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I am riding the west coast from the UK to South Africa on a xt600e the end of this year and am in the process of planning my gear and appropriate packing methods.
I have a few thoughts which are taking me circles, hopefully someone has some advice for me.
The issues are:
1. I am a very keen birder and this trip will certainly get me a few lifers.
2. I love taking photos...landscape, etc....but also of mates and general experiences.
3. I wouldnt mind keeping a diary, but im a bit lazy to write.
My current gear
1. Relatively compact Bushnell 10x42 waterproof binoculars
2. Canon IXUS970IS and Canon 7D, Canon 24-105mm lens, Canon 100-400mm lens
3. Nothing electronic, only pen and paper. Was debating buying a small camcorder to record daily/ weekly updates, with visuals.
My initial thought was to take the binoculars along with the canon point and shoot. After some deliberation I thought rather take the binoculars and the 7D with the 24-105mm lens to get some better shots. Now Im debating ditching the bino's all together and just taking the 7D with both lenses.
My wife and I were in Ghana in December. Attempting to get my wife enthusiastic about birding, we took some walks, I used the 400mm lens while my wife used the bino's.....the camera approach worked fine for me, and gave me a copy of anything unusual.....Happy days.
A mate of mine threw in the camcorder idea last week, just to confuse things.
I addition, Im not sure if there are issues in any African countries regarding having binoculars ? Camera taxes, etc etc....
If I do end up taking the 7D and both lenses, my concern is not destroying the kit while riding ie: being vibrated to pieces. Any suggestions how one should carry this gear on the bike ? - tank bag versus rucksack verusus duffelbag, and what kind of padding. My bike has the acerbis 23l tank btw, I havent even started looking for a tank bag that will fit yet.
I am currently doing the East Coast of Africa, back in Oz now till May 15th when we do the second 1/2 Nairobi to Capetown. Now my Camera Kit is as follows: Canon 7D, Canon 18-135, Canon 70-300L & Kenko 180 converter, Tokina 11-18. Also Zoom 4HN, Canon 580xe Seedlite, Macbook Pro. as well as the various spare batteries etc. I also carry a Carbon Manfrotto Tripod with a ball head. I carry this in a camera bag, which just fits inside my Hepco & Becker top box which is lockable and I put one of those alarm wires on as well. My camera usually resides in my Tank Bag. I have never had any drama with the kit being damaged and I took a couple of spills as well. I have a Northface Bag and the tripod slips into those straps on the side and I made a Velcro top so it covered the ball head, as it did not quite fit in the tripod case. I like to take alot of video and Photos so this time I am also taking a zacuto viewfinder & shoulder mount. I am enrolled in a Wildlife Film and Documentary course in Sth Africa, so the added gear is really for that. I use the 18-135 for my every day use as you know its a little versatile. But I didn't think the gear I took was to much but then I love photographer and is one of the reasons for my travel. Just make sure you keep your gear clean.
The binos will be great for searching for wildlife to actually take pictures of, if they are compact they can easily go in your camera bag. I find them much easier to keep an eye on a area and search than using the viewfinder of the camera
Your camera already has a very good video function so I wouldnt bother with a video camera unless you go with some sort of helmet cam ect for when your riding[again pretty small good for blogs ect].
Storage may be a problem if your shooting loads of shots and videos, also the ability to convert the videos from the 7d would be handy [if they are shot in the same as the 5dmk2] as the files are pretty large.
This ones for pauld how you finding the viewfinder you have "zacuto viewfinder & shoulder mount". Have you tried it for stills or are you just using it for video. From the site it says it works on the lcd screen does that not munch the power from the batteries, and can you focus well enough with them.
I don't usually use the view finder for stills, but I have done in the past, I tend to just use it for filming, I think it is better and I just cannot get the hang of it, I know it gets a little annoying going between the 2 but it only just clips on so it is not a big deal really, as for the Batteries I know allot of forums talk of them 'Munching Power' but I honestly think it is blown out of proportion, I carry 3 with me and do not use a battery pack (I do when I am not Travelling tho) I have never been caught out yet, and I can charge them while I am riding as well. As for storage I carry a Time Machine for my Mac it is so easy.
Sorry I didn't read your question right re: munching power while taking stills with the viewfinder ! well as you know your monitor must stay on and the answer is yes, and it does sneak away on you. I have a Lillyput monitor as well and it is a bit of a muncher as well. But I am very happy with my set up, the only thing I would buy now if I had the chance would be some Talent ! lol
I will possibly take along the 7d, lenses, binoculars and toshiba notebook, leaving the canon point and shoot.
Garry, the video function on the 7d doesnt auto focus for moving shots, besides this, do you get good sound and image quality ? - I have 2x 8GB compact flash cards, will these allow for a fair bit of recording time before clearing to the nb harddrive ?
Paul, you sound like you arent messing around with your gear. Would you be able to attach a link to the camera bag you are using, in addition to the 7d charger you have that you can use off the bike. Like I say, my main concern is damaging the gear. Dont suppose you use one of these or is just throwing cash away ?
the function on the 7d no autofocus is the same as my 5d, I found it ok to use and have been able to pretty much keep everything in focus when I used it, even with a 150-500 and a 1.4 extender in use, my only issues were camera shake and marauding pet dog.
Quality is great for video people are making proper movies with these things now and I am sure some tv shows filmed entire episodes to showcase the quality.
sound was really annoying kept picking up the stabilizer sound from the lens[so make sure you switch them off and autofocus off as well on the lens], an external sound setup would be good idea, there is an input for a basic mic.
Now size I think on full hd 1020p and 720p you get just over 12 minutes maximum time for filming and 24 for 640x480 [vga sd].
