Let’s start with the photographic equipment. It appears to be a rather difficult decision: what camera is the best to bring along on a bicycle tour? You could spend hours researching photographic sites, followed by additional time deciding where and how to buy the perfect device as your travel companion.

Smaller. Lighter. Pick two…. Most DSLRs are too large to fit in a jersey back pocket, saddle bag, handlebar bag or bento box. If you want a camera to fit on your bike, a DSLR is probably too large. Plus you may not want to expose valuable equipment to the vagaries of mother nature. With size comes weight too. If you are touring fully-loaded you may be willing to store such a device in your panniers. If you are a lightweight road bike rider, probably not. In either case, you’ll want to determine exactly how much weight and space you are willing to dedicate to your photography. 

The Build Your Tour choice: A  12 megapixel waterproof Panasonic Lumix compact camera. It fits in a jersey pocket. No lens fog in high humidity and temperatures.

Combine. Dual-purpose. Test it…. A camera is a great addition to any tour. You’ll probably also have a smart-phone along. Why bring both? Your phone probably includes several nice photographic features. Our Samsung Galaxy S III has an 8-megapixel camera. It shoots video, includes improvements to eliminate shutter lag, allow Burst Mode and Best Shot and has LED flash and autofocus. Try several shots in various conditions to determine if the quality is acceptable before relying on your smart phone exclusively. 

The Build Your Tour result: Both images below serve our purpose. Based on your criteria, which would you choose? (Mouse over the images to see which is the camera and which is the smart phone.)

Keep ’em. Clear ’em. Make it a habit…. Larger memory cards with free space allow you to be snap-happy. Review your images daily by sorting through them and eliminating the out of focus and other accidental shots. If possible upload your images to an external drive or cloud service. (e.g Dropbox, Flickr) Many smart phones feature “share commands” to easily allow this. You’ll maximize the storage available on your device and won’t have as many pictures to sort and process later. 

The Build Your Tour process: Images are uploaded to the laptop nearly everyday and retained on the camera only if in focus. Under or over-exposed images are kept for later review.

Tried and trued. Basics. Stick to it…. No matter which device you decide to stash in your pocket or saddle bag:

  1. Select the highest megapixel setting available for your photos.
  2. Learn how to take great pictures. Search the web. Take a class.
  3. Acquire more storage for your camera or phone. Minimally 4 gigabytes. A 12 megapixel image requires about 4 mg of storage as a JPG.  (A thousand 12 megapixel images = 4 gigabytes.)
  4. Keep your lens clean by carrying a clean soft cloth everywhere. Monitor for body heat and external temperatures fogging your lens. It takes time to clear and may not clear to your satisfaction.
  5. Recharge your batteries every evening. Your device batteries too! (If away from electricity, consider recharging with a battery recharger.)
  6. Make the most of your images by post-processing with software such as Adobe’s Lightroom or Photoshop.
  7. Organize your images. Available services or software include Picasa, Flickr and Lightroom.

Then enjoy! By the way, the image at the start of this post…smart-phone camera.

Tail winds and thanks for reading  (Now LIKE us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buildyourtourllc)

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