bobbyshawatl wrote:This is an absolutely fantastic hiking GPS. Keep in mind though that the SC does NOT come loaded with the Topo maps. You want the ST for that feature. I have the 62STC, which adds the camera feature along with the built in topo maps. You can buy the topo maps to load into this, but once you've done that... you might as well have sprung for the 62ST or 62STC.
I'll disagree here. The 62 ST or STC comes with 1:100,000 topo maps. Good for basic overview, but you'd be crazy to rely on them in the back country. For finer detail you're looking at the 80 dollar topo regional maps.
For 30 bucks a year you can subscribe to Garmin Birdseye Topos (not birdseye satellite, which just downloads satellite imagery of a map), which lets you download USGS topo maps at your leisure. Or you can go to gpsfiledepot.com and probably find good topos for free. Or you can rip raster topos from the USGS and make custom maps. You have a lot of options.
In other words, you don't need the 1:100,000 topo map. There are better alternatives out there for way less. Buy the street navigator package if you intend to use the GPS for geocaching though.
I'm not sure why I'd want the camera either personally. Might be useful for notes and trail tracking, but I have the 62S and really have not missed it at all.
Now, having had the 62s for a year, this thing is effing awesome. I originally got it for geocaching, and while it has a robust feature set, it suffers from a lack of touchscreen or a keypad. Entering notes on the rocker switch is painful. However, the features list rocks, it locks onto a signal quickly, and once you lock on you don't get a lot of slop in your tracking. Earlier firmware had a lot of problems, but that was like firmware 1.something and they're up to 4.6, so that's ancient history.
Other really nice features are the microSD card, which I just slapped a 16 gig card into without problem, the 3-axis magnetic compass (your GPS doesn't have to be held flat or move), some very useful pre-defined profiles, stopwatch, calendar, sunrise/sunset, barometric altimeter, and the ability to communicate with ant+ perhipherals *and* the ability to squirt waypoints and other data to other compatible units (pretty much GPSMap 62s units)
The battery compartment has a gasket and seals very well, and the antenna/USB port has a heavy rubber plug to keep out water and dirt. Overall, it's pretty rugged, although as always I'd avoid submerging it.
Downsides... The manual is a joke, the interface is cluttered and not intuitive (especially with the large amounts of options and profiles), and unless you want the GPS to do something, you probably won't realize it's capabilities.
Garmin's map addons are what they are. I don't believe they support the NatGeo topo maps program, but I could be mistaken. The Birdseye Topo program remedies that, but at the same time, if you break your subscription, you can't sync the maps from your computer to your GPS any more. Whatever is on your GPS stays however. So if you go that route, get a BIG SD card.
Screen resolution is... meh... Very pixelated, but it does the job that it needs to. It gets a little less sexy dealing with topos in rugged territory. Screen is viewable in direct sunlight, which is a big plus.
Battery life is about 20 hours of runtime according to manuals. I haven't verified this, but there is a power saver option, and you can muck with the compass, the brightness of the screen, and other things to help get the most out of your batteries.
Now that I'm getting into backpacking, I'm digging the dozen or so coordinate systems that it offers, and I'm unlocking more of the GPS unit's power, but I'm also seeing it's limitations. That screen is still a major limitation, as it's too small to get *good* detail, and a good topo map is going to still be needed in a backpacking situation. On the up side, with a UTM map and tool, you can pretty much pinpoint where you are extremely fast, and then use your good old compass to extrapolate from there, speeding up your map plotting immensely.
This is a decent deal. Basically, you save 10 bucks off of the amazon price of the same model without the camera (which isn't an item I want at all, more stuff to go wrong). If you need a bigger screen than the 2.8 inch screen, or a higher resolution, or especially touch-screen, look at the Oregon series. Otherwise, if you want a rugged (Garmin says this thing is waterproof, so I stand corrected from earlier) GPS, this is a pretty decent offering.