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  #1  
Old August 28th, 2008, 02:23 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Default Advice needed please!

Going on a trek to Nepal this november. Have racked my head and suffered sleepless nights on
what camera/lens combination to take. Sought help on other forums..but they are equipment
specific. Asking for help here as it covers all bases..

Criteria...in order of priority
weight
reliability
image quality

Options currently available:

Leica MP/M7/M8..with wide to medium tele..small tripod
Nikon D300...primes from 28-100;zooms 17-55..gitzo tripod with ballhead
Canon G9
Epson P5000 storage
Solar power
Freezer full of various cn41 film..bw and color

Currently favouring:

1:Leica MP or M7 with cron 35 asph..
Or
Leica MP or M7 with lux 50 asph or zm sonnar 50/1.5

2: Leica M8 with cron 28 and lux 50 or sonnar 50
Or
Leica M8 with cron 28 and cron 75

3: Nikon D300 and ? ( 17-55 is way to heavy for me to carry all day for 17 days )

4: body and a backup body

What say the sages of this forum?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old August 28th, 2008, 03:01 PM
James Newman James Newman is offline
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Being completely inexperienced in having to face a dilemma such as yours, I still will chime in here with my thoughts. If I were lucky enough to get to go on a trip to somewhere as spectacular as Nepal, I would definitely take whatever I needed to take in order to best capture and record what is sure to be some images of a lifetime.

Personally I have a Nikon D200 and D3. Both are very rugged, sealed, and most likely able to withstand the rigors of a trip like yours and render great results, especially with the right lenses. On that note, again personally, I would take my 24-70mm f/2.8 and my 70-200mm f/2.8 on this trip. They too are pretty heavy but of very high quality. Your D300 would be just as hardy. Your other camera options I am not familiar with but if they would give me better chances for the greatest results, no matter what the weight, I would figure out a way to take them. 17 days is not that long Think of it as a very intense workout session in a wonderful location. But that's just me and like I said, I am completely unaccustomed to a unique situation and special opportunitysuch as yours so I might not be thinking logically.

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  #3  
Old August 28th, 2008, 03:52 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Hi James,

Thank you for your input.

Methinks, you are not being fair with Texas. I have a long and memorable relationship with it. Family
friends and the state itself. To me Dallas, Plano, Austin,Houston,Galveston, Fort Worth, the Gulf
coast and the various settlements are as spectacular as any other place I have visited.

**ll I married my daughter to a naturalized American from Texas. That is saying a lot..believe me.
The US is a wonderful country and sometimes I can understand that due to its diversity, folks there
take it for granted. You guys have everything at your doorstep ( relatively speaking !, maybe not counting Hawaii ! ). One of my retirement plans is to drive e/w and n/s across the US and publish
a book of my journey in photographs.

The equipment you mention is first rate..the primary issue I have with Nikon ( or other dslrs ) is their
weight. I have been using Nikons since I don't know when and love them. But one of the benefits
of growing older is that your body forces you to respect it..more so in my case. I cannot
carry heavy loads for more than a few hours. In Nepal, I am told that one can hire someone to carry
your gear...how ridiculous. removes all the fun.

Take care and the best to you and Texas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Newman View Post
Being completely inexperienced in having to face a dilemma such as yours, I still will chime in here with my thoughts. If I were lucky enough to get to go on a trip to somewhere as spectacular as Nepal, I would definitely take whatever I needed to take in order to best capture and record what is sure to be some images of a lifetime.

Personally I have a Nikon D200 and D3. Both are very rugged, sealed, and most likely able to withstand the rigors of a trip like yours and render great results, especially with the right lenses. On that note, again personally, I would take my 24-70mm f/2.8 and my 70-200mm f/2.8 on this trip. They too are pretty heavy but of very high quality. Your D300 would be just as hardy. Your other camera options I am not familiar with but if they would give me better chances for the greatest results, no matter what the weight, I would figure out a way to take them. 17 days is not that long Think of it as a very intense workout session in a wonderful location. But that's just me and like I said, I am completely unaccustomed to a unique situation and special opportunitysuch as yours so I might not be thinking logically.

James Newman
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  #4  
Old August 28th, 2008, 04:05 PM
Kathy Rappaport Kathy Rappaport is offline
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Fahim,

I have done a lot of travel both loaded with gear and light. No one can answer for you because it's what you like to shoot with and the look you want your images to have in the end result. As much as I love to go and see the world via my lens, I also must remember to put it down and see the places and the people as they are and not as I want to record them. You miss much only shooting when you travel. You might forget to experience a sense of place and people.

I have travelled with both my Canon 5d and 24-70 and 70-200; With the 24-105 only and the 5d; with the new Tamron 28-300 vr (i love the lense for travel - one light lens and not bad with the 5d iso). A flash is critical too. A few trips I took I got tired of carrying the gear and switched to my Canon S-80 Powershot. One trip, I left batteries for the camera in my room and ended up with a disposable Kodak camera and the images were favorites of that trip.

