Camera Hauling

Camera Hauler
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I frequently haul around camera equipment on my bike. It can be a little nerve-wracking, but I’ve been lucky enough to not have any major mishaps (knock on wood).

My main DSLR kit includes 2 camera bodies, 4 lenses, and various accessories. Depending upon what I’m doing, I’ll either grab my main body and a lens or two to bring along in a smaller Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home shoulder bag, or I’ll take the entire kit in a Tamrac 5374 backpack. The Crumpler is convenient for quick lens changes on the go, but the Tamrac has more capacity and is much better for carrying around off of the bike. If I’m traveling ultra-light and shooting on the go, I’ll actually carry the camera and lens on my back with the strap slung messenger style. I’m not recommending you do this, but it works pretty well for me when I’m shooting on the move.

My preferred bike for carrying my full kit is the Civia Loring shown above. The front rack is the perfect size for swallowing up a good sized camera bag. With its double-legged centerstand, self-centering front fork, and flatbed rack, the Loring makes a great working platform for changing lenses, fussing with lighting accessories, and even reviewing shots on a laptop. It’s my portable photography studio and workstation.

I don’t carry any of this stuff on my daily commute. For that, I carry a compact camera (Canon G10) in a little Crumpler 1 Million Dollar Home slung over my shoulder messenger style. That camera is with me anytime I’m on the bike but not specifically out to shoot photos for an article. Most of the early morning and late evening shots you see on the blog were captured with the little camera. Because I often use the G10 in low light with long exposures, I use my camera bag, gloves, a shoe, a nearby stump, or whatever, as a tripod to hold the camera steady. Sometimes low-tech gets the job done!

19 Responses to “Camera Hauling”

  • ksteinhoff says:

    Like you, I carry cameras on my Surly LHT. My Arkel small handlebar bag does a good job of smoothing out most bumps when the cameras aren’t being used. It’s just the right size to hold my Nikon D40 and a Canon FS100 video camera. I throw my rolled-up Campmor rain cape in there to keep the cameras from bouncing against each other.

    Here are some mounting solutions I’ve come up with:

    For mounting a camera to the bars:
    http://www.palmbeachbiketours.com/camera-mount-for-a-surly-long-haul-trucker/

    Here’s how I mounted a rear-facing camera on my rack:
    http://www.palmbeachbiketours.com/rear-video-camera-mount-for-freakbike-ride/

  • Mark Allen G Garzon says:

    I love your suggestion of using a smaller full featured camera for daily trips. Commuting back and forth from work (15 mi total) can be a chore with the full SLR setup and lenses. Didn’t think that a compact camera would be a good substitute, but from your great photographs, this looks like a terrific solution! Thanks.

  • AdrianQ says:

    The ThinkTank Sling-o-matic 10 is another excellent, bike-friendly. (Also very back friendly; it’s a convertible sling so you can switch shoulders.) Holds a surprisingly large amount of stuff and–most importantly for bikes–is long and narrow so it’s a very good shape match to a rear rack. Also comes with a rain cover, which is useful up here in Seattle.

  • Alan says:

    @ksteinhoff

    Cool mounts. I tries various handlebar and seat mounts when I was doing recumbent videos and had the same issues with vibration. I ended up using mostly a handheld technique.

    Thanks for sharing… :-)

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Mark Allen G Garzon

    I’m very happy with my G10. It’s not known as a good low light performer, but I leave it at ISO 80 nearly all of the time so it’s not an issue. Like I mentioned above, I prop up the camera on whatever is nearby, then use the 2 sec. timer to trigger the shot. Works like a charm and keeps the images nice and noise-free.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @AdrianQ

    That’s a very nice looking bag (love ThinkTank). It looks like a great option for those who don’t have a porteur rack and need to strap a camera bag to a rear rack top.

    Alan

  • Richard Masoner says:

    Like you, quick carry on my back “messenger style” if I just have a camera. For everyday stuff anymore, I just use a P&S or even my phone camera. Much easier to use.

    Here’s my craziest on bike photo rig by far.

    I’m having real difficulty reading your current CAPTCHA thing.

  • New Bike » Cyclelicious says:

    [...] all know Alan’s excellent bike photography at EcoVelo. He reveals how he carries his photo gear while [...]

