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Thread: Cameras for Riders

  1. #1
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    Cameras for Riders

    I just acquired a new digital camera. Maybe you have too. Let's hear how you like it, and what it's good at.

    Jim

  2. #2
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    I have been waiting for a full-frame DSLR to replace my aging Leica M6. Would love to have an M9, but too many bucks. Picked up a Canon 5D MK II recently and I am very happy with it. Also got a few lens, my favorite is a 50mm, f1.4 Zeiss. Would still love to have an M9 though, but I would have to come out of retirement and return to work to afford it. It is small enough with the Zeiss lens to pack in the saddle bag and takes great photos.

    Wayne

  3. #3
    Ambassador at Large JIMSHAW's Avatar
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    New camera last week

    I have been planning to purchase a new digital camera to take on rides starting this spring.

    My criteria were:
    Shirt pocket size to shoot while riding sometimes
    Wide angle lens
    Optical image stabilization
    Video, HD if possible
    Better than typical screen or optical viewfinder
    Great color fidelity
    Sharp photos, sometimes suitable for publication
    Fast startup
    Fast response to shutter button
    SDHC card compatible
    Simple automatic operation, but with full manual control when I want.
    Waterproof, or at least rain resistant
    Price < $350US

    I started looking last winter, with the expectation that I wouldn't buy anything until this Spring.

    A month or so ago, an article in the NYTimes alerted me to some new models from Samsung they liked the look of. In amongst several were the new TL-500 and TL-350 models. The 500 is out of the price range. The TL-350 is going to be about $360, when and if it actually appears. Neither is for sale, yet, anyplace I can find one.

    It came down to the wire for me to get something to take on a ride to Texas and Mexico, starting next week. I wanted a few days experience with it before heading South and expecting performance.

    In anticipation of the new models, Amazon is selling (via Beach Camera) the previous model TL-320 for less than $200. It used to list for $349, I think.
    I read the Amazon reviews, and it looked like a good deal. The only bad review was from some clown who complained that it was not better than his DSLR.

    I bought it for $195, no tax, free shipping. It arrived four days later. My first impression was very good. It's a solid little camera, and the lens completely retracts when it's off, so it fits nicely where a package of cigarettes could go - but it's thinner. It's fairly light, and carrying it in my shirt pocket is unnoticeable.

    It meets all of my criteria, above, except it's not water resistant. Frankly, I didn't expect to find any camera that meets all of the criteria. I'll just have to keep it out of direct rain.

    It has a 24mm (equiv. to 35mm camera) 5x zoom lens. I no longer measure the quality or usefulness of any camera by the number before the x. 5 times zoom is plenty for me, and digital zoom is of no interest, whatever. I do not do sports photography, so I just don't need it. Megapixels only matter to the extent that it can do at least an 8 x 10 inch photo at >300 pixels per inch. That's 7.2 megapixels. The TL-320 shoots with 12.2. The real criterion is quality of the images.

    It has both optical and digital image stabilization. You can select either or both. So far, I've used the optical only, and I'm quite happy with the images. As I age, my grip gets shakier, and the camera has to compensate. I also hope for good sharp pictures when occasional hand shot from the bike while riding.This IS does it well. Once set, it can be operated with one hand - unfortunately the right (throttle) hand.

    It can be fully manually controlled for studio shots - shutter, aperture, and focus. I am an old photog since my middle school days, so I know how to use these. It also has 'program modes' where you set one and the others are automatic. It can also be fully automatic. It has a good flash, and because of the wide lens, the flash is very useful at close range. It is also quite smart as a fill flash. Plus, all the bells and whistles like multiple face/smile/blink/and maybe constipation detection for all I know.

    The battery is rechargeable. At first thought, I'd rather have replaceable batteries, but I found that, in its first times out, it could shoot over 150 photos (maybe 35 with flash on) and still had enough charge to do about a half hour of HD video - all well before recharging. I am more than satisfied with that. If I carry a second battery, I can exchange them in about 20 seconds. Also, penlight batteries are heavier.

    The real treat is the 3" OLED viewer on the back. It is very high resolution for good manual focusing. The colors are bright. It can be seen pretty clearly in bright daylight, outdoors - something that's a problem for many LCD screens. The screen is even better for reviewing photos and video, and showing others. Frankly, it is clear and brilliant. I love it.

    Startup time is about one second. Shutter delay is much less than a half second. It can shoot photos about one per second consecutively until its internal memory (64mB) is full. I have, so far, used only the camera's highest quality 3000 x 4000 pixel, extra fine JPEG capture. Using Photoshop Elements or Picasa, I can make what I want of them. I am using a 4GB SDHC card. It can take up to an 8 or 16 GB, I think. They should be Class 6 for HD video storage.

    It comes with a wallwart (USB) recharger, USB 2.0 cable, and video cable for audio and composite video. I am purchasing a cradle for recharging, and an HDMI cable for HD playback directly into an HD TV.

    The video is smooth and stable at 30 fps at 1280 x 720p. It can also shoot lower resolutions for web sharing, for example. Playback with the camera is very smooth, even at 720p HD.

    So, it's surely only one of thousands of camera models out there. This one has made me very, very happy - so far. I'm looking forward to taking it to Texas and Mexico, next week. Any defects in its performance should start to show up, if they exist.

    If you want to see the first photos I took with it, they are here. These were shot in the rather photogenic town square of Medina, Ohio - my county seat. They were edited slightly to make some of them 'straighter.'

    Hope you like them. I do. Maybe I'll have more for you after Mexico.

    Jim


  4. #4
    little red mule welafever's Avatar
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    i recently purchased a Nikon D700 full frame. its the best camera i have ever used. i plan on getting some photos of the "little red mule" soon to post in the thumper section.

