Hiking - Equipment choice?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Selidor, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Selidor

    Selidor Member

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    Hello everybody, I would like some suggestions as to what to take on a future trek.

    I say "trek", its more just "walking all day in English/Welsh countryside over terrain that may occasionally be steep".

    Ive realised that the distance I can comfortably walk is directly proportional to the weight on my back (Im a genius, I know) so I'd really carry as little as possible - ideally nothing at all but I do need a backpack for water/food/extra layers.

    This puts me in a dilemma about what to take. Normally I would just bring my DSLR and SLR, but together they add up to a fair amount. So What combination of DSLR (Nikon D3100)/SLR(Olympus OM-2n)/Film compact (Olympus Stylus 115)/Digital compact (Sony W-30) should I use?

    I only have a 35mm/1.8 lens for the Nikon so I'd get pretty much the same images as I would with the Olympus (see sig.)

    Regarding film I have a choice of TMAX 100,400 (2x36 at each speed) and a stash of slightly expired (May 2011) HP5 and FP4 - I got 7 rolls for £10.95 delivered - if you were watching it on eBay yes that was ME!:D

    Thanks for any advice :smile:
     
  2. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I would reccomend a Nikon N75 with 28-80mm G lens.
    These are pretty much all plastic but they are featherweight and the 28-80mm is a good performer.
     
  3. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Is there any special reason you need both film and d*g*t*l on the same trip? I usually take one or the other, or perhaps a film kit with a negligible-weight d*g*t*l compact in a pocket.

    -NT
     
  4. Selidor

    Selidor Member

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    I have been considering a F80 actually to complement my D3100, but right now Id like to stick to my current gear.

    I guess you're right, the most sensible thing is to stick to the one system that serves me the best - which when im travelling is digital because the practicalities far outweigh the generally less satisfactory images produced (at least in my hands). However on this trip I dont anticipate taking a large number of photos (countryside tends to look samey around here) or being in low light situations (my little D3100 is excellent at ISO 6400), which is why Im seriously considering the less practical but far more fun route of 35mm BW photography.

    Hmm perhaps just my OM-2n and 400 speed film will do, I'll always have my iPhone 4 on me anyway.
     
  5. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    What do you take pictures of? What do you want to do with the images? If it's just to illustrate a web story about your hike, digital sure is easier and a small point and shoot is perfect. If you want wall hanging art from the trip bring an SLR. I usually carry a small digital point and shoot and a 4x5 or Hasselblad if it's a photo trip. If it's just a hike with the family I bring the point and shoot digital most of the time, since they get impatient with the time I spend with the larger cameras to take a shot.
     
  6. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Since you are considering similar formats decide whether or not you want to develop film. Personally, I think film is the best of both worlds since you can print or scan or both. Neither sounds very heavy and could easily be carried in a decent backpack. You didn't mention a tripod or cable release. I would be partial to 400ISO since lighting conditions and decent depth of field would probably be helpful for landscape images. A couple of filters ie yellow, orange and light green would come in handy.

    I use a Tamrac camera backpack and have often carried up to 25lbs plus a carbon fiber tripod comfortably. (I'm far from being a youngster but fortunately in good shape) I would add appropriate footware helps.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  7. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I also do these sorts of 'treks'. For me the most important thing is weight as I find I can go further and get to more interesting places if I carry less. With that in mind, I would choose your OM2, but I would suggest seeing if you could add a wide angle lens and use that rather than the 50. One camera, one lens and a few rolls of film will fit into one of those belt pouch type camera bags like this. If you've got both hands free could then perhaps consider a tripod.
     
  8. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    As a regular (long-distance-)hiker, it's a dilemma I've also often faced.

    For the most part, I've gone over to the "dark side" on longer walks because of the weight advantage.
    When still using film, I'll either choose a rangefinder kit (more compact and slightly lighter) or a lighter SLR.

