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#258600 - 04/05/13 04:08 PM Cameras?
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1424
I saw someone's list of essentials on another thread, and it included a camera. So that got me thinking: what kind of camera do we need, and what do we expect to use it for?

For EDC I have a point & shoot camera in case I get into an accident or need to document something. Sometimes inspiration strikes at unexpected times, and I don't have my SLR with me. These are not survival uses obviously. What survival uses can we put the camera to?

What are the features we want in a "survival" camera? Do we want:

- Small & light?
- Waterproof/water-resistant?
- Shock-resistant?
- Macro capability? (If so, what do we envision taking pictures of?)
- Telephoto?
- Wide-angle capability?
- Works on commonly available batteries rather than propriety rechargeable batteries?
- Low-light capability? (I haven't seen a low-light capable camera that's not an SLR.)
- Video capability?
- I'm assuming we want digital.

It seems that connectivity would be very useful. So that would mean a cell phone camera. If the cell service is still up and you can get a signal, you can send images and videos to tell people where you are, to share information, etc. But then cell phone cameras tend not to be of good quality.

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#258601 - 04/05/13 04:29 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: Bingley]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2845
Modern cell phone cameras are just as good as ~$100 point and shoot cameras. For example this is my latest trip, see if you can (without looking at the EXIF data) tell which images were taken with a cell phone and which were taken with a standalone camera.

So we use our phones as our primary cameras.

Secondary I keep a small point and shoot in my pack. Primary features for choosing it were:
1. AA battery powered so I can leave a pair of eneloops in it for months rather than having to have a lithiumoin and dedicated charger.
2. I went with canon because all the point and shoot nikons were storing videos in quicktime format.
3. Image stabilization, The canon models with the IS suffix have a good optical image stabilizer, I have taken non blury pictures while riding on a bicycle.

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#258603 - 04/05/13 04:50 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: Bingley]
DavidEnoch Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 74
Loc: Texas
I carry a camera when out hiking sometimes but for local stuff I usually just have my cell phone.

One useful thing a camera can do is to take a picture of an area of your body that you cannot see. It might help you figure out how to treat an injury.

David Enoch

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#258607 - 04/05/13 05:56 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7324
Loc: southern Cal
"Survival camera" is an oymoron - hardly anywhere near being a critical element. On the other hand, I du use my cell phone camera daily to document work involved situations and it is perfectly adequate for that purpose. Since the cell phone has more direct survival loses (witness the recent SAR in Trabuco Canyon) you do indeed have a camera with you so you could photo your surroundings, extent of injuries, etc as an aid to rescuers. But a camera is in no way a critical item.
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#258609 - 04/05/13 06:17 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: hikermor]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 940
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: hikermor
"Survival camera" is an oymoron - hardly anywhere near being a critical element. On the other hand, I du use my cell phone camera daily to document work involved situations and it is perfectly adequate for that purpose. Since the cell phone has more direct survival loses (witness the recent SAR in Trabuco Canyon) you do indeed have a camera with you so you could photo your surroundings, extent of injuries, etc as an aid to rescuers. But a camera is in no way a critical item.


Agreed for the most part. But it comes in extremely handy for documenting road accidents and other incidents.

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#258612 - 04/05/13 06:29 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: Bingley]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
The camera was not on a list of essentials, it was in a list of extras, from which I chose things that I would include in a BOB. I can find no practical survival use for a camera. If you are already carrying it, then yes, there are things you can use it for, but it is not something I would consider an essential.

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#258615 - 04/05/13 07:44 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: Bingley]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
I keep a small $99 14 MP point and shoot in my car (actually RC go bag) to document traffic accidents, fire scenes / damage etc. Its a LiIon battery because the latest P&S seem too slim for AA batts - and that's fine, because the P&S has only been charged once in 2 years of ownership. Get a larger microSD or SD card than you'll ever need, and you're not exceeding some limit on documentation. I also travel with the same camera, and having a USB output cable or wireless out means you can download and send off pix as soon as you take them, even porting them over to your phone for fast emailing. I don't cart the lion charger around but I could easily, and charge from the car. Picture quality and detail are also better than my smartphone camera - important if you're documenting loss after a disaster or trying to communicate to someone else your damage assessment (combining word art + camera photos). And the video options are important too - you can take pictures, but equally important may be taking a video of the other driver, with their slurred speech, angry or aggressive attitudes etc. Always good for a laugh when appearing on Judge Judy!

Smartphone camera is pretty good but smartphone power is less than 10 hours. Like I said my dedicated P&S hasn't run out of power on me yet.

Use it a lot actually. Nice to have but not an essential.

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#258616 - 04/05/13 07:45 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: gonewiththewind]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Loc: SOCAL
Agree with both hikermor and Montanero. A camera is not a survival essential, but as long as it's bundled into a cellphone, there's no reason to not take it along.

The only possible use I can think of would be to document where you've been by taking a picture of your back-trail so you can more easily recognize where you need to go and keep from straying. I can think of other items that would fill that role better.

Not every item that you take camping needs to have a survival role. Someone is just rationalizing a purchase they don't really need.
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Okay, what’s your point??

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#258617 - 04/05/13 07:59 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: Bingley]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
I don't take pictures. DW does. And I'm not about to let her take her very nice, rather expensive camera camping. That's why they make disposable cameras.

As to a camera being a survival tool. Not so much. Unless you want to take a self portrait so when they find your body parts after you have been attacked by carniverous chipmunks they have something to place on the coffin.

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#258618 - 04/05/13 08:06 PM Re: Cameras? [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7324
Loc: southern Cal
OK, so no sale on a survival camera...Would you believe a "tactical camera"? It would have a black, non-glare finish...etc.etc. You get the picture


Somewhat seriously, there was a WWII era "Combat Graphic" - 4x5 sheet film, and wood components. Mostly it was cheap and expendable. I actually used one during the 60s.


Edited by hikermor (04/05/13 08:07 PM)
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