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Touring with nice camera gear

Old 04-30-23, 07:34 PM
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Touring with nice camera gear

Do any of you bike tour with nice camera gear? If you do, how do you lessen the road vibration on your delicate gear? I backpack with my camera gear but that's different than constant road vibration.

I worry that the constant vibration will damage my 35mm equipment. Yes, I still shoot with film.

Still planning my Blue Ridge Parkway tour and plan to take a camera and a couple of lenses.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-30-23, 11:06 PM
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My wife and I carry our digital 6000 series Sony cameras in our handlebar bags. Our most used lenses are on the camera, and any additional lenses are wrapped in clothing in the panniers. We have also carried our Nikon FM2s the same way in our film days. We left our Nikon 8008s home; they were just too big. We have more than 22,000 miles carrying our digital cameras in the bar bags without any problems; and our film cameras were a lot tougher. On a 3-month , 3000 mile tour we rode about 400 miles of cobble and sett stone roads, and 500 miles on dirt and gravel roads and trails. Again, no problems with our Sony cameras.

All this BS to say, if you carry your camera in a foam padded case, you should not have a problem.

This is is my wife's case that slips into her bar bag. The bar bag is not rigidly attached to the bars, and this also helps dampen some of the vibration. Ortlieb bar bags are also waterproof!



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Old 05-01-23, 04:59 AM
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I have carried camera gear on bikes a variety of ways. On the Trans America and some other tours the DSLR and a couple lenses were in a handlebar bag. Some improvised padding under it was a help in reducing the vibration. On another long tour a little camera bag was draped over a bar roll hung by it's shoulder strap. I also did a lot of mountain biking some of it pretty rough singletracking with camera gear in a Mountain Hardwear fanny pack.

My gear survived in all cases. I typically put lenses and other items each in an individual sock so things don't bang into each other.

Cell phone cameras are good enough that unless photography is a specific purpose of the trip in a way beyond just documenting the trip itself I only take the phone these days. I do have a nice olympus micro 4/3 setup with pro lenses, but am loath to carry more than necessary so it generally stays home. I could imagine a trip where it might go along though.
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Old 05-01-23, 05:08 AM
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I pretty much did what Doug did with my film cameras, which included a Mamiya 645 with 3 lenses and other accessories.

Until I drowned it back in September, I simply put my Sony RX 100II in a small case and put it in a jersey pocket for easy access.
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Old 05-01-23, 07:06 AM
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If you have a choice on tire size, wider and lower pressure cushy tires might help a lot.

About five years ago I did a one week van supported trip with ACA in West Texas. Van supported, meaning unladen bike. The pavement was rough chip seal. The first day my hands took a real beating from the vibration. And my GPS started acting up, the vibration on the electronics was unhealthy.

I only had the bike I had, could not change that. But fortunately I had 40mm wide tires. First day, front tire had between 55 and 60 PSI pressure. I had it that high to try to minimize rolling friction.

Morning of the second day, I dropped my front tire pressure to between 40 and 45 PSI. That was as low as I wanted to drop it, but I was confident that I should not get any pinch flats at that pressure. My hands were much happier at the lower pressure. Kept it at that pressure for the rest of the week. And I was surprised that it did not appear to slow me down any.

That particular GPS is still acting up from the damage on day one, but it has not gotten any worse in the past five years.
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Old 05-01-23, 07:15 AM
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I ran a couple of trips with a mechanical Leica in my handlebar bag, no problem. Now on commutes I often carry a film Nikon in the bar bag. There's never been an issue. I don't know about digital. I pick a handlebar bag because they seem more bouncy and suspended than panniers.
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Old 05-04-23, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
Do any of you bike tour with nice camera gear? If you do, how do you lessen the road vibration on your delicate gear? I backpack with my camera gear but that's different than constant road vibration.

I worry that the constant vibration will damage my 35mm equipment. Yes, I still shoot with film.

Still planning my Blue Ridge Parkway tour and plan to take a camera and a couple of lenses.

Thoughts?
as the others have shown with their experience, the key thing is to isolate the equipment from harsh vibrations. Using common sense, its fairly easy to improvise on your own closed cell "holders", and handlebar bags that have a bit of "give" are always going to be good for absorbing the vibrations.
Ive never taken a "real" camera with a mirror system on it on a bike trip, but did spend decades transporting camera equipment to and from photography jobs on dollies and in cars, and using common sense of isolating vibrations and not having equipment directly against a hard object like the inside of a pannier that will transmit forces directly to camera is the way to go.
The wrapping of lenses in clothes etc is an easy way to isolate things from vibrations.
Personally I never saw the need to bring real cameras with me, but part of that was not wanting to schlepp the weight and worry about the stuff, but if you use common sense, you can do it safely.

and the point of slightly less tire pressure to reduce the harsh vibrations is a good tip.
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Old 05-04-23, 08:02 AM
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Ortlieb Ultimate with camera insert. Been using one since 2008. Water proof and the camera is suspended against vibration. Prior to that I carried a film SLR (Pentax K1000) in various handlebar bags without issue on many trips. The advantage of the Ortlieb is that it is waterproof.

