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11:25 a.m. on February 27, 2003 (EST)

a.k.a. Adam S

I'm looking to buy a 35mm camera for use while backpacking, camping, fishing, etc. Compactness, weight, durability (weather resistance?), quality of photos, and ease of use are all important criteria. I'm not much of a photographer (though I'm interested in learning more) so I'm not looking to spend a fortune. I just think that I can do better than the disposables I've been using. Any suggestions?

11:42 a.m. on February 27, 2003 (EST)

a.k.a. Matt J, MattJ

Well I may be alble to help you but please tell me if you have a budget, what type of camera you prefer (point and shoto, digital, SLR) and so on. I sold equipment for 4-5 years. I aslo use a lot of equipment when I climb, hike or kayak. I learned to keep my gear dry and clean and you can read more about it here (http://brunerdog.tripod.com/care.html). But if you let me know more I can give you a few pointers. There are advantages to different types of gear.


11:46 a.m. on February 27, 2003 (EST)

This is a posting at another site for your information:

Steve Howe here. Rocky Mountain Editor for Backpcker, and the tester who used the Logitech Pocket Digital for 3 months before writing up the short, 100-word review in the High Tech section of our 2003 Gear Guide. I'm happy to respond to your query, albeit disappointed with the knee-jerk tone of several following posts.

A couple details about the Logitech Pocket Digital:

The Pocket Digital is the smallest, lightest, and probably cheapest digital camera out there. "Handy" is the operative term. And yes, it a 'digital version of a bargain (but not disposable) 35mm camera." It's not a good primary camera for "serious" (i.e. willing to undergo more hassle for better results) photographers. No compact digital camera is. It was recommended for its lightweight, unmatched compactness, simplicity and novelty-item cost. It's a camera for fastpackers and ultralighters who can barely tolerate a camera. And for 4 x 5 snapshots, it's fine.

Like almost all digital cameras (but more so) it's not good at handling shadow-to-sun contrast, high action, or tricky situations like backlighting. Being only 1.5 megapixels, it's best for small prints, or web sends, where the 640 x 480 pixel size is perfect. Again, like all digital cameras, and similar to B&W photography, pushing the shutter is just the beginning. I often found it useful to "up" the color levels a bit in image editing programs, and run an unsharp mask on the image. FYI, digital cameras do not have "grain", and there are a lot of types of "full lighting." Getting good images from any camera is more a willingness to work around its limitations than with its features, and the Logitech is no exception.

I tested several other mini digitals for this review, but only ran the Logitech. Frankly, the other cameras (among them the Dimage X) were so similar in price to standard P&S digitals, the choice didn't make sense. For those uses, get a "real" P&S digital.

The Logitech's no cutting edge image maker, but it's hardly crap to throw at beach bums for Ripple....unless one is so totally untalented that they can't coax a good photo from its admittedly modest capabilities. But it's a certain tool for a certain job.

I'd be happy to send sample images from the camera, if you wish. E-mail me at showe@backpacker.com, and allow a long time frame, since I'm leaving on assignment soon. I found it particularly useful in conjunction with "art" filters available in image editing programs like PaintShop Pro or Adove Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements ($100 program). I've sold framed 8 X 11 "digital watercolors" from this camera...a function of the filter effect being more pronounced with lower rez files.

But mostly, I'd take the Pocket Digital out on 2-3 hour trail runs and come back not only with 52 images, but a decent round-trip time. Some pics sucked. Some rocked. But the simplicity does have its upside. It's a very unique and useful little item for someone who takes the time to learn how to play their instrument. So I hope that answer your query MadPacker.

3:32 p.m. on February 28, 2003 (EST)

a.k.a. Adam S

I know I don't want a digital camera. I'm unsure how much to spend because I don't know enough about cameras to understand when the cost reaches the point where I'm paying for features I wouldn't ever use or for quality that I wouldn't recognize. I'm willing to spend up to two or three hundred dollars if necessary.

