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-   -   hardbox options for dslr (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/photo-forum/hardbox-options-for-dslr-29937)

pictish 15 Oct 2007 23:07

hardbox options for dslr
instead of taking up a pannier I was thinking of a hardbox strapped to back the question is which type peli type plastic or the trusted old metal boxes.
the kit im taking is

canon 5d 6 batteries
100-400 ism canon
f4 17-40
2x canon converter
about 8 gigs of cards
17" screen laptop+ 3 batteries acer
waiting on my bro to get me a macro lens and a flash from thailand or around there. and may get a 50 prime as well.
lowepro vertex 300 bag
160gb laptop harddrive with a cardreader attachment[very cheap about 70 quid off ebay and extra hardrives can be plugged in] runs on aa batteries
may get a mini videocam as well

been up a few hills with backpack its a bit heavy but very comfy.Got a tamrac one[ thionk expedition 5] which is not as comfy and several of the standard slingbags from lowepro the bigger ones are better as u can put a webbing belt through the back puts the weight on your hip not your shoulder[ think its an aw400]. Also got one of those lowepro quick access bags cross sling shoulder bag pretty handy for a dslr and 2-3 lens plus other bits and bobs.

would certainly never wear anything on my back or keep hard things in my pockets while riding seen plenty of injuries at work just from guys falling on radios, keys, tobacco boxes, prisoners and each other and thats just on foot.

CrazyCarl 16 Oct 2007 15:37

Ahhh..packing camera gear... :)
From what I understand from your post, you want to put ALL of your gear in this box? Chargers, batteries, lenses and all? That would be a big ol' heavy box sitting way up high on your bike. How do you want to handle the weight distribution?

Probably either plastic or metal would work just fine. If the camera gear you're carrying is worth it's salt it should be able to take a bit of punishment anyway.

A couple considerations:

Plastic boxes, tend to be black and if you're riding in an area with intense sun, you may expose your internal gear to excessive temperature variations. On the other hand they may be cheaper, lighter and are usually extremely waterproof.

Haven't really used metal boxes myself but I would guess that they would not tend to get as hot and if they did, would loose their heat faster. Their weight would be a consideration as well I suppose and from what I hear, can be down-right pricey!

As usual, it's 6 in one - 1/2 dozen in the other.


pictish 16 Oct 2007 23:33

the kit actually fits in the bag and i would put the bag in the box. It is a heavy weight though and that was my worry.

Rebaseonu 17 Oct 2007 00:01

Man, you are a real gearhead! :thumbdown:

Why you need 6 batteries? And 3 for laptop? 100-400 is one heavy beast... How about taking just one lens and your camera and feeling much better? :mchappy:

CrazyCarl 17 Oct 2007 05:39

Yeah 6 batteries does sound like a bit much unless you're only getting 100 shots per battery (which I assume is not the case with the 5D) or you plan to be without power for more than a week in cold environments and shooting heavily every day.

Regardless, I suggest splitting your gear up a bit because they don't all need to go in the top case. The top case is nice because it gives you a mini staging area and is quick access. For fastest access, I would of course suggest not "strapping" it in because that ends up being a pain in the long run.

Some of your batteries and non-immediate essentials can sit somewhere else on the bike...maybe even in a charging pouch.

The 100-400 is a heavy lens but it's the only way you can really get wild-life shots, plus it also works great for discrete portraits. Still no all-in-wonder lenses out there.

Debated about bringing a laptop before but decided I didn't need it unless I was doing live posting. Laptops are expensive and very delicate unles you get a hardened one like Panasonic offers but that is heavy and very expensive. A back up drive is small and nice to copy pictures though and your 8GB of cards will go fast on a 5D.

Also, in the lens line up there seems to be a shortage of primes (2.8 or faster) which are great for lots of stuff and can be used wide open. Big gap between 40 and 100mm as well.

This could go on and on but the main question is what kind of riding and photography do you want to do? Where will you be going? How long will you be on the road and what do you want to do with this material after you're done?


jljones 19 Oct 2007 14:32

Peli or Explorer
If you're going this route, get a Peli or Explorer case. You cal always paint it white and line the inside with foil to keep heat out. They are genuinely water and dust proof, or should be and very strong. I'm not sure a metal case will offer the same protection but i've always used Peli and Explorer cases and trust them.

You may want to cut down on 'stuff' though...

Flyingdoctor 19 Oct 2007 19:33

I was in temperatures of up to 40c this summer and I was amazed at how cool things stayed in my Givi maxia topbox (black). I had bottled water in there and it was warm but not hot. Stuff in the bottom was quite cool. I think your gear will be fine unless it's right at the top of the box.

