Camera Preparation? Any hints? Big or sacrifice with small?

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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Bling
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Postby Bling » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:26 am

If you mean how many frames per second (I'm not a photographer), it's 2.2 (the waterproof version I was looking at was only 1.1).

2.2--with no action setting--was VERY frustrating when I was trying to shoot photos of dolphins in L.A. last fall. The shutter just couldn't keep up with me. I ended up getting some by mistake, just shooting as continuously as possible, but it was still annoying as heck.

Still, 2.2 should be plenty fast enough for anything you'd want to shoot on the Playa. :P

Purrjian
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cameras

Postby Purrjian » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:27 am

I have only used point and shoots, mostly my Canon 800 IS, which I have done little to protect on the playa, and it has survived 3 trips. Here are some of my shots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71419960@N ... 324394238/ . I love taking photos, and don't at all feel detached from the action by taking some shots and then joining in.

A friend of mine has a Nikon DSLR and she uses a dive bag to protect it, but she only takes it on missions to photograph art, and uses a point and shoot for carrying around BRC. Her bag resembles this
http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Underwater ... B002UDZZK0 .

I got my first DSLR for Xmas this year, but will not take it to the playa unless I get a bag also.

Good luck and see you out there.

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masho
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Postby masho » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:16 pm

[quote="winebuff"]Soooooooooooo
Once when I was in band camp.........................[/quote]

:wink:

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Blurt
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Postby Blurt » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:52 pm

Great shots purrijan. As good or better than anything I had last year with the big dslr.

It's gonna be a good year.

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Ranger Genius
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Postby Ranger Genius » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:17 pm

The P&S plus DSLR approach works well, if you have both. I do take my DSLR (though last year I took poor care of it and am suffering now). There are a bunch of reasons it's worth it.

One, printability. Megapixels don't mean crap if your lens can't resolve clearly (and with a tiny lens, a tiny flaw is a big flaw in the image), or your sensor can't define that resolution. This is all about surface area. Typical P&S sensor is about 24 square millimeters, compared to 330-370 so on a DSLR with an APS-C sensor. Bigger sensor means bigger pixels, bigger microlenses, and a higher signal/noise ratio. This especially makes a difference if you turn up the ISO sensitivity. Few point and shoot cameras can take a usable picture at anything higher than 400. If print quality, especially at any size larger than 8x10 means anything, the proof of the pudding is in the print, mixaphorically speaking.

B: Versatility. Most point and shoot cameras do not have the ability to use an accessory flash, filters, wide angle or macro lenses, remote shutter releases, et cetera. One thing I can do with my DSLR that no point and shoot can do is attach a f 1.8 lens, which lets roughly twice as much light into the camera as the fastest lens on a p&s I know of, the f 2.4 lens on the Sony DSC-WX1.

Three: Control. Some point and shoot cameras (though not many) will allow you to manually control f-stop and shutter speed, and roughly half will allow you to control ISO sensitivity. But the amount of control is fairly limited, due to the size constraints in the camera, especially when it comes to f-stops. Typical actual focal length for a p&s lens is around 5-7 mm at the wide angle range. Since f-stop is a proportion of focal length to aperture size, that means to be able to stop down to f-16 would leave an opening of between .31 and .43 mm. That's why most will only stop down to around f8. So now slow shutter speeds when there's light. And no bulb setting, so no super long night exposures either. Not that it would do you any good without a remote shutter.

Finally, depth of field. A lot of film "purists" complain that digital images look flat. Since the actual focal length of p&s lenses is so short, the apertures are actually quite small. Aperture size means depth of field. That's why you can't effectively blur out the background on a p&s camera the way a DSLR can. Makes it much harder to bring your subject into sharp relief and separate it from the background.

Um. Long rant. Did that make me look crazy?
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Blurt
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Postby Blurt » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:36 am

Um. A little crazy maybe, but certainly knowledgeable. Every year, I take the DSLR thinking that I will dedicate one day and one night to taking photos. I have done that, but the hauling around of lenses and tripods and all is getting a bit grating, especially when I can enjoy the much more beautiful shots that others have taken.

This year, I am going with the bare minimum waterproof p&s (which I just bought for $89) and I will try to adjust my equipment to the environment. It could be a very cool experiment, and certainly cheaper when I drop my camera in the dust.

