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Camera:digital or disposable?

Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPdP 2007, TBD 2017
I'm trying to decide whether to bring my digital camera with me.

Digital Pros: takes great quality pics, can take as many pics as I want without adding more weight/space to my pack

Digital cons: needs batteries, risk of being stolen with all my pics! heavier than disposable

Disposable Pros: LIGHT, not going to be stolen

Disposable Cons: may need several to have enough which can get roomy, not very ecological.

Has anyone had a camera stolen on the camino?


Active Member
Hi Lauren,
I haven't done the camino as yet - however hopefully I may have some useful advice re: digital vs disposable camera. This may be your only camino you get to do so why sacrifice ordinary/poor photos with fabulous ones - take a light weight digital with you. If you shoot in jpeg you will get hundreds of photos on a 1GB card - they are light weight and you would probably only need 4 in total. Disposable cameras are poor quality in comparison - they work out more expensive with buying them, processing the film and then scanning or printing out the photos. Often out of a 36 exposure there will only be 6 decent ones, so per photo they work out very expensive. Plus they are hopeless in low light conditions - and remember you will want to take some photos in the cathedrals. Often flash isn't an option or if you do use a flash you end up with awful black backgrounds. You can get some terrific point and shoot compact digital cameras - quite light and reasonable price. It sounds like you already have a digital. If you're not super happy with it -Check out the panasonic and canon ranges - look for one that has a good wide aperture - eg f2.8 or f3.5 (good for low light) and if you can, look for a 28mm wide lens to take some great landscape shots.
Remember - store your used cards seperate from your camera and take your camera in a front pouch or similar - you'll want to have it on you all the time anyway so you don't miss a great shot. That reduces the stealing risk. At night, keep it down the bottom of your sleeping bag with your passport and money.
Buen camino and I look forward to you posting some fabulous images! :)


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Don't compromise with photos-which end up being a significant part of your memories-especially when you get forgetful like me.Digital cameras are very light being mostly of plastic and take MUCH better photos.
Dear Lauren,
It's gonna be digital for me, precisely because this is my dream camino. I shoot anything that moves, or doesn't move (churches, scenic views, monument, people), images worth preserving in the best quality I can get. Plus, digital gives you the flexibility of on the spot editing. Don't like the shot, delete and reshoot while still there! My first camino I took a very small lightweight advantix camera and was disappointed when I got my developed film and some of the best views were spoiled. :(

Not taking a gamble now, I'm taking 2 2gb for my very small Canon Powershot SD550 ELPH. Its tiny but juicy battery takes up to 160 shots in one charge. Camera with battery and charger weighs only 220 gr. Measuring 89.5 x 57.0 x 27.4 mm, you can carry with you anywhere you go!

Buen camino peregrina! :arrow:
Camino(s) past & future
September 2006
August - September 2017
I took my digital pocket sized camera, a Nikon CoolPix 4600, with two 2 MB SD cards, and took over 1500 pictures. The camera fit in my front pocket. Also, my camera uses AA Batteries, and I got over 1000 pics on one set (pair) of Lithuim batteries. One third the weight of regular batteries and last 7-10 times longer. But they do cost more. Weight was my biggest concern, but AA batteries were for sale just about everywhere along the Camino, if I had needed them.
My wife also has a Nikon CoolPix, but older and uses the larger in size memory card, but only 1 mb. She took about 400 pictures.
I have the pictures as my screen saver, and have posted them on a Kodak site to share. I doubt that I could do that with a disposable…
I never saw or heard about anything being stolen, but caution is always advised.
Janeh has lost of good insight.
In sum, I’d take my digital again.
Buen Camino.
Take a digital. i filled a 1gb and a 512. almost 1200 photos at the highest quality.
It is also great taking a video of the incense burner and the singing in santiago.
i also took a very light weight battery charger and 4 batteries with me.
i believe things to be very safe (even thou i lost my watch) the universe telling me i no longer needed on. anyway just don't leave things lying around. if you go out, take your camera with you.
We are frequent travellers all over this planet and there is no question: DIGITAL. Nothing else. Disposables have a really atrocious quality, not to mention the missing zoom etc. - I wouldn't touch them. Get yourself a nice ligthweight digital one with 3 optical (!) zooms, a few 1GB SD cards and fire away. Oh, "the money". Well, compared to the rest of what you will spend on the Camino it's peanuts. Depends what memories are worth to you.