I'm simply looking for a compact, reasonably durable camera that takes good pictures. I can't offer much criteria beyond that. I appreciate any suggestions of brands or models with which to start looking, or advice on what features I should be most concerned with.


4:51 p.m. on February 28, 2003 (EST)
234 reviewer rep
924 forum posts

I bought an Olympus LT Zoom 105 this summer just before leaving on a trip to the Canadian Rockies. It's a fairly compact point-and-shoot with a good feature set (timer, remote, panoramic mode, flash control, tripod mount). The controls are simple and there aren't too many extra bells and whistles.

I was a little nervous about entrusting two weeks worth of exposures to a camera I'd never used before, but this camera did not disappoint. (The same cannot be said of the photo lab, which over-developed two of the eleven rolls from that trip!)

The camera is a nice size: small and light enough to pack away easily, but not so small that it's hard to hold. As with any compact point-and-shoot, it's a little bit awkward to use with gloves on, but not impossible.

The lens zooms from 38 to 105 mm. I'd like a little more on the wide-angle end, but it's been sufficient for most outdoor shots I've used it for.

This camera takes suprisingly crisp, detailed photos. The little zoom lens is reasonably fast and sharp, with good contrast, and Olympus has nailed the auto-exposure electronics. Almost always just the right exposure in a wide variety of light conditions.

I have had a couple frames unexpectedly ruined by poor autofocusing, but that may have been more a case of sloppy user error. The camera does have a focus-lock feature which allows you to focus on a subject that is not in the center of the frame.

Also, the LT Zoom 105 has a unique, almost retro look. It comes in a green or burgendy faux-leather finish with a chrome flip-down lens cover. The faux leather has a funtional side too: it's less slippery than the plastic and brushed metal cases that seem to be so popular among camera manufacturers these days.

Olympus's web site for this camera is http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_product.asp?more_info_lobby=1&p=11&sc=1&bc=4&product=181

11:33 a.m. on March 3, 2003 (EST)

a.k.a. Matt J, MattJ

Here you go:

1) Olympus Stylus 100 Wide. Has a 28mm to 100mm zoom lens, design is weatherproof which offers you some sort of moisture protection. Clear sharp optics, easy to use. ($200)

2) Pentax IQZoom 105WR. It has a 38mm to 105mm zoom lens which means that it may not be as great for white angles shots. It is water resistant and can take some abuse but pelase do not submerge :) ($180)

3) Yashica T4zoom. It has a 35mm to 70mm zoom lens which is short but sharpness of german glass can't be beaten. ($200)

4) Fuji Zoom Date 1300 28-130mm. This is a relatively new camera with long zoom and nice wide angle. Good bang for your money with sharp optics but since you have no weather protection a zip lock bag would be advisable. It is on the expensive side ($240) but it also can be used for regular stuff.

Now you probably are going to go out and realize that there are many cameras out there with different zoom lenses. There is an olympus out there that has a 170mm lens but you have to understand that for nature and landscape shots you need wide angle (lower than 35mm). Also longer the zoom lens more ligh is needed for correct exposure which forces you to use faster film which leads to grainy pictures. It's a good idea to start with a zoom lens camera and than maybe later on you can get your self a non zoom one. Why would you need one? Lenses on such equipment have a tendency to be faster (better pics in low light) and sharper plus cameras get little smaller (example Olympus Stylus Epic) but you are limited by having only one lens set. But if you take a lot of shots and use right film for every ocassion you be ok with whatever camera you get.

11:07 a.m. on March 6, 2003 (EST)
30 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts
I am a "retired" photographer.....

I have worked as a photog for United Press International, General Dynamics, the U.S. Navy and various law enforcement agencies.

I use a weather resistant disposable camera when camping. It takes some fine snapshots, is lightweight and I can jam it anywhere into a pack without worrying about damaging equipment.

When I'm backpacking, that is all I am interested in doing... taking snapshots to remember the trip. I'm not out there to properly expose sharp negatives for huge enlargemnts.

