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Camera for shooting and riding, and stopping and shooting

Old 06-14-21, 07:30 PM
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mschwett 
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Camera for shooting and riding, and stopping and shooting

I'm pretty new to cycling, but been a mostly amateur photographer / enthusiast for decades.

I have my iPhone on a quad lock, and pull it off the bars and take pictures occasionally when riding (when it's safe to one hand, obviously), and stop from time to time to do the same. But years of photography have made me a total camera snob, and whenever I have one of those epic amazing light / scenery rides, I wish I had a camera with me. I searched threads here and there's a lot of good action cam and strap recommendations. I'll probably wear the camera on a blackrapid sling.

Possibilities -

Nikon Z7, which happens to be a camera I already have, plus about 50 nikon Z and F mount lenses. But this is a 1.5lb camera with no good pancake lenses. The smallest lens I might use, which isn't that exciting (24-50 f/4-6.3) is another 7 oz, so almost 2lb (850g) of fairly awkwardly shaped camera hanging on my shoulder all ride. full frame, 46 megapixels.
Sony A7C. a third lighter, more pancake-y lens choices, including a nice 24 f/2.8 that's less than 2" deep and only 6 oz, for a total of 1.5lb. (671g) full frame, 24 megapixels.
Sony RX1R II. Smallest and lightest, but not interchangeable, 35mm f/2 only. 507g total, barely over a pound, full frame, 42 megapixels.
Nikon Z50. A compromise, allowing me to use existing lenses, with a smaller sensor and less resolution. Only 395g for the camera, and there's a very small and light 16-50 f/3.5-6.3 lens for a total weight of only 530g, essentially the same as the RX1R II, but with a smaller sensor, slower lens, but zoom!

I'd like fairly high resolution to allow aggressive cropping and recomposing in post, given the very quick nature of photos taken while riding, and the limited focal lengths available. That argues against the A7C, and for the Z7 or RX1R II. The former is free, the latter 3 grand...

Any suggestions from those who carry a decent quality camera on their body while riding? I'm not a huge fan of M4/3 from past experience, and had a mixed relationship with a couple Fuji X cameras. Most of my rides are 20-75 miles, typically early morning or late afternoon, average speed around 14mph with 1500-4000 feet of climbing. I ride a turbo creo, with the motor off 95% of the time, so the weight might not be that big of a deal other than the comfort factor.
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Old 06-14-21, 07:47 PM
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I'm an amateur photog too. Own a bevvy of pristine vintage Nikons (Nikon F2AS, Nikkormat EL, Nikkormat FTN, etc) and new DSLRs plus my trusty Mamiya RB-67. I don't generally carry a camera with me while riding.

But, if I did, I'd take something small that can do it all like my Olympus Stylus Tough which is waterproof, or my Ricoh GR digital if I want to shoot some cool B&W's ala Daido Moriyama-esque.

I might consider taking my Fujifilm X100 but it's a fixed lens and not a do-it-all but the image quality is nothing short of phenomenal. The little Olympus takes great photos as well as video and it's my trusty companion when I backpack for days in the wild country.

I don't think I'd take any of my larger cameras because if I fall, Murphy's Law will take over. If I did, it would probably be the FTN. It's the only one that can hit concrete and still crank away.

BTW, which Fuji X cameras were you not impressed with? Just curious....


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Old 06-14-21, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik View Post
I'm an amateur photog too. Own a bevvy of pristine vintage Nikons (Nikon F2AS, Nikkormat EL, Nikkormat FTN, etc) and new DSLRs plus my trusty Mamiya RB-67. I don't generally carry a camera with me while riding.

But, if I did, I'd take something small that can do it all like my Olympus Stylus Tough which is waterproof, or my Ricoh GR digital if I want to shoot some cool B&W's ala Daido Moriyama-esque.

I might consider taking my Fujifilm X100 but it's a fixed lens and not a do-it-all but the image quality is nothing short of phenomenal. The little Olympus takes great photos as well as video and it's my trusty companion when I backpack for days in the wild country.

I don't think I'd take any of my larger cameras because if I fall, Murphy's Law will take over. If I did, it would probably be the FTN. It's the only one that can hit concrete and still crank away.

BTW, which Fuji X cameras were you not impressed with? Just curious....


