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  • SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

    I will be going to antartica next year and I have been seeing various opions on the net about what lens to use. Some people are really getting carried away. The lens I have are they long enough I have 300mm 70-200 2.8, 100mm, 50 mm 24-70, and 17-40. Do I need a 400 5.6 or do you need a lens with a lot of light. I do have the 1.4 extender. This is for a canon 40d. What about a 15mm. I just don't want to get carried away just like these other people have. I plan to sell these later on for my start up photo business. Just don't have the money for a 500mm like most people have suggested.

    I thought the animals are pretty close to you in Antartica?

    can you see the fur sea seals in livinstion Island?

    Marc

    Hope to hear from you soon about this.

  • #2
    Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

    If you can please send responses to mjf0048@hotmail.com, not mjf0048@airmba.com

    Marc

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

      Hi Marc,

      I took a 28mm, a 50mm, a 70-200 zoom and a 2x teleconverter with me to Antarctica. When I could (after a year!) I bought a fixed 100mm lens which pretty much became my standard lens for wildlife (and most other things too in fact).

      Of the pictures on this site that are mine, they are about 50% with 100mm, 30% with 50mm, 15% with the zoom and 5% or less with the 28mm. I used the teleconverter a handful of times only and took only very few decent pictures with it.

      I am a great believer that the best accessory you can get for your slr is the ability and willingness to walk around and find the best postion. The 100mm wasn't really necessary for wildlife pics, I like the perspective it gives and it allowed me to stay a little further away from my subject.

      I liked the way I could carry the 100mm on my camera in a waist-belt case with the 50mm lens at the bottom of the case. Everything else was in my rucsac.

      Wide angles are a matter of style rather than necessity and I'm not that keen on them, personally I wouldn't even bother with a 28mm, I'd get a 35mm instead maybe as one end of a zoom.

      500mm? I see no reason for this whatsoever. You might be able to get some pictures of seals on distant ice-floes and I'm sure that someone will say they got some great picture with their 500mm lens. A couple of guys I was in Antarctica with who became professional photographers owned long lenses, but virtually never used them. As we spent 2 years, we had the luxury of spotting potential pictures in advance and planning for them, this is when the longer lenses would be used and usually for the perspective they gave rather than "reaching" the subject.

      As your time is limited, I'd suggest 35, 50, 100, 200 and spend your time thinking about how to use what is attached to your camera at the time and taking lots of pictures. Get loads of memory and/or the ability to download to laptop. Record everything at maximum resolution. Get a tripod and a bean bag or similar to staedy the camera (I used to use the top of my rucsac propped against a rock).

      I used to aim to take pictures at f5.6-11 only with as fast a shutter speed as possible for the best quality. I'd also recommend as much photography practise before you go as possible so you're as good as you can be when you get there.

      I haven't been to Livingstone Island, if there are fur seals, you will be able to see them, for many people fur seals get too close for comfort! They are my favourite Antarctic animal though, your 70-200 will easily be adequate.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

        Sounds good, but I already have the 100mm lens, but is for Marco photos, I used it in the amarzon with great results. Also, how many memory cards do I need? I am planning of having 3 2GB plus two 4 GB giving a total of 14 GB. I see where I can get a bean bag? what about a monopod what is a good brand to buy? most of my lens are around 2.8 fixed, I only have three zooms but they are 2.8 and 4 the 17-40 and 70-200 2.8, and 24-70 2.8, the rest is a 100mm, 50 1.4, and 300mm I have 1.4 converter and heard it gives better results than the 2x becuse you do not lose as many stops. After speaking with tour operator, they said there are 4 places around the sheltion islands to see the fur seals and many penguiln colneys. Hope to hear from you soon. I guess some people get carried away like a disease going out and buying all these long lenes costing thounsnds of dollar where the money can be used towards paying for the curise by just sticking to what they have. the pictures I have seen on other sites they used lenes that where 24-70 and 70-200, nothing larger.

