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Carrying a camera

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have a budding photographer in the family who brings his camera with him skiing. He's been putting it loose in his backpack, and digs it out whenever he wants to take some shots. He using a non-digital 35mm SLR, both color and black & white. I'm wondering if there is a better way to transport and acccess his camera on the mountain. What are other skiers doing? What do the pros do? I'm thinking of getting him a more ski specific camera bag if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks.
post #2 of 17
The Dakine Sequence is by far the best camera pack on the market for carrying camera gear while skiing. It is the industry standard.

The other option if he doesnt have very many lenses is to get a top load zoom chest pack from Lowpro.

Do not buy the waist packs as there a pain in the a$$ as they always tend to slide down when skiing with them.
post #3 of 17
I have found that the easiest for me in terms of access is keeping it on the neck strap (I have a double) and actually keeping it under my arm or just behind my arm in my jacket. If I put them in a bag notoriously the batteries get cold and stop functioning. This way the body heat keeps them fresh. Now, I won't ski all day like that but for awhile to take pics of my daughter or just some scenery. Then I store it in a locker.

Oh... and it's a Nikon D70 Digital SLR. So fairly big and bulky.

This year I'm going to take my mom's smaller Canon up and see how that does.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier View Post
The Dakine Sequence is by far the best camera pack on the market for carrying camera gear while skiing. It is the industry standard.

The other option if he doesnt have very many lenses is to get a top load zoom chest pack from Lowpro.

Do not buy the waist packs as there a pain in the a$$ as they always tend to slide down when skiing with them.
Yes, this is the hot setup for a 35mm SLR.

Unfortunately, while it will work for film cameras that don't require much power (or pro rigs with honking big battery packs), it's not actually hot, and it may not work very well with many digital cameras. Those with digital cameras should not generalize this advice.

Most digital cameras are far more temperature sensitive. When the batteries get cold, they simply stop working. A nice camera pack outside your coat just doesn't do it, most of the time.

I have a little Sony ultra zoom that I use for casual pictures. It's small enough to keep on a neck strap on my chest under both my coat and my fleece. The coat and fleece keep it from swinging around, so it doesn't interfere with skiing. It usually takes just a few seconds to pull it out and start using it. It can do all the usual things - multi-shot sequences, video, manually controllable exposure, etc. It can zoom while taking video, which is very useful. I repeat, though, it's for casual use. The image files are not suitable for most professional work.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
Yes, this is the hot setup for a 35mm SLR.

Unfortunately, while it will work for film cameras that don't require much power (or pro rigs with honking big battery packs), it's not actually hot, and it may not work very well with many digital cameras. Those with digital cameras should not generalize this advice.

Most digital cameras are far more temperature sensitive. When the batteries get cold, they simply stop working. A nice camera pack outside your coat just doesn't do it, most of the time.

I have a little Sony ultra zoom that I use for casual pictures. It's small enough to keep on a neck strap on my chest under both my coat and my fleece. The coat and fleece keep it from swinging around, so it doesn't interfere with skiing. It usually takes just a few seconds to pull it out and start using it. It can do all the usual things - multi-shot sequences, video, manually controllable exposure, etc. It can zoom while taking video, which is very useful. I repeat, though, it's for casual use. The image files are not suitable for most professional work.
SERIOUSLY WTF are you talking about????????

Digi camera bateries and film bateries are just as susceptable to cold weather. I have NEVER EVER had an issue with batteries getting cold when I use the above set up, and you would be hard pressed to find another that has. Just don't buy cheap batteries. Plus carying the camera in side your jacket is actual even worse, as the temperature difference that you are creating by going from cold while shooting to warm while skiing will create condensation problems that will drastically hamper the life of your camera.
post #6 of 17
please move this to ski gear discussion where it belongs
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier View Post
SERIOUSLY WTF are you talking about????????

