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Re: Cameras on the Trail

There is an interesting bit in Colin Fletcher's "The Complete Walker III"
about packing cameras: after years of packing SLRs, he ended up with an
Olympus XA that he stuck in whatever spare corner of the pack had some space.

It sounds to me like asking for the "right camera" is kind of like asking
for the "best boots" or the "best pack".... the best camera is the one that

When I was in high school, I was seriously "into" photography: I had a
darkroom in the basement, a Canon F1 with all the lenses I could afford
(two), and read "Popular Photography" and "Modern Photography" the way I
read "Backpacker" now.  Later, I "graduated" to a Pentax MX because it was
smaller and lighter.  Then I went automatic with a "P3" body.  Then I added
a small zoom lens (gasp!).  A month or two ago, I bought a Canon Elph point
and shoot APS camera.

I just got back from 9 days on the Susquehanock Trail in Northern PA.  I
took more pictures on that one trip with the Elph than I took in the last
year with my Pentax.

My old, "photo gear head", self whispers things like "treason", "no manual
override", "tiny negatives", and "parallax error" to me.  The rest of me
says "the worst picture is the one you didn't take".  For me, clearly the
Elph is the "better" camera!  On the other hand, I doubt that the Elph would
cut it for "serious" amateur, much less professional, work.

Is the Elph fundamentally better than a 35mm point and shoot?  I doubt it
(but it IS cuter).

I carried the Elph in a "shoulder pocket" from "Sun Dog".  The pocket has
two compartments: I tucked the trail guide, map, and pocket notebook (for
taking notes about pictures) in the front pocket.  The back pocket held the
camera.  A bit of elastic kept everything snug, and provided a perfect nitch
to stick my pencil.  When it rained, I stuck the camera in a one pint ziploc
bag.  The system seemed to work really well, and the camera was right there
whenever I wanted it.

I had SO MUCH FUN with that camera it's amazing!

Walk softly!

-- Jim