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Thread: Vibration effects on Photographic Equipment

  1. #1

    Question Vibration effects on Photographic Equipment

    When I started taking pictures 40 years ago, vibrations from a car was a known problems for DSRs and it was important to insulate them when possible.

    I would assume this is exasperated on the back of a Motorcycle. Interested in taking a long trip this summer with a full format camera and a large assortment of lens. But concerned about taking an expensive and large 600mm lens.

    Has anyone else experienced problems or have recommendations about packing expensive camera gear?

  2. #2
    IBA# 5819 61996's Avatar
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    I never had a problem.
    I guess a lot depends on how and where you transport them.

    Joe
    “Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.'
    The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.'

  3. #3
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    When I used to carry a good SLR and good lens, I would carry them in a tank bag with blocks of foam cut to fit the camera and lens.
    Middle of the bike in a tank bag was better than hanging on the back.
    I'm guessing the digital stuff does not care where it's carried.

    Welcome to the forum.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  4. #4
    RK Ryder
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    Carried a full digital SLR, complete with two lenses, packed in a small camera backpack.Kept it in the GIVI top box. As I recall, I was new to riding and even dropped the bike a couple of times with no ill effects.

    These days I prefer to carry a small Sony (in my chest pocket) which has a higher resolution than my digital SLRs.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders & Knights of the Roundel #333

  5. #5
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggillenwaters View Post
    Has anyone else experienced problems or have recommendations about packing expensive camera gear?
    +1 on Lee's suggestion to carry it and the lenses in the tank bag. Another elegant piece of kit that could carry the gear is a BMW Softbag 3 Small, on the pillion seat. You could drop a small, camera specific backpack, right inside. Clips on and off real easy, to four of the variety of attachment straps that come with it:

    https://www.bobsbmw.com/store/produc...mall-softbag-3

    Welcome to the Forum.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  6. #6
    Registered User Woodbutcher's Avatar
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    I've been all over the country with both consumer and pro dslr cameras and lenses. Usually they are in a normal camera bag in my luggage, but will move it into the tank bag when going through an area I know I'll use it a lot. Like Yellowstone or up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll have a layer of foam between it and the rest of the junk in the tank bag. Absolutely no issues with any of those cameras or lenses.
    Rusty
    Austin, TX
    Two Wheeled Texans
    2009 R1200GSA 2013 K1600GT

  7. #7
    Until recently I was riding a large displacement single cylinder dual sport. It was a good bike but it could shake itself off the side stand if you let it and I rode it up every forest service road and goat trail that I could find.

    I shared you concern about vibration so I consulted our local camera shop (Leos Camera Supply). They went to great length to answer my question but to paraphrase their answer - don't worry, a modern DSLR are very robust and won't be damaged by vehicle vibration. What they did express concern about was the dust.

    I carried my camera and lenses in the tail bag on top of my rotopax. I lined the bottom of the tail bag with a 5mm layer of high density foam. I also wrapped the camera equipment in an ultra-light, fabric not the thick PVC type, dry bag. The dry bag served two purposes - water protection and with practice I could change lenses inside the bag and minimize the chance of getting dust in the camera body.

    The camera equipment is still going strong after many camping trips and thousands of miles across questionable roads and trails. It also survived the occasional tip over


    https://photos.app.goo.gl/FXPHDZo5DtcKeBKi8


    https://photos.app.goo.gl/HbANSWtR5EkRgx8s5

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by davidmgordon View Post
    ... don't worry, a modern DSLR are very robust and won't be damaged by vehicle vibration.
    Thanks,

    I have not heard as much about vibration with Modern DSLRs, but as an Engineer I fail to see why it isn't just as important. The circuit boards used today are probably more vibration resistant, but the SLR is inherently a mechanical product that will be affected by vibrations. In addition, the lenses have far more wiring that can fail (I have had several friends who have lost a lens that way, cost almost as much to repair as replace).

    Dust is always an issue, but I feel that I have a better understanding about weather conditions (Rain, Harsh Sunlight, Dust, etc.) since I am frequently taking pictures in all sorts of weather (often of sports).

  9. #9
    Thanks All,

    I have a full format camera and with the standard lenses I use it would be to big for a tank bag. I have a large BMW soft bag for the passengers seat that I plan on putting a camera bag inside which will hold most of the equipment. That seems to be work fine for shoots around town, but I just wanted to confirm that nobody had issues before I started a several thousand mile trip.

    I am still waffling on whether I take the 600mm lens with me. I would love to have it (especially for wildlife photos), but I am leary of mounting a 12K lens on unless I was absolutely positive that it would not have vibration damage. I can limit but not stop the vibration with good packing, but the more insulation I add, the more space and less accessible it will become.

