Now that my son is over a year old, I decided it was time to get back to climbing.
My partner, Ishi, has encouraged my wish to climb all of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan before I die, and has told me that I should go there if that is the case.
So in 2022, I climbed Mt. Asama and Mt. Ena, but there was something awkward about it.
It is the handling of the camera.
Until now, I have been a person obsessed with digital cameras, carrying them with me everywhere, whether I was at the beach, in the mountains, in the city, or in the countryside. I had taken it to the beach, the mountains, the city, and the countryside, breaking it once a year and buying a new one every year for more than ten years.
However, I now use a Fujifilm X-T20 mirrorless SLR camera. The camera on the phone is just a complement to the X-T20.
It was the Sony RX100 Mark 3 that ended my digital camera story.
It was a very well-made camera, and I liked its ability to shoot well in the dark and its overall crisp image quality. It was my only flirtation with Fujifilm since I had been using a dozen or so Fujifilm condensers.
However, after a little more than two years, it too began to go bad, and when I decided that I needed to replace it, I could not find a replacement. This is because the market for digital condensers itself has shrunk, and the number of options has dwindled.
We would be happy if we could buy a good camera for a few tens of thousands of yen, but such cameras no longer exist in the market. But such cameras no longer exist in the market, because smartphone cameras have wiped out the whole area.
What remained were high-end condensers that cost more than 100,000 yen, or condensers that could be used at construction sites or underwater, or condensers that were designed to be used for other purposes. In other words, they were not very attractive to me.
When I bought the 3rd generation RX100 (Mark 3), Sony had already released the Mark 5, and I could barely afford to buy a 2-generation model at a lower price. And once again, I couldn’t afford to buy an RX100 as it was “likely to break in about 2 years”.
As a result, I bought a mirrorless SLR, the X-T20, even though I didn’t want a big one. (It is now sold out. Only used ones are still in circulation.)
The camera is based on the APS-C sensor size standard, so it is smaller than a so-called full-size SLR. However, the lens is interchangeable and sold separately, and it is much larger than conventional digital cameras.
Although I knew it, taking this camera into the mountains was a huge obstacle.
The pictures are excellent. As you would expect from such a bulky body and lens. The size of the lens makes sense.
Smartphone cameras, on the other hand, have a pleasing quality when viewed on a smartphone screen, but when viewed on a PC screen, the intentional image quality is obvious. Both landscapes and people look like “painted pictures” compared to SLR cameras.
In other words, smartphone cameras are unable to reproduce fine color detail and appear glossy.
That’s fine for portraits, because it masks the “ugliness of old people,” but when you’re shooting subjects with clear skin, like a one-year-old, or a spectacular view, a smartphone camera would be a waste.
So when climbing a mountain, it is natural to bring a SLR camera. However, I have learned that it is not enough to hang a camera on a strap around your neck.
This was because the connection between the camera and the lens (called the mount) broke when I walked around with a large lens attached to the camera body and hanging from my neck. It took two weeks and less than 20,000 yen to repair it, which was a painful expense. After that, I started holding the camera with one hand while walking with it hanging from my neck.
This is very unsettling.
I can’t hold the camera while I’m climbing because I’m using a double stock and my hands are full. If I keep the camera in my bag, it takes a long time to get a shot when I want to take a shot. I can’t just put the camera in my bag. Especially these days, when I use a GPS app on my smartphone to check my current location as I walk, my hands are even more limited. I don’t want to say I have a thousand hands, but I want to have as many hands as Asura.
Mt.Ena, I was really overwhelmed with the shooting, walking up the mountain trail before dawn in near freezing temperatures, gloves on, lantern in hand, and all sorts of messy handiwork.
It was stressful taking so long to get the camera around, partly because it was a long climb where I had to worry about the time limit for the descent from the beginning of the ascent.
I didn’t want to miss a shot, but I hated it even more that it took so long to “get the shot”.
Because of this experience, I bought a camera that can be fixed properly from the outside.
