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Author Topic: ★ 6 month trip to FAR EAST, D60 D90?  (Read 7467 times)
Rostislav Alexandrovich
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« on: April 20, 2009, 03:53:20 PM »
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Hi

Perhaps this is not the best place to ask but im sure that many of you have been "around" and are experienced trekkers/travelers
Im planing my first big trip to the far east (china,nepal,india,thailand,laos,myanmar)
Now what would you buy for such a trip?

Considering 2 options
1.D60 + P&S (for backup)
2.D90 + GPS module

D90
Advantage:
For someone who's coming from Canon 40D, the D90 is "same level" that im used to.
also big VF, Top LCD, class leading high DR&ISO, HD Video, GPS, camera is Faster, 11 AF points+grid, reliability, and i really want one!

Disadvantages:
200G heavier, more $$$, needs to be handled always with 2 hands (one hand is very uncomfortable)
It will require more attention&worry from me- because of having more features and because its more expensive.

D60
Advantages:
It actually fits my hands slightly better and i can hold it in one hand and almost "forget that its there", size, wont feel bad if its abused,
Would use it more like "P&S" perhaps less distracting from the environment?
after all im going to travel alot!

Disadvantage:
3 useless AF points, no top LCD, less IQ, less Features, less control...etc...

*lens is 18-105mm VR + 10-20mm either way
*Another important factor is that the selected gear would be ON me 24/7 for at least 6 months.

Your opinions please.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2009, 04:06:18 PM »
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You'll want a long lens for many shots, so that's a weight factor.  You also will want to hide that lens in many places you mentioned so as not to attract notice.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2009, 04:26:42 PM »
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Panasonic G1 with both the 14-45 and 45-200 lenses.  Very light and good image quality images.  No GPS though.

Jim
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situgrrl
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2009, 04:28:59 PM »
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I've handled neither but I have travelled a fair bit and you can see my Thailand photos on my website (and some more from Sri Lanka and Spain when I get around to updating it!)

My previous cameras, in order, are Canon EOS 1, Canonet 17, Olympus E1, Ricoh GR1, Canon 30D, Leica M4-P, Canon Ixus something.  I still own the Canonet, GR1 and Leica.  I would still own the E1 and the Ixus thingy had they not been stolen.  

It is not film that is the reason for the cameras I keep - indeed it is a huge frustration - it is their size and speed of use.  I've no great need for a digital camera at the moment - though a huge "want."  For a compact I would opt for one of the Ricohs, for a "proper" camera, I am waiting for the Olympus vapourware micro 4/3 - it might just replace the german thing.  If I were flying tomorrow, I would be looking at the small Olympus SLRs, Panasonic and Pentax - they all have IS built in and are pretty tiny.  (I'd also be wondering if I could stretch a 2nd hand M8!)

Since I've suggested neither Nikon, perhaps I'm being useless - but as you state, you will have this gear ON you for 6 months - and for me, weight and stealth is EVERYTHING - especially in Mynmar.  The lighter your equipment, the more room you have for luxuries....when shampoo or spare shoes are "luxury" pack light!




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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2009, 04:36:21 PM »
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Better IQ with the D90, the D60 will disapoint you after the trip, then it's too late. Either the Nikkor or the Sigma 18-200 stabilized lenses would be fine
Marc

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller...=19&Go.y=10

http://www.canogacamera.com/detail.aspx?ID=47619

The Sigma is probably a bit sharper
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2009, 04:46:21 PM »
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Some comments:

- Why chaning away from your 40D?
- Going on a 6 months once in a life time trip without a back up camera would not be a good idea,
- Between the Nikons, I believe that the D90 is much superior mostly because of its much better viewfinder,
- Regarding your itinary:
  - High Nepal will require a reasonnably long lens, at least 150 mm on DX, to get good shots of the high mountains that are hard to get very close to (to even see the Everest well is going to require one week walking anyway), the 70-300 VR might be a good candidate here (although I have only used it on FX bodies)
  - Why skip Angkor Wat in Cambodia?

Cheers,
Bernard
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Rostislav Alexandrovich
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2009, 05:56:58 PM »
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Quote from: situgrrl
Since I've suggested neither Nikon, perhaps I'm being useless - but as you state, you will have this gear ON you for 6 months - and for me, weight and stealth is EVERYTHING - especially in Mynmar.  The lighter your equipment, the more room you have for luxuries....when shampoo or spare shoes are "luxury" pack light!

