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Photo Forum Everything on Travel Photography, from what kind of equipment to how to light a subject, moderated by Stuart (Reggie) Martindale, a pro English photographer
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  #1  
Old 3 Oct 2006
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Camera Gear and vibrations

Hi,

I consider changing over to new camera gear – though I'm not sure yet. It's gonna be Nikon or Canon.
My options are Nikon D200 or the Canon 5D. Whatever my choice, I would also carry a non-digital backup-camera with me on the bike.

A few years back I had an incident where my autofocus gave up after 2 days of biking in Cambodia. That said - I'm not sure if it was the vibrations or if the camera was on its way out anyway.

Has anyone got any good or bad experience with a (digital) SLR failing on them due to motorbike travelling (even in moderate offroad conditions)?

Cheers
Bjorn
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  #2  
Old 3 Oct 2006
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I used to be a hobby photographer, but nowadays seldom use my nikon, much preferring my wifes do it all camera. For your kind of trip, is it wise to take expensive equipment? Good secondhand or cheaper new stuff wont have you worrying about its whereabouts so much...

I must confess I have decided to live life rather than record it... so if you have to have a camera make it a small one that can live in your pocket.

My tent cost £10 two years ago, and is still undamaged... if it were to disappear or go up in flames it would not bother me, as I have had my moneys worth out of it many times over.. BUT.. It probably is not up to protecting me on a mountainside in winter,, well perhaps it does, as it keeps me home and by the fire
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  #3  
Old 4 Oct 2006
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Talking

We have had a few reports of digital cameras failing - but then we've seen film cameras fail too.

The main thing is to protect them from vibration - in a padded camera bag in a tank bag is generally sufficient, unless you're into serious off-road bumps and bangs, in which case all bets are off. On you is the safest place for the camera, but not so safe for you - if you crash and land on it you'll probably hurt you as much or more than the camera. A rider died when he crashed a while ago - the cell phone over his heart did it. So put the camera somewhere sensible - hips break too when you land on a camera worn there.

And the best bet - carry a second camera. We always recommend a "good" camera as the main one when you have time, and a point n shoot for quick grab shots. If they're the same brand the menus etc are very similar making them easier to use.

We like Canon, but Nikon are as good. Fujifilm cameras have a bad rep for reliability.

Also of course take LOTS of memory cards!

have a great trip!
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  #4  
Old 4 Oct 2006
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Hi mate,
I've recently come back from a trip to Morrocco and Iran carrying digital SLR equipment. I was using a Nikon D100 with Sigma pro lenses. I was also carrying a laptop. (I'm a press photographer so tend to get a bit anal about having enough gear, even on holiday!)
My approach was to have all my eggs in one basket, that is, I put two layers of foam (one low density, one higher density) in the bottom of one of my panniers and then put all this electronic gear in that pannier in individual cases. It perhaps wasn't a perfect solution (but then what is?) but it worked very well. My gear suffered no ill effects from vibes or the slow speed tumbles which plonked the bike on that pannier.
I'd say Nikon would be a very good choice and I'm seriously contemplating upgrading my D100 to a D200 in the near future, they look like very nice semi-pro bodies.
Canon are also very good, the pro world seems split on wether Nikon or Canon are better and in the end it doesn't matter, with these cameras it will be your own skills that limit your shots, not the brand of camera you have.
I heartily agree with Grant that a second camera is a good idea, I've just bought a little digi compact for those snaps which so often turn out the best pix of a trip!

Happy snapping.

Matt

(I've a horrible feeling I'm gonna be taking a digi SLR, manual film SLR and digi compact on my next trip, so much for "The more you travel, the less you find you need!" )
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #5  
Old 4 Oct 2006
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Helge Pedersen's Method

I think Helge Pedersen uses a backpack like this http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Back...yZone_200.aspx

He straps that to the passenger seat/luggage rack, it is completely watertight and has plenty of vibration dampening padding. But then he's a pro photographer and carries a lot of equipment.