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KMama
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Postby KMama » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:43 pm

I'm a first-timer and had batted around the idea of only bringing my so-so p&s (can't buy a better one right now), but part of me would be really sad to lose the opportunity to shoot for some of the time with a better camera. I do have a "zippered" rain-cape like this one for my dslr that could at least (hopefully!) provide some protection while shooting. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control ... 39&Cis=REG
If anyone has ever used one of these on the Playa or under similar conditions, I'd love to hear how it performed.

In the end, I'll probably bring both. I might even bring a Holga for a little play time, too.
I should have run off with the circus when they posted the ad in the paper.

ElCapitan
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35mm Film Photography Advice

Postby ElCapitan » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:43 am

I'm loving this camera thread. Thank you for starting it.

I went to the playa in 2008, missed 2009 (long story), and I'm figuring out what I need to bring in 2010. I shoot 35mm chrome on Nikon SLR's, as I've busted three digital cameras in my past misadventures (skiing, whitewater, etc…). Digital hasn't worked out that well for me in the past, and 35mm film cameras seem to be more immune to my thrashings. I'd like to bring a larger film format, but my friends would get fed up and ditch me.

Special Note: I don't want this to turn into a film vs. digital- lose, lose, wanker thread. Thank you.

I plan on shooting a lot of slide film out of a Nikon F6, however I have not tested out the weather sealing on Nikon's pro series of cameras. I've always had my cameras CLA'd (Clean, Lube, & Adjusted) after serious beatings, but I'm wary of playa destruction. I'm also contemplating bringing a couple of cheap film bodies and lenses, versus a pro set-up. The low cost(~$350) of tanks like the Nikon F5 on eBay also makes them an attractive option. I believe that cameras were meant to be used as a tool to capture, even if they get sacrificed in the elements.

I can highly recommend Pelican Cases and Watershed drybags. I also plan on bringing several cans of compressed air.

Thanks again,
El Capitan

ps- 1) I will also be bringing an Olympus Stylus PnS that I've broken twice while under warranty as a backup, 2) I will be registering at Media Mecca, 3) I will not be posting to the Interwebz.

=====

Questions:

How has your Nikon camera survived at Burning Man?

Have professional CLA's worked-out well for other photographers after playa battles?

Did you have any dust issues that showed-up on/in your film after developing?

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theCryptofishist
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:05 am

But lose-lose wanker threads are my specialty!
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kman
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Postby kman » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:51 am

I've always just brought a P&S, which has worked very well for me. Common sense, keep it as dust-free as possible, and keep it in a decent case when not using it. That's all you really need. My P&S lives in a case that closes well, mounted on my belt, ready to go in an instant.

That and a tripod for night shots.

I'll be bringing a DSLR this year for the first time, but don't expect any more problems. I'll be treating the DSLR the same way I treat my P&S: I'll be keeping it in a holster-style case on my belt, ready to use, then put immediately away, very quickly. Lens changes will have to wait until I can get somewhere sheltered, like my yurt or an RV.

When you get home, have the DSLR professionally cleaned. Shouldn't be a big deal with a reasonable amount of care, barring a random tragic accident that could happen at Disneyland just as easily.

No need to miss out on amazing shots just because you're scared for your gear.

(I do put my shots online, but not on public sites, just my own, private, password-protected site to share with close trusted friends and [some] family only.)

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CapSmashy
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Postby CapSmashy » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:57 am

If you are bringing a high dollar DSLR and lenses, contact your insurance provider and get a camera gear rider added onto your policy. I have roughly $20k worth of equipment insured for about $120 a year.

Had my camera and several lenses stolen 2 years ago while in Dallas and the policy has paid for itself for the next 15 years or so easily.

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Postby CLARKcon » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:29 pm

My quick 2 cents--I was a photo developer at a 1-Hour drop off way back (developed everything: APS, 35mm rolls, enlargements, etc.). Besides minute quality differences/zoom capabilities, the cheap film disposables captured the same as high-end professional SLR's (just sayin . :) ! I'd be hesitant to bring my prized electronic possessions in the case of having them lost to the hostile sand/wind environment (unless I was willing to give it a Viking funeral,ha :D !) Our camp photographer brings out a plethera of lens/battery packs (takes upwards of 600-800 shots throughout the week). She also doesn't mind/is willing to get new lenses that get scratched & replacement camera body/shell that needs to get repaired from being dust bogged...
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Postby CapSmashy » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:09 pm

CLARKcon wrote:My quick 2 cents--I was a photo developer at a 1-Hour drop off way back (developed everything: APS, 35mm rolls, enlargements, etc.). Besides minute quality differences/zoom capabilities, the cheap film disposables captured the same as high-end professional SLR's (just sayin . :) !