        Hope to hear from you soon about this

        Marc

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

          My 100mm is a macro lens too and only f3.5, it's bright in the Antarctic summer and most lenses are at their best quality from about f5.6 to 11, don't worry about silly-expensive fast lenses. It sounds like you already have the lenses you need. I'm assuming that they are of at least reasonable quality? Budget lenses are not worth the savings like any budget tool.

          Fixed length lenses are always going to be better and faster than a zoom in the same region for the same price, and better quality too. I prefer to use my feet to move and frame the picture, not the zoom. You'll probably get a gaggle of people with their cameras standing around a penguin colony or near some seals who are upright and hardly walk anywhere, they will also probably have the most expensive stuff (all the gear - no idea).

          To take the best pics, you need to be moving around, thinking of background, thinking of your level and prespective. There's little better a picture can be with more expensive equipment. "Professional" standard equipment will give high quality results, but much of what you buy is in terms of facilities and interchangeablity (that the vast majority of people will never use) and reliability and ruggedness (at the expense of weight and size as well as cost).

          As for memory, I'd say you need to take enough to take 100 shots a day at maximum resolution (this may well be significant overkill, more reason to practise before you go). You may also want to take short movies on your slr if you don't have a separate movie camera, so you'll need to work out what that comes to. Some tour ships have the facility for you to burn your memory card to disc on board if your card gets full, so it may be worth asking this question?

          If you don't normally take many pictures, I'd spend time before you go practising as much as you can to get better. Only by taking pictures and looking at the results will you improve, better that happens at home than in the limited time you have in Antarctica.

          Comment


          • #6
            Better uses of SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

            I thought that some of the zooms that are L series that are just as good as the fixed lenes that ones that are rated 2.8 like the white ones and the 24-70. The only time I have used 17-40 when I was very close to something where there was not space to move backward when I was in the middle east in Petra. I do use my equipment quite often. The zoo would also be good practice for your camera. the 70-200 is good to use shooting from a moving boat and the 200mm is good once you are on land along with a 300mm to get closer shot. I have no ideal what you would use the 35mm lens for? Do you think I would be better off trading my 24-70 in for a 35mm lens or even the 17-40 for a 20mm lens? the 24-70 seems kind of heavy. The 24-70 use a lot of an every use lens of landscapes, nature, but the 17-40 I harely use as well as the 50mm lens. I guess I can leave some lenes at home and just bring 100mm, 200mm if is worth to purchase, 300mm and 70-200mm lens. Is a monopod necessary or is it better with a tripod since a tripod takes more time to set up? Sounds like the expesive equipment is not worth it. I usually don't spend over a grand for glass since that is out of my price range and you could also move in closer to get a better picture and the places I have been to in the last years the wildlife was close to you anyway so you did not need longer than a 70-200 in contrast to what birdsart says in his book. This is simply not the case in places like the amazon and Galapagous I have experienced. Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

            Marc

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

              Hi Marc

              Paul has given you good advice there. Bear in mind that your Canon 40D gives you 1.6x focal length magnification because of the CMOS sensor, so your 300mm lens becomes effectively a 480mm lens - not far short of the 500mm that you can't justify buying anyway!

              Whilst it's tempting to take all your lenses with you on field trips, you would probably regret the extra weight - and changing lenses with gloves on is fiddly. For landscape shots of bergs etc, I'd go with the 17-40mm; for wildlife generally the 70-200mm - but bear in mind that you will probably get to within 5 metres of penguins etc (they have no fear of humans, if you keep still), and so your 24-70mm would be good as well. And your 100mm Macro is a great 160mm-equivalent prime lens that would be excellent for (non-macro) wildlife portraits.

              A circular polarizing filter is a must for each lens (it will lose you a stop of light, but that's generally no bad thing in such a bright environment).

              Depending on the length of your trip, you might want some more memory / a laptop or portable hard drive for downloads. As for a monopod, I use a Manfrotto - it's heavy but very solid.

              One tip I found particularly useful was to bracket the white balance if shooting JPEGs in Antarctica (as you can't play with this very easily in Photoshop afterwards unless you are shooting RAW - and that eats memory cards very quickly!).