If I had the M-8, I'd probably take that. I think for Nepal, a wide lens would be wonderful. Then pack the G9 for a backup light weight camera.
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  #5  
Old August 28th, 2008, 09:28 PM
Gary Ayala Gary Ayala is offline
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Fahim Mohammed,

I'll give you my two cents ... but, (the big big), it comes from a former photo journalist ... and as such, the only thing that mattered was the final image. If you trip is about photography ... then weight, sweat, pain is secondary to the getting the exceptional image. For Nepal, wide will be more useful than long and fast lenses more useful than zooms.

If your trip is a family vacation ... then a compromise camera setup is fine ... a slightly wide to slightly long would serve you well.

Gary
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  #6  
Old August 29th, 2008, 09:21 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Hi Kathy,

Appreciate your suggestions. I love film, but processing it over there seems risk prone, otherwise
one batteryless camera, film and 1 lens will do it for me. bringing film back for processing or posting it
from over there is an option.

on the other hand, high iso, autofocus, tele are dslr territory. WEIGHT.

The M8 produces files that are second to none..but I, am consistently worried wrongly maybe, that
it would give in. Not happened so far during my various travels with it..but

It is times like these that I wish had still had my 5D and 24-120 for its constant aperture.

Please take care and thanks.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Rappaport View Post
Fahim,

I have done a lot of travel both loaded with gear and light.

......snip....

If I had the M-8, I'd probably take that. I think for Nepal, a wide lens would be wonderful. Then pack the G9 for a backup light weight camera.
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  #7  
Old August 29th, 2008, 09:29 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Gary, the trip combines photography with seeing Nepal and getting to know its people and culture.
Your friend is absolutely right for an exceptional image. A very good one will do for me!

Agreed that a wide shall be more of use.

Thank you for considered opinion.

Best regards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Ayala View Post
Fahim Mohammed,

I'll give you my two cents ... but, (the big big), it comes from a former photo journalist ... and as such, the only thing that mattered was the final image. If you trip is about photography ... then weight, sweat, pain is secondary to the getting the exceptional image. For Nepal, wide will be more useful than long and fast lenses more useful than zooms.

If your trip is a family vacation ... then a compromise camera setup is fine ... a slightly wide to slightly long would serve you well.

Gary
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  #8  
Old August 29th, 2008, 10:10 AM
Rhys Sage Rhys Sage is offline
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I like the idea of the Leica M8. Without checking, I'd say it's digital.

Solar chargers are great BUT.... they take a long time to charge a battery.

Check out the Olympus digital SLRs - they're small and lightweight and have surprisingly fast lenses. Don't forget that a 14mm lens on an Olympus is a 28mm lens in 35mm format. They have a crop factor of 2.0

Their big flaw is in their higher ISO performance. You might need a tripod but for light-weight I would suggest perhaps a beanbag instead. Cheap, lightweight tripods are no good to man nor beast.

I would suggest a backup plan for battery power. Maybe some disposeable lithium batteries.

Portable storage devices - don't use them. Most of Nepal is over 10,000 feet. Most portable storage devices use laptop hard drives. Most of those are not operable above 10,000 feet without severe risk of the heads crashing. Personally, I would spend more on memory cards. I do have a portable hard drive but found memory cards smaller, lighter and more cost effective. Plus there's the risk factor - if the hard drive fails you lose everything. If a card goes bad, you lose just that card.

Personally, I'd go for the Olympus or the Leica. I would not use film on the basis that it's too prone to damage.
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  #9  
Old August 29th, 2008, 11:55 AM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
Going on a trek to Nepal this november. Have racked my head and suffered sleepless nights on
what camera/lens combination to take. Sought help on other forums..but they are equipment
specific. Asking for help here as it covers all bases..

Criteria...in order of priority
weight
reliability
image quality

Options currently available:

Leica MP/M7/M8..with wide to medium tele..small tripod
I would suggest a pair of Leicas, both using film. This way your backup camera supports your primary lenses and you do not have to carry both film and excessive batteries. Although solar and a DSLR with a macro lens is what I would really want. I like long landscapes and the insect photography must be spectacular.

The Leicas are also "lower profile" cameras than a DSLR and look more touristy IMO. Which might be a plus and less of a theft target. Has the political/military situation safely stabilized with the fall of the monarchy?

I hope you enjoy the trek. <smile> It is definitely on my list of things to do.

some thoughts,

Sean
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  #10  
Old August 29th, 2008, 01:03 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Hi Fahim,

Funny - I understand your pain. A couple of Leicas I'd say, probably the M8 and a film one. Then you get a bit of extra reach if you need and only one set of lenses required. I'd also take the Zeiss Sonnar and buy something a bit wider than 35 also -a biogon 25 ir 18?

Mike
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  #11  
Old August 29th, 2008, 01:49 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Oh, and don't bother with a storage device, just carry enough film and SD cards - try not to lose them after exposure!

I hope you have a great trip

Mike
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  #12  
Old August 30th, 2008, 04:16 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Rhys, thank you for some very important piece of information that I had not know. I am
feeling that I am moving towards a small set-up for this trip.