A bad photographer with a $10k camera will still take bad pictures vs a good photographer with a $30 point and shoot will still get good photos.

I'd be hesitant to bring my prized electronic possessions in the case of having them lost to the hostile sand/wind environment (unless I was willing to give it a Viking funeral,ha :D !) Our camp photographer brings out a plethera of lens/battery packs (takes upwards of 600-800 shots throughout the week). She also doesn't mind/is willing to get new lenses that get scratched & replacement camera body/shell that needs to get repaired from being dust bogged...


The damage to cameras and other electronic is vastly over rated. My D70 is about to make its fourth trip out and the third for my D300. I have not had either cleaned and have suffered no issues with either of them.

All it takes is a little common sense and a few minutes of preventative maintenance every day.

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Postby mudpuppy000 » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:06 pm

I think I might bring my DSLR out this year, but only for night/tripod shots. There seems to be alot less dust blowing at night too, or at least none that I can see. :D I'll keep it in a ziploc the rest of the time and definitely not going to change any lenses.

The rest of the time I'll use my Olympus stylus tough.

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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:16 pm

mudpuppy000 wrote:I think I might bring my DSLR out this year, but only for night/tripod shots. There seems to be alot less dust blowing at night too, or at least none that I can see.

Night shots on cameras with built in flashes aer notorious for the "snow" that shows up.
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mudpuppy000
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:04 am

theCryptofishist wrote:
mudpuppy000 wrote:I think I might bring my DSLR out this year, but only for night/tripod shots. There seems to be alot less dust blowing at night too, or at least none that I can see.

Night shots on cameras with built in flashes aer notorious for the "snow" that shows up.


Yeah, got quite a few of those. :D At first I thought my camera lens was super dirty. I guess that means there's still dust at night, lol. I was thinking of doing some long exposure ones w/o flash.

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Postby EmilyD » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:18 am

We're bringing a couple of these for our small point-n-shoot cameras but they have several sizes. I found them at REI and also at Amazon. They're called Dry Pak and you can shoot through the plastic.

Image
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Bling
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Postby Bling » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:20 am

eBay has them, too. :D

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Postby teardropper » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:10 am

Image

Again, I lost one due to dust. This one takes great 12 mp pics and sound HD movies. And it's waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. It has a Leitz f3.3 28-130mm lens. It's small enough to carry without you becoming a photographer and fucking with yer burn. A little spendy, but not if you consider that it will last and it's a damn fine camera, anyway.
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Postby teardropper » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:11 am

Sorry, hate when it double posts.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:50 am

haven't read every word of the posts in this thread, but was wondering if anyone has any experience with the Fuji X10 I saw at Costco for $130? Allegedly, it is dust proof and moisture proof.

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it's just stuff.

Postby robrob » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:44 pm

I recently grabbed a canon s90 (awesome little guy- good manual control, raw format, fast lens good in low light, but i digress). I was thinking of various ways to baby /protect it and then I remembered the pros I used to work with shooting off road racing. They didn't care and used/abused their gear carefree, and then just dropped the cameras off for service when they got home for a professional cleaning by Canon.

I searched dpreview and it looks like it's $80 to have my model taken apart and cleaned to factory new conditions. Kinda gives me the instinct to not worry about it, trash the little guy on the playa, and then let the canon folks deal with the dust.


i'm also curious about shooting HD video with an iphone4. My last iphone had dust under the glass (they swapped it out in warranty) but i'm not sure how the new design will affect that. (fuck it, it's under warranty, as long as the moisture dots aren't red, i don't think they care one way or the other)

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kman
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Postby kman » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:09 pm

Robrob- good call.

Love my S90.

You'll still want to use common sense, however, during the trip. Too much fine dust inside could start to affect the photos, and if the lens seizes you have no camera until you can get it serviced.

Also, professional camera models (think Nikon D300 or better) are environmentally sealed, so dust only gets in when you're changing lenses. (except the lenses themselves... zoom lenses can suck in some dust on their own, though)

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Postby some seeing eye » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:43 pm

I have been many compelling places with a camera and never pulled it out, Burningman is one of those places.

