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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 2011
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dSLR cameras and biking?

Gday all,

After spending several months on the road with my lovely point and shoot, the unprotected lens is slowly getting more scratched and photo quality is declining. A combination of that and the 2012 HUBB calendar pics (you should vote here Horizons Unlimited 2012 Photo Contest Poll) and being in Canada surrounded by beauty to photograph, I'm opting to buy a dSLR camera.

Can anyone recommend a model that is suitable for the road? And any equipment that seems necessary or brilliant for motorbike travelling? How do people carry their dSLR's and lenses on their bikes? Any problems with damage from vibration etc? What are your lens choices for travel photography?

I'm currently investigating the Nikon D3100/D5100/D90 cameras, all seeming nice. Looking forward to hearing your opinions and hopefully we can turn this into a valuable thread for others in the future!!

Cheers,
Rossy.
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  #2  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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I'm looking myself so no model advuice but keen to hear from others!

One thing I learnt from climbing trips is to protect your lens always have a filter on - even if it's a clear filter. I have smashed the filter but saved the lens on more than one occasion.

Colebatch uses a polarising filter to great effect, superb photos but have no idea what it does or how it works.
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  #3  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Canon

Like you I started with a 35mm 'point and shoot' I now have a DSLR Canon EOS550d and find it great. An upgrade from the 500d previousley owned.

I keep the 35mm in my pocket for the 'super quick' shots or when I'm cold and wet. I keep the DSLR either my tankbag or top box (in s**t weather!)
I take a 18-55mm (close/friends), 75-300mm (distance/public/wildlife) and a wide angle lens (scenery) and have good fun with it. I also have a double battery compartment fitted for those days when no charge is available, a small light portable tripod, a hot-shoe flash, a remote actuator, and filters to protect the main lens, which also remove UV, etc.

I find carrying the gear in the tank bag hasn't been a problem with the vibrations, also carrying plenty of SD memory cards is better than just one card.

p.s, camera shops often have 2nd hand, good lens filters for sale at less than 1/2 price!!

Grant Johnson (HU Boss) gave a presentation about photography back in Spain 2008 and that was what made me decide to convert to DSLR as I couldn't get enough variation out of my 35mm and wanted to experiment more. With the reasonable prices and never ending pictures to take and retake and retake etc with digital, It was a no brainer for me.

My advice is to start small and cheap, an all inclusive package of a couple of lenses, camera and a bag and pretty soon you'll be figuring out what's good for you and maybe move onto something bigger/better/faster. I find that lenses make the camera and my girlfriend loves it when I get something ew as she gets the old one...LOL!
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  #4  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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My experience with Nikon DSLR camera's is good.
For several trips I carried a Nikon D70s. With my last trip I used my wifes D5000 to try it out and, for my work as a reporter for a newssite, I used a Nikon D300s daily. Most of the time I go everywhere on my bike.
The last few years a BMW F650GS and now an old GoldWing and I always have the camera in the topcase.

I never had a camera failure while on the road.
My son carried his D50 in the topcase of his moped with no problem.

In general, the profesional or semi profesional camera's like the D300s are stronger then the consumer market camera's because they are intended to be used everywhere, every day in every weather.

If you don't need to shoot video, a second hand D200 or D300 could be a good option.

For my motorcycle trips, I use a Nikkor 18-200 zoom objective and a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 fixed focus objective and a SB600 flash. I always have spare batteries and memory cards with me.

I must say that I hardly ever go off-road with camera's in my topcase but I had my share of bad roads.

Good luck with choosing a camera.
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The bike I ride is a Honda GoldWing GL1200 Aspencade and sometimes a 1978 Honda CB400T
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  #5  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Fantastic!

Cheers gents, that's great advice! Thanks for the breakdown on what the lens mm refer to, as I'm not at understanding that yet. I was thinking the same though for lenses, a standard, a zoom and a wide angle. A macro was also a possibility as, being a zoologist, things under bark, logs and rocks excite me!

