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  1. #1
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    OT: Digital SLR recommendations

    I know there are some really great photogs on this forum so I'm looking for a little input. I'm starting to look at digital SLRs and have found it to be on par with looking for a new bike or a new mattress; utterly bewildering. I don't need anything too fancy but don't want to sell myself short either. Any thoughts for a complete neophyte?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanruss
    I know there are some really great photogs on this forum so I'm looking for a little input. I'm starting to look at digital SLRs and have found it to be on par with looking for a new bike or a new mattress; utterly bewildering. I don't need anything too fancy but don't want to sell myself short either. Any thoughts for a complete neophyte?
    Are you looking for a camera to take on rides? I love my Canon Rebel XT (XSi is the current version), but it's big. Maybe look at something like a Canon S5 that has manual adjustments but a smaller size and cost.

    What do you have now? What are you looking for?
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  3. #3
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    Canon 40D. Fast Autofocus, 10mp, 6.5 frames per second, and dirt cheap right now. I absolutely love mine.




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    That's what I'm looking for. The kids do a ton of sports and I just want something that can take decent fast action images, but light enough I can haul around. I only have a point and shoot now, but it is really not good for much of anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lanruss
    That's what I'm looking for. The kids do a ton of sports and I just want something that can take decent fast action images, but light enough I can haul around. I only have a point and shoot now, but it is really not good for much of anything.
    Skip 18-55 kit lens. You'll want something with a better reach. I've got a Sigma 18-200 that works well for far away pictures.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  6. #6
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    Time of the month for this thread....

    ....Make sure you get a new pack too since they are big cameras!

  7. #7
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    Good job! nikon D40x

    nikon vs. canon = intense vs. turner

    in the end it probably doesn't matter so much... try before you buy.

    (debaser nailed it though– it's all in the glass)
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotdirt
    nikon vs. canon = intense vs. turner

    in the end it probably doesn't matter so much... try before you buy.

    (debaser nailed it though– it's all in the glass)
    $.02
    Yup - my wife picked the Nikon based on ergonomics.

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    Sounds alot like my last matress purchase. Way too many choices.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, Nikon and Canon are both equally good. I just happen to have bought Canon. I've been extremely happy with them so far. If you're just starting out, I would recommend picking up an 18-200IS lens. Good all around lens. You'll figure out what else you want from there.

  11. #11
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    Go for either Nikon or Canon entry level SLRs. You will be just fine to start either way. I personally shoot with Nikon, but as others have said it is total personal preference.

    I started with a Nikon D40x which worked out great and still makes a great backup or trail camera since it is small. Nowadays I would venture to say check out the D60 if you look at Nikon. Good luck and have fun!

  12. #12
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    hitek79 - kick ass pics!
    OP: I'm definitely an amateur - one step up from point-n-shoot. Have a Nikon D60 and only hope to be able to someday use it to its potential. As a newb trying to get into photography (lots of kids' athletics/monkey business shots) it's a cool camera. Also, don't know about Cannon, but the Nikor IS lenses have helped me with reducing blur/motion artifact with action shots.
    “Me fail english? Thats unpossible.” - Matt Groening

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    This is just my opinion of course, but if budget is a concern, I would still buy a used 40D over a D60 just because of the autofocus. Same goes for the Canon equivalent which I think is the Xsi now. If you're shooting something moving, or in low light, you'll be glad you have the improved autofocus.

    Thanks for the compliment Jake. I'm mainly into landscape stuff, but I can't wait to get some photography out on the trails this summer. Action photography can really be fun.

  14. #14
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    Good stuff.



    But the question is not about the camera....it's about the lighting and timing and opportinity?

    I think this photo demonstrates that it doesn't matter what camera you have (this is 512x768 pixels reduced). Choice of camera and dollars cannot replace the photographers eye.

  15. #15
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    Agreed, but I started out with a Canon XT and quickly outgrew it. Something like a 40D or D200 from Nikon will have very few limitations. When I bought my XT it cost $1100 and the step up was the 20D at the time with a price of $1500. Considering the 40D or D200 can be had for $700, they are an absolute steal.

