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[at-l] Digital Cameras for Thru-hikes

A couple of years ago I wouldn't have considered a Digital for a thru-hike
and didn't take one in 2000. However numerous changes in the technology over
the last couple of years have made Digital cameras more of a viable option.

I did carry a digital this summer on the CDT. My only problem was I didn't
take the time before the hike to learn the camera. However, when I did get
around to figuring it out, my photos came out at least as good as slides
I've taken on past hikes.

For what it's worth here are a few things to consider.

Digital Pro's -

1) No film processing cost.
2) High quality with 3 megapixels cameras and above.
3) High capacity storage. Most cameras support digital storage cards of 128
megs or more. This is capable of storing 128 high quality images (1 meg per
image or more depending upon compression). The storage card can be purchased
for as little as $40 each.
4) Excellent quality for the most part projection of digital pictures is in
distinguishable from slides. Especially for the pictures that 99.9 percent
of us take.
5) Easy conversion to other media (ie web, CD's, etc.) It's easy to create a
CD with photos and music and send to all your friends and family. It's
better than a slide show and easier to produce.
6) Easy editing of the photo's. Most of us don't compose photos all that
well on initial shots. With Digital you can easily cut out the interesting
portions of the photo and delete the rest. Also you can change the tones and
mood by manipulating the colors. (All this can be done by converting slide
or prints to digital, but it's more expensive and time consuming.)
7) High quality inkjet printers can be purchased for $150 that'll print 8x11
quality pictures.
8) Numerous features. Many new cameras support a variety of advanced
features including doing movies, sound, etc.

Digital Con's
1) Camera's are more expensive and the technology is rapidly changing. Your
service life of a Digital is 2 to 3 years before technology obsoletes your
2) Less Weather protection compared to most point and shoots. The Olympic
Stylus (preferred by thru-hiker) cameras are quite weather worthy. However
the digitals are much more sensitive to water.
3) Short battery life and expensive batteries. Newer cameras are better with
battery life however the high capacity batteries run $7 to $8 dollars each.
The rechargeable are a good option and will last 2 to 3 town stops between
charging (depending upon usage).
4) Expensive digital projection equipment. Digital projectors are still in
the $1200 plus price range for the cheapest version and up to several
thousand. They are also quite expensive to rent. However combined with a
computer and good sound system, they make for fantastic slide shows.
5) More complicate to use! The more features the more to learn. So Digitals
need more practice to master. However with free pictures it isn't costly to
learn. Just make sure you do it before you get on the trail.
6) Need someone at home capable of dumping your photos to CD and sending
your empty storage card back to you.