Digi camera bateries and film bateries are just as susceptable to cold weather. I have NEVER EVER had an issue with batteries getting cold when I use the above set up, and you would be hard pressed to find another that has. Just don't buy cheap batteries. Plus carying the camera in side your jacket is actual even worse, as the temperature difference that you are creating by going from cold while shooting to warm while skiing will create condensation problems that will drastically hamper the life of your camera.
Sorry, I didn't mean to start a war.

I have used an older Minolta 35mm SLR film camera for years. It's a heavy cast aluminum unit, rather than one of the newer cheap plastic things. It lives outside my coat in a Lowepro pack and operates on a little button battery. Obviously, it's not a motor drive unit. The battery just operates the built-in light meter, so the camera still works fine even if the battery is dead. I frequently use a separate light meter anyway. It has always worked fine in the cold.

Every motor drive I've used had a fairly large battery pack on it that I figured had enough juice to cope with the cold. But, I haven't used a motor drive for a long time.

I've had quite a bit of trouble with digital cameras of various kinds in the cold. I use Eveready or Sony NiMH rechargeables, per the manufacturer recommendation. So, to get it to work, I keep it inside. I may be creating problems down the road. I don't know. But I haven't experienced any problems yet. My first digital camera was working fine after several years of use and several thousand pictures (digital cameras are good for keeping track of such things) when a family member lost it.

I may get away with it simply because I don't allow the camera to stay outside for very long, so it doesn't really get cold. I'm not setting up professionally composed shots. But what do I know? I have the brains of a kitchen appliance!
post #8 of 17
mtbakerskier is a pro ski photog -- I would take his advice. BTW, his photos are incredible.

Mike
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
Sorry, I didn't mean to start a war.

Niether did I!

Lets just make sure that we get one thing straight thou. There is a HUGE difference in bateries, not only in there chemical compsition but also in the quality differences amoung the various mfg's. Good high quality bateries will survive just fine being in a well padded camera bag outside of your jacket.
post #10 of 17
I didn't know that either. I had problems with my old Minolta film SLR a couple of times in cold weather (just for a few minutes and the battery would be flashing). I never thought about the condensation issues with cold to hot like that. Thanks for the warning. I'll have to try it cold this year and see what happens.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by marge View Post
I didn't know that either. I had problems with my old Minolta film SLR a couple of times in cold weather (just for a few minutes and the battery would be flashing). I never thought about the condensation issues with cold to hot like that. Thanks for the warning. I'll have to try it cold this year and see what happens.
Just make sure you invest in GOOD batteries. Duracell and kirkland are by far the worst. Varta is the best, and Panasomics are actually pretty damn good. I've learned over the eyars that good fresh batteries make more of a differnce than cold weather.
post #12 of 17
Hey Festus, I can't even begin to tell you how stoked I am that you started this thread, thank you! This is something I have been trying to figure out for a while now. My main camera is a Canon 20D, but up until now I have only had the balls to carry around my Olympus 5060 while skiing because I just wasn't comfortable with what I was coming up with to haul around my 20D kit. So, Dakine Sequence it is then.
post #13 of 17
Sorry, I forgot to give props to mtbakerskier for the info on the pack. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with some newbs trying to get some decent shots on the mountain (before anyone gets upset, I'm talking about me).
So, any idea how the Canon rechargeable battery packs hold up to cold? The 20D takes the BP-511A, its 7.4V 1390mAh Li-ion, of course I always put a freshly charged pack in the camera before heading out.
What camera/lens combo are you taking with you when your shooting on the mountain?
Thanks again, mtbakerskier.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input. The Dakine looks like an awesome pack, but the Lowepro is perhaps more appropriate for my 16 yo. He could always take it off and throw it in his pack when he doesn't want it around his neck. I guess I should mention that when he does take pictures, it's mostly in the terrian parks; but I'm encouraging him to expand his interest to other areas of the mountain where setting up may not be so easy. I also appreciate the heads up on batteries, and will pass that on to him.
post #15 of 17
Most digital cameras are far more temperature sensitive. When the batteries get cold, they simply stop working. A nice camera pack outside your coat just doesn't do it, most of the time.