Camera equipment cleaning places will be useless unless they are ultrasonic wet cleaning each part of micron level dust.

Don't bring a $1000 lens when a $100 one will do. Dedicate lenses to BM.

The most compelling shots at BM are close to close medium where narrow depth of field makes the photo.

Bring plenty of ND filters for daytime. Use an as far off axis flash as possible for night - another poster noted it and is spot on.

Daytime unshaded LCD viewfinder displays will be useless, but most BM photos are taken by them.

Make sure your gear is not stolen, along with your media. Back up your media often.

Ask for permission to photo people, your own costume helps.

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Postby Bobbinator » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:54 pm

For those of you who have a random canon point and shoot laying around out there, you can see if it's compatible with CHDK, which is described by them as

"CHDK is a firmware enhancement that operates on a number of Canon Cameras. CHDK gets loaded into your camera's memory upon bootup (either manually or automatically). It provides additional functionality beyond that currently provided by the native camera firmware.

CHDK is not a permanent firmware upgrade: you decide how it is loaded (manually or automatically) and you can always easily remove it.

Basically you can use this to unlock many new functions in a random canon point and shoot some of you may have laying around. My gf and I happened to have 3 compatible cameras when I learned of this. I really really enjoy making time lapses with it, it truly is set it and forget it. There are a million new features to use with this that I could go on about, but I'll leave that to you guys to check out. At the least, if you have a canon point and shoot laying around, see if its in the compatibility list.

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

Check out some of the sample pictures on the bottom right to get an idea of what you can do with this.

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Postby Playa Foot » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:30 pm

I have had good luck with film SLR's, had to have one cleaned after the event a couple years ago. Last year my Canon G10 got trashed by the dust, my camera guy won't touch it. This year I have a new weatherproof Pentax W90. I'll probably bring my Canon 20D and an Olympus Stylus film camera. I'll keep the 20d wrapped up pretty tight hopefully keeping it clean and the othersw should be more dust resistant. I am looking for a small light tripod for night shooting my big tripod is just too heavy and cumbersome for the bike.

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Postby hollywallydoodle » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:57 am

i took my little canon powershot sd630 in 2008, and it looks and works the same as before. i kept it in a ziplock (slide closure) within an open, lightweight cotton bag, which dangled from my bicycle handlebars. i did take it out during whiteouts, but also cleaned the lens once a day. i used my shoe or bike seat as a tripod at night.

Image
Image

this year i'm bringing that camera AND my canon eos digital rebel xs. with the dslr, i can get better depth of field (without forcing it via macro button), and i can capture night scenes with a shorter shutter thanks to the higher iso.

Image
Image

i purchased the dslr at best buy because i like their 'service plans'...for four years they replace it for any reason (except lost or stolen), and it comes with a once-a-year cleaning! it gives me peace of mind since this is my only nice camera, and i use it for work. i actually love shooting with a p&s because of the portability (as long as it has manual settings), but people tend to laugh when i show up for jobs with it. :wink:

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Postby CapSmashy » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:22 am

hollywallydoodle wrote:i used my shoe or bike seat as a tripod at night.


Check out a Gorilla Pod.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/ca ... aphy/82db/

I have one for my D300 that rides in my camera bag and one for our little Cannon P&S. Awesome little tripods. You can wrap it around the handlebars and shoot video on your Canon cruising around the city.

i actually love shooting with a p&s because of the portability (as long as it has manual settings), but people tend to laugh when i show up for jobs with it. :wink:


Canon point and shoots deliver some awesome pictures.
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Postby baconqurlyq » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:21 pm

I got a Sun Pak tripod. Grips handlebars much better than a gorillapod:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sunpak+-+Fl ... cp=1&lp=14

I tested it yesterday on my commute to work. Holds the camera very firmly!

I do want to bring my DSLR, however, my beloved Nikon D200. I'm thinking of putting my 50mm f 1.8 on it and not swapping lenses, then using this bag to reduce the banging around, yet keeping it handy:

http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/cloak-bag/
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Postby thesandman » Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:05 am

so dose the Dry Pak degrade the pictures a lot, i have a canon SX210 its a P&H but a good one, so trying to fig use in the bag or out of the bag then back in agin


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