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Old 03-25-06, 04:14 PM   #1
Magictofu
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Camera, tripod, etc.

I know some people are just happy with the usual point and shoot camera... and for the weight and price, these are simply wonderful! Some might even tour without a camera, I did it myself on a couple of occasion.

However, I was wondering if some of you were into photography and were touring with biger cameras and tripods. I know that nowadays you can find very versatile cameras with fairly good lenses and even some with crazy zooms... they, of course, come with at a price. As for tripods, I find most of them bulky and heavy but they are certainly quite practical if you like photography. I remember seing some kind of clamp which can be use to mount a camera to almost anything (chair, handlebar, fence...). If I had an aero bar, I would probably use such a clamp to mount my camera on it once in a while (it would be a good way to make nice short movies too).

Anyone has some experience to share about touring photography? Not only equipment but techniques or ideas that worked well for you?

Last summer I realized that the best way to use my camera more often was simply to have it available at all time (e.g. in my handlebar bag)... I took more pictures and this in turns improve the likelyhood of geting nice pictures.
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Old 03-25-06, 04:55 PM   #2
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Well pre-digital days I've done rides carrying an film slr camera and lenses in a camera bag on top of the rack but I wouldn't do that now. No point.

First question is what photographic capacity do you wan't to take with you. Maybe it would be nice to have my 70-210 f2.8 APO with me but NO WAY am I going to lug that beast anywhere on a bike!

Digital slr's are getting lighter and smaller so carrying a Nikon D50 and standard lens/lens's may not be out of the question. Taking an ultra light tripod could be useful. With these tripods you NEVER use them unattended though. Always hold them down.

Also good quality compacts do take fine photo's. Twice I've attained silver awards in proffesional photographic competitions and both times I was using a 35mm compact with a fixed 35mm lens. My view with compact camera's is don't go for the do everything type but get one that has a limited, but top quality lens. The more zoom range they try to squeeze into diminutive zoom lens's the more the quality goes out the window.

I currently have a Sony DSC-P150 and its an outstanding small camera with a 7 MP sensor.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 03-25-06, 05:42 PM   #3
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The more zoom range they try to squeeze into diminutive zoom lens's the more the quality goes out the window.
It might be a weird question but appart from light restrictions (need to use a larger aperture, especially with a long zoom), how does it affect the quality of the picture?
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Old 03-25-06, 06:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magictofu
It might be a weird question but appart from light restrictions (need to use a larger aperture, especially with a long zoom), how does it affect the quality of the picture?
Well lens design involves compromises in different area's and the greater the zoom range the harder it is to maintain a balance between all the different aspects of lens design.

Distortion is one factor. Big zoom lenses have whats called barrel distortion at the wide angle end and whats called pin cushion distortion at the long end. The bigger the range the harder it is to keep it together, paticuarly in compact lenses. Resolving power over the entire range is also a factor. Getting a nice sharp image involves focusing all the light entering the lens onto exactly the same point which is no mean feat and those ultra compact, long zoom lenses just aren't that good at it so the results are blurry and uninspiring.

Thats why my advise is always to get a camera that has a limmited range but high quality lens over a ultra zoom lens that doesn't realy do anything that well.

A camera is a tool and even the full auto, supposedly idiot proof camera's still requires skill and technique to use well despite anything a camera salesman or user manual say's. An ultra zoom lens will allow the user to get into technical difficulty but provide no assistance to get you out of it photographicaly speaking. IE realy slow apetures. A shorter zoom range lens won't allow you to get into such a technical hole and then has quicker apetures to boot anyway.

See, http://www.dcresource.com/ as my favorite review site on digital camera's.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 03-25-06, 06:40 PM   #5
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Perfect timing...
I'm in the market for a new point n shoot digicam with a short optical zoom but I'm having a hard time locating one with a 28mm (35mm equivalent) lens. Ricoh sells short zoom 28mm and fixed 28mm cameras but are not available in the U.S. Any sugestions?
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Old 03-25-06, 06:47 PM   #6
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One area where film still rules is slides. For 35-mm work, I usually pack a Kyocera/Yashica T5, which is a point-and-shoot compact with a Carl Zeiss Tessar f2.8/35mm lens. If I want to shoot rollfilm, I usually take a Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta IV, a folding bellows coupled rangefinder camera with a Carl Zeiss Tessar f3.5/75mm lens. A tripod of some sort is a necessity when touring alone--how else could one take pictures of oneself posing with one's bike in front of some landmark? The Leitz tabletop tripod with the Leitz ball head is quite sturdy, relatively small, and does not require too flat a surface underneath (which can be a problem with many other tabletop tripods).
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Old 03-25-06, 06:49 PM   #7
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While I carry a Nikon D70 DSLR, I'm a big fan of Canon P&S digitals. Take a look at this one.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons80/ Make sure you scroll down and hit "next" (several times) on that page as they really go into depth on their full reviews. There are also user reviews.
And if that camera isn't your speed, you can stay on that site and find anything and everything out about what's out there or what used to be out there if you're shopping the used market.