As for storage, my biggest issue is, I run with ALL soft luggage. Soft pannier bags, and a rolltop duffel bag. My tankbag is a tiny little Wolfman enduro so has no storage space for an SLR. I would have to upgrade my stock 13L tank to get a bigger tankbag I'd say.

Where do you guys keep your lenses as well? With the camera? Do they fit in your tank bag? Which tank bag?

Keep up the good work, the more opinions, the merrier! Cheers!
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  #6  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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Macro

I tried a macro once and a guy said to me, why no use your telephoto zoom lens instead.... stand back and let your subject matter (bugs/lizards/etc) just get on with whatever it's doing without your huge lump of a body scaring the bejeesus out of it and all it wants to do is run away!

Funny that as it works for the cute chicks across the road too. LOL!

I use a standard tankbag designed for the Tenere I'm riding (www.offtheroad.de) . When I'm not using that I use a small rucksac fastened to the tank which comes off easily when I'm pottering about the town. My camera bag opens up fully with lenses etc so it fits into both rucsac and tankbag no bother!

If your going for soft luggage I'd still recommend a hard topbox!! Somewhere you can lock stuff in and not get crushed if you take a fall!
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  #7  
Old 3 Oct 2011
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I've had my Nikon D80 for 5 years now, and used it to great effect in a 3 month trip around Canada. I had a single lens on it, Nikon's 18-200 stabilised, which is a fantastic travel lens, and pretty much all you ever need. However I added the 50mm 1.8 to it for low light work, which it excels at.

Brilliant combination.

My main advice would be to try the cameras in a shop and see what feels good in your hand. I was going to buy Canon, but they just didn't feel right, the Nikon just had something different that felt 'just right' in my hands.
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  #8  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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I use a Nikon d80 in a tank bag with a 18-50mm on it fast to use. I take a 70-300mm for a long shot a 50 f1.8 for low light and a 8mm fish gust for fun all in a photo bag in my top box on the back along with other bits.

For kit some filters that may help a circular polarizer, a graduated neutral density filter, a close up lens filters or a Nikon BR2a. A BR2a it lets you mount a lens with a filter size of 52mm to the camera to make a close up lens. A off camera flash. A remote shutter trigger. Lots of memory cards like handfuls hate to see people talk about maybe not taking a shot as there low on there one memory card they take. spare batterys and a charger. Now this all sounds like a lot but take up less space than my 70-300. With all that you will have lots to work with. Add a tripod and some off torches with colored filters and you can work a night as well. There is much more you can take but it will depend on what you like to do.

For a new camera go with the Nikon 5100 or 7000 there new and look to out shoot the d90 in most ways.
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  #9  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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I've done several trips with my Nikon D80. On my Alaska trip I carried 2 lenses; however on our last Latin America and Africa trip, I just used the 18-200mm Nikon lens. It worked really well and I didn't have to swap lenses in dusty conditions. As far as storage, I have always stored my camera in my wolfman denali tankbag with a foam insert on both my F650GS and the DR650 and the camera has held up well in spills.
Daryll
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  #10  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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I have a Nikon D700 with a 24-70mm as a standard lens. I usually also take a 70-300mm though next time I think I'll also take a 17-35mm. (It's a full frame sensor so shoots wider than the numbers imply.) I always take a tripod and the usual filters.
The camera and one additional lens lives in a camera bag, in a 'soft' bag designed to fit on the top of the panniers but I strap it to the seat. The idea is to minimse vibration (lots of padding!) as well as hopefully saving it from damage in an off unless I turn the bike upside down!
The tripod straps to the top of one the panniers and the bigger filters (and extra lens) live in the panniers. The smaller/screw in filters live in the camera bag along with a spare battery and a memory card. The other cards stay in the pannier.
When I stop somewhere I take the camera bag out of the 'soft' bag and keep it with me, but tend to leave the tripod unless I need it. Everything else is locked away.
If you like your photography then the tripod is a must - it's well worth the hassle.
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  #11  
Old 5 Oct 2011
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What about another Point-N-Shoot?

