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Full size DSLR on the trail
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Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/14/2009 14:00:31 MDT Print View

I'm curious how many people here carry a full size DSLR on the trail. I carry my Canon 50D most of the time. I have experimented with many smaller ligher cameras but have yet to find anything as fast, strong or easy to use. Ali

b s
(smyth) - F
Re: Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/14/2009 14:16:15 MDT Print View

There was some discussion on this last year in the Photography forum.

Still carrying my first dslr, a Nikon D50. Been tempted to switch it out for a smaller/lighter D40x or the new D5000 but keep putting it off.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Full size DSLR on the trail" on 07/14/2009 14:32:43 MDT Print View

Thanks brad, great thread. Funny how fast camera gear changes. Ali

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Full size DSLR on the trail" Nikon d50 on 07/14/2009 14:34:17 MDT Print View

Oh, the D50 is a super cool camera but heavy for what it is and the flip screen makes me nuts. Ali

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: "Full size DSLR on the trail" Nikon d50 on 07/14/2009 14:39:44 MDT Print View

Ryan J. carries his Oly quite often. I tried carrying a Rebel XTi but found it too cumbersome to get pictures with. I found you have to focus trips more on photos and less on miles when you're using an SLR (at least in my case).

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Full size DSLR on the trail" on 07/14/2009 14:44:24 MDT Print View

You said it. When I have my camera gear it can take all day to make it 5 miles. Ok I have sat in a single spot for over 10 hours waiting for the perfect light. Ali

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/14/2009 15:18:04 MDT Print View

I carry a Canon 450D on every trip, long or short. & I've carried an SLR (sometimes two) on every trip for the last 27 years. The only change is how many lenses I carry - one when weight is really crucial, three when it isn't. I usually carry a tripod too. However this is all because I need good quality photos to go with my writing. If I was just taking photos for myself I'd probably use one of the top end zoom compacts such as the Canon G10.

I am very interested to see if the Olympus EP-1 is an adequate replacement for a DSLR. Although the weight is still on the high side there is a size advantage. The Sigma DP1 and DP2 have DSLR image quality but lack zoom lenses. I carry a DP1 as backup to the 450D.

Jack Scheckton
(Meestajack) - F

Locale: Brooklyn
no dslr... maybe film on 07/14/2009 15:51:13 MDT Print View

I don't think I could relax with a DSLR on a hike... although I've been thinking about carrying my Film Olympus OM-1 SLR or Olympus XA Rangefinder on an upcoming hike in the redwoods...

each cost less than $20 and are less sensitive to moisture and shock than my fragile DSLR. - at one time it was the smallest lightest SLR made - tiny/lightweight film rangefinder with excellent optics and low light capability.

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: no dslr... maybe film on 07/14/2009 17:35:41 MDT Print View

I tried carrying a DSLR-sized super-zoom a few years back (I know, not even remotely similar to DSLR quality), but never found a good place to store it while hiking. Most carrying cases flop around too much when hiking, but putting it in the pack can really slow down a hike (and you can miss a good shot). I know one company makes a hipbelt DSLR holster that should be less floppy, but it would interfere with my backpack's hipbelt. I finally decided to just settle with 'good enough' and got a high end compact that fits into the hipbelt picket of my SMD backpack, and it is quick and convenient enough that I don't see myself going back to a larger camera.

My next camera will be a Panasonic TZ6 (I have the previous model). With the 25-300mm Leica lens, optical stabilization, and 16x9 aspect mode, really the only major compromises for me are low light performance/noise, super zoom option, and the delay common to all compacts. I know a DSLR will always look better, but I've taken some remarkably good shots with Panasonic compacts. Panasonic has improved it's noise issues considerably, and they have no visible barrel distortion at the wide end (at least on my 28mm model).

These are two Panasonic compact shots I took in low light last summer that have had no post processing and I used no tripod. They were both taken at Crater Lake in Oregon:

Crater lake sunset

Crater Lake sunrise

That said, if high quality photography is a real passion of yours (or part of your job), and you like to do things like blur a stream in low light or capture wildlife, there is no reason not to take whatever you need to get the shots you are looking for. Going UL liberates you to do things like focus on high-quality photography gear.

Edited by jcarter1 on 07/14/2009 18:00:20 MDT.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/14/2009 17:58:46 MDT Print View

Jack, I haven't found DSLRs to be very fragile! I treat them just as I did film SLRs and haven't damaged one yet.

John, I carry my DSLR in a padded pouch on a strap slung across my chest. The pouch sits just above the pack hipbelt below my ribs and doesn't bounce or get in the way. I've carried an SLR like this for so long that I feel naked if it isn't there!

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/14/2009 18:32:22 MDT Print View

Chris, can you take a picture of your setup (attached and wearing it) so I can see how you did it and how it attaches?

