Aug 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm #1278082
Does anyone know of a decent digital camera that can be charged by USB? Or has replaceable batteries such as AA or AAA? I'm trying to figure out how I can bring a camera on the PCT and be able to charge it with a solar charger or carry more easy to get batteries.Aug 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm #1769740
drowning in spamMember
The Canon A### series or the SX2##. Also Fujifilm has a few AA battery cameras, but they're all bigger and heavier superzoom cameras. If the size and bulk doesn't deter you, they're very nice cameras, and the HS20 should be capable of battery life several times longer than it's rated if it performs like my older S9000 does which got 2053 shots on one charge of Eneloop batteries over a period of 4 days. Of those cameras, I like the SX2## the best for long distance hiking.Aug 16, 2011 at 3:57 am #1769859
@dtougasLocale: Gaspé Peninsula
For a really lightweight, high quality camera, we have been really happy with our Sony NEX-5. We bought it with the 19mm pancake lens which makes it nice and small for a large sensor camera. Also, it is chargeable via USB, and does HD video quite well.Aug 16, 2011 at 9:16 am #1769927
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I'll suggest charging on the go is impractical. You'd be better off carrying extra Li-ion batteries and charging them in town. They're extremely light and if you pick your camera carefully, will give you hundreds of shots each per charge (pick a camera with a CIPA rating of 350+).
Chargers are light enough to carry, or you can stow one in your drift box.
RickAug 16, 2011 at 10:01 am #1769945
What does the CIPA rating mean? And my wife just informed me I have to get an inexpensive camera because she thinks I will break it on my thru hike :)Aug 16, 2011 at 10:07 am #1769948
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
What are you planning on taking pictures of and how many photos to you expect between charges? Also, hat price to you put on photo quality?
If you're willing to compromise you could use the onboard camera that your cell phone already provides. If you're looking for a new phone with camera, Nokia makes some of the better ones (Nokia N8 I believe) with Zeiss optics but they may not be available with your provider. Remember that multi-use is what gets the packweight down and if you can leave it at home that's the most weight savings.Aug 16, 2011 at 10:20 am #1769951
I'm not sure how many pictures. I tend to take a lot when I go hiking. I don't have the smartphone yet, I'm getting my dad's old one. I'm just not sure how I would get pics off the phone because I don't think it has an extra card to swap for more pics. I'm willing to spend $200 at the most. ThanksAug 16, 2011 at 10:37 am #1769964
The Sony WX9 has USB charge. It's small, light, has decent reviews and costs $190 from Amazon. It was one of the other P&S I was considering before I picked up a Canon S95 instead (no USB charging, but more features).
A lot of the other recent Sony models also have USB charging.Aug 16, 2011 at 10:55 am #1769969
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
CIPA is an industry standardized test for number of images per battery charge. It might not be predictive because each user will operate the camera differently, but is a reliable way to compare models. e.g., Canon S95 CIPA rating is 200, Lumix LX5 rating is 400.
Hate to be a wet blanket but a solar charger probably won't keep your cell going, either. But that's not generally a problem because you'll be out of range most of the PCT anyway, so it's going to languish in your pack.
Very generally, solar chargers are practical for static camping but much less reliable for hiking. They need to be oriented to the sun.
RickAug 24, 2011 at 8:48 pm #1772646
@oystersLocale: South Australia
I agree on the solar charger issues, though it depends where you are walking and at what time of year.
I recently cycled from Australia to Sweden with a mate on our recumbent trikes (Adelaide-Perth, flew to Cape Town, up Africa to Ethiopia, then had to avoid Middle East unrest and started again in Turkey for the rest of the trip through Europe). Mostly it was summer wherever we were.
Being on roads, we were mostly out in the sun. In Australia and most of Africa we were in deserts and out on open roads in sunny conditions. We had no trouble keeping our phones and Mp3 players charged, though our phones were ultra basic nokias. Really my panel, a Solia with one cell was good enough to reliably keep my phone charged in Africa and Australia. Stephen's Solia was a 3 panel version which handled constant mp3 player use as well. Stephen's panel died in Ethiopia (it got too much water in it) so he threw it away and we didn't bother replacing it. Mine kept going through Europe, but, quite literally it was useless there as it would take a couple of weeks to charge with all the overcast conditions, camping in forests, rain, etc, etc. I think I charged my phone or mp3 player four times over 100 days of cycling.
You don't get shaded much when you are on roads, and we could easily mount our panels on top of our gear in optimum position on our rear racks. With a pack its much harder to mount a panel in optimum position all the time, and depending on where you are you are often walking in and out of shade. Our phones and mp3 players literally were as simple and economical on power as it gets, and the panels couldn't handle it in Eastern and Northern European summer conditions. Would have been better in the more Meditteranean climates for sure.
Don't believe the claims that all the various panel manufacturers state for charging times, etc. They are picking the best spots on the planet to charge.
In the future I'll think about using panels again, but only in the right conditions. If I walk or cycle tour in Europe or most of North America, or parts of Eastern and Southern Australia (inc Tasmania), or anywhere tropical in a wet season or heavily forested or cold, I won't bother unless I'm not worried about weight and have a long static base-camp.
For what I know of the conditions on the big three trails in the US of A (exc the desert bits in the south west, I've never been to North America myself), I'd personally not bother with a panel on a thruhike, unless I got a custom pack made of embedded panel. It would really need to be that big! Wait for it though…I give it less than a decade before we start to see commercial rucksacks made with embedded solar panels.Aug 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm #1772655
I just returned last week from 5 weeks of backpacking. Most of the time (3 weeks) was spent on the John Muir Trail going from Yosemite to Whitney. I had a PowerFilm AA Battery Solar Charger with me to power all my devices (SteriPen Classic, GPS, headlamp, camera) for these five weeks. My camera is a Canon PowerShot SX130IS. Canon offers other smaller Powershot models that use AA batteries, but I like this one for its 12x zoom.
Although I was hiking north to south and had several overcast days I was able to power everthing. My GPS needed a fresh set of batteries every day (I use it for geotagging my photos and have it on all day) and my camera needed a new set every 3 – 4 days. The JMT is of course at relatively high elevation and you are not walking a lot in the shade of trees.
Good Luck on your hike,
ManfredAug 30, 2011 at 1:18 am #1774208
@oystersLocale: South Australia
I wasn't aware before of PowerFilm…looking at their website they make some awesome stuff! The AA charger has some pretty good specs-charging batteries that quickly (4xAA in something like 6.5hrs in perfect conditions) is excellent, and yep, would totally keep you going.
Interesting is that this company also sells small panels ready for MYOG panel construction…just have to rig up the electronics yourself. Could be interesting somehow laminating a bunch of them onto my bike frame…
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