The product is called “CAPTURE” by a manufacturer called Peak Design.
What it does is exactly what you see in the picture on the box. It is easy to understand at a level that I have nothing to add to explain.
Capture is one of Peak Design’s camera accessories, a handy item that allows users to carry their camera light and have quick access to it.
It can be used instead of a camera strap and can be attached to a belt or bag to hold the camera in a stable position. The advantage is that the camera can be quickly removed at any time for quick photo shoots.
Lately I have seen a lot of people carrying cameras on their shoulder straps outdoors. I am not sure if all of them are CAPTURE, but it is the first manufacturer I would consider when considering this type of camera mount.
Similar products that look exactly like the shape and are very cheap can be found on the Internet if I search for them. However, as far as I have read the reviews, I have heard that “CAPTURE” is better. I certainly don’t want to use a product from a manufacturer of questionable origin, since I’m going to be attaching a camera, an expensive precision instrument, to my shoulder strap. If the camera is accidentally detached, it will fall and break.
At the end of January 2023, when I bought mine, there seemed to be some distribution confusion; Amazon was selling parallel imports at strangely high prices, so I bought mine from Bic Camera. I bought it from Bic Camera.
I bought this product with the understanding that it was “something I don’t understand, but it allows you to snap the camera onto the shoulder belt of your backpack.
When I asked ChatGPT to explain about CAPTURE, I got this answer.
Made of aluminum, it is lightweight, yet designed to support weight. It also features a quick-release function for easy removal of the camera. Furthermore, the plate to which the camera is attached is Arca Swiss compatible, making it also compatible with Arca Swiss compatible tripods and compatible accessories.
When the box is opened, it is clear that inside is a part that can also be called the “main body” and a square plate for attaching to a camera tripod head.
The “body,” which has two large screws attached like eyeballs, is attached to the belt of the owner’s backpack.
The plate is then attached to the tripod screw hole of the camera.
By sliding the plate into the mizo of the main body, they snap into each other. In other words, the camera attached to the plate hangs from the belt of the backpack.
To remove the unit, press the button on the left side of the main unit to unlock it, and it can be easily removed.
I think to myself, “What, that’s it? I think to myself, “What’s the point of this product?
Still, that elegant, smooth, and stable feel when it clicks into place might be worth the price.
Well, I still think there is a significant brand cost involved.
Perhaps a cheaper similar product would move more awkwardly. I’ve never used them, so I’m just guessing. Now that I’ve bought Peak Design, the only way to maintain my mental stability is to actively disparage cheap products.
I still don’t really understand how this product works.
Don’t buy it if you don’t know what it is, but there aren’t many places where you can try this kind of gear in a real store. For example, at Bic Camera’s in-store sales, all of the Peak Design products were stored in a locked glass case.
How would this case be attached to the bag’s belt?
The answer came when I looked at the body from the side. Ah, I see, there is a gap for the strap to go through. By adjusting the distance of the gap with screws, the belt and the main body are fixed.
The main unit works as shown in the picture.
It is a pain to unscrew both screws and remove from the belt, but it is possible to loosen just one of the screws to mount, remove, or fine-tune the position.
Note that although it is a cool matte chrome color, the paint will peel off quickly after a few uses. It is only pretty in the beginning.
An Arca Swiss compliant plate is attached to the camera. A hex wrench is required to attach the plate to the screw holes.
This was a problem on my next trip to the mountains. “Oh, I can’t change the battery in the camera!” And.
In the case of the X-T20, the plate was in a position where it interfered with the battery cover.
As a result, when I climb mountains now, I often connect my cell phone battery to the camera for power. It’s a lame operation, even for me.
I attached the CAPTURE to the belt of a small shoulder bag I had on hand.
Wow, it’s a thin belt, but it holds. The belt does not seem to slip while walking. This is very reliable.
Note that thicker shoulder straps, such as those used on mountaineering packs, can be accommodated by replacing the screws on the main body with longer screws.
