Zebralight lights for hiking

I’m currently researching torches (why do some people call them flashlights? They don’t flash :)) for hiking, and I’m pretty impressed with Zebralight so far.

I have a few plans in mind with the light and I’m left with a million questions… Firstly, imagine a mountain setting with a tent set up and the tent is illuminated from the inside. Do you match the colour temperature with the moon? Do you pick a daylight colour temperature? What if youwant a light during the day to act as a fill light i.e. a poor man’s flash?

I spent the whole day thinking “4000k is too warm” but then I had this eureka moment… The moon is 4000k, not 5000k. Well, it wasn’t much of a eureka moment. I’m stlil left with similar questions; do I get a 4000k or a 5000k light?

Zebralight make a few models worth considering, in my opinion. The Zebralight H600Fd IV is a high powered, 5000k high CRI (93-95 CRI) light with 1000+ lumens of power. I’m inclined to buy this model but it’s slightly heavy and really quite expensive. The light itself is 39 grams but with a battery you’re looking at 84.6 grams and a charger is another 20 grams.

Speaking of which, the Olight® Universal Magnetic USB Battery Charger looks great :).

The other model I have my eye on is the Zebralight H53c. It’s a 4000k high CRI light but it’s not half as powerful. It is lighter weight (about 55 grams with a battery) and can take AA’s (should you not wish to bring a charger, most shops sell AA’s.)

I hope that one day Zebralight will make a light the size of the Zebralight H53c with a USB-C charging port, it’ll accept a lithium battery, and it’ll have a colour temperature of 5000k :).

Unrelated sewing stuff

Lastly, an update about my previous post. I’ve found the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl’s standard straight needle is a bit thick for what I want, so I have ordered a fine needle.

Happy new year – more travel equipment

Have a happy new year everyone :).

I’ve been buying more stuff for my trip across Canada. I was so impressed with the La Sportiva Bushido shoes I had (they were the wrong size) that I’ve decided to order a bunch of different models in a bunch of different sizes. It’ll probably cost a bomb returning them which I’m not pleased (I’m being bled dry and I haven’t even walked a mile in Canada yet), but I want to find the perfect shoe for Canada :).

I have also received more camping and hiking equipment, and I will be doing a few modifications to my backpack. I have the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest. I wasn’t sure what size to buy in all honesty… For hiking in England, I’ve always just used whatever is at hand. If I didn’t have enough bag space, I’d literally carry two bags (lol.)

I think I’ve bought the right size though. It can roll up quite small, but for river crossings I can throw all my camera gear in there. I need to find a way to attach a camera bag to the side of the backpack. I’m thinking a simple piece of nylon webbing, some paracord and some creativity will allow me to have my camera at hand.

I plan to put a cuben fibre stuff sack inside of my camera bag, this should aid water resistance but I’ll probably have to pad it with something. When I’ve thought on it a bit more, I’ll start making some stuff, photograph it and show you what I mean :). At the moment, I’m just rambling because I want to get into the habit of updating my site more frequently.

Arcteryx Skyline

Best shirt ever? I really like Arcteryx–their fabrics are awesome. I bought a thermal jacket (synthetic) and I’m in-between a medium and a large (long limbs but I’m slim.) That’s a bit disappointing because the large looks baggy on me, (that’s not arcteryx’s fault per-se; it’s mine for not being fat enough or whatever.) However, the sleaveless acteryx skyline shirt fits really well in a size medium, and the fabric is amaaaaaazing. I’m really fussy about that kind of thing; it’s stretchy like a gym shirt, and it’s really soft but it’s kind of formal looking. I wish I had about ten of them, haha.

Montbell

I decided to go against people’s advice and buy the Montbell Storm Cruiser. It’s slightly heavier than the recommended Montbell Torrent flier. My logic was that I could fold the hood away (as per a YouTube review I saw) and use it in England, as a main sort of jacket. Wrong. They’ve removed the hood hide away thing, so you’re stuck with a hood.

Ironically, it’s much lighter than I thought and it’s perfect for what I want, for hiking. I’m really glad I got this model of jacket, but for slightly different reasons. The zip pockets go above my backpack belt, which was a concern, so I’m pleased about that. Again, I’ll write a review on this stuff but that’s just my initial impression of the Montbell Storm Cruiser jacket.

The Japanese site sells it a lot cheaper, but it’s out of stock and I was unable to find out when it would be in stock. Montbell was slow to respond to emails, said the price difference was “currency fluctuation” (get out of here) and I’m not sure what to make of that… The product is great so I’m pleased but I wasn’t impressed with the customer service.

ZPacks

I bought the biggest and widest ZPacks Sleeping bag, a ZPacks Altaplex tent and a few other things. They were quick to respond, posted the items quickly and they look great. I haven’t tried the tent yet but I have tried the sleeping bag.

One concern was the girth of the bag. I have wide shoulders but as I said, I’m slim. I thought 61 inches would be okay but I went for the 66 inch model, really worrying it’d be way too big. It’s just right for me, I think. I think I am about 50 inches around my chest, and they say to add 8 inches, so 58 inches. Yet for me, I wouldn’t want the smaller 61 inch model. This was pure luck on my part :).

 

 

Camera bags for the Sony a7rII, Sony a7rIII or the Sony a9

I’m considering buying a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens and I’m looking at a small bag to be used with my Sony a7rII and my hiking backpack i.e. I’ll have a little side bag.

I originally planned for the PCT and would be bringing a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens or a Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens; therefore, my Lowepro Toploader 45 AW II would work perfectly. Unfortunately, judging from the measurements, the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens won’t quite fit! I’m probably going to get a Lowepro Toploader 50 AW II as it’s slightly bigger but not too big.