              I've posted some of my shots in the Members Gallery - these were taken on a Canon 300D with a Tamron 28-300mm lens, so I think they demonstrate that you don't necessarily need expensive camera gear to get good results.

              Hope this is helpful - enjoy your trip!

              Mike

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                To: Mike,

                I guess is better to stick to what I have and maybe just upgrade 70-200 to the image stablizer model for the zodic boats. I already have the 300mm lens. I was in the galapous Islands last year and mostly used the 24-70 and 70-200 for the wild life and 24-70 for the land scapes. You really don't want the ice burgs to look distored. What about the Gitzo, if you have the money. I need something that is light. Paul seems to like the primes, Maybe a 35mm would not hurt for the landscapes? what do you think about this. I will have a laptop with me, but I don't attended to stay in EZE, is very dangous to be walking around with camera equipment and laptop in that city. I am going stiegnt to the falls and not looking back. I will have 14 GB of memory for my camera. I hope this is enough, I plan to shoot in Raw plus jpeg, just in case the jpeg shoots don't came out. I think buying a 500mm is to much over kill in places where the wildlife is so close you almost pet them.

                Take care

                Marc

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                  To Mike,

                  I have also used UV filter without a problem, I don't know why I would use a polorizer, when I have lens hoods on all my lenes, and I don't want to lose a stop. I have used UV in places as hot as the middle east and got perfectly blue skies and colors. I have used those filters before with very bad results, the pictures came out to dark amoung other problems. Just want to keep it simple when using filters.

                  Marc

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                    Marc

                    The IS version of the 70-200 f2.8 is a fantastic lens and would certainly help when you are shooting from a zodiac, if you are planning to upgrade to it. I agree with you about not wanting to distort your landscape shots of bergs (although in your first post of this thread you did refer to possibly buying a 15mm lens...!)

                    If you are shooting both RAW and JPEG, then you are going to eat up your 14Gb of memory cards very quickly. Unless you are prepared to delete shots before you get home, to free up some space, I'd recommend taking some more memory - there are basically no shops in Antarctica, and memory cards are relatively cheap compared with the cost of your trip.

                    Finally, on the circular polarizer - a lens hood minimises flare but makes no practical difference to the effect of this filter on the light hitting your camera sensor. You will be shooting in a very reflective environment (bright sun, ice, water etc) and so I'd certainly recommend packing one in your camera bag, even if you opt not to use it when you get there!

                    I look forward to seeing some of your shots in the gallery next year on your return...!

                    Mike

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                      Right after seeing some review on the 15mm not so good, I kind of changed my mind on that lens, is better just to upgrade the 70-200 f.2.8. A laptop would save the need to have anything larger than 14 gb. Do you have any sample shots taken with the polarizer? Is it really that bright there to use polarizer, If not used right your picture can come out worse then if you did not use one.

                      The IS version of the 70-200 f2.8 is a fantastic lens and would certainly help when you are shooting from a zodiac, if you are planning to upgrade to it. I agree with you about not wanting to distort your landscape shots of bergs (although in your first post of this thread you did refer to possibly buying a 15mm lens...!)

                      If you are shooting both RAW and JPEG, then you are going to eat up your 14Gb of memory cards very quickly. Unless you are prepared to delete shots before you get home, to free up some space, I'd recommend taking some more memory - there are basically no shops in Antarctica, and memory cards are relatively cheap compared with the cost of your trip.

                      Finally, on the circular polarizer - a lens hood minimises flare but makes no practical difference to the effect of this filter on the light hitting your camera sensor. You will be shooting in a very reflective environment (bright sun, ice, water etc) and so I'd certainly recommend packing one in your camera bag, even if you opt not to use it when you get there!

                      I look forward to seeing some of your shots in the gallery next year on your return...!

                      Mike[/QUOTE]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                        I've posted a few of my shots in the Members' Gallery on this site - many of the landscape and wildlife shots were taken with a polariser.