    My own lens choices are along the lines of 20, 35 & 90mm (depending on the system used).
    You could (should?!?) definitely add a wide-angle to your 50mm, maybe a 28 or a 24mm.

    FYI:
    Weight:
    Leica M6 + 21, 35 & 90mm: 1080 grammes
    As above + 15mm: 1274 grammes
    Rolleiflex SL35-E + 18, 35 & 85mm: 1326 grammes
    Nikon FE2 + 20 (Soviet), 35 & 105mm: 1579 grammes (bloody 105 is heavy!)
    Leica R5 + 19, 35 & 90mm: 2108 grammes (bloody heavy lenses!)
    "Dark side" camera with 25-300mm equivalent zoom: 270 grammes
     
  9. Selidor

    Selidor Member

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    People frequently, landscapes/architecture occasionally.
    Im always on the lookout for the next piece of art I can hang! Uploading to flickr/facebook just does not compare to printing and mounting. But I do the former primarily. I currently scan & print at 8x10 because a local supermarket sells nice black 8x10 frames cheaply.
    This I did not consider.... :smile: Having said that, Im no slouch with my OM gear!
    I have a lovely B+W Orange filter and B+W Linear Polariser that I intend on taking. Cable releases and tripods are just things I dont see myself using here; I rarely use them anyway and certainly I dont need the extra weight.
    As for backpacks I thought about sticking to my Jansport Trinity. Its a popular school/college backpack - indeed I used it for school originally. I ruled out a cheap but decent North Face one because it was 3L smaller and that extra 3L meant I could carry my sleeping bag, as I often do when couch surfing across the UK. But it does come with proper back support and extra straps etc, so perhaps in the name of comfort It would be worthwhile.
    Yeah, when I travel I always want to go wider. Sadly I sold my Tamron 28mm Adaptall and Canon EOS setup (EOS 1n, Canon 22-55mm) in the "Great Equipment Cull of Summer 2011" because I mainly shoot portraiture with my film cameras. Perhaps it would have been prudent to wait a short while, but I hate hanging on to stuff I dont use.

    Ok thanks for the advice so far. Ive determined that I need an SLR of some variety. I dont want to get into a film v digital debate (though perhaps I have!) But Im leaning slightly towards B&W film since my best work has come from that, and I need all the help I can get on what will probably be a very dull overcast day :wink:
     
  10. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    When I need to carry the smallest and lightest photo equipment for hiking and/or biking, I only carry one camera and one lens. Rarely is the camera an SLR because I have the following compacts and rangefinders (listed in descending order of preference) that are smaller and lighter than my smallest and lightest SLR:

    1. Compact 35mm film camera with 27mm Vivitar lens
    2. Argus C3 rangefinder with a 35mm f/4.5 lens
    3. Canon Canonet QL17 G-III 35mm rangefinder with fixed 40mm f/1.7 lens
    4. Minolta Hi-Matic 9 35mm rangefinder with fixed 45mm f/1.7 lens
    5. Argus C3 rangefinder with a 50mm f/3.5 lens

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/5229396922/
     

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  11. Selidor

    Selidor Member

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    Some interesting numbers there!
    Actually if I had the lens I really want I wouldn't have asked this question - its a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 ATX for the D3100. I always want to go wide when I travel, but I only travel with digital and only take portraiture - my true love - with film, for which a 50mm isnt really long enough. But new lenses cost money, and money like roll film is a finite quantity :smile: I actually had a 22-55mm lens for my EOS 1n but both went in "The Great Equipment Firesale of Summer 2011" when I realised I had more cameras than fingers.

    The D3100 and OM-2n have little difference in weight I think. My dad has several Canonets I could use but Im not a fan of rangefinder focusing, plus I wont get to use my fancy B+W filters :wink:
     
  12. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Indeed. And I think your posts struggle mightily to stay within the bounds of analog photography. But it seems APUG has become much more lenient of late to digital talk. Ahem.

