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  1. #1
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    How to protect a DSLR on the trail ?

    Hi Everyone

    I have a high end camera that takes beautiful pics that I would love to take on my bike on the trails, but the idea of killing it in a crash is keeping me from doing that. My budget is tight right now and I couldn't replace it any time soon if i broke it. ( It's the only one I have. )

    If anyone has any budget or DIY solutions that would be great, if not whatever suggestions you have would be appreciated.


    Thanks,

    Ted
    I'd rather be riding than healing, body armor is your friend !

  2. #2
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    I don't know myself, but have you asked in the Video & Helmet Cams section. From looking through that section before, there are some serious photo and video guys that might have some really good tips that may not see this post in the General Discussion. Just a suggestion.

  3. #3
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    Dude !

    I didn't even know there was such a forum.... Thanks
    I'd rather be riding than healing, body armor is your friend !

  4. #4
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    If focal length factor is not an issue (with smaller CMOS's) then I would recommended going out and buying a comparable version of it in a cheap body that is disposable.

    For example, I shoot with a EOS 1DmkII. If I was going somewhere where I didnt want to risk it I would buy a EOS Rebel, body only. Loosing $500.00 is A Lot easier than loosing $5000.00.

    Of course you still have to protect your glass, I would look into Pelican Hard cases for those. Pelican Hard cases a lot of them are shock proof, water proof, ballistic cases.
    I HATE WORK, WORK IS BAD, WORK = NO BIKE, NO BIKE = NO GOOD.

  5. #5
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    I once took my school newspaper's camera up to the top of the mountain for some good shots. I just slung it across my shoulders and tightened the strap, it didn't move at all. Of course, I would never do that again, it's an expensive camera. I didn't even bring the case, just the camera. Don't tell anyone though.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

  6. #6
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    You can get a 12 mega pix point and shoot camera ,with descent zoom capabilities. that is another option

  7. #7
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    A small foam-padded Pelican case would be a very safe solution, if your pack is big enough and you're willing to sacrifice ease of access.

  8. #8
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    Leave it in your car, and pick up an inexpensive 10-12 mega pixel point and shoot. You can get one for around $100.

    I use an older camera like this for the trail. Its not like I'm doing portraits.

  9. #9
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    I just wonder if anyone has ever damaged a camera on the trail? I have, but in my case it fell out of my jersey pocket onto slickrock when I pulled something else out of the pocket. I still put my camera in my jersey pocket at times, or in my cargo shorts pocket, so that I have quick access to it. I also use a small seatpost bag at times for a P&S, sometimes a dslr in my Camelback. I don't think camera damage is a real big problem unless you drop it on rock, but you could always bolt a Pelican case to a rear rack (jk). Just start taking pictures and don't worry about the camera.
    I ride with the best people.




  10. #10
    dru
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    About 15 years ago whe I was new to the sport and photography I flew down the side of an earthen dam with my Nikon FG in a fanny pack. I didn't see a whoop in the trail until I was on it and endoed at around 25 mph. The camera body was busted to hell and bruised the small of my back so badly that I was crawling around on the ground for a good ten minutes before I got up.

    Ouch!
    occasional cyclist

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru
    About 15 years ago whe I was new to the sport and photography I flew down the side of an earthen dam with my Nikon FG in a fanny pack. I didn't see a whoop in the trail until I was on it and endoed at around 25 mph. The camera body was busted to hell and bruised the small of my back so badly that I was crawling around on the ground for a good ten minutes before I got up.

    Ouch!

    Yeah, I hear ya

    I am starting to think about going the cheap point and shoot route route instead.

    Or I may even go really cheap and get one of those keychain video cameras that you can tape to your helmet and then I would have video to watch after the ride
    I'd rather be riding than healing, body armor is your friend !

  12. #12
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    I use a 50D, usually with my Canon 15-85mm lens attached... not a light setup by any means. When I take it riding with me, all I usually do is wrap it in a long-sleeved shirt and put it in my backpack. If I do ever fall (which, knock on wood, I haven't lately), I probably won't land on my back.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I use a 50D, usually with my Canon 15-85mm lens attached...
    You either have a big wallet or a big sack, I have a 40D and I can't even imagine how sick I'd feel if I were to bust it on a mountain, but I bet you get great pics!

  14. #14
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    I have an Olympus SP-565UZ camera


    I carry it with my Clik chest pack


    Here are some Google images
    clik elite - Google Search

    And the official site
    Products | Clik Elite

  15. #15
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    I sold my d300s awhile ago but I had the national geographic NG-5737. Worked great.



