There are so many cameras on the market these days, so how can you choose one that is best for your needs? As mountain bikers, it’s vital to choose a camera that really captures and demonstrates our amazing off-road experiences. Have no fear, this guide will help you to choose your best camera for cycling!
Let’s talk criteria. Due to the outdoor nature of cycling photography, it’s essential that your camera have a viewfinder. The sunlight may interfere with cameras (such as smartphone cameras) which force you to use a screen to frame your picture. Imagine pulling up photoshop after a few days of picturesque mountain riding, only to find uncorrectable sunspots, shadows, and the like. UGH! Remember that the best camera for cycling will have a viewfinder: this rules out about 95% of cameras, which just made your job of picking one a lot more simple!
One criterion that does not matter as much as you might think is megapixels. Most cameras on the market today have more megapixels than you would ever actually need for your website or blog. So don’t worry about megapixels when picking the best camera for cycling and, again, your job just got easier! Phew!
Now that we’ve covered criteria, let’s get into types of cameras.
We all know them, we all have them, and we all use them all the time. Your iphone or Android are great choices they fit in your pocket, and, odds are, you already have yours with you–so forgetting it is a difficult feat! They can create decent images when lighting is ideal, but, of course, it won’t always be! As mentioned, this is where not having a viewfinder really becomes an issue. A smartphone probably isn’t your best bet if you are a pro-cycler/photographer, but it’s a great place to start.
These specialized cameras are also known as zoom cameras. They tend to be relatively large, as compared to compact cameras, and the added zoom feature doesn’t seem to be particularly advantageous for cycling photography.
Compact or “point-and-shoot” cameras have quickly been losing popularity these days, as just about everyone has a camera in their pocket already on their smartphone. However, these cameras can come in handy as they are specialized to different tasks. Some compact cameras are waterproof (you wouldn’t want to ruin your iphone in the rain just trying to get that one perfect shot, would you?) and others are shockproof. You can also find higher-end models that bolster better lenses and more features than traditional compact cameras or smartphones. Some even have a viewfinder!
You can shop around on Amazon if you think that a compact camera will work for your cycling needs. We recommend the Pentax WG-3 GPS as well as Nikon Coolpix and Nikon Powershot series.
The sensors on these cameras are larger than those on traditional compacts (hense the name), which renders a better image quality, even in poor lighting conditions. However, they are larger than the standard compact camera and tend to be more expensive.
Compact System Cameras
This is a relatively new category of Camera, with the Micro Four Thirds being the first of its kind. Some prime examples of a compact system camera are the Olympus OMD-EM5 or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6. You can find this camera with a variety of sensor sizes. If you are planning on going this route, make sure you find a compact system camera with a view-finder. It’s worth the investment.
We all know and respect the coveted single-lense-reflex camera. Although larger and heavier than compact cameras, and while bulk and weight should always be considered when trying to determine your best camera for cycling, this camera will hands-down give you the best result if quality is what you’re after. If size is an issue for you, consider a smaller SLR like Canon’s EOS 100D. We also love Nikon’s D3200 and D5100, and find these cameras to be reasonable in size depending on your lense choice.
Another factor to consider with SLR cameras is price and protection. You may not be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on a new camera at risk of exposure to the elements. If this is the case, consider a weatherproofed camera like the Pentax K-30. Weatherproofed cameras may run you slightly more in price, but the extra protection will be worth it in the long run.
Whichever direction you decide to go when figuring out what your best camera for cycling is SLRS definitely take the cake when it comes to superior imagine quality. For serious cycling photographers, it’s definitely worth making the investment. If you’re just starting out, we recommend a compact camera or compact system camera with a view-finder.