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
5D in fanny pack on chest! on 07/14/2009 18:38:36 MDT Print View

I lug a Canon 5D with the 24-70mm f/2.8, about 4 pounds of kit, in an old Eagle Creek fanny pack that happens to have the d-rings to fit my lowepro Toploader AW75 chest harness (takes a couple of BPL UL carabiners to strap it all together for quick-release at rest stops). Strap that on before the pack, the camera rides on my chest but not my gut, and balances just fine. Works for me...

(man, have I lost weight since this pic. embarassing!)

Edited by atomick on 07/14/2009 18:43:39 MDT.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Full size DSLR on the trail" on 07/14/2009 18:39:51 MDT Print View

Chris, I do the same thig but just hang it around my neck. I use a tamrac bag just large enough for my Canon 50D, or whater I am using and a 16-35. I also use nikon Sometimes I just carry the camera without the bag. My pack doesnt have d-rings or Id just clip to those. I hate to admit this but I have done some pretty horrible things to my DSLR's. They are allot stronger than you would think. I tried to get by with my G9 but its just too slow for me, or maybe I'm too slow for it. Ali

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: "Full size DSLR on the trail" on 07/14/2009 20:14:42 MDT Print View

I carry my D40 and a couple of lenses with me most times. I've carried it in a Tamrac holster on my hipbelt, inside the pack, and strapped to the outside of the pack. I only got it in December and the job search has kept me off the trail more than I have liked so I haven't got a system worked out just yet. I'll have to try the chest carry though, it looks like a good solution.

The most use it has received is during trail building and maintenance outings. It gets stuck inside the pack, on top where I can get to it with relative speed and ease, since I'm carrying tools in my hands.

In all cases I leave my zoom attached when it is put away. This way I can grab it and get that quick wildlife shot. My reasoning is that a shot I would need my wide angle lens for will last longer than one requiring a telephoto. For lenses I carry a 55-200 VR and 24mm manual focus prime.


Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
olympus on 07/14/2009 23:34:35 MDT Print View

I carry an Olympus 420 +14-42 whenever i am interested in doing some photos.
I sewed a small dynema pouch to protect it (22g) and use a plastic bag over it when it rains.

In Iceland last year i wasnt happy having it in my backpack so i used a stuff sack + 2 small pieces of cord and 2 mini carabineer.
Since that i bought an OMM4 or 5L frontpack and i am very happy with that solution.

I ll be closely looking on the EP1 /DP1 successors to see if i can save some weight.omm

Edited by Fre49 on 07/15/2009 08:32:06 MDT.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Carrying? on 07/15/2009 03:12:39 MDT Print View

I just got a Canon D50 and a few lenses, and with it a LowePro Toploader Pro AW 65. The AW 65 isn't especially light at about 700 gr, but it should protect the camera in the unlikely event something happens to it. I plan to carry it most of the time outside of the bag, though, because if its in the bag you won't take photos.

Chris, what carrying/ packing system do you use for your EOS 450? And the above requested photo of you wearing the camera + gear would be greatly appreciated!

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/15/2009 11:17:12 MDT Print View

I use an old CCS case with the 450D - CCS made some of the best camera bags in my opinion but ceased doing so a few years ago. I have tried a Lowe TLZ1, which would be my second cGR20hoice.

The picture was taken on the GR20 in Corsica. I am carrying two SLRs slung across my body - one film, one digital. This was before I made a complete commitment to digital!

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/17/2009 00:38:32 MDT Print View

Photography is a passion for me and a major reason why I got so interested in lightening my load so I could carry equipment into the backcountry. Here is a couple from the past weekend. I went a little heavy on the equipment with only a four mile walk in to camp.

Gitzo GT1531 legs and Benro KS-0 ballhead on my ULA OHM

Gitzo GT1531 Carbon Legs and Benro KS-0 Ballhead

Nikon D700 and 4 lenses in a Lowepro Toploader 65 AW

Nikon D700 and 4 lenses

This was my first trip with the Ohm and it carried all this very well. I love having the
D rings on the shoulder straps and the Nite Ize S Biners are a great attachment tool.

I have used this Lowepro case attached with carabiners to the shoulder harness on my "vintage" Osprey Aether 60 on lengthy trips to Patagonia and New Zealand with a Nikon N80 and D80 and various lenses in the past.

Nikon N80 in Torres Del Paine

Nikon N80 in Torress Del Paine

Nikon D80 on the Routeburn track

Nikon D80 on the Routeburn track

Edited by monstertruck on 07/17/2009 00:41:24 MDT.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Thanks on 07/20/2009 11:39:17 MDT Print View

Chris and Ryan, thanks for the photos. The Lowepro TLZ1 looks like a contender, need to see if I can get my hands on one - 200 gr is an acceptable weight.

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Full size DSLR on the trail on 07/20/2009 13:54:06 MDT Print View

The TLZ cases are great. I plan on picking up a TLZ 2 and packing an extra lens in the side pocket of my pack.