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Thread: Camera suggestions

  1. #16
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    My most important feature

    It's hard to even contemplate the variety of cameras out there for sale. Regardless of any other feature, size, zoom power, and so forth, the one most important feature for me is image stabilization (IS). One brand now calls it anti-shake.

    If you are going to take hand held photos, it's your only chance to be sure of sharp images.

    Optical IS tends to be better than digital IS. Some models offer both. For me, Optical IS is a minimum requirement.

    DSLRs offer much better control of depth of field, and much better image 'depth.' They are generally better in low light, too. For that, you pay with a large and heavier camera. A DSLR is almost impossible to use while riding.

    Another feature that I find important for shooting from a moving bike is a wider angle lens. Lots of cameras offer huge zoom ranges, but the widest angle setting is still fairly narrow. A wide angle lens (like 25-28 mm equivalent (to a 35 mm camera)) when added to IS will allow some fairly sharp shots while riding.

    Even if you just shoot people on the ground, the wider angle lens allows you to get closer. This makes the flash much more effective. Most small point-and-shoot cameras have pretty wimpy flashes. They are not much beyond 5 feet away. With a wider angle lens, you can shoot the same portrait at 3 feet, and the flash is effective, even, and under control.

    If you attempt to shoot video from a moving bike, you especially want IS and a <28mm equiv. lens. That's what makes the Hero camera so well liked.

    Oh, and waterproof. If you simply hold the camera, and have a place like your tank bag to stow it, fine. But a solidly mounted camera is a rain magnet. Murphy lives. You don't want to have to pull over and stop if it starts to sprinkle, or worse.

    SO, recapping MY opinion: DSLRs for high quality, control, image depth. Not for hand held shooting in motion on a bike. IS is a minimum requirement unless every shot uses a tripod or unipod. Buy a camera with a wider angle zoom lens, 28mm or less. Frosting on the cake: additional optical viewfinder, or an LCD screen you can read in direct sun. Slim and light for your shirt pocket. Battery life you can live with. A camera you can shoot without looking at it (while riding).

    Oh, and widely standardized SDHC capacity, not non-standard memory cards like Sony memory sticks. Even Sony has abandoned them.

    If I had my druthers, I'd carry a small, thin, wide angle, IS camera in my pocket.
    I'd have a DSLR (optional) with 28mm - >80mm in my top case.

    And extra batteries and memory cards for both.

    Oh, and one more thing: Before you go to all the expense of a decent camera, and the trouble of carrying it with you, make sure there's someone (possibly more) that might, just by chance, want to see your photos. That someone may be you.

    I quit carrying a camera unless I'm doing a photojournalism piece. Nobody wants to be bored by my photos. I'd rather make an effort to remember what gold Aspens looked like. YMMV.

    Most of my pictures just use words.

    Jim


  2. #17
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimshaw View Post


    Most of my pictures just use words.

    Jim


    And at THAT you are a virtuoso, Jim!

    My only requirement is that you have it with you. That means small, easy to carry and tough. Most cameras are much smarter than us users. So, my advice is to get to know what your camera does well, check out those special settings, and do lots of that.

    Lots of that gives you lots of lessons. And memories that make you sMile!

    Voni
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  3. #18
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    I must say... Watching some ones bike videos is kinda like watching porn...
    Yer sittin' there viewing something you'd rather be doing.

    It's also like watching someones home movies of their kids school play... ZZZzzz...
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

  4. #19
    rocketman
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimshaw View Post
    It's hard to even contemplate the variety of cameras out there for sale. Regardless of any other feature, size, zoom power, and so forth, the one most important feature for me is image stabilization (IS). One brand now calls it anti-shake.

    If you are going to take hand held photos, it's your only chance to be sure of sharp images.

    Optical IS tends to be better than digital IS. Some models offer both. For me, Optical IS is a minimum requirement.

    DSLRs offer much better control of depth of field, and much better image 'depth.' They are generally better in low light, too. For that, you pay with a large and heavier camera. A DSLR is almost impossible to use while riding.

    Another feature that I find important for shooting from a moving bike is a wider angle lens. Lots of cameras offer huge zoom ranges, but the widest angle setting is still fairly narrow. A wide angle lens (like 25-28 mm equivalent (to a 35 mm camera)) when added to IS will allow some fairly sharp shots while riding.

    Even if you just shoot people on the ground, the wider angle lens allows you to get closer. This makes the flash much more effective. Most small point-and-shoot cameras have pretty wimpy flashes. They are not much beyond 5 feet away. With a wider angle lens, you can shoot the same portrait at 3 feet, and the flash is effective, even, and under control.

