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Old April 2nd, 2002, 11:58 AM   #1
jcsteinbrunner
 
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durability

Howdy. Let me start by confessing to being a neophyte in the digital world. I work with a Chicago non-profit Connecting Classrooms to the World. We travel to remote sites such as Nepal and, in October, Patagonian Chile to deliver educational supplies and connect schoolchildren there and in Chicago via Internet. We are looking to invest in a versatile camera like the XL1 for high-quality documentary purposes.
My two questions are:
1. How durable is the XL1 in fairly rugged conditions over 2-4 week periods;
2. and do you think the camera's weight (6 + lbs) will be an issue for trekking/backpacking?
Please let me know your thoughts and if the XL1 is even the right camera.
Best,
JC
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Old April 2nd, 2002, 12:06 PM   #2
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Howdy from Texas,

Welcome aboard the DVinfoNet Cruise Lines. I think you might want to check out Community member Aaron Frick's report about using the XL1 on his African safari. Go to my website, the XL1 Watchdog at www.dvinfo.net/xl1.htm -- click on User Reports on the left side -- from there click on Aaron Frick's entry. See also his page in the Image Gallery, "An XL1 African Ed-Venture," plus "African Wildlife through an EF Lens." Hope this helps,
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Old April 2nd, 2002, 12:37 PM   #3
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thanks

much obliged, Chris. That article was extremely helpful.
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Old April 2nd, 2002, 01:03 PM   #4
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Sounds like a -very- interesting endeavor, particularly since it's launched here in Chicago!

Bruce Johnson recently wrote an article for DV Magazine about his travels in Africa with XL1 gear that you might also be interested in seeing. It's at:

http://www.dv.com/features/features_item.jhtml?category=Archive&LookupId=/dv/xml/feature/2002/bjohnson0302&_requestid=26309

You will have to register on the site but it's a free registration. I think you'll find it well worth your time, given your intentions.

One of the advantages of the XL1/XL1s is its small size and relatively low weight. COmpared to a 12-15lb ENG camera the XL1 is virtually a pocket cam <g>. Plus, when it's completely disassembled you're left with 3-5 pretty small pieces that are relatively easy to pack.

Good luck and let us know how your projects are coming along!
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Old April 2nd, 2002, 07:25 PM   #5
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Hi JC,

Welcome to the friendliest board on the net.

Do you have a URL that shows some of the work you or your non-profit group has done? I'd really be interested in seeing it...I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for sites that my nephews and nieces could tune into and perhaps participate in with their classes. They need to see more of the world.

And just to throw in my .02...I think you'll find a lot of people here who travel extensively with an XL-1(s) in tow. Like Ken says, broken down it's hardly noticeable. I recently took mine to Japan in a Kata Banana-10 bag. If you look at the camera assembled and put the bag next to it, it's hard to imagine that it all went inside it. Of course, for more protection over longer periods you'll need something with more padding...but when you need to be discreet, it packs down small. I'm betting that one of the Lowe photo/video gear backpacks or something similar would come in pretty handy.

Bon voyage.
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Old April 2nd, 2002, 07:30 PM   #6
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Hi again,

Just answered my own question, JC, as I browsed more through the site.

If anyone else wants information on your non-profit project, jump to this thread

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1478

Cheers.
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 04:27 AM   #7
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Hey JC,

I've spent pleanty of time hiking up and down the snowy peaks of New Zealand, Canada and Japan with my XL1 strapped to my back. I use a Lowepro Photo Trekker Classic back pack and it works a treat. You can spray it with Scotchguard to waterproof it up and keep your baby dry and it's got lots of places to hang stuff off. The big plus is as Rob mentioned in the other post is it is OK as cabin baggage.

Size wise I fit my complete XL1 kit in it, body, lens, VF, mic, batteries, tapes, dual battery charger/holder thingy as well as my still camera rig as well which includes a couple of sizeable bits of glass. It's surprising how much you can get in there, and how comfortable it is on my back. I've hiked in waist deep snow up a mountain and then snowboarded back to the bottom and barely noticed it.

As for durability, my XL1 has endured snow, the beach, 100's of motocross tracks, and also tropical forrests and it's served me well every time. It's a tough little trooper, you won't be dissapointed
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 08:55 AM   #8
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I spent seven weeks in Central America working on a travel video and my XL-1 performed flawlessly. I did take care of it, but that goes without saying for any piece of equipment one owns. If you take reasonable precautions you shouldn't have any trouble. If you shoot in the rain, get a rain cover etc.

I wrote an article for a friend of mine about my travels. You can read it here:

http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/video_on_the_road.html

Note that all location shots are frames of video from the XL-1. Some are seen via the FCP interface as well. I am not trying to promote my video so don't take it that way.

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Old April 3rd, 2002, 09:09 AM   #9
 
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Nice story and write-up, Greg. Thanx for sharing it.
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 09:29 AM   #10
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If DVinfo.net is interested, I can write something similar with more of an XL-1 flavor to it. Just let me know.

That article was more about traveling outside the country.

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Old April 3rd, 2002, 10:09 AM   #11
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Adrian:

How good is the waist belt on your Lowe Pro Classic? Is it sufficiently wide to distribute the weight on your hips?
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 10:12 AM   #12
jcsteinbrunner
 
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Thanks to all for replying - the information has been invaluable! In response to John Locke's interest in my trip, either follow the thread he posted or go here: http://www.activeendeavors.com/expeditions

(And, John, anyone you know who'd be interested in the trip from an educational standpoint, send 'em my way. They can simply log on as individuals or, in extreme cases, perhaps their school can even get involved with the program.)

My chief concerns with the XL1 were that less-than-studio conditions would hamper its performance. But from your stories and advice, it seems that with a decent travel pack, the right accessories, a roll of duct tape, and a rain cover I'll be in the clear! And, Adrian, I will check out that backpack.

Best, JC
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 12:18 PM   #13
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One other piece of advice. I own a HikerPro backpack/carrying case from, I think, Portabrace. They make a lot of high end stuff so check out their site. Sorry I don't have a link to it off hand.

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Old April 3rd, 2002, 12:45 PM   #14
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Greg and all,

The Porta Brace site is at: http://www.portabrace.com/
(The Hiker Pro is at http://www.portabrace.com/asp/ProdDesc.asp?DescCode=HV )

They have a very good online catalog. Select your model and then look for it at B&H Photo (www.bhphoto.com) and other places to see where you can get a good price.
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Old April 4th, 2002, 01:16 AM   #15
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JC,

the waist strap on the Photo Trekker Classic is about 3 inches and it does it's job well. Another thing you might want to check out is the Street and Field series of Lowepro packs. They are a little more expensive but it is a modular style system so you can add extra pouches, pockets and the like as you need.

The Porta Brace pack the Greg mentioned is also a top piece of gear.

Duct tape is the greatest invention of the last century. It held my viewfinder firmly in place for 2 months after I was taken down by an over zealous learner snowboarder and broke the VF pivot plate.
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