Being a photographer and loving to thruhike is a pain in the butt! it’s a constant compromise to find a camera that will provide good enough quality but still not weigh too much as my base weight is an important factor (or at least I still try to convince myself that).
Which let me to a huge decision on camera setup for my 2020 hikes
Going through my videos from my last two hikes – Skåneleden, Coast to coast in Sweden, and Kustleden (King’s Way) in the Swedish Lapland I came to the conclusion that my current setup just isn’t good enough.
After a bunch of research I came to the conclusion that the Canon EOS M50 would be the perfect compromise between weight and quality – as it was supposed to be good for videos and for pictures. So before departing on my first hike back in 2019 (the Coast to coast) I bought the Canon EOS M50 with a 11-22mm lens.
Being lazy as I am I never got around to looking at the videos I did with the camera, and the pictures I took turned out descent enough, but nothing crazy impressive (I am talking about the quality) but I didn’t really think too much about it.
UNTIL last week when I decided to start editing the videos to see if I could get then out before my trip to Arizona.
Canon EOS M50 Vs iPhone X
Going through the videos I realised that the video quality is SO MUCH better on my iPhone X (I have since upgraded to iPhone 11 Pro). The stabilisation is much better on the iPhone, and the details are way more pronounced as well, making a cleaner and sharper looking video.
To say that I am shocked is an understatement, there shouldn’t even be a question about the quality difference between an APS-C sensor and an tiny tiny sensor in a smartphone, the Canon EOS M50 looks like crap compared to the videos I did with my iPhone.
I think the problem is that you need to shoot 4K video to get the best quality out of the Canon EOS M50, but by doing so you loose the dual pixel autofocus system of the camera – which is why Canon usually is so good at video, and the camera crops in another 1.6x on top of the standard APS-C crop (1.6x) meaning that you basically use a sensor that is about 2x the size of the one in a smartphone, and then it doesn’t really make sense anymore.
I have been going through all my videos from the two hikes now to make sure that I didn’t just do something wrong, and unless my camera or lens is defective the camera is utter crap at videos.
Nothing looks sharp, but when I look at the pictures I don’t see the same problem, so it is definitely not the lens 🙂
the huge decision on camera setup for my 2020 hikes
Going forward I will bring my Sony A7 III camera together with the Samyang 18mm and 35mm lenses.
The Samyang 18mm I will use mainly for landscapes (which is probably about 98% of the time) and the Samyang 35mm for towns, people and just to switch it up a little on trail.
This setup weighs 880g (31 oz) compared to the 647g (23 oz) of the Canon EOS M50 setup, so that is not too crazy of a compromise for a considerable quality upgrade.
I will be going back to using my iPhone 11 Pro for videos as I am still not convinced that the hassle of setting up the camera every time you need to make videos, is worth the trouble, even though you do get a very nice looking video with the fancy blurry background etc.
But I am not there yet, where I want to spend that much effort to videofilm – especially when I am still blown away by the quality of the iPhone.
I will try to do some videos with the new setup just to see the difference, and who knows, maybe my CDT thruhike in 2021 will have to be filmed with this setup?
I am not totally happy with the decision as I thought that the Canon EOS M50 was the perfect setup, and after using a wide-angle lens for landscapes I will not be able to go back to 35mm (which I used on my thruhike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018) even though I love the Fujifilm X100F I just think I will miss the wideangle lens now.
So as I started by saying, it’s a constant compromise 🙁 but thankfully my backpacking setup is pretty descent so I do have some wriggle room for camera stuff – and it is something that is pretty important to me which is why I keep changing it until I find the perfect solution 🙂
But it still sucks using so much time and effort (and money) to cut down the weight on my baseweight, only to end up with a heavy camera setup.
I will let you know how it went when I get back home from my hikes 🙂