find relativly chiep.

Canon S70 (has initial 28mm wide angle and RAW). Or also at ebay find Nikon 8700, 8800, Konica Minolta A2, or A200.

If DSLR, buy any camera body with 18-200mm lens. You may add macro tube and 1 inexpensive prime lens for indoors and night shots - older Sigma 24mm f/2.8 AF.

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #1

Bec1 wrote:.

Hi,.

Hopefully someone can help! I need to buy a camera for a long trip(1+ years), so need something light weight but good quality. I usedto have a SLR, and loved the control it gave, but I won't have roomin my bag for different lenses etc. I'll be taking a wide variety ofphotos, landscapes, night time, indoors, etc etc as you do whentravelling, want to capture every memory as good quality as possible,but not be weighed down by equipment. Also, don't want a veryexpensive one as there might be risk of it getting stolen. And also,I need to transfer the photos straight to something other than acomputer, as I won't have my laptop with me on my trip..

So basically, I need: lightweight, relatively inexpensive, DSLR (notessential, but like to play with the pics while taking them), andability to save photos straight to a storage device without acomputer. Any suggestions welcome!.

Thanks!Bec .

What's your time requirement? Olympus just announced a new class of cameras that should be more compact than current DSLRs. (What do you call them? Without mirrors, there's no "reflex" to make them DSLRs.).

Right now, there are a number of excellent small, cheap DSLR's. The Nikon D60 and Canon XSi come to mind..

As for storage, SDHC cards are now available in huge sizes at moderate cost. You could store thousands of images on 1 or 2 cards, depending on whether you shoot raw or jpeg. Just make sure your camera can take SDHC. The older SD cards are limited to 2 GB, though that still holds a lot...

Comment #2

Greg Nut wrote:.

Olympus just announced a new class ofcameras that should be more compact than current DSLRs. (What do youcall them? Without mirrors, there's no "reflex" to make them DSLRs.).

They are called "EVIL" cameras, for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens...

Comment #3

Each camera brand seems to have one small dslr in their line. I think the Olympus is the smallest. If weight is a factor, I don't think you can beat the bridge cameras. Some of them have all the controls of a dslr including raw capabilities. Bridge cameras biggest drawback is shutter lag..

Storage shouldn't be too big of a problem. Most of the world has internet shops where you can copy your images to a disk and storage cards are really cheap right now..

However, if you anticipate that storage will be a problem you might look for used cameras with fewer megapixels to maximize the storage you carry..

REd..

Comment #4

Red13 wrote:.

Each camera brand seems to have one small dslr in their line. Ithink the Olympus is the smallest. If weight is a factor, I don'tthink you can beat the bridge cameras. Some of them have all thecontrols of a dslr including raw capabilities. Bridge camerasbiggest drawback is shutter lag..

Storage shouldn't be too big of a problem. Most of the world hasinternet shops where you can copy your images to a disk and storagecards are really cheap right now..

However, if you anticipate that storage will be a problem you mightlook for used cameras with fewer megapixels to maximize the storageyou carry..

REd.

The 12 MP Canon XSi makes 1.5MB jpegs (Large Standard). That gets you about 10,000 images on a 16GB card. Even raw would be over 1000. As tempting as getting one enormous card may be, I'd resist it. That's a lot to lose if the card gets corrupted, lost, or stolen. Better would be to split things between 3 or 4 cards, and keep the spares in a waterproof case...

Comment #5

First on Storage.

I have been shooting on 3 or 4 continents in the last year, having a good storage plan helps a lot. Relying on internet cafes to burn your photos to CDs is bad news..

I have used a NEXTO DI for extended trips and have had fantastic results. I ordered it online, it shipped from singapore with 150gig of storage (maybe 145 usable). I am assuming that you won't be carrying a second backup..

You will probably then be in a position a year from now where you have 20-100 gig of your precious photos sitting in a little box in you rickety hotel room, or on your shoulder back, or getting crushed in your pack...etc. Plan to burn some DVDs at some point and send them home. Or carry it on your person if you can do that..

I had a friend who stored photos on an iPod with some little converter. Frankly the cost per gigabyte on the iPods is just too much, and the file system is not great (esp compared to something like the NEXTO DIsee similar product talk in other threads)..

Goals:.

What kind of photos do you want: nice snapshots to remember what it was like? Photographs that you are going to print and put on the wall? Are you going to be shooting photos every day? You'll probably get to know your camera pretty well after a year in that scenario....

I have seen people, presumably backpacker types, with DSLR shoulder cases: the shoulder strap was sunburned not on their skin, but their shirt. Do you want a camera in your pocket everyday or in a day pack or shoulder bag?.

If I were going to be carrying a day bag I would knock some little expensive highlight off your trip and get a nicer camera/lens. What's your budget? 20 or 30 bucks a day (maybe more) with insurance, transit etc... take a little of that "+" off of your one year plus and get something you'll be happy with...

Comment #6

Drokpa wrote:.

What kind of photos do you want: nice snapshots to remember what itwas like? Photographs that you are going to print and put on thewall? Are you going to be shooting photos every day? You'llprobably get to know your camera pretty well after a year in thatscenario....

