photogrophy (DSLR) in the backcountry

9:06 p.m. on October 9, 2007 (EDT)
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I am interested in getting into photography and already spend plenty of time in the backcountry. Before I spend a lot of money on a new camera, I would like to know about other peoples experiences in this area. Like, how do you protect it from drops, water, dust or any other conditions that may be experienced while hiking. Also, what type of lenses do people use to take a combination of close ups and landscape shots. I have been looking at the Canon Rebel XTi with the 28-135mm lens.

11:45 a.m. on October 11, 2007 (EDT)
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I'm writing this from Italy, where Young Son and I spent a bit of time scrambling in the Dolomites, shooting (so far) close to 1000 images between us with our DSLRs. No dust to speak of, but we spent time in rain. (ok, lots of the photos were shot of antiquities and art in a couple of the cities). Best thing on keeping the dust out (and DSLRs are sensitive to this - the sensor is very delicate, and shouldn't be cleaned unless you really know how) is to NOT change lenses. However, to do what you want (and many of my photos are like this), you will probably need a couple of lenses. The easy way to get the closeups is to get an after-market zoom that does "macros". Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma make quality lenses in Canon mounts that do this (turns out that these 3 companies are making some of the lenses for Canon, Nikon, and some other big camera manufacturers under the camera labels). While the longer zoom range means somewhat reduced quality compared to the shorter ranges, all 3 of the companies make lenses in the 18-200 and 28-300 range that will do closeups. These are versatile enough to cover most needs you describe,so no change to let dust in. There is a slight loss of quality, but you likely will never notice it (until you go to do a poster print to hang on the wall like a 20x30 inch print).

As for water, a simple solution is to use a ziplock bag and keep the camera in it, plus an umbrella to hold over the camera when shooting. But more and more of the DSLRs are fairly water-resistant, if you don't actually dunk them (don't know about theRebel XTi, though).

11:51 a.m. on October 11, 2007 (EDT)
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I use a Nikon D70 SLR with the standard 18-70 zoom lense. As Bill S mentioned, the biggest issue is with dust. But with reasonable care, this can be minimized. I think the thing is, these cameras are meant to be used, and we shouldn't feel like we have to treat them with kid gloves.

I want to be able to take pictures in low light conditions, and to get good depth of field in all conditions, so I also carry a tripod. I carry the camera, in its case, around my neck to one side - it's the only way I've found to keep it reasonably accessible (though I probably look like a tourist). Unfortunately, the only real way to carry the tripod is to strap it onto the pack - which means a stop & some setup effort to use it while hiking.

If you just want snapshots, and don't plan to make large prints or do anything professional with the photos, you could also consider a simple point-and-shoot model. It would be much lighter and easier to pack or carry.

As far as SLRs go, I happen to like the Nikon, but I think the Canon model you mentioned may be a little smaller and lighter.

7:58 p.m. on October 24, 2007 (EDT)
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dont know if it's too late, but there's lots of good info here:

February 25, 2017
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