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Foam for packing DSLR

Old 11-16-20, 07:38 PM
  #1  
TiHabanero
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Foam for packing DSLR

Have need to pack my DSLR on the bike for touring and believe I can protect it from road vibrations and shock from bumps fairly well with pick and pack foam sheets from Uline. Has anyone out there used foam to protect any sensitive device from road vibrations and shock from bumps on their bike? Any other way to do this outside of carrying the camera on my body? Please understand the DSLR is what I am taking, and will not use any other camera, so please do not thread drift with suggestions or recommendations of other cameras to use in place of the DSLR.
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Old 11-16-20, 07:43 PM
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My experience with using foam to pack sensitive equipment has been less than desirable unless the foam was molded to shape prior, IE-made for the item. It's probably better than anything short of a case designed just for such use however. I would probably find a way to pack it on me some how if at all possible. (back pack, etc.) Good luck
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Old 11-16-20, 07:49 PM
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If I was you,... and they have many sizes.

Camera body and one lens - ~$30

https://www.harborfreight.com/2800-w...-in-63926.html

https://www.harborfreight.com/apache-protective-case
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Old 11-16-20, 08:15 PM
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Iv'e carried a Lumix DMC FZ300 since 2015 for over 20,000 miles in a Ripoffs Holster on a belt. No problems to speak of.

This model Ripoffs Model CO-179EP
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Old 11-16-20, 08:24 PM
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I've used a regular camera bag wrapped up with bubble wrap when I need extra protection.
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Old 11-16-20, 09:26 PM
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I would just use a regular camera bag or backpack. How many extra lenses are you taking? I would probably wrap any lenses with foam.
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Old 11-16-20, 11:01 PM
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Some of the problem is the amount of the shocks the camera will see. My Olympus OM-1 and current Cannon Power Shot have rolled for thousands of miles in a handle bar bag with little more then folded bandanas as the padding and wrap (excepting the large ZipLok for water protection). I feel that the bag being cantilevered out, and the body being cloth and thin plastic stiffener, help to reduce the shake that comes from riding over bumps. My late wife did much the same with her Leica, the huge Hassablad and the folding Plaubel Makina (not a camera known for it's robustness).

If you must pack the camera where it should be foam packed then a dual approach might warrant looking at. Soft/thin foam to touch the camera and firm/thick foam around/outside the softer/inner stuff. Cut out patterns and use duct tape (?) to hold it all together. I'm sure there's all kinds of commercially made bags and padded holders.

When I did my cross 2/3s country ride in 2017 I went through the "which camera to take" thing. I wanted digital. I wanted it easy to buy batteries and not carry a charger. My choices were the Cannon PS S5 (a DSLR) or an Olympus Tough (a pocket DVF). I went with the big Cannon because I wanted store bought batteries. Andy (who never used his flip phone camera as yet)
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Old 11-17-20, 05:00 AM
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All the cameras mentioned by other colleagues are not DSLRs. They are either analog SLRs or mirrorless compact cameras. DSLRs are very susceptible to vibrations especially those that can be encountered on a moving bicycle that hits all sorts of bumps on its way. DSLRs have sensitive mirror and focusing sensors located around it which can get out of alignment. I'd pack it in a professional case if I can find one. Otherwise, it would always be in a camera bag on my back. I carried it like that and it was fine. I have rather expensive camera, several times more expensive than my bicycle. I might risk with the bag on my handlebars, but I'd not put it somewhere at the rear rack without very good protection. All in all I am also very interested to learn how to tour with my DSLR because I avoided that risk before unless it was in a bag on my back.
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Old 11-17-20, 07:30 AM
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a lot will depend on the terrain.
if general road tour, no problemo.
if off road, then you need more protection.

anyhoo, i used to carry my heavy olympus om10 SLR with 70-110 lens.
carried in the standard form fitting faux leather case.
with that in the handlebar bag which provided some shock protection,
along with a few velcro padded dividers.

tens of thousands of miles, mostly highway, some lite trail.
it did finally go bad off road in colorado, mirror mechanism frozen,
but by that time it was going on 20 years old.

i found a used om-1 body in a camera shop a couple days later.
that one lasted at least ten years, with some rough terrain in laos
and cambodia. eventually sold when i was preparing to move.


you could buy a block of foam and cut to fit your camera,
with that in a handlebar bag.

Last edited by saddlesores; 11-17-20 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 11-17-20, 07:38 AM
  #10  
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Good point that no one has talked specifically about DSLRs. However it's also true that sometimes these days people refer to all large interchangeable-lens cameras as DLSRs even if mirrorless etc. Personally I had a Sony full-frame mirrorless with IBIS go bad on a bike tour - failed IBIS mechanism, got it repaired, then it failed again. Can't help but be skeptical about moving-sensor IBIS and months of road vibration now...

What camera is it exactly?
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Old 11-17-20, 07:43 AM
  #11  
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Where? In panniers? In a handlebar bag? Somewhere else?

