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Old Aug 8, 2006, 9:49 PM   #1
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Greetings to all,

I am taking part in a charity hike in Nepal this November going from Katmandu to Everest Basecamp.

I usually use a Digital Rebel but I'm looking for something more compact for hiking purposes but do not wish to sacrifice quality for portability.

Power is also an issue as I hear freezing temperatures can sap battery charge and there will be few places to recharge enroute.

I am used to Canon cameras but am willing to consider alternatives.

Any suggestions? I am willing to spend $500 or so.

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Old Aug 9, 2006, 6:39 AM   #2
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Dead jealous. It's the most beautiful country in the world and I've been desperate to go back there for a few years! I went with a crappy little 35mm p&s and I think I bought my 350d in response to the crap pics I brought home...

Camera wise it really depends how good shots you want.
P&S cameras can actually do very impressive lanscapes as long as you can keep them still. The tiny lenses apertures mean you get loads in focus and reasonable shutter times which helps keep the noise manageable. They suck at low-light and blurry backgrounds.
A small P&S is much easier on the trail. You can keep one in your trouser or shirt pocket. The trails in nepal are VERY steep. Hanging an slr or one of the mega-zooms around your neck isn't really an option for walking all day on such trails so you'll only be able to use one when you stop. You will take far, far more shots with a camera you can keep in a pocket.
For taking shots of the mountains you'll want a polariser to cut glare from snow and haze. With a small aperture to get a wide depth of field this adds up to slow shutter speeds so you need some sort of stable platform. If you take a small camera then you can get a table-top tripod and stick it on a rock. For an slr you might want a walking stick that doubles as a monopod which saves weight over a tripod and the walking stick is well worth it alone.
The ideal is to take both. Use the pocket camera in the day while hiking to take shots of people on the trail, buildings and occasional scenery. Days in Nepal are very bright and this isn't the best for landscapes anyway. Use your slr in the morning and evening when the light is best for fantastic mountain shots or for day trips (such as up kala patar for views of the big one). Slr will be much better in Katmandu too, which has endless shrines and temples but is dark and dingy due to the close-packed buildings and lack of lighting.
Battery-wise the rebel will last much longer as it only uses power for focussing and shutter release. Keep the review time to a minimum or turn it off altogether. Nepal is actually very hot and it's only at altitude that it will be cold though it can be very cold. When it's freezing you can keep your batteries under your jacket and in your sleeping bag at night. Re-heated batteries come back to life. You will be able to recharge at a few villages and be able to buy batteries (at high prices - everything has to be carried in) near anywhere. Get a multi-adapter in Katmandu for your charger. Nepali plugs do not seem to be standardised...
If you are not carrying your own gear, take the rebel and a tripod. You'll hate yourself if you don't. If you are carrying your own stuff you may end up hating it ... but take it anyway. It's what you bought it for, right? Either way, I really recommend taking a pocket camera.
Sorry if this is starting to ramble. This topic has got me all excited and I'm not even the one going!

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Old Aug 9, 2006, 12:20 PM   #3
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I never been there but if you want a nice compact camera I would recommond the Panasonic FX01. The reason why I recommond that camera is that it is slim when turned off, nice 2.5" lcd screen, Optical IS and most important, it has a 28mm wide angle lense on it. I think the wide angle would be important if you want to capture the view. My gf just came back from china and she took some nice shots of the great wall.
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