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03-22-2021, 08:03 AM   #1
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Bicycling with Long Lens

I hope to start bicycling in a nearby place where I like to shoot birds and wildlife. I want to go as light as possible while carrying a KP, DA#300 and DA 1.4 converter. I would prefer not to have to carry it on my back in a pack, although I know that may be the only way. That's probably too big a combo for a chest mount, from reviews that I have read, but maybe I've read the wrong reviews for the wrong products. I bike mount bag could be nice to if there are any big enough and safe enough. Obviously something to take the shock of road bumps and such would be needed. Thanks for any ideas.

03-22-2021, 08:15 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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You might consider a hard case. A hard case can be strapped on the back of a bike, plus it offers protection from falls and the weather. Most are foam lined which makes the protection they offer from shocks and falls far greater than a soft case,
03-22-2021, 08:26 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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I know this might not quite work for you, but I've skied with my K-50 and A 400 using a sling strap, and was comfortable with it and able to use it as I went. The strap was homemade from an old suitcase strap and then two bolts connecting to the camera and lens tripod mounts. I'll see if I can get you a shot of it today, but I've actually reduced it to one bolt to the lens only, and haven't skied with it since doing that.

If you're just cycling to a place to shoot, rather than stopping and shooting as you go, you're probably better off with some sort of case on a pannier, like Bob's suggestion above.
03-22-2021, 08:35 AM - 3 Likes   #4
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Not something like this is sold in the US, but Koenig produces nice bags based on Ortlieb shells: bikeBag4 - König Photobags
They add a hard inner shell, but key is that the insert is suspended, so it absorbs shocks very well.

I usually have more stuff to bring than just camera gear and just pack my camera into my Ortlieb back rollers in one of my camera shoulder bags, with an additional soft/elastic layer below. Depending on what I bring, this can be a layer of foam in case nothing fits. Spare clothes or laundry on multi-day tours. Larger lenses such as the DA300 come along in separate well-padded cases, because I don't have a fitting bag other than by backpacks. Putting the camera bag at the top gives quick access - I usually leave the zippers open and just use camera bag and pannier buckles to close. This has served me well for decades, the only concern is a secure stand for the bicycle. Both bags open, you don't want it to tip over.

03-22-2021, 08:55 AM - 1 Like   #5
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One combination I bike around with is a Fuji GX617 pano camera on my back and on the front rack of my bicycle I have a tripod and a 4x5 Crown Graphic. The Crown Graphic is in a a padded camera bag. It's a box folded up and bumps and shocks are not so bad for it . I think you should just carry your gear on your back and hit the road. Your gear is not that big.
03-22-2021, 09:31 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I use a tenba byob insert to store a m43 camera and 100-400 lens (detached). The one i have fits either in the handlebars bag or in a pannier; sometimes just a camera bag in the pannier if I'm planning to hike far from the bike, which also allows to keep the lens attached. I've used this for a long time, never had an issue for local rides or longer tours. If your bike doesn't have racks, maybe look at a seatpost mounted bag for bike packing (aka seatpack), they're usually elongated and may fit a holster-type bag to have the 300 attached to the camera.

Last edited by aaacb; 03-22-2021 at 09:55 AM.
03-22-2021, 10:07 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
You might consider a hard case. A hard case can be strapped on the back of a bike, plus it offers protection from falls and the weather. Most are foam lined which makes the protection they offer from shocks and falls far greater than a soft case,
I had not thought of that, I have a Pelican case that I use for boat transport, thatm could work with the right rack, although not the quick access I would like for wildlife.

QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
I know this might not quite work for you, but I've skied with my K-50 and A 400 using a sling strap, and was comfortable with it and able to use it as I went. The strap was homemade from an old suitcase strap and then two bolts connecting to the camera and lens tripod mounts. I'll see if I can get you a shot of it today, but I've actually reduced it to one bolt to the lens only, and haven't skied with it since doing that.
I use sling straps now, fine for walking but I would not want to use it on a bike with the 300 attached. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding your type of sling.

If you're just cycling to a place to shoot, rather than stopping and shooting as you go, you're probably better off with some sort of case on a pannier, like Bob's suggestion above.
Shooting anywhere is the plan, so looking for quick access.

QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
Not something like this is sold in the US, but Koenig produces nice bags based on Ortlieb shells: bikeBag4 - König Photobags
They add a hard inner shell, but key is that the insert is suspended, so it absorbs shocks very well.

I usually have more stuff to bring than just camera gear and just pack my camera into my Ortlieb back rollers in one of my camera shoulder bags, with an additional soft/elastic layer below. Depending on what I bring, this can be a layer of foam in case nothing fits. Spare clothes or laundry on multi-day tours. Larger lenses such as the DA300 come along in separate well-padded cases, because I don't have a fitting bag other than by backpacks. Putting the camera bag at the top gives quick access - I usually leave the zippers open and just use camera bag and pannier buckles to close. This has served me well for decades, the only concern is a secure stand for the bicycle. Both bags open, you don't want it to tip over.
That looks like a really nice setup, The suspended insert is a great idea, just a quick look online doesn't turn any up in the states.

QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
One combination I bike around with is a Fuji GX617 pano camera on my back and on the front rack of my bicycle I have a tripod and a 4x5 Crown Graphic. The Crown Graphic is in a a padded camera bag. It's a box folded up and bumps and shocks are not so bad for it . I think you should just carry your gear on your back and hit the road. Your gear is not that big.
One reason I would want to avoid the back is the heat of summer, but it's more than likely the route I will end up with. I currently use a couple of ThinkTank Turnstyle sling bags (med and small), I will probably have to get the large or something else to carry that combo ready to go. A Crown Graphic, cool!


Thanks for all the replies, they all give me ideas and leads.

03-22-2021, 10:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
I use a tenba byob insert to store a m43 camera and 100-400 lens (detached). The one i have fits either in the handlebars bag or in a pannier; sometimes just a camera bag in the pannier if I'm planning to hike far from the bike, which also allows to keep the lens attached. I've used this for a long time, never had an issue for local rides or longer tours. If your bike doesn't have racks, maybe look at a seatpost mounted bag for bike packing (aka seatpack), they're usually elongated and may fit a holster-type bag to have the 300 attached to the camera.
Thanks for that info, I could not remember which company made the inserts. Holster is another idea, I know ThinkTank makes a holster that would fit, and I have seen a Promaster knockoff of the ThinkTank holster in a camera store a couple years ago. If a holster could hang without getting in the way that could be very appealing. Maybe could even strap a holster to my torso.
03-22-2021, 10:19 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Watching this thread to see what gets suggested. I would like to be able to ride a bicycle and easily get to a camera and shoot from the saddle.


There are the backpacks with side access openings. I've got one and I found it awkward and just weird to use. Probably doing it wrong; I imagine with the right padded insert it would probably work but it wouldn't be very fast to get to. A sling bag sounds nice in theory but I think it would migrate all around me while riding?

EDIT: What about this? l think this might work pretty well? https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/shoulder-bags-digital-holsters/pr...ter-harness-v2
03-22-2021, 10:20 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Shooting anywhere is the plan, so looking for quick access.
Another idea is a combo of sling strap and and elastic waistband of sorts to hold it in place while you're cycling. That's what I've done when ski touring (though with smaller lenses here, with the A 400 was only on flat ground and XC skiing).

QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
One reason I would want to avoid the back is the heat of summer,
If you're on a road style bike I'd avoid putting anything on your back, I find it kills my back even with a fairly light weight.
On a mountain bike with a more upright sitting position, it's not so bad and I regularly use a small backpack there.
03-22-2021, 10:41 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I would recommend looking at some of the bike forums. Look at commuting, touring or adventure bicycle soutions
03-22-2021, 11:17 AM - 3 Likes   #12
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I'm thinking support van. Then you just call out for the camera/lens setup you need. Easy
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03-22-2021, 12:15 PM - 1 Like   #13
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The snappiness youtube channel might have some recommendations. He often rides a mountain bike on dirt trails. He recently did a bag review for long lenses
03-22-2021, 12:58 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Unless you go for some kind of 3 point system that keeps the camera from swinging freely while you are hunched over the bars, you risk damaging camera and lens.

Figure out what combo you want to carry, get a padded bag/bag insert big enough to carry it, and securely. Ideally, this would fit on the front of the bike, so you can stop, pull out the camera, take pix, and resume travelling. IF not, get a bicycle basket big enough to fit the bag into, and use that.
03-22-2021, 01:38 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sidney Porter Quote
The snappiness youtube channel might have some recommendations. He often rides a mountain bike on dirt trails. He recently did a bag review for long lenses
I was just writing up a response and saw this

I ride with a camera almost everyday, mostly on dirt trails like Sidney Porter mentioned. I've found different things that work with different camera setups. With a smaller camera, I found I can't beat peak designs capture clip for quick access. No opening a bag or anything, just stop (or slow down ) the bike and take a picture. For slightly larger setups a sling bag or camera backpack with side access works great for fast access. Both of these work fine for road or well packed dirt. If you're planning on mountain biking sort of stuff (not sure if you are) then a proper biking backpack with an insert works great. I use an osprey raptor 14. It hugs my body and eliminates almost all bouncing even on very bumpy terrain.

With my DA* 300mm specifically I have tried two bags. The think tank digital holster 30 (mentioned above) and the lowepro top loader pro 75 AW II. Both can be worn as a sling or as a chest mount. The think tank is much slimmer for approximately the same inner dimensions, so it works better as an insert for a biking backpack. The lowepro toploader is larger so it's a tighter fit, but has way more features as a standalone bag.

I have not tried it, but I believe chest mounting either of those two (or something similar) would work just fine biking on non rough surfaces. That would allow that faster access you desire. I know this method is popular with skiers I've watched on documentaries.

Through all the variations I've tried I've found it really is a game of quick access vs most stable/non-moving. For the rougher places I go I found I just had to give up the fast access and go with a biking specific backpack for stability and little more crash proof. But for cycling around town or light trails then just about any method you like while hiking works fine biking.

I'm interested in what other people use as well.

Hope that was at least moderately helpful. If either of those two bags for the 300mm look useful to you I can provide pics with my camera and lens in them or anything else you're curious about.

Thanks.
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