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Old Mar 13, 2007, 1:32 PM   #1
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Looks like I'll be taking a "vacation" in a desert soon and I was hoping to get some opinions on what camera may be the most likely to survive (120degs F, sandstorms, etc). Much as I'd like to go with a dSLR (I've been saving to buy a system and then I found out about the trip) I'm thinking a compact one, like a Canon Powershot would work best. I'd hate to be swapping lenses and fill the body with sand.
My "traveling clothes" have fairly large cargo pockets, so most p&s' would fit.

Thank you for any advice you can offer.
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Old Mar 14, 2007, 9:26 AM   #2
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Hi

I've been to the Sahara twice now and, on the first trip, it took out my camera completely and on the second destroyed an EOS lens (which I was not too pleased about). I did have two cameras with me the second time and the other one survived fine. There are lots of guides out there that tell you how to take care of Cameras in the desert and I think they will be more useful than picking a 'durable' camera. In my experience anyway. In a sandstorm or just high winds there is not much you can do to prevent pesky sand getting everywhere though!

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Old Mar 14, 2007, 3:08 PM   #3
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Your safest bet is probably a camera with the zoom mechanism internal so the lens doesn't extend from the camera. They are pretty well sealed from dust. The Sony T10, T30 and T50 are reliable choices. They have announced a 5X T100 but it might not be available in time to learn to use it before your trip.

If you need some zoom range the Casio V7 is currently available. It has a mechanically stabilized 7X optical zoom with a non-extending lens. It also has some very nice movie features.

None of the current cameras with lenses that don't extend have eyelevel viewfinders. That might not be great in the sun. Sony is putting transflective screens on some of their T series, which should help.

If you plan to eventually buy a DSLR it seems you would want to get a pocket camera for the trip. An alternative might be to get something really inexpensive you don't have to worry about. Some of the Canon A series are well under $200 and very competent with 4X zooms and optical viewfinders.

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Old Mar 14, 2007, 4:53 PM   #4
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You specifically need a "weatherproof" camera. Specifically weatherproof means water resistant (OK to use in rain) and DUSTPROOF (the camera has to survive 24 hrs in a chamber with blown talcum powder.) The entire Olympus Stylus line of digital cameras are rated weatherproof. Within that line are also of waterproof models (to a specified depth) and one is "shockproof" up to a 5' drop to concrete.

There are now some other manufacturers making weatherproof models and since there are actually industry standards for that designation they would also be suitable.

My organization 250+ of the various Stylusmodels that do go in and out of the specific environment you describe and are carried in cargo pockets. Two have failed in four years. One fell off a fender and was promptly run over by a tracked vehicle and the other fell out of a shirt pocket onto concrete. If we'd been buying shockproof our failure rate would have been cut by 50%. Actuallythat camera still took decent pictures but the motorized lens cover wouldn't close completely and the camera had to be powered up a couple time to get it to open each it was to be used.

Some of our members have carried their own personal non-weatherproof cameras in, P & S types,and they have not survived.

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Old Mar 15, 2007, 2:04 PM   #5
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Thanks for all your replies!
I like the sound of the Stylii will look hard at them. Anybody have thoughts on the Pentax Optio W20?
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 2:23 PM   #6
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I found this site informative and helpful:

http://www.desertusa.com/mag99/jan/stories/photo.html
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 9:53 PM   #7
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I took my Nikon Coolpix 5400 to the Sahara and Death Valley. Worked like charm (and still does), but at >50C the Mg-body gets quite hot
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