I want mainly printable quality photos, I just did a short Europe trip with a compact camera which was ok for snapshots for the nice memories etc, but I want to concentrate more on photography on this next trip, as I'm doing a photography subject at uni at the moment, and would love to learn more. I'll be using it every day, so I guess I'll be learning a lot about whichever camera I buy!.

I have seen people, presumably backpacker types, with DSLR shouldercases: the shoulder strap was sunburned not on their skin, but theirshirt. Do you want a camera in your pocket everyday or in a day packor shoulder bag?.

I'm planning on keeping it in a day pack, shoulder bag will be too tempting for theives, I think..

If I were going to be carrying a day bag I would knock some littleexpensive highlight off your trip and get a nicer camera/lens.What's your budget? 20 or 30 bucks a day (maybe more) withinsurance, transit etc... take a little of that "+" off of your oneyear plus and get something you'll be happy with..

Great idea, I think instead of shortening my trip though, I'll probably spend more time in the cheaper countries, and less time in the expensive cities instead. Thanks ..

Comment #7

Red13 wrote:.

Each camera brand seems to have one small dslr in their line. Ithink the Olympus is the smallest..

I've just been reading about the Olympus E420.. it's really small and light! Would there be any disadvantages (apart from image stabilisation) on this one compared to the larger sized ones like the Olympus E520 or the Nikon D60?..

Comment #8

Bec1 wrote:.

Red13 wrote:.

Blah, blah, blah..

I've just been reading about the Olympus E420.. it's really small andlight! Would there be any disadvantages (apart from imagestabilisation) on this one compared to the larger sized ones like theOlympus E520 or the Nikon D60?.

I don't have any experience with 420, 520, or d60. You'll have to read the reviews and hold the cameras to see what fits best in your hand and on your back..

In your other recent reply you mentioned picture quality and that to me means ability to shoot in the raw format. Should you decide not to take a dslr you might look at the Canon G9(?). Occasionally there are threads asking people to guess which shot was from the G9 and which is from a dslr. It is not easy to tell the difference at a 100% crop and almost impossible at smaller sizes. I've found when traveling that most of my equipment is extra weight for much of the trip. The old 80-20 rule..

I agree with the other poster who said that downloading at an internet cafe is a hassle but it can be done..

Also I read in your other reply that you are concerned about thieves. You might look at Packsafe(?). They provide security options against opportunistic thieves who cut straps, slit bag bottoms and grab luggage..

REd..

Comment #9

Nikon D60 - (5 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)Olympus E420 - (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)Pentax K200D - (5.3 x 3.7 x 2.9 in).

I don't think there is much difference in size (thickness difference is due to hand-grip). Image stabilization is handy feature when traveling light (i.e. no tripod)..

You may give it a thought to carry newly launched Nikon P6000 (wide angle 4x zoom) or Canon G9 (6x zoom). Both these offer RAW capture..

Bec1 wrote:.

I've just been reading about the Olympus E420.. it's really small andlight! Would there be any disadvantages (apart from imagestabilisation) on this one compared to the larger sized ones like theOlympus E520 or the Nikon D60?.

Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612Thanks for your time...

Comment #10

First of all, forget the storage device. Memory cards are so cheap now that you should just fill them up and mail them home. You can buy more of them anywhere. Don't shoot 50 shots of something hoping to get one good one. Plan your shots and take your time. At the end of the day, review your images and delete those that are not worth keeping.

This will make you a better photographer..

A small DSLR with one 3X zoom with IS or one fast prime should cover the situations you describe. If you need superwide angle, shoot several shots and stitch them together. For more tele shots plan on cropping..

Get insurance for your gear. Keep the filled memory cards in a different place than your camera bag.Good luck...

Comment #11

Honestly, I would get image stabilization. That will allow you to shoot in about 2 stops lower light conditions than you normally would without IS. Sure you can always bump up the ISO, but you may hit the ISO limit when you are inside in dim light..

The only disadvantage of the E520 or the D60 is that these cameras are not weather and dust resistant. The Pentax K200D is weather sealed and has image stabilization built into the body like the E520. If I was in your situation, I would get the K200D with the 16-45/f4 lens. This lens equates to about a 24-70mm lens in 35mm terms. If you need a longer lens, you can add either the DA50-200 or the DA55-300. If you decide not to add one of the longer zooms, I would pick up a prime like the DA50/1.4.



Enjoy your trip!.

Bec1 wrote:.

Red13 wrote:.

Each camera brand seems to have one small dslr in their line. Ithink the Olympus is the smallest..

I've just been reading about the Olympus E420.. it's really small andlight! Would there be any disadvantages (apart from imagestabilisation) on this one compared to the larger sized ones like theOlympus E520 or the Nikon D60?..

Comment #12

Robert Anderson wrote:.

First of all, forget the storage device. Memory cards are so cheapnow that you should just fill them up and mail them home..

... and when they get lost in the post what will you do? Touching faith in postal services around the world!.

Richard..