--
thanks for the thoughts! i had an x-e2 and then one of the x-a cameras, because i thought maybe the x-trans sensor was what kept annoying me. it was, but the x-a just wasn’t that special compared to whatever else i was shooting at the time, probably a d800e? man, i LOVED the fuji lenses though. so great, haptics, form factor, image…

i try REALLY hard to avoid falling on the bike, but does that argue against my using my primary camera with an expensive, beloved lens….

i mostly shoot architecture, landscapes, and cityscapes, so i’m typically lugging tilt-shift lenses, fast ultrawides, etc.
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Old 06-14-21, 08:32 PM
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Ok. I'm a photographer too. I settled on carrying a Canon Powershot G9x since it's small, durable, fits in a jersey pocket, also does video and is better quality than any camera phone. Plus I found a mint used one locally for $200. It's not competing with any of my DSLRs but it does a pretty good job. I gave up trying to combine my real photography with biking years ago as I didn't want to risk damaging my gear.

That said.... I do have a stout dutch bike on order with a full complement of racks and huge weight carrying capacity. With it I may go back to riding the bike more to get to shooting locations.
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Old 06-14-21, 08:46 PM
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Before going out and spending plenty of cash on a new camera (or entirely new system), try what you have first. There are people who vlog with a full frame mirrorless camera and ultra wide 16-35 lens, so it's not as unwieldly as you think. But I'd be wary of any strap that is designed to attach to the camera solely by the tripod mount. Two points of attachment is much safer, and ideally you'd want one with a cross-body stabilizer and/or a pull tab for quickly adjusting the length of the strap.
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Old 06-14-21, 08:46 PM
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I've moved away from DSLRs in favor or P&Ss with superzooms (which have more reach than any of the telephotos I've owned). I've been bringing my Nikon Coolpix A900 on rides with me lately. It's small and light enough for it to not be annoying to carry on a ride. I really love not having to mess around with multiple lenses too.
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Old 06-14-21, 08:58 PM
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I'm currently in vacation and am using a Panasonic GM5 with 12-35mm lens and a 20mm pancake lens.

It easily fits in a jersey pocket. It's M4/3, which you said you didn't like. But it's what I use. I also have a tiny camera bag (because the GM5 is tiny) that I can sling across my shoulder and it doesn't distract from my riding.
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Old 06-14-21, 10:04 PM
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Ditto on the Canon G9X Mk II
Super compact and great image quality. Manual controls, RAW, etc. Fits in a really small case hung on my belt.
I also have a Dslr, but for the weight, bulk and fear of theft or damage, I prefer to leave it at home.
I suppose if I wanted a larger sensor, I would go with the Sony A6000
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Old 06-14-21, 10:48 PM
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lots of interesting options! thanks to all for the input.

i hadn’t really considered a 1” zoom compact, like the g9x or rx100. a big zoom range would certainly be useful, and they’re small and light. is the image quality far enough about the latest iPhone to make it worth it?

trying my Z7 with a kit lens has some appeal too, low investment, as long as i don’t bail and kill it 😂
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Old 06-14-21, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I'm currently in vacation and am using a Panasonic GM5 with 12-35mm lens and a 20mm pancake lens.

It easily fits in a jersey pocket. It's M4/3, which you said you didn't like. But it's what I use. I also have a tiny camera bag (because the GM5 is tiny) that I can sling across my shoulder and it doesn't distract from my riding.
maybe worth revisiting something like the GX850. i was never thrilled by the image quality, aspect ratio, and body design of the m4/3 cameras i shot years ago. presumably the image quality is a step up from a 1” camera but with a choice of lenses …
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Old 06-14-21, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
i try REALLY hard to avoid falling on the bike, but does that argue against my using my primary camera with an expensive, beloved lens….
I think it's a question of which compromises you're willing to put up with. You might also try an A7RII, second hand ones are spectacular bang for buck so if you come a cropper you're not out Z7/A7RIV money. They're marginally smaller than the Z7. You lose AF speed and battery life, but with your subjects that should be acceptable. And you get those killer Cosina Voigtlander lenses native.

i mostly shoot architecture, landscapes, and cityscapes, so i’m typically lugging tilt-shift lenses, fast ultrawides, etc.
A bit out side the box, but you could go a la Lois Conner. She spent a lot of time in China with a bike and her trusty 7x17. You might need a trailer (don't see that hanging off a BlackRapid) but just think, you won't need to carry those heavy tilt-shift lenses!
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Old 06-15-21, 05:19 AM
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I carry a Fuji X-Pro2 with the 27mm pancake in my bike bag. Love this combo.