Cheers,

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fixer
Perfect timing...
I'm in the market for a new point n shoot digicam with a short optical zoom but I'm having a hard time locating one with a 28mm (35mm equivalent) lens. Ricoh sells short zoom 28mm and fixed 28mm cameras but are not available in the U.S. Any sugestions?
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Old 03-25-06, 07:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fixer
Perfect timing...
I'm in the market for a new point n shoot digicam with a short optical zoom but I'm having a hard time locating one with a 28mm (35mm equivalent) lens. Ricoh sells short zoom 28mm and fixed 28mm cameras but are not available in the U.S. Any sugestions?
The wide angle end is the achilies heel of digital camera's due to the small size of the sensor and they need obsurdly wide angle lenses to have the equivelent width of 35mm film camera's. (example: The 7.9 mm end of my Sony P-150 is only equivelent to 38mm) Its less than an ideal solution but you may need to purchase and use a wide angle adapter thats available for most compact camera's.

Here's one camera to consider, http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ko...ew/index.shtml The reviewer gives it a generaly favorable review but its image quality isn't its greatest atribute.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 03-25-06, 07:51 PM   #9
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I haven't gone on a tour yet (going on my first one later this spring) but I plan to bring my camera along. It is a Panasonic FZ30, a 12x optical stabilization zoom F2.8 at wide angle and F3.6 at full telephoto. It is a really nice camera, and while you can't expect dSLR quality from it, it still makes excellent images.
Since it is so compact (a bit smaller than a Nikon D50 with a small lense) while still having a great zoom, I think it will make a good "prosumer" travel camera.

I would recommend checking it out if you want more than a point and shot but don't want to bring along a SLR with lenses.


I would also recommend the Canon A610 for general use. It is fairly small, very easy to use, has lots of useful features (swivel LCD for example) and it takes AAs which would probably be very useful on the road because you can buy AAs anywhere.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

I can't wait to go on my tour, if only it were warmer out right now...
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Old 03-25-06, 08:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG
Here's one camera to consider, http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ko...ew/index.shtml The reviewer gives it a generaly favorable review but its image quality isn't its greatest atribute.

Regards, Anthony
Thank you for that link! That 23mm fixed is nice, especially with the distortion compensation feature. Although I wasn't looking for anything that wide, it sure is nice. That Kodak is something definitely worth considering....although it's almost like buying two cameras in one compact case. Back during my film shooting days, my Nikkor 24mm was one of my favorite, most used lenses.....
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Old 03-25-06, 08:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fixer
Thank you for that link! That 23mm fixed is nice, especially with the distortion compensation feature. Although I wasn't looking for anything that wide, it sure is nice. That Kodak is something definitely worth considering....although it's almost like buying two cameras in one compact case. Back during my film shooting days, my Nikkor 24mm was one of my favorite, most used lenses.....
Yeah I still have my 24mm lens for my 35mm Nikons. It's great fun!

I've been considering the Sony DSC-R1, http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ko...ew/index.shtml

Fantastic Carl Zeiss lens which goes down to 24mm equivelent but its an absolute lump of a camera yet with such a nice piece of glass thats to be expected I guess.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 03-25-06, 09:04 PM   #12
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I am going to modify my helmet and put a helmet mount on it for my video camera. The nice thing is that it has a remote so I can tape that to the handle bars and turn the camera on and off as I please as well as take pictures. Digital video cameras are so small and light now that it is worth it to bring them along for pictures and video.
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Old 03-25-06, 09:07 PM   #13
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For a tripod, I have this. They also offer this one too.
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Old 03-25-06, 09:11 PM   #14
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Riderfan, how do you plan to place a camera mount on your helmet? Is it something that is commercially available or something you plan to build yourself?
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Old 03-25-06, 09:13 PM   #15
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Rogerinchrist, how do you like these tripod? Versatile enough? What about their solidity? Can you really use that velcro strap to attach these to an object (bike frame, branch...)?
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Old 03-25-06, 10:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magictofu
Riderfan, how do you plan to place a camera mount on your helmet? Is it something that is commercially available or something you plan to build yourself?
I am sure it is commercially available but I plan on building it myself using an old helmet as a starting point and prototype helmet before moving it on to my second helmet and possibly my new helmet.....I am going to try to make it so that it does not compress the protective foam. One of my many bike-related DIY projects on the go........ahhhh, being a student.