Me, I love my Canon S3 IS for its versatility and size.
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  #6  
Old 4 Oct 2006
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Hi,
I have one of those backpacks and they are excellent, but a bit too much to carry around when you are off the bike doing a bit of sightseeing. That's why I had a little side case which I carried around, generally with just my digi body and short zoom in. I did think about carrying it in my pannier but it didn't quite fit and with so much kit in there it would have been unsuitable to just leave strapped to the bike.
I have thought about custom building a top-box or side box to exactly fit my Lowepro backpack, but that's a whole other plan for another time!
I believe Lowepro do backpacks which have a little camera bag in the bottom with an ordinary 'daypack' style top section which might be suitable for keen amauter snappers.
Matt

PS- If you are new to digi photography and are wondering wether it is worth it then I have to say it is. If you are keen then you will see your 'learning curve' get much steeper as soon as you switch over. The ability to look at a pic just after you've taken it, see why it does or doesn't work while you can still remember the conditions and what aperture/speed/iso (and being able to remind yourself in EXIF!) you took it at is brilliant. Then being able to fire off shots till you get it right, not caring about the cost of film...well, digi is probably the greatest leap forward in photography since colour film.
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!

Last edited by Matt Cartney; 4 Oct 2006 at 22:35.
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  #7  
Old 5 Oct 2006
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All in all I prefer to carry my camera in the tank bag. It's easily and quickly accessible and relatively safe. Besides having a padding under the tank bag I use an Ortlieb waterproof (and dustproof) bag specially designed for SLR cameras, which is also padded. Thus the camera is double padded. This has done the job for thousands of kilometers and many of them on tough dirt roads.

Hans
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  #8  
Old 5 Oct 2006
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Hi Bjorn,

I use a Canon 20D and my long standing Canon D60 SLR camera's, complete with L series lens'. I'm sure that the constant vibrations form the motorcycle help to keep the CCD dust contamination to a minimum, just remember always to store the body with the CCD vertical and try to keep a lens for each body, therefore reducing the dust ingress problems even more.

If you saw the dents that my kit's been inflicted with you'll realise they don't get a gentle life!

Regards

Reggie AKA The Cameraman
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  #9  
Old 6 Oct 2006
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Hi Reggie,
I store my cameras generally facing down with a lens on. Why do you store them with the CCD vertical, is it just so the dust doesn't accumulate on a flat surface or is there another reason?
Cheers,
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #10  
Old 7 Oct 2006
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Hi Matt,

exactly as you say, if the CCD's vertical then there's less chance of any dust landing on it and also, if the focal plane is in it's normal orientation then there's less forces affecting the equipment as you ride along.
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  #11  
Old 7 Oct 2006
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Cheers, will consider this when I work out how I'm carrying my kit next time!
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #12  
Old 8 Oct 2006
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Thumbs up Carrying photo equipment on bike

Hi all,
I think we must talk for everyone's problems about this subject.
The main problem is:
1. Zoom lenses are very sensitive to vibration.
2. Electronic bodies (digitals are more) are very sensitive to vibration.

Ok, how can we solve it?
1. Try to get fixed focus lenses of only one length: For example 24, 35, 50, 85, 135, 200 mms (for 35 mm film cameras)
2. Try to get manual cameras (for example Nikon FM2)

If the budget or conditions doesn't allow to do so: try to make very good enough thick )at least 10 mms) vibration dampening padding of soft foam for around the camera and spare lanses. If you fill around the camera and lenses wit foam and other goods, it also helps a lot.

Carrying all photo equipment on the backpack seems ok at first glance but in long distance rides it makes you tired and of course dangereous in fall offs.

Regards,
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  #13  
Old 8 Oct 2006
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Hi Samy,
I agree that I wouldn't want to ride witha camera backpack on, it would be pretty uncomfortable after a while.
My lenses are all zooms and I've had no problems with vibes. However they are 'pro' lenses (Sigma) and therefore built to take a beating. It might be worth investing in pro lenses for an amatuer if they are planning extensive rough usage.
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #14  
Old 8 Oct 2006
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Hi Matt,

I use canon L series lens and have never had a problem with them. OK they sure look a bit battered these days but they've paid for thereselves many times over. I just wish they were a little smaller as I don't like using up a whole pannier space just for my camera kit!
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  #15  
Old 9 Oct 2006
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I took my big Olympus on a tour, but it was rather bulky and I always worried about breakage since it is not cheap. That took the enjoyment out of having the camera available for capturing those excellent beach scenes or what have you, and I quit carrying it. have since moved to a simple point-and-shoot that will fit in a pocket (a small Samsung 5 megapixel) and which cost 1/10th of the Olympus. I miss the big zoom lens but appreciate that the small Samsung runs on ordinary AA batteries and uses ordinary SD memory cards that are available in any major city if I fill up mine. And if the camera quits working... well, I don't worry about it. I just carry it in the bubble-wrap that it came in, and when on the highway wrap it in a towel, place it in a panier, and call it good.
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