    IMO this is more a matter of artistic/aesthetic focus on your part. Pick one format/camera to express yourself.

    I don't think you can beat belt packs for convenience in carrying limited photo equipment. Spin them around to you belly when a scene becomes irresistible. You can use a daypack in combination to carry your food and extra clothes, as well as your tripod. Really, nothing beats a regular suspension backpack of your choice for carrying everything together, if that is your choice.

    Frankly, I don't see any reason to shoot anything other than digital, if the internet is your goal. Film's extra bang comes mainly from love of process. Few people, and less and less as time goes on, will ever appreciate or even have the opportunity to see a handcrafted film originated fine art print. :sad:
     
  13. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    Here's the kit that I finally was able to put together.
    I find that I prefer this to my SLR kit.

    First I started off with a Black Contax G-2, with the
    following Black lenses:
    21 mm f 2.8 Biogon,
    28 mm f 2.8 Biogon,
    45 mm f 2.0 Planar,
    90 mm f 2.8 Sonnar.

    About the lenses: I'm not disappointed one bit with
    what they do on b&w or colour film.
    They are everything I had hoped these
    versions of the Contax G lenses would be.
    Tonality, shadow detail & sharpness are way up
    there. The T* Coating is probably optimized
    for colour, but seems to work well in B&W, as well.

    I find that there is something VERY SPECIAL
    about the Biogon lens design.

    The 28 mm has a " stretch ", that makes it look
    like a 24 mm SLR lens, but without the distortion &
    The 21 mm has no " discernible " distortion at all.

    I mention this here as a prelude because to augment,
    this system I've added a Black Bessa L, ( labeled
    Cosina 107 SW ), with the following Black lenses:

    The 12 mm f 5.6 &
    The 15 mm f 4.5 lenses.

    Both of these appear to be Biogon designs as well.
    While they don't have T* coatings, they are both
    Apochromatic, so I know they are similar in sharpness.

    With the Contax G-2 being AF & the Bessa L lenses
    being Hyperfocal Focus, focusing is NOT an issue.

    All told this is a lot lighter than an SLR.
     
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  15. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    OT: Yikes! A good modern backpack will definitely make a difference compared to an old Jansport bag.
    While it might not help your legs on long climbs, your back will feel like it's carrying *many* kilos less (subjectively taking your camera & other things for "free").

    Some North Face bags are o.k., but they are more often fashion items than real mountain gear.
    Get some advice & have a look at Lowe Alpine, Deuter, Bach, Osprey, Vaude & Golite bags...
    Fit is very important: the back length should match yours so that the hipbelt can carry most of the weight.
     
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  16. Selidor

    Selidor Member

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    I cannot apologize enough, perhaps this question might have been more suited towards a general forum such as photo.net but because my primary medium is film I posted here without much further thought.
    I dont shoot photos to share with others, I shoot photos because it makes me happy! :smile: I only upload work to the internet because the technology exists to make it easy and affordable :wink:

    Anyhow what Im hearing is that an SLR might be on the heavy side, in which case a rangefinder would be a good alternative.
    So I found my dads collection of Canonets - a QL 17 GIII, QL19, QL25, 28. However the only 100% working model appears to be the Canonet 28. The focusing method of aligning the light patch isn't as tricky as I remember.

    Among other things he also has a Nikon FG-20 with a set of Nikon 28/50/135 AIS lenses. The FG-20 is markedly lighter than my OM-2n. However Im not sure Id be happy taking his pristine Nikon equipment along, incase something should happen to them.
    This suddenly became my No.1 priority! I've clearly underestimated the need for a decent backpack.

    Re: The North Face - I did my research into brands, knowing little about the outdoor clothing market and the general consensus seems to be that although no one has benefited more from the active lifestyle/wilderness chic popularity of the 90's and 2000's than TNF, and they've milked it for all its worth, the bottom line is their products get the job done no less than Rab/Mountain Equipment/Haglofs etc. Their 27L Borealis day-sack is on sale right now and is at least 2x as large as Deuter and Lowe Alpine bags at the same price point. I dont need anything bigger than 30-35L, but at the same time I couldnt do with anything significantly smaller.
     