4:24 p.m. on March 6, 2003 (EST)

I used a Pentax 90wr for 4-5 years of backpacking until I replaced it with the Pentax 105WR. I love the 105WR. Great camera, nice pix, durable, much more water resistance than the olympum Sylus (which I used for one trip and got it too wet). It is a little heavy tho.

Oh and the pentax I bought came with a 5yr factory warentee.

3:51 p.m. on March 7, 2003 (EST)

a.k.a. Scott, Scott M

Well, it depends somewhat on what type and quality of photos you want to be able to take. I purchased the Nikon n65 with a Sigma 24-70 lens and sometimes take it backpacking. You can go fully automatic or fully manual with this camera. Or, you can get pretty good and lightweigh point and shoot cameras these days that will have zooms in the 35-70 range or even more of a zoom range. If you want to be able to control aperature and shutter speeds I'd recommend something like the n65. If you don't care about doing that than a nice point and shoot should work well.


I'm looking to buy a 35mm camera for use while backpacking, camping, fishing, etc. Compactness, weight, durability (weather resistance?), quality of photos, and ease of use are all important criteria. I'm not much of a photographer (though I'm interested in learning more) so I'm not looking to spend a fortune. I just think that I can do better than the disposables I've been using. Any suggestions?

10:39 p.m. on March 14, 2003 (EST)

I too, sell cameras and related things for a living... and I'm a photographer/hiker too. The Yashica T4 zoom camera has an excellent Zeiss lens, and may provide the best quality photos in any 35mm camera under $500. Olympus Stylus cameras are "weatherproof", but I have not been impressed with the image quality or their durability. I've also used a Pentax 90WR (weatherproof), but find it too bulky and too heavy. Based on images from my friend's T4 vs. my Olympus, I would go with the Yashica T4. Use a zip-lok bag to protect it from rain, sweat, etc.

3:30 p.m. on March 19, 2003 (EST)

I was in your exact spot 3 years ago, and so I will tell you what I did. First of all, I didn't want digital either. Too expensive, and I ski a lot so the snow versus digital components didn't quite mix.

But I did want an SLR, not a compact, fully automatic camera. The reason -- I did not know much about photography either, and I wanted to learn. I figured the best way to learn was to have a camera that let me control it as much as possible, and for my personal experience, that was the way to go. They are heavy, but they will take pictures you will be proud of. If you only want a compact automatic, then ignore me.

One place you might look for cameras is Ebay. Ebay can certainly be a big gamble, but it is where I got my camera setup from. Perhaps I was lucky, but I got my camera, a 50m Minolta lens, a 105-200 telezoom, a 2x converter, and a case for $180 total. Later I added a 28mm ($48), a remote release cable ($12) and a lightweight tripod ($30) to complete the setup. I have taken everything from 2 hour nightime exposure pictures to plain old waving-from-the-trailhead pictures, and I can take only the lenses and pieces that I want to use on a given trip.

If you are looking on Ebay, look for a seller who has used the camera for a while and is knowledgeable about it. This occurs more with SLRs than automatic compacts, in my opinion.

For the camera, I have the Minolta X-700. I had the following requirements before going on Ebay (all my opinions):

1. It must have a metal body. Plastic bodied cameras get beat up too much to be worth their lightness.

2. It must have both a manual and an automatic setting. That way, I could use the manual setting to learn, and the automatic setting when I got tired of thinking about exposures and focal lengths and whatnot.

3. It must be a manual focus camera. This one is definiately personal, but it basically boiled down to wanting additional lenses to be as cheap as possible.

The Minolta X-700 fulfilled all of these. Plus, it was nice and dinged up by getting it used so I didn't have to worry about dinging it up more. It is only about twice as big as a compact camera, and has been satisfactorily weatherproof with some effort not to get it wet.

Hope this helps, and good luck finding something.

April 16, 2014
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