Compact Camera - Bicycle Touring

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Aushiker, May 27, 2015.

  1. Hi

    I am at the very early stages of looking into getting a small compact camera to take bicycle touring and bikepacking. My OM-D EM-1 is really too big for this. Also with the bikepacking setup I need to be fairly compact with the camera.

    My initial thought had been a Panasonic Lumix GM1 but even with my O 17mm f/1.8 I think it will bulk up a bit to much for me.

    Ideally I would like a EVF but accept that may have to go; that said IQ is high priority. Anyway I through a few quick thoughts into Compact Camera Meter to give myself some idea of sizing and where to start looking in more depth.

    Cameras on long list:

    Panasonic Lumix GM1 [used as my size benchmark]
    Fujifilm XQ2
    Ricoh GR
    Sony RX100 III
    Panasonic DMC LX100
    FujiFilm X30 [or maybe X10 or X20]

    On the Australian bushwalking forums the Sony RX100 range seems to be the camera of choice, but are there other options?


    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  2. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Can't think of any others offhand, but I'd go with the Sony RX100m3 or Panny LX100. Both have:

    Moderate zooms
    Fast lenses
    High quality imaging system

    I have the Sony and like it for carrying around when I'm not expecting to shoot anything in particular. It's not the fastest operating camera I've used but does remarkably well for its size and weight. The LX100 is a bit bigger, but that may not matter to you.
  3. Of the cameras on your list I'd really only call the Fujfilm XQ2 truly compact, the RX100 is a 'thick' compact and the others aren't even close.

    The Canon S130 and the Panasonic DMC-LF1 are typical enthusiast cameras of 'compact' size (but of course you give away some IQ).

    If it won't fit in a (tight) jeans pocket it isn't very compact ;-)
  4. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    I'd highly recommend the GM1. The body is actually fractionally smaller than the RX100. With the 12-32 kit lens or 14/2.5 it is a little larger. I've used it for backpacking, mountain biking, travel, etc. The photo quality as you know is excellent. The big advantage over the RX100 is that when space and weight aren't critical, you have a serious (but diminutive) interchangeable lens camera that can use all the same lenses as your EM1. It handles very well once you get a handle on the touchscreen and the quick menu. I'm not sure what it's like where you live, but in the US and Canada, the GM1 is also cheaper than the RX100 at the moment if that is a consideration. The battery life is probably the biggest drawback, but unless you're going off the grid for a few days it generally isn't an issue. If you can make the size work, I think the GM1 would suit you well.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    LX7 may deserve a look. It's got a small sensor like the XQ2 and X30, but the lens is f1.4-2.3!

    Ricoh GR or Nikon Coolpix A would be excellent choices if you are OK with the single focal length.

    Another issue you are going to have to solve is the poor battery life and how to recharge in the wild.

    One more very small and useful option you may consider:
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    If you are wearing tight jeans on a bike ride or backpacking, then you must not be going very far! Bring the big camera. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Maybe I should have said 'tight lycra' :2thumbs:
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Yikes, you don't want to keep your camera in there! :eek:

    For backpacking and cycle touring, it likely you'd have bags and a small pocket to keep the camera in. I don't think it has to be Canon ELPH sized to be comfortable.
  9. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Of all the compact fixed lens cameras on the market, IMO, the one that truly stands out is the Ricoh GR.

    - Small, compact size. Will easily fit in your front pant pocket.
    - APS-C sensor.
    - Very sharp 28mm lens, even wide open. This has been a trademark of every Ricoh GR camera, offering a great lens.
    - Highly customizable.
    - Outstanding UI and ergonomics.
    - SOOC B&W JPGs are 90% close to Leica Monochrom quality at less than 10% of cost. 6% to be exact if you buy the Leica 28/2.8 with the body.
    - Ricoh DNG files provide a lot of latitude in post.
    - Can add a 21mm wide conversion lens without loss of quality.
    - OVF can be added later. B&H is currently bundling the Ricoh GV1 OVF for free although Voigtlander's 28mm OVF is better and brighter.
    - Ricoh's snap focus mode makes zone and hyperfocal, literally a snap.
    - Great battery life. Can't remember the last time I ran out of battery juice during an outing with a Ricoh GR series camera.
    - Very fast camera to work with. Truth be told, I can grab shots faster with my Ricoh than any other camera I own.

    The list goes on and on. A truly remarkable camera.

