AG

Worth the Weight: Ultralight backpacking photography with the Olympus PEN-F

Mount Rainier from Grand Park ISO 200 | 21mm | F3.5 | 1/80th

One of the things that I love the most about my Olympus PEN-F camera is its chameleon-like nature. One minute it can be a tourist snapshot camera, the next a rugged backwoods professional shooting rig. Once I was even chastised for ‘still shooting film’ by a millennial.

This past summer I decided to take my PEN-F with me on my annual ultra-light hike to Mt. Rainier National Park. Those of you familiar with the concept of ultra-light hiking will immediately notice the irony of my statement. Ultra-light hiking requires that only essential items are included in one’s pack. Adding over two and a half pounds of photo gear doesn’t really fit the motif.

The Set Up

I have hiked with cameras for decades, but I have never really been satisfied with my set up.

Simple neck straps—no matter how wide—are out because of the interference with pack straps, croakies, and now hydration systems. Kuban-hitches are just too much mental origami to deal with. Similarly, hip slings can’t be used because they inevitably overlap with the main hip belt of the pack rendering them inaccessible.

It was a bit of a difficult challenge, but I was able to locate a great belt strap clip that was both strong enough securely hold my PEN-F and also small enough to fit on the limited space exposed on the hip belt of my Osprey Aether 60 AG pack. This was the key component of my set up. (IMZ’s DSLR Camera Hanger Belt Clip / 3 oz.)