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Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedit...
  
 
suteetat
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Hi, I plan to spend New Year in Antarctica on an expedition boat in a couple of months. As it is pretty much a trip of a life time, I definitely want to bring all the best camera gears that I have but there are a few restrictions. The major problem is weight. This trip has a strict weight limit of 20kg check in and 5 kg carry on as I will have to fly from Chile to King George Island on a chartered flight.
Weight is a little flexible as I am traveling with many friends who are not photographers and some offer to help me carry a few items but hopefully I won't have to bother them too much.
I heard mixed things about focal lenght that I need. Being an expedition trip, if weather permits, I will be on the shore most days. Some people mention that 70-200 is the most important range. some people said that pretty much anything from 15-500mm will be useful. I was also told that I should bring at least 2 bodies as I should try to avoid changing lenses while on land there.

This is what I plan so far. Sony A7r ii would take care of all the wide angle and normal focal lenght
as Leica WATE, 50/2 apo + may be another small 35mm lens. These will be much lighter and smaller than say 14-24/2.8 and one or two other lenses. D810 with 70-200 and D500 with 500/4.
That would be about 7-8 kg in camera gear.
If D500 with 500/4 focal lenght is not all that useful, I could bring 300/4 PF +/- TC instead which would save me significant weight or 200-500/5.6 instead but I have to say that out put from 500/4 is much much nicer and if there is a lot of opportunity to use 500mm, I would rather bring 500/4.

Alternatively, I could bring Leica SL with 90-280 and I can use SL as a back up for the Sony as they can share all the lenses. Personally, I like SL with 90-280 better than D810 with 70-200 unless tracking is absolutely neccessary but in this case, it would make more sense to bring D810 and D500 with 70-200 and 500/4 as this will give me a bit more flexibility in focal lenght
rather than SL with 90-280 and D500 or D810 with 500/4 (I definitely want to keep bodies to 3 and not 4).

Thanks for any suggestion or advice that you may have.



Oct 21, 2016 at 11:58 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


When I went I used 1DX and 5D3 with 70-200f/2.8 and 200-400/1.4TC along with a 24-70 and 17-40. Also had a 3rd body along for backup (1D4) but only used it once or twice.

I did make use of the 560mm on FF a lot. You can get away with less than 500 but if you like to do some tight headshots and detail work the 500 is useful. I know some people on our boat had 500s with them but most on FF. 500 on D500 may be a bit much for most things but you could just shoot the penguins that are further away instead of the ones trying to walk over you

For iceberg shots from zodiac you will make use of 16mm on FF or even wider like the 14-24. Zooms do have a big benefit on zodiacs as the distance to icebergs is always changing. I'd much rather have the 14-24 mounted than a prime. What is the focal length of the WATE? If it is wide then that should be fine on A7RII instead of the 14-24 to save weight.

Even though I had the big heavy, awesome 200-400/1.4 lens I often only took the 70-200 on shore but most times had the 1.4 TC on it as I found that to be a more useful range.

If I went back today I'd take 100-400II and 400DOII with TCs and the 16-35. I know all this gear is Canon stuff but ignore that and focus on the focal lengths and sensors.



Oct 22, 2016 at 12:45 AM
suteetat
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


arbitrage wrote:
When I went I used 1DX and 5D3 with 70-200f/2.8 and 200-400/1.4TC along with a 24-70 and 17-40. Also had a 3rd body along for backup (1D4) but only used it once or twice.

I did make use of the 560mm on FF a lot. You can get away with less than 500 but if you like to do some tight headshots and detail work the 500 is useful. I know some people on our boat had 500s with them but most on FF. 500 on D500 may be a bit much for most things but you could just shoot the
...Show more

Thanks Arbitrage for your input. Leica WATE is 16-21/4. From what you suggested, for land, it sounds like may be D500 with 70-200 and D810 with 500mm would do the trick as well. That was one reason I thought Leica SL with 90-280 may be more useful but that would be another camera system with different batteries, charger etc to carry. After taking in weight of tripod, batteries and suitcases, I may have to wear 3 days worth of clothing when I get on the charter flight like what some of my friends suggested At least they have same day laundry service on board
I definitely want to try taking pictures on penguin with 16mm as they walk all over me



