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Cameras on Tour

Old 05-03-16, 08:43 AM
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jefnvk
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Cameras on Tour

OK, the touring pics thread I just looked at just got me thinking: what do you all carry for a camera on your tours? My phone is awful at photos, I don't rely on it.

I will have a GoPro on my handlebars, that I can quickly turn on/off for videos, but the stills on that just aren't photo quality. My main camera is a digital SLR, but that is quite large to be carting around with me and keeping an eye on all the time (normally, I do a photo-taking specific walk, and leave it locked in the hotel the rest of the time). My point and shoot takes wonderful pictures, nowhere near as good as the SLR but still gives me 18x24" prints in framable quality. It is going on eight years of travel and likely on its last leg of life, though, and I'm halfway contemplating upgrading it before leaving.

So, what are your favorite modes of photography?
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Old 05-03-16, 09:03 AM
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I had a Nikon D5100, and then upgraded to a Nikon D7000. What a big honking camera. It sucked carrying it around, especially if I brought my tripod too.

So, I upgraded to a Ricoh GR. It was a great little pro-point-and-shoot, but ultimately I was disappointed in the photo quality. Since I post so much to my website, I wanted a really crisp image, even if people zoomed in to see what I was carrying, etc.

So, I sold my Ricoh GR and bought an Olympus OM-D E-M5 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Same issue. It was a great camera, weatherproof and compact, but the image quality just wasn't up there.

I sold my Olympus and bought a Nikon D7000, with the same 35mm lens. Sometimes, you just have to carry the weight. But at least now, my tripod is carbon fiber.
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Old 05-03-16, 09:29 AM
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I choose between a small DSLR that'll take a polarizing filter for beautiful landscapes (but is still an annoyingly big package!) and a point and shoot. Water- and shock-resistant P&S can stay in my jersey pocket, ready to catch a fleeting shot. Long zoom needs a bit more protection, and a tripod for the really long reaches.

Part of it depends on where you'll be riding, part depends on why you're riding, some on how much you're willing to carry. It really boils down to your personal choice, like so many other things.

Of course, sometimes a post card or poster is the best picture you'll get...
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Old 05-03-16, 09:30 AM
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any camera does if you view your pictures on a PC screen. for example a light Panasonic LX5 or LX7
if you want to print get something better, I use a Fuji XT1

anyway, cameras are tools, there are many people out there who do very beautiful work with phone cameras.

there are also people out there who use a 5000cash equipment and have no idea how to compose a nice picture or to tell a story with their photography.
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Old 05-03-16, 09:32 AM
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I have been a photographer my whole life, just recently took up bike riding again after almost a 40 year break. Your question about what to carry has been a question I have also had on my mind, and almost posted the same post earlier today. My usual camera of choice outside the studio is my Nikon D810 DSLR and several lenses, not very practical to carry on the bike. I have my iPhone that takes great photos- provided it's close and has enough light, so not great for nature photos. I have several GoPros that I have mounted in various locations on the bike with interval timing, nice POV photos but they really don't take photos of the quality I like. OK for web posting but wouldn't ever bother to print one probably. My "bike" camera is the same one I have used on my kayak for a couple of years now, a low-end Nikon D3100 i bought used just for the kayak. It doesn't weigh nearly as much as my D810, about 1/10th the price to bounce around on the bike, and I use a Tamron 18-250 lens with it so I have a wide focal range. It's not the quality I get with my "real" DSLR but it's a good compromise. DSLR's don't really handle a lot of bouncing so it just makes sense to carry something I can afford to replace if needed. While on tour just about any box store carries the consumer grade DLSR's from Nikon (and Canon, just a matter of preference). Curious what other folks are doing also. I realize that I am more of a photo geek than most folks, just curious . . .
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Old 05-03-16, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
It really boils down to your personal choice, like so many other things.
It certainly does, but often I find when I ask these questions, someone comes along with their personal choice that I would have never even come close to thinking about!
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Old 05-03-16, 09:38 AM
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We have gone to a mirrorless setup. My wife and I both use the Sony a6000. Since we have switched to these our DSLRs have seen very little use. They are compact, have a large sensor (24.3MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor), and are extremely fast to use. The best thing about them, over a lot of other mirrorless cameras, is the eye-level viewfinder. They will do everything our DSLRs will do, except taking my Nikon 70-200, 2.8 lens, which I really like a lot. The Sony's 11 frames per second, and extremely fast autofocus are great for sports photography. When I add a fast, long lens to our kit, it may replace our DSLRs for a lot of our use.

On our last tour, a 2-month European venture, we shot close to 10,000 photos. My wife had been using her a6000 for a year or so, but I had to replace a broken camera (Canon G12) a week before the tour. Mangling my canon was the best thing that could have happened. I was so impressed with my wife's pictures that I replaced it with an a6000. Many of my 6,000 pictures were taken getting familiar with the camera. The camera easily fits in our bar bags, while leaving room for all the other essentials like wallet , passport, sunglasses.....