1020p uses 330mb a minute
720p is around 160mb a minute.
So you should get around 24 mins worth of recording at 1020p on one 8gb card.
The other issue I came across is turning the files into something easier to use they come in h.264 format which will put a strain on most laptops to work with so converting them is a good idea.
best thing to do is mess around taking some clips and see if your happy with the results
forgot to add I had one of those rubber cover things for my old 5dmk1, great for using things like walls ect as a platform for shooting will stop scratches. I doubt it will make much difference to dust.My one had a little rubber circle for the lens too which helped balance the camera.
Wont make any difference if you drop it and is not waterproof for shooting in rain ect, it certainly did not save the camera when I dropped it with my 100-400 into a rockpool.
Get yourself some ziplock bags for shooting in the wet and bigger ones for keeping your camera in with some silicone sachets moisture absorb stuff when in jungle type places. Rice also works[uncooked stuff]. I have a proper rain cover but it would take up a fair amount of room once you add in the lens cover ect.
Cleaning I have got a rocket blower, some "wipe N clear" sachets which you will get from costco or somewhere that sells eye glasses for really grubby marks on lenses. And for your sensor get a visible dust kit artic butterfly, they do a travel kit. Buy a spair brush they are great for getting dust of the lens too.
If you are really worried about your gear you could always buy a peli case and use it like a top box or strap it behind you over the seat.
Paul/ Garry......thanks a bunch for the details.
Im pretty sold on taking the gear, I just need to think of a way to work your info into setting up my bike.
Garry, that was useful, thanks. Looks to me as if the 7d will cover all intended activities, but then I will need to take along my notebook for data storage. I have a lens cleaning kit, small brushes, nausty little rubber blower thing, but have never looked into how one cleans the sensor....I will have to do some reading up and then probably head off and do some shopping.
Possibly a silly quesion, your suggestion of ziplock bags.....would you use that only between shots or actually take a photo through the plastic ?
On the topic of a topbox, Ive just bought an Ammo box which arrived last night. I will prob only use this for my camera when the bike is parked up, so I still need to figure out the best way to pack for travel.
Paul, Ive bought the charger, thanks, any luck with the photo you mentioned ? - the tank bag is my next project.
By the way, a mate of mine suggested the below for the camera, looks really good but Im just not sure about space usage and price
Off the topic, are the 1.4 and 2x extenders any good ? - could be a nice piece of to take along. Do they work well on the 100-400mm Canon lens ? I know the autofocus will cease to work, not really an issue, how is the picture quality ?
Finally, after all my questions about securing the goods.....I am contemplating acquiring a 10-20mm lens. My 24-105mm may just not get the angles, esp with the 1.6 crop factor on the 7d. Any thoughts ?
Its all taking shape now......! This travel thing sure beats work .
Location: Aussie expat in Switzerland half way RTW
Originally Posted by Trichelia
Its all taking shape now......! This travel thing sure beats work .
+1, couldn't say it better myself.
Work to ride. Ride to live.
Canon 500D with 18-200mm Canon lens.
Canon FS100 CamCorder with 40x zoom.
Canon powershot A4S (i think) small handy camera for the quick shots
It's a compromise but the 500D has 1020p FullHD video and going with only one brand simplifies the number of cables and chargers and we can use SD cards in all of the cameras. In dusty conditions we don't fancy haveing to stuff around with lenses, the risk of dirt/sand/dust is just too great when changing lenses for me as we've already gone through 2 cheaper cameras.
Never thought of going with binoculars, but I don't see the benefit as the FS100 has excellent zoom for those distant animal encounters.
Ziplock/plastic bags just make a hole for the lens then put the lens hood on, should keep the camera dry if you need to do any shooting in wet conditions.
extenders both the sigma and the canon work with the 100-400mm, you will lose auto focus after a certain range not straight away so it should work at 100-200 but not after I think. Quality is debatable the 1.4 sigma I have was fine but the 2x canon one i have is just ok, that was the older version there is now 2 new canon extenders expensive but they are supposed to be better. You can actually use both to get 3.4 but I think I had to use those extension tube thingies in between and I only tried that on shots of the moon.
You can use video mode too with the extenders. Just a word of warning some of the sigma lenses wont take canon extenders.
As for wide angle lenses I have the 17-40L but then the 5d is full frame, the sigma 10-20 has had good write ups, heres a good place to check prices Camera Price Buster - UKs cheapest camera gear
I also have the very cheap canon 50 prime f1.8 which is around 80 quid and great for indoor work its also tiny.
Another thing you can look at if you are worried about damage is the tamrac/lowe lens cases as although the 100-400 has a tough case smaller lenses often come with just a velvet drawstring bag, I use mines inside my camera bag or for when i just use a normal rucksack. The medium ones are cheap enough.
As for leaving your gear on your bike dont! once you add up everything its probably close to the same cost of your bike. You can get rucksacks that will take everything including your laptop, the ones designed for overhead luggage will probably fit in a topbox. You also get rucksack harness thingies for peli cases if you go that route.
You may also want to check out insurance, house insurance only covers you for holidays less than a month i think.
You have given me the 2x converter itch . I enjoy birding and game viewing, this would make give me many more opportunities. Does the 2x work ok with the 100-400mm ? - Ive read up on the ii version and the reviews were mixed, I wonder how iii compares ?
I was also thinking of the Canon 10-22mm, or are there other quality better value lenses out there ?
Thanks for the heads up on Price buster....all this time Ive been using Simply Electronics. Their prices appeared very reasonable however their 2 day delivery is JOKE.
By the way, your ziplock suggestion sound ingenious. Im going to give this a shot.
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