How Not To Pack Gear

June 3, 2008 at 9:10 am 5 comments

Underwater DSLR CasingFor our 15th year company outing, we were headed off to beautiful Dos Palmas Beach Resort and Spa in Palawan. And my camera gear couldn’t have been more ready. The timing was excellent: the 18-135mm lenses that I bought used from a friend as well as the MB-D200 Battery Grip was hand-delivered from Japan just the day before our outing, as well as a DicaPac WP-S10 DSLR underwater pack I had ordered and delivered to my office.

Here is the official list of gear I brought with me:

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  1. Nikon D200
  2. Nikon MB-D200 battery grip
  3. Nikon SB-600 Flash
  4. 18-135mm lens
  5. 28-85mm lens
  6. 70-300 lens
  7. DicaPac WP-S10 Underwater DSLR pack
  8. Cokin P-series filter holder
  9. Cokin 58mm adapter ring
  10. Cokin 62mm adapter ring
  11. Cokin Circular Polarizer
  12. Cokin 81B filter
  13. Cokin Gradual Grey filter
  14. Slik Able-300EX Tripod
  15. Kohjinsha SH6 laptop
  16. Okion portable optical mouse
  17. Nintendo DS (Ok, maybe this doesn’t count with photography, but it’s still tech)
  18. Chargers

Note: If you’re wondering why I still brought with me my 28-85mm, it’s because I didn’t have an adapter ring for the 67mm diameter 18-135mm lens.

I had so much gear with me, that in fact I think I had more gear than clothes! Yeah! All these in tow, camera gear…check. Batteries fully-charged…check. Clothes…check. All set to go to beautiful Dos Palmas!

Now for all of you out there, here’s Piece of Advice #1: If you’re going out on a trip like this with this much gear, I advise you to make a checklist; things can get pretty hectic when you’re getting your gear ready and rushing to the airport. In my case, I didn’t have one. And I forgot probably the most important thing in my gear…

…my fully-charged D200 battery!

My first realization of this fact was in the boarding area, when my boss asked me to take a picture, and I gladly obliged. Bringing out my camera, I wondered for a second why the LCD didn’t show the available shots left (it displays even when the D200 is turned off). And I just bumped my head into the D200 (don’t worry, the D200 is tougher than my head), and muttered “ass…” All of those camera gear, and no SLR to use them with!

On the plane, I rejoiced in the fact when I remembered that I brought the MS-D200 battery holder that came with the battery grip. What this savior did was to allow me to put 6 AA batteries into the battery grip as an emergency power source. I found a sari-sari store at the dock just before leaving for Dos Palmas island (after the bus ride from the airport at Puerto Princesa) and bought a couple of batteries for P18 a piece. Piece of Advice #2: Eveready General Purpose batteries (color blue) WILL NOT power up your D200! Even with a fresh batch, they will display as battery low. At the Dos Palmas Tabu-An (their souvenir shop), I bought more alkalines, this time Kodak batteries meant to be used for cameras.

Piece of Advice #3: When operating with limited battery supply, turn off auto-focus, flash, and keep the LCD preview to a minimum. I also turned off the grid display, for good measure, but I don’t think it mattered at all. The Kodaks lasted for around 25 shots. At P270 for 6, it wasn’t going cheap…

Much later, desperate for power, I thought, flash is useless without a camera to use them with. So I salvaged the 4 NiMHs in my SB-600 and borrowed 2 more from a friend. Piece of Advice #4: NiMHs can smoke alkalines, any kind, any day. The NiMHs could shoot through 2 2GB CF cards and still keep on going (I’m still draining them right now, trying to figure out continuous flash shooting).

Much, much later, I realized that the “drained” Kodaks could still power my flash! Doh!

Anyway, head over to for the vacation pictures that I managed to take. Enjoy!


Entry filed under: Lifestyle, Photography, Tech Stuff.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mondp  |  June 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    The Golden Rule when bringing Tech Gadgets on a trip. Make sure to charge all the batteries.

  • 2. Albert  |  June 4, 2008 at 12:07 am

    It’s good that you have friends with you who are also camera/photo enthusiasts to come in and save the day.

  • 3. F Levine  |  June 29, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    How did you like the DicaPac WP-S10? I’ve got a D300 and am heading up to Alaska soon. I’ve been told that the moisture can be a real camera killer. Does the DicaPac WP-S10 negatively affect picture quality at all? Can you still easily get to the controls?


  • 4. punongbisyonaryo  |  July 1, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Well, for the price you can’t beat the DicaPac WP-S10! You’d have to shell out 3-5 times or more for the next cheapest thing (hard cases; can go much deeper; they’re worth it, but not affordable).

    The glass is supposedly specially coated, and it does give clear pictures underwater. Good for protection, just don’t bring it very deep. The controls can be accessed via finger holes (think radioactive material handling). It’s a bit of a challenge at first to change zoom, but you’ll eventually get used to it. Although if you have left-hand control dials (ISO, WB, and Single/Lo Continous & Hi Continuous selectors on the D200), you won’t be able to access it inside the DIcaPac.

    Grab one if you need one for cheap, fast protection. Even if you plan to upgrade to a real dive case, this still won’t be a waste of your money.

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