Camera equipment for trip to Antarctica

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nicholasg, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. nicholasg macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2011
    My wife and I are planning a trip to Antarctica late this year/early next year.

    I would be very grateful for any advice on additions or changes to our planned camera equipment.

    What we plan to take: -

    5D Mk 2
    70 - 200mm f2.8
    2x extender
    24 - 105mm f4
    Lots of memory cards, MacBook for backing up pictures
    400D as a back-up body

    I'm thinking of buying a 7D and a 70-300mm f4-5.6 OR 300mm f4

    I'm also planning on leaving the following at home: -

    100mm f/2.8L Macro
    16-35mm f/2.8

    Anybody have any advice?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    If I were brave enough to do this, I would get the 7D to go with the 5DMkII and take only L lenses. I think the ones you list are all L. This would give you two weather sealed systems.

  3. macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    Sounds like you're good to go. I agree with getting the 7D, but more as an alternative to the 5D because of it's faster shutter. If I had room I would still take the 400D because I'm paranoid, but the 7D will hold up better in that environment. The 70-300 might be a little redundant since you already have the faster 70-200. Don't forget that mounting that on a 7D body will extend that range a bit to 112-320. My advice for any trip: if you're sitting there wondering "should I or shouldn't I take this?" then chances are you should. At the very worst you don't use it. Have a great trip though! Be sure to post some pics when you get back!
  4. Extermi macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    I would highly recommend you take the 16-35mm as there are plenty of great wide angle shots in antarctica. You will often get very close to wildlife and interesting ice that can help make for really interesting expansive landscapes. Worst case, you leave it in your cabin.

    I would also recommend you take the biggest glass you can find. The 2x with the 70-200 should do pretty good. You want at least 400mm to compress icy landscapes and shoot the distant wildlife.

    Dont forget about the dangers of condensation when you come back inside.

    Only spend enough time reviewing you pictures to make sure they are sharp and composed as you imagined them. Spend the rest of the time shooting or looking out the window. Also, dont forget to put the camera down every once in a while and just enjoy where you are (for me that can be pretty hard)

    Keep your spare batteries close to your body so that the cold doesnt drain them. If your battery dies, warm it up under your coat and you will likely get some more life out of it.

    I would also take an external hard drive to back up your macbook. That way you always have two copies of the pictures and empty memory cards. Also, dont forget to pack them in separate bags on the way back.

    Enjoy the trip. I am sure it will be incredible!


    Also, if you are thinking of getting the 7D. Make sure you use it extensively before you take it on the trip. As has been discussed in numerous forums, the 7D has been a little troubled by focusing issues. Mine had major issues which were quickly and easily resolved by canon once I realized it was the camera and not my shaky hands. I love the camera now.
  5. anewman143 macrumors regular


    Jan 18, 2008
    Considering the bright white landscape, perhaps a neutral density and/or circular polarizer filter(s)?

  6. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    Yes, to both of these. Wide angle for sure-wide landscapes, foreground to distant shots-a definite.
  7. TheReef, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011

    TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    ^^ This. The amount of reflection is going to be huge, definitely get a polariser (and polarising sunglasses).

    Other than that, what you plan to take looks good.

    I agree with the previous recommendations of a longer lens (for which it seems you're already covered with your 2x extender). Given the landscape, a lot of the interest will most likely lie in the distance.

    With a more prohibiting landscape, I'm doubting you will be able to get close to subjects down there - with an ultra wide angle lens you're going to end up with a lot of blue sky, and a lot of white foreground, and a small strip of distant interest across the center of the frame. As mentioned there will always be a time it may come in useful if you do find an interesting foreground element, but if space is an issue, I'd also leave the 16-35 at home, I think the 24 - 105mm f/4.0 has you covered on the 5DII. If not, it can't hurt to take it.

    I hope you have a great trip! :)
  8. Extermi macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2011
    I agree that you have to be careful about trying to capture everything with a wide angle lens and ending up with a narrow strip of distant interest. That being said, you will get very close to some of your subjects, i.e. within a few feet, be it penguins, icebergs, or simply reflections.
  9. Xeperu macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    Bring the 16-35! You will not regret it.

    Also like said before take a good CPL filter and a ND8 filter with you.
  10. DW58, Sep 13, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

    DW58 macrumors regular


    Sep 2, 2011
    Beware rechargeable batteries in Arctic/Antarctic temperatures. Assuming you have a battery grip on the 5D Mk.II/7D (if you get one which I would) or if you don't fit a grip, use the optional AA battery magazine with Lithium AA cells (Energizer or similar), I find that I get much better cold weather performance (down to -20c the past two winters) with these, whilst LiON cells have an alarming habit of dumping in extreme cold.

    I seldom bother with the Canon batteries on my cameras, much preferring to use AA Lithium cells 24/7.

    I'd take the 16-35mm lens, imagine the frustration if you can't get wide enough - in fact I'd be looking to get something wider, more in the 10-20mm range - I swear by my Sigma 10-20mm EX DC HSM.

    Bearing in mind the tricky lighting conditions (and I may be preaching to the converted here), take plenty memory cards and shoot JPEG + RAW - takes up a lot more memory but pays dividends in the long run.

    I'd also take the 100/2.8 macro if I were you - you don't have to pack every lens/gizmo each time you leave base.
  11. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Luminous Landscape does trips there, you might want to read the reports and see what equipment did/didn't work for them.

  12. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    This is a good idea. Other famous photographers have gone there as well and have posted info.
  13. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    For the 5DII and 7D, definitely an extra battery for each with one of each kept inside your clothing and near your body where your body heat can help keep the charge. Obviously, you are aware that with the cold the battery life drops significantly.
  14. stevendphoto macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    I would pick up a used 1D MKIII, they are going for just a little bit more than a 7D, the Pro Series bodies are build for extreme conditions..!

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