On the contrary your advise is very helpful, just to mention that Nikon D60 and Olympus e-420 are virtually the same size, but i'd prefer D60 more


Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Some comments:

- Why chaning away from your 40D?
- Going on a 6 months once in a life time trip without a back up camera would not be a good idea,
- Between the Nikons, I believe that the D90 is much superior mostly because of its much better viewfinder,
- Regarding your itinary:
  - High Nepal will require a reasonnably long lens, at least 150 mm on DX, to get good shots of the high mountains that are hard to get very close to (to even see the Everest well is going to require one week walking anyway), the 70-300 VR might be a good candidate here (although I have only used it on FX bodies)
  - Why skip Angkor Wat in Cambodia?

Cheers,
Bernard

Sold my 40D was way to large for me and inconvenient, the camera was left home too many times
Regarding Nepal, perhaps i will take the nikkor 18-200 instead, although i can always crop
Angkor Wat is also in the plan, the final plan is not finalized and i will be glad to hear any suggestions
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stever
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2009, 09:56:16 PM »
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this is the usual tradeoff in travel camera priorities of size&wt, number of lenses, quality of images

do you want to make high quality prints up to 13"x19"? if so, forget about 18-200 lenses, you need high quality zooms with around 4:1 ratio and primes

is low light important? (it should be) then the Olympus is at a disadvantage and in any case you need a 50mm 1.4 in the bag -- wonderful opportunities in Asia - and you'll have one lens that can deliver high quality images and be used for stitched pans

there are places where WA is nice, but i wouldn't rank wider than 28mm (effective) as a high priority

if i were taking a 40D (and i have), i'd take the 17-55 IS, 50 1.4, and the 70-300 IS (although for really good images i'd rather use the 135 f2 or 200 f2.Cool.  Don't know how this translates to Nikon or Olympus.

a backup camera is certainly essential and i'd recommend a backup body instead of point and shood (one that shares the same charger, batteries, and memory cards) as well as a storage device

my experience with GPS is that it's an interesting curiosity, but not a high priority
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 11:10:59 PM »
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Rather than specific gear let me suggest some general ideas.  I've been traveling that part of the world for the last 30 or so years, just got back from three months in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.  

Start with thinking about whether you're going to capture lots of memories or if you're going in order to make some great big prints that will be critically judged from very short distance.  I shoot for the memories foremost, and try to get the best quality shot that I can second.  I'll pitch my reply from that angle.

First, great shots can suddenly appear out of nowhere.  Changing lenses can be a PITA.  I've missed lots of shots I wanted because I had the wrong lens mounted.  Last couple of trips I used a Tamron 18-250 on a Pentax K100D body.  That gave me an effective 27 - 375mm range, image stabilized.  I'd recommend finding some similar sort of "walk-around" that you can use for the vast majority of your shots.  That way you'll miss few opportunities and won't be getting dust into the mirror box as often.

I carried a Pentax 10-17 fisheye which let me get 'the entire temple when I couldn't back up far enough'.   Sure, when you straighten out the fisheye with software the corners might be a little soft.  But if it's a memory shot and not a commercial one it matters little.

If  you want to take some very high quality shots for printing large, then you might want to consider packing one very good prime or short zoom.  

Spend some time thinking about image storage.  I've traveled with portable hard drives but now carry a netbook.  Mine is an Asus EePC with a 140 gig HD.  It's fine for storing images and doing some basic editing when I want to make some small prints for locals.  Many hotels now have free wifi so you can sit in your room and check your email, send a couple of pics home.

I also carry a 30 gig portable hard drive for redundant storage.  I'll probably replace that with something like Western's Passport - small 160 gig HD.  I carry this drive with me during the day and leave the netbook back in the room.

Safety.  I use a PacSafe day pack as my luggage.  I learned to travel light long ago.  Pack little/do laundry often.  If you get really tired of one of the two shirts that you've been wearing, buy a new one for a couple of bucks and pass the old one on to someone who could use it.