    If you attempt to shoot video from a moving bike, you especially want IS and a <28mm equiv. lens. That's what makes the Hero camera so well liked.

    Oh, and waterproof. If you simply hold the camera, and have a place like your tank bag to stow it, fine. But a solidly mounted camera is a rain magnet. Murphy lives. You don't want to have to pull over and stop if it starts to sprinkle, or worse.

    SO, recapping MY opinion: DSLRs for high quality, control, image depth. Not for hand held shooting in motion on a bike. IS is a minimum requirement unless every shot uses a tripod or unipod. Buy a camera with a wider angle zoom lens, 28mm or less. Frosting on the cake: additional optical viewfinder, or an LCD screen you can read in direct sun. Slim and light for your shirt pocket. Battery life you can live with. A camera you can shoot without looking at it (while riding).

    Oh, and widely standardized SDHC capacity, not non-standard memory cards like Sony memory sticks. Even Sony has abandoned them.

    If I had my druthers, I'd carry a small, thin, wide angle, IS camera in my pocket.
    I'd have a DSLR (optional) with 28mm - >80mm in my top case.

    And extra batteries and memory cards for both.

    Oh, and one more thing: Before you go to all the expense of a decent camera, and the trouble of carrying it with you, make sure there's someone (possibly more) that might, just by chance, want to see your photos. That someone may be you.

    I quit carrying a camera unless I'm doing a photojournalism piece. Nobody wants to be bored by my photos. I'd rather make an effort to remember what gold Aspens looked like. YMMV.

    Most of my pictures just use words.

    Jim

    I'd concur with most of that except that with a DSLR, just like the old SLR's in normal outdoor lighting with anything under a 200MM telephoto lens you can take very clear and sharp pictures without IS. One of the big advantages of a SLR is the fact that they have a high detail, easy to see thru viewfinder and when you are holding the camera up to your eye, pressed against your face, your body is effectively acting as a three-point tripod, your two arms and face. Even the way you hold it can make a differance, a longer lens requires that you hold the lens itself with one hand while the other is on the body working the controls. Its with longer lens (or close-up i.e. 18 inches or less) where the need for a tripod comes in (without P&S). With P&S cameras since you are holding them at arms length and that introduces a lot more motion since you simply can't hold them as steady. There are also several types of IS out now with many cameras coming with 2 or three modes for stills, panning or turned off.

    My Nikon D80 does not have IS and gets great sharp shots, though it does partly come from tons of practice over the years. I do have an IS 300MM telephoto and on that the IS really helps esp. when I start to really crop the image but it also weighs in a good 20% more than my non IS 300, that can take its toll on an all day outing. That equipment get heavy as the day goes on and you have no place to stash it!

    One other factor people tend to overlook is start-up time and Auto focus speed. Some cameras are pretty slow with the auto focus and that can lead to missed shots since the time between pressing the shutter and when the picture is actually taken makes all the difference between capturing that "moment" or missing it. Its amazing how quickly things change, an expression or a certain pose, or with action shots its down to mere moments a half second may not seem like much but when shooting it can make a Huge difference! Something we don't realize until we try to capture it. I never buy a camera I can't have some face time with. Ten minutes play time can tell you loads about how it acts and reacts to your input.


    RM

  5. #20
    rocketman
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    Three waterproof, dust-proof and shockproof (and even temperature resistant to cold) cameras I've been looking at are..

    The Olympus Stylus tough



    the Pentax Optio W series



    Fuji FinePix Z33WP



    all have some nice features with the Fuji having the setting to take pic at given intervals, that would be great on a bike. set to a fairly short interval and you could make a fun time-delayed mini movie.

    There are also some inexpensive options like a water proof clear camera bag like the one below, flexible so you still work the controls and allows for the lens of a standard P&S to adjust



    Of course that will degrade the image quality some since the lens is shooting thru the bag material and that area over the lens could get scratched up over time, but at 20 some bux not a big replacement expense for the protection it gives.

    RM

  6. #21
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Ansel Adams

    For casual shots the smaller the camera the better. I like one that fits in the cell phone pocket of my riding jacket. I carry the cell phone elsewhere and turn it out once or twice a day.

    The best pictures always seem to be the ones you never stop and take - be patient with yourself.

    Always carry your camera with you - no big deal now. One of the best photographers or the 20th century, Ansel Adams, always carried his camera one of the reasons he got so many memorial pictures; that plus his ability and eye. The story that goes with the above picture may be urban legend but it does illustrate the point.

