Author Topic: Photography on a fortnight's family tour - practical and tech advice?  (Read 1868 times)

We're a family who are planning a French tour this summer (third cycle tour). We've got a cheap point and shoot camera and smartphones. Both need recharging.

I'm basically asking for a total approach to recording our trip. From camera choice to storage options via battery choice/charging options. As I see it I need ideas, suggestions, solutions for the following:
  • Camera - one we'll use, good for those no longer into photography for photographic image sake and compact so it'll fit into a bike bag that's easy to access. Budget is probably not that high but I've not fixed it, depends on what I need, but likely £150 for the camera (new price, don't want secondhand if I can get away with it).
  • Battery - AA or rechargeable battery pack
  • Storage - how much is needed? What about sending images to smartphone and on to cloud storage to free up memory card? Can that be done?
  • Recharging - battery packs for phone and charging points at campsites (we've seen lock boxes you can secure phones or battery packs in to charge on the continent before). But what's best for camera? AA powered worth looking at? How many batteries for two weeks if we buy a spare?
  • Storage of camera - electronics and water aren't great bedfellows. What's a good storage option to protect camera? It needs to allow easy access or we'll probably not use it. Anything that can be used attached to the bike.
  • Anything else?

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
I've started leaving my "point and shoot" camera at home now, in favour of my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone.

1 - Snapseed photo editor makes it so simple to fine-tune images without any transferring of data

2 - The image quality is genuinely superb (no zoom...the only drawback)

3 - easy to distribute over social media.

4 - Better video than my P&S camera (I bought a cheap "Lavalier" mic from Ebay (£5) for decent audio on my videos).

So the only thing I miss is a telephoto option.  If you really decide that you want a camera as well then I'd be inclined to look for a "super zoom" lens, one that goes out to 200mm equivalent or more, because that's the one thing a phone camera really can never compete with.

Why not look at the CANON PowerShot SX620?  Price is good, zoom range is amazing.  I've no experience of it but it strikes me as a camera designed with family hols in mind and, being Canon, it won't be crap.

As for batteries I buy my extra Canon batteries from here http://www.exprodirect.com/  They've always been as good, or better, than originals but at a fraction of the price.  Not sure if you can get ones for the SX620 but I always carry 2 charged spares with me (for my Canon S120 compact).
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
+1 on missing a telephoto.  I had a camera drenched on one Audax so I stuck to water/shockproof Panasonics for years, but I'm continually frustrated by the measly zoom: "that white blob there is a stork". OTOH having one that bounces on tarmac and still works is nice.

Agree re the superzoom, but don't look for knockout image quality.  Mrs T42 has a very nice little Sony Hx90v with a 30x zoom & loves it, but I find it rather pointilliste.

Re protection on the road: put a screen protector on the LCD.  If you have a side pocket on your HB bag keep it in there to be handy but put it in a polybag if it rains, or move it into the main compartment if it won't come into contact with scratchy objects.  My Topeak HB bag is not waterproof but the main compartment has stayed dry even after 24 hours of enthusiastic Breton rain.

Re buying a decent camera at a good price: I've bought a good few cameras 2nd hand and never yet been stiffed.  I also tend to buy cameras that have been superseded, esp. if they got good reviews when they came out: what people loved in 2014 has still got to be good even if the new version makes coffee and has a special button for insulting your mother-in-law.

Tactic: go into https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-cameras-for-travel and see what they recommend, then go into their Camera Hub & look for the previous models. Read the reviews if any, then go into http://www.pbase.com/cameras, find your target camera and have a gander at what others have done with it.  DP Review may have samples but PBase almost always has lots that weren't done by experts.

OK, that all feels like work, but it's what I do when I want a new one. Happy hunting!
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Best way I've found for carrying a camera on a bike is Alpkit Stem Cell Dry. It is big enough for a reasonable compact, or small mirrorless. Easy to get the camera out as required. It is properly waterproof.

For batteries, there's hardly any decent cameras that use AAs nowadays. Best just to buy a few spare batteries, ExPro are pretty decent. Also look for something that can charge from USB, or a separate charger. That will give you most flexibility for charging on tour, you can use the same USB packs for your phone etc.

