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Equipment Backpacking & Photography

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by relix, 13 May 2010.

  1. relix

    relix Minimodder

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    In October I'll go backpacking through south-east asia for several months, and I've been wondering what camera to take with. I want a portable camera, one I can always take with me. I don't need huge zooms or very wide lenses, I'd be very happy with just a normal fixed lens (i.e. 35mm to 50mm equivalent). What I love are portrait,s low-light photography, and especially DoF control, so huge apertures and big sensors are a plus (aren't they always?).

    I have a 400D with a 50mm f/1.8, which would be perfect, but I think I won't take it with me on adventures as much as I'd like because of its size (and visibility to thiefs).

    Obviously I've been looking at the micro four-thirds offerings, the Olympus Pen and Panasonic GF1. Coupled with a pancake lens these seem like excellent cameras to take with everywhere, but I don't think they're small enough yet to fit in pockets, so there'd still be a "annoyancy" factor. Plus, they're really rather expensive.

    The new Sony NEX-5 looks just about awesome, and I would've pre-ordered it in a pinch were it not that due to the larger sensor (APS-C), the 16mm pancake lens (x1.6 = 25mm) really is far too wide as a walk-around lens. The 18-55mm lens is again too big and, for me, nullifies the size advantage of the body.

    Then there are the point&shoots. I've looked into the Canon S90 which looks like it was made as an alternative for SLR-photographers with its manual controls, which are a real plus. But I've also been eyeing the new Sony HX5V which has some very nice low-light photography features due to it's very fast CMOS sensor. Also, the built-in GPS is a nice addition. Both are the penultimate in portability and very affordable compared with the others listed here .

    Any suggestions, advice, or opinions?
     
  2. Silver51

    Silver51 I cast flare!

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    One of the ladies at work bought herself an S90 to take places she didn't want to go with her DLSR, (like up mountains.) She uses it manual rather than auto and has captured some really good images. Unfortunately she's not uploaded anything to flickr in a while, but I had a go in the office and it's a great little camera. The build is solid and the controls appear easy to use.

    I'd certainly go to a shop and have a play with one if you can.
     
  3. Pieface

    Pieface Modder

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    I've heard good things about the Olympus Pen, although with my DSLR I wouldn't buy one due to the cost of lenses on them.


    Also, the Relix is being release in Asia?
     
  4. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    Being the fanboy I am... Panasonic Lumix GF1 would be my personal choice, but failing that I'd get a TZ8 or LX3...either of those with a Gorillapod.
     
  5. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    I've got an E-PL1 and it's great for carrying around, even with the 14-42mm lens. The pancake lens makes it even smaller. :)
     
  6. pullmyfoot

    pullmyfoot superbacon

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    comin to Singapore? funny how im going to go on a backpacking trip to Europe next year, and southeast asia is nothing special since, well, I live there. :lol: and of course vice-versa for you

    sorry this doesnt really help much in the camera discussion though
     
  7. Sifter3000

    Sifter3000 I used to be somebody

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    I'm not sure I'd write the DSLR off so quickly; I went backpacking round China for 6 weeks last year and took my Nikon D40 with two lenses - 85mm f1.8 and Nikon's 18-200 zoom. The D40 is very compact for a DSLR, which helped.

    I don't think it made me stand out any more than I did already - at the end of the day, if you're a white westerner (as I am) in SE Asia, you're not exactly going to fit in*, but equally if you act sensibly then you can reduce the likilihood of being a tourist. I don't, for instance, walk around with my camera round my neck, I just kept it in a satchel bag so it was easy to get to but concealed. Secondly, those 4/3rds cameras are likely worth similar amounts to your DSLR so to a thief and to your insurance company, they're the same.

    The thing that decided it for me was that the photography aspect of the trip was hugely important; like you, I love the creative control a DSLR gives you and as good as the 4/3rds cameras are, they don't match up to a DSLR, and ultimately, I didn't want to go to see amazing places and not have a camera to do them justice. My camera survived, and six months later, I've got a lot of photos that I'm proud of.


