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Field report of using Canon EOS D30, IBM 340 MB microdrive, and 6 GB Digital Wallet on Madagascar

In June 2001 I traveled to Madagascar with my Canon D30 + IBM 340 MB microdrive + 6 GB Digital Wallet combo. This was my first all digital travel, and, as I had previously been using sturdy cameras like the EOS3, I was obviously a little anxious as to how the equipment would fare. Major concerns were electricity and general rough handling.

Electricity:

Along with the digital stuff went two batteries for the D30 and the two dedicated battery chargers for the D30 batteries and the DW respectively (as well as 17-35/2.8 L, 28-105/3.5-4.5, 70-200/2.8 L, 100/2.8 USM macro, 300/4 IS L, 1.4 & 2.0 X teleconverters and EX550). The major concern of mine before the trip was whether I would be able to find electrical power at all the odd places we were going to go. This turned out not to be a problem (mostly) however. On the other hand, the quality of the power source immediately gave rise to lots of concern. At the first Reserve we visited, Berenty, the staff directly warned against charging any sort of electrical devices using their power generator, as the voltage fluctuated greatly and rapidly up and down. One day down the road both my D30 batteries had gone flat of course, so . . . I had to take the chance. Reluctantly I started to charge the batteries and nearly got a heart attach each time the light intensity in our bungalow would dim or increase. It went fine however, and despite encountering this voltage fluctuation problem throughout Madagascar I never had a problem with the chargers.

Dust, rain and shock:
 So the next concern of course focused on how well would all the digital hardware cope with all the rough roads, dust, rain, humidity etc etc this type of destination always provides. You have to realize that traveling over land in Madagascar involves some of the most bumpy and dusty rides you can imagine. So, when going from place to place, I tried to keep the camera zipped up in my bag in by daypack and always kept the daypack in my lap to protect it from all the bumps. Although I have not done a thorough test, I have not observed any obvious dust problem on the chip, and at least I can say with confidence that the bumping did not cause the D30 to fall apart. In the rainforest in Perinet NP we also got rained on, and as we encountered the indri lemurs during one of these showers, so did the Canon D30. Of course, I tried to keep it out of the rain as much as possible, but it did get more wet than I liked. The D30 also survived this sort of mishandling.

Conclusion:

 As mentioned, this was my first ever all-digital-travel, and I entered the trip with much anxiety. However, as the all the hardware operated flawlessly throughout the trip, I have gained much confidence in the ability of the hardware to endure bad travel-handling. My EOS3 and EOS5 bodies has since been sold.

If you want to see more images from the trip, follow this link to the image gallery then go to the image gallery and type Madagascar in the search box.

 


This text was first submitted to the DPreview Canon SLR forum