Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

Should I take my DSLR?

Posted by lylzezane01 on 3/9/2012 at 12:02

So Im heading back and planning to cover most of south Cambodia in December. I did a trip at the start of this year and went from KL to Hanoi, via Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. I had a compact camera with me and have had a lot of trips where this was just fine and I had no hassles. But my trip to Laos made me decide that this time I will take my DSLR next time.

What do you guys think? As far as I know Ill be doing Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, but I cant tell you any more than that. Should I take it? I am more worried about leaving it in a hotel room because I can guess that I will be roughing it. How do I disclose it properly when Im out and about so I dont catch attention? (Im already young, very pale and tall with dark hair and light features).

Also, I will more than likely be doing a whole lot of nothing on beaches, so I figure what better way to pass time and see my surrounds. Any opinions and tips will be great :)

#1 lylzezane01 has been a member since 3/9/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 20

Posted by busylizzy on 3/9/2012 at 14:51

I just keep my camera, etc locked in my backpack whenever I leave it behind in the room. I also hide any cables, etc. If in doubt, carry it with you.

It's always a difficult one about feeling conspicuous when using a DSLR in Asia. I generally feel OK in the more touristy areas where everyone is used to seeing them. But if I'm in remote -off-the-beaten-track areas, I will often prefer to use my smaller point-and-shoot (I carry both normally).

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by mikethediver on 3/9/2012 at 16:01

Hi, Don't take it.
Life is living it. Enjoying being where you are. Life is being a part of it.
What advantage does it mean to have a DSLR? You were there. You saw it. You did it. Do you want to live your life through a camera lens just so you can show the people back home what you saw? I have thousands of photos sitting in boxes and later on hard drives that no one has seen.
Enjoy the moment, live the moment. Pictures come a very last place!! Don't take it. Take a cheapo and enjoy just being there!

#3 mikethediver has been a member since 23/3/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 206

Posted by busylizzy on 3/9/2012 at 19:00

Good point Mike.

Not sure if I could bring myself to leave a camera behind, but I do sometimes make an effort to go out and about without my camera - for the reasons that you stated. To enjoy and live the moment, and also to eliminate the barrier that a camera can be to meeting locals, etc.

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by lylzezane01 on 3/9/2012 at 22:29

If only everyone had your attitude! Just last night I was at a large-ish gig and I couldn't see anything because I was stuck behind some overly high pitched girls who felt the need to record the whole show on their phones. But before you call me a hypocrite, my photos are often published in a magazine and it is more than just a tourist-thing to brag about your adventures with to friends when you get home.

On one hand, all of my serious photo-taking friends are adamant that I take it with me and even shun me for traveling before without it. On the other, majority of travellers are saying not too. Oh whatever shall I do?

#5 lylzezane01 has been a member since 3/9/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 20

Posted by goonistik on 3/9/2012 at 23:03

Naturally the dedicated photographers will tell you to take a dslr and the casual photographers will tell you to take a compact.

If photography is a serious pursuit than take the DSLR.
If you are backpacking and want to travel light, than take the a point and shoot.

It all depends on what is best for you.

#6 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 562
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 4/9/2012 at 20:21 TF writer

Take the DSLR.

There's nothing worse than looking at point-and-shoot photos post-trip and wishing they were better.

#7 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by lylzezane01 on 4/9/2012 at 22:16

Thanks. Ive decided that I will take my cheaper slr. It doesnt look as 'bling' and Im not as attached to it so I wont be so heartbroken if it goes hiatus. I plan to do a longer when I finish my degree from the NT to Sweden and I figure ill see a lot more and be more comfortable spending more money on good insurance (I have expensive lenses and I'm under 21 so its expensive). This is more of a chill out trip. Not to mention beach photography can get really generic after awhile.

#8 lylzezane01 has been a member since 3/9/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 20

Posted by Juha_H on 17/12/2013 at 14:57

Hi there,

Great topic. I'm going this week to Cambodia and thinking should I take 5D II DSLR and fistful of L-series lenses with me or not. I'm bit worried if the whole camera set is stolen in no-time, but I believe that it's worth to take the risk because landscapes in Cambodia are probably so beautiful and khmer people have really photogenic smile.

#9 Juha_H has been a member since 13/12/2013. Posts: 21

Posted by lylzezane01 on 17/12/2013 at 16:23

If you are travelling to Cambodia for the first time I really recommend that you take your 5D. I wouldnt worry too much about taking too many lenses (they are annoying to carry, get dirty, brake easily) etc. I was so paranoid because I was staying in hostels and that but if I was staying anywhere else and it was my first time I would have definately taken it.

I have travelled around asia 7 or so times and I have only ever had two things stolen from me. One was when my luggage was under a bus and the other was in a high end hotel. I was an idiot and use the safe. The cleaning ladies stole my stuff.

So yeah, Id say take your DSLR. Cambodia is too beautiful to miss out on. Make use of safes. Always padlock your bag (even if the locks dont close the zips- its just a deterant and if theives really wanted to get in there they could anyways). Dont flash about your things and try to look as low key an unimportant as possible.

I met a guy over there that took his 10C. He just covered it in duct tape and elastic band and what not to make it look broken. Judging by his blog, the tactic seem to have worked.

#10 lylzezane01 has been a member since 3/9/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 20

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