My second option would be the X100.

Have just returned from a safari in Kenya where I used my Fuji X-T2 with 14/2.8, 35/1.4 and a 55-200 zoom for both stills and video. This was the only time in the past decade that I used a zoom. It all depends on your way of seeing and preferred angle but I am most comfortable with primes. Plus I love the higher end Fuji bodies as all their controls are on the top deck and I almost never need to dive into menus.

sorry to hear you did not like the Fuji X series; their colors are spectacular, as is the Fujinon glass. I used to be a Nikon guy until I tried the original Fuji X100 a decade ago and never looked back. Have 4 Fuji bodies now.
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Old 06-15-21, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Ditto on the Canon G9X Mk II
Super compact and great image quality. Manual controls, RAW, etc. Fits in a really small case hung on my belt.
I also have a Dslr, but for the weight, bulk and fear of theft or damage, I prefer to leave it at home.
I suppose if I wanted a larger sensor, I would go with the Sony A6000
+2. I rarely use my DSLR since owning one of these. For use on bike it would be a no-brainer choice. I wouldn't want to carry anything bigger.
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Old 06-15-21, 05:56 AM
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I'm a lifelong Nikon guy, but don't have any experience with the new FF Z series.... I've brought along DSLRs (in backpacks) a few times on the bike, but more frequently I have used my little Nikon "1" mirrorless camera.... It fits just right in my little underseat bag. Sure, it's an orphaned system, and big fast ultrawides and tilt-shift lenses don't exist for it (but you could use them, I suppose, with an adapter, which would take up more space in your bag).but the resulting pictures from it are amazingly good. I wouldn't pixel-peek them side-by-side with a good FF or even a DX format DSLR, but considering the tiny size of the camera, they're more than good enough for my needs.

I also have a Sony A6000 mirrorless, but don't use it often because its battery life isn't very good. My Nikons can sit in the bag all week and only lose a percent or two of charge, but the Sony will lose 60-80 percent in a week whether I use it or not. If I shoot with it on a Saturday, I MUST charge the battery again if I want to shoot with it again on Sunday.
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Old 06-15-21, 06:16 AM
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Here's a suggestion: if you are riding along, and see a scene you'd really like to photograph, make a note of where you are and come back the next day in your vehicle with the camera, lens, and accessories you'd want, and get the shot.
If it's something that is happening quickly and not likely to be repeated (say, a baby deer at the side of the road) chances are you won't get the shot anyway by the time you stop the bike, get your camera off the strap, and get set up properly.

A friend of mine took his Canon on a cross country motorcycle trip to get some shots along the way. On the second day, he accidently dropped it and damaged the lens and lens mount on the camera so badly it was unusable. He boxed it up at the next UPS store he saw and shipped it to me to hold for him. Unfortunately, the damage was so bad it couldn't be fixed.
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Old 06-15-21, 06:33 AM
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If the purpose of the ride is photography, then plan accordingly. Perhaps a bike with panniers, that way you can carry the equipment that you'll need. A monopod or tri pod, a few lenses and a camera body that can be packed in foam when not in use. Maybe a flash and spare batteries as well. You could have a handlebar bag with your digital point and shoot camera for the general photos, and then the better camera for the shots for which you want to take your time.

Use the right tools for the job.

For me, riding and photographs don't go together. I ride to ride, so I'd almost never stop for the purposes of a photo. My wife enjoys taking photos when she sees something that she'd like to capture. So, riding with her (especially off road or scenic rides), I have to be ready to stop and wait. But, it's what she enjoys. To each, his or her own.
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Old 06-15-21, 07:45 AM
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I still have a Canon Powershot S90 for point-and-shoot photos.

Small but full-featured.

It's really easy to take shots while riding, and the 28-105 mm lens range is ideal. I also like how quickly it focuses, handy for action photos.


