A man, no plan, Panama?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TheStrudel, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    I'm heading to Panama in February to do some geological research, and it'd be prudent to bring along a decent camera. But...tromping through the rainforest for five days is unlikely to be good for my D80. I'll be hiking through rivers and being wet most of the time, and it seems like it would be a good idea to have something that's completely weather-sealed - waterproof - to prevent lasting damage. I'd like to come up with a decent solution for a camera to bring, and as I don't actually own a P&S, now might be a good time to get one. I'm looking to spend not much more than $250 on this particular trip (camera-wise). What's the best solution? Ought I get a housing for the D80, something that'll allow me to bring it without fear of damaging it? Or is there a good P&S digital that will suit my needs? If I was going to get the P&S, I'd like it (but not require it) to be able to shoot RAW, use SD/SDHC cards, be weather-sealed or waterproof, and have decent image quality. What do you think?
  2. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Look for some Ewa-Marine bag. BH sells them. And a Pelican Case (or something similar).

    I don't get the point in shooting RAW with a P&S, by the way... RAW is used to get the most out of an already good sensor. Let P&S do what they're good at: snapshots in jpg ;)
  3. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    Bay Area
    I would get a Canon G9 that you can tuck in your pocket for the more ambitious expeditions. Less to lose then a d80 but still produces astonishing pictures.
  4. TheStrudel thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    I've been hunting around and it looks like the Pentax W30 will do what I want at a good value for money. Anybody have some opinions about it?
  5. freebooter macrumors 65816


    Feb 24, 2005
    Daegu, South Korea
    I owned a W10 for a year and actually liked it a lot. (I gave it to my sister and her kids.) It took nice shots and was very waterproof. I used it in monsoonal rains quite a bit. The W30 is very similar as far as I understand. I wouldn't mind one myself, but that model is very scarce here in Korea for some reason.
    BUT, the first one I had bad halo at tele lengths. I returned it and the replacement was better but still not great.
    If you get a W30, test the unit well before you leave on your trip. The main problem I had was haloed highlights in bright scenes when zoomed out.
    The other concern for you would be the lack of manual control. it's auto all the way. However, exposure compensation can cover that.
    Have you considered a second body? Get a D40, ziploc bags and some silicone sacs. I've used my D40 a lot in the wet and humid--no problems. It's light, easy to use and captures pretty high quality files. (I owned a D80, too, but sold it because I liked the D40 much more)
  6. TheStrudel thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    I'm a college student working a couple jobs and I just forked out $3,350 on a Mac Pro, depleting most of my cash reserves...so unfortunately, price is very much an object here. Even if I did get a D40 in addition, though, I own a couple AF-D lenses that wouldn't work on it, and wouldn't the lens not be so well-protected (or lens mount, whatnot) from the constant humidity and rains? I mean, bagging sounds like it would work, but the photography isn't the main reason I'm there. I don't think I'd be able to spare the extra bulk for an SLR and extra time and effort to protect and maintain while doing the research. Thanks for the advice about the W30, though. I'll be sure to test it out. Any other advice?
  7. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth

    You might be able to find an older P&S used on eBay, along with a (true) underwater housing for it for not too many bucks.

    For example, I have an older Canon A80 P&S and bought the Canon UW housing for it a couple of years ago for $160. The plastic housing makes the system a tad bulky, but it will undoubtedly be waterproof out the wazoo and it has full controls. Plus because it has a flat dome port, there's no problems with using the camera on land.

    FWIW, regardless of what you end up deciding, do consider picking up some bags of anti-dessicant stuff to help keep the humidity down. They come in a couple of different sizes & types...I've got a couple that are in my different camera bags.

    Also plan out how you're going to keep batteries for the camera charged...and dry...too.

  8. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    I don't know - perhaps I'm a little bit more careless with my cameras (but, as a new owner of a D80, I am also treating it like it's made of stained class), but I think that this trip to Panama could be your chance to really take some stellar pictures. I mean, if you look at photojournalists/war photographers, they are carrying three D3's strapped on them with lenses that cost more than my yearly rent.

    You sound like you'll take care of the thing - I say, be ambitious and take that sucker with you!
  9. fugate2140 macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2008
    I've spent a fair amount of time in Panama and take a Canon 30d with two lenses as well as a P&S Canon sd700. I have relaxed about taking the Canon 30d as the photo's from this camera are outstanding. I use the P&S for evenings, quick outings, etc. You have to be a bit discreet with an expensive camera in parts of Panama City. It's a beautiful country with an incredible opportunity for you to take photo's you'll value over time. This is the dry season so depending upon the region you should be OK with most water resistant camera bags. Good luck on your trip.
  10. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2003
    You'll be kicking yourself if you don't bring your SLR on this trip. A P&S just can't do justice to the photos you'll be able to take. It might be a hit to the wallet now, but invest in the necessary equipment to protect your SLR. You'll take pictures that will justify the cost, IMHO.
  11. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Pentax has weather-sealed cameras (including dSLRs) if you are so inclined. Some of the P&S class cameras are even waterproof to a few meters.

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