                        Here's a link...

                        http://www.coolantarctica.com/PhotoP.../500/ppuser/33

                        Mike

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                          The real question is, what kind of photographer are you? Do you prefer snap-shots? Do you prefer artistic shots (like Art Wolfe)?

                          If you're just going to take photos for memory purposes, and maybe a print or two, then minimal gear should be sufficient. If you want stuff for the portfolio, then come prepared. Photography is understanding light, and second to that is knowing your gear for the purpose of capturing light.

                          I am one to pack too much, take too much on the first 1 or 2 excursions, then reevaluate my load if I need to. Every trip is the trip of a lifetime and some trips are the trips of multiple lifetimes. Traveling to Antarctica is, in my opinion, the ultimate trip a human can take on Earth in this day and age. If your pack is heavy, you'll only be straining during the short trip but you might have the equipment to get memories you'll enjoy the rest of your life.

                          Maybe I didn't read this thread close enough, but I'd say the only thing you're lacking is insurance. Things do not always go perfectly with gear. What are you doing for back-up? It looks like you have the glass to cover things, but what happens if your body takes a dump? Do you have a back-up body? What if you drop a lens off the boat? Will it be that critical focal length you can't live without?

                          What about protection? Read this article: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...7-worked.shtml - serious photography trip and look at how many gear problems they had because of rain. You might want to look into some sort of rain protection (I use the Thinktank Hydrophobia) and a rain cover for your bag (I use the standard cover that came with my bag). Are you taking a laptop to move photos off the video card? What about a back-up harddrive or iPod to store your keepers on? What happens if a memory card goes bad (check out a program called Photo Rescue).

                          Yes, all this stuff adds up fast! I like the minimalist approach some of the other posters have suggested, but I like to be prepared. I'd feel like the trip was wasted if I couldn't get the best of my photographic abilities back from an excursion of this nature.

                          Here are a few things I threw together:

                          Gear I'm taking (keep in mind I regularly hike with more gear than this): http://axspot.wordpress.com/2008/08/...tartic-voyage/

                          Clothing I'm packing: http://axspot.wordpress.com/2008/08/...the-falklands/

                          And here's some stuff just on the trip in general: http://axspot.wordpress.com/category/antarctica/
                          Last edited by Poindexter; 2nd September 2008, 13:08.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: SLR LENS for Antartica 2009!

                            And your question about Gitzo....ABSOLUTELY! To quote one of my favorite photographers, Joe McNally....."No matter how many megapixels you've got inside that fancy machine you hold in your hands, they aren't worth beans if you don't hold your camera steady." Look at the photos from any photography trip and pay close attention to the photos of the photographers themselves - not a single one is without a killer tripod. Most are using Gitzo because the carbon fiber models are light-weight, sturdy, and can get extremely low to the ground. Light-weight for ease of carrying. Sturdy to hold the heaviest of gear and withstand the wind. Low to the ground because you'll want to be eye-level with the animals to convey their world.

                            You'll also need a good ballhead. Acra-Swiss, Realy Right Stuff, and Markins build the most popular professional/pro-sumer models. Markins and Acra-Swiss recently redesigned thier top models to be smaller and lighter. RRS will hopefully have some new designs soon too.

                            B&H is a good place to buy Gitzo and Acra-Swiss from (bhphotovideo.com), but you have to buy Markins from Markins USA. For your gear, you don't need the top of the line....that stuff is for super telephoto glass.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Camera equipment info for Antartica 2009!

                              To group,

                              I heard is better to use a monopod for Antartica to shot wildlife? only if its a giltzo. light weight or you get killed by Lan or AR on excess weight? What type of ND filter do you recommend by B +W for antarica? Is this a good set to take to antartica 300mm, 70-200mm, 24-70mm and 17-40mm. Also, do you need a flash with a flash bracked? I heard a fast camera is a must like the Mark III. I have seen used ones with 1000 shots on it selling for $2800 on ebay. Just want to be prepared. But please no spam. Only if you are serious about leaving a response related to this topic

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