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06-04-2010, 12:58 PM   #16
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I went to BH photo last week and try to find a 'light weight' carbon fiber tripod for hiking -- they have tons of tripod for try out.

Honestly, all carbon fiber tripod I tried are too heavy for hiking!!

The only light weight is the Slik Sprint Pro II mini tripod (not carbon fiber though) -- If I want a tripod for hiking, this will be the one. Or take a Gorilla pod instead.

Lee

06-04-2010, 04:06 PM   #17
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If I were backpacking then I would choose a two lens solution: 16-50 and a 77mm

16-50 would be versatile since it includes the normal and wide angle perspectives.

77mm can capture the activities of other backpackers from a relative distance and is not a burden to carry. Picked this lens in favour of the 85mm due to size/weight and AF. Because it is lightweight, you have the option to add the 300mm as a third lens.

If you think there is a fairly good probability of encountering interesting wildlife in the park then the 300mm lens would be fun.

Most of all have fun with the trip.
06-04-2010, 06:38 PM   #18
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Every year in spring I pack my big rucksack and travel to Scotland. This year I go to the Isles of Mull and Iona:

The K7 gear is in the little front backpack.


A DA15 (thanks to forum member tzcobretti for loaning his copy):









A DA16-50 or 18-55WR at 16 or 18mm will do also a very good job.

The lens with biggest fun for the buck on my backpacking tours is my DA35:



















A must throw in the backpack is of course a fine portrait lens. The FA77 does a good job:











So DA15, DA35 and FA77 is a very nice trio for going lightweight on backpacking tour from my equipment.

QuoteOriginally posted by arpaagent Quote

Here is the equipment at my disposal.

DA* 16-50
FA 77
Thats sounds good for me. Plus if you need your F135.

Rainer
06-05-2010, 07:03 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by taurus9 Quote
If I were backpacking then I would choose a two lens solution: 16-50 and a 77mm
This is a great choice for all-around shooting. However, as I pondered the OP's question, I realized that it really boils down to the type of pics he/she likes. For me, as someone who loves close-ups, a macro lens would be a must. I could take the 50mm macro and make it work for pretty much everything. But, for others, it might make no sense at all. I'd be very curious to see what combination the OP eventually chose...how it worked out for them...and what they'd do differently, if anything.

06-05-2010, 08:54 PM   #20
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lenses for hikes

I'd definitely stay wide with the 16-50, and perhaps two primes (85, 135?). A TC would come in handy at times - one is on my shopping list. A cheap 1.7x did wonders in my Alpha bag.

My first Pentax kit is being built with hiking in mind: I've picked up a 16-45 (365g) and Sigma's 55-200 (310g, $80 open-box). Those two and a 50 prime can come along any time, though WR would be nice to have. My 135 /2.8 prime is 400gą, so if shooting in the dim seemed likely it might beat out my tele zoom.

As to tripod.. I usually hike near timberline, so a big flat rock + some little wedge-rocks are my tripod . Another trick might be to rest camera on top of your trekking poles (if you have those), not perfectly steady but better than standing tall in a breeze!

Last edited by jimr-pdx; 06-05-2010 at 08:58 PM. Reason: added tripod comments
06-05-2010, 09:49 PM   #21
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Wow TKH!

I can't kick myself when I go hiking unless I carry a 300mm lens (mcrogner welcome to the forum)

In general I travel lite. The key here to me is the OP says probably 10 mile hikes from a base camp. So why not take a full load of camera gear to the camp and carry what's most appropriate on the hikes? And no one suggested taking 2 bodies. For a minimal kit, I'd consider taking 2 bodies, one with the 16-50 mounted, one with 77 and stash a 135 and the TC or mount in place of the 77.
The chances of needing the 300 are slim to none where you're going. And of course if you don't take the big lens you may actually see some rare wildlife.

enjoy
06-06-2010, 07:44 AM   #22
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Bump....just because I want to see what the OP chose and how it worked out.
06-06-2010, 07:54 AM   #23
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Backpacking, tents, camp fires, pack in, pack out, water from a stream back packing? Up peaks and through woods back packing? Size and weight are concern #1 back packing?

I would take a beat up ME Super with 50/1.7.... maybe a second lens if I really wanted to and had room.

06-07-2010, 08:26 AM   #24
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OK Guys, got back from my camping trip last night. I'll give an update later today once I get home from work and have a few minutes to process a couple of the photos to share and describe my experience.

I'll be sure to explain what equipment I had and what I would have done differently.
06-08-2010, 09:55 PM   #25
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Sorry for the delay. My wife and I just adopted 2 kittens so they have demanded some attention.

