The Best Compromise

One of my favorite destinations on the bike.

One of my favorite destinations on the bike

It’s all relative. Given the fact that all of the following photos were taken with a phone I think it is impressive. In order to combine my passion for photography and cycling I’ve had to make some compromises. The biggest compromise is the weight and size of photo gear. Weatherproofing is a factor, but that’s easy to overcome with a Ziplock bag.

Paradise Lodge, Mt. Rainier, Washington

Paradise Lodge, Mt. Rainier, Washington

I tried riding with the Sony NEX7 and 20mm pancake lens and that gave me the best photos, but it was way too large to be practical. Next up was the Sony RX100 Mark II, but I never really bonded with the camera. Then came along the Ricoh GR and I’ve had better luck with that camera, but it couldn’t compare in weight and size to the camera that I was already carrying in my jersey pocket, my iPhone.

View looking toward the north coast of Taiwan

View looking toward the north coast of Taiwan

The iPhone already accompanies me on every ride so why not take advantage of camera that’s already part of my phone. Clearly, we are not talking about ultimate image quality here. Instead I have to consider what the intended use of the image is going to be and this case it is simply for me to share photos on Strava (cycling app), Instagram, Facebook and occasionally Flickr.

The Pantheon, Paris, France.

The Pantheon, Paris, France.

If the intention is simply for social media and weight/size is a primary concern, you can’t beat the iPhone. Specifically, I’ve been really impressed with the iPhone’s ability to capture sweeping panoramic photos. Back in the day it would take special software to align several carefully lined up images and several minutes to do what you can capture now in a few seconds.

At this point, there really isn’t a better compromise in size, weight and quality for combining photography and cycling.

A switchback on one of my routes

A switchback on one of my routes

Near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Another switchback near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Clouds moving in just before a typhoon

Clouds moving in just before a typhoon

Getting ready to descend into the Marin Headlands

Getting ready to descend into the Marin Headlands

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