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Old Dec 20, 2010, 2:43 PM   #1
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Default Bike riding pictures - panorama? one-handed operation?

Background - I started riding a road bike in June. I ride a lot (5,800 miles so far). I would like to take pictures of some of the beautiful scenery and homes I ride past.
  • Cycling constraints - Road bikes are very lightweight with very little storage space. I do have a small handlebar bag, so I can have dry storage (as opposed to the pockets on the back of my jersey which get sweaty).
  • My riding is entirely in daylight, so low light limitations don't matter.
  • FYI, my typical speed is 20 MPH. It would be superb if I could shoot on the go - slowing to a stop and accelerating back to speed makes stopping pretty inconvenient, especially on group rides. I don't think there's a practical solution to this problem, but maybe you have suggestions.
  • I am getting good enough to ride with no hands on the handlebars, but it is not entirely a comfortable proposition. Being able to turn on the camera and operate the shutter using only one hand would be an advantage.
  • Gloves are necessary when it's cold, so big buttons that can be operated while wearing gloves is a plus, but it's not a deal breaker.
  • Most of my pictures would be landscapes - I don't need lots of sky included in the picture.
  • The photos will probably never need to be high quality - they will be posted on a blog or emailed.
So, my questions:
  1. Panorama Mode - Does this work well? Is it exclusive to Sony? Or is a better option to take two or three pictures and stitch them together? (If so, any good freebie software that does this well?)
  2. Editing Software - I know this is lame, but I don't have any proper picture editing software (I use IrafanView). If I take pictures on the fly, the camera will probably be tilted slightly, so I'd need to rotate the pictures a few degrees before cropping. Any freebies that do this?
  3. One-handed - Is one-handed turn on and shoot practical?
  4. Other - I've learned I know much too little to even ask the right questions, so feel free to point out what I forgot to ask.
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 3:44 PM   #2
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FastStone Image Viewer is a nice free photo browser that can rotate photos in 1 degree increments.

If you don't need the highest quality images and ease-of-use is a priority, I'd recommend a Sony - their automatic stitching is very good and they offer 4 directions of panarama (R->L, L->R, T->B, B->T), which is really 8 if the camera is held sideways. It would be interesting to see how the stitching is handled when shot moving down a line rather than around a pivot. A little size to the camera would probably be easier to operate one-handed, so you might want to take a look at the H55 or HX5V.
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 5:22 PM   #3
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I also ride and would say that taking pictures whilst in motion will be mostly a waste of effort. none will be clear. Having your camera readily accessible for "rest"stops or food breaks would be great. i sometimes carry my p&s in a handlebar bag (but on top) that I zip-tie to the bars. I can have it out and snapping in less than 10 seconds. and away just as easily. Once in a while it is nice to make some short movie clips from the middle of the pack. If they;re jerky a bit, nobody will mind cause it's a movie.

Irfanview does custom rotation + or - and not just whole degrees. i use it a lot.
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