  16. #16
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    Go for the Nikon D90. 12mp, many of the features of the D300, but much cheaper.

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    Pentax

    I have a Pentax K100. Only 6 mp, bought it over a year ago. It is not as expensive as the Nikon or Canon. I don't have a photographer's eye tho, I take action pics of my kid playing soccer. I tried to upload but the pics are too big--is there an easy way to resize photos? Why can't mtbr.com do it automatically?

  18. #18
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    If you're on a budget but just want to get started

    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  19. #19
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    I have found http://dpreview.com/ to be a good resource when buying photo equipment.

  20. #20
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    This site is under construction right now but they have a package for a Nikon D80 and two lenses for like 550 or 600. That's a killer deal and one that I'm looking to upgrade to from my Canon 10D.

    http://www.1wayphoto.com

  21. #21
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    Oh and also go check out the dgrin forums --> www.dgrin.com

    It is a great photo forum for all things equipment, exposure, lighting, etc. Any questions you have there will be answered by some very knowledgeable folks. They have helped me out big time!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by feltbee
    This site is under construction right now but they have a package for a Nikon D80 and two lenses for like 550 or 600. That's a killer deal and one that I'm looking to upgrade to from my Canon 10D.

    http://www.1wayphoto.com

    There's a reason it's such a killer deal. Basically you get killed in the deal.

    http://www.resellerratings.com/store/1_Way_Photo

    If you plan on buying new, B&H usually has the best legitimate prices. Customer service is outstanding.

    The downside to a D40 is only 3 autofocus points, and you have to buy motor driven lens. The camera doesn't drive the autofocus.

  23. #23
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    Wow! Thanks for the heads up on that hitek79!

    I've used B&H before to get some photo paper when I took a black and white photo class back in college.

  24. #24
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    ...

    Check out the Canon G9 or G10 (G9 is better if you can find one)
    The G10 is more capable than all other p/s and a heck of lot easier to carry around than a SLR. It has full manual capabilities and enough for a great shot while out on the ride. If your composing your shots and setting up your strobes before your buddies get down the trail then the D200 is the best camera on the budget (600 at BestBuy online) and get the best lenses you can afford. The Tamrac Aero 85 is an awsome pack for riding it's narrow and you can put your bladder in the laptop compartment. It also has super easy side access to get the camera out. But if you want to just take cool riding shots and print them or post them; the G10 is the way to go.


    Both of those were taken with the G10 first time out this winter. 1st one is PS enhanced from RAW file and second one is Auto settings no PS.
    Have fun with what ever you go with...
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  25. #25
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    Hitek is right. Stay away from those NY deals. They are bait and switch gigs.

    They try to sell you overpriced memory and stuff (1 GB memory for $150). If you do it, you wind up paying too much. If not, and you are lucky, they will tell you it's out of stock so you can go somewhere else. Otherwise, they dick you around for weeks, charging your card but not delivering. If you cancel, they want a restock fee. ....the list goes on.

    I did some research on a couple of companies and found they even had the exact same address (which was hard to find BTW). These bozos run several businesses from the same building in Brooklyn it seems.

    Stick with B&H, Canoga, Adorama or Amazon. You will get the best deal.

  26. #26
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    http://www.amazon.com/CamelBak-Octan.../dp/B0019DA9GC

    This is the bag I carry my gear in when I ride. Lots of ways to cinch it tight.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    Hitek is right. Stay away from those NY deals. They are bait and switch gigs.

    I did some research on a couple of companies and found they even had the exact same address (which was hard to find BTW). These bozos run several businesses from the same
    http://donwiss.com/pictures/brooklynstores/

    Buy a dSLR, chuck it in your camelbak, and make some photos while riding.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitek79
    There's a reason it's such a killer deal. Basically you get killed in the deal.

    http://www.resellerratings.com/store/1_Way_Photo

    If you plan on buying new, B&H usually has the best legitimate prices. Customer service is outstanding.