You will need a charger (220/230 Volt in Europe), but that shouldn't be a problem. Don't use these cheap digicams with AA or AAA batteries. You'd have to schlepp around half a stone of spares...

I'm always absolutely stunned about the angst people have that something (camera, passport etc.) "gets stolen". Nobody never ever pinched something from us. And we have been in some really funny places, I can tell you.

In most cities you can transfer ("burn") from your memory cards to CD. That frees a card, but will cost a few bucks.

Well. Of course you would need a computer cum software back home, so you can make a slide show and so...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPdP 2007, TBD 2017
Yup. You are right. My Cannon Powershot Digital it is. I think I'm just at a loss how to make my pack lighter. (there's no way I'll get it to 10% of body weight, oh well.)
(And Jerry, thanks for the advice, I'll use lithium batteries and not take a charger, perfect!)
Lauren :)
Making your pack lighter can be done, and is very much worth it. Mine was 10 or 11 pounds plus water. I don't think I would have made it through the first few days with a heavier pack. One rule of thumb -- don't take ANYTHING "just in case." Really. You can buy anything you need in Spain. My bag got a little heavier as I went along, but by then I was used to carrying the weight.
pack lighter
Hm. I have to admit I'm biased. Because when I walk the Camino francès (all the way) in May 2008 I will have booked luggage transport. Sorry...

Ok. I always have this handy excuse of my "old spinal injury" - which, alas and unfortunately and so on - is not a lie. I'm allowed to have transported by some eager spanish taxi drivers - lo and behold - 48 kilograms (sic!) of luggage (plus what I will schlepp around in my shoulder bags). Now, that would be how many AA batteries? 5.000 or so? Hm. I might even bring my lawnmower. C'mon: what's a kiwi without a lawnmower and/or a chainsaw?

A chainsaw would keep off the dogs too...
Howie said:
Hm. I have to admit I'm biased. Because when I walk the Camino francès (all the way) in May 2008 I will have booked luggage transport. Sorry...

I might even bring my lawnmower. C'mon: what's a kiwi without a lawnmower and/or a chainsaw?

A chainsaw would keep off the dogs too...
Heck, in that case take a real inflatable mattress so you won't have to worry about the bedbugs. I like the chainsaw idea, but I don't know where you'd plug it in. :wink:

If you're planning to carry everything yourself, though, it's very nice to have a lightweight bag. And when I look back, it still kinda amazes me that I survived for a month on the contents of a 10-pound backpack.
Mate, only in NY, NY do they have chainsaws which are "to plug in".
Ours in down under run on petrol. Sorry: "gas"...

I forgot to mention that I will prebook accommodation as well. Comes as a package: accommodation, breakfast and luggage transport. All prebooked. Which makes me a bit a, well: "queer", "strange", "weird" (have your pick) kind of pilgrim? But therefore I don't have to schlepp around lots of stuff you poor guys have to. No sleeping mat and so. But most certainly a cork screw for emergencies while on the way, to slake my thirst...

Heck. Properly applied even a cork screw would chase off dogs, don't you think so?
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPdP 2007, TBD 2017
a bit off the original topic, but...
Right now my pack is about 14 lbs w/o food or water. There are no "non-essentials"in it. Just minimal clothes (including a med weight fleece which I NEED), sleeping bag, guide book and spanish phrasebook, camera, and a few lightwieght random things, (earplugs, soap, string, safety pins, etc.) I think my sleeping bag might be the heaviest part but I can't afford to buy a new one cause I have a limited budget and I needed shoes and a new backpack (that fits) more. I guess that'll have to do.
Camino(s) past & future
September 2006
August - September 2017
I know you will have an unforgetable trip, and your life will be changed. . .
Howie -- Yeah, I'm not up on my chainsaws. I have a cordless sawzall (which I'm still a bit afraid to use), but have never encountered a chainsaw. There aren't many trees left to be cut down in Manhattan. :?

Lauren -- 14 pounds isn't bad at all. I met one guy who was carrying 30 kg! I managed to keep it a bit lighter by taking a silk sleep sack instead of a sleeping bag, but I'll admit I was sometimes cold at night.

Buen camino!

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