  10. #10
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggillenwaters View Post
    I am still waffling on whether I take the 600mm lens with me. I would love to have it (especially for wildlife photos), but I am leary of mounting a 12K lens on unless I was absolutely positive that it would not have vibration damage. I can limit but not stop the vibration with good packing, but the more insulation I add, the more space and less accessible it will become.
    If in doubt, by all means take it as you will regret missing the one photograph where that is the only lens that would really capture it.

    In '98 on a trip to England, I had a camera backpack, loaded with one of my Hassleblads, three of its' lenses and a couple of film backs. As well, included in the pack was a professional 35mm camera with a 28-105? lens and a 150-400mm lens. Since we were renting a car, a sturdy tripod was part of my equipment.

    I used the Blad for a few pics, don't think I used the 150-400mm zoom and the majority of my photos were taken with the 28-105mm lens.

    On one bike trip, this time with the digital outfit, the 17-85mm was one constant on my camera's body and I don't think I used the 100-200mm zoom.

    As the decades have passed and I have retired from professional photography, I compare myself to Ansel Adams. I make no comparison with my work to his but rather his outlook in later years. He was once asked which was his favourite camera and his reply, was whatever he could carry. As I have aged I now carry on bike trips a Sony point and shoot camera (complete with zoom of course), high definition resolution and a Zeiss lens, that fits into my riding suit's chest pocket (and I travel with a trailer hooked up to the bikes). Sometimes less photography equipment is more.

    Have a great trip and on your return, share some of your photos with us.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders & Knights of the Roundel #333

  11. #11
    drgnhtr
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    I shoot Canon

    My current bodies are a 70D and a 5DSR. My go to lenses are a 24-70 and a 100-400 zoom. I carry a 1.4 extender for a little more reach and versatility. I have abused them horribly without damage. They have spent weeks being bounced around on my GS and now my RT. They have survived jeep trips that never saw pavement and drops onto cement and asphalt that I thought would finish them and all I have ever had to deal with was cosmetic's. Modern DSLR's and lenses are damn near indestructible. That being said I also have very liberal insurance coverage just in case.

  12. #12
    Registered User Woodbutcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggillenwaters View Post
    Thanks All,

    I have a full format camera and with the standard lenses I use it would be to big for a tank bag. I have a large BMW soft bag for the passengers seat that I plan on putting a camera bag inside which will hold most of the equipment. That seems to be work fine for shoots around town, but I just wanted to confirm that nobody had issues before I started a several thousand mile trip.

    I am still waffling on whether I take the 600mm lens with me. I would love to have it (especially for wildlife photos), but I am leary of mounting a 12K lens on unless I was absolutely positive that it would not have vibration damage. I can limit but not stop the vibration with good packing, but the more insulation I add, the more space and less accessible it will become.
    Did you buy the 600mm new? How was it packed and shipped? Are you packing it that well to carry? Check with Lens Rental and ask how they ship the longs lenses they rent. If they are shipping them regularly and they are surviving UPS, FedEx and/or USPS then I'm pretty sure you can pack it as well for carrying on the bike. The risk is theft or an accident though. A lens in a car or truck is more likely to survive then on a bike. Make sure it is covered on insurance.

    And yes, a lens that expensive would make me think twice. I carry Canon L lenses regularly (24-70 f2.8 and a 100-400mm) and don't worry about it, but a lens that is worth more than all the rest of my gear...
    Rusty
    Austin, TX
    Two Wheeled Texans
    2009 R1200GSA 2013 K1600GT

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Woodbutcher View Post
    Did you buy the 600mm new? How was it packed and shipped? Are you packing it that well to carry? Check with Lens Rental and ask how they ship the longs lenses they rent.
    I bought the 600mm second hand from someone who never used it, cheaper than new, but not cheap. It came in a big honking suitcase with lots of airspace that I would never consider carrying on a bike. It isn't practical, and I normally don't even carry it in my truck, Typically put it on a padded item and seat belt it to the passenger seat.

    If I could find an appropriate sized padded lens tube it would be much better, but the lens length makes it hard to fit in any bag. I am willing to take risk for collision. If I am in a wreck, the lens is not my first concern. ;-)

    But, the vibrations still concern me for the rest of the gear as well. F800GT is better than many bikes, but it still has substantial vibrations. The D850 Camera is 3.5K, each lens is 2K+. My mandatory gear will be easily over 10K. I have considered buying a cheaper travel camera, but I don't believe that I would be happy with them. I either go with iPhone or something professional.

    But, I guess I will find out. ;-)

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