Presumably on a bike with no suspension. I think there is some flex in a handlebar bag mounting system that reduces a lot of the vibration. That might work better than in a rear pannier. If your camera and lens is quite heavy, a lot of handlebar bags can sag quite a bit if they have a heavy load. So, think about weight.

Ortlieb makes some form of foam thing for camera packing in their handlebar bags.
https://www.ortlieb.com/usa/ultimate-six-camera-insert

I rode on my folding bike on very rough West Texas chip seal pavement with 40mm wide tires for a week. First day I had between 55 and 60 psi pressure in the front tire, the vibration was very hard on my hands and my GPS on the handle bar started acting up. Second day, dropped front tire pressure to between 40 and 45 psi, that really worked better without much loss in speed. Used that pressure for the rest of the week, but kept my rear tire aired up harder. My point is, think about the tires you are using and how much pressure is in them.

It is so tempting to suggest a different camera, but I respect your wishes.
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Old 11-17-20, 08:03 AM
  #12  
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I travel with a DSLR - Fuji XT-20 - as well. I use a hybrid system that is modular and allows me to create whatever shape I need for whatever gear/bag combo I'm using. Most of the time, I carry the camera in a handlebar bag, but this could work for most bags. This is very similar to the Ortlieb bag mentioned above.

I got mine on Amazon. Search for camera bag inserts or for a very specific one: Selens High-Capacity Shockproof DSLR Camera Padded Bag Case. I've traveled on and off the bike with this setup without any issues.
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Old 11-17-20, 08:10 AM
  #13  
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Ti, my opinions come from having worked in commercial photography for over 25 years, mostly shooting on location and carrying/transporting 35 and medium format stuff through all kinds of conditions--and being extremely aware/conscious of the importance of the impact (sic) of reducing impacts and vibrations from affecting equipment--ie, an equipment failure that would jeopardize a job.

the main thing is to just use common sense for imagining how vibrations will occur. In all my years touring, I specifically never took a mirrored body with me, concerned about the knocking about, but also clearly from weight concerns also, plus I liked the liberating use of point and shoots given that shooting was part of my day job--but enough of that.

Ive used pieces of old style simple blue foam campmats to make vibration absorbing home made surrounding thingees for laptops etc, so really, just think of reducing vibrations. I too agree that a handlebar bag is good because of the inherent movement that happens that will absorb a larger shock like a pothole or whatever, but internal baffling from foam or whatever the heck is imperative.
My opinion on inside a pannier is that its double edged, yes you can surround a camera with soft material like clothes, which will greatly absorb shocks, but obviously you wont have access to camera easily and it could shift and be up against the hard side of pannier or rear rack, badly transmitting shocks.
I think it should be easy to improvise a good foam thing for your camera, and while you'd probably want to secure the camera so it doesnt move laterally much, or bounce around, and underneath your foam holder, large bubble wrap or loose blue foam bits or other pieces of foam that can move against the main part of the foam will always help to absorb and dissipate forces...think crumple zones in cars and bike helmet technology that gradually take away the forces involved before they reach the car passenger or head or the camera.

I recall back in the day that we have found tiny screws in camera bags from Hasseblads, so yes, vibrations are bad and are not good for a mirrored camera, but using common sense should allow you to successfully build up an effective system that will greatly help your cameras life.

and yes, good point on tire size and pressures to reduce the harshness of the front end, helps a hell of a lot with our bodies too.

Last edited by djb; 11-17-20 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 11-17-20, 09:15 AM
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A couple of years ago, I looked for info on carrying delicate cameras on bikes, and didn't find much useful info. And it 's not clear if some cameras are more affected or damaged by vibrations than others.

Camera bags are more designed to protect against impacts, I think. Stiff foam to cushion hard knocks and drops.

I haven't carried my mirrorless too often, but here's my setup:
I had carried it in a trunk bag with extra foam. But it's annoying to stop, get off the bike, and open up the bag to get to the camera.
Now, I have a nice Arkel handlebar bag. This has just a plastic sheet reinforced base inside the fabric bag. I added an inch thick foam sheet, and a couple of cheap microfiber cleaning cloths scrunched up on top.
Now I can stop, pull it out, and shoot. Nice.

Perhaps multiple layers of very different densities would dissipate different kinds of vibrations, from bigger bumps to buzzy rough road vibrations.

I think that stiff foam sheets, like backpacking sleeping pads, are way too stiff for vibrations, but are good for hard knock protection.
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Old 11-17-20, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Perhaps multiple layers of very different densities would dissipate different kinds of vibrations, from bigger bumps to buzzy rough road vibrations.