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Old 05-04-23, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Ortlieb Ultimate with camera insert. Been using one since 2008. Water proof and the camera is suspended against vibration. Prior to that I carried a film SLR (Pentax K1000) in various handlebar bags without issue on many trips. The advantage of the Ortlieb is that it is waterproof.
Ye 'ol K1000 was a solid tank, known for being really tough. The camera of choice of many a first year photo student, back in the day fairly easy to find and cheap, plus lots of takumar lenses out there too.

Funnily enough cycc, but you and I have the same bike computer. Like mine for the somewhat accurate ish altitude climbing recording. The temp gauge tends to read high, but handy also.
Was attracted to this for these functions, still going but the mount has gotten loose a bit and I can knock it off if not careful.
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Old 05-04-23, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
Ye 'ol K1000 was a solid tank, known for being really tough. The camera of choice of many a first year photo student, back in the day fairly easy to find and cheap, plus lots of takumar lenses out there too.

Funnily enough cycc, but you and I have the same bike computer. Like mine for the somewhat accurate ish altitude climbing recording. The temp gauge tends to read high, but handy also.
Was attracted to this for these functions, still going but the mount has gotten loose a bit and I can knock it off if not careful.
Iím using a Lezyne GPS now but have a whole bunch of mounts (and spare Sigma computers) if you are interested. PM me.
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Old 05-04-23, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Ortlieb Ultimate with camera insert. Been using one since 2008. Water proof and the camera is suspended against vibration. Prior to that I carried a film SLR (Pentax K1000) in various handlebar bags without issue on many trips. The advantage of the Ortlieb is that it is waterproof.

Pentax fam! Is that a red K-x or K-r?
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Old 05-04-23, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
Do any of you bike tour with nice camera gear? If you do, how do you lessen the road vibration on your delicate gear? I backpack with my camera gear but that's different than constant road vibration.

I worry that the constant vibration will damage my 35mm equipment. Yes, I still shoot with film.

Still planning my Blue Ridge Parkway tour and plan to take a camera and a couple of lenses.

Thoughts?
35mm camera? I wouldn't worry about it in the least. I traveled with mine by motorcycle for years. I still do with my digital gear. I buy my gear to use, and I do not coddle it. I carried my Fuji XPro-1 on tour in 2019 in my handlebar bag. No issues. Don't hard mount it to the frame and you'll be fine.
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Old 05-04-23, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
Pentax fam! Is that a red K-x or K-r?
K-x. Itís been a great workhorse. Here it is in Nebraska in 2017 with a 400mm zoom and a 2x teleconverter and a sun filter.




and the result

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Old 05-04-23, 10:56 AM
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Tintin, Prisoners of the Sun
(I don't imagine you Americans ever read these books as kids)

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Old 05-04-23, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
K-x. Itís been a great workhorse. Here it is in Nebraska in 2017 with a 400mm zoom and a 2x teleconverter and a sun filter.




and the result

LOL, I suspected from you photo and the date (2017) that you were photographing the Great American Eclipse. I was in Idaho (on a motorcycle) with a Pentax Q...

This shot is with a Panasonic Lumix GX85, a small, mirrorless camera good for lightweight travel:



And here's the shot with the Pentax Q + 55-300. This is another small, light, high quality mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.



I haven't taken my cameras on many bicycle trips, but I have taken them on many motorcycle trips. And both Micro Four Thirds and Pentax Q (discontinued) are tiny powerhouses.
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Old 05-04-23, 11:30 AM
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Neat shots fellows. I like you, the eclipse and the enduro.
Fun bikes enduros, when I had one ( a 175) the biggest were the xl500, a friend has a Suzuki sp 390, but I've been amazed now for decades by the cool selection of them, and how sophisticated they are now too (and fricken huge!)
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Old 05-04-23, 04:45 PM
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35mm camera?
PHughs (John Flores too),

Yes, 35mm film cameras. I plan to take my Nikon F2AS and a couple of lenses, a 50mm and a nice 20-35mm f2.8 D lens.
The F2AS is a tough camera but I'd hate to jack it up as it's in pristine condition. I also have a couple of hard-used Nikkormat FTN's and may take one of those instead. I know they will survive the trip. They can take a tumble onto concrete, come off, brush the dust off and keep clicking away even without a battery.

It's the mechanical shutter and mirror that worries me from the vibration. I found some really good polyurethane closed cell foam that should do the trick.

To the rest of you, thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

John Flores, that's a pretty sweet shot you got with your motor. I looked at the Lumix line but opted for a Fujifilm X100S instead. Super light, takes great photos, easy to use but I don't think it would take much abuse on the road.


