camping with a dslr?

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by JasonG, May 3, 2014.

  1. Well I'm going to take the plunge and buy a dslr I'm pretty sure it will be a Canon T5i. What I'm wondering how many of you go camping , hiking, fishing with you dslr? I love taking pictures with a point and shoot while out in the wild. Can dslr be prone to problems in the outdoors.? Thanks Jason
  2. Any camera can be prone to problems, but I've used and abused Canon SLRs in the wilds for decades, including a number of film and digital EOS models. I've dropped a EOS 40D into the Clearwater River and kept using it. I booted a tripod-mounted EOS 20D and 300mm lens off a 20 foot rimrock ledge, crawled down to it, popped the housing of the lens back in place and used both camera and lens for another 3 years (producing a number of images I sold to national magazines). I've had an elk knock over a tripod with my EOS Rebel T3 and a 28-105zoom and continue to use both today.

    That's not to say that all dSLRs will function properly after such abuse, but I've always believed that if you want those good, unusual images, you have to be ready for them. And that means having your camera available and ready to use as frequently as possible. If you lock away the camera to keep it safe, you'll miss a lot of great images. I take that to the extreme perhaps, but I've sold a lot of images that I never would have captured if I always carried my camera buried in a padded case in my backpack, or stored in a waterproof bag in my boat.
    KerryS likes this.
  3. Thank you for your advice. I cant wait to start taking better pictures!!
  4. Hi Jason,

    I agree with Dan that you need your camera at hand if you really want good shots outdoors.
    Here's how I get around with my gear while fishing -

    I have an Ortlieb pack that's weather proof and modified with a padded base from an old camera bag tucked in the bottom.
    I also, in case the world ends carry my rain jacket in a light dry bag that can double as some extra protection in the pack for the camera.

    While fishing, I carry the camera tucked into the top of my chest waders where it rests nicely.
    I also carry a spare lens in my fishing vest.
    If there's a tricky wade or the weather turns real nasty, everything goes back in the pack.
    If you don't want to carry a pack, just the dry bag would be a good idea IMHO.

    I have been caught out without any protection for my gear while shooting a story on jungle perch fishing in the far north of Australia.
    Everything was going great and then it rained in a biblical fashion for about an hour.
    The best I could do to protect the gear was wrap my vest around it and walk hunched over - must have looked really stupid.:D
    I thought the camera (Eos 1DsII) and the 3 lenses I had would all be finished for sure, but kept shooting while I could to get the story done.
    Everything worked fine and even an extensive check-up at Canon found no issues.
    That said, I would prefer to have something to keep my cameras dry and not test the modern electronics again..
  5. Thank you for the info.
  6. As the other two have said, you absolutely can. I have a lot of confidence in Nikon equipment, but I don't think there's really a big difference between Nikon and Canon. Either will work just fine.

    As far as durability goes, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, the less physical or environmental abuse the equipment goes through, the longer it is likely to last. Not that you can't get it repaired, just that you'd rather not have if fail mid-trip. Yes to padded cases, and to waterproof cases or dry bags if the conditions are going to get extreme.

    When I go backpacking, I keep an SLR and 2nd lens in a small padded case that can be taken out of a daypack pretty easily. I don't enjoy things around my neck so I usually don't keep the SLR there, but I can slip a daypack off, pop the top, pop the camera case open and have access to it pretty quickly and w/o much hassle. I'll admit to not always taking as many pictures while overnighting in and out because of taking a full pack on and off, but I still keep the camera near the top of the pack in case I think it's worth it. And I have a point-n-shoot in a small case clipped to a backpack strap for quick access w/o taking a pack on and off.

    Size and weight are the biggest issues. DX/APS-C SLRs will give you a smaller body and usually smaller lenses to go with it compared to full-frame sensors. They still give you great options for image quality lower light performance, both from an optical and sensor standpoint.

    That said, the m4/3s cameras that are out there take that one step further--smaller and lighter yet while still being a significant step up from point-n-shoot cameras. The two biggest difference with them is the viewfinder--EVF instead of optical--and the AF performance isn't usually as good as an SLR. (The AF differences will be most noticeable with moving subjects or extreme low light.) But again they're still a huge step up compacts. If you're really concerned about size and weight they're a great option. I'd look into Olympus, Panasonic or Sony if I were going this route.

    I have a waterproof point-n-shoot that I keep in my fishing vest or in its little case that clips to a backpack strap. It can take a little bit of knocking around without even noticing, and is submersible. For me, when I'm fishing, that's what I'm doing, and capturing it or scenery is a great but still secondary. I just am not willing to drag an SLR out there. If I'm fishing near a road or camp or my car, I will often bring/keep my DSLR kit in the car or somewhere nearby so I can use it if I feel the scene really justifies it. If I'm hiking or backpacking or something else, then the DSLR often comes along because I'm not as torn between shooting pics and fishing.

    Don't forget to include some high-quality lens cleaning fluid (zeiss makes some great stuff) and cleaning papers/cloth in your bag (even with a point-n-shoot). There's no point in bringing all the stuff with you only to shoot it with crud on the front of your lens. I also highly recommend consistent use of lens hoods.

    If you really want to take things up a notch, I recommend shooting in the camera's raw format and doing conversions yourself after-the-fact. (Or shooting JPG/raw at the same time so you at least have the option). The things that you can do in photoshop with sharpening, color manipulation, etc. can really add to the final result of the image quality. It takes time later, but it doesn't cost you any size or weight while you're out there in the field.
  7. Than you for the great info.!!
  8. Canon 5d early morning while my fishing buddies were still asleep in the tent trailer...

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