OK Guys, got back from my camping trip last night. After much internal debate over what to carry, here is what ended up in my pack:

K-7 (w/ 2 batteries, 3 4GB SD cards, remote, strap, etc) (~900 g)
DA* 16-50mm F2.8. (600 g)
F 100mm F2.8 Macro. (590 g)
Feisol CT-3342 CF Tripod legs (1 kg)
w/ Photo Clam PC-40NS Ballhead (395 g)

total of ~3.5 kg (~7.7 lbs) ouch!

I never even got to use the macro lens. With 5 other people hiking, I didn't really have time to set up the tripod and do any proper macro work. I figured I would be able to find some interesting stuff near our campsite, but I helped fix dinner and by the time we were done it was dark. The second day we were basically inside a cloud, so I didn't want to bring the macro lens out b/c it wasn't WR. Anyways, I would have been better off w/ a more generic telephoto option, (FA 77 or F135), although I'm not sure that I would have used either given the versatility of the DA*.

How I carried it:

The camera was connected to straps with quick release clips that attached to the frame of my backpack at the shoulder harness. This allowed the camera to dangle right at my sternum in between the hip and chest straps of the pack itself. The camera was always available, and this allowed me to take shots on very short notice. I have done this for several prior hiking outings and it has always worked well. If I can get my friends to share any of their photos maybe I can share what this looked like.

The tripod was strapped to the top on my pack along with the tent I was carring. It fit pretty well there but stuck out just barely more than the rest of the stuff. Occasionally it would catch a branch in tight spaces but generally was no issue (other than the added weight). My second lens was stuffed in my pack to keep it away from any elements that we encountered.

Some thoughts:

Plan the trips more than a day in advance! If I would have had better time to prepare what I was bringing, then I would have figured out a lighter support system (maybe a gorrilapod, monopod, or smaller tripod). I did use the tripod and was glad that I had it, but it was the heaviest photography item that I was carrying on my pack.

I really enjoyed the versatility of the DA* zoom. It allowed me to go wide for those tight trail sections and large rocky outcroppings, but also gave great performance for portraits and flowers. But to be honest, I don't enjoy using it as much as many of my primes. It's bulky, has a zoom ring (I enjoy the simplicity of a prime), and the feel isn't quite as nice as a proper manual focus lens or FA Ltd. If my A28/2 was weather sealed, then I would have been happy with it mounted on the camera most of the time, with possibly a wide option and short tele option in the bag. Why can't Pentax just go ahead and release that fabled DA* 28/2? I'm ready!

Also, as you will see from some of this selection of photos, I certainly made use of the weather sealed spec of the K-7 & DA* combo. We basically were hiking back through a cloud of mist with the wind was whipping strongly. At time, my camera/lens were covered in droplets of water, something that I wouldn't even want to try with a non-sealed combo. And this wasn't just for a few minutes, it was during most of the 2 or 3 hour hike back to our cars. I ran into no issues other than the water droplets on the external viewfinder optic causing some difficulties in making sure focus was where I wanted it. To deal with water droplets on the lens filter, I carried a microfiber cloth in my pocket, and would periodically wipe the front filter before taking photos. I also kept the lens cap on some of the time and tried to keep the lens pointed away from the wind direction to minimize the amount of mist that got on the filter. This worked well and I was never hindered by any water droplets on the lens.

Ok, here is a brief selection of some of the photos from this weekend, quickly processed just to give you an idea of what kinds of situations I was in and the photos that I took. I have a lot of photos to process and I'll share the ones I like once I'm done.

Group shot at the waterfall
12s timer, 28mm, F8, 1/40", ISO400


Arm-length self-portrait
16mm, F4, 1/1600", ISO400


Mountain Laurel Flowers
16mm, F5.6, 1/400", ISO400


Emily Taking a Break
16mm, F5.6, 1/1250", ISO400


Austin and a Baby Pony
34mm, F5.6, 1/500", ISO200


Megan Relaxing
34mm, F5.6, 1/640", ISO200


Mountain Jump
28mm, F5.6, 1/1000", ISO200


Megan Jump
16mm, F4, 1/2000", ISO200


Nia Climbing
16mm, F5.6, 1/1000", ISO200


Emily and I
50mm, F5.6, 1/500", ISO200


Emily Trekking
28mm, F5.6, 1/500", ISO200


Group Trekking
36mm, F5.6, 1/640", ISO200


Hot Dog Dinner
16mm, F5.6, 1/60", ISO400


Campsite in the Morning
16mm, F4, 1/60", ISO400


Me in the Mist
19mm, F5.6, 1/200", ISO400


Breakfast!
16mm, F4, 1/125", ISO400


Hiking in the Clouds
16mm, F4, 1/500", ISO400


Hiking in the Clouds
31mm, F4, 1/500", ISO400


Lonely Trees
26mm, F4, 1/640", ISO400


Hikers in a Row
29mm, F4, 1/640", ISO400
06-08-2010, 10:32 PM   #26
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Ooooh, bad attitude

Do a serious review of your past similar photos.

