I like to take both photos and video on the playa, but it's a very harsh environment for cameras.
- The main reason I rented the camera (and got insurance on it) was that my main camera isn't weather sealed and is a lot more expensive. I wasn't willing to risk damaging it out there. So, for ~$100 (worth it to me as I like taking pictures/video) I just didn't worry about it. When I got home, I cleaned it up with some alcohol swabs, sent it back, and didn't even need the insurance.
- Be aware that zoom lenses that telescope in and out may be bringing dust inside your lens and camera every time it retracts. The rx100 III didn't end up having that problem despite having a zoom on it, but I was fairly careful about when I took it out too, and kept it well-protected the rest of the time.
- Keeping your camera in a sealed plastic bag at all time when you're not using it. Never take it out in a dust storm unless you want to send it in for cleaning when you get home.
- If your camera lets you change lenses, be careful about doing so. Consider having a garbage bag inside another garbage bag, both being closed when not using. When you need to change, find the least dusty environment you can (tent or RV probably) and change the lens in the bag to minimize the chance of dust getting on your camera sensor.
- Put the camera down sometimes. Don't spend your week living only through the lens.
- It's dark at night on the playa and poorly-lit. Unless you know what you're doing and have a camera with excellent high ISO performance and a wide-open lens your night pictures are going to look terrible, though your video may still be usable. If you don't know what high ISO and a wide-open lens means, you'll probably save yourself disappointment by not bothering to take pics at night. Also, understand that many of the most beautiful night shots you've seen on the playa were taken on a tripod.
- A tripod is a real hassle on the playa in my opinion. It's basically 100% necessary for some kind of shots (time-lapse, HDR, long-exposure, for instance) but still, a major hassle. I've brought one but it was mainly a pain in the ass. I had to specifically be going out to take photos or there was no way I was going to take it with me, and I'd prefer not to go out just to take photos. I'd rather take photos of experiences and things as I encounter them. Your mileage may vary, of course.
- Don't be creepy. Ask before you take pictures of individuals and unless you specifically get permission to do so, don't post pictures of topless or bottomless women, or bottomless men. It's just not cool to do.
- If you're putting together any kind of commercial project or any project that isn't really for personal use, you need to read the Media Rights and Responsibilities section of the official BM site.