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Cameras on the Trail
>Now the storage problem, we are planning on carrying the camera inside a
>Zing pouch, (made of neoprene, for padding ) and that inside an OR waterproof
>stuff sack (small one) inside Alisons' terraplane. Has anyone tried this ?
>Or maybe the question should simply be, if you are willing to put up with the
>weight of an SLR how do you carry it? How about all the thru-hikers that
>>carried an SLR, how did it work out ? Would you do it again ?
For several years I carried a Nikon 4004 with 28-70 zoom lens, and
occasionally added a 70-210 zoom. I discovered several personal facts. If
the the camera was not immediately accessible, there was no reason to have
it with me. The only shots I would take would be in camp. Corollary #1
was that if extra lenses were not immediately at hand they were never used.
Based on these discoveries I sought out a padded covering for the camera
and mounted lens that would strap to my pack shoulder straps (the system is
called a Camjacket, from the manufacturer of the same name). This made the
camera instantly available and I succeeded in taking many excellent shots.
It also provided convenient excuses for stopping when tired without
admitting that I was a wuss. I used this system for about four years,
frequently subjecting the camera to great abuse. For example, once in the
North Cascades I fell and slid face first down a steep snow field with the
camera serving as a keel under my chest. Somehow, neither of us were hurt.
(A hiking partner had a fall on rock slabs on Isle Royale. His ancient F3
Nikon was undamaged but it broke two of his ribs.) I came to believe that
my camera could not be hurt. In the 100 mile wilderness however, I
discovered that Nikons will drown if submerged long enough in water, such
as when you fall into a river. Actually, it was after the third such event
in three days that the camera finally gave up the ghost. The repair shop
discovered that the chip etc. was fried, and deemed the unit unrepairable.
(I suspect that a totally non-automatic unit wuld have been spared this
fate.) After that, I began taking my wife's little point and shoot Nikon
with no zoom or nothing, keeping it in a ziploc bag in a pouch at my side.
I have taken many photos with it, but the quality of product is far
inferior to the SLR. I have been looking at replacement possibilities such
as the Canon Z115 and other small, automatic zoom models. I have also
begun to explore fully manual SLR bodies that can handle lightweight
lenses. I will be very interested to hear of the "winner" in your camera