You may just find that a friendly P&S will duplicate the pictures you've taken and the end results you've actually used. I get a lot more WOW shots from the outing with non-enthusiasts that way. And if that's the case, you'll feel SO much freer without the weight, shoot-time, and precautions associated with carrying an SLR plus lenses.

If I'm with ANYONE else that's not a serious photographer I've found they don't appreciate the TIME involved with my "but you gotta see this" delays to do good work beyond the P&S camera's results.

Use your photography skills and unusual perspectives, not the gear, to produce popular photos. Your companions will thank you!

H2
06-09-2010, 04:47 AM   #27
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My humble experience tells me that when hiking you want to limit the lens swapping to a really bare minimum. That's especially true if your fellow are not photographers too.

With that in mind, and considering the types of shots you will want to take, AND considering the ever present risks of bad weathers, falls, rivers crossing, etc, the two WR lenses seem mandatory. They are fast enough that you will not need your primes for speed alone. I would also bring the macro, partly because I love that lens, partly because you seem to plan on shooting macro anyway.

I've just ordered a monopod (should get it today!) for hikes, and that's the one thing I find lacking in your kit. A monopod, if sturdy, will serve as a walking stick, plus camera support. Really useful for me, I've been wanting one for some time. It can almost replace the tripod expect for night photography.

The primes are not really suited for hikes, because you'll end up swapping lenses all the time, and delaying your fellows, who will not appreciate it. At all.

What I do when on hikes is put on my main lens (Sigma 17-70 or WR kit lens, depending on the situation), and place my tele zoom in a lens/compact camera case strapped to my hip. For me that's the best way to hike.
06-09-2010, 04:52 AM   #28
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I'd take the A28/2 and not worry about anything else.


EDIT: ooops, too late

Though, looking at your photos, you might as well have taken just a 28mm lens, none of the photos you posted couln't have been taken by the 28mm.

EDIT2: I see you noticed this yourself, I should really read before posting

Last edited by kevinschoenmakers; 06-09-2010 at 04:58 AM.
06-09-2010, 05:03 AM   #29
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Jim, That write-up was very helpful, thanks!

The photographs are stunning, especially the walking in the clouds ones.

I totally agree with you on liking to shoot with small primes, and therefore I am planning to purchase a lens vest for my upcoming trip to yellowstone. For the long hikes I will probably take the DA15, FA43, FA80-320 (may be the FA77 or F135) and the zipshot tripod. All very light and should fit just in the vest. If the weather is bad, they wouldn't get much use .

Thanks for sharing your experince and those lovely photographs, it looks like it was worth the effort.
06-09-2010, 07:07 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Do a serious review of your past similar photos.

You may just find that a friendly P&S will duplicate the pictures you've taken and the end results you've actually used. I get a lot more WOW shots from the outing with non-enthusiasts that way. And if that's the case, you'll feel SO much freer without the weight, shoot-time, and precautions associated with carrying an SLR plus lenses.

If I'm with ANYONE else that's not a serious photographer I've found they don't appreciate the TIME involved with my "but you gotta see this" delays to do good work beyond the P&S camera's results.

Use your photography skills and unusual perspectives, not the gear, to produce popular photos. Your companions will thank you!

H2
Hi,

I appreciate the feedback, however I don't completely agree with you.

First of all, most of the people that went on this trip understand and enjoy photography. And I did not force them to wait on me all the time while I prepared shots. In fact, most of these shots are simply taken without any interruption of the trip (aside from the group shots of course, but using a point&shoot for those is no different b/c you still need to organize people together).

You are correct in pointing out that most of the photos I have shown are not a far stretch from what a decent point&shoot could capture. Since I used the 16-50mm most of the time, there is generally not a much in the way of a depth of field effect, particularly at the wide end of the zoom. However, you'll notice that some of the closer shots at the long end give a nice out of focus background that you will not get with the point&shoot unless you stand way back and zoom to super telephoto setting.