----------

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Old 05-04-23, 07:13 PM
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Some actual bicycle touring shots with the SLR. Roebling’s suspension aqueduct at Lackawaxen, PA.



The most tent ghetto tent site I’ve ever been to in my history of bicycle touring in upstate New York



Looks further away from the showers (and it was!)



Self portrait on the C&O with the self timer. Took about 8 shots to get the position right.



Point State Park in Pittsburgh



Not strictly bicycle but a picture of my wind turbine in my town in Iowa.

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Old 05-04-23, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
PHughs (John Flores too),

Yes, 35mm film cameras. I plan to take my Nikon F2AS and a couple of lenses, a 50mm and a nice 20-35mm f2.8 D lens.
The F2AS is a tough camera but I'd hate to jack it up as it's in pristine condition. I also have a couple of hard-used Nikkormat FTN's and may take one of those instead. I know they will survive the trip. They can take a tumble onto concrete, come off, brush the dust off and keep clicking away even without a battery.

It's the mechanical shutter and mirror that worries me from the vibration. I found some really good polyurethane closed cell foam that should do the trick.

To the rest of you, thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

John Flores, that's a pretty sweet shot you got with your motor. I looked at the Lumix line but opted for a Fujifilm X100S instead. Super light, takes great photos, easy to use but I don't think it would take much abuse on the road.
----------
As an old camera guy, I wouldn't take the F2as, from memory that's the final version, so if it's pristine, treasure it.
Speaking of heavy, have you ever held a F or F2 with the 12 AA motor drive, geez Louise they were heavy. Heck, even a naked F2 is a lump.
I was from the latter era, using FE, FM, FM2 with drives, and then after the integrated motor models, so much smaller and quieter than the FM series and F3.
Ya, use the FTN, they were/are tough buggers, but really, just isolate it well with foam etc and it will be fine if you use common sense.
Boy, haven't held a FTN or a F or F2 in a very long time!
Personally I'd take a 85 over the 50, but hey, have fun now matter what you take, all those nikkors are tough lenses. I'll always remember dropping a 28 down some wooden stairs and it hitting the sidewalk, just a nick.
Once every few years we would discover a loose screw in our hasseblad case and the local blad repair guy would go over it, but we shot nearly always on location, so a lot of transport on dollies and in and out of cars, down stairs etc etc. Never had problems with the 35 stuff personally, but I was just a small time commercial photographer, not a daily newspaper guy, they really use their stuff hard.

Ps, you'd be surprised how well the X100 would stand up. Again, just use common sense and foam, and be smart around tons of dust, sand.
I love small easy to use cameras, especially for traveling.
Cheers
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Old 05-04-23, 08:07 PM
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djb,

Yeah, now that I can actually afford a pristine F2AS I bought one about three years ago. It's just crazy how much quality they built into that last camera in the F2 line. My first camera was an FTN that I worked two summers for in 1974 and 1975. I think I paid $150 bucks for it. That was still a lot of money back then. I dreamed of an F2 though but way out of my league as a high school kid.

My original FTN got stolen years ago along with a beautiful Rolleiflex TLR I had. Heart broken. You can buy very functional FTN's on eBay for well under $100 bucks. I nice one will set you back $150-ish. Truth be told, the FTN was a faster camera to shoot than the F2 but not nearly as configurable.

Yeah, the F2AS will probably stay at home though. I'll reconsider the X100S.
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Old 05-05-23, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
djb,

Yeah, now that I can actually afford a pristine F2AS I bought one about three years ago. It's just crazy how much quality they built into that last camera in the F2 line. My first camera was an FTN that I worked two summers for in 1974 and 1975. I think I paid $150 bucks for it. That was still a lot of money back then. I dreamed of an F2 though but way out of my league as a high school kid.

My original FTN got stolen years ago along with a beautiful Rolleiflex TLR I had. Heart broken. You can buy very functional FTN's on eBay for well under $100 bucks. I nice one will set you back $150-ish. Truth be told, the FTN was a faster camera to shoot than the F2 but not nearly as configurable.

Yeah, the F2AS will probably stay at home though. I'll reconsider the X100S.
Ya, my first real camera was a FE, and then as I got more and more serious with photography, got FM and fm2 bodies. The nice thing back then is that you could find good used Nikkor stuff at reasonable prices. I sold most of my manual focus stuff when we started using af bodies, but I kept one FM or fm2, don't recall, my fav 35 f2 and a 105.

