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I’m a road cyclist and I’m looking at purchasing a DSLR to go with me when I’m cycling just to take photos of what I see, however I am worried that the vibration of a Bike could damage the DSLR.

The camera will be in a big bag which is directly attached to my frame so will be very little suspension to the camera being a road bike. Will it likely damage the camera on are there any mitigations I can do for it

The road surface will be tarmac while there are some bad roads I’ll be on. I never had numb hands from cycling from vibration

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  • Maybe you can use some tough camera, they are usually quite durable (Olympus Tough TG serie for example) Sep 25, 2021 at 18:49
  • The tough cameras generally have rather wide angle lenses, which may not be OP wants. Sep 25, 2021 at 20:17
  • @RossMillikan, Olympus Tough TG-5 I own have 25mm - 100mm which is fine for me Sep 26, 2021 at 4:29
  • @RomeoNinov: that is a better range than I am used to seeing, but the tough ones I know are for water sports and usually do not zoom or focus. It sounds like a good choice for many uses. Sep 26, 2021 at 4:31
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    Does this answer your question? Is it safe to bring my camera with me when cycling? Sep 26, 2021 at 20:49

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I would not worry at all. I've had my DSLR camera with me on all my longer bicycle tours (10,000+ kms) and never had any problems. I had a Nikon D70 for about 12 years. Now I have used a Nikon Df for the last 5 years. I would not expect other cameras to be generally easier to break.

For easy access, I usually have the camera in my handlebar hardcase bag and even though I usually have other stuff in the bag as well, I don't think I have ever used something to on purpose pad or polster the camera. I am not really doing any off-road cycling, but have cycled my fair share on gravel roads and cobblestone. I have no count of how often my bicycle has fallen over, loaded bicycles are often quite unstable when only using a kickstand, and even if the camera has experienced a bit of beating, it has never been a problem.

The only thing I usually try to avoid, not only when bicycling, but whenever I carry the camera around, is to have a long and/or heavy lens attached. Most commonly, I am only using Nikon's small and light 35mm f2 lens.

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  • A canon eos 2000d wouldn’t be too vibration right?
    – Osian
    Sep 27, 2021 at 22:02
  • If I take the long lens on the bike, I take it off the body like you, but have to use a backpack (40D, so I've been doing it for years with the same camera, off and on). With the 18-80 lens I put the holster case in the handlebar bag (LowePro Toploader) or across my body if I want to stop and shoot without fiddling. Do be sure to securely shut the handlebar bag though, to avoid the camera being ejected onto something hard if the bike does go over
    – Chris H
    Sep 29, 2021 at 9:24
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Just putting it in a bag will mitigate the high frequency vibration considerably. Having some foam padding around the camera, as in a usual camera bag, is even better. The big problem will then be sharp impact, either in a fall or when the bag swings against something. If you avoid those you should be OK.

You might look into the mirrorless bodies. They provide most of the same function as a DSLR in a smaller package. The lenses can also be smaller as they are mounted closer to the sensor. You can use the extra space for padding.

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  • It will be in the bag but the bag will be attached to the frame which while isn’t going to be high frequency as a motorbike, there’s a lot less suspension compared to a motorbike
    – Osian
    Sep 25, 2021 at 22:07
  • I have carried a camera (a Nikon P900 megazoom, but that should be about as fragile as a DSLR) in a backpack on a road bike with no problems. I was on a hard packed dirt road, but I didn't do it much. Sep 25, 2021 at 22:37
  • That’s brilliant! I’m not much for backpacks myself and rather the frame, but do want to get into photography on the bike
    – Osian
    Sep 25, 2021 at 23:40
  • Do not put any hard objects in a backpack, they can break your spine if you fall on them.
    – xenoid
    Sep 26, 2021 at 7:12
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    The lenses can also be smaller as they are mounted closer to the sensor. This isn't really true. Or at least, requires a caveat. Yes, the lenses are mounted closer to the sensor. But for equivalently-spec'd lenses, on equal-size sensor cameras, there is essentially no size savings for mirrorless vs. DSLR camera+lens combination. In fact, again, for equal-spec'd lenses, mirrorless lenses are often larger than their DSLR equivalents. The lenses still have to pack the same stuff, same glass, same motors, but also have to make up the missing flange focus distance that the body no longer has.
    – scottbb
    Sep 26, 2021 at 17:11
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Because we do not know your style and preferences of cycling and the surface you cycle (asphalt, macadam, offroad, mounting cycling) we have no idea about the amplitude and acceleration of these vibrations. If you cycle with a lot of vibrations will be wise to get tough camera (I prefer Olympus Tough TG serie). They can survive also rain, mud, drop, to say extreme situations.

If you prefer calm cycling on flat surface you can choose some mirrorless camera or even DSLR but getting some precautions to minimize the vibrations, hits, etc.

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  • I’ve just edited the post to reflect this question, but it will be asphalt on road and I haven’t had numb hands yet.
    – Osian
    Sep 26, 2021 at 9:57
  • @Osian, thank you for update. But my practice show things happen even in format/organized trips in a city. If you do not expect extraordinary quality (almost) any camera is for you. Sep 26, 2021 at 11:45

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