I came back from a trip to Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey. I was carrying my D800 with 24-70 on the trails in Big Sur and was thinking about where to get images. It was a steep descent and rocky. My camera with lens was heavy and I slipped and fell on my face. The camera hit the ground, luckily it works fine (lens too). It has some minor scratches, nothing else wrong with it. I never had this before. I would appreciate any inputs on how to avoid this. I was very lucky not to have this happen to my 14-24.
Prakash, Glad you and equipment are ok. This is one of the main reasons I have a little manual focus 50mm f1.8 I carry on my D300. I think if I did a lot of hiking, I would invest in a 45mm f2.8 lens that weighs next to nothing.
It is on my back when I do not need the camera, but swings around in front quickly when I want to get the camera out. When I swing it around, it also acts as a stabalizing platform for my elbows for shooting. (I know several women who have tried the design and do not like it for anatomical reasons.)
I can put two D800 bodies in it with lens attached...wide angle and 24-70mm. The gadget compartment are just right, and it has a rain cover.
It makes a great man purse as a carry-on when flying somewhere.
I was at a wedding at the week end and I had my D800, MB12, 24-70 lens, lens hood, SB900 with a flash right diffuser and the whole lot slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor. Bits went everywhere. When I looked through the viewfinder, I could see the guidelines and I thought that the camera was damaged. However, it turned out that the mirror had locked up and once I released it, everything started to work again. I checked out as much as possible and everything seems fine. There is a small skuff mark on a corner of the MB12 but eveything else seems to have survived.
Few thoughts: Camera strap, camera bag (backpack) or belt holster, don't carry the camera by hand during difficult portions of a hike, and use a walking stick/pole that can add stability. Finally, get your gear covered by valuable personal property insurance in case you do break it accidentally.
I want my camera accessible - not tucked away. When I see something while hiking, I want to be able to respond.
I typically carry my camera on a strap around my neck or over my shoulder. I usually have a hand on the camera for stability. The shoulder works well to keep the camera out of the way and makes it a little less subject to damage in a fall forward, but there is no perfect answer.
Probably the ideal solution would be a strap around your neck or shoulder and a clip to your belt so the camera is secured but quickly accessible.
You are right. I have a lowepro bag, but do not like to use it in a hike, it is not convenient to use the camera. I had the camera on my neck. That did not help. Interestingly, the lens hood was responsible for preventing the camera from getting damage.
I'm with Eric, I want my camera available. And I admit that occasionally when on an outdoor shoot I have taken a tumble, once in the Moab desert and once in a river on Maui. Camera and lens were fine both times, only I got beaten up!
Neckstraps or shoulder straps, even wrist straps may help, at least help dropping your rig. But you cannot protect against everything. I frown upon chest straps (or dual camera rigs). If you fall forward, you fall on a strong, heavy object and you will bruise or crack some ribs.
Best advice: good boots and insurance!
Jon Kandel A New York City Nikonian and Team Member Please visit my website and critique the images!
Jon and Eric want their cameras available all the time. Others seem to put more weight on protection. I try to cover both bases by carrying my D800E in a Kata R-106, which is heavily padded. Plus I carry a P7100 in one of my pockets just in case I have a wrong lens mounted on the DSLR or I can't get it out of the backpack quickly enough.
Depends on the section of trail I'm on. If it's pretty easy, like most here I like my camera to be accessible, so I'll have it on a neck strap around my neck steadied by a hand (I like the Op-tech Pro straps). If I'm crossing a steep section where I may need both hands, then I stop and put the camera in my backpack (a Kelty Redwing makes a fine daypack, IMO).
I have a number of Black Rapid Straps and find them invaluable in keeping my camera available for any shooting situation. I've actually taken a fall and landed right on my chest on steep trail and the camera was behind me and never got a scratch...I think my favorite is the RS-7. Great product in lieu of a chest strap....bob
We go on hikes nearly every week with my D800 and 28-300. My favorites are Pinnacles, Pt Lobos, and Garrapata Creek. I've used everything from the Tamrac Boomarang to the Black Rapid, MonoPods, and TriPods.
Even in a bag the camera would be at risk. Worst damage I ever had was when my bag slid off the hood of my car.
The safest thing is to take my V1 on a Black Rapid but I cannot resist the images of the D800 so that is what I have been taking everywhere except to job sites.
I've taken a few tumbles over the years, but the most exciting one was this one....in Zambia into the Zambezi River just upstream from Victoria Falls.... You know when shooting, one always wants to get a little closer, a little higher/lower etc for the best shot. I was "skootching down" closer to the edge of the river for that perfect shot, when all of a sudden I was slipping - right into the river. In spite of the looks of things, the river was both shallow and moving slowly at the edge, so I was able to get myself to the edge and out with a helping hand. Cameras of course remained dry, body was soaked....
