In Part 2, we’ll go through some photography gear for motorcycling and we’ll also go through some of the gear we use to document our adventures.
This post is set to accompany Documenting Your Motorcycle Trip: Part 1/2 and some of the do’s and don’t’s of documenting your motorcycle trip.
Where necessary, some of the items on our list will include ‘budget’ examples, as well as professional/advanced options in order to accommodate varying budgets.
Photography Gear For Motorcycling
There are so many different types of cameras on the market today that it would be impossible to go through each one!
For the purpose of this post, we’ll look at photography gear for motorcycling that is of high performance, as well as small and light.
Budget Camera Option
Almost everybody owns a smartphone. If you have a relatively new device (be it Android or iPhone), you will be blessed with multiple, powerful internal cameras and huge performance in a lightweight body.
It’s worth mentioning that almost every photographer in the world uses their smartphones as part of their photography set up.
And smartphone cameras are so good these days that there are actually professional photographers out there who choose to solely use phones!
If you’re on a budget, your phone is a good place to start for documenting your trip.
Mid-Range Camera Option
If you want to step it up a notch, a modern-day compact camera may give you better quality than your phone.
Just be aware than some come with a zoom lens which will allow you to zoom in and out at your subject.
Others will come with a fixed lens which means you will not be able to zoom in and out.
There are pro’s and con’s to both set ups. A zoom lens gives you more options where as the fixed lens means you’ll have to move if you want to get closer to (or further away from) your subject.
That being said, fixed lenses tend to be faster and the quality of the image is often better!
It’s a compromise you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Advanced Camera Option
Here at Motorcycle Tourer, our camera manufacturer of choice is Fujifilm and we choose to shoot with a mirrorless set up.
For a long time, we used the Fuji X-T20 before upgrading this year to the X-T4. We also use three lenses: a wide angle lens, a mid-range zoom lens, and a telephoto lens.
Our Reasons For Using Fujifilm
- Great image quality
- In body image stabilisation (IBIS)
- Excellent video quality
- Light and compact set up
- Quality lenses
- Customisable camera body
- Tactile user experience
- Decent battery life
- Reliable auto focus
- Looks good!
- Fuji X-T4
- Fuji XF 10-24mm
- Fuji XF 18-55mm
- Fuji XF 55-200mm
Spice It Up With A Drone
Okay, let’s make this clear from the start. A drone is not a neccessity to take great images, but they certainly help!
When it comes to photography gear for motorcycling, drones are great fun to use and they increase your ability to be creative massively.
Our first drone was huge and was burdensome to tour with. Our latest edition is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro which is ladened with features, is tiny, and lightweight.
Just be aware that it’s becoming harder and harder to fly drones legally in many parts of the world. It’s worth checking before you carry it all the way to your destination only to find it’s a no-fly zone!
DJI Mavic 2 Pro + Fly More Combo
Action Cameras For Motorcycling
Over the course of the last 5 years or so, we’ve dabbled with lots of different action cameras and whilst they can produce some good results, they never seem to be quite as good as what they should be!
It’s a shame, really, because action cameras really are an integral part of your photography for motorcycling set up.
You’ll have to have a look at them in person as the styling, shape and size can vary from make to make.
Drift action cameras are long and slim which makes them great for mounting on the top (or side) of your helmet. But they are impossible to mount on the chin.
GoPro’s are more rectangular which makes them useless for being on top of your helmet, but excellent for chin mounting!
It really depends what you want it for.
If I were to recommend a budget option, I would go for a second-hand GoPro Hero 3 (for chin mounting) which you can pick up really cheap.
To mount to the top of my helmet or under the front light on my bike, I would go for a Drift X or even a Drift Stealth if you can find one.
What We Use
After flitting between various cameras, I settled on one GoPro Hero 8 (as I prefer to chin mount) and I have a few old GoPro Hero 3’s which I attach to my bike because I’m not too bothered if they fall off!
In regard to my photography gear for motorcycling set up, action cameras are excellent for that first-view perspective and ability to use both on and off the bike.
- GoPro Hero 8 Black
Tripods For Motorcycling
If you’re planning on doing any serious landscape photography, a tripod is a necessary evil for camera stabilisation.
You’ll mainly need a tripod if you’re shooting any low-light scenes (such as sunrise or sunset) or, if you require any long-exposure shots.
If you’re shooting in bright daylight, you can quite easily balance your camera on a fence, stone or tree to get the desired effect (or buy a camera with In Built Image Stabilisation [IBIS]).
However, you can purchase tiny tripods known as Gorillapods which are small, reasonably priced and easy to store.
Advanced Tripod Option
We used to have a few tripods but since acquiring the Fuji X-T4 with its in-built stabilisation, we have narrowed it down to two.
For our ‘proper’ landscape photography shoots in low-light and/or windy conditions, our preferred brand of choice is Benro due it’s excellent build quality and sturdyness.
They come in a range of sizes, but we have the larger option.
For day shoots, we either use the IBIS in the camera or our smaller Joby Gorillapod.
- Benro Mach 3 tma38 °C Carbon Tripod
- Joby Gorilliapod
Photography Filters For Motorcycling
If you’re unfamiliar with filters, then chances are you won’t need them!
Essentially, filters act as sunglasses for your camera. They let in less light which allows for a longer exposure.
There are hundreds of budget options out there, but in our experience, the easiest to use are the magnetic Wolverwine filters by Kase.
- Kase Wolverwine Magnetic Filter set
Camera Bags For Touring
So you have all your camera kit, but now you need to carry it safely.
Camera bags are notorious for not being quite right! What works for me might not work for you – and it varies drastically on the amount of kit you’re carrying.
There are loads of budget option on Amazon, and generally, you get what you pay for.
We have two camera bags; one for proper shoots/hikes, and a travel one which fits snuggly in our top box – both of which are from LowePro.
- LowePro Whistler BP 350
- LowePro Flipside Trek
When it comes to editing your video and images, you really need some sort of software.
What you choose depends entirely on your workflow and what you ‘get on with’ the most.
Adobe is probably the worlds most renowned package offering everything for photographers and videographers alike.
If you’re shooting solely using your smartphone, there are quite a few apps which make life so much easier!
Snapseed is excellent for editing images on the go, and Polarr is really good for making unique edits. (Please note these links will take you through to the download page on Google Play. Also available on Apple.)
In terms of creating videos straight out of the app, we can’t recommend Quik highly enough. (This link will take you to the download page on Google Play – also available on Apple.)
So over the last two posts, we’ve looked at the the basic prinicples of documenting your adventure as well as highlighting a few common mistakes.
It all comes down to personal taste; from the images you take and the way you edit them, to the kind of gear you like and what you wish to carry.
There is no right or wrong way to document your trip. And there is no right and wrong list of the correct photography gear for motorcycling.
So with that in mind, go and have fun with it!
Take the shots you need, and then take the shots you want. Go wild with the edits, find truly remarkable music. Engage your audience with the awesomeness of your trip.
When it comes to any form of creation, you are putting yourself out there for all to see.
So be bold, be brave, be honest, and be you.
Missed Part 1? Catch it here! Documenting Your Motorcycle Trip: Part 1
Top image via peakpx