CrazyCarl 19 Oct 2007 19:33

It would still be nice to know what kind of roads this gear will be on. Most plastic cases like Givi should be okay...they are very water and dust proof plus make a reasonably air tight seal. No cases are dust proof as soon as they're opened of course. When the gear is properly arranged inside, there's no reason why a good camera bag can't provide good protection when in a rear case. You can also close the bag up while it's inside the rear case and that adds even more protection.

If you're talking about crossing deep water or expect to be dropping your bike a lot (and there's plenty of bad roads out there for that) then a more robust system is necessary. The only problem with pelican cases is that it's hard to use them for anything but the gear it's designed for, i.e. - I can't take my camera bag out of the rear box to walk around with it and lock my helmet inside while I'm away from the bike. Small conveniences like that can really add up when on the road.

Regardless, since we're not sure of what the actual application is in this case, it's hard to make any directly salient recommendations.

BTW, no mention of tripod. You packin' one?


CrazyCarl 19 Oct 2007 19:42


Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor (Post 155172)
I was in temperatures of up to 40c this summer and I was amazed at how cool things stayed in my Givi maxia topbox (black). I had bottled water in there and it was warm but not hot. Stuff in the bottom was quite cool. I think your gear will be fine unless it's right at the top of the box.

That's the thing, one of the best ways to place your camera in a bag for riding is lens down. This means that the back of the camera body is at the top of the bag and directly underneath the rear-case lid. However, the camera bag's lid itself will provide some separation/insulation and should be enough to keep the body from getting too hot. And really, like I said earlier, if the camera gear is good, it should be able to take some abuse so worrying about the black plastic isn't all that important in the end.

The insides of the cases can stay surprisingly cool, especially if they are loaded and closed up on a cool morning. Ride off into the heat then open up a nice cool rear case. Mmmm...riding goodness....mmmmm.


DLbiten 5 Dec 2007 04:38

Get a pelican case. There tuff, you can lock them, drill them, there water prof (well untill you drill holes in them) use them as a top box.

Welcome to www.pelican.com Pelican™ Products - Manufacturer of high-impact, watertight equipment Protector™ Cases and safety approved, technically advanced flashlights

trophymick 5 Dec 2007 09:29

You could always cut down on your equipment:oops2:
Have a look at the Tamron 18-250mm, not cheap but very versatile and a very good alternative to carrying a load of lenses:thumbup1:. It also gets some good reviews.


CrazyCarl 5 Dec 2007 11:49

All-in-wonder lenses are amazing for their size but still have plenty of limitations.

What if someone wants to take a macro of a flower or insect?


Or some wild life you can't get close to?




What if you want to shoot the moon?


Let's not forget the ultra-super-funky-wide groove...



I figure everyone knows the lenses they need. The problem is they just might not have enough money to get them all!

Calling all Fisherman,


Originally Posted by trophymick (Post 162052)
You could always cut down on your equipment:oops2:
Have a look at the Tamron 18-250mm, not cheap but very versatile and a very good alternative to carrying a load of lenses:thumbup1:. It also gets some good reviews.


pictish 16 Dec 2007 02:35

oh dear parent have escaped for xmas to singapore so they getting me some more lenses over there 70-200 2.8 and the 100 macro as well as a flash gun.
thinking with the 2X multiplyer the 100-400 may not be needed as the 70-200 should do.

The Cameraman 16 Dec 2007 12:19

Mornin' Pictish,

whilst I was at the NEC Bike show, a few weeks ago, I had a chat with a chap who supplies motorcycle mounting kits for the Pelican cases.

Have a look at - Caribou Luggage, AdventurePipe Exhaust & More & hopefully they'll have something to help you.

As for which lens to take, my trusty, long suffering 100-400 L series go's with me everywhere!

Bjorn 20 Dec 2007 14:03


I've got a similar setup to you, though a bit more streamlined. If I were you, I would not get the 70-200. Get the 70-300 DO IS instead. Very compact, very quick AF and VERY small for a zoom this size & quality. Don't underestimate the stealth factor. The "big white" lenses attract a lot of attention.
I shot wildlife with it and it went really well. On the 5D it won't work with Canon converters, so I put it onto a Kenko 1.4x Converter. That makes it f8 effectively, but then again the 5D is so low noise, you can crank it up to 800 ASA anyway.

Apart from that: I'm using a 24-105 IS, a 100mm Macro and 3 extra batteries. The batteries go a LONG way on the 5D. Get the ones from Sterlintek in the US. 30% more powerful, and only about $12 each.

I've got the Touratech tankbag for my Dakar, and I'm planning to make a "perfect fit" foam interior for it. Kind of like a pelicase, but in the tankbag. Benefit: The tankbag becomes the camera bag when I go for a stroll. And I can always the gear with me, without looking "photographer".


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