Regards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhys Sage View Post
I like the idea of the Leica M8. Without checking, I'd say it's digital.

..... snip.....

Personally, I would spend more on memory cards. I do have a portable hard drive but found memory cards smaller, lighter and more cost effective. Plus there's the risk factor - if the hard drive fails you lose everything. If a card goes bad, you lose just that card.

Personally, I'd go for the Olympus or the Leica. I would not use film on the basis that it's too prone to damage.
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  #13  
Old August 30th, 2008, 04:19 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Hello Sean,
As far as I know, Nepal seems to have settled down. Your advice is sound. however, RFs do not
accomodate teles for compressed views of mountains. etc. Will I miss it? fter I get back, I might!

Thanks for stopping by.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant View Post
I would suggest a pair of Leicas, both using film. This way your backup camera supports your primary lenses and you do not have to carry both film and excessive batteries. Although solar and a DSLR with a macro lens is what I would really want. I like long landscapes and the insect photography must be spectacular.

The Leicas are also "lower profile" cameras than a DSLR and look more touristy IMO. Which might be a plus and less of a theft target. Has the political/military situation safely stabilized with the fall of the monarchy?

I hope you enjoy the trek. <smile> It is definitely on my list of things to do.

some thoughts,

Sean
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  #14  
Old August 30th, 2008, 04:27 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Mike, thanks for your input. i am getting conflicting info re: film developing in Nepal. Bringing it back
with me is not an option as the film processors here have closed and the remaining ones do not do
a good job.

I contacted the UK, and a few are able to receive, develop, and send the film and cd back to Saudi.

Maybe, I shall take this option after trying one or two test rolls in Nepal.

i think I can cover the wide with a cv 15. on film that should be enough. Do I really need the long end?
I have an elmarit 90. i however prefer the cron 75.

Take care, and lets see some pics from your zeiss and sonnar combo. Excellent choice.

best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Shimwell View Post
Hi Fahim,

Funny - I understand your pain. A couple of Leicas I'd say, probably the M8 and a film one. Then you get a bit of extra reach if you need and only one set of lenses required. I'd also take the Zeiss Sonnar and buy something a bit wider than 35 also -a biogon 25 ir 18?

Mike
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  #15  
Old August 30th, 2008, 03:31 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
however, RFs do not
accomodate teles for compressed views of mountains. etc. Will I miss it? fter I get back, I might!
Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
i am getting conflicting info re: film developing in Nepal. Bringing it back
with me is not an option as the film processors here have closed and the remaining ones do not do
a good job.

I contacted the UK, and a few are able to receive, develop, and send the film and cd back to Saudi.

Maybe, I shall take this option after trying one or two test rolls in Nepal.
This makes the DSLR and solar sound like the safer option.

Separately, I once made the mistake of using the lens I thought I should use rather than the lens I love (100/2.8 macro on a 1.6 crop) as a walk around lens and it showed in the results. The wider shots just did not have the same feeling that my preferred compressed vision has even though the wider shots captured more of the grandeur. So perhaps you should first ask yourself, "What lenses would you love to shoot with in Nepal?" if you have not already done so.

some thoughts,

Sean
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  #16  
Old August 30th, 2008, 03:42 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Sean,

I just need 2 primes ( max 3 ) really. cron 28 and cron 75 ( lux 50 for you never know ). I could
happily roam the world with these three.

Regards.
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  #17  
Old August 30th, 2008, 04:08 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahim mohammed View Post
I just need 2 primes ( max 3 ) really. cron 28 and cron 75 ( lux 50 for you never know ). I could
happily roam the world with these three.
Then pack around the cron 28, cron 75, and lux 50 and figure out if digital or film will treat you best (weight, processing risks, battery power, ...). Perhaps digital for walk around and a film backup body for high contrast scenes? Or the G9 for backup w/ the M8 to avoid carrying film and digital storage simultaneously?

Pick what you will love shooting with and the rest will come down to ensuring you can use those tools freely.

no answers,

Sean
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  #18  
Old August 30th, 2008, 04:35 PM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Sean, if however....

Regards.
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  #19  
Old August 30th, 2008, 06:10 PM
Rhys Sage Rhys Sage is offline
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I think whatever you buy, you'll find some way of packing it and using it effectively.

Personally, I have Canon gear. If I were off to Nepal then I would probably take my Canon XT and maybe a second XT. I would probably remove my battery grip for lightness and compactness. I would take a 17-85IS and maybe would also get something near the 10-20 range. Maybe the Tokina 12-24 so that I'd have some overlap just in case something happened to one or other lenses. I would buy a few extra batteries and would charge them all just before I set off. I would also buy a few 16GB memory cards and shoot solely in RAW. I probably would not bother with a flash. In terms of a tripod, I'd probably go for a lightweight but short tripod - something about 2 feet tall. I would also look into whether I could recharge my camera batteries somehow although with pre-charged batteries this should not be a problem.

And I envy you with your trip to Nepal.
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