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DSLR for the outdoors
I have been lurking here for quite some time trying to get a handle on a new camera purchase. I spend as much time hiking, skiing, etc. as I can and would like a camera that can keep up. My two previous cameras were both digital P&S, a Canon S400 and an Olympus 770 SW. The Canon LCD got smashed in my pocket during a hands required scramble. I learned from that mistake and bought the shockproof, waterproof Olympus with a nice hard case.

I loved the durability, it gave me piece of mind. Most of the pictures I take are landscape shots, I do a lot of peak bagging and hiking in the summer in the beautiful PNW and taking pictures has been a big part of that enjoyment. I would like to upgrade to a DSLR but am having a tough time picking one out. The major selling points for me are unfortunately not those of the manufacturers. I am very interested in durability/weatherproofing.

I don't really NEED a professional level camera but they are the only ones that seem to offer any robustness with their cameras. The cameras I have read up on because of their advertised robustness, Pentax K10D, Canon 40D, Olympus E3 plus many others. I read in the Canon DSLR forum that the 40D really cannot be out in the rain at all and wonder if the same holds true for the Pentax. Everyone implies that Olympus offers the best weatherproofing but it seems that only the E3 offers that feature and is quite pricey for my needs. Anyone out there do a lot of hiking/outdoor play have any suggestions ? Any cameras I should be looking at not mentioned here ? Nikon does not seem to offer anything fitting the bill.

Thanks.

Austin..

Comments (8)

I do a lot of backpacking, climbing, camping, hiking. I have carried an entry level DSLR with me for over a year on these trips without any problems. It has some scars on it but otherwise it is just fine. It's been through a lot of dust and dirt, but not rain. With rain the solution is as easy as finding a plastic bag or large ziploc to put over it... It's also a lot smaller and lighter than the sealed DSLR's...

'I reject your reality and substitute my own' -Adam Savagehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mrnoronha/sets/..

Comment #1

I should be more specific in my question. It is not just rain I am concerned with. It gets pretty moist here and also quite cold at times. The operating temperatures of most DSLR's is listed no lower than 32 degrees F (0 C). I assumed that the cameras with weather seals would buy me some condensation prevention when the camera is taken out in humid/cold weather. I ski and would love to be able to take the camera out on nice days for some action shots.



It sounds like the "weather sealing" should not be my primary concern when purchasing a new camera. A ziploc bag may just do the trick..

What about cases ? There are a ton available but for skiing/climbing comfort and weight are imperative. It would be nice if it was waterproof too..

Austin..

Comment #2

Austinw wrote:.

It sounds like the "weather sealing" should not be my primary concernwhen purchasing a new camera. A ziploc bag may just do the trick..

No it should not. Common sense goes a lot further than manufacturer weather sealing..

And while I've only had my 40D for a very short time, it has been out in light rain, and my D60 has been used in rain several times. Whether my camera is weather sealed or not, it would get the same treatment: Keep it as sheltered from rain as possible, using only sparingly. If needed long term in the rain, wrap it in plastic in such a way that you can still control it, but keeps the rain off...

Comment #3

Austinw wrote:.

I should be more specific in my question. It is not just rain I amconcerned with. It gets pretty moist here and also quite cold attimes. The operating temperatures of most DSLR's is listed no lowerthan 32 degrees F (0 C). I assumed that the cameras with weatherseals would buy me some condensation prevention when the camera istaken out in humid/cold weather. I ski and would love to be able totake the camera out on nice days for some action shots.



It sounds like the "weather sealing" should not be my primary concernwhen purchasing a new camera. A ziploc bag may just do the trick..

What about cases ? There are a ton available but for skiing/climbingcomfort and weight are imperative. It would be nice if it waswaterproof too..

Austin.

Hi Austin,.

I wouldn't be too concerned with the temperature ratings. I've used my camera many times in below freezing conditions. The main concern with cold conditions is the battery. If you plan to shoot in the cold I'd keep two batteries on hand. One in the cam and another one kept warm in your pocket. When the one in the cam gets too cold swap out the batteries..

As far as condensation build up... again a big ziploc works.. just shove the cam in there when you move into a warmer environment, the condensation will now be on the zipoloc instead of the cam...

Weather sealing is nice to have, but I wouldn't let it weigh too heavily in the decision. If you take proper precautions any cam should be just fine..

Check out lowepro bags. Many of them have built in raincovers which should be sufficient for anything besides submersion. Lowepro makes their stuff to be tough and comfortable. I would find a shop that sells them and try a few on.. load gear into them first so you can gauge how comfortable they'll be when loaded up...

'I reject your reality and substitute my own' -Adam Savagehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mrnoronha/sets/..

Comment #4

Austin:.

I'd second the input from IMac and Canuck. I also hike, backpack and peak-bag. I have used a Canon Pro 1 extensively under simply awful conditions, including rain, dust storms and -4 f on Mt. Washington, without any permanent problem with the camera. My last trip was to Mount Rainier NP with a Canon XTi, during which I had some marginal (though not awful) weather, also with no objection from the camera..

I always have a ziplock bag as the ultimate protection for both the camera and lenses. But I also have developed adaptations using oven cooking bags with a hole fitted to the front of the lens, to allow actual shooting in modestly rainy or snowy weather. (For a deluge I put it way in the plastic bag!) Extreme temperatures haven't caused a problem with operation but limit battery life. In winter I carry extra batteries inside my parka. You can take a cold, sluggish battery out of the camera, warm it back up in a plastic bag inside your insulation layers, and it will rejuvenate enough so you can use it later in the day..

Basically, common sense and modest preparation for the expected weather will allow you to use a good quality SLR or "prosumer" camera in the backcountry. Don't sacrifice the image-making opportunities or unnecessarily limit your camera choices on this account..

Davehttp://www.pbase.com/dsjtecserv..

Comment #5

Thanks for all the helpful real world experiences. I am going to keep reading trying to decide which system will work best for me now that I am not as concerned about the "weather sealing". Is it really true that Olympus' bodies are significantly better built/weatherproof ? .

I think in my situation (lots of landscape shots) I would prefer to spend the money on a wide angle lens in addition to a kit lens to get the most out of my new purchase. Any suggestions on lenses ? Chances are I will probably go with a Nikon or Canon b/c of lens options and proven performance. I know this debate is endless here but, in my situation, lots of landscape shots, desire for an affordable wide angle lens, robust body, any suggestions ? .

Austin.

P.s. I have some typical shots from my p&s at http://www.flickr.com/photos/skimopow/sets/72157601949603377/..

Comment #6

Keep in mind that the Pentax K10 has no preset settings so unless you know what TV or AV settings to use you'll have a slight learning curve. I have a Pentax K100 and a Canon 40D and like them both. I have shot in the pooring down rain with my Pentax wrapped up in a plastic bag with no issues. You might want to look at the Pentax K100 I found it to be a great beginner camera. You can check my web site out for some sample shots..

STopalphotography.smugmug.com.

ThanksScott..

Comment #7

I've carried a canon 20D around for a few years skiing and climbing. If I was buying a new camera today I would go with a Nikon d40x or a canon xti. Nice and small and light for an slr. a zoom lens that goes down to 17-18 mm such as the kit lens is a good starting point. Here's some photos taken with the 20d and a 17-85mm..

Http://picasaweb.google.com/Stifneck/SORCERER2007..

Comment #8

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