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Author Topic: Which camera is good for expeditions?  (Read 10759 times)

jedi-knight

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Which camera is good for expeditions?
« on: Jun 4 2005, 16:06 »

Just wondering if there are recommendations for good cameras for expeditions to places such as the 7 summits.

I know some cameras dont work well in extremely high or extremely low temperatures.

I got hold (or borrow rather) of a Canon Powershot A520. Can it survive the 7 summits?

Any advice or sharing of past experiences would be welcomed here  ;D
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teamkilimanjaro

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #1 on: Aug 9 2005, 01:03 »

Major concerns are, perhaps obviously:

the ability of the camera to perform in extreme cold
This is pretty standard across the board. Near the summit the only workable method is to keep the camera against your person, eg. in a breast pocket, making
smallness and robustness a crucial factor
If a camera needs to be put away carefully in a special protective case you'll end up getting it out only very infrequently, especially once you start falling prey to altitude induced complacency
the affordability of whichever format media card the camera uses
SD or MMC is probably the most readily available format and is cheap nowadays at £18 for a 512MB card (around 400 shots at 4 megapixels resolution). Avoid 1GB cards as this slows the camera down - better to have twice as many 512's
the availability of compatible batteries
Best to have a camera that takes AA's or AAA's as cold conditions mean batteries drain quickly and the traditional sawn off AA's for cameras (can't recall the designation) are much harder to find

With respect to all of the above, the Nikon Coolpix series fits the bill well. Examples of a Coolpix 4600's performance can be seen at www.teamkilimanjaro.com/slideshows.html. Best to look at the files at bottom of page as the compression on the slideshow makes the images look pretty rubbish.

It's a good idea to go for better resolution, say 7 megapixels and avoid zooming as this uses batteries fast. You can then use editing software to effectively zoom by cropping. At about 100 shots a day the Coolpix 4600 will use two sets of 2 AA's a day at altitude.

Coolpixes are incredibly easy to use and have a sort of 'intelligence' that makes taking a bad photo very difficult. They cope well with shooting from shade to light, eg. http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/images/julyexpedition6/DSCN2322.JPG. This would have silhouetted the foreground or alternatively blurred the background on a less intelligent camera.

If you want advice from a professional on the matter consult http://www.photogalaxy.co.uk/index.php?ID=pholnkuk. Will Burrard-Lucas knows this subject and has just returned from an expedition to Kilimanjaro with us. He has prepared a slide-show of his climb at http://www.kilizone.com/photos/.

Regards,

www.teamkilimanjaro.com
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Chris Valentine

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 10 2005, 03:00 »

I got hold (or borrow rather) of a Canon Powershot A520. Can it survive the 7 summits?

Lorenzo Gariano did Everest in 2005 with a Canon Powershot A85, but the camera froze on the North Ridge. I think he used NiMH rechargeable AAs, but I understand lithium AAs (rare and expensive, and not rechargeable!) work very well at low temperatures.

Chris.
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MoT

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 11 2005, 00:34 »

I use a Canon A90 compact digital camera with extended life rechargeables (2500mAh). Performs well but like any camera, if it gets cold it stops working. I usually carry at least one disposable camera for my summit days (I hate them but they're great if you're badly stuck with the cold!)

Just my 2 cent

Tom
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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 11 2005, 02:44 »

I have always packed a disposable, but have never used them as my SLR's always worked fine.
The Canon Eos 500n worked fine on Denali & Aconcagua.
2nd times up there my Eos 3 worked great as well, though bloody heavy.

And my digital EOS 20D worked all the way to the summit of Everest. I had taken the old and retired 500n body as well, just in case and even shot a roll of slides with it from the summit (after all, the lenses make mor difference than the body).

Just my 2 cents (and 2 kilos  :P )

Harry
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jedi-knight

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 12 2005, 15:01 »

SLRs would definitely be good...though its on the heavy side....I am hoping for lighter ones....probably digital non-SLRs....but of course will bring a disposable as well.....

 O0
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G2

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 15 2005, 22:05 »

And my digital EOS 20D worked all the way to the summit of Everest. I had taken the old and retired 500n body as well, just in case and even shot a roll of slides with it from the summit (after all, the lenses make mor difference than the body).

Just my 2 cents (and 2 kilos  :P )

Harry

That's impressive! I would never have thought the 20D could stand up against such hard environment
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jedi-knight

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 16 2005, 16:13 »



Lorenzo Gariano did Everest in 2005 with a Canon Powershot A85, but the camera froze on the North Ridge. I think he used NiMH rechargeable AAs, but I understand lithium AAs (rare and expensive, and not rechargeable!) work very well at low temperatures.

Chris.

would it have made a difference if he had use the "all-weather casing" ? the Canon series has that....supposedly good for underwater or high altitude....

i know SLRs would be great....definitely.....but i try not to carry additional load =)
unless i hire one of you guys here to help me carry all my equipment and camera =)
any takers? hahahaha...... ;D
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Chris Valentine

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #8 on: Dec 21 2005, 02:26 »

The A85, etc. is so small it can fit in a pocket, and is thus easier to keep warm.

I'm currently working on a method for Lorenzo to send photos back to us via iPAQ and Satellite phone. Having lots of "fun" trying to find the necessary cables and sleeves on eBay!

Chris.
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Daisy

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 22 2005, 22:13 »



i know SLRs would be great....definitely.....but i try not to carry additional load =)
unless i hire one of you guys here to help me carry all my equipment and camera =)
any takers? hahahaha...... ;D


If you pay for me I will gladly carry your stuff...  8)
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jedi-knight

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 23 2005, 15:02 »


If you pay for me I will gladly carry your stuff...  8)

err...hang on a second....pay for your trip? or pay for you to carry the stuff?  ???

normally, i dont have the heart to let the ladies carry my gear....its not very nice to ask them to do that  ;)

on my last trek, there was this female porter...about 1.5m tall or so...and she carried abt 25-30 kg on her back....and was ahead of us all the way up....i carried my own stuff because i didnt want to add to her load....and she wasnt even wearing trekking boots....just plain simple shoes.....

but come to think of it, some female mountaineers are tough....so i might consider  ;D

jk

ps: does your offer apply to Denali as well?  ;D
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John Christiana

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Re: Which camera is good for expeditions?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 24 2005, 08:55 »

Well, I brought the Canon G3 to Elbrus and Kili.  then decided that was too heavy, so i brought the Canon S-500 5 mp, fairly small and lightweight, for Denali, Aconcagua, and Everest.  I did my share of research, but they don't make normal cameras for extreme temp.  all factors were important to me, but in the end, quality prevailed.  for my trouble, I have 5 nice 7summit pictures on my wall.

never had problems with the cameras.  of course, i kept it as warm as i could inside my jacket, and somewhat protected at night in the tent, sometimes in my bag, and sometimes wrapped up.

these cameras use the special battery, which i considered when buying cameras, but i went for it anyway.  there was a battery (forget the name, as i returned it) that had problems.  the guy (later) even told me he knew that battery had a lot of returns.  i ended up with buying the Canon lit battery.

So...considering the battery is just as important.  For Everest, I brought TWO spare batteries, just in case, yeah, at $69. each.  As it turns out, i did not need them, as i brought my small battery charger, and i had a good battery.

John
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