What cameras do I use?

Hey Lee,

I was wondering what type of cameras you use? Having just had our first kid has got me thinking about getting a descent camera. I was thinking along the lines of Olympus E500, or Nikon D50?


Hey Steve.

My “real” camera is a Canon EOS 1D digital SLR with full-on Canon L-series lenses. That thing is a beast, but it takes great pictures — and it takes eight per second. I used that to shoot the book. It’s great for photo shoots, but it’s hard to carry on real adventures.

Shot with the Canon EOS 1D. I spent a month in Whistler with the beast in my backpack.

My everyday camera is a Pentax Optio 750Z. It fits in my Camelbak or jersey pocket, and it takes fine pictures for this site and several magazines. It also makes little videos, which revolutionized my skills coaching. Also: The thing is super durable. I’ve soaked it, dropped it and dented it, and it still works. I love this thing because it’s there when I need it.

Shot with the Pentax Optio 750Z. The 1D would be less grainy, but am I gonna carry it for rainy DH runs? No!

The best camera is the one you have on you. The new small SLRs like the D50 seem like a good size compromise, but I gotta say: If you’re gonna shoot life, buy a camera you can carry while you’re living. Cameras are so good these days; most people should get one that fits in their pocket.

4 replies
  1. Wayne says:

    I don’t race, but my son does.

    For 5 years I shot some pretty good pictures with an Olympus C4040. I recommend at least 4 megapixles for action photography and an optical zoom lens. Four megapixles allows you to stay zoomed out far enough so you don’t cut off heads and toes in the jumps and still have enough pixles to crop it back at home and get a decent enlargment.

    I recently added a Cannon EOS Rebel XT SLR. I have an old Celestron C90 telescope that is basically an f11 1000mm lens. I have not taken that lens out. I should have used it at Infineon. I think I could get closeups of the top of the hill from the parking lot with that lens. I like the SLR because I can switch lenses.

    My son likes his Canon pocket digital. Sorry, I don’t know the model, but it is 5 megapixels. It is sturdy enough he can take it with him, and the display on the back is one of the larger sizes. This allows instant gratification by showing pictures to his buddies out in the middle of nowhere, and the picture is large enough to get oohs and ahhs from them.

  2. Mark says:

    I have a Digi Rebel XT, and I feel it’s a bit big to ride with. Also, I wouldn’t wanna crash on it. I think a small, handheld digi camera is the best bet for riding with. That said I love my Canon Rebel XT, it’s just a little bulky to ride with if your plan isn’t to pretty much only shoot.

  3. Simon says:

    I have a Rebel XT DSLR that I use to work for an italian magazine.
    It’s a great camera, not too expensive and takes excellent pictures.
    I’ve ridden with it, with a snowboard-specific photo backpack. It’s not comfy, and if you go over the bars I’m sure you’ll break something.

    It depends on the purpose of your pictures, if it’s for an informal memory of riding moments I’d go for a small compact camera and who cares, otherwise if you want to make photography a big part of your rides than go with an SLR but be aware of the consequences!!!

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