​​​​​​RE using the x100s, like others have reported who have used digi bodies like this a lot bike touring, I've used the same old Nikon PT and shoot, for a lot of bike trips, have to check what model it is, one of the compact zoom models, you know with the equivalent of maybe a 24-180 or close. Nothing fancy, but I've carried mine in a handlebar bag on long trips. Biked through central America, another through about half of Mexico, across France, and other little stuff, and other than a slightly sticky clam opening lens cover (so typical of these types of cameras) the thing worked fine.
The great thing with these size cameras, mine is probably close to size and weight to the x100, is that their lower mass means less bouncing around. Isolate the camera from jarring, and as you know, they are great cameras to use and to just grab. Yes, with the x100 you've only got the 35mm view, that's why I went with the compact zoom route. Other reason for me if course was thinking that if someone stuck a gun to my head in Honduras, losing that camera wouldnt be a big loss, and I had to be realistic of this possibility.
Just checked, it's a Coolpix P7000, old thing and nothing special, but a tool for my purposes and fit the budget.
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Old 05-05-23, 11:45 AM
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I've treated my cameras as tools. I try not to abuse them, but I don't coddle them either. I switched over to SLRs using the Pentax system. I used this Spotmatic during my stint in the "Disney Land of South East Asia" in 1967-1968. It took a beating and kept on ticking.


When I met my wife she was using a Nikon so I switched. Nikons where a little lighter and smaller than they were in the 60s. It did not make sense to have two different systems in the family. We ended up with a FM, 2-FM2s, and a F3. We also have 2 auto focus Nikons.

This is my collection. You can tell I like the black body cameras the most.



I started changing film, but began to take a drink first. The cap on my water bottle was loose, and drenched my camera with an electrolyte drink. I cleaned the camera, and then thinking that I had rerolled the film, opened the back to remove the film. I did not reroll the film! This was when I starting thinking of switching to digital.


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Old 05-05-23, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
PHughs (John Flores too),

Yes, 35mm film cameras. I plan to take my Nikon F2AS and a couple of lenses, a 50mm and a nice 20-35mm f2.8 D lens.
The F2AS is a tough camera but I'd hate to jack it up as it's in pristine condition. I also have a couple of hard-used Nikkormat FTN's and may take one of those instead. I know they will survive the trip. They can take a tumble onto concrete, come off, brush the dust off and keep clicking away even without a battery.

It's the mechanical shutter and mirror that worries me from the vibration. I found some really good polyurethane closed cell foam that should do the trick.

To the rest of you, thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

John Flores, that's a pretty sweet shot you got with your motor. I looked at the Lumix line but opted for a Fujifilm X100S instead. Super light, takes great photos, easy to use but I don't think it would take much abuse on the road.


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I repeated 35mm camera because I was specifically answering to that. I would not worry about it. I shot film for many years, and toured with my old Nikkormat FTN and a Nikon body on a motorcycle. The Nikkormat also slid across the dash of my truck one day and slammed into the door pillar, which was metal. No issues. One day I was doing a shoot involving two girls and horses, and one if the cameras, I forget which one, fell from my perch on a horse, with a 70-200 lens attached. The back popped open as it hit. I put the film back in and kept shooting. Both cameras work well to this day.

As I said, I tour with my Fuji now. I generally put it in a tank bag on the motorcycle, or in the trunk of the sidecar on my other motorcycle. ON the bicycle I simply put it in the handlebar bag. I usually have it in a neoprene cover to begin with, but as I ride and use it, I simply place it on top of the cover so I can access it quickly. The handle bar bag isn't exactly rigid, and the bouncing up and down actually protects the camera from big shocks. I have the Ortleib camera insert for the bag, but have never used it.

Take care from large shocks, the general vibrations won't be a big issue. The worse place to put it would be on the rear rack since it would transmit large shocks directly to the camera. In a saddlebag on the back is okay if it is on top of clothes or other soft things.

I did kill the XPro-1 finally. I rode 500 miles on my Ural, with my tank back attached to the rear rack of the motorcycle. That bike rides fairly harshly. The direct shocks from the rear wheel damaged the shutter. I will never do that again. I don't know what I was thinking when I put the bag on the rack, except that I wasn't thinking. You will not see the same harsh shocks on a bicycle, especially in a hanging handlebar bag like an Ortleib. It is the only camera body I have succeeded in killing, despite my best efforts. I travel worldwide for a living and my gear is usually just placed at the bottom of a computer bag, with the body and a lens in a neoprene cover. They take a lot of abuse. I now travel with an XT-3.
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Old 05-05-23, 05:48 PM
  #24  
Ron Damon
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Electronic shutter

Bring a camera with no mechanical shutter?

On a separate though related note, we know that weight is a luxury on tour. Here's my light and small (yet kinda powerful at 30W) camera and cell phone charging solution.

Last edited by Ron Damon; 05-05-23 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 05-05-23, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
I rode 500 miles on my Ural, .
I used to see one around here, but its been years since I've seen it. Pretty rare things. Seems to me the only ones I have seen have sidecars. Are they all the sidecar wheel drive versions?
Curios for sure.
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