    Adams was driving in the Southwest and supposedly was listening to a fireside chat by FDR. He pulled over to listen carefully and found the above vista in front on him. He set up his camera and shot the picture. I wonder if the story is true since FDR gave his fireside chats in the evening. If Adams took this moon light picture in the evening the time differential would have put the fireside chat around 10 or 11 in Washington. However the basic concept is sound - always carry a camera with you.

    Ansel Adams cameras were huge compared to today's digital wonders and somehow he managed to always have a camera with him.

  7. #22
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    Adams was driving in the Southwest and supposedly was listening to a fireside chat by FDR. He pulled over to listen carefully and found the above vista in front on him. He set up his camera and shot the picture. I wonder if the story is true since FDR gave his fireside chats in the evening. If Adams took this moon light picture in the evening the time differential would have put the fireside chat around 10 or 11 in Washington. However the basic concept is sound - always carry a camera with you.

    Ansel Adams cameras were huge compared to today's digital wonders and somehow he managed to always have a camera with him.
    The way Ansel Adams worked his images with his zone system this could be at 2AM.

    I always had a camera with me. From the age of 14 when i got my first SLR to my First Digital @42. Having camera gear with you was a norm.
    Camera bags were always packed w/ lenses, film, maybe a second camera back, film cans, meters and an emergency change bag in case the film broke in the camera.
    Size/bulk wasn't an issue if you had nothing to measure it against. You took what was needed and packed it the best you could and of course accessible. It was what it was.

    Part of the problem today is we've become too sped up.
    Take a lesson from the story above. Pull over, stop and listen to spot where you are and take a moment. Soak it up.
    Not all shots have to be from the seat of your motorcycle.

    Such as these.

    It's all part of the ride and besides, why do you want it to end so soon?
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

  8. #23
    rocketman
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post

    Ansel Adams



    The best pictures always seem to be the ones you never stop and take - be patient with yourself.

    Always carry your camera with you - no big deal now. One of the best photographers or the 20th century, Ansel Adams, always carried his camera one of the reasons he got so many memorial pictures; that plus his ability and eye. The story that goes with the above picture may be urban legend but it does illustrate the point.
    Yup, couldn't agree more, I always have one with me, even if it just my simplest P&S. One of the best shots I ever took (IMO) was with a 3.1 megapixel, but it was Because I had it with me that I got that shot (and I try to always scan for possibilities though its easy to become distracted by reality!). Looking at the shot you'd think it was "staged" but in fact it was just one of those "Wow, that's kool" moments and a shot I often refer to when talking about always being prepared for one in million shot.

    RM

  9. #24
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    How did we get here?

    I think we have trundled quite a distance from a camera to replace a point and shoot to the photographic genius of Ansel Adams. (I am looking at a hand signed original Ansel print above my monitor as I write.)

    I once trudged through Bryce and Zion with a Speed Graphic, studio tripod (and a Jeep). Yeah, I always had the rather unportable camera with me - rather like having an elephant in the back seat. If I tried (who'd want to?), I could strap the big steel camera travel case on the back of the GS. Forget the studio tripod. Adams usually used an 8x10 view camera. And, in later years, at least one assistant. Consider that Adams did all of his own darkroom work, too. I am assured that he personally printed every print he signed. Is this the league we are joining?

    I think we are here to consider more modest means; and digital, to boot.

    I stand by my recommendation of an optically stabilized lens. No other camera feature will provide more sharp shots, especially when you are hand holding the camera. Brag as you will about how steady you are, but you likely aren't. Your images may look OK on the camera LCD, or printed 4 x 6. But, unless you have the talents of a professional, use IS. Even the pro news photogs use it.

    Optical IS is the single most valuable feature you can buy in a travel camera.

    Argue otherwise, but all the newest quality digitals are offering IS, mostly optical. It doesn't cost a huge premium, but (except with DSLR lens replacement) you cannot add it later. Make it a minimum feature, especially in your smallest camera.

    Ansel Adams notwithstanding.

    Jim

  10. #25
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimshaw View Post

    I stand by my recommendation of an optically stabilized lens. No other camera feature will provide more sharp shots, especially when you are hand holding the camera. Brag as you will about how steady you are, but you likely aren't. Your images may look OK on the camera LCD, or printed 4 x 6. But, unless you have the talents of a professional, use IS. Even the pro news photogs use it.
    IS is a tool. And like all tools there is a time when its use is not appropriate. While it would be on my list of important features for a P&S, a wide angle (at least 24 mm using 35mm equiv values) is higher up on my priority list. Many P&S max out at 28 mm.