You can't tell the sharpness from pictures I post here. There is something in their system that reduces the sharpness when posting. I took a picture of a guy who was a drawbridge operator from a distance of about 12 feet. When I enlarged the picture, I could actually tell you what time the picture was taken by simply reading the time from his watch. I don't think you'd have trouble getting good 18" x 24" prints.
I carry my camera in the orange padded case in the middle of my bar bag. It handy and is protected from road shock and weather.

My camera easily fits in the orange case in the middle of my bar bag.

Last edited by Doug64; 05-03-16 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 05-03-16, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
We have gone to a mirrorless setup. My wife and I both use the Sony a6000. Since we have switched to these our DSLRs have seen very little use. They are compact, have a large sensor (24.3MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor), and are extremely fast to use. The best thing about them, over a lot of other mirrorless cameras, is the eye-level viewfinder. They will do everything our DSLRs will do, except taking my Nikon 70-200, 2.8 lens, which I really like a lot. The Sony's 11 frames per second, and extremely fast autofocus are great for sports photography. When I add a fast, long lens to our kit, it may replace our DSLRs for a lot of our use.
Good to hear the testimonial from a real mirrorless user. I have considered going that way mainly due to weight, not only on the bike but just for carrying around. I have heard very good things about the Sony system, and also the Fuji XT1 due to water resistance. I just need to actually use one for a bit, wish I knew someone close that I could shoot with some. My problem is as a photographer I love the huge 36mp RAW files I get from my big pro-level Nikon, and that's something I just need to get over when out on my bike. My Nikon D3100 I carry on the bike (garage sale find) does great for what it is . . . a consumer level camera (as is the D5000 and D7000 series), but times I see things I really want bigger RAW files instead of JPG files. Guess I need to convince myself that the the camera is a trade-off (weight/cost) when on the bike very far from home.

Off to surf the Sony mirrorless on some photography forums . . .
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Old 05-03-16, 09:52 AM
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My current travel camera is a Canon Powershot S200 which replaced a Powershot A620.
My preference is for wideangle over telephoto and some usable manual control.
Modern camera phones are surprisingly good if you can use them but I find the controls a bit to delicate.
You can get compact cameras which create images on a par with consumer DSLR models and the micro 4/3 format is pretty effective for travel.
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Old 05-03-16, 09:56 AM
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I used to use a superzoom Pentax X90 (discontinued model) but I wanted to take photos on rainy days too so I got a Pentax WG-3 (now sold as a Ricoh WG-4) point and shoot waterproof shockproof camera. On some trips I bring both if weight is not a problem, the superzoom gives me good zooming for wildlife that the WG-3 lacks. But if I only bring one camera, it is the WG-3 since it is waterproof and shockproof. The WG-3 goes thru batteries pretty fast, I carry several spares.

A few photos from the WG-3. (Resized to 20 percent for internet use.) The next to the last one was a pre-dawn ride in low light on Fishermans Wharf to catch the 5am shuttle bus, thus the slow exposure at f2.0 and 1/10 sec.





The above were all from my Pacific Coast trip.

I am including only one from my Pentax x90 superzoom, this was a bird sitting in a window in a castle tower in Europe. (Resized but I do not recall how much.)



EDIT: Added later, I decided to add one more photo from my X90, reduced 20 percent. I think this was a Bryce.

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Old 05-03-16, 10:02 AM
  #11  
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I try to go light when traveling. So if I can get a way with one device for
directions, internet access, taking photos & videos, communications, etc. - it's easier.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhZT...aIoDLA&index=4

On bike footage; my 4 year old Contour sportcam:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jea4...6zPoymgKaIoDLA

2015 FEB, NYC by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

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Old 05-03-16, 10:35 AM
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I have no doubt camera phones CAN be great, I am just saying mine definitely is not! It was a low end Windows Phone I paid $30ish for new, bought outright and unlocked.

One of the better pics I have taken with it lately, to give you an idea (and that even took seven attempts). It can work OK in perfect lighting, but in anything but an optimal light it isn't good for much more than a quick social media post:


I'm also interested in the switch to mirrorless. I have a friend that does semi-pro photography in London, he gets fantastic results out of such cameras.
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Old 05-03-16, 11:47 AM
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This is the photo I was talking about above. It was reduced from 6000 x 4000 pixels down to less then 900 x ??, and from a file size of 5.5 MG to 280 KB to post here. It was a grab shot, as I was trying for a picture of the barge going under the bridge. This was in the Netherlands, and the deckhand was wearing an U of O sweatshirt. It was taken handheld at 1/125,f5. I was focusing on his face. Not a great picture, but it gives you an inkling of what the a6000 is capable of doing. This was with the kit 16-50 zoom. I also have a 35mm prime that is just tack sharp.

I primarily "shoot" people, and want a camera that is fast to use. That is the only fault I found with the a6000; it is a little slow on the startup.

Click on these.
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Old 05-03-16, 12:12 PM
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I use my smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S4, and people frequently comment on how good my pictures are. When I tell them I use my phone, they're genuinely surprised.