I have a tripod that is a full size tripod and weighs about 500 grams......It folds down nicely into a 10 cm diameter, 45 cm long piece of equipment that can go onto the top of the rear rack. I am not totally sure that I am going to use it on tours as I might just make a handlber "tripod" that can be used as a mounting point for my camera. I have used the tripod hiking before.....it is great for solo hiking and taking pictures with yourself included.
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Old 03-25-06, 10:17 PM   #17
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I just found this web site: http://www.cycoactive.com/gps/other_mounts_ram.html

They offer handlebar mounts among other things.
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Old 03-25-06, 10:21 PM   #18
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Or what about this home made version: http://bluecollarmtb.com/2006/03/13/...ounted-camera/



I think the problem here is that there is no pivot.
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Old 03-25-06, 10:23 PM   #19
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Even better: http://www.camerahacker.com/build/Bi...ra_Mount.shtml



Same problem as above
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Old 03-25-06, 10:32 PM   #20
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I think attaching another arm on it that can pivot but can then be tightened back up when at the right angle to lock it in that angle.....but yeah, something like that. I will have to hit up the local hardware store soon.....spring is on its way.....too bad classes are getting in the way right now.
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Old 03-25-06, 10:36 PM   #21
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Oh! Oh! i found a couple of other ones:

http://eeio.blogspot.com/2005/02/diy...era-mount.html

http://www.jakeludington.com/project...ap_tripod.html

http://www.cs.unca.edu/~boyd/touring...amount/cm.html

http://www.digave.com/videos/how.htm

http://www.cammount.com/camera_mount.htm
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Old 03-25-06, 10:41 PM   #22
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Ah yes, the Nikkor 24mm - still have one attached to an F3 in my closet. It was my hands-down favorite focal length also. I am currently using a Nikon Coolpix 990 - an older prosumer digital camera that takes great pics, but again has the limitation on the wide end. I am about to pull the trigger on a D70s with the 18-70 lens (27-105 equiv.) but it still isn't wide enough for real creativity. Nikon has a 12-24 (18-36 equiv) but it is almost a grand <sigh>, so that will have to wait.

Anthony is right about the lens quality being better with limited range zooms - fewer lens elements means less distortion, reflection and internal loss, not to mention they often have a larger maximum aperture. When touring I sometimes carry a small Gitzo tripod with a ball head tha is 16" collapsed, and well under 2 lbs. Fairly sturdy and much more useful than those tiny pocket ones.
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Old 03-25-06, 10:56 PM   #23
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I found a lot of possibilities for fixed mounting systems for handlebars or helmets but so far, it just seems a bit too 'single use' for touring. I mean, it might be a good thing to have a camera mount on your bike or helmet but you still don't have a tripod in case you want to take a picture of yourself and your bike (well, you could leave your helmet on a chair or a fence post...).

I have seen this camera clamp but I don't think I would trust it when riding, especially on bumby roads.

This one is even smaller but there is only one pivot.

Then there is this one .

I like the pocket camera clamp on this page.

Along with the tripods proposed by rogerinchrist, I find these much more elegant and closer to what I really need. (wait... do I really need this?)
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Old 03-25-06, 11:56 PM   #24
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I didn't see the clamperpod linked, but I didn't click all of the links above. I was thinking about getting one for a tour, and also to take photos of my commute. I I thought it'd be cool if I could get a small remote shutter thing and tuck it under my brake hoods where the shimano flight deck buttons are. probably not enough room under there, but it'd be pretty trick if it did.

http://www.clamperpod.com/Cpod2.html

EDIT: looks like it's the same clamp as one that magictofu posted. (the one with only one pivot)
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Old 03-26-06, 12:21 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magictofu
Or what about this home made version: http://bluecollarmtb.com/2006/03/13/...ounted-camera/



I think the problem here is that there is no pivot.
You could go to any camera store and buy a small ball head mount to fit this. Some of the other options you've linked to have just such a ball head mount attached. Small ball head mounts aren't the strongest items though and I don't think that they would take much vibration before coming loose.

Regards, Anthony
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