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05-31-2011, 10:55 PM   #1
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Carrying a dSLR on a motorcycle?

Hi all,

I'm doing a big motorcycle road trip in a few weeks with a friend, and I plan on bringing my new Pentax K-r along. Ideally I'd like to put it in the tank bag (on top of the fuel tank) as it will be well protected, and will be easy to pull out to take photos. However, I'm unsure if the vibration will be an issue with all the moving parts etc?

The other option I can think of would be to put it in the top box or the panniers, but it will be less convenient to retrieve...

Any ideas?

05-31-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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I've taken my K10D, and later K20D in the tankbag for several trips, totalling hundreds if not thousands of miles. Never had a problem. Usually I had either the DA*16-50 attached, or the DA*50-135 (and sometimes the Tamron 28-75). The tankbag I use is a Rapid Transit Recon 19, which I highly recommend. Most of that was on decent pavement but also the occasional gravel road. I guess if the route was really bumpy, I might just keep everything in the camera bag in my topcase until it was time to stop for pictures.
Once I was travelling on a gravel "truck trail" in Michigan's upper peninsula, and stopped to take some shots, out in the middle of nowhere. The mosquitoes were so bad I had to keep the visor down on my helmet, hold the camera up in front of my face, and just shoot blind. Needless to say i didn't stop for long! Good luck and have fun!
05-31-2011, 11:53 PM   #3
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A Sling bag is out of the question? The Velocity 8 I use has a single strap and a waist belt. It goes over your back like a backpack but is then easy to undo the belt and swing it around to the front, unzip and flip it open and take out the camera. So, there's no hassle like with taking a backpack off and it's fairly compact. The single strap + waist belt should be stable enough and you would be absorbing any shock.
06-01-2011, 12:18 AM   #4
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I've carried my K10D, K20D, and now K-5 in a tank bag on a SV1000S and GSX650F for many, many miles with no issues. Generally, I like to position the camera on top of everything else in the tank bag, for a little "buffering". Sometimes I place some bubble wrap below the camera.

06-01-2011, 12:20 AM   #5
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An option could be to use a Toploader bag (eg Lowepro toploader TLZ1) on the top of the fuel tank and to attach it with a strap.

The access in and out is very easy, hence suitable for a byke situation. I have mine for 18 months and I love the ease of access.

Hope that the suggestion may help.
06-01-2011, 12:34 AM   #6
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Your K-r is a tough little bugger and I'm sure it'll be quite happy sitting in your tank bag. I've travelled over some pretty rough Outback roads on a bike and never had any trouble. You'll be fine. Just make sure you keep the dust out as much as possible. Don't have it attached to your body - it'll make a mess of you if you fall on it at speed.
06-01-2011, 05:35 AM   #7
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Mount it on your tank.
06-01-2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback, sounds like I shouldn't have any issues. I'll probably carry a towel or something in the bottom of the tank bag to dampen some of the vibrations, and leave my K-r in my toploader in my tank bag, hopefully that will provide enough damping.

Bill_R: Would prefer not to carry it on my back. The only thing going on my back is my Camelbak

jogiba: Neat! How did you mount a dSLR onto the tank? I've seen some fuel tank camera mounts, but I don't know if I'd trust them to mount a heavy dSLR onto them

06-02-2011, 05:33 AM   #9
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Motorcycle And Sport Bike Camera Mounts - San Carlos, California - SportBikeCam.com

06-05-2011, 06:21 PM   #10
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for a bicycle, i'm guessing there aren't really any other choices than stashing it in a bag on your back?
06-05-2011, 06:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by supra97rx7 Quote
for a bicycle, i'm guessing there aren't really any other choices than stashing it in a bag on your back?
Except if you get one of those little baskets to hang off your handlebars or a carrier that goes on the back. Have seen a few bicycles that tour with racks and carry bags. Depends if uncool is a factor.
06-05-2011, 08:16 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bill_R Quote
Except if you get one of those little baskets to hang off your handlebars or a carrier that goes on the back. Have seen a few bicycles that tour with racks and carry bags. Depends if uncool is a factor.
I've used a rear rack with a small soft luggage case before, on my bicycle. But even though I was just doing a road ride (not any kind of trails), I think the camera gets bounced around worse on a bicycle than on any kind of motorcycle, because most bikes have no suspension. I think a backpack might be better but then if you're working up a sweat that might not be so good for the camera either. Tough choice.
06-05-2011, 08:22 PM   #13
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Just lock the throttle and keep it in your hand.



Seriously though, I used some padding and the rear bags though a tank bag would be perfect.
06-06-2011, 10:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by supra97rx7 Quote
for a bicycle, i'm guessing there aren't really any other choices than stashing it in a bag on your back?

06-06-2011, 02:58 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by demuire Quote
Hi all,

I'm doing a big motorcycle road trip in a few weeks with a friend, and I plan on bringing my new Pentax K-r along. Ideally I'd like to put it in the tank bag (on top of the fuel tank) as it will be well protected, and will be easy to pull out to take photos. However, I'm unsure if the vibration will be an issue with all the moving parts etc?

The other option I can think of would be to put it in the top box or the panniers, but it will be less convenient to retrieve...

Any ideas?
I've done it all at one point or another - in a padded tankbad, in a topbox, slung over the shoulder in a camera bag with the bag resting on the pillon, in a messenger bag, in a sling bag, etc... Fact is, in thousands of miles not one camera has failed on me. This includes dirtbikes in the Nevada desert and the wet jungles of the Philippines.

If the terrain is bumpy or the bike vibrates a lot, I prefer having the camera on my back in a sling bag:




In these cases, I'll usually have a P&S in the tankbag for impromptu shots. Good luck!
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