Smartphones are so good at doing many things in one small, lightweight package, you'd think they were designed for bike touring. Imagine if you brought a phone, a camera, a GPS device, an mp3 player, a laptop, and a charger for each one.

In any case, technology has gotten good enough that a good point-and-shoot or a good/great smartphone will do the trick, unless you're an unusually fussy photography enthusiast, or if you were planning on making poster-sized prints.
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Old 05-03-16, 12:22 PM
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Last trip I brought a LG Leon smartphone; it was US$100 last year.
On sale right now at MetroPCS for US$29:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFNp...6zPoymgKaIoDLA

Long Island City, NYC by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

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Old 05-03-16, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wished View Post
My usual camera of choice outside the studio is my Nikon D810 DSLR and several lenses, not very practical to carry on the bike.
I take my D810, small tripod, 28-300mm, and a fast prime- usually the 20mm 1.8. The whole thing (plus inserts etc.) takes up about half a pannier. I have high end P&S cameras, and phone cameras can be great but the larger camera just totally blows em out of the water for most of what I do. The only time I really run point and shoots is if I'm hopping in and out of trains, or if I'm in a situation where I can't just drop into a store and grab supplies after 2-3 days.

I'd rather just haul the kit with me to get the shots that I *really* want for the rotating giant prints I plaster my office with.
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Old 05-03-16, 12:56 PM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/10...-use-tour.html
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Old 05-03-16, 12:56 PM
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mine's an older one ... Panasonic Lumix .... small, lightweight (can fit in my top shirt pocket)... very good lens and takes reasonable photos
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Old 05-03-16, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
I take my D810, small tripod, 28-300mm, and a fast prime- usually the 20mm 1.8. The whole thing (plus inserts etc.) takes up about half a pannier. I have high end P&S cameras, and phone cameras can be great but the larger camera just totally blows em out of the water for most of what I do. The only time I really run point and shoots is if I'm hopping in and out of trains, or if I'm in a situation where I can't just drop into a store and grab supplies after 2-3 days.

I'd rather just haul the kit with me to get the shots that I *really* want for the rotating giant prints I plaster my office with.
Good to know, I may start carrying it more often when getting into someplace more scenic, or at least places a little further from home. I've hiked pretty good distances with it and the extra weight hiking is certainly a bigger deal than biking with it. I tend to not kayak with it unless it's something pretty special, jus too avoid the chances of water damage. Never dropped one yet but no need to risk it just playing around in local waters. Love my D810, but with longer lenses it is a beast to carry. Just shooting football with the 70-400mm or a Tamron 150-600 can make a wrist pretty sore. Several folks have commented above about the size of a cropped sensor DSLR, and they are a fraction of the size of a D810 or D4S. My wife shoots a D610; nice full frame camera and not much heavier than the cropped-frame bodies. It's the lens that makes the difference to me.
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Old 05-03-16, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wished View Post
Love my D810, but with longer lenses it is a beast to carry.
Superzooms are kinda nice for that, or just sticking with a prime or two. The only prime lens I have that I'd call heavy is the nikkor 600mm.
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Old 05-03-16, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
...I'm also interested in the switch to mirrorless...
I have a 3 year old Sony Nex-3N mirrorless camera, it is relatively basic but suits me. Very small, lightweight (13.7 oz with lens & battery) , fast focus, takes good pics even in low light, 16-55 kit lens (24-82mm in 35 equiv) is great for landscapes to portraits and cost only $330.

I'd never carry a full size DSLR/MILC camera on a backpack or bike tour - not only are the cameras relatively heavy/large/expensive but the lenses are too. Compact mirrorless ones are more than adequate for most amateur photography purposes IMO.
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Old 05-04-16, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
Superzooms are kinda nice for that, or just sticking with a prime or two. The only prime lens I have that I'd call heavy is the nikkor 600mm.
I would definitely agree that the Nikon 600mm is a heavy prime!
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Old 05-04-16, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
Superzooms are kinda nice for that, or just sticking with a prime or two. The only prime lens I have that I'd call heavy is the nikkor 600mm.
My f4.5 500mm is kind of heavy. Has never been in a pannier and never will be. The lens cap is like a small frisbee. Also has a 2X teleconverter on it in the photos.

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Old 05-04-16, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My f4.5 500mm is kind of heavy. Has never been in a pannier and never will be. The lens cap is like a small frisbee. Also has a 2X teleconverter on it in the photos.
When I say superzoom in this case, I'm referring to lenses with a very wide range of focal lengths.

This guy is my favorite travel lens -

Not the sharpest or fastest that I've got, but it's really not bad at all for what it is.
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Old 05-04-16, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
When I say superzoom in this case, I'm referring to lenses with a very wide range of focal lengths.

This guy is my favorite travel lens -

Not the sharpest or fastest that I've got, but it's really not bad at all for what it is.
My wife's favorite travel lens, when she uses her DSLR, is a Nikon 24-120. It allows her to get the picture, instead of getting caught changing lenes.
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