    I travel with a P&S in my tank bag... it's a beater camera, about 5 megapixels, used to take pictures when moving. It doesn't have IS. IS would be wasted the way this camera is used. The resulting images are destined for 800x600 pixels on a web page.

    I also travel with a DSLR and 3 lenses in my tail bag. Only one of the three has IS. The lens I currently use most (24-70) does not have IS. It replaced a lens with IS because the 24-70 is a higher quality lens that delivers sharper images. It's also faster. Given the choice between an f/3.5-5.6 with IS and an f/2.8 without IS I'll usually go with the faster lens.

    A gorillapod doen't take up much space in my saddle bags.

  11. #26
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    Says it all

    Your tag line says it all. You just like to argue.

    Jim

  12. #27
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    Back to Ansel...

    I good story, related badly:

    About six years ago, I was at the University of Michigan for a show of Ansel Adams' folios. A friend who knew I owned an Adams print suggested I go to the opening. They had all of Adams' folios arranged in order by issue. Quite a nice exhibit.

    A docent was there. He did a little gallery talk before some of us saw the exhibit. The docent had been a student of Adams', and had attended one of his many schools out in Yosemite. Adams did those schools for years, and everybody in the class stayed at the Inn. They would gather for breakfast at an appointed hour in the Inn breakfast room, and all sit together.

    One morning, Adams and his wife were late in arriving. His instructor had taken the head chair at the table, and when Adams and his wife arrived, they quietly sat at a small table, adjacent to the group.

    Apparently, an unrelated inn guest had heard that the great Ansel Adams was in the hotel, and could be found in the dining room. This fellow was determined to get a photo of himself with the Master.

    Assuming Adams was at the head of the table, he walked up to the instructor, and asked if he might have his companion take a picture of him with the Master. Maybe not quite figuring it out in time, the instructor agreed.

    The fellow posed with the instructor, while his female companion positioned herself and camera to get the shot she thought she needed. That required asking the nice couple sitting at the adjacent table to move out of the way. They, of course, politely agreed.

    The docent said the other students could hardly contain themselves, but Adams and his wife just smiled.

    This is not just hearsay; the docent told us.

    --

    Flash Gordon, famed motorcycle medical columnist for Motorcycle Consumer News, once wrote me with an even better story about how he, Flash, once asked Ansel Adams, in person, if he knew what 'depth of field' meant.

    I'll let him tell that one, some day, if he wants.

    Jim


  13. #28
    rocketman
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimshaw View Post


    I stand by my recommendation of an optically stabilized lens. No other camera feature will provide more sharp shots, especially when you are hand holding the camera. Brag as you will about how steady you are, but you likely aren't. Your images may look OK on the camera LCD, or printed 4 x 6. But, unless you have the talents of a professional, use IS. Even the pro news photogs use it.

    Optical IS is the single most valuable feature you can buy in a travel camera.

    Argue otherwise, but all the newest quality digitals are offering IS, mostly optical. It doesn't cost a huge premium, but (except with DSLR lens replacement) you cannot add it later. Make it a minimum feature, especially in your smallest camera.

    Ansel Adams notwithstanding.

    Jim
    I apologize if I upset or antagonized you (judging by the Brag comment, one could equally make the claim that your comment about having a signed print by Ansel as bragging and one I assume would be equally wrong; but I digress), if you re-read my statements you'll see I was actually mostly in agreement with you. My argument was simply that IS should not be the overriding factor in ALL situations. There are simply too many factors involved, and merely attempted to show one example, such as missing a shot due to shutter lag from slow auto-focus.
    While it may be true many or most pro photographers of the type you mentioned consider IS as a priority , news photography often involves very long lens and situations where there is a lot of jostling for the best position so IS could well become a factor, but that does not necessarily hold true for the average person or the type of photographer we have here. Consider too that many folks never ever make prints or do much cropping, more and more we share our photos by means of digital image displays where fine detail is limited by the resolution of the screen, so those imperfections from lack of IS that might manifest itself in larger paper prints is never relieved.
    Again I am Not trying to "dis" you, I am simply stating my opinion as are you in the hopes that other can learn and decide what is important for the type of photography they may be interested in.

    This after all, is why I suggested the formation of this forum area several years ago, to allow the forum membership with an interest in photography to share our shots and knowledge and views and perhaps provide others some useful information.

    Jeff
    AKA
    Rocketman

  14. #29
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimshaw View Post
    Optical IS is the single most valuable feature you can buy in a travel camera.
    A monopod helps too.
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

  15. #30
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrafikFeat View Post
    A monopod helps too.
    It is amazing how much sharper my photos are when using a monopod!

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