Maybe the Nikon Coolpix AW-100 or the Panasonic DMC-TS3?

Amazon.com: Nikon COOLPIX AW100 16 MP CMOS Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS and Full HD 1080p Video (Orange): Camera & Photo

Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12.1 MP Rugged/Waterproof Digital Camera with 4.6x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Orange): Camera & Photo

The the DSLR I carry is a Nikon D40. It works for me. The sensor metering firmware is defective, it usually overexposes. But after reading the review at the website below and compensating for it, great pictures keep popping out of it. I would recommend at least a polarizing filter to cut glare and add pop to blue skies and a UV filter to protect the outside lens.

A good website for reviews and picture taking tips is: http://www.kenrockwell.com/

Another is: http://motojournalism.blogspot.com/

daryl

Last edited by dlh62c; 5 Oct 2011 at 19:09.
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  #12  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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I just bought a Nikon D5100 for my ride to South America. Stayed with the 18-55 kit lens and coughed up some bigger dollars for a Nikor 105mm macro lens. Macro shooting is something I've just recently been turned on to. Great portrait lens too.

For the distance shots I've got an older 70-210mm but the autofocus doesn't function with the D5100. No problem.

It will all be carried in a padded bag within a Givi top box for security.

I'll also have an older Canon Elph tucked into my jacket for on the fly pics.

My two cents.
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  #13  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Pita

Carrying a full DSLR with lenses and all equipment is a pain.

I had my Nikon D700 with 24-70 and 70-200 together with flash and charger, etc. when I was riding for France. After 900 kms away from home I sent them by courier and continued with my G9.

Full system is very heavy and you should take care of them all the time.
Imagine the changing lens under rain, dusty weather, extreme cold...

If you like to have very good pictures in details: take a DSLR with a large zoom like 18-200, 24-300 etc. In this case you will need a 24, 35 or 50 mm F: 1.4 for low light photography. Need to carry rechargeable batteries for flash and camera.

Carry a point and shoot for quick action. Taking out of that huge DSLR from tankbag under rain can make you giving up shooting that scene.

My whole trip with G9 went ok.

Am I regret ? Not really.

This is my 2 cents.
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  #14  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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In addition to what I wrote before, I always carry a Nikon Coolpix S3000 with me. I use the Coolpix for my "on the road" shots, most of the time.
When I take the time for photo's, like when I'm exploring a town, old buiilding, zoo or naturepark, I use the DSLR.
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  #15  
Old 8 Oct 2011
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Dslr

If you are not really into Photographery or Film carrying a lot of gear is a bit of a pain. I enjoy it as it is one of the reasons I travel & also I travel with my wife, so here is a list that I take : 1:Canon 7D, 1:Canon 550D both with view finders (Zacuto) Lens: 1: Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, 1: Canon 50mm prime F1.8, 1: Canon L 24-70mm F2.8, Canon L 70-300mm F4.5, Canon 18-135mm. We also carry a Kenko 1.4 extender, as well as numerous Filters/Polarisers, ND Faders etc. 1: 4hn external mic, with 2: Sennheiser lapel mics. We also have 2 GoPros. Cards Sandisk Extreme CF, 1x32gb, 2x16gb, 4x8gb. Sandisk Extreme Cards 2x16gb, 4x8gb. We use a MacBook Pro with a Freecom 2T external storage. Our point and shoot cameras are 2x Panasonic DMC-ZS7. Now all this is spread over 2 bikes, our Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 carbon fibre tripod with a 501HDV head, is strapped to the top of my pannier. Most of this goes in my top box as well. We also carry the relevant charges for everything as well.
I know a lot of you will say I am mad, but I have worked in this sort in industry for a long time and I enjoy film making ( for the anuls Video)
Enjoy your travels !!!!
PaulD
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