    It isn't as big as it looks though. This one isn't cheap, something like 150 when I got it but it really is worth it, padded everything and it looks awesome. You might want to look for a used lowepro on craigslist, I'm sure you can find one with great padding for like $50 or even less.
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

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  16. #16
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    Carry a 50D for shooting races myself, I have a Tamrac backpack that is camera specific and holds everything nice and tight, its not very cheap though. I have just recently picked up a slightly used Clik pack that I like better for half the price of the other one. Have also used a large waist pack with a home made foam insert before that worked pretty well.
    Check the larger/older camera stores as most of them will sell used gear or watch Craigslist, some good deals on there.

    Mounting a bag to the bike is never a good idea, the camera has to absorb all the vibration and bumps of the bike, even if itís a hard case. While in a pack on your back your legs and arms absorb all that.

  17. #17
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    there is a clic bag available with a bladder, not sure what model it is but it is under their adventure line. It holds a standard body and larger lenses, with the camera accessible from an outside pocket.

    I think the best advice I have is to ride carefully. I keep my camera in a camelback hawg in the outside helmet holder but within a Lowe Camera bag. The hawg is reasonably cheap (especially on clear out or chainlove etc) compared to dedicated camera bags and I already have a lowe bag for storage at home. It makes it easily accessible but well restrained. My biggest concern with my camera is not some much the camera itself but impacting the ground such that it breaks my ribs or shoulder blades hence the ride carefully.

    I ride at around 75% when I carry my camera (T1i) instead of 95% like I would normally. I will walk any section that looks like it will cause a stall and slow way down on chop.

    Ultimately nothing will protect you camera in a big enough crash so try to avoid that situation.
    Try this: HTFU

  18. #18
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    Buy a warranty. When I bought my camera I didn't even think about the warranty than the lady said these magic words "accident protection program" I immediately interrupted her and asked what that was. Basically if I drop it and it breaks I get a new one no questions asked. I even sat there for like 20mins reading the fine print so I could make sure that's what is all about, I was sold. Yeah it would suck for it to break but knowing that it would get repaired or replaced eases my mind when I bring it out for filming or pictures.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAntiSpoke View Post
    You either have a big wallet or a big sack, I have a 40D and I can't even imagine how sick I'd feel if I were to bust it on a mountain, but I bet you get great pics!
    Yeah, I don't take it out that frequently, but when I do I'm obviously very careful. I do the same thing when I'm skiing, except I put it into a small top-load bag first before putting that into my backpack.

    I guess I just try not to think about the consequences.

  20. #20
    Huckin' trails
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    You could also get a nice little interchangeable lens contact camera, like the Olympus Pen or the Sony Nex... Great captor size and nice lens get you some awesome pics and even with high contrast of the forest with the low light created by the tree's shadow.

    Otherwise, I have a Nikon D7000 with a 18-105 and 70-300, but when I go fishing, biking or whatever, I bring my trusty Coolpix L18 that got me some of my most awesome aventure shots at 8Mp with 3x optic zoom and and nice 3 inch display and easy to operate... Back in 2008, it costed me $135 but now it's like the L24 can sell for less then $100, but I still prefer the L18 over the new ones (L20, L22, L24). And it's RED ! and chicks love cool guys with red cameras

    But if I could get someone to walk by me all day long to carry my D7000, I would use it crazy... Over super uber nice pics from Nikon, from their sensor too... Lesson is the only expensive thing allow on trails is your damn bike. Else are subject to normal wear and tear from anything the trail could throw at them.

    Happy riding

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  21. #21
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    I'll second this. I bought one when I finally got a real camera. Covers everything as long as the camera is not burned and you still have it (i.e. theft not covered). For a hundred bucks a year its well worth the piece of mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by savagenative View Post
    Buy a warranty. When I bought my camera I didn't even think about the warranty than the lady said these magic words "accident protection program" I immediately interrupted her and asked what that was. Basically if I drop it and it breaks I get a new one no questions asked.

  22. #22
    Huckin' trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagenative View Post
    Buy a warranty. When I bought my camera I didn't even think about the warranty than the lady said these magic words "accident protection program" I immediately interrupted her and asked what that was. Basically if I drop it and it breaks I get a new one no questions asked.
    Is this warranty also available for my bike ?
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  23. #23
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    You can also get insurance on your gear. This will allow better coverage than a warranty.

    Although Pelican hardcases are great, they can become a PITA to carry on a bike on a trail. I prefer a backpack. I use a Crumpler Karachi Outpost myself, when I go to trails. But it's rather large. If you plan to bring your bike and camera bike on rain or shine, then look for a backpack with a raincover. Depending how much or how big your gear is, I would avoid doing any extreme DH or XC while on your back.
    - Ed

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagenative View Post
    Buy a warranty. When I bought my camera I didn't even think about the warranty than the lady said these magic words "accident protection program" I immediately interrupted her and asked what that was. Basically if I drop it and it breaks I get a new one no questions asked. I even sat there for like 20mins reading the fine print so I could make sure that's what is all about, I was sold. Yeah it would suck for it to break but knowing that it would get repaired or replaced eases my mind when I bring it out for filming or pictures.
    Its funny how it never turns out that way when it does happen. I had a friend who insured his new 300mm 2.8, dropped it where it started to make a noise everytime it zoomed in and out and the insurance wouldn't come through. Its a good backup but nothing beats a good sturdy bag and a cautious mentality
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

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  25. #25
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    Here is a good review of the Clik bags-
    Review: Clik Elite Probody and Compact Sport MTB DSLR Photography Hydration Packs | Bike198

    I recently picked up the smaller one and love it. Filling it with a 50D, extra lens plus extras does fill it up though, if you like carrying more gear I would recomend the larger of the two.

