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Old 07-30-09, 03:26 PM   #1
neil
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Carrying a Camera

So, I have a DSLR that I like to take with me when I go places. Now that I'm getting in the cycle touring (I am a longtime commuter, but have just started doing longer rides), I'm finding this to be a problem. The case I have for the camera is a backpack, and it's uncomfortable to do long rides with bags on my body, trapping sweat.

So does anyone have a great bag for carrying an SLR and an extra lens right on their bike? Ever had problems from the vibration of doing that? Right now, I'm mostly just taking my P&S on bike rides because of this issue, but it just doesn't have the versatility.

Any suggestions, please.
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Old 07-30-09, 04:18 PM   #2
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Ortlieb makes a camera insert for their Ultimate Handlebar bag, which might be one option. You can also buy individual lens pouches or protective wraps (e.g. from Domke) wrap up the individual pieces, and put them in the carrier of your choice.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:04 PM   #3
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All of my camera gear lives in my handlebar bag, which when detached from my bike with a shoulder strap, doubles as my camera bag.

Although I love the image quality I get from my camera, I'd really like to bring a point and shoot next trip. I'd probably shave a good 7lbs off my bike weight
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Old 07-30-09, 07:56 PM   #4
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Check out http://www.tamrac.com/welcome.htm

The expedition series is big and heavy. However, they claim to be waterproof and can carry a small laptop (and all the camera gear you could want).
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Old 07-30-09, 08:19 PM   #5
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I used an Osprey Torque bag and added some Ortlieb small parts.






And if you want to go hardcore:



More Ortlieb small parts and a Pelican hard shell case.
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Old 07-31-09, 01:24 AM   #6
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I bought a front rack with shelf just to put my camera backpack on it (click for big image):




- There's an extra layer of padding inside the botton.
- The panniers keep the backpack from swaying.
- The upper non-photo compartment is huge. I often carry the camera in it and sometimes an extra lens too. I use a fleece for padding.

How it's attached:



In actual touring:



Another setup for another trip. Padded insert in the upper compartment with extra padding inside the bottom (actually better on the wider front rack):

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Old 07-31-09, 10:11 AM   #7
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Although I love the image quality I get from my camera, I'd really like to bring a point and shoot next trip. I'd probably shave a good 7lbs off my bike weight
Cutting weight would be nice, but P&S just aren't good at taking pictures of just one thing. Great for landscapes and buildings, but you can't bring their field depth down enough for animals, plants and people. To me, the weight is worth it. The zoom on my longer lens is also handy in a lot of situations.

Thanks for the input...looks like I'm going to have to spend some money and get some Ortliebs. The bag on the front looks like a good idea...but I'm a bit uncomfortable with the jury-rigging involved when expensive equipment is at stake. Since this is one of those times when it'll be cheaper for me to buy everything at once and eat the cost of shipping them from the States, it looks like I'll have to save up for a while to buy the full set.

Last edited by neil; 07-31-09 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:42 AM   #8
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Also check out the Acorn front bags.

www.acornbags.com
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Old 08-01-09, 08:45 AM   #9
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Pelican makes nice hard cases, but HPRC cases are every bit as good and significantly less expensive. They also match Pelican size for size, so if you wanted, you can buy Pelican accessories later on.

I would avoid the Canadian distributor however, because I've had bad dealings with him.
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Old 08-14-09, 12:21 AM   #10
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I use an Ortlieb handlebar bag when I take my DSLR. I only take the one lens that's on the camera & a few small accessories at most. I don't have any special padding, just a hanky and other soft items to add a little padding. It's handy to grab for a quick photo.
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Old 08-14-09, 04:54 AM   #11
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I had the same question and ended up buying a Cannon S3IS for that purpose. Granted it's not as nice as my D200 with a nice lens on it but overall I have been happy with the image quality. It also doesn't weigh any where near what my big camera and lenses weigh. There are a lot of really nice small cameras on the market at the moment from both Nikon and Cannon that can compete pretty well with their big brothers in the DSLR world so you might want to consider that option. If nothing else it's a great excuse to get a new toy.
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Old 08-14-09, 05:07 AM   #12
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I carried a DSLR on my Trans America and it traveled fine in my handlebar bag. That said I think that for most tours a point and shoot is adequate and can provide surprising image quality and versatility. It is a bit more of a hassle to manipulate settings to adjust depth of focus or exposure settings than with a DSLR, but on the other hand it is much more likely to be easily accessible and therefore you will probably be likely to use it more and get shots you would have missed if carrying a DSLR.