When I'm out of the room I lock the netbook inside the PacSafe and secure it to something in the room.  Won't stop the determined thief with tools to disassemble the furniture/plumbing, but will stop the opportunistic one.

Deal with sensor and lens cleaning.  I carry an Arctic Butterfly for the sensor, Lens Pen and lens cloths.  

Take a multi-voltage battery charger and a "Small Pin Asian" adapter.  And a nice long lightweight extension cord.  Sometimes the only outlet will be in the bath or under a table and the only comfortable place to sit will be on the bed.

Take a backup camera.  Stuff does break.  And sitting around at night with a bunch of people a compact can be a lot more useful than a great big dSLR.

Camera bag.  I like a messenger type which I wear across my body.  That way I don't worry about a 'snatch and run'.  I basically don't take the bag off my body outside my room.  I found a bag big enough to hold camera, spare lens, travel book, and all the bits and pieces.  I use a wrist strap and slip my hand through the loop as I take the camera out of my bag.  I've never had anyone try to grab my camera, but I have had it knocked out of my hand a few times by accident.  (Once by a passing mule train on a Nepali swinging bridge.)   And when you show little kids their pictures on the LCD you'll be surprised at the death grip they can produce in their excitement.

I don't bother with a tripod, rely on higher ISOs and IS along with the occasional brace against a pillar, etc.   If you're shooting for quality then you might want to pack a lightweight tripod.  I've carried the tiny tabletop types and have never used them.

Extra battery (ies).  Extra cards.  

If something breaks or you lose something there are pretty good stores in larger cities.  I had no trouble finding a charger for the backup camera in Phnom Phen.




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Gary Brown
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2009, 05:56:36 AM »
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In case of interest, here's a fairly new D60 review, which includes comments that might be useful for such a decision:

http://www.bythom.com/nikond60review.htm
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situgrrl
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2009, 06:58:29 AM »
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Quote from: Frosti
Sold my 40D was way to large for me and inconvenient, the camera was left home too many times
Regarding Nepal, perhaps i will take the nikkor 18-200 instead, although i can always crop
Angkor Wat is also in the plan, the final plan is not finalized and i will be glad to hear any suggestions

Presumably, the D90 is a similar size?  I think you answered your own question!
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2009, 10:25:13 AM »
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Here's another idea to throw into the mix.

Forgo really low f-stop lenses in order to save weight.  

Do whatever it takes to get your walk-around kit down to something that you won't mind carrying.  (On days when I know I'm unlikely to use it, I leave my wide zoom in the room.  Taking that extra pound out of the bag makes a very big difference.)

You already know that if the bag is too heavy you have a tendency to leave it in the room.  You're likely to miss a lot more good shots by leaving your camera behind than if you can't open up really, really wide in low light.  

(And most of the low available light shots will be indoor 'temple' shots.  There's very little dawn and dusk time close to the equator, the transition from dark to bright is brief. If you carry anything bright make it your shortest lens.)

--

Another option might be to carry a good dSLR with a short/moderate length zoom and pack a compact 'superzoom' as your backup camera and for the far away shots.

I haven't checked reviews for image quality, but Panasonic makes some 12x compacts and Oly makes a superzoom that has a 26x 26-676 eq. zoom.  

I've done lens length analysis on the shots that I've taken while traveling.  There's a definite large use of shorter focal lengths - the distribution curve definitely peaks in the <100mm zone, but there's a very definite, and very large spike at the long end.  Even when I was traveling with a 380mm eq superzoom.

There are lots of great shots that one just can't walk up to.  You can crop down for small print/monitor work, but being able to put a lot of pixels on a monk riding a mule up a mountain trail on the other side of the valley might give you something that you would want.  A good quality superzoom, shot at lower ISOs is going to give you a very nice image.


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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 01:10:53 PM »
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Jobo make a hotshoe GPS unit and I think other do. Not that big or expensive either and will work on any camera.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2009, 01:29:46 PM »
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GPS - just wondering....

What utility is there in tagging shots with the lat/long?  Useful for sticking on Google Maps, something like that?

One already has the date/time in the EXIF file, so it's not hard to figure out where shots were taken.  

And I download each night into a new folder, later combine folders into city/place folders, so I've got most of what I need before I open the file.