    The downside to a D40 is only 3 autofocus points, and you have to buy motor driven lens. The camera doesn't drive the autofocus.
    Saying the D40's three focus points are a "downside" is just opinion, not fact. Saying you have to buy motor driven lenses is not a "downside"...if the OP is just starting out he doesn't have any legacy lenses hanging around that he wouldn't be able to use, he'd only buy modern lenses that work on the D40. I've got the refurbished D40 from Adorama with the 18-55 kit lens and I added a 55-200 VR lens later.

    I'm no dSLR expert but I love my D40 and posting what you said sounds like scare tactics to steer him away from it. I trust Ken Rockwell to voice a reasoned opinion, he likes the D40 and there are tons of comments on DPReview that are favorable to the D40.

    When I was researching what to buy for my first dSLR I was amazed at the opinions that varied wildly from positive to negative on any piece of camera equipment. If the OP is on a budget, the D40 is a great starter dSLR. If he has more money...or even a helluva lot more money...sure there are choices that "do more". You gotta start somewhere.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanruss
    That's what I'm looking for. The kids do a ton of sports and I just want something that can take decent fast action images, but light enough I can haul around.
    I'm basing my recommendation on this statement by the OP. For this application the D200 or 40D will blow the D40 out of the water. And again, for the price point, those are definitely a sweet spot.

  30. #30
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    I was recently in the same situation as the OP and went with the Nikon D90. I learned my lesson long ago (MTB) about buying in at the "good price" level and then quickly outgrowing the initial purchase and needing to upgrade.The only downside I've encountered is the cost of additional lenses. With Nikon and Cannon you have to buy lenses with the image stabilization if you want it. SONY has the stabilizer in the body so lenses are a little less. overall, I've got no regrets with the D90 and it also shoots HD video.

  31. #31
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    I've been having really good luck with my Fuji Camera.

    I think the simplicity in it's operation can't be matched. And, as you can see, the image quality is very unique and exudes qualities that I've not ever seen in DSLR's. The color rendering, the definition of detail. Unparalleled.

    I don't know why you guys mess with those big, bulky electronic things.
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  32. #32
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    Get something that you can actually take with you and is accessible. DSLRs are a big commitment and putting them in your backpack does not make it convenient. A picture opportunity may be gone by the time you whip the pack off and pop off the lens cap.

    DSLRs and pro glass definitely will give the best quality hands down. There are some good point an shoots out there that come close: Canon G9/G10, Panasonic Lumix LX3. If you go with a DSLR, get a Lowpro Top Load Zoom case with a chest strap. It's like a holster. I keep the lens cap off and the camera in standby mode. It takes about 2-3 seconds from stopping the bike to be ready to snap the first shot.

    Almost all of the consumer DSLRs will give you incredible images. Personally, I use an Olympus E-510 with a 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 (28-108mm equivalent for 35mm full frame) lens. Olympus bodies and lens combos are more compact than other brands when you compare equivalent focal lengths and lens speed. In general the faster (lower f number) large aperture lenses are bigger and heavier, but will give the best results and usability.

    But, like I said, DSLRs are a big commitment and for most rides, I just carry a small point and shoot strapped to my camelback chest strap. It's slower and doesn't produce the best images, but is almost no effort to carry.

    -Chuck

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by S-Works
    I've been having really good luck with my Fuji Camera.

    I think the simplicity in it's operation can't be matched. And, as you can see, the image quality is very unique and exudes qualities that I've not ever seen in DSLR's. The color rendering, the definition of detail. Unparalleled.

    I don't know why you guys mess with those big, bulky electronic things.
    Nice! Did you find that camera in the backseat of that car?
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    Get something that you can actually take with you and is accessible. DSLRs are a big commitment and putting them in your backpack does not make it convenient. A picture opportunity may be gone by the time you whip the pack off and pop off the lens cap.



    I just carry a small point and shoot strapped to my camelback chest strap. It's slower and doesn't produce the best images, but is almost no effort to carry.

    -Chuck
    I find that the DSLR carried on the chest is actually much easier and faster to bring to bear than the point and shoot attached to a camelbak strap.