Now you can take pictures anytime, even in the city!
You can take real snapshots with a SLR without the convenience of a smartphone!
I was so happy, but soon the weight of the camera made the belt bend. Oops.
This is still usable, but it does not provide a system for “quickly positioning the camera when there is a scene you want to capture. It seems impractical.
Since even a small APS-C camera is in this state, a larger and heavier full-frame camera would add even more weight to the belt.
It seems that the correct way is to attach it to the shoulder straps of a double-shouldered backpack.
But I don’t always walk around town with a sack on my back. A backpack is overkill for everyday use, and I spend a lot of time with my backpack down, such as on the train or in stores.
For mountaineering, it is enough to attach the CAPTURE to the backpack, but for city snapshots, another measure is needed.
So I bought this pro pad, also from Peak Design.
Distribution of this also seems to be unstable.
You may get a genuine product but at a very high price, or you may end up with a grasshopper, so you need to be careful when buying.
This “Pro Pad” is a “thin plate-like object” that is primarily used to attach the CAPTURE to a waist belt.
Originally, it was possible to attach the “CAPTURE” to the waist belt as is. However, this would cause the camera to face 90 degrees to the side, making it difficult to attach and detach. Also, if the lens is facing forward in the direction of travel, it may be suspected of “spy photography”. If the lens is facing forward in the direction of travel, it may be suspected of “spy photography”.
So I thought I should be stingy and not “CAPTURE on the hip belt itself”.
I put pro pad+capture on my waist.
Yeah, it looks good.
Looking up from below.
The camera is mounted at just the right height on the right hip, just like a gunfighter keeps his prized weapon in a holster on his hip.
I am grateful that the CAPTURE is so well made that I can quickly remove the camera and get ready to shoot.
However, there are some problems.
I was using a rubber belt at the time, but the belt sagged under the weight of the camera. This was not a problem for practical use, but it was not cool and I was uncomfortable around the waist.
A stiffer belt would eliminate this.
Also, depending on your pants, you may not be able to place the Pro Pad in the most comfortable position for you due to the position of the belt thread. There’s nothing you can do about that.
And this is a matter of getting used to it, but with the camera hanging naked on my hip, I started bumping the camera here and there a lot more than I expected. You have to be careful with that, and it was a surprise to me. I learned that in our daily lives we move, albeit unconsciously, while avoiding things with a “sense of distance” that is just barely perceptible. Just a camera protruding from the waist is enough to make us bump into things more than we expect.
If you don’t get used to it quickly, you could break the camera. Or, if you’re in a small space, you have no choice but to use the camera in such a way that you don’t hang it from your hip at all.
When I first started using Capture, the neck strap I had been using became a nuisance, especially when hanging from my waist. Especially when hanging from my waist, I was afraid of catching it on the corner of my desk or a branch of a roadside plant.
After using it for a while, I finally stopped using the neck strap and replaced it with a wrist strap.
This is also made by Peak Design.
Maybe that’s okay, because look-alike fakes sell for 1/3 the price. Even if the strings are slightly damaged, the price is still the price of a Peak Design, even if you have to buy it three times.
How could I have bought such an expensive product? This is the result of my excessive caution against the “stinky Chinese products” that have infested Amazon in recent years.
Even if the quality is a bit poor, I don’t mind cheap products, as long as they work. That is how I feel. However, I have seen too many products with stinky product names, advertising slogans, suspicious Japanese, and suspicious fonts. Therefore, I find it increasingly difficult to compromise with “cheap or bad” products. I’m afraid of getting something really “cheap and bad”.
As a result, it is ironic that the original product, which could be considered legitimate, is purchased at a higher price.
Anyway, we plan to go to the mountains about once a month in 2023. This completes my basic camera equipment for that occasion.
It would be pointless for me to be too distracted by the camera to enjoy the important part of mountaineering. Since I went to the trouble of buying this equipment, I want to take good pictures of it and post them on this site.