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Going to Costa Rica this March, any help with Camera choice and clothing?

Going to Costa Rica this March, any help with Camera choice and clothing?

Old Feb 13th, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Going to Costa Rica this March, any help with Camera choice and clothing?

I can not figure out what kind of camera (digital or film) to bring to Costa Rica this March! Some people say don't bring a film camera, that airports will ruin the film, others say due to the high humidity and rainfall, that a camera can get damaged with mold inside the lens not to mention getting wet during use. My big concern is that I want a great lens for distance, to capture the birds and monkeys, etc., which I hope to see. We're going to the rainforest, the cloud something or other, and to the edge of a volcano among other places. I checked out small digital cameras but found out that they don't have good telephoto lenses. I don't know what to do. Besides that, our limit on a day pack is 12 X 17high X 5 inches wide...so if I bring my big (and heavy) Fuji S2 Pro Camera, I won't be able to also carry a day pack... the camera's so big, it's one or the other! But I love the telephoto on my Fuji... however I think it's way too big and heavy for a lot of hiking, etc.
As far as clothing goes, Are jeans too heavy for Costa Rica in March? Any advice on pants, are shorts or long pants more 'in order'? Not sure of temperatures... I think they vary a lot.
Any advice would be appreciated, this camera question has me in a quandry.
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 07:41 PM
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We normally carry both digital and film camera, we have never run into a problem with either.

If you choose film, pack your extra film in your carry on and ask that it be hand inspected. And of course pack all camera equipment in your carry on.

We normally carry an inexpensive 35mm film camera. My digital camera has a 10x zoom which caught lots of great shot, but not the same as my prehistoric Nikon. One thing to keep in mind is that when you are hiking and using a guide they will have a scope, I have taken many shots through the scope. Another thing to carry is a couple of one time use underwater cameras.

There has been much discussion on cameras in the past few years. People taking their high dollar cameras to the little disposables. What ever is comfortable to you.

Don't know if this really helps, but I do put a couple of those silicone packets in my camera cases (you know the ones that come in the packing of almost anything new!)

As for clothing - the thing with jeans is that they will never dry. Yes in March shorts are fine. During the evenings it may cool down, especially in Monteverde. Look for pants that are lightweight and made of quick dry material and the zip off kind are very convenient. Anyway these type pants can even be found at sporting goods, hunting/fishing stores such as Bass Pro.

The key is you want to stay dry and comfortable. Your daytime temps will be warm to hot, I do tend to get cool in the evening especially in the areas you are traveling. Now if you spend time on the beach it will be hot.

Hope that helps a little.
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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I went out and purchased a digital SLR because of the lack of telephoto capabilities with the point and shoot digitals. Although my Nikon D50 is way bigger than the point and shoot I was using, I think it's best to take whatever camera can give you the best telephoto capability, IMO. My camera, with the two lenses I am going to bring (28 - 80MM and my 70 - 300MM)and with the lightest weight case I could find, weighs 5 pounds. That leaves me 20 pounds to play with as far as clothes and other things go. I also like being able to see what I have taken so if something isn't quite right, I might be able to take another shot. May be my first and only visit to Costa Rica. Don't want to take a chance with film.

I have heard about the silicone packets somewhere else as well as on this site, so I have a couple of those packets in my case as well.

If you decide to take your film camera, they make film bags that should protect your film somewhat. Although I heard somewhere that the the x-ray machines are much stronger than they used to be and the bag may not help.

I agree with dfarmer -- you should take whatever you would feel more comfortable with.
 
Old Feb 13th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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As much as we love our big SLC Pentax and zoom lens, we usually leave it at home on our trips to CA. We have found that we spend so much time trying to get "that amazing wildlife shot" that we miss out on some of the experience itself. We have a nice, small digital which takes fabulous pictures inspite of only having a 5x zoom lens and it's served us very well. I bought a waterproof bag with a glass lens cover that I stick the camera in with desicant (sp?) packs when it's misty or rainy or I want underwater shots. We take a bunch of storage cards (mostly 125-256, one 512) so we don't have all our eggs in one basket, and have never had problems.