I think that stiff foam sheets, like backpacking sleeping pads, are way too stiff for vibrations, but are good for hard knock protection.
this is how I look at it, and how I would go about carrying a dslr or any slr in a camera bag, blue or whatever foam for building a structure, and then more absorbing stuff under and around for reducing vibrations.
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Old 11-17-20, 10:42 AM
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I use this LowePro camera bag around my arm/ neck. Every single mile of my 2 tours. It's a Pentax K10 with 18-55 lens. My GoPro goes in the case when off the bike too. When it's raining, it's under the cape. It takes 5 secs to get it out for a pic. Both straps are around my neck, it helps spread out the load. I have it so it rests half way up my back. It's sort of a nuisance to carry, but there's no better way. I never worried about vibration. I have also done a few little crashes this way. No damage, since I landed on the other side. They get damn sweaty, but wash up nice. I wrote my initials on the case.
It's $30 off now too.
I also have a fanny pack around my waist for passport, plane tickets, foreign money wallet, fork + spoon, and stuff.
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Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 11-17-20 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 11-17-20, 01:22 PM
  #17  
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One more quick note - several years ago I went on a fully supported trip, tour company provided almost everything including bikes. I brought one pannier along from home, just in case I wanted to carry rain gear or anything like that on my bike. One day when it started raining, I ended up carrying someone elses DSLR, he had no way to carry it. It got a little wet, my pannier was not waterproof. My point is, no matter how you carry your camera, bring a thin light weight dry bag along as a backup for those days where you suddenly find you wish you had it.

The camera I bring on bike trips is rated for 45 feet of water depth. If I expect to see some wildlife on a trip, I also bring a second long zoom non-waterproof camera but every trip has the point and shoot waterproof camera so that I have no fear of taking photos in the rain.




Originally Posted by djb View Post
...
I recall back in the day that we have found tiny screws in camera bags from Hasseblads, so yes, vibrations are bad and are not good for a mirrored camera, ....
Thanks for the chuckle.
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Old 11-17-20, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Thanks for the chuckle.
luckily back then there was a nearby local repair guy who did repair stuff for blads, and was always able to figure out easily where the screws came from and do a good job of going over the bodies and backs. Seems to me it happened to a lens or two also, but we were able to see right away where it was from and put it back in.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:01 PM
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I was thinking about the balance between a camera case that is safe and one that is convenient. If it takes a lot to deploy one would probably be inclined to take fewer pictures. In that case (pun intended) I could see a handlebar bag being set up as a padded camera bag with some egg crate foam thick enough to cradle the camera. You lose the carrying capacity of the bag for other things but have a convenient location for deployment.

For my Olympus TG Tough I use a handlebar feedbag. Even with the fish eye it fits secure but deploys easily.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:08 PM
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I hear a lot of talk about SLR flappy mirror mechanisms being fragile, but I think that's overblown. Remember, those flappy mirror cameras did pretty well in Viet Nam.

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Old 11-17-20, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I hear a lot of talk about SLR flappy mirror mechanisms being fragile, but I think that's overblown. Remember, those flappy mirror cameras did pretty well in Viet Nam.

those are Nikon F bodies, and were (and are) incredibly tough cameras. I knew a photographer who used to come into a shop I worked in who told the story of being held up, he had a motorized F around his neck (Ive held these before, heavy mothers) so said, "ok sure, here you go" Tossed the whole thing into the guys face, knocked him silly, camera smacks onto the sidewalk, robber in pain on the floor, guy picks up the F and runs off and it worked fine. Second hand story told to me by someone in the store who the photographer told the story to, so maybe it was overblown....but yes, the F was a tough sucker.
The drives by memory used 8 or 10 AAs, my much later motorized FE, FM adn FM2s only used 6 or 8, cant recall.

but yes, using M body Leicas was popular in Vietnam etc also, small, light, quiet and tough.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:43 PM
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Yep, Nikon F's are tough.



I still have an F2 - beautifully rugged beast.
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Old 11-17-20, 04:02 PM
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I think a lot of the new bodies were designed specifically so that a giant computer operated machine could put all the tiny little parts into the body with no labor cost and with zero thought to every having to repair one of those little parts. Not like things were built half a century ago when they were designed to be repairable. I have three modern DSLRs, I would NEVER bring one on a bike trip or canoe trip or kayak trip or anything like that. (Oops, have two more that were retired years ago due to small sensor size, have five.)

I have a mirrorless camera, takes DSLR lenses and I would be afraid to take that, I would not want to shake the lenses that much but I am sure the camera body could handle it.

I mentioned above I bring a waterproof point and shoot camera on bike tours, this one:
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentax-wg3

Later models have the Ricoh name, Ricoh bought Pentax years ago, thus the name change.
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Old 11-17-20, 04:23 PM
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Maybe I should bring this on a bike trip?



I have not used this lens for several years, now thinking I need to make sure it still works. But won't fit in my handlebar bag.
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Old 11-17-20, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Yep, Nikon F's are tough.



I still have an F2 - beautifully rugged beast.
edit--I think I misremembered my knocking the guy silly story, it was a F2, and motorized F2 was a beast.

hey, smart midget feller--the photographer Don McCullin's images made a real impact on me back in the day. His stuff was really strong and disturbing, as all images from war conflicts should be. I remember a good 15,20 years ago he came out with landscape shots of around where he lives in the UK , but shot with the same grainy, contrasty way as his correspondance stuff. I have a hell of alot of respect for photogs who document the kaka of human interaction in war. Important and crucial work, but crap its gotta take a toll on you. I realized fairly early on that I couldnt do that sort of stuff, well, certainly chose not to go that route.
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