There's the bridge type cameras with AA. Brands such as nikon do a few

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
There's the bridge type cameras with AA. Brands such as nikon do a few

True, but they aren't exactly light, and some AAs die swiftly in cold weather.

Were I choosing a bike-touring camera now I'd probably go for a light superzoom job with a dedicated battery, then lay in a couple of spares. A separate charger is important, too: some cameras come without these days and need to be plugged into a USB power source for n hours, during which your camera is useless.

I'm afraid your £150 budget is looking a little thin...

ETA: oh, check out ease of one-handed operation, too, for bikeback shots.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

How did you archive the previous tours? The traditional approach was to send postcards of places visited back home. Then take some pictures to join the postcards in a scrapbook.

These days you can produce a professional-looking book.

Think what the output will be, and work back from there. You might find that the most important recording tool is a waterproof notebook and a pencil.

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
I had similar needs 18months ago and came to same conclusion - for almost everything smartphone is good enough, it's just the telephoto lens and possible low light shots I'd need a "real" compact for. Wind on to now and I think it's now just down to zoom

I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 that was reduced (end of line) but the 30x zoom is ideal. I like the stabilization too, although it does make a more grainy picture sometimes.
I was excited by the built in GPS and WiFi and Bluetooth but most of that has rusted soon after I got it due to Panasonic not updating the software.
In practice to upload photos while on the road removing the SD card and plugging into my phone is still the most reliable option

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
OK how about his....

Ebay the best Canon SX150 IS you can find from Ebay.  You can occasionally get one for circa £20 though £45 is more likely.

I used to use one because it takes AA batteries (in fact, if my son still has mine you can have it for £20 plus postage.) 

28mm-336mm Zoom.  It's a decent enough family holiday camera but it does 720p video (back when 720p was called HD).and I've managed to get some decent photos in the past so I'll vouch for it.

It's a largish pocket camera but still slides into a cycling jersey pocket OK.  The beauty of having a £20-£50 camera is that you don't mind juggling with it while you're riding along, to take photos on the move.

It doesn't have connectivity so you'd need a card-reader.

Here's one from Italy in 2013.

a Canon SX150 IS a
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Looking at Lumix prices I spotted a slightly newer but more entry level version of mine here https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/panasonic-lumix-16mp-wi-fi-camera for £130
1080P video and just 20x zoom (and a swiveling selfie display thing fwiw).  No raw image  output (which I do have enabled, but to be truthful I more often get tripped up by than actually gain the benefit of)




I use my iphone and a portable battery pack for all my hiking and touring now.  It lives in a bounce-resistant case and I've got a waterproof case if the weather changes (about a tenner off'f ebay).

The pics in good light are astonishingly good, easily as good as my panasonic micro 4/3, so unless I wanted to make big prints or crop it like crazy it's not worth the weight, space and headache of carrying a second camera.  I don't mind not having a zoom (most of the time),  and you *can* get zoom attachments for it - no idea what they're like though.

I leave it in airplane mode most of the time, it helps battery life and means I don't get phoned.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
OK how about his....

Ebay the best Canon SX150 IS you can find from Ebay.  You can occasionally get one for circa £20 though £45 is more likely.

...

That sounds good. For all that I'm not a great friend of AA-powered cameras, at that sort of price you'd be hard put to do better. And CCD sensors were still held to give better colour depth than CMOS back then. Dunno if it's true or not.

I'd suggest sticking a couple of Li-ion cells in your bag as backup. When the standard AAs croak they'll get you to the next shop, then you put them back in the bag until the next time.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Looking at the dpreview guides I find it in interesting what they view as budget. The budget category was $500 or less but most only just came in below that boundary on the amazon pages they had below. Some were above if you converted from amazon price in gbp to usd. Also a budget recommendation in one of the category guides was well over £500 iirc nearer or just over £1000!

That's partly my issue, reviewers don't really get anyone outside of their neat journalistic boxes. I'm sure I'm not the only one not an enthusiast willing to spend thousands but might become that IF I had that first, cheap way into photography that's good enough to learn a lot on. Something that's simple to use to get decent photographs but if you get into it will last until you're hooked.

You might disagree with this but I find the online and printed reviews next to useless. The expert reviewers need to start looking at what I'd call feeder cameras. Ones that will allow transition between beginner / mildly enthusiastic and enthusiastic novice (all without a big budget and probably packable too).