Oct 22, 2016 at 01:07 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Just a thought on redundancy. Your Leica will back up your A7Rii as they can share lenses. And the A7Rii back up your Nikons. However with a D810 and D500 you have no WA redundancy.
Now I know it's unlikely anything will go wrong with the A7Rii but there is still loss and theft or accidental damage to consider (I've had 3 major technical issues on trips so I'm more than a little anal on this subject)

If taking the A7Rii, SL and D500 (or 810) then you could investigate the Techart Pro too. Now I know it can't move enough for a 500 or 200-500 but it seems it may be similar to the Pentax AFA x1.7 I used to have in that you may be able to manually focus with long lenses to within say 10% and then the AFA would focus the final 10%, it was very fast and very accurate on MF 300/2.8 lenses. Just as more redundancy (but a very very light piece of redundant kit) !



Oct 22, 2016 at 02:14 AM
suteetat
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Frogfish wrote:
Just a thought on redundancy. Your Leica will back up your A7Rii as they can share lenses. And the A7Rii back up your Nikons. However with a D810 and D500 you have no WA redundancy.
Now I know it's unlikely anything will go wrong with the A7Rii but there is still loss and theft or accidental damage to consider (I've had 3 major technical issues on trips so I'm more than a little anal on this subject)

If taking the A7Rii, SL and D500 (or 810) then you could investigate the Techart Pro too. Now I know it can't move
...Show more

Thanks for your suggestion. Redundancy is definitely something to think about. True that I don't really have any back up for wide angle unless I bring SL. I suppose if I don't really need anything longer than 500mm, I could leave D500 at home and use D810 with 70-200 and 500/4 FL and bring SL and 90-280 ( I really really want to bring this lens ).
I suppose DX crop of D810 has just a bit less resolution than D500 but not losing out too much. I am not sure how important will the better AF and FPS be for such trip. I guess I could leave 70-200 at home if I bring 90-280 with SL but bring D810 with only 500/4 make me think that I should make the camera more useful than that. Technically, I could mount either 500/4 or 70-200 on My A7r ii (or SL for that matter, MF will be easy enough with either and Commlite F to E mount adapter works really well with 70-200/2.8 but not 500/4 FL). This way, I have at least 2 bodies that will work with any lens that I bring. I do have Techart Pro adapter but have not really use it very extensively so far.

On the Zodiac, beside wide angle for iceberg, is there much chance to use 70-200 or 90-280 for seals or penguins on iceberg as well? For these type of shots, are they more for 500mm from the boat?

A friend did warn that A7r ii sometimes froze up when he went to South Georgia earlier this year on the same boat. But nothing serious happened and he was able to use the camera after pulling out the battery and put it back in. I went trekking in Bhutan a couple of weeks ago and A7r ii did surprisingly well with Leica lens despite unusually poor weather and rain for October period there.





Oct 22, 2016 at 02:31 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Would there be an advantage on logistics for taking all one brand with all one type of battery?

I assume your outfitter is top notch for a trip to such a remote place, but for example, in the military, one of our biggest problems was (is) batteries and charging the ones that were rechargeable. For a while we had lots of different sizes to manage and it was a mess. Now things have gotten better, but sometimes they still run into problems.

So an all Nikon system (3 bodies, 2 FX, 1 DX) and the zooms with one or two prime back ups and the 500MM would give you system parity all the way down on the logistics side.

That's all I can offer. This is a trip of a lifetime for sure. I hope it all goes well! Awesome kits by the way.



Oct 22, 2016 at 02:39 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


I can't answer your Antarctic specific questions however it shouldn't be too cold there (and not wet of course - bar some sea spray perhaps, though something like the Peak Design Shell would keep your A7rii or SL protected but ready for use).
However i used an A7 in Mongolia in temps from -35C down to -50C just by keeping it in my pocket (I was wearing a Rab parka which has ginormous pockets) with a heat pad stuck to the battery compartment. 2-3 of the 12 hour ones a day was plenty along with 2-3 batteries.



Oct 22, 2016 at 02:47 AM
suteetat
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


ariot wrote:
Would there be an advantage on logistics for taking all one brand with all one type of battery?

I assume your outfitter is top notch for a trip to such a remote place, but for example, in the military, one of our biggest problems was (is) batteries and charging the ones that were rechargeable. For a while we had lots of different sizes to manage and it was a mess. Now things have gotten better, but sometimes they still run into problems.