This thread is a good lesson to remember to use common sense when you're out shooting. I recall seeing a guy nearly fall off a cliff in Yellowstone while trying to take 'the perfect picture'. Holding a camera can get you in trouble if you get caught up in the moment. If the trail is difficult enough for you to fall or get hurt, put away your camera. For those times where things are more relaxed and safe, carrying the camera on a neck strap has always been my approach. Insurance is the golden parachute for any outdoor accidents and the reassurance is well worth the annual cost in my opinion.
I confirm. After hiking several thousands of kilometers in the Alps, I can only say for hiking in likewise terrain (I poured it in facts, I risk to be patronizing here, but that is not the intention):
Fact: a trail is how you perceive it: safe, less safe or not safe... for you. Stability, litheness (supple), and the way you think about it are crucial for safety.
Fact: a good stable backpack, well fixed to your body by means of wide padded strong shoulder straps, and a wide padded & strong waist belt, is the ONLY safe place for your camera and other gear. And it is the only thing that is safe for you too. Try it out, load the backpack, put yourself out of balance with the backpack (be careful!) and see if it remains where you expect it to be. Also see where you expect yourself to be . Backpacks can be very dangerous if not well fixed to your body, and will for sure get you out of balance when you bend sideways to avoid a rock for example, so keep belts tight.
Fact: while our body and for sure our head, neck and backbone are priceless, you're attention ALWAYS goes - just for a brief moment - to that stupid (but oh so beautiful) piece of equipment, while you need that moment to stabilize yourself. Remember that camera+zoom lens weigh about 2 kg or more, enough to get you out of balance. I know by experience, don't ask me why, that moment still frightens me, not for the camera, but the danger I was in.
Fact: the more expensive your equipment is, the more likely it is you will want to protect it when you slip or fall, or just try to find back your balance.
Fact: a good insurance is ok, however, above facts remain valid with or without insurance
Take care, Marc
PS. For long hikes I have a lowepro vertex. For the shorter I have a modified flipside 300 (with an extra sturdy waist belt attached to it, one I saved from a less interesting lowepro backpack). I carry my camera too with a neck strap, only when it's safe, that is when I think it is safe... unfortunately I've been wrong too many times. And I have a pouch for just camera+zoom lens for the occasion.
I was waiting for somebody to say to avoid this, don't drop your camera!
I have not actually done this with the D800 yet but a toploading SLR camera bag is great for hiking. I have got a Lowepro one that I hook on to the belt of a small bum bag and it lets me carry my camera with lens fitted around my waist in between shots so I have hands free and the camera remains well protected. I can usually hook the neck strap over my head before removing it from the case if I am in a precarious spot. I can slide it round so it sits beside the bum bag or bring it round the belt so it is closer to the front for easy access. I think it is the best combination I have ever used to carry a camera.
I use a hand strap, so the camera is always ready and I have enough control to at least guide where it and I fall. I also think the arca type l-bracket provides a lot of protection, but adds some weight...
I have used a strap for years and never dropped my camera. Never-the-less, I now use the Cotton Carrier and could not be happier. Both hands are free, and I can access my camera in seconds. My neck no longer bothers me when transporting my camera. Using the Cotton Carrier provided a very stable and safe way to carrie my camera. Check it out!
I also use their hand strap, which works perfectly on my D800E.
As well the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest as the Strapshot look very good indeed! Thank you for the recommendation. Because of the weight of the camera+zoom, I would prefer the vest, I'm a bit afraid the strapshot would put to much strain on one shoulder when carrying a heavy backpack for longer hikes (more than 6 hours), especially in mountain area's, specifically when descending.
I browsed the FAQ, but did not find if it can be worn together with a backpack (my Lowepro Vertex or flipside300 for example). Does the side you wear on your back not interfere with the backside of a backpack? The add shows people standing on top of a mountain, but they don't carry a backpack, which is odd, therefore I suspect it is not compatible with backpacks.
Nevertheless, I think I will buy a vest for the occasions I don't have a backpack with me, or when I'm biking (found a positive comment on this in the other forum). But before I do that I'm going to browse the posts in the forum mentioned below.
And I Second your views. At the Grand Canyon and Zion Canyon having both of my hands free was vital. Sometimes I would spy out a scene to capture then I would check my footing and position, then get the D800 into position and record the scene. Safety First.
"Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh