What camera do you recommend for moto trips? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 12:16 am Thread Starter
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What camera do you recommend for moto trips?

If this is not the appropriate forum, I apologize - I am sure the sysop will straighten me out... ;-)

Anyway, I wonder what cameras do you guys use while traveling. In preparation for the new season, I am considering upgrading my trusty (but SLOW!) Casio R51.

Any recommendations?

My main needs are: 5M pixels (I find that enough for casual travel shots), good optical zoom, i.e., at least 4x, FAST turnon/focus/shot time, image stabilization and a viewfinder.

I need a small point-and-shoot style, not DSLR, because I keep it in a pocket of my riding jacket and do not want a bulky brick bothering me. I do not like Sony because of the proprietary memory sticks and I do prefer cameras with abilities to use generic battery cells. Small size is a plus, of course.

FAST is a big consideration for me: most of my recent cameras, especially the point-and-shoot styles, seem to take an eternity between pressing release button and actually taking the shot. A couple of years ago, I went with my Pentax in hand to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. I have a nice collection of pictures of empty track Ė taken well after the cars passed byÖ And with the few cameras since, things did not get better. When I really need speed, I use an over 20-years old Minolta SLR kit; however, that is totally not suitable for motorcycle travel.

I have been looking at the pocket cameras in Panasonicís Lumix line; these fit the bill almost perfectly (and are FAST, as I tried them) - but have no optical viewfinder, only an LCD display Ė which tends to be useless in bright sunlight. I gotta see what I am shooting, no?

So, what is the opinion here?

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #2 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 2:23 am
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Camera

I agree that getting something small enough to fit into your jacket pocket is the way to go. I found that I would take fewer pics when taking a larger camera that I had to fish out of the tank bag before each use.

I recently purchased the Olympus FE 190 for less than $200. It's a good basic camera (6 MP) with very few farkles. It does use a rechargable battery (I have found the charge on the battery lasts for several weeks to a month with moderate use), but the earlier version of the camera, the FE 170 and before, uses AA or AAA batteries (can't remember which).

My wife is a photographer and she researched and selected something that was fairly idiot proof for me to use. The FE 190 uses the newer XD memory cards and I got a 1GB card for about $30 that will hold 200+ photos in the highest quality mode.

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post #3 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 2:25 am
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Camera

One other thought...you may want to rethink using the AA or AAA battery cameras as I understand that they go through batteries at a pretty fast clip. The rechargable may be more economical.

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post #4 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 7:33 am Thread Starter
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Hi, Tom - thanks for the feedback.

What are your feelings about the Olympus with regard to time elapsed between pressing of the release button and completion of the shot?

By the way, the battery deal is not all that bad: my Casio uses rechargeable Ni-MH AA's, best of both worlds. Meaning that I do not have to pack one more charger for trips - I can always pickup some alkaline cells as a fallback once the charge runs out (plus, I usually have another set of charged-up cells with me).

Come to think of it, the camera I use is actually quite right for me (I could use some image stabilization, but that is a farkle...) - except for the response time.

Oh, well...

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #5 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 7:35 am
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Check this site - http://www.dpreview.com/ to find out about digital photography.

I never thought I would admit it but digital is the way to go. I still shoot film (Leica M6TTL) but I shoot a whole lot more digital (SLR - Canon EOS 30D/Point and Shoot - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9). I guess I have fallen for the instant gratification that you get with digital. I took several long trips last year. I took hundreds of photos. I got to see exactly what I had a few seconds after I took the shot. (And I trashed what I didnít like.) You canít beat that.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 works for me. (It is no bigger than a pack of cigarettes. It has a Leica lens, a large view screen and a 6M pixel sensor.) When I checked the B&H site I didnít see one listed so maybe they arenít making it now. However, there are hundreds of other good point and shoot cameras out there Ė Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Panasonic . . . . .
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post #6 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 8:53 am
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I use the Canon Powershot S50. Simple, fast and the images are clear and crisp. Offers some manual adjustment if you want. The case is very rugged with the lense well protected. They also have an underwater case for it that is handy for rainy day shots on the bike.

If they are not asking to much for the later, higher megapixel, versions I'd take a look at those if I were to replace mine.

The S50 seems to be around $190+ used, it's been replaced by the higher density versions, for more money of course


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post #7 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 10:40 am
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I have used a Canon S500 for a couple of years now and really like it. What ever you get also get an extra card and battery. I use a 2 gig card and find that a good battery charge will last me a whole day of riding. I also have a charger that will charge on 12v or 110. I like the size of the Canon becasue I can shoot with gloves on the very small or very thin camers make this difficult.

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post #8 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 11:10 am
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All I can say is that I would *not* get another Fuji FinePix3800 (it has since been replaced by a newer model). At the time I bought it, it was the highest rated camera by Consumer Reports.

It is slow between button-press and image-capture. I am also disappointed and frequently frustrated with the method it uses to focus. It attempts to find vertical and horizontal lines in the middle of the image and adjust the focus until those lines are sharp. I'm guessing this accounts for some of the delay in taking a picture. But the two problems are that it needs quite a bit of ambient light to focus and if there are no vertical or horizontal lines, it can't focus. So, picutres of flowers and such tend to be out of focus. And pictures at night with a flash are out of focus because there was not enough ambient light before the flash for it to do its thing.

In my opinion, infrared focusing is much better.

It uses xD cards which only Fuji and Olympus use. The cards are tiny -- slightly bigger than your thumbnail.

It uses standard AA batteries, so if the rechargables poop out or I can't recharge them conveniently, I am not dead in the water.

The camera is big and weighs nearly a pound with batteries.

One cool feature I wish it had that some Olympus (and others?) have is the ability to plug the camera into a TV video in jack and look at your pictures on the TV. This is neat when travelling and you can share pics of your trip with folks you meet along the way.


I hope this gives you some things to consider when shopping.

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post #9 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 2:28 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfspencer
Check this site - http://www.dpreview.com/ to find out about digital photography.

I never thought I would admit it but digital is the way to go. I still shoot film (Leica M6TTL) but I shoot a whole lot more digital (SLR - Canon EOS 30D/Point and Shoot - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9). I guess I have fallen for the instant gratification that you get with digital. I took several long trips last year. I took hundreds of photos. I got to see exactly what I had a few seconds after I took the shot. (And I trashed what I didnít like.) You canít beat that.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 works for me. (It is no bigger than a pack of cigarettes. It has a Leica lens, a large view screen and a 6M pixel sensor.) When I checked the B&H site I didnít see one listed so maybe they arenít making it now. However, there are hundreds of other good point and shoot cameras out there Ė Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Panasonic . . . . .
Thanks for the link. Great site. I had lunch today with a pro shotter from NYC. He may be helping us with some KTM work. KTM is one of my clients. He has done some work for REVVIT, the Euro M/C clothing line. He told me Panasonic builds the Leica digitals, private brand. Interesting. He recommended the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2, featuring Leica lens pack. I was considering the Canon A 640. He pointed out that the Panasonic has the 28 MM & image stabilization, rechargeable batts and charger that the Canon does not. Both are small enough for me to stow in that little lockable compartment on my GT. I don't want to keep the camera in one of the side bags or top case. I want to be able to get to it without getting off the bike. If I go down, the camera won't get dinged up as bad as it might if I have it in a jacket pocket. The shot attached is his KTM taken while he was working on a REVVIT shoot.

Like you, I was a hard core film junkie. I'm moving beyond film only too.
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Rob Nelson

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post #10 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 2:47 pm
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 has, among other things, a Leica lens, 5 megapixels, and image stabilization ... which it needs, because it has a true 10:1 OPTICAL zoom! In equivalent 35 mm terms, it's a point-and-shoot digital camera with a 35 mm to 350 mm optical zoom lens. I love it.

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post #11 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 5:12 pm
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Nice 950, I got one just like it only silver. What ever camera is used is not as improtant as the method of taking the picture so make sure you learn simple things like the rule of threes and about lighting and using the flash then take lots of pictures. At a photo demo Ansel Adams was asked what was the most improtant thing to do in reference to great pictures, he answered take lots of pictures. Some of the best pic's i have ever gotten were just because I took three shots instead of one.

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post #12 of 20 Old Feb 13th, 2007, 7:36 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmatson
At a photo demo Ansel Adams was asked what was the most improtant thing to do in reference to great pictures, he answered take lots of pictures. Some of the best pic's i have ever gotten were just because I took three shots instead of one.
Excellent advice! Except with me it was five or six shots instead of one.
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post #13 of 20 Old Feb 14th, 2007, 10:06 am
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That's nuthin'. The two photography profs I had in college said if you get one good image out of a roll of film, you're doing okay.

And with digital, you're not processing the film... just fire away.

So, if you want action pictures, you should try to find a camera with a "rapid fire" mode that will continue to capture images as long as you have the button down... then figure out which one has the fastest rapid fire mode under realistic conditions (at full resolution, batteries not fully charged, etc.).

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post #14 of 20 Old Feb 14th, 2007, 10:08 am
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+1 on the Panasonic line of cameras. I know you didn't want a DSLR, but I keep an old FZ-3 in my tankbag and it works great for those spur of the moment shots when I don't want to dig my Nikon out of the sidecase. The FZ series use a really good Leica designed lens and mine goes from 35-420MM (35 mm equivalent) at a constant F2.8. I haven't found many photo ops that I couldn't cover with that setup. The battery isn't standard, but lasts for a couple of hundred shots on a charge, the charger is barely larger than the battery, and the camera is big enough that I can get my hands around it comfortably. The latest iteration of this line of cameras is the FZ-8. Check out the review on www.dpreview.com.

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post #15 of 20 Old Feb 16th, 2007, 8:56 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all the replies.

By the way, the Lumix DMC-TZ1 is what got me thinking about the Panasonic line. It is all I want, except for the fact that is is quite bulky, bigger than what I can comfortably squeeze into my riding jacket's pocket.

Thus I looked into the smaller Lumix cameras, also nice. Almost bought one.

All of them, though, have the one big problem in my eyes: no optical viewfinder. As I tend to be ever so often in daylight (really!), I find that there is no LCD screen that I can view at full sunlight.

Pretty useless if I cannot see what I am trying to photograph.

Robert in Northern NJ

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post #16 of 20 Old Feb 16th, 2007, 10:50 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juggler
All I can say is that I would *not* get another Fuji FinePix3800 (it has since been replaced by a newer model). At the time I bought it, it was the highest rated camera by Consumer Reports.

It is slow between button-press and image-capture. I am also disappointed and frequently frustrated with the method it uses to focus. It attempts to find vertical and horizontal lines in the middle of the image and adjust the focus until those lines are sharp. .....
Ditto on that! The 3800 is what Liz and I used on our CCR 05 trip. Pain in the butt even for the pillion! We now have the Canon Digital Rebel Xti. Obviously a true SLR is bulky, but, not by much over the 3800. Point and click is so much better. Granted Liz is the one taking the pics so this may not help. If you can get an SLR the advantage is 0 lag for the shutter release (provided you are using a digital focus lens and not the older analog ones)

HTH

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post #17 of 20 Old Feb 16th, 2007, 10:58 pm
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Consider the Sony DS2 M2. 5mp, folds into a pocket, outstanding video mode.

Rode 20 passes in the Alps with it, recording videos, taking pics...

http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=11890
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post #18 of 20 Old Feb 16th, 2007, 11:37 pm
 
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We have a digitalOlympus with a "clam shell" that covers the lens when not in use; the mechanical as well as digital zoom is a very nice feature. It is rugged and proven dependable - not prone to disassemble with minor vibration. Actually we use it 5 to 1 over a more "capable" - read that more megapixel sized files - DSLR ... just because it is more convenient.

As said above ... more shots taken ... more likely to get actual "photos" rather than snap shots! Any more, it would be hard to make a bad choice on any of the well-known brands. Get one and start enjoying ...

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post #19 of 20 Old Feb 17th, 2007, 10:15 pm
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Take a look at the new Canon Power Shot A710 IS. I also wanted a view finder, image stabilizer, and a large 2.5" LCD monitor to review or show images. Also it uses 2 AA batteries. 7.1 mega, 6X optical, on the market last fall, SD card. Fits in my jacket pocket.
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post #20 of 20 Old Feb 18th, 2007, 9:36 am
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I first bought a Nikon 995 digital, then my wife bought a small Canon. I liked the Canon better! The menu structure on the Nicon was horrendous! If I wanted to change something it almost required the book to figure it out. the Canon menues are very user friendly. My daughter had a Minolta Dimage, it started giving her trouble a few months after she got it. We got her a Canon for Christmas 2 years ago, and also my other daughter got one from us at the same time. They both take a LOT of pictures, and love the Canons.

My brother had a Fuji, did not like it at all, and was going on a cruise so asked me what I thought, I told him to look at the Canon line. He did, and now he has one also. Took the Fuji as an emergency backup, never took it out of the bag.

For small, non DSR, point and shoot cameras, I don't think anyone makes better ones than Canon. The Panasonic line may be as good, but I doubt any better.

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