As was previously said, this is untrue.

I am also a professional photographer (though ski photography is not how I make my money - it's a hobby). What a previous poster said about the Dakine stuff is spot on. I carry a Nikon D200 and a D2X with bulky lenses permanently mounted to both (17-55 DX and 70-200 VR, respectively). The Dakine pack works great - not sure if mine is the same model number as suggested, but they are made for this.

Carrying an SLR on a neck strap is not a good idea, no matter how you slice it. Aside from the obvious logistical problems already mentioned, it is dangerous, not only for the camera but for you. I totaled a Nikon F100 a few years ago when I stupidly carried it on a neck strap on a warm spring day. A faceplant on Ellie's at Heavenly not only killed the camera and lens (thankfully only a cheapo plastic 50mm prime), but it damn near killed me as well when it swung around from under my arm and drove into my chestplate. Last time I did that.

Regarding condensation: I've shot in temps down to -20 or -30 and have never had a problem with it. But as a precaution, I carry a few little plastic bags and pop my memory cards in them before going inside and open them after they have gotten up to room temperature. Since you mentioned that your relative will be shooting film - when I shoot film (usually a Mamiya medium-format rig), I seal the whole thing in a larger plastic bag before going inside. But these days, I rarely, if ever, shoot film. The point is, pack a few zip-locks just in case.

And what was said about batteries is also major. I too have had great luck with Panasonics, as well as Maha/Powerex. Whatever I do, I don't buy Alkaline as they are heavy and tend to dip in colder temperatures. Lithiums perform much better in cold weather, in my experience. Carry a few extra and all will be fine.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by marge View Post
Oh... and it's a Nikon D70 Digital SLR. So fairly big and bulky.
but it takes great pictures!
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooper8168 View Post
Most digital cameras are far more temperature sensitive. When the batteries get cold, they simply stop working. A nice camera pack outside your coat just doesn't do it, most of the time.

As was previously said, this is untrue.

I am also a professional photographer (though ski photography is not how I make my money - it's a hobby). What a previous poster said about the Dakine stuff is spot on. I carry a Nikon D200 and a D2X with bulky lenses permanently mounted to both (17-55 DX and 70-200 VR, respectively). The Dakine pack works great - not sure if mine is the same model number as suggested, but they are made for this.
I am the guilty party who suggested that digital cameras were more temperature sensitive.

I am now sorry I made this statement. Perhaps the distinction is between professional equipment and consumer-grade cameras. The pro equipment may be built (and powered) to operate under more adverse conditions. Small consumer cameras (including ultra zooms) may be much more limited in their operating temperature ranges, and their owner's manuals generally say so. I have had trouble with small digital cameras when powered by 2500 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries carried out in the cold.

mtbakerskier does take awesome pictures, and he has probably avoided the use of consumer digital cameras, since they usually lack capabilities he requires, including bulletproof operation under all conditions. They have a purpose, but for his needs, they are junk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooper8168 View Post
Carrying an SLR on a neck strap is not a good idea, no matter how you slice it. Aside from the obvious logistical problems already mentioned, it is dangerous, not only for the camera but for you. I totaled a Nikon F100 a few years ago when I stupidly carried it on a neck strap on a warm spring day. A faceplant on Ellie's at Heavenly not only killed the camera and lens (thankfully only a cheapo plastic 50mm prime), but it damn near killed me as well when it swung around from under my arm and drove into my chestplate. Last time I did that.
Like you, I did this exactly once with my old Minolta. I fell and left a Minolta-shaped bruise on my ribs. This camera was heavy cast aluminum with a machined aluminum lens, complete with a threaded-on lens cap. The snow was dry enough so that the fall did not damage the camera at all.
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