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Author Topic: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica  (Read 1635 times)

MDL_SD

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2021, 10:13:42 pm »

If you buy an R IV or an Alpha 1 remember that the uncompressed RAW files are huge (particularly on the R IV where I save uncompressed because lossless compression is not available).  I use nothing smaller than a 64 GB card and generally use 128 GB cards in my R IV (1039 images on a 128 GB card).
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Eric Brody

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2021, 06:31:22 pm »

I've not been to Antarctica but have been to Africa and to the Galapagos where two bodies are an absolute must (not many camera stores in these places). In addition to the basic reliability issue, you can put different lenses on each and not change lenses as often. Sea water is evil stuff when it gets near a camera or lens. I'd not want to get into a Zodiac with both my camera bodies. The A9 will certainly be good for wildlife (penguins, seals, ? whales-probably not polar bears :-)) and an RIV or A1 will easily take care of the rest. You may want to read Lloyd Chambers take on the A1. He says, "Sony A1 image quality overall seems to be the best ever seen in a Sony camera. My impression is that of improved tonal and color rendering over the Sony A7R IV." If you don't need the speed, or if you don't plan on making the A1 your primary camera later, the RIV is hard to beat for image quality. I suspect I'd not be able to tell the difference, especially when the price difference is factored in, eg almost 2 A7RIV's for the price of an A1.

Whatever you do don't take more than one system; it will make you crazy. I did that on a southwest workshop years ago and spent way too much time deciding which to use and my photography suffered. The A1 apparently has lossless compression, a wonderful sounding thing to me whose RIV landscape files, when all done, are usually over 1GB. Bring an extra battery charger as well as additional batteries and lots of cards. Even with uncompressed RAW, I get about 1,000 images on a 128GB card. If you take more than that in a day, I don't want to be your editor :-)  While it's likely someone will have a Sony camera and its charger, any digital camera is a doorstop without a battery. Larry's idea of checking in with the tour operators about what to bring is a good one. Clearly you need somplace to download and backup your files each day, a laptop or equivalent with a few backup drives is great. I use Samsung T5 SSD's 1 and 2TB when I travel.

I'm envious of most of your trip except for the Drake Passage. I get seasick easily. But goods luck, have fun, be safe and share upon your return.
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williamrohr2

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2021, 07:05:08 am »

Looking back to when I went to Antarctica in 2005, the three most valuable tools which I used the most were: (1) The Canon 400mm f4 DO (2) A peripheral battery pack (3) gyro stabilizer.  The reason each was important: (1) telephoto lens allows up close images while still maintaining the required distance from wildlife (2) at the usual antarctic temperatures, battery capacity is severely depressed.  Canon made a battery insert (fake battery) to which you could attach a peripheral battery pack.  By using that and keeping the battery pack under my clothing and at body temperature I could keep shooting long after many other's batteries had quit (passed the wires out to the camera through my sleeve).  (3) stabilizer (Kenyon Gyro in those days) allowed photos from boats and the ship on days that otherwise would have been almost impossible (heavy overcast but dramatic weather in rough seas ... hand held 400mm for unique photos of icebergs and iceberg wildlife).  Although the equipment has dramatically improved, Antarctica hasn't hasn't.  A pitching boat in rough seas is more than a typical in body stabilization can handle.  The combination of external stabilizer, IBS and lens stabilization will yield a markedly improved percentage of unique photos.  That's my 2 cents.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2021, 07:01:57 pm »

Out of curiosity what kind of temperatures did you experiment when you went?

Cheers,
Bernard

williamrohr2

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2021, 08:32:07 am »

The high we ever had was about 30 degrees F.  Most days started at about 0 degrees F or below, but a storm occurred which dropped the temperature to high of about -20 degrees F (not sure of what the low was as my thermometer didn't go lower).  The challenge is that the stormy weather produces the most dramatic skies but is also when the temperature drops dramatically.  We never experienced a full katabatic storm because it was start of Summer (they usually occur in the Fall ... actually best called start of Winter as Antarctica functionally only has 2 seasons ... Summer and Winter).  Remember the average temperature on the coast of Antarctica is about 15 degrees F (~ -10 degrees C).  At those temperatures battery life is considerably shorter.  In the days of fully mechanical shutters we used to have the lubrication removed from the shutter for photography at such temperatures. If headed to Antarctica it's worth reading about the weather and how quickly it can change.  Multiple layers of clothing seem to work best so they can be altered as temperature and activity change rapidly.  The worst experience is to develop a full sweat from climbing a slope and having to open a coat with little beneath ... the sweat evaporates quickly as the air is very dry ... dropping your body temperature even faster.  Yes, the camera equipment is important but without proper clothing you'll never get a chance to take the picture.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2021, 08:04:07 pm »

Thanks, interesting.

Yes, I am quite used to shooting in low temperatures in the Japanese mountains and indeed battery life can be problematic.

I found that full size DSLRs, such as the D3x back in the days, were much better in such cases that more compact designs, including most mirrorless cameras recently, thanks to their much larger battery and, possibly, more rugged design that may isolate the battery better from the outside (but this last part is hypothetical).

Petrus

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2021, 07:20:35 am »

I found that full size DSLRs, such as the D3x back in the days, were much better in such cases that more compact designs, including most mirrorless cameras recently, thanks to their much larger battery and, possibly, more rugged design that may isolate the battery better from the outside (but this last part is hypothetical).

Big reason for short battery life now is the electronic viewfinder in mirrorless cameras, which eats quite a lot of electricity. Older mirror bodies used hardly any power when on standby, and we could still look thorough the viewfinder, compose etc. even when the camera was turned off.

Also newer mirrorless bodies are smaller = smaller batteries.
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Sphinxa

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Re: New gear recommendations for Travel to Antarctica
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2021, 07:07:25 pm »

Thanks to all for their recommendations!
I have ordered the Sony A1 along with the 200-600 (for birding) and will pair it with my A7-3; selling the A9. Lenses will include the Sony 100-400 w 1.4 tc, 24-105 and either take the 16-35f4 or sell it and buy the f2.8. I will bring many cards and batteries along, still debating if I need a GoPro for the shore excursions. I think this setup will be flexible enough without be too onerous for flying.
Amin
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