Comment #13

Olympus E420/520 2 lens kit. The 2 lenses cover the 35 mm equivalent of 28-300mm and are generelaly considered VERY good lenses. Both also have dust reduction, which is the most effective of the systems. The primery difference between them is, the E520 has in-body image stabilization and the E420 doesn't. Personaly, I like the form factor of the E420, but prefer the image stabilization..

Also consider the Pentax K200D. In-body stabilization, weather resistant, also has good glass for the kit lens.shinndigghttp://www.pbase.com/shinndigg..

Comment #14

Olympus (E420) offers the smallest DSLR available in the market today, so that will be my first choice if I am going on a trip likes yours. It takes better photos than the most expensive point-and-shooter cameras out there. Image stabilization is it's problem, of course..

If you really want to avoid the heft and weight of a DSLR, go for Fuji, Lumix, Canon extended zoomers. They also come with decent image stablizers and now run to 10+ megapixels, which means printing is not a problem later..

I am assuming anyway that you will have time to post-process your photos later, prior printing..

Cheers and have fun!Noogy..

Comment #15

One benefit to shoulder bags, regarding thieves is that you can wear them backwards pretty easily. That is, to make the zipper (or buckles) face your body. This is usually pretty awkward with backpacks, but really is a huge theft deterrent. You can also slide them to the front of your body for quicker access, and slide them to the side to keep a hand on the zipper's starting point..

Backpacks are better however if you really need to move (hiking with a shoulder bag isn't as great). In some places, like parts india for instance, you might want to have a better idea about just what is going on back there (razor thieves etc). Most other places you should be fine, though some places in africa come to mind..

Good luck...

Comment #16

I'm going to throw in a vote for the Pentax K200D, because I was stuck in a similar situation a year ago and found the Pentax system fit my needs the best. There are 5 main reasons:.

1) AA batteries. I was once stuck in Cameroon with no electricity for a week, and with a proprietary lithium, I was literally stuck without a camera once the batteries died. Never again.2) DA 21mm/3.2. This lens is tiny and affords a great-quality wide-angle..

3) FA 43mm/1.9. Without the lens hood, this is the same size as the 21 and is just amazing in terms of color rendition and image quality, even wide open4) DA 70mm/2.4. Same size as the others, great quality images..

5) Image stabilization. My shooting style does not include a tripod. Thankfully, even at 1/10th of a second, I don't need one..

I never felt like I was missing anything because I was limited to three focal lengths, and I was frankly quite pleased that my camera wasn't a huge system that screamed "Steal me!" Here's an image of those three lenses, courtesy of A Modest Mouse:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

So far as storage goes, I bought a hyperdrive and uploaded every day. I got home with everything intact..

I don't have any experience with the Olympus system, mind you; it seems like they have quite a few offerings that would be appealing as well. And I was _this_ close to buying the Canon G7 when I discovered Pentax..

Any way you go, have a great trip! And don't forget to relax .

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Keitha McCallPentaxian and Shapshot Shooter since April 2007http://flickr.com/photos/aravis121/http://www.ascenicworld.com..

Comment #17

K McCall wrote:.

I'm going to throw in a vote for the Pentax K200D, because I wasstuck in a similar situation a year ago and found the Pentax systemfit my needs the best. There are 5 main reasons:1) AA batteries. I was once stuck in Cameroon with no electricity fora week, and with a proprietary lithium, I was literally stuck withouta camera once the batteries died. Never again.2) DA 21mm/3.2. This lens is tiny and affords a great-qualitywide-angle.3) FA 43mm/1.9. Without the lens hood, this is the same size as the21 and is just amazing in terms of color rendition and image quality,even wide open4) DA 70mm/2.4.

My shooting style does not include a tripod.Thankfully, even at 1/10th of a second, I don't need one..

I never felt like I was missing anything because I was limited tothree focal lengths, and I was frankly quite pleased that my camerawasn't a huge system that screamed "Steal me!" Here's an image ofthose three lenses, courtesy of A Modest Mouse:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

So far as storage goes, I bought a hyperdrive and uploaded every day.I got home with everything intact..

I don't have any experience with the Olympus system, mind you; itseems like they have quite a few offerings that would be appealing aswell. And I was _this_ close to buying the Canon G7 when I discoveredPentax..

Any way you go, have a great trip! And don't forget to relax .

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

You make some excellent points, and I agree that the K200D belongs on the short list, primarily for the weather sealing..

But, I don't think AA batteries are really an advantage. The lithium battery in the Canon XSi is about the same size as 2 AA's (the K200D takes 4), and is good for 500 shots just like the K200D, way more without flash. The charger is also extremely small, similar to the ones their P&S' take. So, you could get two spares, and go 1500 to 2500 images before you need to charge. You save a lot of weight compared to 3 sets of NiMH AA's and a charger..

What camera do I take backpacking? My SD870IS with 2 batteries and a 4GB card. 6 ounces total. If I need wider than 28mm, I shoot a panorama. If I need longer than 100mm, I use digital zoom (sorry purists)..

With the weight I save, I carry a walking stick made from a steel tube, just in case I encounter a mountain lion, or a dangerous two-legged animal...

Comment #18

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