Some other reason that GPS info is useful for the average person?
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Rostislav Alexandrovich
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2009, 03:02:33 PM »
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Quote from: Bobtrips
Rather than specific gear let me suggest some general ideas.  I've been traveling that part of the world for the last 30 or so years, just got back from three months in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.  

Safety.  I use a PacSafe day pack as my luggage.  I learned to travel light long ago.  Pack little/do laundry often.  If you get really tired of one of the two shirts that you've been wearing, buy a new one for a couple of bucks and pass the old one on to someone who could use it.

When I'm out of the room I lock the netbook inside the PacSafe and secure it to something in the room.  Won't stop the determined thief with tools to disassemble the furniture/plumbing, but will stop the opportunistic one.

Deal with sensor and lens cleaning.  I carry an Arctic Butterfly for the sensor, Lens Pen and lens cloths.  

Take a multi-voltage battery charger and a "Small Pin Asian" adapter.  And a nice long lightweight extension cord.  Sometimes the only outlet will be in the bath or under a table and the only comfortable place to sit will be on the bed.

Take a backup camera.  Stuff does break.  And sitting around at night with a bunch of people a compact can be a lot more useful than a great big dSLR.

Camera bag.  I like a messenger type which I wear across my body.  That way I don't worry about a 'snatch and run'.  I basically don't take the bag off my body outside my room.  I found a bag big enough to hold camera, spare lens, travel book, and all the bits and pieces.  I use a wrist strap and slip my hand through the loop as I take the camera out of my bag.  I've never had anyone try to grab my camera, but I have had it knocked out of my hand a few times by accident.  (Once by a passing mule train on a Nepali swinging bridge.)   And when you show little kids their pictures on the LCD you'll be surprised at the death grip they can produce in their excitement.

I don't bother with a tripod, rely on higher ISOs and IS along with the occasional brace against a pillar, etc.   If you're shooting for quality then you might want to pack a lightweight tripod.  I've carried the tiny tabletop types and have never used them.

Extra battery (ies).  Extra cards.  

If something breaks or you lose something there are pretty good stores in larger cities.  I had no trouble finding a charger for the backup camera in Phnom Phen.

Thanx for the tips,
Pacsafe looks interesting but perhaps id better take waterproof bags instead,

Quote from: Gary Brown
In case of interest, here's a fairly new D60 review, which includes comments that might be useful for such a decision:

http://www.bythom.com/nikond60review.htm
Ineed very useful thanx!

Quote from: Bobtrips
GPS - just wondering....

What utility is there in tagging shots with the lat/long?  Useful for sticking on Google Maps, something like that?

One already has the date/time in the EXIF file, so it's not hard to figure out where shots were taken.  

And I download each night into a new folder, later combine folders into city/place folders, so I've got most of what I need before I open the file.

Some other reason that GPS info is useful for the average person?

Just as a toy, its not for commercial use or anything,
also found this compact GPS unit (only for D90/D300 etc)
di-GPS mini
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Plekto
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2009, 03:46:40 PM »
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Quote from: situgrrl
It is not film that is the reason for the cameras I keep - indeed it is a huge frustration - it is their size and speed of use.  I've no great need for a digital camera at the moment - though a huge "want."  For a compact I would opt for one of the Ricohs, for a "proper" camera, I am waiting for the Olympus vapourware micro 4/3 - it might just replace the german thing.  If I were flying tomorrow, I would be looking at the small Olympus SLRs, Panasonic and Pentax - they all have IS built in and are pretty tiny.  (I'd also be wondering if I could stretch a 2nd hand M8!)

Since I've suggested neither Nikon, perhaps I'm being useless - but as you state, you will have this gear ON you for 6 months - and for me, weight and stealth is EVERYTHING - especially in Mynmar.  The lighter your equipment, the more room you have for luxuries....when shampoo or spare shoes are "luxury" pack light!

I wholeheartedly agree.  Film, while cumbersome, can still be had almost everywhere in less developed places - or developed.  A small Rangefinder or similar camera(suitably used or something nobody would want to steal) would make for a good backup camera.  Hopefully something that has its own powered light meter or uses a simple watch battery.

Or you can always just bring along an old Minolta or Canon.  People look at an old worn AE-1 or Minolta X7 and won't bother with it at all, yet it still takes great photos if it's in good repair.  Since I take photos on trips for my own memories and not to show clients, anything that takes a picture is good.  That means, cheap, light, and wont cry when it gets stolen.