If the purpose of the camera is to document the trip I vote for just taking a good point and shoot. If the main purpose of the trip is photography then the DSLR makes more sense. In either case just plopping them in the handlebar bag works for me. The P&S rides in the handlebar bag in its little case with the flap open and facing up for quick access even while riding. The DSLR when taken sits in the bag on top of some padding in the form of my thin pile hat and cold weather gloves or whatever clothing items I have on the trip that are the appropriate size that I want accessible.
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Old 08-14-09, 05:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by neil View Post
Cutting weight would be nice, but P&S just aren't good at taking pictures of just one thing. Great for landscapes and buildings, but you can't bring their field depth down enough for animals, plants and people. To me, the weight is worth it. The zoom on my longer lens is also handy in a lot of situations.
I have a D200 and a bunch of lenses at home, and used to be a die-hard SLR user. But then I went on holiday with a Canon A650is compact (I needed something small, light, good telephoto, uses AA batteries etc), and on the strength of the photos it produced (see signature below), I no longer use the D200 for ANYTHING except long-range wildlife photography. Okay - from your list above, plants and animals aren't well represented in my own photos, but I have friends who take spectacular photos of insects and plants with their compacts.

I thought I'd miss the flexibility and features of my DSLR, but I don't. And I carry that little A650is everywhere with me, at the bottom of an old backpack or in a pannier, and I don't even notice it's there until I see something I want to photograph. Choose the right compact for your needs, and your productivity rate will increase dramatically without any reduction in on-screen quality. Unless your main application is wildlife photography with a giant, fast telephoto, but I can't imagine that's what you want to combine with bicycle touring!
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Old 08-14-09, 07:33 AM   #14
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I think there are DSLR's and then there are heavy DSLR's. If your's is a heavy one with fast glass lenses then it probably will be too heavy for a handlebar bag.

One solution is to use waterproof panniers and pad your equipment. Tripod strapped to top of rear rack. This is fine for carrying large lenses and other stuff which you will not use quickly when on the road. However, the camera will not be readily accessible.

After much experimentation my solution is to carry the camera and a few light things in a LowePro Slingshot. Then one can pause for a quick shot and the big camera is readily accessible. The camera is always with you even when you leave the bike. If you get tired of carrying it on your person then put it on the rear rack with some padding (clothes) under it but now you need to remember to take it if you leave the bike.

Last tour I took my Canon G9 in a handlebar bag.
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Old 08-14-09, 11:05 AM   #15
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My Nikon D70 w/18-70 zoom (about the same footprint as most Nikon DSLR's) fits nicely in my handlebar bag; an Ortlieb with a layer of foam on the bottom. On longer tours, where weight and space can be a problem, we have a Nikon P5000, and a small P&S that do remarkably well. It is always a compromise. I think something to consider as a backup for touring are the newer weatherproof P&S's coming out. It seems some of the best picture opportunities are when it is pouring and my "good" camrea is in its waterproof container. However, another electrical device requires another charger......
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Old 08-14-09, 12:15 PM   #16
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Some of the small point-and-shoots will take pretty nice photos. Good enough for my purposes, particularly when riding. I have no desire to lug around a heavy camera and lenses when cycling, plus it is inconvenient having to stop and unpack everything when you want to take a shot. I just ordered a Lumix mini digicam (FS15) that is about the size of a deck of cards but has a 5X lens and other nice features. It may not take photos as nice as a DSLR, but I guarantee that I will take more shots with a lot less trouble using my small camera. It is small enough to carry in a jersey pocket or a small handlebar or Bento bag.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:59 PM   #17
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I carry a 5 Mpixel Canon in a Bento bag. It is easy to pull the camera out as I am riding. I enjoy the scenery as I ride, but I often dont want to stop the enjoyment of the ride to take photos.
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Old 08-15-09, 12:01 AM   #18
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The ORTLEIB handlebar bag survived the Great Divide Mountain BIke Route. Many times - I bought it because of its durability rating, and its self-tightening properties. I dare say it'll do well on any road tour you can imagine
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Old 08-15-09, 12:38 AM   #19
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I don't understand how it's easier to draw a P&S rather than a SLR. I carried a SLR in a bar bag, now in a backpack on the front rack. Sometimes, I ride with the bag partially open and the camera is just there to grab.
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