    If the fixed 28mm bothers you, the only other camera I'd consider on your list would be the Fuji X30 although it may be bigger than your needs. For me, there's nothing compelling about either the RX100 or LX100.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  10. :) No jeans here ... but you make a good point and my use of the word "compact" may have been inappropriate. The camera and lens needs to fit in a bag such as a Revelate Jerry Can.

  11. That appeals as I am not a huge fan of my HTC One M7 as a camera.

  12. To be honest this was my thinking in the beginning and hence why I have been trying to locate a good second hand one (or a GM5) at a bargain price (joys of not being in a hurry :)) but seeing others post images using other cameras got me thinking ( a problem I have) of other options.

    BTW the average sell price on eBay of the GM1 of late has been AU$433 with a kit lens in the main. Not sure yet what the Sony RX100 is selling for.

  13. Thanks for the suggestions. Will look into them further.

    That is pretty well sorted with a Anker battery pack and/or dynamo depending on the bike. I am generally about five to seven days off the grid so put in place plans to cover myself for that timeframe.

    Last edited: May 28, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Thanks. I see that B&H are now offering reasonable postage rates to Australia so will have to take a closer look a their pricing. Their postage previously was over the top. The Ricoh GR from B&H with the OVF is AU$858 delivered. Locally the camera alone is retailing for $849 and seems to be on offer only at limited number of stores.

    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  15. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 25, 2014
    Just a little caveat about the OVF - if it's the GV-2, only consider that one if you don't have to wear glasses. I'm usually fine with small finders, but the GV-2 was (is) a disappointment and very hard to use because I basically need to press it on my glasses (I wear small ones, close to the eyes!); the eye-point is really, really tight.

    The GV-1 should be different - it's a wide-angle finder, so the 28mm frame should be plenty visible in spite of the eye-point.

    The GR is a fantastic camera for its size (and price); it's also reasonably sturdy and well made. IQ and handling are first-rate for a compact camera; even though I own a LX100, the GR still beats it in those regards (by some margin). That said, if I only owned one such camera, it'd probably be the LX100 - for its EVF and greater versatility.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Right now B&H is bundling the GV-1. The GV-2 is smaller but you're right, it's not designed well for eyeglass wearers. The GV-1 has has framelines for both 28mm and 21mm, which helps for those who wear glasses. Even though I use the GV-1, if I had to buy another OVF, I'd buy a Voigtlander instead. Much brighter and better optics.

    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 25, 2014
    I agree - I was attracted by the diminuitive size of the GV-2, but I should have considered the Voigtländer, too - which isn't even a lot more expensive, at least not around here! But it *is* bulkier ... Anyhow, I've learned to do without the OVF - the GR makes this really easy because it handles so well with one hand only. And the LCD is really, really good.

  18. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Assuming the RX100 is in budget means the rest are as well? (No idea of pricing in Australia).

    My take (IMHO, YMMV)
    • FujiFilm X30 [or maybe X10 or X20] - Great handling, not a fan of the x-tran.
    • Fujifilm XQ2 - no experience with it
    • Ricoh GR - Great from all reports. But I know I won't be able to deal with the fix lens. (Almost picked one of the CoolPic A's when they were going for $299 but the fixed lens.........
    • Sony RX100 III - Smallest, most versatile camera for it's size. I had a mark 1 and tried out a mark III. Just not really for me.
    • Panasonic DMC LX100 - Very nice, possibly great. But price and it's more than I really needed in a second body. Though I'm sure one of my kids would have loved it if I got tired of it.
    • Panasonic Lumix GM1/GM5 - My picks, have the GM1, looking to upgrade to the GM5. Main reason is actually control points and not the EVF. But I will miss the option to bounce flash.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. angusr

    angusr Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2011
    I have had success with a GF3 and even an E-P5 in the back pocket of my cycling jersey, taking my P14 and O45, one on the camera and one in a bag. There have been very few occasions when I've wanted anything else. Before that I had various Canon S series, which worked well, but didn't have quite the image quality, and importantly given the kids I now take along, the quick focus of the mu-43 options. The recent images on my site are mu-43, although I see it needs an update to include last year's trip.
  20. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    There are numerous bodies that would work. I'm a cyclist and hiker and have gone back and forth from Micro 4/3 and Point n Shoots. I used a Canon S95 one year, G11 the year before. Now that used Micro 4/3 bodies are very inexpensive I won't go back to P&S cameras. I just don't like the lag and lack of viewfinder.

    A Panasonic G5 is my current "adventure camera" and I won't be trading it anytime soon. A G3 is also a good candidate, or an older PEN with viewfinder although somewhat chunkier. I really don't even feel the G5 in my pack it's so light.
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