BTW I've had the discussion over smartphones before with my partner. She wants a simple point and shoot like our nikon red thing. I say there's not enough benefit with it over our phones. Easy for me to say I've had galaxy s2, LG g2 and Huawei phones all with decent phone cameras. She's had bricks, galaxy compact and a moto e phone. The latter has an awful video and the phone isn't very good neither. Noisy even on the screen!

Also she likes independence from phones for her camera. Difficult because our solution needs to be between a £300 half decent compact for me and a cheapo phone replacement camera. If such a thing was available for £150 we'd find it and buy it. My partner prefers new me too. Looks like we'll need to squeeze £300 or so out of our bank accounts.

Re storage:

Best way I've found for carrying a camera on a bike is Alpkit Stem Cell Dry. It is big enough for a reasonable compact, or small mirrorless. Easy to get the camera out as required. It is properly waterproof.

I'm another Stem Cell Dry user for days out.
For tours, I've taken to putting my DMC-TZ70 (phone camera not an option since it went for a swim) in a soft pouchy glasses bag thing and then into the side pocket of my bar bag.

The padded proper camera bag gets left at home, I'll probably take a spare battery and, for long trips, the charger cable and a usb plug (so I can charge from mains or battery pack).

Bar bag gets a shower cap when it rains and I try to make sure the camera goes back in the glasses bag after I've jibbled with it in the evening (had issues with cold tent and condensation once).


I'm shooting pretty high res jpg and the other sort of storage happens on a 32GB memory card. Even at my rate of snapping, this is plenty. Wifi transfer to phone happens if I want to share images or upload to Flickr or whatever. Wifi transfer properly drains the camera battery though. Sometimes I've used an On The Go cable and a USB card reader to transfer files to a tablet instead.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Looks like we'll need to squeeze £300 or so out of our bank accounts.

£300 moves you into the realm of superb cameras nowadays.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80EB is £249 at John Lewis or the TZ70 for £220.  Just examples because a budget of £300 opens up a world of very nice travel/compact cameras.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

As I kid I used to go everywhere in the countryside with my Minolta x300s SLR with Minolta zoom. Replaced the x300s older model I got nicked in freshers week. Fully insured = upgrade from cheaper aftermarket zoom lens my dad conned me out of his expensive prime lens with plus spare cash. Buy as a kit /bundle you get more for less money back then especially when you claim for each and every individual bit of kit separately. I'm half scouse!  ;)

CANON Sx620 any good? £180.

Sony hx400 £329, rx100 same price. Hx90 tenner cheaper.
Bridge, superzoom X2 in order.

Any good in terms of camera, worth the money and suitability?

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Sony hx400 £329, rx100 same price. Hx90 tenner cheaper.
Bridge, superzoom X2 in order.

Any good in terms of camera, worth the money and suitability?

I don't particularly like Bridge cameras like the Sony HX400, If it won't fit in my pocket then I'd rather have a DSLR.  For travel I like the form factor of the traditional "compact" like the RX100 or HX90.

Any £300 compact camera from the big manufacturers is likely to give superb results.  I'd compare features and see which one meets your requirements best.  USB charging is a nice to have (Canon SX730?)
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
My Lumix has usb charging HOWEVER it requires their stupid proprietary cable to do it. I'd definitely put points in favour of any manufacture using standard usb connector (even an obsolete usb mini will be easier to replace on the road than a proprietary one if/when it is lost/damaged)

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
That's partly my issue, reviewers don't really get anyone outside of their neat journalistic boxes.

At a wild guess, the way these review sites are funded will have something to do with that. Also I'm guessing it's a bit like asking a bicycle enthusist forum such as this one to be stuffed full of Tescos vs argos BSO reviews.

Quote
BTW I've had the discussion over smartphones before with my partner. She wants a simple point and shoot like our nikon red thing. I say there's not enough benefit with it over our phones. Easy for me to say I've had galaxy s2, LG g2 and Huawei phones all with decent phone cameras. She's had bricks, galaxy compact and a moto e phone. The latter has an awful video and the phone isn't very good neither. Noisy even on the screen!

This is very true. For someone that doesn't like to put down much $ on smartphones (which makes total sense, given the damage & obsolence cycle on them is so much faster) splitting phone from camera makes sense.

