New camera: photography on the trail.

6:01 a.m. on January 11, 2020 (EST)
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Within a year of moving to Colorado, in the mid-seventies, and starting hiking and backpacking, I bought a 35mm SLR.  For many, many years after that, I always had a camera with me on my hikes, backpacks, and canoe trips.

Several years ago, I stopped taking a camera, on hikes, at least partly because I felt looking through a viewfinder all the time was taking away from the experience.  I still feel that way, but I've found I miss not having photos to show people, and I miss the satisfaction of making a really beautiful photo.

So, with retirement approaching, I was debating about getting a new, better, camera.  All the fantastic holiday deals made up my mind.  But which camera?

These are the features I decided I wanted:

Smaller and lighter than my old Canon Rebel

Interchangeable lenses

A real viewfinder


Real HD video capable

Ability to shoot in really low light

The camera I chose was the Sony a7 II.  Partly because I got a really good deal.  Partly because it was the cheapest camera I could find with a full size sensor.

A feature I didn't know it had, but would have really sold me on it, is the built in level.  When looking through the viewfinder (or on the back screen, if you prefer) there is an image that shows if you are holding the camera level.  Genius. 

It came with a zoom, but I also bought a couple accessory lenses, a flash (no built in flash), a remote switch, a microphone (the ones on cameras are notoriously bad), a new lightweight tripod, and various other doo dads.

Had no intention of spending that much on camera stuff, but now I'm set till I'm too old to hike anymore.

6:32 a.m. on January 11, 2020 (EST)
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I bet you are having a blast figuring out what that thing can do. Having grown up on mail in developing as a kid I appreciate the digital age where you can experiment at will. Have you figured out how you will carry this stuff yet? Keeping cameras safe while still having quick access is a balancing act.

I've had a Sony HX90 for a few years that I like on trail because it is small. It gives up some quality and is limited to a built in zoom lens, but it can be carried in a zip bag in a front pocket. It has several leveling tools in the UI and my wife is happy about that. I always brought home slightly tilted pictures that would drive her nuts :)

Have fun, be safe, take pics!

8:33 a.m. on January 11, 2020 (EST)
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For the last few years, i have been using an awesome camera with which I can also make phone calls.  Works great and the cost is quite reasonable.

2:55 p.m. on January 11, 2020 (EST)
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That Sony a7 II is a very nice camera. I know a couple guys who have one and they are very happy with it.

I went from heavy DSLR a couple years ago to an iPhone and the ProCamera app. It has two lenses and is super light comparatively. I like to get in the miles but can handle the weight I used to. It takes care of difficult lighting and delivers a fine image.

1:25 a.m. on January 12, 2020 (EST)
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3,523 forum posts

I used to haul rail cameras into the BC.  Then I got a speedgraphic press camera and a couple of lens. Got some good images.  But a good eye can get nice stuff with a Brownie camera, too, once familiarized with its capabilities. 

I have learned I am happy with only a few lens sizes.  Even at home.   I'll rarely give weird angles, and never exotic optic effects.  The camera is a tool, not a hobby for me.  

The most recent advents in cell phone cameras, and capabilities of even a pocket digital camera are plenty sufficient for me to leave to photo studio back home.  My pocket camera permits any adjustment you could input to the film type 35mm and other such cameras.  The digital tools are cheaper and easy to use in many of the editor desktops.  It is only when you are making large size prints that the quality maxes out the resolution limits.


April 9, 2020
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