  17. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Depending on the physical challenge of the walks, a shoulder bag can be useful (e.g. LowePro) especially if your "treks" are more along the lines of walk, pause, photograph, move on, rather than hiking to a particular location with tripod and 4x5". The shoulder bags can however make one rather unbalanced when any scrambling (which I try and avoid in my size 14s) is necessary and do become uncomfortable on steeper paths.

    Tom
     
  18. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    As I and others have mentioned, a properly fitting backpack is the way to go regardless of the weight you will carry. Which ever brand you decide on get one that is at least water resistant and preferably waterproof and has an opening flap that opens all the way. I also recommend one that may seem larger in capacity than you think you need since you don't always have to fill it completely but better to have ample capacity if the occasion arises. The Tamrac pack I mentioned (page 1) is adjustable and has inserts that can be configured as needed. Having had three back surgeries over the years I highly recommend the right pack and good hiking shoes.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  19. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    OT: There I might disagree... ;-)
    I'm out walking, hiking, trekking every chance I get and my cherry-picking of outdoor gear is almost as bad as with camera eqipment.

    Some TNF stuff is very good, but the majority isn't as good as other "serious" brands. While they might "get the job done" as well, lighter and more comfortable equipment makes life that much easier.

    Backpacks are like shoes: you should really go into a shop and try some on before buying, as fit is a very individual thing. Try them weighted with what you expect to be the maximum weight you'd carry (plus some) and walk around as long as you can without being forcefully ejected from the shop.
    Classic, if somewhat fiddly, advice is to bring what you want to carry to the shop and stuff it into the bags you want to try.
    Keep in mind that the size rating of bags can vary greatly in reality: my SO's 32 litre bag holds much less than my 25 litre one.

    I'm not familiar with that particular TNF bag, but again, you should really try before buying, especially since sales occur quite frequently in the UK (I often buy my gear mail-order there). A good bag will last a very long time and it's worth spending more for something really comfortable.

    This could be useful as a starting point for choosing bags to look at (in my experience, the reviews seem pretty well done and fit the stuff I have quite well):
    http://www.livefortheoutdoors.com/Gear-Reviews/

    Enjoy!
     
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  20. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Unless you want to get tricky or artistic, you don't need the extra weight of the DLSR. Further, there's no reason for a film compact when the 2 35mms in your sig line are already quite compact (especially with just a small prime lense).

    Take the W-30 digi compact for any quick and dirty landscape snapshots, stuff like that. For wide fixed areas DSLR is somewhat wasted. Then take either the OM-2n or the AE-1P (my ride of choice, also -- it handles quite well) but if you can load it out with a 28mm or some wide angle.

    I find that for landscapes your eyes take in so much more than a basic 50mm can capture. It really helps spark the memory and imagination when looking on the finished photo product if you shoot it with a wider angle to cover more ground.

    Then you just have to carry the 1 camera which is pretty light with that size of lens, and then tuck the compact into a pocket somewhere.
     
  21. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Somebody mentioned a tripod... but I was going to offer an alternative idea: Find a collapsable monopod! Then, collapse it to just the right length to be a walking stick (or find one that doesn't collapse and just hold it lower down when hiking! Add a rubber grip or some boxing tape around where you want to hold it, etc)
     
  22. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I wouldn't be without my Leki Sierra - An adjustable hiking stick that comes with a 1/4" thread for a camera - As a monopod, it is a little whippy, but it is a lot lighter than a "proper" monopod. Admittedly, I also carry a CF tripod as the Leki won't cope with 5x4.

