Taking a trip to the Grand Canyon, need some advice

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Apr 14, 2006
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Fairfax, VA
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Alright, as the title says, I'm taking a three-week river trip on the colorado river this summer. I am taking my camera with me. I'm worried about two things: Battery life, and memory

Battery Life:
The d50 has a notoriously long battery life using the EN-EL3 but three weeks is pushing it. I'm expecting to be taking a lot of pictures daily. The issue is that over these three weeks, I will have virtually no access to electricity to charge the battery with. So, i run into a problem. Can you replace the EN-EL3 with standard batteries? Granted, it would resort in shorter battery life, but I can take batteries with me plus i don't want to spend a lot on EN-EL3's. A charger for the EN-EL3 does me no good even though i can bring it with me.

The 512 MB SD card I have now will allow me to take about 300 pictures. I'm planning to take a whole lot more than that and need a way to store them. I was looking at some one-touch backup systems such as these:
which, while expensive, are cheaper per gigabyte than buying SD cards totalling any similar capacity. Do you have any recommendations? If you know of one that uses standard, replacable batteries instead of an internal, rechargeable one, that is preferable.

Thanks. I'm really looking forward to this trip. I hope my camera is too. ;)
First, only the two backup drives from TigerDirect are able to download pictures from the car directly onto the drive. The option of which one determines mostly on how many photos you plan on taking and what format you are shooting with.

As for the battery, unfortunately there is no alternative battery for the EN-EL3.

Will you have access to a 12v DC outlet, i.e. from a car? If so you can buy an inverter which will allow you to to use the charger to charge the battery.
Check www.sterlingtek.com for batteries. I have purchased a few batteries from them for my Canon 20D. Their batteries are less than 1/3 the price of the Canon ones and last longer. As mentioned, if you will have a car, there are 12V chargers available.

*edit* They have the EN-EL3 equivelent for $17.99

1 GB and 2GB cards are much cheaper than they used to be. Maybe a few cards would be a better idea than a portable memory device. I've heard that most of those things use up plenty of battery power as well...so you would have to take along batteries for it as well.
I have a Wolverine 40gb storage drive but I’m unhappy with it. Because it does not display what is on the drive ether as text or images. Lost 1gb of shots at the spring football scrimmage this year because I erased a card that I thought had been copied but had not. Be careful not to do the same.

The battery is only rate for up 6mp before it needs recharging, but I have pushed it to 8-9gb. Will you be spending one night at the river lodge? Maybe you can recharge the driven then? Also mine seem very slow.

Got to agree with Big Mike that you should get a few more cards. 2gb 80x cards are going for around 85 USD on line or at warehouse stores
I will be on the colorado river for three weeks straight. No access to electricity whatsoever, including the 12v outlets in cars.

I can get 1GB cards for $20 each. I'm hesitant to do that though. When I was in DC on monday, From 8AM to 1PM I took 232 pictures. So.... yeah. Considering that, any ideas? I mean, I can always shoot more conservatively, but i'd rather not if i don't have to.
You maybe up the river :lol: , I am going to subject you look for a hand crank 12v generator or small solar charger, check with B&H or camping supply stores, or film :shock:
Taking about an estimated 5,250 pictures @ a total of 7,875 pictures for the total trip = 8 gb ... hmmm. You could get away with 2 batteries ... if it is rated for 6gb. But you would need 8 1gb memory cards. Probably the portable storage is the way to go. You would still need a power supply unless it takes regular batteries.
I use a 40GB FlashTrax for downloading my cards when I'm traveling away from my computer. It does show have the capacity to show you the images after they are downloaded so you can be sure you have them - that uses precious battery power if you do it too much. It takes it's own battery so you'd need at least one backup battery for it as well (I have never had to go more than 3 days or so without a way to recharge it, so haven't ever pushed the battery to the limit.) Epson also makes a highly regarded battery backup. Neither is cheap.

Be mindful of sand getting in your camera on the River when you change lenses and be sure you have your camera well padded as digitals are more inclined to have problems from "impact" than most film cameras (water, well, I'm sure you know about that.)

From Sedona,

Richard Daley
If you are rafting don't forget to keep things dry. Dump it in the river and it won't matter how much battery life or memory you have.
fredcwdoc said:
If you are rafting don't forget to keep things dry. Dump it in the river and it won't matter how much battery life or memory you have.
This is a given. :p It will certainly be in a dry-bag while we're in rapids.

It looks like i have some serious research to do.
I am just jealous of the trip itself and the fact that your imaqes are less than 2MB each....what are you shooting small jpegs?
964 said:
I am just jealous of the trip itself and the fact that your imaqes are less than 2MB each....what are you shooting small jpegs?
Large, medium quality jpegs.
selmerdave said:
You need a film camera :)

This is the way i see it: I have a computer, so I shoot digital. If I had a darkroom, I would shoot film. The thing is I'm only 16 and while it would be easier to shoot film on this trip, I can't afford to switch to film before then.
I would choose the additional card route rather than the portable storage route.

If you have a card problem, you are only going to lose the shots on that card. If your portable storage unit craps out or gets damaged, you will lose ALL of your shots.

Just order several batteries from Sterlingtek to carry with you. Try to charge and discharge them several cycles before you leave to increase their capacity.

Enjoy your trip and try to balance taking in the Canyon as well as shooting it!

Keep in mind that it is hotter than hell in the bottom of the Canyon this time of year. Prepare for the heat as well as the water--photography wise and your own personal health. Wear a large hat!! You are young now, but what you do to get burned will come back to haunt you 20 years from now in the form of skin cancer.

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