Wednesday, June 10, 2015

John Muir Trail Planning: The Camera

Now that my food is squared away from my hike, I turned my thoughts to my camera. I've got many aspects of my camera already worked out. I'll be bringing my DSLR, and I carry it in a case that attaches to my hip belt. It's a bit of a pain in the butt, but it's a hands-free way to carry the camera on the trail, and it affords a bit of protection for the camera too. I've got 1 gallon ziplock bags to store the camera in during rainstorms and overnight.

But what about batteries and memory cards?

If I take 300 photos per day, then that will be 7200 photos during the whole trip. If I take 400 per day, that makes 9600 photos. I'll need enough batteries and memory cards to do that. I can charge the batteries if I bring a charger. I won't have my laptop, so I'll need enough memory cards to last the whole trip.

The battery situation is the easier one. Right now, I have 78% of my battery charge left on the camera, and the camera has taken 626 photos on the current charge. That means that one battery charge can take 2845 pictures. That means I need 2.5 batteries to take 300 pics per day, or 3.4 to take 400 pics per day. I estimate that I'll be good if I either bring 2 batteries and charge them during the trip, or if I bring 4 batteries. I'll need to check but I've got either 2 or 3 batteries for my camera. If I bring 2 and the charger, that should do it. I could potentially bring 3 and no charger, but I don't want to be sweating it out at the end of the trail, worried I'll run out.

Then there's the memory card. For that, it depends on what format of photos you take. JPEGs take less memory than raw photos, and even within raw, it depends. My photos range from 26 to 31 MB each. And there are 1000 MBs in a GB.

Assuming I take 400 photos per day and they are 28.5 MB per photo (I shoot raw), that equates to 273 GB. (If I did 300 pics per day, it would be 205 GB.) Right now, I've got a 32 GB memory card and a 16 GB card. That obviously won't do. I need an extra 225 gigs of memory. To be safe, I should probably get either 7 32-gig cards, or 4 64-gig cards for this trip (along with the cards I already have). Or I could get 2 128-gig cards and bring them along with the cards I've already got. Since cards do not weigh much, it's a matter of price. What's the cheapest way to get the right amount of memory for this hike?

For a SanDisk Extreme SDHC 95 MB/s, it appears that one can get 2 32 GB cards for $50 (or the same deal from B and H), one 64GB for $55, or one 128 GB card for $100. Therefore, it's pretty much the same price no matter which way you go.... with one exception. You can get 2 64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro cards for $80. Sign me up.

For Lexar, you can find 2 32 GB for $35 (95 MB/s) (and the same deal at B and H). That's the best deal I found for Lexar. For Transcend, one can get a 32 GB card for $15, making it the cheapest option so far. A 64 GB Transcend is $30.

This review sings the praises of the SanDisk Extreme Plus 32 GB 80 MB/s card. This site slightly preferred the Trancend over the SanDisk. This review, on the other hand, did not think that the Transcend was as good as promised.

I decided to switch it up a bit, because it would be terrible to get out on the trail with two 128 GB cards only to have one of them fail. Or fall off the side of Mt Whitney. So, why not get a combination of SanDisk and Transcend, because SanDisk seems to be a favorite for quality, whereas Transcend is cheaper. I ended up choosing 2 64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro from B & H Photo for $79.95, plus 2 64 GB Transcend cards from Adorama for $59.40. Total cost: $139.55.

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