    * unless you're in Hong Kong
     
  8. relix

    relix Minimodder

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    Bigsharn, you are a fanboy :p

    I've decided a micro 4/3rds camera is too expensive for now, sorry Tim. Can't be blowing all my budget on gear before I even leave Belgium, now can I.

    Sifter3000 I love street photography though, and I've already noticed that a DSLR isn't the best tool for inconspicious photographs. Of course, that's as true in Asia as it is elsewhere; but it's another advantage of carrying something small. I'll think about bringing the DSLR anyway, even if I buy something new. Then I can have the best of both worlds, and choose which to bring.

    To make matters worse (or better?) Samsung just got in the game with the TL 500, which looks to be a real competitor to the S90 (the TL500 has f/1.8-2.4 which is a tad faster on the wide end but doubly so on the tele end). Guess I'll have to wait for reviews of these to pop up.

    Pullmyfoot, probably not, it'd be another flight and those are too expensive ;)
     
  9. 8-BALL

    8-BALL Theory would dictate.....

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    May I be the first to make the contraversial suggestion.

    Given that you're back packing, and as such, (correct me if I'm wrong) may not always have access to power, download facilities etc, how about film.

    look up olympus trip 35 on flickr, and if you like what you see of the lens quality (renowned for being remarkable for such a cheap camera), see how little they are on ebay.

    You may still want to get a digital, but on a trip like that, it's always useful to have such a backup that doesn't require batteries (OR CHARGERS!), and is practically indestructible. I love mine.
     
  10. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    That I am :p

    8-ball has a point, but it's then the problem that lugging 20 rolls of film around might not be ideal. If you do decide to go the film route I'd agree the Trip 35 is an amazing camera, though the Lomo Smena 8m (despite it's age) comes out with some nice shots as well...
    The entire thing's manual so hardly anything can go wrong (including a shutter cock as it won't reset on it's own) and you get an amazing badge on the lens... "Made in the USSR" :p
     
  11. 8-BALL

    8-BALL Theory would dictate.....

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    When my sister went to the far east for 9 months, we used to get a box in the post every couple of so with a load of film in. No reason you have to carry it round with you.

    If you do go for a decent digital, I would suggest you get a mechanical battery free camera of some variety, the cheaper the better, so you've always got something you can fall back on and chuck about as necessary. It's kinda liberating. And you can get film wherever you go.

    Al
     
  12. relix

    relix Minimodder

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    It's not as controversial as you might think :) I have several film camera's among which my favorite is the Olympus OM-2s, and I'm experience in developing both film and prints. However, the costs would be prohibitive I think. If I deduced correctly, digital camera's are as popular in SE Asia as here, and film has become more expensive to buy there, just like it has here.

    I'll think about it, though. It's definitely an option.
     
  13. 8-BALL

    8-BALL Theory would dictate.....

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    Long live the OM-2!!!!!!
     
  14. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Kodak 400 is still widely available and very usable. If fact, I'm running into an issue where they give 2 rolls away with ever one I process, so it's starting to build up in the fridge. It really shouldn't be an issue in larger cities.
     
  15. relix

    relix Minimodder

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    Didn't you live in UAE? Isn't that stretching likeness a bit? How much do you pay for one roll?
     
  16. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    I did for 4 1/2 years. 2 years ago I moved to South Africa. But in both places I have gotten 2 free rolls for every one I develop. At one point I cleaned out the old film fridge in the studio and ever since have been giving away kodak 400 color print film because I can't use it fast enough. And my wife gets pissed when there is more film in the fridge then eggs.

    Unless I want an unusual film (ISO 1600 or B&W) I never pay for it. ISO 400 is pretty flexible and good for most things. and I see it most places that I travel to. Venice, Singapore, Athens, Lesotho and Cape Town come to mind recently.
     

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