~$2500 photo gears for a 3 months backpacking trip

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by leslie_cheung, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. From scratch, no brand loyalty and no preference regarding p&s, dslr, mirrorless, netbook, smartphone, laptop, tablet, flash/dvd drive etc...You shoot everything, except fast action sports, but street, portraiture, scenery and food photos mostly. What camera(s) / lens(es) / flash / and storage device(s) would you choose, as of spring 2013?
    Of course, you are looking for a good balance between practicality, IQ, convenience and most in the least. What would you buy -be as detailed as you want- bag(s) included. Secondhand photo gears welcome, but no film gears please. Care to play? Let's see how diverse PN really is;)
  2. Can I use gear I already have and and apply the entire $2,500 to other stuff?
  3. Wouldn't that make it more complicated than starting from scratch? Sure, Lex, shoot:)
    And state what you already have.
    ps. checking out, I'm especially tired tonight...
  4. $2,500 sounds like a lot but in reality isn't much if you're starting from scratch.
    I'd go with 2 waterproof (semi)ruggedized P/S cameras from a wide selection at around $300 each, and probably $1,000 - $1,500 toward a used ruggedized laptop like a Panasonic Toughbook loaded with necessary software. The rest will go to spare batteries, power solutions, external HDD and memory cards.
  5. I'm assuming "backpacking trip" includes changes of clothing, at least a minimal sleeping bag, etc.? If it also means a tent, I'll have to pass on the whole trip.
    My preferences would be very strictly dictated by physical limitations. I can't carry more than 10 lbs on a shoulder without pain, or more than 25 lbs total with some weight on the hips. Backpacks are completely out so everything would need to be distributed between a fairly light shoulder or sling bag and hip/waist bags. My existing shoulder and waist bags are adequate for my photo gear, but I'd probably need something larger and more secure for clothing, etc. I do have a favorite sling bag but it's not secure enough for most travel - it just has a single snap - so I'd need to check into slings or waist bags with zippered or buckled closures.
    In camera gear, I'd take what I already have -- Nikon V1 with 10-30 VR -- and add a few V1 extras: flash; 30-110 VR, 6.7-18 VR, maybe the 18.5/1.8 prime; 2 extra batteries. Maybe an S1 or J-model as a backup.
    Some kind of smartphone with a good camera. My only mobile phone at present is a relatively ancient Nokia. Beyond that I'd do without all connectivity other than a smartphone just to let folks know I'm still alive. I can't think of any portable computer, even an ultrabook, that I can carry without a lot of discomfort. And with a decent smartphone a tablet would be superfluous. Might even make a backup for the V1 superfluous.
    Rather than lug around heavy storage devices or even an ultrabook, I'd take a bunch of 4 and 8 GB SDHD cards for stills, 16 GB for video, and ship 'em home or to a safe place. If I was forced to carry them along it'd still be lighter than most high capacity storage devices, and probably more reliable. I could do without editing or uploading for 3 months.
  6. "Secondhand photo gears welcome, but no film gears please. Care to play? Let's see how diverse PN really is;)"

    Photo.net is pretty diverse I suppose, but apparently you are not since you say "No film gears please". Why leave out a
    medium that pros like me prefer to use? No film gears, no reply, I just don't care about digital anymore...
  7. If it's backpacking as in "hiking boots, dried food and out to the wilderness" you might have a problem charging the batteries in your digital camera. I'd take a 35mm rangefinder in a pelican case, or a Nikonos. If it's backpacking as in "off to Europe, staying in hostels", it would be something like a V1 or a Canon S90/S95. You'll miss some shots, but every ounce (gram) counts in the wilderness and it's not much better in the civilised world. Plus, the less you take, the less you have to misplace, lose, or whatever.
  8. My Nikon P50 Coolpix runs on AA batteries so if I couldn't find a more up to date AA operated digital camera I'd take that and a few memory cards.
  9. Why leave out a medium that pros like me prefer to use?​
    Daniel, for one thing, I don't have an assistant to help me carry 200 rolls of film, or help me switch rolls in cameras. And that's only if I shoot 2 rolls per day...
    "hiking boots, dried food and out to the wilderness"​
    Peter, you ever known someone shooting portraits, street, and food photography in the wilderness for 3 months? Uh...maybe you do, but not me:)
  10. If you google "Digital cameras that use AA batteries" you will find quite a few.
  11. Charles, AA is definitely nice but not too big a deal as I will have access to electricity (and other modern things)
  12. What is the intended output of the digital files? Fine art print sales, gallery walls, or just personal memories?
  13. "...but no film gear please."