  26. #26
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    knida dissapointed that no one has any real bag recommendations for carrying a DSLR. I'm looking to carry my 1D MKIII, a couple lenses, a couple flashes and a remote while riding singletrack and eedn some ideas on a backpack. Looked at Lowepro and Tamrac and neither makes a pack that is small enough to bike with that doesn't feel like I'm carrying a suitcase. Now looking at a Tenba Shootout small or a KATA Bumblebee 220. Would really appreciate any input.

  27. #27
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    I'd probably just put it in a snoot bag in my backpack, but then again I'd leave my good camera at home, it weighs a ton!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportster44 View Post
    knida dissapointed that no one has any real bag recommendations for carrying a DSLR. I'm looking to carry my 1D MKIII, a couple lenses, a couple flashes and a remote while riding singletrack and eedn some ideas on a backpack. Looked at Lowepro and Tamrac and neither makes a pack that is small enough to bike with that doesn't feel like I'm carrying a suitcase. Now looking at a Tenba Shootout small or a KATA Bumblebee 220. Would really appreciate any input.
    You can checkout f stop bags. They make some quality bags. However you are looking to carry quite a lot of gear so anything that can carry that much might feel bulky.

    The bag from Lowepro, Photo Sport Series AW Series, seems like the best option for the prices. Although may not be large enough for what you would like to carry.

  29. #29
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    I have a Kata 3n1 that is nicely padded for offroad duty. Comes with a rain fly as well. I only had a chance to take it out once last winter (the only time I can really shed the camelbak) but plan on going out more this winter.
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  30. #30
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    Lowepro Camera Bags

    If anyone is still looking for a camera bag, The Clymb has Lowepro camera bags for sale on the site. You have to be a member, but they usually carry some pretty good stuff.

    The Clymb | The Gear You Need. Up to 70% Below Retail. ô

  31. #31
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    Anyone used a go pro?

  32. #32
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    I have on occasion taken my DSLR in my camelbak with me, and honestly I don't have any concerns with crashing and breaking it - I don't crash much, when I do I rarely land on my back, and I can also pretty easily dial back my riding if I'm concerned about it. No matter how careful you are, and how protected the camera is, however, there is another fundamental issue with carrying a big camera that prevents me from doing so 95% of the time - the time it takes to unpack the camera and shoot causes me to miss action shots or slows the pace of the ride significantly. For me, it is worth the limitations in terms of image quality, focal length, etc, to use a good point and shoot that I can keep in a small pouch attached to one of the shoulder straps on my Camelbak. Unless I'm going out for a dedicated photo shoot ride, this gets me a lot more and a lot better riding shots (as opposed to scenery). I use a Panasonic LX-3, which I have been really happy with for this purpose. It has good wide-angle capability, but is a little short on reach, but I find that actually makes it well suited to jumping off my bike, yanking out the camera and getting some shots off before the guy behind me comes through.

  33. #33
    Sandy Eggo
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    Insurance

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablation View Post
    Insurance
    +1

    State farm personal articles policy ~$150 per YEAR to cover $5000 worth of stuff against accidental damage, loss, theft, zombie attack, anything else.

  35. #35
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  36. #36
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    ^ CupOfJava - What brand/model is that?

  37. #37
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    Clik elite pro body sport. The picture isn't mine, but my bag and setup looks identical to the one I posted.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bokehnater View Post
    Too many folks think their DSLRs are like some precious jewelry.

    Summary:

    Chuck camera in bag
    Ride whatever you want
    Have fun
    Take pics
    Don't obsess over your camera
    This.
    What good is an expensive camera sitting on a shelf? If you leave your camera at home all the time, you wasted your money.

    DSLRs can take more abuse than most people think. I've carried my Nikon D40/80/90s in various backpacks for years, and crashed numerous times on them. Dropped them, got them wet etc.. Never broke anything. Well, actually the D80 died, but not while riding. It fell off a moving car at 50mph (pro tip: don't put stuff on your car's roof after a ride). These are consumer bodies, a pro magnesium body will be even stronger.