My packing list is #15 on the FAQ thread here:

http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/ca...12&STARTPAGE=1

I HIGHLY recommend you restrict yourself to just a carry-on sized bag each - you'll never be sorry. I think rei.com still has a big sale going on their zip-off, quick dry pants. have a great trip!
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 08:16 AM
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Hopeful, I am trying to find your thread, that was a great place to read up on interesting facts about Costa Rica! Pages go up to 7, is yours on page 15? What is your title there, as I can't seem to get it to move up from page 7! I read about cactus juice and ordered it as a bug repellent. I think I'm going to bring my Fuji S2 Pro (heavy) camera, because it seems like people are saying to bring what works and is comfortable to use. It's a great telephoto. I plan to read more of those postings, in the meantime, if you could tell me how to read your packing list (how to get to it), I'll check it out! I am working on looking over REI's stuff too... I was wondering what size duffle would be good... my trip company says "medium sized" luggage. Do you think that a 30 X 15 X 12 inch duffle is "medium sized" and do you recommend a waterproof duffle (or at least water repellent) for Costa Rica? Many thanks!!!
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Dear "dhuszai", I found it interesting to read about your cameras and their weight, so I dragged mine out and weighed it, to compare. My telephoto is a 100-300 Nikon ED lens, and the camera is of course the Fuji S2Pro. Together, they weigh in at 3 #. My Wide Angle lens is a 18-35 Nikon ED, I like it a lot, and guess I'll have to bring it along. The bad thing is is that the whole kit and kaboodle, including my camera bag (Tenba, 9 1/2 inches high, 10 inches across and 9 deep - it's not a backpack type camera bag, but one with a long strap to put over your shoulder, plus it has a little "suitcase" style padded leather handle on top - after awhile it sure gets to be cumbersome with it over my shoulder), but the whole thing with an extra set of 4 AA batts and the extra set of 2 lithium batts, the camera and 2 lenses weighs what I think is a WHOPPING 7 pds! I can't believe yours only weighs 5! What kind of camera bag do you carry and do you think this is way too much weight for me to be dragging to Costa Rica? What kind of shots did your other lens do? I know your 300mm is a telephoto, but what's the other one? Is that a telephoto too or just an average lens? I have found my wide angle one to be great and use it a lot. I'm wondering why mine is so much heavier, all in all...were you weighing your pack too? Thanks.
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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Sorry, but I meant to ask, where do you get those funny-sounding desilica packets (besides buying lots of shoes) and anyone know about a waterproof camera covering for my Nikon S2 Pro ... and lenses? Maybe after this trip I'll just have to splurge on a new camera?!!
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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The top thread on the thorntree link is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) thread - my packing list is #15, should be on the first page of the FAQ thread. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll cut and paste.

Sounds like you'll have a lot of camera gear, but if there's anyway you can limit yourself to one carry-on sized bag and a personal item you'll be grateful to yourself forever. I used to pack a ton of stuff around "just in case" but now I can easily fit what I need for a month or more in a carry-on-sized bag. Let me know if you want links to pack light websites for ideas. I use a smallish conversion pack (straps tuck away if not needed) which is great for me - not a fan of wheels (don't work where I like to go) and duffles (hard on my back - beat agains my legs).

Desicant packs are available from any camera store or on online. I haven't been to Costa Rica but would recommend something with Deet in addition to Cactus Juice; we had great success in Belize and Honduras with Sawyer's Time Release Deet.

Must get back to work - let me know if you want me to cut and paste the packing list. Happy trails...
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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I just returned from CR and am happy to report I got some nice pics with my new light weight 5MP Panasonic DMC-LZ2, 6x optical zoom with stabilizer and macro for $209. at Circut City.
Haven't put them in the computer yet to see how they look there as we came home last night. Got some good shots of birds, monkeys, botanicals.I came upon a pair of Slaty-tailed trogans perched in the open fiften feet from the trail and they seemed to enjoy being photographed!

I spent three nights at Bosqe del Rio Tigre birding lodge 45 mins from Puerto Jimenez on the Osa and highly recommend the lodge and area if you appreciate great birding. Amazing variety of species! The current guide, Scott Olmstead is a fine young man and enthusiastic birder who knows the area birds well. Others were there with their massive digetal power zooms including Michael and Patricia Fogden who photographed and produced the CR picture book "Wildlife of National Parks and Reserves Of Costa Rica".