Note - old manual TLRs and folding 6x7 cameras also are good - lots of quality and nobody's going to bother with a 35-40 year old camera - let alone know what it is.  They want shiny, new, and easy to pawn. 120 film is tons harder to find, though.  35mm slide film is everywhere by comparison and easy to store for a few weeks or ship back to the U.S. if you must.

We all talk digital now, or most of us, but the poorer areas of the world still use tons of film.

***
As for digital, small, light, and works off of AA or AAA batteries is a must.  A 8-12MP image stabilized pocket camera(Canon or similar) is 40X better than a huge rig that you can't fit in your pocket or hide.  Because a big flashy camera screams tourist or worse yet, journalist(which isn't good in a lot of the world right now)

The PowerShot A2100 IS is a good example.  12MP, image stabilization, and works off of NiMH or AA batteries.  Or get the 10MP version for a lot less money.  And if you cover up the gaudy "Canon" with a more generic EBay knock-off logo It'll look like every other cheapo camera over there.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2009, 07:36:03 PM »
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Quote from: Frosti
Angkor Wat is also in the plan, the final plan is not finalized and i will be glad to hear any suggestions

As far as Nepal goes, don't take this lightly if you intend to go higher than 4000m (12.000 feet), a very high percentage of people have issues with altitude. You should also try to be there either in April or in October.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2009, 01:22:38 AM »
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You might be surprised at how quickly film is disappearing from places where it used to be common.  One does see a few rolls of color print film from time to time, but often in sun faded boxes.  It used to be that lots of local stores in touristed areas had some film stock.  No longer.  

I would expect to find slide and B&W film in only a few camera shops in large cities.  I used to buy slide film in department stores in Bangkok.  I can't say that I've seen any there in the last few years.

Even a lot of the local professional shooters who hang out at temples or in parks, take people's photos, and send them the prints have abandoned their fSLRs  and are using superzooms.  Local studios are rapidly leaving film and using digital.  

This last trip I think I saw only two people shooting film.  And literally hundreds shooting digital.  

What one really doesn't see anymore (at least I saw no signs of) are disposable film cameras.

You might also be surprised at how many dSLRs are out traveling these days.  One does not stand out from the crowd when shooting a couple of grand worth of camera and lenses.  White Canon monsters are regularly seen.  People with two, or even three, dSLRs with big zooms attached are frequently seen.   Middle class locals generally have a compact digital and younger people taking photos will their cell phone cameras are quite common.

I used to operate with the backup plan of grabbing a cheap film camera if something happened to my digital while I was on the road.  Now I suspect I'd just grab a low-priced digital.  Not long ago Kodak was selling an 8 meg compact for less than $100 in Thailand.

Battery type is no longer a real issue.  We lost the charger for our Fuji compact and found a replacement easily in Phnom Phen.  I had a guy come up to me in Cochin (Southern India) a few years back and ask if I wanted to buy any memory cards.  He told me that he could get me a spare lithium battery for my Minolta A1 in 2-3 hours.

World's changing....
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Er1kksen
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2009, 05:44:13 AM »
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Are you leaving before the D5000 becomes available? Similar body to the D60, similar guts to the D90. Sounds like it takes the advantages you gave for each and combines them into one camera.
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Rostislav Alexandrovich
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2009, 11:49:21 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
As far as Nepal goes, don't take this lightly if you intend to go higher than 4000m (12.000 feet), a very high percentage of people have issues with altitude. You should also try to be there either in April or in October.

Cheers,
Bernard
I will take "hight sickness" pills with me but im not going higher then the base camp


Quote from: Bobtrips
What one really doesn't see anymore (at least I saw no signs of) are disposable film cameras.
I used disposable film camera in my last trip to Prague, i got some nice photos with it (it wasnt a backup for my 40D but it was to get a diffrent look of photo's)



Quote from: Er1kksen
Are you leaving before the D5000 becomes available? Similar body to the D60, similar guts to the D90. Sounds like it takes the advantages you gave for each and combines them into one camera.
D5000 is quite larger then D60 and its smaller viewfinder makes it loose alot of points compared to similarly priced D90
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