Monday, 12 March 2012

Greenland 2012 - Equipment Notes - Camera

I'm off to Greenland in July on a kayaking trip led by Martin Rickard from sea kayak adventures. We'll be camping from the kayaks for about 11 days and this trip will be throwing up lots of issues with respect to what kit to take and use. We have a weight limit to keep an eye on for the flights via Iceland and we will also be away from civilisation for several days.

One of the first dilemmas I've had is what camera to take (or cameras?...). None of my existing cameras are powered by conventional batteries - they all use rechargeable ones that require mains electricity to recharge and we can not count on getting access to mains power. So I decided that my best bet would be to get a camera powered by AA batteries and to take a number of packs with me to power the camera.

Once you get above basic point and shoot cameras there are not many that take AAs. I didn't want an expensive camera since I may lose it overboard one day. So in the sub £150 range most searches I performed led back to the same models:
  • Nikon L120
  • Canon SX140IS / SX150IS
  • Fujifilm S2950
In the end I plumped for the Fuji and got it for a good price (£109) from Amazon. It ticked most of the boxes - including a digital viewfinder as an optional alternative to composing photos on the LCD screen. I saw this as a major feature that would save battery life out "in the wild". Picture quality seemed to get better reviews on the Canon, but a lot of reports of it being a battery eater put me off. Ditto for the Nikon - no viewfinder reduces the ability to reduce battery usage. Finally the fact that Martin also uses a predecessor in the Fuji model range swung it for me.

I'll be using it on some upcoming trips to see what battery life I get out of it plus a chance to see what the image quality is like. 

I'm tempted to take two cameras and I'm toying with the idea of getting a GoPro HD video camera that can also take good quality stills. This will again raise the issue of how to charge it and I'm thinking of using a solar  panel. If this works it would be great, but it is too risky an approach to assume I can charge both cameras with it, hence the decision to buy an AA powered camera as the main choice. Watch this space!

No comments: