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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.

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Old August 11th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Ketchikan, Alaska
Posts: 11
Equipment Over Rugged Terrain

Would some of you share how you protect your cameras while traveling over rugged terrain, or on boats?

I have a new XL H1 that I transport over mountainous roads, and I don't want to scramble it's brains while boncing over ruts and washouts. I don't think the H1 is as rugged as my 1DMkII, so I would like to know ways you have found to protect your cameras.

In order to minimize dust getting in the camera and on the lens mount, I try to put the big lens (500mm or 200mm w/TC's on before leaving. I really rather assemble the lens, TC, EF adapter, camera, and Ronsrail when I have a clean level, stable surface to work on, but when this job is finished, I have a monster piece of equipment to transport, as Merium (sp) and others of you know.

My dealer says that the pick and pluck foam deteriorates into micro dust which is harmful to all moving parts. He sells a waterproof case with a closed cell foam that is cut out for the camera and has other compartments, which I could buy, but I thought I would try to get some of your opinions.
Gestault, you know.


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Old August 12th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,948

I drive off road or trail almost daily (from September1 to feb 28) with at least one video camera on board.
I purchased a porta brace bag for the xl and a lowpro gor the gl. I never leave them on the floor.
They are either on a seat and buckled up (unless there is someone along to hold it). I also put them behind the front seat but there is something (a pillow or coat or blanket or such) under them to absorb the shock and excessive vibration.

Every off road vehicle we have used the electronics in the radios are dead within 6 months.

We have yet to have any camera failure due to off road driving.
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old August 13th, 2006, 01:10 AM   #3
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 2,673
I don't know about the XL cameras, but I frequently have my Canon XM2 with me in the boat. And I have never (yet) had any trouble with the camera from the rough treatment.
If the sea get extra rough, I usually have a blanket folded around the camera bag for extra protection.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:59 PM   #4
Regular Crew
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Franklin Furnace, Ohio
Posts: 74
I have carried my old Optura 30 around on my ATV for many hard and dusty miles without any problems at all (so far). I know that could change any time but I have a warranty that covers any failures regardless of the reason so I don't worry too much about it. I carry the camera in a padded bag and inside a hard shell box on the back of my ATV.

If you carry the camera in a sealed container of any kind you are likely to have condensation problems at some point IMO. That would be much worse than dust. If you put a cold camera in a sealed box that is even just a little warmer you will have moisture condensation and that is going to be hard on electronics.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 12:53 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 89

The only serious protection comes in the form of a hard case; Pelican, Storm Case, Otterbox, Underwater Kinetics, they are all the same really. I work in and around the water and in very dusty environments pretty much year round and the only thing that I can recommend is a hard case. I have had gear washed overboard and seawater washed over the gear on numerous occasions, and the only time water has ever penetrated a box is because i trapped an o-ring. Bags are way more convenient to carry but do not offer the same protection at all.

Regards the pick and pluck foam. Yes it is rubbish, if your dealer has a box with closed cell foam then definately go for that, or buy some closed cell layers and an electric carving knife and do it yourself.

Regards your rig. I would not recommend travelling with it in that configuration. The risk of dust behind the lens (which is avoidable even in a sandstorm) is a far safer prospect than travelling set up like that. It is a huge weight to put on a very flimsy lens mount. I know that Rons Rails and other support bars take some of this weight off the mount but one good jolt and you could risk some very expensive repairs or at least some serious focus issues... even a micro shift in the mount will put things out of line. Better move them separately until your are actually working.

Also but some goood insurance.
Natural History Cameraman
Earthmedia Film, Oslo, Norway
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