Canon PowerShot S90, f/4.5, 6.0mm, ISO 160, 1/500s
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Old 06-15-21, 07:49 AM
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I used to be a Nikon guy until I tried the original Fuji X100 a decade ago and never looked back.
I'm still a Nikon guy but I agree with you 100% on the Fujifilm X100. I bought one used (nearly new from Japan) last year and it's just an amazing camera. Fuji has always been very highly regarded for their high lens and image quality.
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Old 06-15-21, 07:50 AM
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Sounds like the OP rides to shoot. If that's the case, either load up tripods, lenses, and the whole nine yards in a pannier or two, and go for it. (You might want to make sure you've got a kick stand on the bike to hold it up while you're setting up, photographing, and taking the photo equipment down and re-packing.) A little bit shy of that would be a Ortlieb bar bag with the camera equipment padding add-on, if they still make that.

As for me, I take pretty good snapshots, so a point and shoot is good enough for me. If it looks like it might be wet (either from rain or sweat), I'll take an Olympus Tough. After borrowing my brother's DSLR for a trip to Yellowstone 10 years ago, I bought a Canon SX50 so I could put a polarizing filter on it, but I rarely carry that on the bike.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
+2. I rarely use my DSLR since owning one of these. For use on bike it would be a no-brainer choice. I wouldn't want to carry anything bigger.
Hmmmm. I really liked my Sony RX 100 II until the lens froze up after less than 6 months and I had to get warranty service. Got it back and the o ring around the lens started falling off. Had to send it back a second time. Since then, the image quality doesn't seem as good as it was before the repairs. (I looked on line and the repair place Sony required me to use had a horrible reputation at the time.)

I take a good number of photos during my tours. I will definitely consider that Cannon. I got my first digital camera as a present in 2009. It was some sort of Cannon P&S model. Beautiful images for such a compact camera. Unfortunately, I accidentally dropped it off a bridge into a river during a long weekend tour thanks to sweaty hands and not using a wrist strap.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I

It's really easy to take shots while riding
Reminds me of a thread that devolved into an argument over the safety or taking photos while actually riding.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
...For me, riding and photographs don't go together. I ride to ride, so I'd almost never stop for the purposes of a photo. My wife enjoys taking photos when she sees something that she'd like to capture. So, riding with her (especially off road or scenic rides), I have to be ready to stop and wait. But, it's what she enjoys. To each, his or her own.
I could see myself feeling this way eventually, but I want to give it a try. I don't get many opportunities to be out solo for hours on a time, or I'd certainly set aside time for both!
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Old 06-15-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Sounds like the OP rides to shoot. If that's the case, either load up tripods, lenses, and the whole nine yards in a pannier or two, and go for it. (You might want to make sure you've got a kick stand on the bike to hold it up while you're setting up, photographing, and taking the photo equipment down and re-packing.) A little bit shy of that would be a Ortlieb bar bag with the camera equipment padding add-on, if they still make that....
No, I ride to ride. But I love to shoot, and document beautiful places... as Phil_gretz notes, I may find the two are a little suboptimal when combined, but we'll see!
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Old 06-15-21, 08:52 AM
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! Warning ! Unpopular Opinion Ahead

If you gonna do it, go mirrorless. But, I would strongly argue to not do it. At all. It tends to take from the riding. The camera needs constant safety procedures and becomes the focal point (pun intended) of the enterprise.


There is such a glut of cliche bike photography bombarding us on every social media site it has become a mundane and banal pursuit to which even Andy Warhol has grown fatigued.
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Old 06-15-21, 09:00 AM
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fwiw

when I carry a full size slr, film or digital, w/ a mirror or w/o, skiiing, snowshoeing, hiking or biking I use a traditional slr holster type bag with a single strap slung over a shoulder. while riding a bike it easily swings around to my back & sits there just above my hips. while riding I can swing it around & if it's not fully zipped grab the camera 1-handed & take a snap. obviously stopping is easier & safer

I don't use such a camera while biking anymore cuz I have small sportcams. I've tried small flat digital cameras but they are usually disappointing due to having to wait while they turn on & their shutter lag. modern digital cameras, w/ manual controls, buried in menus, are frustrating. I still love physical exterior controls for aperture, shutter speed & manual/auto focus

if one has a camera & a bag, use what you have. but I fully support camera addiction & spending to excess, if you have the discretionary cash ;-)

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