So an all Nikon system (3 bodies, 2 FX, 1 DX) and the zooms with one or two prime back
...Show more

Yes, that also crossed my mine. Not buying anything else new, I could bring D810, Df and D500. However, Df uses different battery. If I bring 14-24/2.8, and a 50mm + 35mm. I have to say that I prefer the output of A7r ii with Leica WATE, 50/2 apo and 35/1.4 FLE or 35/1.4 ZM quite a bit better. The Nikon setup for wide angle also will be significantly heavier especially if I get 35/1.4 and 50/1.4 ART. WATE, 50/2 apo and 35/1.4 fle would be just a tad heavier than 14-24mm or any one of the Sigma Art alone. Combined, they are lighter than Nikon 24-70/2.8 VR with quite a bit better IQ as well so that's why I am sticking with these rather than bringing one zoom lens in this range.





Oct 22, 2016 at 02:56 AM
suteetat
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Frogfish wrote:
I can't answer your Antarctic specific questions however it shouldn't be too cold there (and not wet of course - bar some sea spray perhaps, though something like the Peak Design Shell would keep your A7rii or SL protected but ready for use).
However i used an A7 in Mongolia in temps from -35C down to -50C just by keeping it in my pocket (I was wearing a Rab parka which has ginormous pockets) with a heat pad stuck to the battery compartment. 2-3 of the 12 hour ones a day was plenty along with 2-3 batteries.



Thanks fo the tip on Peak Design Shell, Frogfish. Yes, it should be dry in Antarctica and temperature is supposed to be around 0 c (it is summer there, you know ).

Opss, I meant to ask Arbitage regarding the zodiac since he had been there before.

I plan to carry my gears in Think Tank Airport Accelerator with rain cover (if my local dealer gets the bag here in time-I was told next month) while transferring from boat to shore. Sony will just hang around my neck under the big parkas that the boat provide). Each trek generally last about 3-4 hours so I think my poor back and shoulder should be able to deal with that.



Oct 22, 2016 at 03:03 AM
 

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arbitrage
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Hi again, saw your comment about zodiacs.

Zodiacs just doing cruises around icebergs were always in very calm water in sheltered bays. You really didn't need anything for protection. We had our backpacks at our feet and you could always throw your camera in the backpack if things did get rough.

However, zodiac landings were often a little rough as waves are crashing on shore as you try to disembark and the short trips to land were often in rough water. Some people opted to just have their backpacks again. Many of us had large drybags to put our camera backpacks in just until we were on land. On land we were allowed to just leave the dry bags by the zodiacs until we were leaving.

I used the 115L backpack dry bag from Sealine http://www.cascadedesigns.com/sealline/packs-and-duffles/black-canyon-boundary-pack/product. Others had their large duffel dry bag instead. I was able to shove my GuraGear 30L and tripod into that just for the zodiac ride to shore.



Oct 22, 2016 at 02:16 PM
suteetat
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Thanks Arbitage. Look like I will need a large duffle bag as well. I have a smaller dry bag similar to Sealine but it is quite heavy. Sometime I wish we pick a boat that will depart directly from South America so there is no problem with weight but this trip with chartered flight to King George's Island and return trip with flight from Falkland to Chile save about 3.5 days of sea travel and bypass the worst of Drake Passage which is also very nice. Too bad I was trying to see if I could buy or pay for excess baggage but they did not seem to allow or encourage that.
Now I just hope that the new Nikon 70-200/2.8 arrives in time for the trip.



Oct 23, 2016 at 12:08 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


suteetat wrote:
Thanks Arbitage. Look like I will need a large duffle bag as well. I have a smaller dry bag similar to Sealine but it is quite heavy. Sometime I wish we pick a boat that will depart directly from South America so there is no problem with weight but this trip with chartered flight to King George's Island and return trip with flight from Falkland to Chile save about 3.5 days of sea travel and bypass the worst of Drake Passage which is also very nice. Too bad I was trying to see if I could buy or pay for
...Show more
I've been looking at those fly/sail trips too (Antarctica / S.Georgia / Falklands and return). Interesting to note how restrictive the weight limits are. 5kgs carry-on is very low - most backpacks weight nearly half that empty !




Oct 23, 2016 at 04:43 AM
LeighFM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


When my wife visited Antarctica several years ago she took a Nikon F2 and a modest zoom (don't remember which offhand).

