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Perfect camera carry system for mountain biking discovered?

Friday, July 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

July
15
2011
The Cotton Carrier in action!

The Cotton Carrier in action!

As regular readers of my blog know I love to combine two of my favorite activities: cross-country mountain biking and photography. The biggest problem with this is that my DSLR camera (Canon 60D) and the lens I usually use while mountain biking (Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF) are quite large. I can fit the entire rig in my cavernous Camelbak HAWG, but getting to the camera quickly is simply not possible. In order to get the camera out I have to stop my bike, unbuckle the Camelbak, slide the Camelbak off one shoulder (or take it off entirely), pull the backpack around my body, unzip the compartment with my camera in it and then pull the camera out. That process takes about 20-30 seconds, and it’s also quite noisy. 20-30 seconds may may not sound like much time, but I can’t tell you how many awesome shots I’ve missed because the subject ran off or flew away during that time. Not only that, it’s a pain to go through this procedure every time I see something I’d like to photograph.

I recently discovered a couple of threads on a photography forum in which this very subject was being discussed. A few mountain bikers/photographers chimed in, and they were raving about a product called the Cotton Carrier. The way the Cotton Carrier system works is the camera mounts to a vest using a special hub that attaches to the tripod mount on the camera. A lens stabilization strap keeps the camera from bouncing around, and a safety tether adds an additional level of protection against dropping. The camera is detached from the vest with a quick 90 degree turn–in other words, I can go from blazing down the trail to ready to shoot in a second or two. There are versions of the vest that allow for multiple cameras, but the single camera vest is all I’ll need. Not bad for less than 100 bucks.

Here’s a video. The dude doing flips on the trampoline with his DSLR sold me:

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Now obviously I’m not going to take my camera on technical trails where the possibility of falling is high, but for cross-country mountain biking (which is mostly what I’m doing these days) this system looks perfect.

If you’ve used the Cotton Carrier system please post your thoughts!

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