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How to Build the Smallest World Class Camera System

I spent $1800 on my first high quality camera. I was on the brink of Life Nomadic, and I justified the purchase with two ideas. The first was that I would be seeing a lot of things for the first, and possibly the only, time. Second, the particular camera I bought, an Epson R-D1s, seemed to hold its value well.

It came as a shock to a lot of people how primitive my camera was in many ways. It had no autofocus, no flash, no video recording capabilities, no self timer, and the only thing it could do automatically was light metering. It did that poorly. After each shot it was necessary to thumb a switch, which mechanically reset the spring for the shutter.

I bought a single lens for it, a Nokton 40mm/1.4. It had no zoom, and the aperture was set mechanically by rotating a ring on the lens. The lens was gorgeous. For those who don't know, a 1.4 F-Stop means that the lens is very fast: it lets in a lot of light. The average camera lens is probably around an f/3.5, which lets in only an eighth as much light as mine did. That's how I got amazing low-light pictures like this one.

Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper

On LifeWeTravel

My wife Sue and I have spent the past two years visiting many types of camper facilities in our quest to find the perfect camper for our needs. We’ve toured the factories at Sportsmobile, Four Wheel Camper, XP Camper, EarthRoamer, Hallmark, Outfitter, and Phoenix, and we visited the Overland Expo last year.

In the process, we’ve documented and written up each of those experiences in separate posts to provide you with an insider’s guide to purchasing a camper. Our goal was to do the hard legwork ourselves so you wouldn’t have to, and to document what we saw with honesty and transparency. In this post, I’m summarizing what we’ve learned in this two year journey. Hopefully, you’ll find this guide a useful tool in your decision making process.

First, a bit about us and our priorities:

We have been looking for a camper we can live in for an extended period of time (6+ months) while also having a vehicle we can still use as a daily driver. We’re looking for a camper that we can easily take on weekend or week-long trips, as well as a vehicle that we can take offroad on medium-difficulty trails (like that hard-to-reach deserted beach).

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