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08-24-2019, 01:03 PM   #1
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Motorcycle Travel Questions

Hey everyone! I hope all is well in your particular corners of the world.
So I was wondering if anyone else here had a motorcycle. I've been out on mine and realized I've missed every single opportunity. But why? Nervousness kept my k70 and glass on the shelf at home. Before I go too much further, I should mention it's a cruiser/ Harley looking bike with less than no desire (or capability) for offroad travel.

My biggest concerns are about vibrations. That being on a big torquey rumbling bike is bad for the camera. Am I babying it too much? Should I break down and finally pick up a semi advanced point and shoot? Would the k70 with a few decent and affordable lenses be ok if I just pad to hell and back a bag?

Maybe I should rephrase it to if you take your camera on motorcycle rides, how do you do it?

Thanks everyone!

08-24-2019, 01:28 PM   #2
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At the present time I ride a Goldwing and carry my gear in a padded camera bag, and each of the lens are in a separate padded sleeve. I never had a problem with any of my gear on the Goldwing or prior bikes, but I travel mostly street or forest roads. I did have one Sigma 24-70 F2.8 that developed a cracked barrel and was repaired by Sigma. This was back in my Canon 5D days. I am not sure how that happen. Way back when I rode a Norton I did have stuff vibrate apart in the saddle bags, but that bike was a vibrator.
Can you carry a carton of eggs without having any crack?
08-24-2019, 01:37 PM   #3
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I've carried an SLR several thousand miles on a motorcycle but they were all smooth engines. Specifically on a Honda ST1100, Kawasaki Voyager XII, and Honda nc700x. Before that I carried non-SLR cameras on my Kawasaki Vulcan 750 (smooth for a v-twin). All I did was toss it in a padded camera bag and then in the hard trunk (only had a duffelbag on the 750). I only worried about summer heat and the always possible wreck. I've packed on pavement and gravel roads but not fire roads or off roading.

I have no concern carrying:
50mm prime
90mm macro
17mm-50mm f2.8
Pancake lens
Fisheye

I would personally pass on these lenses:
70-200mm f2.8
150-500mm

My concern there is size & mass. They take up a lot of room and, due to mass, will take a harder hit if something happened. The 70-200mm has already been repaired once due to a drop (shoulder strap disconnected on it's own - I learned to hate that bag) so I'm cautious about impacts on the big lenses.

08-24-2019, 01:53 PM   #4
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A couple of decades ago, I had a customer who worked for one of the cruiser magazines of the day ó the ones that regularly featured highly modified Harley-style bikes and the accompanying lifestyle.

He had made the choice to run Nikon f4s instead of 8008/N90 bodies because of the enhanced vibration resistance. And he spent a large chunk of his time shooting off the back of a moving motorcycle... often a modified big twin.

If you were doing that, Iíd suggest a higher-end body and more robust lenses. But if the gear is just riding along, even the kit lenses should be fine in a well-padded case or bag. But I would suggest care with packing so things donít bang together...

-Eric

08-24-2019, 01:55 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I was thinking primes due to size and less moving parts to move without my express permission. And I just like primes for some reason.15 Limited, old vintage 28mm 2.8, and 40xs. Possibly because that and the 55-300 complete my lens collection. (I really need to get on the whole LBA thing.) Padded case strapped to the sissy bar sitting on the passenger seat.

I'm not worried about what can happen if I go down. The motorcycle forum I'm in, that seems to be a concern. Well, let's rephrase that. If I go down and the camera is strapped to the bike, the camera is somewhere right around 10 on my list of concerns. After am I still alive? Am I going to wake up in a hospital? Did anyone tell Mrs. Rookie? And if so, how bad will she kick my butt? WTF happened?

It sounds like maybe instead of a grii, a better purchase would be a padded to hell and back bag. And a short/medium telephoto or maybe a macro.
08-24-2019, 03:04 PM   #6
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Any of the Lowepro bags are padded to hell and gone.

Let's ask the question a different way; if you don't carry the camera around with you, why do you have it? If you can afford to replace the camera if it breaks in 3 years due to vibration, I'd say go for it and enjoy yourself. The only thing I could think of that might get messed up is the shake reduction system being jostled around. The body, lenses, etc will be fine.
08-24-2019, 05:39 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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I carry my cameras in a side bag on my dual purpose bike, rutted trails, logging roads, you name it. No camera problems at all, and right next to the exhaust pipe. If my stuff can survive this then you will be really OK. In the photo you can see my "Think tank" I25 mirrorless mover bag, its big enough for my K70 with 18-135, DA15 and 35 ltds.



And this one carry my K70

08-24-2019, 06:45 PM   #8
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Another option is to carry your gear in a bag attached to your chest. Something like Lowepro Toploader 65 AW, 70 AW or 75 AW

08-24-2019, 09:09 PM   #9
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The entire Q-System fits in this and rides well slung over my shoulder as is, tucked into a backpack, or in the saddlebags with my fleece. I ride a Sportster 883 and after many cameras and almost half a million miles in the saddle over the years I believe the Q-System is perfect for traveling by motorbike.

Domke F-5XB Shoulder Bag - 700-52B ? The Tiffen Company

Last edited by MD Optofonik; 08-24-2019 at 09:15 PM.
08-25-2019, 02:02 AM   #10
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I ride a sportsbike with no storage at all, and I'm looking at a good quality camera spacific backpack to store a few lenses and a K1.

My plan is to pack it in quite tightly with padding as I'll be moving around on the bike, the last thing I want is for the gear to be loosely moving around. I'll use padding from other camera bags to fill the gaps. I think with the backpack, vibrations will be fine or not much worse than walking with it on.