  • Alan says:

    @Richard

    That’s quite a rig. Love the duct tape… :-)

    Sorry about the Captcha form – I like the idea in theory, though it’s a bit much in practice. I may change it out at some point.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • James T. says:

    Clad to hear that you like your G10. That camera has been on my wish list for a long time. I don’t carry my DSLR around regularly, so something like that would be perfect to keep in my bag. It would give me much more control than the the little Canon PowerShot that I usually have on me.

  • Mike says:

    I’m racking my brain to figure out weather I want to replace my Nikon D40 with a compact camera (Panasonic LX5 or Olympus XC-1) or a mirrorless ILC camera, with the intent of carrying it regularly on my bike. Basically, I want a camera that will fit into a very small saddle/handlebar bag like my Carradice Zipped Roll.

    As someone interested in urban design/bicycle transportation, I want to be able to document things on my daily commute.

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    A high-quality compact camera like an LX5 is a nice addition to a kit; it doesn’t necessarily need to be a replacement for an SLR. There are times when I really appreciate the creative flexibility of an SLR, while at other times I appreciate the portability of a compact. I say, have both if your budget allows! :-)

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Mike says:

    I’m a huge fan of my LX5. The camera works extremely well, and after having owned it for about half a year I no longer even see a need for an SLR unless you just need that big zoom.

  • tim early says:

    greeting alan,

    just a quick question about the crumpler 1 million bag. i was wondering if you could give some input on choosing the correct size. since there are no shops in my area that i can’t see the bag in person so i thought i would get your opinion. i use a canon G11 for and a nikon d80. is there enough space in the small bag for you G10 and the charger? any room for wallet, keys etc.? i was considering the 2 million bag for more space and maybe even carrying the nikon slr when i leave the G11 at home but i don’t want something too large or bulky on the bike. not really a short question now was it? any info would be great.

    thanks,
    tim

  • Jay says:

    I have a “prosumer” Olympus C-5060 wide zoom, and it’s fantastic. I’ve had it for over 6 years, and it is so ruggedly built (the body is mainly magnesium) that it looks absolutely brand new, after tens of thousands of photos and quite a bit of travel. It’s from before the days of image stabilization, so I had to learn to perch it on any flat surface I could find for longer shutter speeds. It has a flip out swivel LCD, and if you flip that back, it actually serves as a third leg that you can tip the camera back and rest on, serving as a tripod of sorts.

    My girlfriend recently got a Canon S90 – amazing camera. Beautiful picture quality, full manual, and that super bright 2.0 lens is great! Makes me carry around my trusty C5060 a lot less, unfortunately.

    Small bags work well for us, or usually just putting them right into the backpack. I used to be super protective of the camera with an M-Rock bag (one of the best out there, in my opinion), but it was pretty bulky if I’m going to be carrying a backpack too.

    As I’ve said before, it all goes into a backpack and into my back basket – easy!

  • Alan says:

    @Tim

    “just a quick question about the crumpler 1 million bag.”

    Hi Tim,

    The 1MDH holds the G10 with a little room to spare, but not much. I carry the camera, a couple of memory cards, and a USB cable. You can probably squeeze in a charger or a wallet (but not both), but just barely. It’s definitely too small for your DSLR.

    I hope that helps!
    Alan

  • Mike says:

    Alan,

    Thank you for the suggestion! I agree that having both is ideal, but being in graduate school for said urban design/planning interest are pinching the purse strings (and making bikes and cameras duke it out for what money I do have).

    Having said that, I’m not sure that I’ll every buy another traditional SLR again. My photographic interests revolve around my lifestyle habits – mainly outdoor activities, bars, cities and, of course, cycling – and I place a high value on size. The new mirrorless cameras, I think, are a pretty good compromise on size and image quality. Funny, but I took the Olympus 5060Z on a 150 mile hike across England a few years ago. It was a cool camera, but the new “prosumers” are pretty incredible too. Decisions!

  • Alan says:

    Mike,

    My little experience with the Micro 4/3 format led me to the conclusion that they’re almost as difficult to carry around as a prosumer DSLR, but with slightly reduced image quality and ability to control DOF. I’m sure others will disagree. It’s always a trade-off… LOL.

    For a tiny carry-around camera, I’m impressed with the Canon S95. A friend has been making some incredible images with his, and the tiny size is just amazing. If I didn’t already have my G10 I’d be looking at that camera.

    Alan

  • tim early says:

    alan,

    sure does. i think i’m leaning towards the 2 million bag. a little bit bigger might be more useful for me. don’t know if it will fit my DSLR but should be perfect for the G11 and other small items.

    thanks again,

    tim

 
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