    Before anyone asks - I go hiking/backpacking with 5x4 and on the last trip managed to squeeze camera/tent/sleeping bag all in to a 30l pack. For simple day hikes, I find a smallish Lowpro pack to be more than adequate, but then my style of hiking/camping might not suit many tastes :tongue:
     
  23. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Regarding the CanonQL17, if the camera is in the "A" mode, it won't work without a battery.
    It will work as a fully manual camera when it's off the A. unless the shutter baldes are stuck from disuse.
     
  24. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Agreed.

    And if the goal is something to show on the wall or hold in the hand then film - of a format appropriate to the end product - is still the hands-down technical winner.

    My lite weight camera choice for the past 15+ years been a Yashica T4/T5.

    Recently I have taken to carrying a Zeiss Nettar 120 folder instead. Guestimate distances and exposure. I have a Cascade Designs hiking stick with a Leitz ballhead and I carry a cable release: the f6.8 lens makes for longish exposures. If you go the folder route you should look for a camera with a shutter that has slow shutter speeds. See http://www.certo6.com/cameras for 120 folders.

    Last week I ordered a Nikon N75 with the lite weight 28-80G lens. Should be about 23 oz all up. http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/n75.htm
     
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  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you find the OM2n too heavy, an OMG/OM20 is a lot lighter, and quite competent.

    It isn't as rugged though as an OM2n.
     
  26. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Selidor - since you already have a great camera (though admittedly, i know very little which lenses in that mount are best.....) i'd really encourage you to use it.

    Since your Olympus OM2n is a smaller frame SLR it will be lighter to carry (and thus you can bring more film!!!!), there are outstanding Zuiko lenses available for it, you get to shoot traditional b&w (and use your covetous "b&w" brand filters!!!!) and really enjoy the slowed down process of making photographic art for your walls. It's a win-win-win at every turn.

    As to backpacks..... they are part of what i do for a living and have used for 30-odd years... "The North Face" company, while it's not what it used to be, isn't necessarily a *bad* choice - and i am a self-admitted *1st-rate* TNF critic (i usually refer to them as "The North *Farce*). I'm not personally familiar with the model you were looking at, but i have a general grid for evaluting packs which i use for initial screening.

    Since you're in the UK, you have reasonable access to the excellent RAB company's offerings as well as to some other great companies. Honestly, i'd be searching for bargain packs b/c for most day-hiking/trekking, the offerings today are utterly brilliant.

    THings to ensure your pack choice has - an *included/attached* water-proof cover (this is a requirement not an option), plenty of space - 30Ltr main-bag volume should be more than enough (though a 40Ltr pack isn't out of the question depending on anticipated weather), stiff/thick shoulder padding (not the soft, squishy garbage that will ultimately hurt/chafe your shoulders), a reasonable waist-belt, external mesh pockets, loop/daisy-chain attachment points, robust zippers (YKK 10 is perfect size for the main-volume zipper) and an internal sleeve/external access for a water reservoir (Camelbak/Platypus, etc). These are the basic "features" i look for in a day pack.

    Here are some of the "quality" criteria i use to evaluate a pack prior to purchase. Incidently, quality is also a requirement - ya can't afford a cheap pack as you'll be replacing it soon enough, but it's hard to communicate "feel" of things..... The packs primary material *needs* to be water resistant, but not the heavy-duty, stiff PVC stuff which will easily (and quickly) develop cracks/degradations. Also, non-cotton stitching is preferred, but difficult to ascertain w/o looking at the pack. Primary attachment points (shoulder straps, waist-belt, gear-loops, etc) need to be multiple stitched/bar-tacked, etc. All straps/clasps/buckles/fixtures need to be Delrin or an equivalent (not plastic - a hybrid nylon/polycarbonate is preferred).

    The good thing is that these level of quality packs are reasonably priced and will last several years (depending on use).

    Finally, a good tripod is invaluble to get the most from your excellent Zuiko optics and squeeze the last detail from your negative.

    I hope this helps.