If I fall/crash I'm not sure on how important the camera is at that point. But insurance might be a good idea.
08-25-2019, 04:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RookieGuy Quote
Hey everyone! I hope all is well in your particular corners of the world.
So I was wondering if anyone else here had a motorcycle. I've been out on mine and realized I've missed every single opportunity. But why? Nervousness kept my k70 and glass on the shelf at home. Before I go too much further, I should mention it's a cruiser/ Harley looking bike with less than no desire (or capability) for offroad travel.

My biggest concerns are about vibrations. That being on a big torquey rumbling bike is bad for the camera. Am I babying it too much? Should I break down and finally pick up a semi advanced point and shoot? Would the k70 with a few decent and affordable lenses be ok if I just pad to hell and back a bag?

Maybe I should rephrase it to if you take your camera on motorcycle rides, how do you do it?

Thanks everyone!
A cautionary tale for you. Some years ago I rode a Suzuki 400 from my home in UK to Ireland. I had my pentax SV with super takumar 85 lens in a soft camera bag wrapped in a towel. The camera was in a pannier bag on the bike. When I got the camera out to use it I found that the vibrations had unscrewed the rear element on the lens rendering it useless. If bike vibration can do this to a sturdy mechanical camera I dread to think of the damage It could cause to a modern digital SLR. The moral is NEVER ride with your camera on the bike, but always on your person to eliminate vibration damage.
08-25-2019, 07:43 AM   #12
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Regardless of vehicle i use, adv motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile, i always carry my camera in the same two configurations; On my back in a sling bag, if i know i most likely wont use it, or hanging in a Peak Design Capture Clip on the shoulder strap of a backpack, with their Shell cover when i have a plan for using it.


QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
The only thing I could think of that might get messed up is the shake reduction system being jostled around.
This is the only thing im really worried about.


QuoteOriginally posted by Glenn M Quote
The moral is NEVER ride with your camera on the bike, but always on your person to eliminate vibration damage.
Exactly. Also, I dont like leaving valuables on the bike and its so easy to just not bother when i have to unpack the camera.


QuoteOriginally posted by Lulo Quote
Another option is to carry your gear in a bag attached to your chest. Something like Lowepro Toploader 65 AW, 70 AW or 75 AW
I used to have a chest-mounted LowePro TopLoader but it was to bulky, so the Capture Clip was a better solution for me. Though the TopLoader is worth a try.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wingincamera Quote
Can you carry a carton of eggs without having any crack?
I have actualy tried that. 125 eggs in the vario pannier of a BMW R1200GS. No problem on gravel roads.
08-25-2019, 07:55 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Glenn, while I certainly can appreciate your cautionary tale (it's exactly what worried me), the thought of a backpack on my back hitting twisty roads quite frankly scares the [family friendly term for what clogs toilets after a hard night of cheap whiskey and Taco Bell] out of me. That it could roll in a turn and throw off my center of gravity.

How do I plan on using it? Taking pictures when I stop. Never while I'm moving. To me (and only me), it seems that what's taking my attention away from safely piloting my ride is what's going to try and kill me. If it's that cool, there's shoulders and parking lots to pull over. If there's not, then it's not worth the pic and I'll come back in a car.

Zippy, how long has you're rig been riding with you like that? Sweet ride, btw. Loving the dual sports! I really wish I had one whenever I turn off the road into a mountainside winery with the gravel and rut driveway as I'm trying to convince my 750 pound chrome and steel behemoth to stay upright. Keep the rubber side down, friend, and consider yourself biker waved at from me.

To Kozlok, while I see your point in asking if I'm not carrying it, why do I have it? Risk avoidance would be how I answer that. I don't take it swimming, rock climbing, to bars, downtown Baltimore at night, work. Anywhere where the probability of damage is too much greater than a sweet epic photo. Let's be realistic. Same reason I don't ride the bike in the snow or ice, when I'm sick, New Year's Eve or St. Paddy's Day, downtown Baltimore at night. Anywhere where the probability of damage is too much greater than a sweet epic ride. My k70 is my nicest tool for its job. But not always the best choice.

So maybe a decent P&S that can live in Mrs. Rookie's purse when not in my leather jacket might be a good buy regardless. It'll help her Facebook with better snapshots and me for learning a new skill. If I'm reasonably confident I'll want the k70, she can ride. If not, something's better than nothing.
08-25-2019, 09:29 AM - 1 Like   #14
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My suggestion after reading the thread is a K-7. The K-7 doesn't have a great sensor, but it is very durable and well-made. It's smaller than the K20D with a nicer screen and live view. They are cheap. With a WR kit lens or an old 28mm f2.8 prime you wouldn't have to worry a lot about your better camera. The sensor is fine at ISO 100-800, so in daylight you're good. The downsides are adapting to the older camera's differences, and night shots.
08-25-2019, 09:31 AM   #15
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My old Nikon d40 survived just fine with its 18-55 kit lens in the wolfman enduro tank bag, loosely wrapped in a cheap dry bag for protection against everything else in the bag, on my WR250R for several 5-6000 mile trips. Iíd have no problem packing my KP and 20-40 Limited in the same way, but I much prefer a good point and shoot for portability on two wheels. I have an Olympus TG4 for this kind of work with digital, and a Olympus XA for film which I prefer.

I commuted daily on two wheels from Towson to Fells Point when I was in college. Didnít own a car for almost 4 years and rode just about every day. I miss the great roads in Baltimore County and Frederick County.
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