Electronics while Traveling… A Burden or a Blessing??

“What the %#*! Electronics am I going to bring on this trip??”

This is usually the first thing out of my mouth when I start thinking of what we are going to pack for our latest adventure.

Deb is usually concerned over all of those non important things like Visa’s, Shots, Banking etc. But it is I who dares to ask this dreaded question that plagues every photographer before they jump on that plane and head to the next destination. Well maybe not everyone but me for sure. Technology changes so much I am always chomping at the bit for the latest greatest on the market. Unfortunately I am limited to a budget so it narrows down the choices. Like anyone I would love to spend 10,000 on the best gear as long as someone else is paying for it. But alas the funds must come from my coffers so money is an issue.

The theme for our electronics on this adventure is “Change it up”.


Panasonic GH1

First on the list was a new Digital camera. Most of you know that I take my photography very seriously so making the decision to leave my Canon kit at home was not made lightly. I have always found that having all that gear is great on a short trip, but on an adventure like we are undertaking I needed something more compact and lightweight.  After many hours of research and discussion I bit the bullet and bought the Panasonic GH1 with the 14-140mm lense. Now I have never used a micro four thirds camera before but what better way to dive into a new format and see how it performs than to put it through it’s paces in central Asia for a year or more. The GH1 is lightweight, small and got great reviews. It also can double as a video camera if I want. But video is another category all together.

I will be giving updates from my photography website www.picturetheplanet.com (still in the works) supported with images to let everyone know how this camera is performing on the road so stay tuned. Well on to the next piece of electronics the Video camera…

No matter what adventure we are taking on it has always been important to document it through video. We have experimented with many different types of camera’s ans formats ans still have not found the best one. So keeping with the theme of changing things up for this adventure we decided to try a new brand and format.

Sanyo Xacti HD 2000

Sanyo Xacti HD 2000

We went with the Sanyo Xacti HD2000. Now this video camera looks more like a Philishave Electric razor, but it has all the features we are looking for. It is small, compact, easy to use and full HD. It also takes 8mp still images so it can double as a snappy camera as well. The image quality is great with it’s CMOS sensor and it has simple yet effective in camera controls.

This will be the first time we are using a camera that records only on SDHC memory cards. We have used Mini DV tapes in the past so it is a little nerve racking knowing that it is all on a memory card and nothing tangible like a tape. We’ll see how that goes.

All of our electronics will be put through their paces like high altitude, cold temperatures, extreme heat, deserts etc. If any company wanted their products tested well this is the the adventure they should send them on(wink, wink).

With all of our digital media being recorded on memory cards the next consideration is storage. Where do you store a year or more worth of images and video?

For starters we are bringing 2 external hard drives that total 500gb in storage. These are also really small and compact(is there a theme here??). The 2 drives should look after the immediate need for storage as well I upgraded the drive in our Mac Book Pro to a 500gb giving us a grand total of 1TB to download all of our video and stills.

External HD

External HD

We are also looking into online storage for later down the road and of coarse I will be backing up all images on DVD and mailing them home as another form of backup.

Editing on the road is also an integral part of producing great quality images and video. For this we will be bringing 2 Laptops. The Powerbook G4 which Deb will be using for writing, and the Macbook Pro which we will use for all of our editing needs.

Macbook Pro

Macbook Pro

Now here is where we veer away from the theme a little bit. We are very familiar with our computers and have used them extesively for editing and everything else, so lets say these are our electronic security blankets.

As you can see we are Apple junkies so what Mac equipment list wouldn’t be complete without the IPhone. This truly is a step into new territory for both of us. We have used a phone overseas only very sparingly while in Africa last year, but found it indespensible when setting up meetings and interviews back home and abroad. So why not bring one that is more than just a phone it is a way of life :-) With translators, GPS, maps, Skype and a host of other apps we hope that it will help to make traveling and blogging a little more easier.

IPhone 3g 16gb

IPhone 3g 16gb

So in conclusion, are electronics a Burden or a Blessing? In my opinion they can be a bit of both. If you let them weigh you down and take over your travel experience, then yes they are a burden, but if you use them o compliment your experiences then they certainly can be a blessing.

Just remember: The joy of traveling is not defined  just by the experiences you have on the road, but also by sharing them with the world around you. By giving others an insight into the countries that you travel in you bring them closer to understanding different worlds and cultures. And in the end, isn’t that what traveling is all about??

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