I do own a nice compact camera, a Canon G7. The Canon G series is highly regarded by photo enthusiasts as some of the better and more photographer-friendly compacts that you can get. It has a true mode dial and allows for full manual exposure control if necessary, and takes high enough resolution photos at 10 MP.

However, there are several things that have kept me from using the point&shoot lately:

(Before getting into the following reasons, let me say that I just really enjoy using my Pentax equipment. I would not get the same joy in photography if I had used a compact camera. To me, there is more to photography than simply the final output, there is something enjoyable in the process as well. And I treat the better images as icing on the cake.)

1. Responsiveness.
With my K-7 I can press the shutter button and the shutter trips immediately. I have AF removed from the half-press shutter button, so I'm never waiting for AF to finish unless I have the AF button depressed on the back of the camera. This allows me to prefocus quickly and then take the shot at exactly the right time.

The G7 can sort of do this. There is a "manual focus" mode that allows fine tuning focus using the back rotary dial on the camera, and does not check for focus when the shutter is pressed. However, if I wanted to adjust focus, I'd need to go through several button click and wait for the slow contrast detect AF to lock onto a target before I know that focus is acheived. Hardly what I want to be waiting for while I'm trying to snap a shot of one of my friends mounting that awesome boulder.

I also realize that I could shoot mostly at hyperfocal distance with a small sensor compact, as long as I am shoot pretty wide shots, so having to refocus may not be as big of a deal after all. But it is still a bother when zooming to different focal lengths.

2. Viewfinder.
The viewfinder is the photographer's portal into the photos that he/she takes. Having a nice optical viewfinder is one of the main reasons that I shoot with a DSLR. It allows me to quickly and accurately compose a shot just the way I want it, without having to wait for the unit to power on and initialize the video to some LCD screen. Also, the K-7 has 100% coverage, so I know exactly what I'm getting.

My G7 does have an optical viewfinder (not TTL of course) which zooms with the lens, but it has significant error in coverage, and is so tiny and distorted that it is pretty much useless. I have tried to use it before, but it just frustrates me more than it helps. So I have to resort back to the LCD screen, which in my opinion is an unnatural way to photograph, and is inherently unsteady since you are required to hold the camera away from your body mass.

3. Image Quality
Ok, so maybe it doesn't really matter for most of the shots. I'll just share them with friends, mostly on the 'net. But for that one photo that I get that is just amazing, I don't want to sacrifice image quality.

Sure, if you have ideal conditions and can shoot at ISO100 you will get decent shots, but the camera still has to do quite a bit of noise reduction and smearing even at base ISO to produce a clean image. I can shoot up to ISO800 on the K-7 without worrying too much about noise, giving me a significant advantage in shutter speed so I could capture hikers without getting subject motion blur.

On a recent trip to florida, I let my wife use the G7 while I was shooting with my Pentax DSLR(s). I browsed her photos, and it was almost hard to swallow how much you have to sacrifice with such a small sensor.

4. Manual Focus
I use manual focus a lot. It's probably because I bought into the Pentax brand and have gotten into the old Tak, K, M, and A lenses. It has taught me that autofocus is simply a tool that can aid in certain situations. I don't like letting the camera try and choose where to focus. That's why I shoot with the AF removed from half-shutter press.

Point&shoots are junk here. Either you wait for it every time to confirm focus, or you fiddle with menus and wheels to try and shoot in manual focus mode. Either way, it gets in the way of my photography.

----------------------------------

Now, what does excite me is the recent developments in compact cameras with APS-C sized sensors. Ideally for hiking, I could have a weather-sealed camera with several fixed lenses that allows the size and weight of the camera kept to a minimum, while keeping optical speed and image quality at a maximum. Give me interchangeable optical viewfinders that are accurate, or a decent electronic viewfinder. The normalish lenses need to be small (close to pancake size), and need to have decent manual focus action. Give me a 28mm lens, a 50mm lens, and a 15mm lens and I'll be happy. Or just the 28mm lens for starters.

(don't tell me to buy a Leica M9 because I don't have that kind of money. Pentax can do the same thing for fractions of the cost.)

When Pentax releases an ILC that has the responsiveness, IQ, build quality (weather sealed), and features of their current DSLRs, I will buy it. It is as simple as that. If another manufacturer does it, then I will check it out. But so far, I have been unimpressed with the compact APS-C and Micro 4/3s cameras that have been released. I'm just waiting for Pentax to impress me.

--------------------------------

Ok, that's my rant about what I REALLY want to take with me on outdoor trips such as hiking/camping where I want to capture friends, family, and scenery. For wildlife stuff you'll need big lenses anyway so I'd just as soon take a well balanced DSLR.
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