And for my part, here's a photo from our cycle tour in Colombia I'd struggled to get on any smartphone:




Quote
If such a thing was available for £150 we'd find it and buy it. My partner prefers new me too. Looks like we'll need to squeeze £300 or so out of our bank accounts.

How about £129?
https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/panasonic-lumix-16mp-wi-fi-camera


Coming late to this, but my thoughts...
Camera - how good are your phone cameras? I carry an ageing micro four thirds and two lenses on my bike, but I enjoy photography for the image’s sake. My phone is pretty good now, although less so in low light, and increasingly gets used for the “I was here” pictures. Also, time to get familiar with the camera feels short. Does this reduce any extra it offers in practice?
Batteries - Special chargers seem like unwelcome weight and bulk to me on the bike. But so are spare AAs. If you ignore this does the choice get made for you?
Storage - SD cards are small and light. I find I fill a largish one in 5 -7 days, if I delete some of the duff ones each evening. Cloud uploads, yes, maybe if you have WiFi and aren’t living it up with the family.
Carrying the camera - I use a bar bag with foam in it, that mostly just carries my camera, phone, wallet etc. I think some padding is a good idea for anything not marketed as an action camera. The bag is waterproofed and has a cover. Also a strap so it is the simplest thing to bring with me if I park the bike to look about.

Other things - how keen on taking pictures are the family? Does a camera each and merge the results get a different record of the trip than any single camera?

fruitcake

  • some kind of fruitcake
    • Bailey
If it were me, I'd look for something with a handgrip (however small) since I really wouldn't want to drop it. I think this rules out a phone camera. The phone is too easy to drop and too valuable to lose.

The other thing is to consider taking something that you really won't miss if it get lost, dropped or gets the sensor connections shaken to bits in a bike bag. Or gets grit in the zoom lens. This camera will have a hard life. So I'd take something that's just good enough, but inexpensive. For me this means an old camera.

So what's good enough? In my estimation, around 2006 cameras started getting good, for usable results at ISO 400, bright crisp monitors and exposure systems that worked whatever the lighting. With point and shoot cameras, Canon were a couple of years ahead of the other big manufacturers on those last two fronts. Back then, cameras offered 6MP to 8MP. This is low by modern standards, and so these cameras sell for very little. And this means you can treat them as disposable, which meets the brief for a bike tour cam.

For power, I'd look for good power consumption on the camera and a common form factor for the battery. This could mean AA batteries, or a cheaply available Li-ion battery that you can carry half a dozen of. I'd carry spare batteries rather than a charger, because in the pannier space taken up by a charger, I think you could pack enough batteries for the trip.

I might also look for a flip out screen because these can fold flat against the camera body to protect the monitor, making the camera more resilient in transit.

For storage of the jpegs, I'd just take a stack of cards for the camera, because that will be more space efficient than carrying a cable, assuming that uploading images can wait til you're home. Not uploading also saves battery.

I think a camera carried in a jersey pocket could be safer than one carried in a bag on the bike, because it will be somewhat isolated from the repeated impacts of a bike being ridden, since these bumps affect your own body less than your luggage. Alternatively a neoprene pouch would offer some impact protection to a camera in a handlebar bag.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
I think a camera carried in a jersey pocket could be safer than one carried in a bag on the bike, because it will be somewhat isolated from the repeated impacts of a bike being ridden, since these bumps affect your own body less than your luggage. Alternatively a neoprene pouch would offer some impact protection to a camera in a handlebar bag.

Flip side of that is that a jersey pocket will expose it to considerably more sweat and rain than a bag on the bike.  What's more likely to kill the camera?  Probably dropping it...
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

That's partly my issue, reviewers don't really get anyone outside of their neat journalistic boxes.

At a wild guess, the way these review sites are funded will have something to do with that. Also I'm guessing it's a bit like asking a bicycle enthusist forum such as this one to be stuffed full of Tescos vs argos BSO reviews.
More like Aldi cycling gear threads and rapha cycling gear threads. On cycling forums and the commercial one's news and reviews pages there's room for both. How many BR news bits on Aldi sales coming up have you seen. Plus forums go mad on them when the cycling sales come up. Discussing the cycliq clone to the nth degree.

You don't get that on photography sites and forums on the same way.