    This is where I lost interest. It's not that I have anything against digital but, even after all these years I don't know enough and have not handled enough to even offer an opinion of personal likes and dislikes. There is no camera stores with 60 miles that carry a selection of modern digital cameras and so I would have to rely on others reports and reviews, problematic at best.
    So.....I stick with what I know, film gear. I'm not a backpacker but from everything I've heard and people I've talked to weight is critical. Ounces count. This in my mind would lead into the mirrorless offerings as the biggest bang for the weight. But which one? Wouldn't have any idea.
  14. Rob, 16x24 usually. But, as they say, I would like to be able to print big, if I want to though I'm not worrying about this...
  15. Will the gears be used to photograph wildlife, like deers?
  16. I like the idea of the good quality rugged
    compact camera, maybe two of them, and a
    pile of memory cards. I'd leave computers
    and tablets at home- it's just dead weight,
    save your culling and editing for at home
    where you've got a photo worthy monitor,
    etc. Bring your camera to document your
    voyage but leave the rest of the technology
    at home. Take every moment you can to
    absorb nature as much as possible. Your
    tech gadgets will be there when you get
  17. I backpacked across a dozen countries for a year with an F100, 16mm, 17-35, 60 macro and 70-200 and took on
    assistant-less assignments the whole way. I bought film by mail order and had it strategically placed every 2-3 months. I
    always had a couple hundred rolls on me....sorry man, your "No film gears" thing won't fly with everyone.

    I also did three weeks in Paris with a pair of Leica M's and 4 lenses all in one small black bag. I went with 100 rolls of
    Kodachrome, shot 82....that was right before Leica jacked up their prices so bad that I did not want anything to do with
    them. The same kind of mission today would see me use the same bag but with my lone M3/50, Xpan with three lenses
    and my X100S.

    When I backpack for real, as in the wilderness, I carry a small selection of 3-4 lenses with either my Xpan, Hasselblad
    501CM or my Chamonix 4x5. I make hand crafted black and white prints and sell them through gallery representation,
    interior designers and luxury hotels.

    Trips on the radar in the next 3-4 years are Europe for 2-3 months based out of my mom's home in England and scaling
    surrounding peaks near Everest and K2 with my 4x5 to take unorthodox landscapes of the Hymalaya...

    For $2,500 I would carry a decent used X100 & M3/50 with film, no computers, iPads, crap like that.
  18. If it has to be digital, a pair of D200/
    300's and 6 batteries. Something that
    would let me charge with sunlight. 50-
    60 gigs of memory. 24, 35, 135 and a
    300 cat. Maybe a small flash. A pocket
    size am/fm/sw radio and AA's.

    Rick H.
  19. Film cameras are the way to go if you're doing serious backpacking-- light weight, high quality, battery-independence.
  20. For a trip that long, most of my backpack would be devoted to non-photo use: food, water, filter, tent, clothing, tools,
    functional stuff like a few toiletries, stove, pots.

    Photo I'd go small & quality build. 

    1. Pentax k-5 (discontinued & available new for $750)

    2. DA 15mm ltd lens $500

    3. DA 35mm macro $400 which is a great normal and true macro. You can get very close up with practice

    4. Pentax M 135mm f3.5 used $40. Very small, good optics, sturdy, manual everything.

    5. Hoya circular polarizing filter. Big enough to hold over all the lenses if you will be shooting vistas. $50

    6. 10 16gb SD cards $160

    7. GorrilaPod for SLR cameras that you can use for closeups freestanding and as a chest-braced tripod for everything
    else. $80

    8. Waterproof hiking waistpack that you can stash those lenses in while you hike. No need to keep removing the big pack.

    9. Large dry sack that holds your camera gear to put inside your pack, especially if you do not use a tent every night.

    $2050, plenty left for shipping, taxes, and extras like batteries.

  21. Panny GX1 plus 20mm f/1.7 lens, ND filter, a few memory cards. Leaving the laptop at home sounds like great advice but it might leave you feeling isolated if you don't have access to local PCs in hostels etc. Whatever you do, don't plug in a memory card to a hostel's PC- too high a risk of catching something. Delete as you go at the end of the day and either save your processing for when you get home or if you're taking a laptop, get a beat-up oldish one stripped of everything except IE, VLC and Silkypics plus a good anti-virus application. Have fun!

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