Anyway, after re-reading my camera bag photography reviews (12 and 3), I’ve decided I definitely need to re-write them. I’m awfully lazy when it comes to writing reviews but it makes me look a bit stupid / like a slob, haha. I can’t promise when I will get around to re-writing them as I have hurt my arm and it’s a bit painful to type. I will try sometime in the future.

I’ve also bought another bag since then as well, a Crumpler Muli 7500, which I also highly recommend. When I get the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens, I will see which bags it fits in and let you know if it works in this too.

The Sony a7rIII is a beautiful camera

The Sony a7rIII has been announced and I think it’s a great camera in its own right. I’d love one if I could afford one. Well, I can technically afford one but I think it’s a smarter decision to put my money into travel/glass….

Sony does not make too many cameras

Sony often gets railed at for releasing a lot of cameras in a short space of time, but when you look at Canon, Nikon or any other company interested in catering to multiple demographics, they release quite a few products. Canon has the rebel line, the 5dSR (which is neither a 5dmk3 or a 5dmk4), 5Dmk4, 6DII, 7DII, 80D, etc. However, Canon make their cameras vastly different in shape, and no one says they’re releasing too many cameras a year, even if they release a million all in the same year.

The Sony a7II, Sony a9, Sony a7sII and the Sony a7rIII all look pretty similar but they appeal to a different demographic just as much as the 5dmk4 and the 80D do. In other words, I think Sony would get criticised less for releasing numerous cameras a year if they made their cameras a different shape. Do I believe they should do that? Generally speaking, no. I like their decision for the most part. I love that they’re all pretty much the same size/shape with the same battery (the most recent cameras have a bigger battery but I’m sure they’ll stick with it as a standard across the board, soon enough.)

The Sony a9 line should be the exception, in my opinion. I believe it should be slightly larger. At some point, the Sony a7II series is going to be so good that it’s going to step on the toes of the Sony a9. If the Sony a9 was slightly bigger, it could have another processor or extra ram or whatever. When you start putting everything in the same body, you’re deliberately gimping something, and I’m not sure what should be gimped with the Sony a7III. The autofocus? I don’t think mirrorless autofocus is fast enough to be gimped yet, and it was originally meant to compete with the 5d line, so it’d be nice if it had a great autofocus. Gimp the dual card memory slots? Not a good idea, in my opinion. Gimp the joystick? Again, not a good idea. The Sony a9 forces the Sony a7rII series to be gimped in some way.

Where’s the extra dial?

The Sony a7rIII doesn’t have the extra dial the Sony a9 has, and in my opinion this is a sign of the aforementioned; the cheaper series is now starting to look deliberately cheaper. It wouldn’t cost more than $2 for Sony to implement an extra dial, and it’s something I’d really like to see on the camera.

The other improvements are great, in my opinion. It’s also great they’ve implemented a USB-C port. I think USB-C is single-handedly the best thing to happen to handheld devices. I hope this doesn’t mean they’ll start turning into power hogs just because they can be power hogs.

I bought the Sony a7rII with the plan to one day hike 2650+ miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in America. Although my Visa was denied twice, and I’ve basically said **** America for now, I still plan to do a long distance hike (I’m now looking at Canada, for next year as I’m allowed to stay there quite some time) next year. I’ll most likely hike the Great Divide Trail and some additional hikes. Having an efficient camera is important to me.

The dual card slots are a welcome addition. It’s the one thing I really, really want. I’m not even sure I need a bigger battery (I can charge my camera up with a power bank), but dual card slots is always nice. If the card doesn’t malfunction and the card slot doesn’t break, it’s not needed obviously. There’s ways I can circumvent this problem somewhat and use my smartphone as a portable backup device (I can plug my SD card directly into my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and copy my RAW photographs) but it makes me feel uncomfortable.

The autofocus I don’t really care about too much but it’s a smart move, in my opinion. Sony’s done a good job here, there’s just two main complaints I have really…

 

What the **** is with the PC sync port? Camera companies are encouraging flash companies to use this archaic technology. We’re in 2017…

I’m not sure about the MicroSD port plus a USB-C port. I guess it makes sense because you can charge the camera while supplying data. It’d be better to just have two USB-C ports though.

The lack of a dial the Sony a9 has is a bit of a bummer, in my opinion.

There’s not really any huge complaints here though. It’s a solid camera, and I’d definitely buy one if I could justify the price for the extra battery life, SD card slot and an improved viewfinder (I don’t care about the other stuff so much.)

For people in the UK who want to pick up a bargain, eBay has the Sony a7rII at a very cheap price point.

The Great Trail in Canada, photography and hiking equipment

I’m expecting to leave around April-May to hike some of the Great Trail in Canada. It’s a 15,000 mile long trail so obviously I won’t be doing all of it, but I would like to hike at least 1/10th of it.

I’m going to try visit the more sunny and scenic places first. After googling for a long time, there really doesn’t seem to be much documentation on it compared to the Pacific Crest Trail. The official “The Great Trail” website is useful in regards to the trail’s exact coordinates but there’s no information on what hiking equipment to bring.

It seems that the best way to research the hike is to break it up into small (smaller?) pieces. So for example if you’re interested in hiking around BC, find the section that passes through BC and similar hikes in that area, and then google the equipment required for those hikes. It still seems like a lot of guestimation, but I’m just glad I can go somewhere :). In all honesty, equipment virtually identical to the middle-latter parts of the Pacific Crest Trail might be suitable for a lot of Canadian hiking.

In regards to photography equipment. I’m a bit lost at sea. I’m thinking of bringing my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens, but I’m really not sure. I’m still considering the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens as well, instead of the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master.

When hiking in Canada, it seems you could bring 100kg of equipment and still not have enough! There’s so much to photograph, from wide-angle landscapes to 600mm shots of bears. However, a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens would really have me covered for 99% of my landscape needs.