  5. #5
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    After my Fujifilm Z5 hit the ground and ceased to work my main criteria was to find a camera that took better low light pictures. A zoom would be nice. I read on this forum about the Panasonic Lumix and did a ton of research. Though it lists for $350 I was able to find a used, very good condition one on Amazon for $200 and am loving it.

    Read more here:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec...nic_dmczr3.asp

    Best of all it comes in RED!

    Some pictures here with Paul's Z5 and my Lumix:
    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...lly/?start=all

    Voni
    sMiling
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  6. #6
    Registered User MLS2GO's Avatar
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    Used to always buy Canon P&S's

    I am now a Pansonic Lumix user. I now have two. My last one is this one:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...tialSearch=yes

    I can use it while riding without worrying about rain. Can take a drop in theory, 12 mpix and has a 28mm equivalent for wide angle shots with a 4.5 zoom.

    I recently had a new Motoport suit made and had a small pocket built on the left side, just for this camera. I wear a it on a cord inside the coat and can drop it if I need to.
    Bob Rippy
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    Tour of Honor Missouri State Sponsor
    14 R1200RT (currently parked) 07 R1200RT

  7. #7
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MLS2GO View Post
    I am now a Pansonic Lumix user. I now have two. My last one is this one:......................
    Great minds must think alike, and travel the same places.


    After being a Nikon user for 30 years, my last two cameras have been Lumix also, great features and picture quality.

    My latest is the DMC-ZS3. to complement my larger DMC-FZ30. Love the HD video it has.

    http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...s3-review.html

  8. #8
    Registered User MWS's Avatar
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    Lumix on the bike.
    D80 off the bike!
    Mark

  9. #9
    warredon
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    Thumbs up

    +1 on the Lumix I have an older DMC-FZ50 and it has been great. It's a little large for the bike, but it takes decent pictures and has a lot of usable features.

  10. #10
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    Voni,

    Now I know that you have covered a LOT of miles. (Congrats on #1 BTW) but I really want to have your bike as it seems that you and Paul are able to go to the future to the Texas National Rally 2019. Or maybe I just need to get a red gsa instead of a silver one.

    Glaves's Profile / All Albums / 2019 Texas National Rally


    Quote Originally Posted by Voni View Post

    Some pictures here with Paul's Z5 and my Lumix:
    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...lly/?start=all

    Voni
    sMiling

  11. #11
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Oops!

    Oh, well. Can't change it now or the link would break . . .

    Voni
    sMiling
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  12. #12
    Grow'd up Mini Trail munchy's Avatar
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    Panasonic Lumix FZ-35 for the tankbag. 12 MP, 18x zoom (18.00x zoom (27-486mm equiv.), LiIon rechargeable battery, EVF and 2.7 inch LCD w/ live view (so don't need to take off the helmet, though all LCD screens are hard to see in daylight) and it has high def video, shoots RAW.

    For the rear top box, just bought a new Nikon D90, w/ 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens combo, to be safely ensconced in plenty of foam. Bought this after selling my D80 with 18-70mm to a fellow rider.

    Needless to say, I like to take photos and want my D90 with me as I shoot off bike as well as on. As a long time SLR shooter, I just can't stand using the hoky little zoom levers that P&S cameras all seem to have for zooming and, as useful as live view can be, there is nothing like a pentaprism based, optical viewfinder for composing your shots. Put a great viewfinder together with a zoom lens that uses a lens ring for zooming and put those on a camera body with a superb APS sized sensor (or full frame, drool ) and you can't take a bad picture. Well, ya can but it ain't anything you can blame on the camera.

    Sure, great shots are in the hands of the photographer and even a cell phone camera can take some neat shots. But I also print my own and I want it all. So, I find a way to take it all. And I have a great time creating my nursing home memory book.

    2002 R1150GS
    MOA #104910, Twisted Shaft Motorcycle Club #241

  13. #13
    Mac Polski
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    Packing the D700 and the like

    Quote Originally Posted by welafever View Post
    i recently purchased a Nikon D700 full frame. its the best camera i have ever used. i plan on getting some photos of the "little red mule" soon to post in the thumper section.
    Purchased my D700 a year ago in March. What a camera!
    I too would like to haul my D700; Any concerns about road vibrations hurting the camera? Advice on packing it. Planning a long trip this summer and would like to take it.

  14. #14
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Mac:

    We like using the padded LowePro cases for all our cameras. Here's a link:

    http://products.lowepro.com/catalog/Toploading,8.htm

    I use a similar one for my D40 and keep it in the curb side saddle bag. They have compact ones for the point and shoots.

    [Lumix] ZS3...pffog
    Here's a shot my wife took with her Lumix ZS3 in the Shaba Reserve, Kenya, last year, with the lens at full stretch (about 300 mm equivalent):



    It's nice to see the Lumix's catching on.
    Last edited by rinty; 06-17-2010 at 11:50 PM.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  15. #15
    Registered User nyfty's Avatar
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    Packing a Nikon D90...

    I've just started carrying a Nikon D90 with a 18-200mm lens. I carry it with a neoprene case around the camera and lens. In the tank bag of my R1150GS or my F600 Dakar. Since both tanks slope to the rear, I've have a piece of convoluted foam that covers the bottom of the tank bag and then wraps up the back side where the camera rests. I also have a 8L roll top dry bag that I can put the camera and neoprene case into for heavy weather. Paved, Unpaved, No Roads At All. So far so good.
    Jim Nyffeler
    Lincoln NE
    '10 F800GS
    BMWMOA 110521, IBA 8936

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