    To keep the weight down, I will usually bring only one specific lens for the task and a remote flash. When I'm about to hit some particularly scary jump or something, I just take the pack off - most likely I'll be taking pictures there anyhow.
    wanted: Cannondale Lefty w/ V-brake studs

  39. #39
    offroader
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    Or get a Micro 4/3 camera. Small enough to fit inside a camelbak yet still takes great pictures.

  40. #40
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    I use this: Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Backpack (Red/Black) 554902 B&H Photo

    Bottom for lenses/ body. Top can hold a pump/ tubes/ tools/ extra water/ etc.


  41. #41
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    I'm in the same boat. I would love to take my rangefinder but have a Panasonic GF1 with 20mm that I'm going to take instead. Depending on your style of photography a GF1 can be had second hand on eBay for not a massive amount.

  42. #42
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    anyone have any insurance recommendations for biking with a nice DSLR on my back?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Katas are pretty much bombproof.
    Love my Kata bags. I have a Kata 3N1-22 that I use for my 40D. It's a little bulky for MTBing but I have no qualms about its ability to protect the camera. Last weekend I found a Kata Access-18 in a pile of laptop bags at the local Treasure Hunt type store. One of those places where the longer it sits the cheaper it gets. Picked it up for $31.99.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    Its funny how it never turns out that way when it does happen. I had a friend who insured his new 300mm 2.8, dropped it where it started to make a noise everytime it zoomed in and out and the insurance wouldn't come through. Its a good backup but nothing beats a good sturdy bag and a cautious mentality
    Tell him to drop it again
    All out of S**** and down to my last F***

  45. #45
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    Clik Elite

    Clik Elite camera packs have changed the way I ride with my camera. I've always ridden with a digital SLR. That's just what you do if you're serious about mountain bike photos. But the Clik Elite packs are built for serious riding, running, skiing, etc. They totally protect your gear, they're made for hydration, and they fit better than anything else when you're on the bike. Here's my review for the Clik Elite Medium Nature. It's a discontinued pack but it will give you a good idea of what they're all about:

    Clik Elite Medium Nature Camera Pack >>

    Lowepro also has a new pack out made for more serious outdoor pursuits. It's called the Photo Sport AW. I've been using one one and off for a couple of months now and I think it's very good. It carries and protects camera gear well and it's made to accommodate a water bladder. I think the Clik packs ride a bit better on the bike but the Lowepro is also a solid option and they're just getting started with this new line of packs. Here's a preview article I wrote about the Lowepro:

    Lowepro Photo Sport AW Camera Pack >>

    By the way, I've crashed a bunch of times with DSLR gear on my back and I've never damaged a camera. I've damaged my self plenty, though. This summer I went over the bars at Deer Valley and sprained my ankle really bad. I'm just now getting back on the bike for real. On the other hand, the Olympus E-P3 I had in the pack suffered no damage at all. For me, the photos are more important than the risk of damaging my camera gear.
    Back of the camera, back of the pack.

  46. #46
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    im subscribing to this thread, but i too am also a little suprised that there havent been any posts for some good sturdy bags that can protect an SLR or micro 4/3. if i find one, ill be sure to post it.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by LONO100 View Post
    im subscribing to this thread, but i too am also a little suprised that there havent been any posts for some good sturdy bags that can protect an SLR or micro 4/3. if i find one, ill be sure to post it.
    Serious? I posted the clik elite earlier. Check it out. Hydration and camera protection. Win/win


    Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk

  48. #48
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    the clik elite looks pretty functional, its pretty bad ass in my opinion, but i was hoping there was a pack on the market that had some rigidness to it. i can imagine landing flat on my back while bailing and just crushing my camera if it was in that pack. ive seen backpacks that were made to hold DSLR's that had a hard shell inside the lining. the only problem with them for me and riding is that they didnt have any room for much else like an extra tube, and a few tools.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuitous View Post
    From above:

    "DSLRs are more robust than most people can understand."

    Stop worrying, start riding, and make some pictures already.
    Just have to make sure not to stress the lens mounting point.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuitous View Post
    "DSLRs are more robust than most people can understand."

    What is your mountain biking experience with film SLRs and DSLRs?
    On the bike, none.

    On the field, a lot. Was in Morocco this summer for 2 weeks, traveling all over the country. I had my Nikon D7000 and another person had her D60. One day we were attending a local presentation and she dropped her DSLR from about 2 feet high on flat ground. We had the same lenses btw, Nikkor 18-105, and the lens took the impact, and broke at the mounting bracket. Only damage was that plastic part, which was designed to break for that kind of impact. So we only had to replace that little part.

    Now imagine you packed your DSLR or SLR a bit tight where pression is applied on the end of the lens and on the camera body. Just get a good hit on the back if the pack and your wonderful day of photoshooting has just been reported. Kind of ****ty, no ?

    Other then that, yeah, the magnesium body of my D7000 is pretty damn strong and light.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

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