They worked flawlessly and she got some great shots.

I did an overhaul on the F2 before she left. I was servicing Nikons at the time.

- Leigh



Oct 23, 2016 at 04:56 AM
suteetat
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


Frogfish wrote:
I've been looking at those fly/sail trips too (Antarctica / S.Georgia / Falklands and return). Interesting to note how restrictive the weight limits are. 5kgs carry-on is very low - most backpacks weight nearly half that empty !



If your trip starts and ends at the Falklands, the restriction is not nearly as bad as LAN/LATAM runs regular commercial flight between Punta Arenas and Falkland so weight allowance is similar to other regular commercial flight in South America. In my case, it is only the chartered flight from Punta Arenas that has significant weight restriction. Basically, they warn that if everybody bring excess baggage, it may be too heavy for the plane to land safely on King George's Island





Oct 23, 2016 at 05:10 AM
suteetat
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


LeighFM wrote:
When my wife visited Antarctica several years ago she took a Nikon F2 and a modest zoom (don't remember which offhand).

They worked flawlessly and she got some great shots.

I did an overhaul on the F2 before she left. I was servicing Nikons at the time.

- Leigh


Yes, my inderstanding is that 70-200 is probably going to be the most useful lens. However, a friend
mentioned that if I want to take pictures of penguins feeding their youngs, longer focal lenght is needed as those will be further out. He was using Olympus M4/3 with 150-300 for those shots, I believe.
Also longer focal lenght also can be useful for when on the boat as well, I suppose.




Oct 23, 2016 at 05:12 AM
LeighFM
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


When choosing focal lengths, I learned long ago that the main goal is to get the subject on the film.

If it's on the film but too small, you can enlarge it.

If the shortest focal length won't put the entire subject in the frame, then it's gone.

- Leigh



Oct 23, 2016 at 07:24 AM
SoundHound
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


The weight limits are likely severe for the smallest aircraft. I was part of a film crew for the 1970 Baja 1000. After the race start they dropped our group off by two Cessna 310s. Every seat was taken and all the holds were overfull as well as a max fuel load.

I took the co-pilot seat and caught the Pilot reading the Cessna manual-his first flight in that type. He flew out over the bay for some time burning off fuel weight before he climbed to cruising altitude.
Our overweight resulted in a limited flying range. He became lost over the wilds of Baja and we just made La Paz after dark (they reopened the airport).

So be very glad that there are strict weight limits. Choose your trip such that only larger aircraft are used and your weight limit will be more. As to a Zodiac: They are open so your equipment is at risk for salt water spray. Cover everything well and wipe your gear off with a fresh water dampened cloth. Practice with your gear so you know every zipper and exactly where every item lives.

Batteries. You can put AA lithiums in a standby battery grip and be sure you will always have power for bodies like the D800/D500. A previous poster alluded to a parka that worked well for him (big pockets). Buy personal gear that is efficient and tested. If you wear glasses take spares. Etc, etc...



Oct 28, 2016 at 04:00 PM
suteetat
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Needs help for camera gear for Antarctica trip on expedition boat


SoundHound wrote:
The weight limits are likely severe for the smallest aircraft. I was part of a film crew for the 1970 Baja 1000. After the race start they dropped our group off by two Cessna 310s. Every seat was taken and all the holds were overfull as well as a max fuel load.

I took the co-pilot seat and caught the Pilot reading the Cessna manual-his first flight in that type. He flew out over the bay for some time burning off fuel weight before he climbed to cruising altitude.
Our overweight resulted in a limited flying range. He became lost
...Show more

Thanks for the tips. Yes, I definitely will work within the weight limit. Luckily, our group has 20+ people and only few photographers so some friends did offer to share their weight with me. The boat will take 90 passengers and as far as I know, we are all going on the same flight so the plane will be a reasonable size at least.
Batteries should be ok. I was told that we will have 2 landings per day (if weather permit) and will last about 3-4 hours each as we will get back to the boat for lunch so I am not very worry about batteries as there will be plenty of chance to change and recharge. However, if weather permits, there is an option to overnight on land one night, I believe. Most likely, I will be using Think Tank Airport Accelerator to carry my gear. I will make sure that beside raincoat, I will have a large duffle bag to put the Think Tank in while in Zodiac.




Oct 28, 2016 at 11:35 PM







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