    Just sayin'.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debaser
    Nice! Did you find that camera in the backseat of that car?

    Uh, No. But I did find enough change in the backseat to buy it
    Astigmatic Visionary

  36. #36
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    Love the selective editing. I guess this means you agree with me?

    "If you go with a DSLR, get a Lowpro Top Load Zoom case with a chest strap. It's like a holster. I keep the lens cap off and the camera in standby mode. It takes about 2-3 seconds from stopping the bike to be ready to snap the first shot."

    -Chuck

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonys
    I find that the DSLR carried on the chest is actually much easier and faster to bring to bear than the point and shoot attached to a camelbak strap.

    Just sayin'.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    Love the selective editing. I guess this means you agree with me?

    I was just trying to get you to agree with yourself!

    I think a good question for the original poster is this:

    Are you a photographer that wants to take pictures of mountain biking? Or a mountain biker that wants to take pictures?

    Put a different way: What do you want to do with these images?

    A DSLR will give you the most flexibility, and will provide the highest possible level of images. But they also represent a somewhat slippery slope of addiction and upgrade. In a week I go into the Maze district of Canyonlands to do a weeklong photoshoot. Aside from the 1Ds strapped to my chest, I will have a suite of lenses, a spare body, many batteries, portable hard drive...and a Powershot g9.

    As mentioned by others, the G series is a fantastic compromise between a point and shoot and a DSLR. And depending on your aspirations, it may well be all of the camera you need. And if you do get bit hard by the photography bug, it will still be a good thing to have in the bag.
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  38. #38
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    I also have kids in sports and bought my D40 mainly for that purpose. The best thing about my camera is the 300mm VR (vibration reduction) lens. I can get great close-up action shots of my 7 year old soccer star from almost anywhere on the field. I think I paid $950 for the package at Costco (this was December 07). Costco is a great place to buy camera gear if you can find what you want (selection is limited).

    I agree that you can't go wrong with Nikon or Canon.

  39. #39
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    I just looked at your website. You got some good shots there.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonys
    http://www.anthonysloan.com

  40. #40
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    I'll second the Nikon D90, I have one, and I love it!
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  41. #41
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    Like others have said I recently picked up a G10 and it really is a great camera. At some point I will probably upgrade to a DSLR, but I was able to pick up a G10 a couple months ago for $400. I have printed and blown up some pictures already and the quality is really nice.

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    Final question(s). Is optical stabilization really necessary for the 18-200 lens (Sigma)? While I occasionally suffer from shortterm DTs, I could lay off prior to high zoom days if need be. I'm really liking the 40D from what I've seen and read. Another presumably stupid question... can you email a jpg or raw image from a 10 MP camera?

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    Image stabilization (IS) is only effective if you're taking hand held pictures of objects that are mostly still and when using slow shutter speeds. It will not prevent the blur of a bike moving. You'll need higher shutter speeds to freeze any motion. That's why you need a large aperture "fast" lens (f2.8) and/or high ISO capability. Fast lenses cost a lot more and usually are not part of a "kit" package. You may be pushing the ISO to 400 or 800 to get high enough shutter speeds in the shade of trees while using a f3.5-6.0 lens.

    You can use blur to convey a sense of speed by panning the camera with the subject. Some IS systems have 2 or more modes. Full horizontal and vertical IS mode is for general use and should not be used to shoot action. Vertical IS only mode is great for taking those panning shots where the subject is in focus/not blurred while the background is blurred from moving the camera in sync with the subject. Some cameras have IS built into the bodies and will stabilize any lens that is mounted.

    If you're doing action photography, IS isn't going to be very beneficial with the high shutter speeds. It could be very useful with long focal lengths and/or slow shutter speeds. If you're buying Canon or Nikon, save your money on the IS and try to get a faster lens. Usually the lens will be higher quality and will be noticeable in the images you capture.

    -Chuck

    Quote Originally Posted by lanruss
    Final question(s). Is optical stabilization really necessary for the 18-200 lens (Sigma)? While I occasionally suffer from shortterm DTs, I could lay off prior to high zoom days if need be. I'm really liking the 40D from what I've seen and read. Another presumably stupid question... can you email a jpg or raw image from a 10 MP camera?