If you love your big film camera bring it and take along a light weight digetal for long treks if you can't handle the weight. Many of my best shots of animals and birds were not far my lodges or our rental house.

Have a wonderful journey teadrinker and remember to praise God for His awesome creation!
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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teadrinker, it looks like you are visiting some of the same places we will be heading to.

The 28-80mm is a telephoto as is the 70-300mm, both are AF. My bag is a Lowepro that I picked up at Best Buy. It was the biggest bag they had at the time, which is still small. Exterior dimensions are about 9 1/2W x 5D x 9H. Interior dimensions are 8.7W x 4.5D x 7.9H. It also comes with a built in all weather cover that adds some depth to the bag. It is an over the shoulder type but also has straps so you can wear in on your belt. I can't see wearing something that size on your belt, but someone might. I don't know if your lenses are new or older, but the newer lenses weigh a lot less than they used to. My 70 - 300mm lens weighs 19.6 oz. My wide angle (wish I had an 18) weighs 6.9 oz. The camera, I understand, also weighs less than the D70. I also have an extra lithium battery, my SD cards, a couple of filters and some lens cleaning stuff in the bag. I loaded everything in the bag and put in on my scale. 5 lbs. It's a tight fit. I have some disc trouble in my back and may have a problem carrying that weight for an extended period of time, but I weighed my purse, which I carry all the time, and it weighs 5 pounds too, sometimes more. I've decided I'll worry about my back when I return home.

Does a day pack include whatever you might have hanging around your neck or on your person? If you have a day pack limit of what you say, I don't see how you could bring it. My only limit is a weight of 25 lbs. as we will by flying on Sansa on one day and that is their limit.

My point and shoot digital has only a 3x optical zoom. If I had known that there was a point and shoot digital with an 8x optical zoom, I probably would have spent a whole lot less money than I did and would have picked up that one instead. However, I just HAD TO HAVE the Nikon D50. It got such great reviews. You have a real dilema. Can you share some day pack space with your traveling partner (if you have one)? Maybe your partner could keep a lens or something in their pack and then maybe you won't need to take a bag. Batteries and other little stuff can be stuffed among other things if need be.

 
Old Feb 14th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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earthtraveler, are you planning to post your pics on line anwhere. Would love to see them.
 
Old Feb 14th, 2006, 09:34 PM
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dhuszai,
I'll try to post some and announce when they are ready for viewing.
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Old Feb 15th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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Thank you Earthtraveler.
 
Old Feb 17th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Hi dhuszai,
I have some photos of my recent CR trip posted online at http://rvincent3.photosite.com
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Another consideration is to pack the new Bushnell Compact Instant Replay 11-8323 binocular/camara. Keeping what you carry to the mininum is so important when travelling. And this compact unit gives you a binocular and 3.0 megapexial camara in one package. Takes a SD memory card.
With this and my Casio EX-S500 ultra compact digital, I'm set.
Of course, don't expect great quality from the binoculars. But you will get that sloth up in the tree.
And as someone said, stop trying for that perfect shot with thousands of dollars worth of camara equipment. Enjoy the moment. The best pictures are the ones that are ingrained in your brian for the rest of your life.
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 05:35 PM
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Brain. Brian is some dude.
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 09:40 PM
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moving up
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Old Feb 18th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Fabulous photos, earthtraveler. I especially loved the one of the children and the first shot at Backwash Beach. Also the sunset pics--the upright photo with the trees at the bottom. Beautiful!

The trogons were gorgeous--what a shot! I'd say your little camera is a winner! Thanks so much for sharing!
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Old Feb 18th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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Thanks shillmac. This years CR journey was so wonderful and now I'm becoming a bit more computer literate to boot. :.)
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Old Feb 23rd, 2006, 02:06 PM
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All of this information is awesome! I am printing out the thread to review all the advice at my kitchen table tomorrow, thanks so much, there is a lot to consider here, and yes. I was thinking of having my companion carry some of my stuff so that I can lug the camera, that is, IF I decide to bring my 7# camera pack. And I'm also going to look at those Costa Rica pictures, thanks SO MUCH! Of course I'm open to more suggestions, leaving March 10th! I did end up buying clothes from REI as well as Sahalie... I think Sahalie's line had more of what I was comfortable wearing...
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