  44. #44
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    You could email a 10mp image, but it would be a nightmare for whoever you sent it to. Just download Picasa though, and e-mail through there. It's free, it's awesome, and it will do exactly what you're looking for.

  45. #45
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    One from Slickrock

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink
    Olympus E-510
    14-54mm f2.8-3.5 lens (2x crop ratio, 28-108mm equivalent for 35mm film camera)
    Aperture set at f8 for depth of field

    This is straight .jpg out of the camera with no in-camera noise reduction and no post processing at all. It's a 10MP pic, but only 2.8 MB due to compression. Raw would be about 11MB. The Picasa view doesn't do it justice. It seems washed out to me. Download it and blow up to full size. Notice the detail in the arches and the rider close up. Check her socks.

    -Chuck

    Quote Originally Posted by lanruss
    Final question(s). Is optical stabilization really necessary for the 18-200 lens (Sigma)? While I occasionally suffer from shortterm DTs, I could lay off prior to high zoom days if need be. I'm really liking the 40D from what I've seen and read. Another presumably stupid question... can you email a jpg or raw image from a 10 MP camera?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    What a timely thread... I'm going out to Utah for some riding and have been researching ways to carry my Nikon D80. Looked at that link, that's a ridiculously good price for a D40, actually considered getting that to bring to Utah and then be a backup body instead.

    But, I'll probably stick with the D80 and a light lens, in a bag mounted to my chest via camelbak straps.

  47. #47
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    I carry a Nikon D40x in a camera bag stapped to my chest. One strap around the neck and one around the waist. If I make sure the neck strap is adjusted right so the my knees don't hit the camera I hardly notice it being there. I used to keep it in a backpack and it got to be too much trouble to access, especially on group rides where I slowed everyone down when I stopped to take a shot.

    By the way Anthonys; my family and I traveled to both Cambodia and Chile in 07/08. You have some amazing stuff on your website. Thanks for puttin' that out there.

  48. #48
    cmh
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSIDE
    I carry a Nikon D40x in a camera bag stapped to my chest. One strap around the neck and one around the waist. If I make sure the neck strap is adjusted right so the my knees don't hit the camera I hardly notice it being there. I used to keep it in a backpack and it got to be too much trouble to access, especially on group rides where I slowed everyone down when I stopped to take a shot.
    One around the neck and one around the waist, huh? I will have to try that, hadn't thought of that. Today I tested carabiners using the camelbak shoulder straps at the top and the waist strap at the bottom. Seemed okay but not tight against my chest -- might move around when I ride. Thanks for the idea about the neck/waist, I'll have to try that as well.

  49. #49
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    Lowepro Top Load Zoom 1 w/Harness

    IMHO, this is the only way to go. It is so fast getting your camera in and out. Good protection and will keep the dust of your camera. You can get the bag at REI. I ordered my harness on-line.

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/...m-1,2051,8.htm

    -Chuck

    Quote Originally Posted by cmh
    One around the neck and one around the waist, huh? I will have to try that, hadn't thought of that. Today I tested carabiners using the camelbak shoulder straps at the top and the waist strap at the bottom. Seemed okay but not tight against my chest -- might move around when I ride. Thanks for the idea about the neck/waist, I'll have to try that as well.

  50. #50
    cmh
    cmh is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    IMHO, this is the only way to go. It is so fast getting your camera in and out. Good protection and will keep the dust of your camera. You can get the bag at REI. I ordered my harness on-line.

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/...m-1,2051,8.htm
    Well, luckily for me, I don't have that bag, but my M-Rock Yellowstone 511 top loader is almost exactly the same design! Local camera shop had it, just happens to be what I got at the time, without mtb use in mind!

    Fits the D80 with the small, light 28-80 f/3.3-5.6 lens with quite a bit of room, or if I get daring, I can fit the D80 with the big 18-200 VR lens. Don't know if I'll want to risk that one, though. We'll see.

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